How Myers Constructs Can Help You & Your Home in 2021 — Part 3 in a Series

Not Ready to Be Your Own Renovation Project Manager? The Owner’s Rep Solution

You already know that Myers Constructs specializes in the design, build, and general contracting of a wide array of renovation projects for residential and commercial properties. What you may not know is that we can also assist you in working with another general contractor by acting as an “owner’s representative” on your behalf.

In the role of owner’s rep, we take the stress out of managing your home renovation project by putting our decades of expertise to work for you. After all, project management is a profession that you are likely too busy to handle and, more often than not, it doesn’t match your current skillset. In many cases, we find that clients prefer to focus on their day jobs and hand off the responsibility for project management to our team.

What does this type of arrangement look like? In the early stages of your project, you may have an architect and/or contractor already lined up to do the work, or you may still be interviewing them, comparing pricing and personalities. We can help you understand the proposals you’re studying and make an educated decision about whom to hire.

Once that decision is made, we represent you throughout the renovation process to make sure you’re getting the project that was designed for you and receiving the full value of the substantial investment you’ve made in it.

We first meet with you, the architect, the designer, and any major contractors early in the process to establish expectations for working together and to communicate the dynamic that will take place: In other words, that we will be fully acting on your behalf and representing your best interests in this project.

As the project moves along, we oversee quality control, push the schedules forward, and help guide the general contractor and their team through to completion. Throughout the process, we keep a close eye on managing deliveries, communicating any issues with the designer and architect to make sure we have what we need when we need it — because we understand all too well how a missing plumbing part or electrical item can set a project back many weeks! While the architect or contractor is responsible for permits, we’ll stay on top of communicating the status of these items directly to you.

From start to finish, we act as a liaison in communicating with the architect, designer, GC, and you to help solve (and often avoid) problems throughout the project. And we send you daily updates that keep you apprised of progress as we see your new space through to completion in a way that meets your discerning expectations.

If this sounds like a fit for your next project, please reach out to discuss your specific needs. We look forward to assisting you as an owner’s rep.

How Myers Constructs Can Help You & Your Home in 2021 — Part 2 in a Series

Your Partner in Property Purchases

Are you considering buying a primary home or an investment property? If so, you already know that there are many complicated layers to this life-changing decision.

Generally speaking, you’ll spend more on a home you plan to live in, and you’ll be there for at least seven years, during which you’ll be looking to build a cushion of appreciation and make it as comfortable and attractive as possible. For most of us, our home not only houses us, shielding us from the elements, but it communicates to us and others what is important to us.

Your goals for a rental property will be much different: you’ll want it to generate positive cash flow, last a long time with minimal maintenance, and hopefully also produce appreciation. Of course, if you’re investing in a unique commercial property situation like adaptive reuse, rezoning property, doing land development, or building new construction, there are even more specific challenges that our experienced team can help with, as well.

Before you make an offer in any of these scenarios, we can help you understand your prospective property through the lens of the necessary construction, zoning, fixes, upgrades, and ongoing maintenance items it will need in the future.

We can even join you on a property visit to gather answers to important questions like:

  • What attracted you to a prospective house? Looking at what you love, we can get a good feel for how it can be made even better — including what that will cost and how long it will take to achieve.
  • How well is the home built? By examining the major systems and infrastructure features, we can tell a lot about the overall construction quality of the property.
  • What year was it built, and what are some common issues and concerns associated with that construction era that you should look out for?
  • How does this property compare to similar ones in the area — and how can you maximize your rental or resale potential? By analyzing quantitative data, we can show you whether it’s worth adding that third-floor addition, new kitchen, or extra bathroom.
  • What are the permitted uses and changes that are possible for a primary home? Together, we can look at options like future additions and other structural upgrades.
  • What are the problems the home inspector found, and what will they cost to fix? Which ones should be considered “deal breakers”?
  • What is the highest and best allowable current and future use for an investment property based on its zoning? For example, you may want to subdivide a single-home property into multiple lots and homes or expand a one-level commercial building into something like a low-rise condo.
  • How can you design an investment property to maximize cash flow, force appreciation, and/or put plans in place now for future payout?

The answers to all of these questions will help us provide an overall outlook on whether a property is the right fit and a smart investment for you. Unlike a home inspection, our home buyer’s service addresses not only physical problems with a property, but it also helps assess the emotional or quality-of-life issues you will face in achieving your dreams for your new home or property. We look forward to discussing the exciting possibilities with you!

In the Works at Myers Constructs

In South Philadelphia, we’re busy working on a large-scale renovation creating a 3-story house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms from an existing 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 2-story house. The plans call for adding a 3-story addition in the back as well as a 3rd floor master suite. The house is currently a shell, so it’s going to need everything, including a lot of masonry. Of course, the house is also vacant — which is a must with such a big project.

Northwest of the city, we’re also working on a high-end bedroom project in a lovely Lower Merion house. We’re turning what is now a simple, boxy bedroom into a luxe retreat featuring custom glass pendant fixtures, handmade wallpaper, custom furniture, upcycled large-scale hand-carved Asian doors for the closets, and many other rich textures and colors. All of the decor was selected by one of our interior design partners, Hannah Dee Interiors, with whom we’ve worked happily and successfully for many years.

With home sales in high gear, we’re also fielding calls for home renovations that people want to do before they move into their new-to-them homes. These projects include kitchens, baths, laundries, bedroom additions with storage spaces, decks, basement renovations, and resolution of various issues found by home inspectors.

Each of our projects presents unique challenges in light of COVID restrictions, but the solutions are mainly an extension of the core values we’ve always adhered to:

Prioritizing Safety — Our teams and homeowners all mask up when we are working in their homes or having meetings. We maintain strict compliance with standards for sanitizing work spaces and maintaining safe social distancing.

Encouraging Client Flexibility — Most homeowners understand our need to do more exploration of their project, budget, and time frame before we schedule time to meet in person — which keeps everyone a bit safer. When working in their homes, clients routinely offer us exclusive use of a bathroom and dedicated work site spaces.

Doing Our Homework — Every township has a different permitting process and requirements: some are online, some are in person with restrictions, and some are closed to new projects. We’re well versed in navigating this process, thanks to decades of experience in doing so.

Contingency Planning — Many materials — like plywood, pressure-treated wood, some plumbing items, flooring, and tiles — remain hard or impossible to get. Clients often happily provide us with second and third options so we can pivot and keep projects rolling. We also encourage adjusting contingency budgets up front for materials like lumber, which has seen a 20-40% price increase.

We’re thankful to be staying busy creating beautiful spaces that make people happy. We find that, as in all things in life, understanding and flexibility go a long way at this time.

Home Renovation Problems & Solutions in the Era of COVID-19

After general contractors were given the green light to resume home renovations in early May, the process has looked and felt a lot different, thanks to COVID-19 — not only for us, but for subcontractors, vendors, and homeowners, too. What does this mean for people who want and need work done on their homes right now? Having a well-organized design build general contractor with solid plans in place and great long-term relationships with their vendors and subs is essential to getting any project done right now.

As we navigate a host of challenges together, here is a top-level look at some of the most common issues we are all currently facing, and how our team is making the process as smooth as possible for our clients.

Problem: Supply chains are being disrupted.

Solution: Starting at the end of 2019, when the coronavirus pandemic hit China, we started seeing delays in products that were normally in stock, including everything from carpets to tile to hardware. Because these disruptions are continuing, we are implementing earlier order schedules and, when possible, “second choice” options so we might pivot in the case of longer delays.

Problem: Vendors are limiting service hours.

Solution: In order to protect their workers, many vendors are limiting their hours of service and discontinuing “walk in” service for the time being. We are working closely with our vendors to make the most efficient use of their time to keep projects moving along smoothly while also keeping a top priority on social distancing, safety, and cleaning measures.

Problem: Subcontractors are backlogged.

Solution: Our subs are working 6+ days per week to catch up on project backlogs. We’re communicating openly and proactively with both subs and homeowners so everyone has a clear picture of their project’s major milestones and completion dates.

Problem: Inspectors are backed up.

Solution: The City of Philadelphia is still closed, so new permits are currently stalled, and other township offices are either limiting hours or closed. We are working to have all paperwork as complete as possible on our end, so we are ready to hit the ground running when these offices reopen.

As a company, Myers Constructs has over 25 years in general contracting experience, with over 50 years combined experience between Tamara and Diane as owners who are personally involved in each of our projects every day. Please reach out to us to discuss your upcoming renovation plans. We’ll walk you through our process of keeping projects on an efficient timeline with a commitment to the highest quality outcomes, keeping you updated regularly so you rest easy and leave the worry to us.

Reflections on New Homeowner Realities in the COVID-19 Era

Wow, what a different world we live in now. After our first week of more normal working conditions, we thought we’d take a few minutes to reflect. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been spending all of our time in our homes — working, cooking, and watching television — but now that the warmer weather is here, homeowners are finding other ways to unwind and enjoy their outdoor spaces. We have definitely noticed an increase in requests for new beautiful and transformational outside spaces.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?

  • You’re spending more time outdoors, but your porch, deck, or patio are in serious disrepair — or you need better equipped exterior cooking and entertaining spaces.
  • You have a grill outside but wish it was a more complete outdoor kitchen.
  • It’s almost swim season, and you need a cabana room or dedicated powder room and entryway to your pool area.
  • You need more outside storage or dedicated spaces for items related to outdoor hobbies and recreational equipment.

Myers Constructs has been around for a long time. For that reason, you can be assured that we know how to successfully navigate an array of design-to-build projects even during uncertain times, like those we’re currently experiencing. We have a deep bench of highly talented tradespeople that we’ve worked with for decades. So even though the pandemic creates supply chain challenges and complicates scheduling, we know how to manage these problems in order to get your project done efficiently, beautifully — and safely. Tamara and I both have completed our OSHA COVID-19 training as part of our commitment to creating safe environments for our work to continue.

Great News: Home Renovations Resume

We are pleased to announce the news that we’ve all been waiting for: Governor Wolf has cleared the construction industry to resume work starting today, May 1. We are excited to move projects that have been in our design queue into construction — and to take on wonderful new projects for homeowners who have been dreaming about transforming their spaces but waiting to get started.

Of course, our focus will remain on the safety of our clients and our teams going forward. In addition to the typically careful and clean work spaces we maintain, we will follow the stringent new guidelines established by the Governor and the Secretary of Health. They include standards for social distancing, cleanliness, and mask-wearing, limits on the number of people on site at any given time, the appointment of a safety officer, and more. We will also continue to hang signs on our job sites outlining the measures we are taking.

We would love to discuss the changes you’ve been envisioning in your own home and how we can help you achieve your goals for better living through transformed spaces. Click here to get the conversation started. We’re happy to answer any questions you many have, and we look forward to hearing from you!

A Message of Heartfelt Gratitude and Sympathy

Dear Family and Friends of Myers Constructs,

We take great pride in the curated personal service we provide our design-build clients. Our clients know our process includes listening to and reviewing options closely, together. In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we will be monitoring the requirements and recommendations of the CDC, Governor Wolf, and Mayor Kenney, and making adjustments daily and weekly, as needed. We will continue providing our same intimate services, but limiting our communications for now to telephone, email, video sharing, and virtual conferencing.

Reflecting back on some of our favorite projects over the years, we find that the best have always been the ones where we work with clients to make long-term, holistic plans for the improvements that honor the style of their home and the way they hope to live in it. We have been privileged to work on some amazing whole-house projects, additions, and multi-phase renovations that are completed over time, as well as adaptive reuse projects, and even smaller custom commercial projects. Each one brings its own unique challenges and its own satisfying rewards.

In the meantime, we are still working on the scheduling, tracking, logistics of jobs already in progress and on the designing, planning, and specifying of projects that are in the wings ready to pick up once restrictions are lifted. And we are talking to new clients about their future work over email. You can click here to get the conversation started. At this time, we are not scheduling in-person initial meetings until conditions allow for us to do so.

We offer our sympathy to all of the families who have suffered losses during this time and the hardships that this sudden pandemic has brought. We’re deeply grateful for everyone in the medical and emergency fields who are working so hard to keep us safe and move us towards a safer future. And we’re also thankful for our clients, our employees, and our amazing team of trade partners and vendors who have worked so hard these last weeks to keep projects rolling and continue to offer their support.

We invite everyone to reach out to us via email and to check in via Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Stay safe, and we will see you soon!




In the Works: Re-Loving the “Flintstone House”

Our clients affectionately call this home a “Flintstone House,” and that really makes us smile. This charming and well-loved home, which features a schist stone exterior with free-form columns and bluestone front patio — both materials that are native to the Philadelphia area — is located on a quiet street in Chestnut Hill, PA, that is walkable to the quaint and lively center of town. It also has a lot of history, as the homeowners grew up in this house, and they have other family still living on the same street.

While the home has been lovingly maintained over the years, it is currently in need of a new kitchen, pantry, and powder room, as well as some maintenance upgrades — which we were happy to be called in to handle.

In terms of backstory, the current kitchen was installed by our clients’ father decades ago, a project that was clearly handled with a lot of love. Their mother, for instance, sanded and varnished all the pre-existing maple cabinets, and their dad added trim to the old cabinet doors so they looked a little more updated and pretty. He also installed Formica counters and backsplashes that still look pretty good, considering their age. We want to carry forward this same loving, cozy feeling into the brand new spaces we will be creating in this home.

In addition to modernizing the kitchen, we want to direct the layout so that the kitchen maintains views to a nice hidden outdoor patio and garden area, while bringing in more light and making the room feel taller. Adjacent to the kitchen is a room that originally served as the family breakfast room, but more recently became more of a room you pass through. We want to breathe new life into this area to create a welcoming casual eating area that flows right into the kitchen. We will add function by reorienting access to the basement and adding a powder room.

Lots of great ideas on the board — and we love working with our clients to celebrate this Flintstone house and bring it into the next era of its life.

We love projects like these that enhance the passions and integrate the total lifestyle of our homeowners.

Updates From the Art Deco Homefront

Many of you will recall our ongoing project for our client’s lovely 1930s-era Glenside brick Colonial. As we move through various phases of renovating this home, which the client calls his “Art Deco museum,” it continues to be a lot of fun both for us and for him.

In the image above, you can see the home’s newly finished library and a sampling of his vast black, white, and chrome Art Deco picture frame collection — which includes about 170 in all — filled with photos of his favorite actresses from the 1930s-40s, including Ann Sothern, Lauren Bacall, and Myrna Loy.

“I started collecting the frames in the 1990s, not long after I read the book Picture Perfect by Steve Starr, who owned a store in Chicago that specialized in deco frames and other collectibles,” he explains. “I bought quite a few from him and other dealers, mostly at antique shows in New York, Maryland, and other places.”

In addition, he has a vast array of furnishings, radios, lights, and other electrics, and fun figurines from the same era to display.

From a big picture perspective, we helped this client come up with a plan and budget for tackling a series of projects in the house. It includes everything from roofing to gutters, chimney, landscaping drainage problems, refinishing beautiful wood flooring, and unsticking and repairing the great original windows. We are planning the renovation of two of the bathrooms and a future kitchen to Art Deco-style specifications. Our first phase included removal of finishes that didn’t match the original house features, followed by a top notch paint job with a carefully curated group of new paint colors that highlight his collection. Behind the scenes, we updated electric, and then added more finishing details by changing all of the switch and outlet covers and replaced the outdated lighting with Art Deco fixtures the client has collected.

We love projects like these that enhance the passions and integrate the total lifestyle of our homeowners. We hope 2019 is getting off to a great start for you and your home.

P.S. It is not lost on us that the “power ladies” theme represented in this collection is a nice nod to all of the new Congresswomen sworn into office last week. (Rock on, ladies!)

New Year, New Home Resolutions

While you’re likely busy preparing for holiday celebrations, festive entertaining, and winter travel, this is also the perfect time to take a closer look at your home and plan for the repairs, maintenance, and redesign projects that need to be tackled in the coming year.

We don’t know a better way to celebrate the fresh possibilities of a new year than to breathe new life into a space that you use every day. Instant quality-of-life improvement!

We’re grateful for the trust our clients place in us, and we make it our goal to exceed their expectations for reimagining the spaces they share with family and friends all year through.

Call us today to discuss your needs. We’ll be happy to create a 2019 plan for your home.