Top Five Spring Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Though it’s taking longer than we’d like this year in Minnesota, spring will soon be here – which means it’s time to get your home in tip-top shape! A thorough spring cleaning is a tradition that promotes wellness by keeping your environment clean and organized; with that in mind, read on for some of the best DIY spring cleaning tips to deep-clean your house and make it sparkle all year round.

  1. Use white vinegar to beat shower head buildup
    Looking for more natural ways to clean your bathroom? Vinegar can dissolve the mineral deposits accumulate in shower heads over time, causing reduced pressure and water flow. Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar, secure it over the showerhead with a rubber band and leave it overnight to get rid of buildup. Just be sure to run the shower before you hop in, or you risk smelling like vinegar all day.
  2. Use newspaper to clean dirty windows and mirrors
    Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of liquid soap into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the glass and scrub with newspaper for a streak-free window or mirror. The ink acts as a mild abrasive and allows you to make use of old newspapers.
  3. Use a dustpan to help fill a large mop bucket
    Not all mop buckets fit in bathtubs or sinks. If your bucket is too large, try using a dustpan as a spout by placing it flat on your sink to transfer water to the bucket. This handy hack is also helpful for other large containers you want to fill.
  4. Use a butter knife to clean air vents
    Don’t let that dust build up for another minute; use a butter knife to reach those tough get places between and behind your vents. Simply wrap the knife in a rag and wipe between the slats. Then, pen the windows and run your central air to fill your home with fresh spring air (just be sure your heat or AC isn’t on while you’re running the fan).
  5. Wrap a towel over a broom to clean hard-to-reach places
    Cobwebs and dust can collect in room corners and on ceiling fans. Wipe them away by securing a towel over the bristle end of a broom with a large rubber band. The dust and cobwebs stick to the cloth.


Feeling like your home needs an even bigger change than a simple spring cleaning? The experienced team of designers and remodelers at JP&CO can take your home to an entirely new level of design and comfort. Contact us today, and spring into a newly renovated home!


Note: This article uses information adapted from an original article featured on A link to this article may be accessed below.

Kitchen Spotlight - Copper Backsplash

Most homeowners are hesitant to add bold colors or patterns in the kitchen. It’s traditionally a place where everything is fairly neutral to increase the look of cleanliness. However, playing with metals allows you to keep that polished, clean look while doing something different! This copper penny tiled backsplash with a custom design by Rubble Tile does just that!

We used Amerock Hardware on the cabinetry. This copper hardware pairs beautifully with the backsplash. We chose white oak flooring to keep the drama on the metals. A dark wood floor can often steal the show and we wanted something more subdued in this space.

A mahogany stain on the island paired nicely with the lighter wood floors and pulls from the rich, deeper shades in the tile. We went with a Kitchen Aid cooktop and oven because their products are state-of-the-art! With a kitchen this size, you need amble cooking space to match. Lastly, a built-in wine rack in the island added customization and convenience!

We hope you enjoy this kitchen remodel as much as we do!

Showcase Home Before & After

The Spring 2018 Parade of Homes & Remodelers Showcase is right around the corner (March 23-25)! We are exited to share some additional reveal photos of our Empty Nester's Cozy Rambler project as well as some "before" photos. We love how this home turned out!

Window upgrade! These double-hung windows let more light in and freshen up the room.

Here's what the space looked like before the remodel:

Make sure to stop by this weekend to see it in person. See the full list of homes entered in the Tour here!

Showcase Home Reveal R48

A perfect home for Empty Nesters! We are excited to share our Empty Nester's Cozy Rambler in the Spring 2018 Parade of Homes & Remodelers Showcase.

Tour Info:

Home R48

5628 Logan Ave. S, Minneapolis

Open Noon to 6pm, Friday through Sunday

We had a lot of fun with this project creating a space that was not to big and not too small. We were able to do an amazing interior refresh of the existing spaces and add an addition that gave this couple just the right amount of added space so they can have there family over and entertain comfortably. They love to cook so the new addition gave us a great space to work with for the new kitchen and the homeowners wanted to have some fun with the design so we integrated a rich slate blue island that matched a beautiful gas fireplace built-in they can use on chilly Minnesota winter days.

Here are the colors we used in the rambler and why we chose them!

These pictures of the space only show so much.  Please join us March 23-25 from noon to 6PM to tour the home in person.  We will also be sharing more on our rebuild we are working on next door. Our Spring 2018 Remodelers Showcase Home is located at 5628 Logan Ave. South in Minneapolis.

Every window in the home was replaced which allowed us to pull the dated picture window in the front and add these double hung windows for a cottage feel. We also added awning windows so the home has lots of daylight flooding every space along with much needed privacy on this cozy city block.

Full length pantry and a hidden appliance garage are key to keeping this kitchen looking fantastic day-to-day. There is ample storage even thought this kitchen's footprint isn't that large.

The homeowners didn't need a full mudroom but we added a small cabinet for storage off the back door that ties in with the kitchen cabinetry.

See the full list of homes entered in the Tour here!

Kitchen Spotlight - Independent Spaces

We’ve had lots of questions about this Minnetonka Rebuild kitchen, so we figured we’d share some brand details with you all. These Target stools are great for a big family (the large LG fridge doesn’t hurt either!) Some other products we used in this rebuild are a Bosch dishwasher (it's so quiet!), Amerock hardware for the cabinetry, and Hinkley light fixtures.

When designing this space, the most important consideration was creating independent spaces. Whether someone is prepping a meal, looking for a snack, doing homework at the island, using the stove, or doing the dishes, they have an independent space to do so. Especially with a larger family, being able to have multiple people in the kitchen at the same time is necessary!

This is often a main reason that people remodel their kitchens. Maximizing space so that their kitchen gains functionality is crucial.

Consider a dinner party. In this home, guests could comfortable have a conservation in the kitchen, or from the dining room or living room. The days of the host prepping the meal alone in the kitchen are over!

We hope this inspires you to consider an open concept for your first-floor or kitchen. Independent spaces will never go out of style!

Romantic Home Features

Because love is in the air this week, we put together a collection of some of our favorite romantic features in past projects. From kitchens to master suites, every corner of your home can have a romantic feel. Light colors, bright spaces, feminine decor, and dainty detailing all play a crucial role in creating a beautiful atmosphere! Here are our picks for romantic spaces.

This kitchen has a Parisian influence. Intricate details and bright surfaces give this room an airy feel. The off-white cabinetry adds to the romantic, classical look.

The stark contrast between the dark grey walls and the white, minimalist bath tub gives this bathroom a dramatic look.

Set up seating in the master suite to create a cozy, romantic corner. Here, we added in a couple of end tables that are perfect for some weekend reading for a glass of wine after work.

Here, we added a couple of chairs to the master suite by the bed. The large window letting in natural light brightens up this lovely room.

A touch of floral can instantly add romantic flare to a room!

This bedroom draws on Parisian styles. Draping fabrics and vintage-inspired furniture makes this room look fit for Marie Antoinette!

We hope these romantic features inspire you to add some feminine and airy vibes to your home. Happy Valentine's Day!

An image from Remodelers Showcase Magazine

Featured in the Remodelers Showcase Magazine!

We are proud to be featured in this edition of Remodelers Showcase Magazine.

A kitchen with wine bottle on the island

Unveiling our Remodeler Showcase Home

I became a first time home owner of a 1920’s chicago style brick condo on Portland avenue in St. Paul back in 2006. It was a fixer upper, to be sure, and I was excited about the prospect of putting my skills to work to make the place my very own. After several months of remodeling, what was an eyesore was transformed into a modern and chic space that was the envy of every unit in the building. After getting married in the spring of of 2015, my husband, Kande, left his downtown apartment and moved into the condo. The space was perfect for the two of us, and we took full advantage of the opportunity to cook and entertain family, friends and neighbors. Of course as we set our eyes on building a family, we knew that the condo could not accommodate an addition, let alone a child with all the things that come with it. And so began our search for the perfect home! The condo sold much quicker than we anticipated, before even we began our house search in earnest, but we were fortunate to stay with family as we transitioned.

A photo of a kitchen counter
A photo of a kitchen with window in view

Our search turned out to be much more difficult than we had anticipated. We looked at tons of properties. Homes that were move-in ready looked pretty but too often the layouts seemed problematic… kitchen layout wasn’t thought through and would never work for more than one person in the space at a time, and/or the mudrooms were not big enough. My husband really wanted a home that was move-in ready and we put in a few offers but we lost out. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because in the long run we would have outgrown these homes and the dysfunctional layouts would have driven us nuts.

The next set of homes we considered had only minor projects but the quality of the work was concerning to me. What we found is that permits were often never pulled for the work that was completed, which from my professional experience introduces a whole host of issues. Having fixed my share of DIY disasters with the remodeling firm, we were not inclined to go down that road.

New homes remotely close to downtown where Kande works or central for me were out of our price range, and those that were somewhat affordable had a plain track home look and feel with poor space planning.

Having a degree in architecture, I truly feel that the spatial layout of a house is the foundation to a home you will love forever. It affects so much of your daily life, so having a comfortable home where you can enjoy living is always my goal with every home I design.

Like so many, we both have lived in homes that have driven us nuts. As an example, a home with limited or no storage can cause for there to be junk everywhere. A kitchen where you are constantly bumping into the other person can be a nightmare. Or what about having shoes EVERYWHERE because the mudroom isn’t laid out well with the right storage. You don’t need a lot of space to eliminate these home troubles, you simply need good design.

After an exhaustive search, I found the house Rutledge over the summer. I purposely went to look at it myself without Kande because I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to take a whole lot of convincing to sell him on a vision for the house… I knew that if we negotiated the right price, we could do a major renovation with our budget and get nearly a brand new home for far less than the new homes in the area.

The corner of a kitchen with cookbook on stand

What I saw – the grandeur of a 1940’s post-war upscale home. The living and dining room were a generous size, while the cove molding and hardwood floors added character and class to the space. The home had gorgeous original stone work both inside and out. Large oversized windows with beautiful southern exposure provides tons of daylight. The main floor has 2 bedrooms and a full bath, which serves as the guest quarters for out of town family. A perfectly placed office that overlooks the living room where the kids can play under close supervision. A straightforward way to bump out the kitchen to make it just as grand as the living and dining room. With a second floor addition we would have plenty of room to add 2 additional bedrooms, a master suite, a laundry room and a cozy loft space we needed.

What my husband saw – a HUGE fixer upper with a sagging roof, terrible pink carpet, stinky basement….

I certainly had my work cut out for me in convincing him that we could turn this outdated house into our quintessential forever home. And over the next 3 months as the house sat on the market I was able to convince him of the home I could create – “new” home feel for him and a beautiful home with the traditional elements of its past that blend tastefully in with all the new amenities our growing family will need in the future.

We ended up purchasing the home over the winter and starting our project in late spring. We have a great team who takes tremendous pride in what they do, and our home reflects that. Remodeling, given all of its complexities, is challenging, and having a great group of experienced tradesmen is priceless. My husband, who is in corporate finance, has a newfound respect for what I do, I think. There were many times he was in awe of the intricate details and logistics involved with remodeling. He did get his hands dirty doing the majority of the demo work and lots of landscaping, so it truly has been a team effort. We are excited to get back to entertaining and loving our home!

If you can relate to our story and want to explore remodeling your home or work with us to find a property we would love to talk more!

Outside photo of a home with Samantha on stairs.

JP&CO Homes - Front View

5 “Nice to Have” Features to Consider for a New Home

JP&CO Homes - Front View

As a designer, I know how crucial it is to get the basics just right.

The design should be functional, attractive, and fit with your family’s lifestyle. The materials used should be high-quality, long-lasting, and timeless. But what if we go beyond the basics? There are TONS of great add-ons and features you can choose for your new home, but which ones are actually worth the extra money?

I’ve put together a list of five different “nice to have” features to consider for a new home. All of these features appear in our latest home builds in the Twin Cities. Not only are our homes at the top of the industry for performance in energy efficiency (read about it HERE), they are also beautifully designed and made to include several extras that will add comfort and convenience to any family’s life.

Check out these nice to have features!

1. In-floor heat in the master bathroom

JP&CO Homes - Bathroom


If you live in a cold climate like we do, you know how nice in-floor heating can be! But did you know that it can also reduce your environmental footprint and save you money? That’s because using radiant floor systems helps to minimize use of a central air heating system.

BONUS: in-floor heating can help allergy-sufferers because central air systems have the potential to move dirt, dust, and other allergens through the vents.

2. Low maintenance landscaping

JP&CO Homes - Front View of Home



In a place that has four seasons, landscaping can be a busy home owner’s nightmare. In our Edina home, we cut down on lawn area by using tasteful stone accents and building a pergola-covered patio area. An imbedded sprinkler system helps with watering during the summer months and the mature evergreens surrounding the house help ease the burden of raking during the fall.

3. Great storage layouts

JP&CO Homes


If you’ve ever lived in a home with insufficient or poorly-planned storage areas, you know the value of effective storage solutions! We make sure there are storage spaces throughout the home, wherever they are needed. We particularly pay attention to our closet areas and make sure every shelf, drawer, or bin is easily accessible. From spices to sports equipment to skirts, a well-planned home should have great options for storing a variety of objects.

4. Upgraded appliances

JP&CO Homes


We want home owners to fall in love with their appliances. Our latest project features attractive stainless steel appliances with several handy, modern features. The kitchen includes a convection oven, a microwave/oven combo, and a gas cooktop—convenient for cooking or baking multiple dishes at once.

5. Divided light windows

JP&CO Homes



As a designer, I am very particular about windows. Careful placement of high quality windows can boost sunlight throughout the home, save energy (and dollars!), and add sophistication. Divided windows have multiple small panes of glass that are separated by grilles and are known for both their timeless aesthetic and potential to be energy efficient.

It’s the little things that make difference! Pay attention to the “nice to have” features in addition to the basics and find a house that says “home.”

Samantha Grose, Associate AIA, Allied ASID Designer for Optima Homes and JP&CO

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JP&CO Homes

10 Ways to have a HIGH-PERFORMING home

By Samantha Grose, designer for JP&CO

Lovely dining area in new construction in Minnetonka, MN
Lovely dining area in new construction in Minnetonka, MN

You've probably heard the term "high performance" associated with cars. That could mean they have great gas mileage, are designed for speed, have an excellent handling and braking system, or are outfitted with the latest technologies. You've probably seen ads that talk about each aspect of a high-performing car--but what about a house? I doubt you've rarely (if ever!) seen the term "high performance" associated with a house. It's a shame, because a home's performance is incredibly important to its owners in terms of finance, comfort, and peace of mind.

To illustrate what high performance means when talking about a home, I'm going to use our latest constructions in Minnetonka, MN and Edina, MN as examples. These houses were built with our signature Optima Homes process, resulting in two homes that are energy efficient, thoughtfully designed, and comfortable. Here are 10 reasons these new constructions are considered to be high-performing:

1. An incredible HERS rating

With a HERS rating of 44, these houses are amazingly energy efficient! We talked in detail about the HERS index in a past blog post, but the basic idea is that a smaller number is better for energy efficiency. The average existing home has an average rating of 130 and the average new home is at 100.

2. HUGE energy savings

This exceptional HERS score adds up to $2,353 in savings annually compared to existing homes of a similar size.

Framed fireplace in our latest Optima Home new construction
Framed fireplace in our latest Optima Home new construction

3. Heating and cooling efficiency

Especially in parts of the country where the weather is variable, it's important to have a smart HVAC system. These homes pass the test! Plus, you'll save money. The expected annual energy cost is less than $50/month for heating and cooling, even through all of our extreme weather conditions!

4. Quality plumbing fixtures

Nearly all of the plumbing fixtures in our new constructions meet the EPA WaterSense criteria, making them 20% more efficient than average fixtures without sacrificing performance. WaterSense appliances save American consumers billions of gallons of water each year!

Design and style, along with high performance in our new construction in Minnetonka
Design and style, along with high performance

5. Quality materials

We've used quality, long-lasting construction materials throughout the entire home, including solid hardwood floors, LP Smartside cladding, 20-year warrantied windows, Lifetime shingles, and many more quality materials. This makes for a low maintenance home AND less waste for our environment!

6. Lighting

Our latest constructions were designed to take advantage of natural light. We also installed highly efficient LED lighting throughout each home which, when combined with the Energy Star appliances we've installed, cuts the annual electrical costs in HALF from those in the average existing home.

Lighting in Minnetonka new construction
Light fixtures in Minnetonka new construction

7. Smart ventilation

Every one of our homes is equipped with an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) because our homes are air-tight and energy-efficient. The system provides fresh, filtered air throughout the house without sacrificing efficiency.  Here's how they work: in the winter, cold outside air is pulled into the air exchanger. Then, the heat from the interior air is transferred to the fresh air and distributed throughout the home. After the heat is extracted, the stale, polluted interior air is exhausted outside. Existing homes have uncontrolled ventilation which can be very leaky, causing uncomfortable living spaces, high energy bills, and dangerous drafts that pull moisture out of the home and into the exterior walls. That moisture allows mold to grow and causes people to rely on humidifiers, which only adds to the problem!

8. Factory precision

These homes were factory built!  The quality of the wood needed to build in the factory is superior to a hand-framed house. Nearly all the waste associated with traditional, by-hand construction is eliminated through pre-engineering and recycling cut lumber.

Loft space in our new Optima Homes construction in Minnetonka
Loft space in our new construction

9. Elimination of natural hazards

In these homes, mold-resistant building products were used throughout the foundation and exterior walls. We also installed a sealed foundation radon venting system that ensures that radon and soil gasses cannot enter. No Mold. No Radon. Period.

10. Superior windows

High-quality windows with low U-values complete the highly efficient envelope of our Optima homes. Our homes have some of the best warranties in the industry--up to 20 years, depending on the brand! There's a reason the warranties are so good: we select windows of such superior quality that they'll likely keep their integrity for 20 years, and beyond.


There are many elements to a high-performing home. We've listed 10 of them, but the list is much longer than that. Do you know what to look for in your next home? Are you interested in learning more about high-performing homes? Please don't hesitate to contact us today.