Deck Lingo!

Have you been thinking about remodeling or updating your deck? Afterall, it’s getting nice outside and we often like to spend our Spring and Summer in the front or back yard. There are so many things to think about when remodeling your deck…size, type of wood, color, covered or not covered. I thought in this blog I would just talk about balusters! What are balusters you ask? They sound a little strange, but it’s that little safety mechanism that keeps your kids, pets or even adults from falling through. However, they also allow you to see through. Did you know these things go all the way back to the 15th century? You probably don’t need the details, but here are some different options to thdeck_700ink about before ordering:

Wood: The traditional baluster can be a wooden post. Painted or stained. You could even use a composite which looks like wood. The common wooden railing is just a post, but you can do different cut outs or place the wood in different designs. There is long term maintence with these as some can warp and will need to replaced, but this is a more cost effective approach.

glass_2-1Glass: When using glass on your deck it can really show off your view. Perfect for a lake home because it allows you to see your full view. That beautiful view usually comes with a higher price and a little more maintenance.





horizon-ipe-bronze-mission-metal-balusters_1280_622_90_c1Vinyl: This offers another version similar to the wooden railings. Generally your colors are a little more limited, but they do offer several different styles of balusters and railings. The nice thing with vinyl is is doesn’t require as much maintenance as you won’t have to repaint or stain and the vinyl shouldn’t warp like wood.



Growing in popularity are the specialty railings. Rods, iron, and cables. These all offer a little more modern and cleaner appearance.





Like I usually say…get on Pinterest and Houzz and check out some of our idea boards or just search and find all the great pictures. Make your deck a beautiful space for years to come!

Best of Houzz 2015!

I am sure that some of you are familiar with Houzz, but if you are not you should really check it out sometime. In fact we just received an award for the second year in a row for Best of Houzz 2015!

Remodeling and Home DesignIt’s a great website to look around at thousands of ideas. Whether you are in the beginning stages or are ready to pull the trigger. You can create your own profile and idea books. You can have idea books for your kitchen, entry way, landscaping, paint colors, basement, etc. It helps you separate your ideas so it’s not all piled into one place. It takes the mess out of the way of keeping a binder and ripping out magazine pages.

Also, you can follow your favorite contractor!! We have a profile set up with some of our pictures, but also ideas that we think would be great. You can follow us and we can follow you.



Let’s go to an island…the kitchen island that is!

The kitchen is continuing to be the gathering space of the home and the island is center stage. Islands come in all shapes and sizes and how do you decide which is the best for your kitchen? Which kind of island will fit your needs? Here is a quick run down of some options that are out there:

  • First let’s talk about the shape. Islands can be rectangle, square, oval, half moon and L shaped. There is even a T shape??
    • A rectangular shaped island provides a lot of space especially if youchoose to use it for prep work. You have plenty of room to add a sink or stove top. It not only allows for the cooking space, but also the seating space so your friends can be in on the cooking.
      Kitchen island for seating.

      Kitchen island for seating.


    • Square shape can be big or small. You could create a small island in the shape of a square that you could roll around or a larger island that would allow for some of the amenities like the sink and stovetop.
    • Oval and half moon shape usually allow for a multi level island. A lower portion where you can cook and or wash dishes and then a higher level for a breakfast/bar area.
    • The L shape island can hook onto your countertop allowing for an
      L shaped island

      L shaped island

      extension of your counter space where you can access both sides. This would be better if you don’t have quite enough space to allow for a large island in the center of your kitchen

    • The T shape is an island with the extension of a table or countertop coming off of it. You would have a higher island with a lower level island.
  • After you decide the shape of island you want you will also want to decide what you want to use it for:
    • Do you plan on cooking mostly from your island? If so, it might be good to add a prep sink to it. Or maybe a pot/pan rack directly above it. You could also put a stove top/griddle on the island. It can be a one stop shop.
    • Islands also provide more storage. You can add cabinets and drawers to
      Can you say storage? Picture provided from Pinterest.

      Can you say storage? Picture provided from Pinterest.

      store all your pots and pans and tupperware. Add a book end on it so you can store all of your cook books and show them off.

    • You can’t forget the entertaining portion of the island. As I mentioned above you can have a lot of seating at an island for your guests. Why not add the mini fridge or wine fridge to one end so everything is easily accessible.

Check out this link for great ideas when designing your kitchen island…offers ideas for spacing of the island, types of islands and ideas for countertops.,,20543751_21078542,00.html

There are so many other options to think about as well. You could have colored cabinets so it’s the center focal point. Or maybe you decide you just want all stone. There is also the movable option like we discussed. What about butcher block for the counter or do you go with granite? Whew…some many fun ideas!! Let me know what you decide!!

Provided by Better Homes and Gardens

Provided by Better Homes and Gardens

Quit wasting space!! Basement ideas to get you started!

The basement doesn’t need to be called the dungeon! There are so many good reasons why you should remodel or finish your basement now. Hopefully the following ideas will help you make the decision to move forward:

  1. Entertainment – the basement can provide hours of entertainment and togetherness between family and friends. 567ab6e11916c04691c532aa4f0d93bdWith such a large area you can create one main room or several different  rooms within the space. Throwing a party becomes much easier as adults and kids will have plenty of space to enjoy themselves. Finishing the basement also makes  hosting for holiday events a breeze.
  2. Income – once the basement is finished you could rent the space and make some extra income to pay off the project and also take some of the mortgage off your plate. If planned right you can even have an entrance/exit for your renter so that you can have your own privacy.
  3. Family – the weather can always be an issue and holiday’s come up every couple of months. It’s a wonderful feeling to have the space to offer to family, friends or even co-workers if they need a place to stay. If for a night or even a month with having that extra space you both have your privacy.
  4. Options – as mentioned above f2c6100513671a8fcb6b536bb7c304a2the basement is such a large canvas for you to create a wonderful space. There are so many options such a playroom for the kids, adding an office, adding additional bedrooms, a bar, entertainment room, craft room. The possibilities are endless!
  5. Organization – I don’t know about you, but with little kids we have toys coming out of our ears. The basement offers more area for organization. From built in shelves, under the stair closet or even a built in entertainment center with shelving. You can create the space perfect for organizing toys, holiday decorations, gym equipment or anything your heart desires.a5344e2716d0a420a917a61a7a4c2078


These are just some of the reasons why you should finish that dungeon down there and stop wasting good space. Costs in material will continue to rise so make sure and schedule a meeting with with T&E soon so we can start the planning process.

Pictures provided from Pinterest.


Time for a new kitchen?

Are you finding that you are running into your husband or wife when you are cooking in the kitchen? Or maybe there isn’t enough room to store all of your tupperware. You might be asking yourself…is it time for a new kitchen? Here are a few things to ask yourself when contemplating this question:

  • OUTDATED – does your kitchen look like the set of that 70’s show? Maybe you are still showing off those yellow appliances. If so, it might be time to modernize. There are so many new products and designs offered today that could turn your whole kitchen around in a short amount of time.
  • DETERIORATION – are your cabinets falling apart or maybe the tile is cracking on the floor. You might have hardware missing from your cabinets or appliances that are no longer working. thIf you look around and see some of these items now might be the best time to remodel. Don’t be embarrassed to host the next Thanksgiving dinner.
  • VALUE – kitchens are one of the few spaces in a home that will offer a great return on investment. Whether you are on the five year plan with your home or the twenty year plan a kitchen remodel is a great investment.
  • LIFESTYLE – Does your current kitchen offer the right amount of space for gatherings? Maybe you want a breakfast bar for your four kids. Or even an island so you aren’t bumping elbows 4add4b512e98329e91026ecf599ba3fdwhen the two of you try to cook in the kitchen. The family size will continue to change over the years and you want an area for cooking and eating that you can enjoy without running into each other.


  • ENERGY SAVINGS – maybe going green is all that’s important to you. By updating your kitchen with new appliances and lighting fixtures you can save money over the years. Plus, there are tons of rebates and tax incentives just waiting for you.

If any of these topics apply to you then it might be the right time to remodel! Give us a call today and we will be happy to sit down and discuss your next kitchen remodel.

Something to labor over…cabinet color!

We at T&E Construction hope you had a wonderful labor day! Now we have something for you to labor over…how to pick the right cabinet color for your kitchen! Cabinets are the first thing you see when you step into a kitchen. So how do you pick the right color? Here are some topics to think about:


  • Theme – do you have a kitchen theme? Roosters, country style, modern…with themes you might have trinkets around your kitchen that have multiple colors that you could tie in. If you are going with a rustic theme you could choose a darker wood stain cabinet. Or in a more modern theme you might choose a black or white color. You can even get cabinets that are more worn looking or very clean cut.

    Custom kitchen completed by T&E Construction, Inc.

    Custom kitchen completed by T&E Construction, Inc.


  • Neutral – tips from say that picking something neutral is a good rule to follow. Even though you go with that rooster theme you don’t necessarily want to have red cabinets as it could be overload. Instead maybe go with a tan color that could bring the red out.


  • Longevity – what will you like forever. We all go through phases where we might like certain colors more during holidays or seasons. However, cabinets aren’t something that you can change every time you feel like it. What will you like tomorrow? It goes back to picking a more neutral color…something that you can change your kitchen around as the years go by.

    Picture provided by Pinterest

    Picture provided by Pinterest


  • Research – look around!! There are so many different avenues these days to use to find that right cabinet color. Between Houzz, Pinterest, magazines, stores and just browsing the web you are sure to find the right cabinet color for your home. Or you can always ask the guys at T&E. They have a ton of wonderful ideas.

Pool decks, covered decks and composite decks…OH MY!

This summer the popularity of different decks seems to be increasing. Homeowners like to spend their down time in an area that is relaxing and comfortable. So why not build a backyard oasis! There are many types of decks and patios that you can design and build to fit your needs.

  • Wood deck – this is your traditional deck. A wood deck can be built small or
    Picture from Pinterest board - Decks.

    Picture from Pinterest board – Decks.

    large or even multi-level. You can put in built in benches, pergola’s or even gazebo’s. The great thing about wooden decks is that you can paint or stain to keep up with constant wear, weather and changes of your home.


  • Pool decks – many people are purchasing above ground pools for their homes. A pool deck is perfect for safety and for a large gathering space. Putting a deck around your pool will keep smaller children from climbing over the edge and keep others out. Also, a pool deck provides plenty of space for lounging in chairs, BBQ’s and storage.


  • Composite – this type of deck offers the best of both worlds. It has the look of
    Pinterest picture - Decks

    Pinterest picture – Decks

    real wood, but texture that won’t cause splinters. It’s made from half wood and half polymer. You can get it in different colors as well. Composite decking has the ability to last many years, but make sure you do your research as there are many products out there. If you are thinking of composite make sure you talk to Eric or Travis first to get all the details on the different products being offered.


  • Covered decks – these have becoming
    Deck Remodel Completed by T&E Construction.

    Deck Remodel Completed by T&E Construction.

    more and more popular. Every new house I see has a covered deck. The wonderful thing about covered decks is that it gives you shade during those hot Iowa summer days. Covered decks also give you the option to change up your furniture with more comfortable seating with cushions and other decorations you might not put on your non-covered deck. Also, if you still want that sun you can build a lower level patio to get the best of both worlds.

Make sure and check out our Pinterest page and Houzz for great ideas on your next deck remodel! Once you make that decision give T&E Construction a call for your estimate!

T&E Construction’s Top Ways Refurbished Wood Can Rejuvenate Your Home

After spending a few days in Los Angeles and Denver, one common trend in restaurant/bar designs was the use of refurbished wood. In fact, after returning to Central Iowa, there was a great new restaurant that had opened that used refurbished wood in a beautiful way, but you don’t have to go out on the town to enjoy refurbished wood. Using recycled wood in your home is much easier than you think.


Here in Iowa, accessibility to refurbished wood is good. From old barns to condemned buildings, there is some great old wood out there and this old wood can give your home warmth, charm, and sense of history like nothing else can. Here are some of T&E Construction’s favorite ways to use refurbished wood in your home:

  1. Flooring: Using refurbished wood on home floors has been the rage for a few years now and for good reason. The marbling and contrasting colors in older wood can change the entire feel of your home.
  2. Wall treatments: Finding wood from an old barn and refinishing it can transform any room in your home with its patina when used as a wall treatment. If you want to add some color, use reclaimed wood from multiple sources.
  3. Patio: Using refurbished wood on your outdoor patio can add a gorgeous, contrasting, rustic charm to your home. Pergolas are popular structures to incorporate such wood.
  4. Shelving and Cabinets: An obvious use for recycled wood is for shelving but cabinets are a great place to use the old wood from doors or barns.
  5. Stairs: Using salvaged wood on your staircase can make it a focal point in your home.
  6. Tables: A slab of recycled wood can make an amazing dining room table while using old pallets for a trendy coffee table is easy and cool.
  7. Beams: Resawn wood beams have been used more with amazing results. Whether in your home or loft, these warm and robust structures cannot be ignored.

Bringing new life to wood and your home is something T&E Construction knows a lot about. If you’re ready to incorporate refurbished wood into your home, give T&E a call at 515.208.5536.

Seven Clever Ideas for the Space Under Your Stairs from T&E Construction

You’re probably thinking you’ve utilized all the extra space in your home but an often overlooked area in many homes is beneath the stairs. This space is often thought to be too small to do anything creative or functional with but T&E Construction has a few ideas to step up your home’s functionality and versatility.


  1. Home bar/wine storage: Not that you have a problem but this space can make a great adult libation station. Some spaces may be more conducive to wine storage than a full on bar. So, work with what you’ve get.
  2. Pantry: Maybe you could an extra pantry in home using the stairs closest to the kitchen. Maybe you could as a pantry just to begin with. Problem solved.
  3. Bathroom: Some areas beneath the stairs are the perfect size for a small bathroom and as you know, adding an extra bathroom can increase the value of your home as well.
  4. Reading nook: Adding a bench and some book shelves to this tight area can turn it into the perfect cozy reading/studying area.
  5. Storage: By storage, we mean shelves or drawers, not a cramped closet. Getting T&E Construction to put in some custom drawers or shelves could also bring some beauty to your home you never thought possible.
  6. Desk: Similar to the reading nook, turning this area into a work area with a desk, shelving and drawers might be the most efficient use of this space especially if your current desk is taking up space elsewhere.
  7. Tiny play room: Not all spaces beneath stairs would work for this but more could work than you think. Small kids love spaces like these. It could even make a great little clubhouse or dollhouse.

As you can see, the space beneath your stairs is begging to used for something greater. It’s time to get creative and when you’re ready, T&E Construction is here to help.

T&E Construction Explores Cool Color Trends for Kitchens and Bathrooms

In recent years, there has been a grey trend taking place in kitchens and bathrooms. The desire for elegance and sophistication in these rooms while moving toward simpler and subtler designs has been on the upswing. There are many ways to incorporate not only greys but also some other classy colors to kitchens and bathrooms. Let’s take a look at a few:


  1. Glamorous Greys: With cabinet design shifting slightly to the more simple styles with softer edging, using various greys can still convey a modern yet elegant look. Greys are also great at highlighting angles, edges and clean lines without being the main attraction in these rooms.
  2. Darker Woods: A perfect compliment to the use of these subtler colors is dark and robust woods. The richness of maple and cherry wood are the perfect contrast to the use greys and earth tones in both bathrooms and kitchens.
  3. Soothing Blues: Lighter blues have become popular in bathrooms in recent years especially when paired with wood finishes. These “spa” blues offer a tranquil and relaxing experience.
  4. Earthy Finishes: Earth tones are becoming trendy color choices for both bathrooms and kitchens. Using these earthy hues can bring out some of the stronger features in a room such as fixtures and countertops.
  5. Color Injection: With the use of less dominant colors, adding an injection of a stronger color can reveal a little personality. Areas where these dashes of color can play well are inside vanities, cabinets or even showers.

As you can see, there are some cool color trends taking place right now. When you’re ready to explore some of these new trends, T&E Construction is ready to assist you.