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Professional Advice on Your Kitchen Remodeling Project: An Interview with Al Koval of DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen

By Al Koval

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen is an independently-owned and operated franchise with a showroom located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.

What began more than 45 years ago as a bathtub and tile refinishing company known as Gnu Tub has grown into a full service bathroom and kitchen remodeling company to meet the complete needs of our customers. As we grew into a full service remodeling company, our name changed to DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen. In 2001, ownership of the company changed, but the staff, technicians and installers remained the same. Customer satisfaction continues to be the reason for our continued success and growth.

While we are proud to be the premier bathtub and tile refinishing company in Pittsburgh, we are equally proud of our accomplishments as a full service kitchen and bath remodeler. Our expertise and quality continue to bring our customers back for other projects or to offer referrals to their family and friends.

Our technicians and installers represent an average of 20 years' experience in all phases of the remodeling process. And while others may give you a telephone quote followed by a surprise bill, we visit each and every potential customer, look at their job, listen to their requests and present a proposal for the work accordingly. With DreamMaker there are no surprises. When our workmen arrive, they'll know what they can expect to find and are prepared for the work at hand.

What is the first thing you tell people who are looking to remodel their kitchen?

Feel free to do your own homework. It is always helpful when our customers have opinions or an idea of what they are looking to accomplish with a new kitchen. In addition to being more stylish and updated, does your kitchen need more functionality? More cabinet space; etc. Customers should also anticipate the remodeling project will take approximately four weeks (more or less depending on structural changes) and could be messy.

Although we take care to keep dust and mess to a minimum and to keep the workspace tidy, simply emptying the contents of their existing kitchen cabinets and moving appliances into adjoining rooms can be disruptive. We encourage our customers to remember that it will get ugly before it gets beautiful.

When looking at a kitchen for a remodel, what factors do you take into consideration first?

When first reviewing the kitchen for a remodel, consider the total available space and the traffic flow of the room. The sink, stove and refrigerator, ideally, should be in a triangular pattern, which allows for the most efficient work space. Also consider the amount of existing cabinetry and the possibility of increasing storage.

What are the most popular areas that are considered a waste of space in the kitchen?

Bulkheads and empty space above the refrigerator are generally the most wasted space in the average kitchen. By eliminating a bulkhead, we can usually provide higher cabinets which give kitchens an extra shelf in their cabinets. Though not always practical space for daily use dishes and cookware, it can afford extra storage for more occasional items that will just be a "step stool" away. An over-the-fridge cabinet that is 24" deep also will provide some additional storage space.

What are your personal favorite design elements in a kitchen?

We favor deep, full extension drawers instead of doors on base cabinets. This allows full use of the cabinet space without the need to bend or stoop to reach back into a base cabinet. Alternatively, we can use full extension slide out shelves in the base cabinets. In addition, under cabinet task lighting brightens up the counter work area throughout the kitchen and can make that unusable dark counter space usable again.

What is your best professional advice for homeowners who are looking to remodel their kitchen?

Look for contractors who listen more than they speak and make sure they are licensed and insured professionals. Don't be afraid to ask for proof of insurance or referrals. And don't allow anyone to pressure-sale you into a job. Remember, it's your home and your investment

Establish a remodeling budget, and remember to include the costs for restaurants or take-out while your kitchen is being worked on. This could add several hundred dollars during the time it takes to remodel your kitchen.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

We can be contacted by phone at 412 885-4440; email or by visiting our website at

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About The Author

Al Koval is the Owner at DreamMaker Bath and Kitchen.

Phone: 412-885-4440

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