2017 STAR Awards

What a great night at the 2017 STAR Awards last night! Similar to the Academy Awards, the STAR awards presents winning local professionals with Gold in various categories. The competition is tough. Wood Wise walked away with three gold winners: Best Porch, Best Room Renovation, and Best Whole House Renovation. We’re excited! Thanks to all our great homeowners for trusting Wood Wise with their home renovations.

Wood Wise owner Hank Wall and designer Kathy Walker enjoying the well-deserved recognition.













Smart Living

Like many Raleigh homes this home had a rarely used front office/living room which became part of the enlarged living room. Walls to the oversized foyer were taken down so the entire lower level left side is new and open. Custom cabinetry accommodates the big TV and this room offers ample seating for a family with three boys.



Expanding Horizons

A bad kitchen makes life difficult. The traffic patterns were awkward and kid’s backpacks and shoes were strewn along the long hallway with no convenient storage place. The small island was inadequate for cooking and storage. This project added 8 feet across the rear, both to increase the kitchen’s size and also to bring in natural light with a skylight.

Now the kitchen has a generous pantry, large island, nice lighting, smart floor plan and great storage. Shoes and backpacks are out of sight and all together. Improved lighting with dimmers plus a new skylight make cooking, dining and all the family activities more enjoyable.

Outdoor Living in Style

Well thought-out details make the difference on this recently finished Wood Wise porch. The homeowners collected ideas for years before turning to Wood Wise to bring it all together in a winning design. The paneled stained ceiling, stone wall, and new stationary and working French doors are just some of the elements that give this screened porch a feeling of royalty.

Dream Closet

Storage is always near the top of the wish list for our homeowners. Having a nice closet with designated places for specific items makes organizing easy. This closet features drawers, cabinets, and shelves that keep clothing, shoes, and jewelry neat and orderly, which makes coordinating outfits for the day a breeze.

Choosing Your Kitchen Floor: Tile or Hardwood?


When updating your kitchen, the question of what flooring to use comes up. Most people want hardwoods in the rest of the house but the kitchen poses a dilemma. Hardwood or tile? Here are some characteristics of both materials to consider:

Tile: Hardwood:

  • • Durable
  • • Easy to clean
  • • Light color options


  • • Hard on legs/feet
  • • Cold in winter
  • • Subject to cracking


  • • Not recommended despite the lower cost

  • • Elegant and authentic
  • • Warm in sock feet
  • • Comfortable for standing
  • • Polyurethane finish is water-resistant


  • • Water leaks can damage floors. (Spills shoulld be cleaned up quickly)
  • • Subject to dents from dropped skillets, etc.

Many Wood Wise clients choose hardwoods for their kitchens because of the beautiful look and warmth. With non-slip area rugs in strategic places such as in front of the sink, the daily wear and tear to the floor is kept to a minimum.

If you like both wood and tile, there is porcelain tile that looks like natural wood. It comes in all kinds of colors and finishes (check out Byrd Tile’s selections at: http://byrdtile.com/2016/08/wood-look-porcelain-tile/). It is so real looking that the first time our design team saw it, we had to actually reach down and touch it to make sure. Porcelain wood-look tile can also be a great look in bathrooms and laundry rooms where water can be a bigger issue.

Hot Off the Press

We love working with our homeowners to improve their homes. Three beautiful kitchens and a spa-worthy bathroom are among our latest projects. Check them out in these photos taken by Stuart Jones Photography. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Taking down walls and opening up to the living and dining rooms make this kitchen the star of the home.

The shaker-style cabinets in this inside-the-beltline kitchen are by KraftMaid while the hood is custom-made of reclaimed wood.

Beautiful cherry cabinets by KraftMaid are the centerpiece in this mid-century modern home kitchen remodel. Original terrazzo floors are a great contrast to the honey spice finish.

A weekend in a plush mountain resort was the inspiration for this bathroom. The cabinet tower has convenient storage for the hair dryer, phone charger, and more.

The homeowners love the warm colors and the natural materials for this shower.

Grouting for Good

Wood Wise uses Byrd Tile http://byrdtile.com/. Here is what they say about improvements in today’s grout:

“Grout is basically made up of portland cement with color pigments added. Due to the porous nature of cement, grout was, until recently, very prone to staining. Recent enhancements in the production of grout and its raw materials have made grout a much denser product. The addition of latex additives in the mixing of the product will also increase the density of the grout. There are also a large variety of penetrating sealers that can be applied to the grout as soon as 72 hours after installation. Though the initial cost for epoxy and urethane grout is more, these products provide a stain-proof and color-consistent grout joint.”

Wood Wise uses grout with a sealer built in since it increases stain resistance. There are several companies who make it such as Bostic “Vivid” and Tec Powergrout. Our clients have been pleased with the results.

House People by Hank Wall

Some people are house people. They notice all aspects of their home. The better their house looks, the better they feel.

House people admire, critique and appreciate home design. House people travel through life noticing the good, the bad and the asymmetrical. They feel sad for the design-deficient people in their lives and secretly envy everyone with a really big home enhancement budget.

House people go on home tours. They buy “Best Kitchens” magazines on impulse at the grocery checkout.  Home shows draw them in like free Ben & Jerry’s.

House people rearrange their stuff in pursuit of a fresh look. For them, furniture placement is less fixed, paint colors less permanent and artwork moves around wall to wall in their dwellings.

Problems may arise when two house people fall in love. While this may seem compatibility-positive (two home-design lovers planning and decorating together) it may be too many cooks in the kitchen. Relationships are tested during home remodeling but the thrill of enjoying life with updated design brings house people together.

For house people, spending time in design deprived places creates anxiety, even depression. They wither like unwatered house plants in tasteless or drab environments. They thrive in beautiful surroundings. For them, remodeling and decorating are special rewards, the fun part of life. Regular updating is essential, like Vitamin K. House people dream and plan and save for improvements. 

Are you a house person?

Sailing Through Showroom Selections

When you enter the world of remodeling, you find it is filled with decisions. You must decide on the budget, extent of work to be done, and much more. The most important decision is which remodeling firm to entrust with your renovation. That one decision can determine how easy or how hard the rest of the many decisions will be.

When it comes time to make selections (cabinets, countertops, tile, hardware, paint colors, etc.), many remodelers hand you a long list of decisions to make with a firm date to finalize. No guidance. No help. Just a list, a deadline, and a push out the door to a showroom to wander around on your own.

Homeowners who choose Wood Wise for their remodeling all have designer Kathy Walker accompany them to the various showrooms to help with all the selections. With 10 years of experience designing renovations, Kathy has developed a logical, organized approach. She gently guides clients through the selections process, step-by-step in a specific order. Kathy makes it easy.

There are multiple building-related showrooms in the area but through the years, Kathy has landed on those that provide top quality products, variety, and, equally important, great customer service.


Kathy’s favorite showrooms:


Kathy coordinates appointments with each showroom and our Wood Wise clients.