Kitchen Aspirations

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How well does your kitchen work for you?

Soon the heavy cooking/entertaining holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here. And they will reveal much (good, bad and ugly) about your kitchen. It's the perfect time to evaluate and move toward a more functional and inspirational kitchen space. Here are 5 areas where your kitchen can work better for you.

  1. Island – Workstation. From a functional standpoint, the island is your kitchen’s greatest asset. Why? An island has all the functional elements - countertop space, storage, and appliance options. Plus, you have 360-degree access to all of it. You’re basically adding a whole new dimension of functionality. As for inspiration, the island is a perfect area for displaying what inspires you to cook, like your favorite cookbooks.

  2. Cabinetry – Work Clutter Free. Kitchen space is prime real estate and good cabinetry ensures you don’t waste any of it. Focus your spending here. And if you insist on cutting corners with cabinetry, then do so with an appliance garage. One of the most effective ways to utilize corner space! As for inspiration, beautiful kitchens all have one common element – beautiful cabinetry.

  3. Lighting – Work with Clarity. The realm of kitchen lighting is full of many new cutting-edge developments. Whether it’s pendants, recess, flush mounts, track lighting or a beautiful chandelier, really good lighting options are available. As for getting power to the light source, plugmold multi outlet stripsto under counter electrical box fit nicely in almost any design. As for inspiration, you want your kitchen radiant.

  4. Appliances – Work toward Reliability. Literally countless gimmicks will temp you to make an impulse buy. Don’t take the bait. Your design (#5) should be guiding you through appliance selection long before you hit the showroom floor. Remember reliability is your highest priority and having a strong warranty a close second. As for the endless features? You can educate yourself first online. As for inspiration, appliances make a great supporting cast for beautiful kitchens.

  5. Layout – Make it work. What is your cooking style? Gourmet chef or microwave warrior? Do you entertain? Do you want others “hanging out” in your kitchen? Or, is it your exclusive domain? Questions like this should shape your kitchen's design and layout. As for inspiration, a great design process helps you visualize your kitchen (and make all the right selections) before it becomes a WOW reality.



Your functional and inspirational kitchen is one Daniel Builders design-renovation away. Start the process by visiting our new kitchen’s page.

Growing Greenville Roots

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We recently opened a Greenville, SC office.

Why Greenville? Here are 5 reasons we sought a physical presence in Greenville.

  1. Proximity to customers. Many of our clients live here. Naturally, being closer makes these relationships stronger. Long distance customer relationships can work, but they’re not optimal in our profession.

  2. More “Face-to-Face” meetings. We love communicating in person. And it doesn’t matter who. We’re building trust with customers, stakeholders, even other builders. (*Note: Yes we're finding ways to build trust even with our competition. CRAZY, huh?) Now more “face-to-face” conversations can happen. No long trips required.

  3. Commitment to Customers. Building Trust is a long-term commitment. Establishing deep roots in Greenville positions us as the contractor you choose for life. “Fly by night” contractors don’t do this.

  4. Industry Collaboration. Greenville is not just where clients reside. Many skilled trades and other industry related businesses reside here. In fact, next door to our office is a landscape architect. A Greenville location increases collaboration.

  5. Making Introductions. Our sign and building warmly greet those traveling along Washington St. Like an audible voice saying “Hello. We're Daniel Builders. Ready, willing and able to guide you through a major home renovation.” And yes, meeting new clients is important to us. After all, why stop Building Trust now?


Greenville residents, we are grateful to be neighbors.

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Sending you a Signal

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….a Radio Signal.

Do you know a great commercial when you see one? What about when you hear one? If so we need to hear from you. Your feedback is valuable before these radio spots go live June 17.

Listen Here & Here

We hope this accurately reflects what you as a customer experience firsthand.

Share critiques and compliments at will.cord@danielbuilders.com

Happy listening!

7 Beneficial Failures

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You’re the beneficiary of our failure.
 

“I didn’t fail. I just found 2000 ways not to make a lightbulb.” -Thomas Edison. Call it what you want, but these 7 things we got wrong.  We could deny getting it wrong, but what good is that?  Owning failure has much greater benefit for you, our target market, to reap.  Greater value comes to you because of lessons failure taught us.
  
Here’s where we failed and found a better way.
  
1.  Pricing Failure– More than once we paid dearly for underquoted projects.  Quoting errors revealed our great need for a design build process.  It was obvious.  When you carefully design and clearly scope a project (making all selections upfront), pricing is accurate - even the very best "educated guesses" aren't as accurate. Implementing the design build process gave our business long term stability.  After all, what good is a lifetime warranty when a business doesn't survive?
  
2.  Identity Failure – We tried to be a “do it all” contractor.  Any project, regardless of size, scope or budget, we tried to make work.  Big fail. This approach gave us no identity. No focus.  No niche.  Our customer base showed us we have a strength – renovations.  Design build renovations became our exclusive niche.  We no longer try to do it all. Instead, you now have a highly specialized renovation contractor.  
   
3.  Communication Failure – Verbal communication is one of our strengths, but it created a problem. We relied too heavily on it. Important details were being communicated in conversation, but forgotten. Who remembers all conversations perfectly?  Not us. Not our customers.  We made follow-up emails mandatory after important conversations.  Now the phrase “I thought you said….” isn’t necessary because it's in writing.
     
4.  Finishing Failure– Who wants to live in a home continually “under construction”?  A good renovation contractor wants your project finished  as much as you do.  “Project dribble” is phrase we coined to describe the plethora of little issues that keep projects from finishing on time. Eventually dribble got our full attention, and we found proactive was to prevent it. So your estimated date of completion isn't delayed by dribble.                

5.  Lead Generation Failure– We used Service Magic, a lead generation company, in the early days of our business.  Big mistake. It didn't take long to figure out you, our customers, are the best referral partners. That shouldn’t be a shocker.  When you’re happy with our service and quality you talk about it.  (And many are talking.)  So we canceled Service Magic, and put even more effort in delighting you, and strengthening client relationships.  It's a win-win for you and us.  
  
6.  Giving Failure– We’re passionate about giving.  “Generous Giving” is one of our core values.  And giving “too much” to charity has never been a regret.  But, we have given too much to non-charitable causes.  We pumped too much time, effort, and insights into projects that never materialized, and toward customers who never moved forward.  We figured out charging a small consultation fee is a great way to gauge a client's level of commitment.  Now business efforts are more aligned with you, the paying customer, and charitable efforts with those in real need.
     
7.  Acknowledging Failure Failure– Why are so many business owners unwilling to acknowledge failure? Maybe they feel threatened by transparency. We see it different.  “Building Trust” (which is both our tagline and our passion) requires straightforward communication, even when we get things wrong.  Talking about failure once made us squirm.  Not so much anymore.  We’re quick to tell you we’re not perfect, but as you see from this blog, we take full ownership of failure.        
 

DIY or DDY (Don't Do Yourself)

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Big DIY projects require confidence, skill and a huge reality check. 
 Self-performing has its benefits.  For starters you could save large quantities of money while experiencing the joy of personal accomplishment.  (Nothing like beholding your own masterpiece!)  Some DIY projects should be DDY projects though - projects you don't do yourself.  This is especially true if the project requires a specialized skill such as plumbing, electrical, tile setting, etc. Attempting a DDY projects can cost you dearly in terms of money, time, personal health due to stress/injury, marital strain, and......even more money.  The key is distinguishing which projects are DIY and which are DDY. So how do you tell the difference? 
Here are 7 “reality check” questions to consider before self-performing a renovation.
1.  What is my skill level?  Pros make it look easy, but don’t be fooled.  Not everyone is a pro.  Some have a natural aptitude for carpentry and it comes easy.  Others not so much.  Be honest with yourself when evaluating your skill level.  A little self-awareness can prevent you from getting in over your head. 
2.  How much time (and patience) am I prepared to invest?  Beautiful renovations happen quickly on HGTV.  They only take a 30 minute episode.  Real life renovations take considerably longer, and require significantly more patience.  You’ll feel an urge to rush, but doing a renovation hastily is a mistake.  You’re better off getting it right the first time. 
3.  How much energy can I give my project?  Renovation work is very physical and requires stamina.  If you’re typically exhausted after your “day job”, a DIY renovation may require weekends.  Just make sure you approach your project with mental and physical energy.  Bad things happen when sleep deprived zombies try to renovate.  
4. Do I know an expert?  If DIY was a game show, this is where you could “phone a friend.”  Knowledgeable friends and contacts help you get unstuck as you encounter problems.  Better yet let them know before you even start.  They’ll likely share a few vital insights as you plan.
5.  Will I be safe?  No renovation is worth serious injury.  Stop immediately if you think you might be running that risk. 
6.  Can I start with a smaller project?  You don’t need to tackle large renovations to learn if you have a knack for DIY.  Start small.  Small projects are a great gauge for how well you’ll handle larger ones.  You only put yourself ahead of the curve as you gain more experience.   
7. What’s the worst case scenario if I do it myself?  Resist being optimistic if you’re unwilling to consider the risk.  The best advice for a DIY renovation is “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” –Dennis Waitley     

What's Good?

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Disclaimer: What you're about to read has nothing to do with renovations.  Still, if an award was given for our “Most Significant” blog post, this one would win by far.

I’m sure you've our society has become increasingly panic-stricken. The news networks rarely tell us anything calming or good, and social media thrives on deception.  All this bad news begs the question: Is good news out there?

The answer is yes.  Good still happens in our American culture.  And it's worth finding.  You need to know where to look though, or face being swept away by a tidal wave of negativity.

So where is the good news?
  
At Daniel Builders we recognize truly good news starts with God. He is actually doing good right now in our community, even as much of it goes largely unrecognized.  The few recognizing this goodness are often at “rock bottom”.  They have exhausted just about every option, but one -The Haven of Rest.  The Haven specializes in helping people at rock bottom, and they frequently see God demonstrate amazing goodness.  Recently, I sat down with Stu Butler, executive director of the Haven of Rest in Anderson. 

What he said is worth sharing.

Will: Who comes to the Haven of Rest for help?

Stu: Men and women struggling with a life dominating problem.  Let me read you our Mission statement. The Haven of Rest exists to see those with life dominating problems rescued, restored and released while experiencing the love of the Lord Jesus Christ as commanded in the Great Commission of Matt 28:18-20. 

Will: What does getting help look like for someone struggling with a live dominating problem?

Stu: We don’t advertise.  We don’t have to advertise. Most people end up here by word of mouth.  We have five pillars.  Food. Shelter. Clothing. Christian Love.  Biblical Guidance. If a person’s stomach is inside out from hunger they can’t really listen very well.  Or if someone is physically exhausted and they just need to lay down a while we can meet that need.  So we start by meeting basic needs, but that’s not where we stop. 

Will: What motivates you?

Stu: The love of Christ, what He has done for me and what I see Him doing in other people’s lives. We see God doing miracles here every day and that is not only motivational but inspirational as well. I am motivated to leave things better than I found them. That is something that my dad taught me and it has stuck with me all these years. He did that and his legacy still lives on even though he passed away two years ago at age 92. I want to follow in my Father’s footsteps – both my earthly father and my heavenly Father. I want to leave a legacy that is larger than me and will last longer than me.

Will: Have you seen an increase or decrease in desperate, “rock bottom” people?

Stu: Unfortunately we have seen an increase. Material poverty has been around for a long time but we also see spiritual poverty and relational poverty. Technology has connected us but also disconnected us and that creates relational poverty. So we are ministering to men and women dealing with that as well. Interestingly in our low tech ministry centers our men and women are forced to talk and to relate to one another.  That can be a slow process at first but they can learn to relate to their fellow sojourners and that is a great thing. If they can learn to relate to and love their fellow man who they have seen it helps them to see God who they have not seen.

Will: How will the Haven continue seeing God at work?

Stu: We stand on the truth and the basics, as long as we do that we will grow and see God at work. As we are faithful to God He is faithful to us and gives us fruit for our labors. This is a faith ministry and what we have found is that God honors faith because faith honors God. We are so thankful for the support of the community, support which we depend on because we do not receive government funding for our programs.

May God grant us all an ability to recognize His good news.  

To find out more about Haven of Rest Ministries or to make a donation please visit www.havenofrest.cc

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2018 in Review(s)

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That was fast.  Hard to believe we’re in the final hours of 2018.  What was 2018 like for you?  Reviewing a year is like a football coach reviewing game footage.  You’re wiser, savvier for doing it. Forgetting 365 days would be a colossal waste. 

Some of our best lessons from 2018 came in the form of customer feedback, or reviews.  Listening when our customers speak has been absolutely essential to our business.  After all, Daniel Builders is in the business of making customers really, really happy with their homes.  They, like any good boss, let us know if we’re succeeding or not. 

Customer reviews serve another purpose. They give future customers a good idea of what to expect.  Some people write reviews with ill-intent, trying to inflict unwarranted embarrassment, or harm.  These folks are typically easy to spot though.  Most reviews are written by people who care.  They realize their feedback (both positive and negative) can be extremely helpful.

Thank you to every customer who shared their honest feedback in 2018. 

So without further delay, here’s a sampling of what they had to say.   

We appreciate the professionalism and the communication from all of you at Daniel Builders.  While it’s never fun to have folks in your house for long stretches, you made it as painless as possible.
You were easy to work with and took care of all our questions and concerns in a timely manner.  You will certainly be considered for any future projects we may have.
 – Katherine L.

I have been impressed with Daniel Builders
from my first phone call, to the design team, our Project Manager and
Carpenters and would use ya'll again for future building
projects....without hesitation.  – Kathy S.


We have been nothing but pleased with your company from beginning to end with both our projects.   You run a top notch company and I’m sure we will have more projects in the future.  – Ali R.

I would highly recommend Daniel Builders. They have been honest, on time, and high quality of work.
– Andy G.

I appreciate Daniel Builders and everything that you represent. I look forward to working with you again in the future. Let me know if I can ever provide references for you.  –Greg A.

They did a great job helping us make a 1/2 bath/laundry room into a full, accessible bathroom. The guys were friendly, knowledgeable, on time, communicative, and innovative in the design to make the most of the allotted space. We are extremely pleased with the entire experience.
– Charles C.

I'm not sure I have ever come across another contractor that I have worked with I would give 5-stars to, but Daniel Builders deserves every one. I'd probably do it just because they actually show up when they say they are going to - a rarity I've found these days - on time, every time. But they aren't just punctual in their arrival, they have completed every job for us on time and beautifully! We've asked them to remodel two bathrooms, complete odd jobs to help close a sale of a house and build a beautiful fence. We had a minor, but not unusual, problem with work completed and when we called almost 6 months later, they came out the next week and fixed it without charge. I couldn't believe the responsiveness. Most contractors would take weeks to call you back, if they ever did. Our family has used them as well and had the same great experience. We've already chosen them to help us complete our newest project - a kitchen remodel. We considered briefly to do it ourselves as we've done many times before, but the comfort knowing the job will be done exactly as we imagine, on time and by great people - that aren't us - made the decision for us. 
–Nicole C.

Just want to thank you for another great job. So sorry we did not know about you in the past. Certainly, it would have saved us some do-overs. It was a pleasure to have you in our home. Everyone we have had contact with is so easy to work with and did an absolutely wonder job. Thank you for putting as much effort into a small job (like our laundry room floor) as you did when we renovated the front of the house. Another thing that is so important: Communication. You kept us informed! When the job would start, times people would be here. Such nice and professional people that work for you. Too bad more companies do not have your work ethic. –Bill J.
 
We worked for some exceptional people in 2018.  We’re grateful for each one, and the feedback they share.
 
Happy and prosperous 2019!