The Open Concept Redesign
Working with the Orren Pickell Building Group, one of the first decisions the homeowners made was to expand their cramped kitchen, redefining the layout by moving the kitchen walls into an area that had served as a screened porch. By doing a complete kitchen remodel in their Chicago-area home, the homeowners would have a much larger living area and would finally have the open-concept space they’d been wanting, giving them much more room to enjoy their home as a family and entertain friends.
Because this was a situation where the homeowners weren’t just putting the house back “the way it was” after the fire, but were actively improving it and expanding it, the Orren Pickell Group realized that they needed to be sensitive to what the insurance company was paying for and what the homeowner was paying for out of pocket. To accomplish this, Orren Pickell provided two renovation quotes: one to return the house to its original state for the insurance company and a second quote for the homeowners that included the upgrades and expansion.
Replacement of Like Kind and Quality
Additionally, Orren Pickell worked with the homeowners to help advocate for “like kind and quality” of materials to be used on the renovation. Orren Pickell project manager and fire and water restoration expert Rob Oldenburg explains that, “Insurance companies use a software program called Xactimate to come up with an estimate of damage, repair and rebuilding costs, and they tend to stick closely to their software numbers. However, we can help homeowners review those estimates and pick up on things that the insurance company may have inadvertently missed—perhaps something like a higher-quality level of tile or another higher-level finish—so that the homeowner is made whole. We’re prepared to explain to the adjuster why there’s a legitimate difference between what their software tells them and the bid we come up with.”
Rob admits that speaking the language of insurance adjusting can be very confusing. “And the quotes are confusing, too. It’s easy for a homeowner to scan the lines of text and then look down at the bottom and see what may look like a reasonable figure. But what often happens is down the road, they realize the adjuster missed things. Most of the time this is the result of an honest mistake—they simply overlooked a room or counted two coats of paint instead of three. But other times, it’s because they got the specifics wrong on what should be put back—for example, if your basement floods and you need your carpeting replaced, your adjuster can put in for whatever level of carpet he believes your previous carpet to be; however, if you have records of your specific carpet purchase from a specific store, they need to give you back that. “It’s all about ensuring that they know your house fire destroyed a $120 toaster, not a $20 toaster,” says Rob.
Hidden Costs of Code Upgrades
Rob also reminds homeowners to be aware of code upgrades in their policies that may be required but not covered. On this project in particular, the amount of demolition done was over a certain threshold, triggering a clause in their policy that required the homeowners to install a sprinkler system in their home—a cost the insurance company didn’t cover. “Certain policies have code upgrades that you never planned for. Something like a sprinkler system costs, on average about $12K for a house, and it’s not something you can sidestep; it’s required,” Rob explains.
Renovations Regardless of your Reasons
Certainly, most homeowners come to the Orren Pickell Building Group for renovation projects that have nothing to do with a devastating event. But regardless of if your home is damaged by fire, water (or any other element) or you simply want to update its appearance and enhance its livability, the designers and architects are ready to assist. We can help assess your current home situation and brainstorm ideas for what your dream home could be. Then, we’ll work with you to create a design plan and build a timeline so you know what’s happening every step of the way. And your Orren Pickell project manager will be there with you to guide you through the process.
Ready to get many more years of enjoyment out of your current space? Need expert luxury kitchen remodeling in Chicago or the North Shore? Get in touch today for a free consultation on remodeling your home.