Weare, Nottray & Von Martin
Business Consulting

One-of-a-kind kitchen remodel March 9, 2015

Kitchen Remodeling Chicago – Backsplash Idea

So you’re looking for some remodeling ideas for your next kitchen renovation? Perhaps all you are seeing in the design magazines is the same old ideas just configured differently. What you really want is something personal, something that is so unique that no one else could possible have the same thing. And it is really not a matter of money, is it? If you are considering a kitchen remodel then you know that it will be expensive no matter how much customization you do. Kitchens are, after all, the most expensive space in a house to renovate.

So many of the items that we own are so dear, so personal, that one hates to consider using them in the kitchen. If you have a collection of Lalique, for example, you certainly wouldn’t want to put your vase on your kitchen counter because the kids just might knock that $2800 vase over, even though it would certainly make a statement on your counters. And putting your collection behind glass doors doesn’t add the same impact or elevate your kitchen.

Here is an idea that might just fit your bill. This kitchen remodeling Chicago project has used original, handwritten family recipes instead of tile as a backsplash behind the cooktop. These recipes have been artistically arranged in a collage, applied to the wall, then protectively sealed behind a sheet of tempered glass. Tempered glass is easy to clean, you can see through it, won’t discolor and doesn’t have grout to clean. If it should break (although it’s hard to imagine anyone throwing a pan at such a wonderful addition to a kitchen) tempered glass does not break off into jagged pieces, it stays in one piece which is easily replaceable.

Check out the entire kitchen remodeling project in this video and pay special attention to the backsplash. It truly makes this kitchen unique in all the world.

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Hardwood Floors – a desirable home selling feature December 11, 2014

All About Hardwood Floors

You just have to knock on wood to know that you have really good floors in your house…knock on wood floors, that is. Wood floors are homeowner and home buyer favorites for good reason. They are long lasting and naturally good looking. There is also nothing like wood to warm up a room’s atmosphere and appearance. Real estate agents note that wood flooring is one feature that is common on all home buyer must-have lists.
Wood flooring comes in dozens of species from which you can choose the right look for a new home or to replace flooring in an existing home. The best wood floor for your home could be a domestic species such as maple or oak, or you can choose from exotic imports such as bamboo or hardwoods from Brazil.
You can choose the width of flooring based on your decorating preferences. Narrow widths are typically associated with more traditional interiors, whereas wider width floors are found in more casual and rustic spaces. Random-width flooring permits even more decorating personalization allowing you to dial the exact look and feel you want for your spaces.
The stain color choices offered for wood flooring are endless, from rich, dark shades of walnut and wenge to lighter maple and blonde stains. Although darker stains are typically associated with traditional interiors, you can also pair dark wood tones with more contemporary spaces that have exposed beams and bricks. Similarly, dark tones marry particularly well with stainless steel appliances and other reflective surfaces such as glass.
Thanks to advances in engineered wood flooring, you can now have the luxury of wood flooring where you could never have it before. Modern adhesive technology has enabled wood floor installation over radiant-floor heating – nails and fluid filled pipes have never been a good idea. Engineered floors can even be installed in basements and over concrete slabs thanks to the holding power of specially-formulated glues that work well with their sandwiched-veneer construction.
The costs for wood flooring vary by species, wood grade and the thickness of the planks ranging from $2.00 per square foot upwards of $12 per square foot for exotics. Installation will cost $2 to $4 per foot depending on the location of the installation and how many square feet. Solid ¾” wood floors can last 100 years or more and can be refinished up to 10 times in many cases. Pre-finished solid wood flooring, that is flooring that is finished in the factory before installation, is available with up to a 50 year finish warranty while engineered wood finishes are warranted for ten to thirty years on average.
Laminate flooring is the most economical option for a wood-look. It is made with a photo of wood which is glued to a fiber board base and snaps together to install. The disadvantage of laminate flooring is that it cannot be refinished once it is worn and needs to be replaced.
Knowing how much traffic and moisture your wood floor needs to tolerate will determine your wood flooring options. High traffic areas such as kitchens, foyers and mudrooms call for hard wood species that can handle constant use. Oak, maple and hickory are suitable choices for these rooms. Bedrooms, on the other hand, are lighter use areas and are great candidates for softer wood species.
Below grade rooms and basements have a higher humidity level and require engineered woods that won’t warp as easily. Bathrooms with tubs and showers are not good candidates for wood flooring. Powder rooms, on the other hand, are perfectly suitable for most hardwood flooring and wood can elevate the décor of these small spaces.
Most any kind of hardwood floor can be installed over a plywood subfloor. This includes glue-down, nail-in, click-together engineered floors or even floating cork floors. If you want to install new wood flooring over existing wood flooring, choose a thinner plank with a factory finish that will transition easier to other floors in other rooms of your home without a thick threshold. Over tile or a concrete slab you will want to choose flooring that clicks together or a glue down floor as nails are not an option.
Hardwood flooring is graded by each mill. Naturally, the fewer knots and color variations the more expensive the wood although the grading does vary by wood specie. Select finishes have very few or no defects. Natural finishes have a few defects that add some character. The most character from knots and color variations are found on rustic grades of hardwood.
Hardwood floors can be finished on site or come pre-finished from the factory. On site finishing ensures a smooth, level finish with no variations. It takes a few days to sand, apply stain, and then a few days for the finish to dry before you can walk on them. An oil-based polyurethane finish is the most durable, but takes longer to cure and the pungent odor from the curing process is frequently intolerable for long periods of time. This type of finish holds up best to pets and claw marks. Water-based polyurethane has no odor and requires up to three days to cure.
Pre-finished floors can be installed and walked on the very same day. Each plank, however, has a beveled edge which does give the floor a slight variation in appearance. Factory applied finishes are much harder and more durable that site-applied finishes due to the fact that they are cured under UV lights.
In addition to stain color, hardwood floors can be finished with a matte or shinier finishes. Many species are available with hand-distressing for an aged or weathered look. Even more interesting are hand-scraped floors that have the look of well-worn, reclaimed lumber.
Even tile manufacturers are getting into wood. You can now find porcelain tile that mimics the appearance of wood floors – perfect for spa baths and basement stairs. Don’t underestimate the impact that wood floors can have on your décor and the value of your home. They are one of the most sought-after features that buyers look for when purchasing a home and will outlast most other flooring options. Beautifully.

Hardwood Floor Video

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Online Marketing Myths October 27, 2014

When it comes to promoting your business online, are you confused by some of the platitudes that you hear about what to do and what not to do? Online marketing certainly has a different set of rules than traditional marketing and it is easy to believe everything you hear because for most people, online marketing is undiscovered territory.

In brief, here are five online marketing myths that we can debunk pretty well right here:
1. Content Marketing can be substituted for SEO
This is probably a falsehood promoted by article marketers. The facts are that content marketing is not the only path SEOs use to gain rankings, it is not the best path, and there is usually a long time between posting articles and realizing any ROI for your efforts…that is if you realize any ROI at all.
2. There’s a Difference between White Hat, Grey Hat and Black Hat SEO
The fact is, all SEO is black hat. The more important questions to ask are whether what you are doing is legal or illegal, is it quality or quantity, and is it spammy?
3. Duplicate Content Can Kill You
In some cases this can be true especially if you are copying content from your competitors.Google doesn’t want to show the same result for a keyword search more than once. However there are ways to use duplicate content to your advantage when handled by someone who knows what they are doing.
4. A huge Social Media initiative is required to rank well
Social media presence is industry dependent. It will help with SEO, but not directly. It should be on your list of things to do, but you should just have the basic social accounts set up unless you are in a heavily social niche like pop music, sports, etc.
5. SEO is a dying business
On the contrary, people are using Search Engines more and the fundamental principles are not changing. It is true, however, that after every major algorithm update, a lot of SEOs quit because their techniques no longer work. But SEO will always be needed.

Check this out.

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Identifying Online Scams October 24, 2014

When it comes to online businesses, it is easy to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. And since you can’t call most online businesses, or go visit them to check out if they are legitimate or not, the caveat “buyer beware” is even more true. As with any financial transaction you do, you must do your due diligence to ensure that you are not participating in some kind of scam..unbeknownst to you of course.

And when there is a lot of money involved, as with online trading, it is easy to see how people can get lured into the push-button mentality. Just push a button and you will make money…so the ads go. But if something were really that easy, would businesses be giving it away? Recently, we’ve seen a lot of Binary trading bot scams which seem to be on the up and up at first glance.  There are some that are top quality, and then there are some that are not what they purport to be.  Here are some things to look out for.

A recent Entrepreneur magazine article went into great detail about what makes a great online business. They talked about new online businesses from the launcher’s perspective and detailed 5 ways to tell if the entrepreneur had a winning idea which they called being “on to something”. As a consumer, you can use these five ways to tell if the online solution you are about to buy is legit or not. These five ways include the idea really solves a problem, the owner is in for the long haul, people are anxious to get their hands on the product, the product is simple and doesn’t need add-ons to make it work, and is it the right product at the right time.

If you can answer yes to these questions about whatever online solution you are considering, then you have taken the first steps to discovering if the item or product could be a potential scam.  The Internet is a vast repository of good stuff and bad.  It is up to you to protect your interests by ferreting out the scams from the real deals.

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Marketing for Surgeons October 7, 2014

One of our new clients is a surgical group based in and around Milwaukee.  Their practice encompasses a wide range of surgical specialties including pediatric, cardiac and thoracic, general surgery, neuro surgery, opthamology, head and neck, plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery.  They also have transplant surgeons, urology, vascular, orthopedic, oral, endocrine, endoscopic and laproscopic surgeons as well as colon and rectal surgeons and gynecological surgeons.  It is a huge practice, obviously, and has a great many moving parts.  It is understandable that marketing is not high on the list of priorities for this practice.

But in the twenty-first century, marketing is critical for any business or practice that wants to grow or stay in business.  And when, as in the case of the practice, there is no marketing plan in place, there is no strategy for acquiring new patients.  One can argue that good surgeons don’t need marketing; they should be getting new patients from referrals from other doctors.  This was the case in years past when people did not have the access to reviews and resources that the Internet has provided.  There are very few people that will not take a recommendation and vet it out on a review site for something as reasonably priced as a oil change for a car.  Imagine how much research people do when selecting a surgeon for major surgery.

If your practice is not visible online, then doubt will creep in to a potential patient’s mind.  Why is this doctor so hard to find? Why aren’t there any reviews?  Why can’t I find out how much experience he or she has in this type of surgery?  At the same time, competing doctors have their practices visible on the first page of results, building their brands as they build their businesses.  If online marketing is something that your practice has shied away from because you don’t understand it, you don’t have time for it, or you don’t want to pay for it, you do it at the risk of losing every potential patient that is searching online for a solution to their medical issue…and they can be substantial in number no matter what size your city.



For more information on medical marketing, click here.

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