The Short List: Stephen McNiel’s and Kenneth Charanza’s Tips for Improving an Outdoor Space

by Doug Pitorak


Stephen McNiel is president of Creative Property Restoration Inc.

Every week, we ask real estate professionals for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we spoke with Stephen McNiel, founder of Creative Property Restoration, Inc., and Kenneth Charanza, president of Charanza Contracting Inc. Stephen and Kenneth are members of the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association.

Stephen’s Tips:

6. Lighten up. Good lighting makes outdoor living spaces safer and extends the use of a deck or lawn into the evening. LEDs are transforming the lighting industry.

5. Just add water. Water features are also popular, and they create a beautiful ambiance when you are sitting outside. Especially in the Inner Loop, a water feature can become the focal point of a small space.

Kenneth’s Tips:

4. Stay in the shade. In Houston, shade structures, or even ceiling fans are essential. People can utilize outdoor space year-round, but if you don’t have any cover, you’re stuck with scorching Houston heat.


Kenneth Charanza is president of Charanza Contracting Inc.

3. Gather round the fire. People are adding outdoor seating areas around a fire. Gas logs are also a popular option. They can be turned on with a switch and require less maintenance.

Stephen and Kenneth Share these Recommendations:

2. Fire up the grill. Many homeowners are adding refrigerators, sinks, pizza ovens, counter space and even bars. Commercial-grade grills, stainless steel cabinets and granite countertops are high on homeowners’ wish lists.

1. Make it more entertaining. Entertainment systems added to outdoor living space can include big screen televisions and sound systems that range from small and budget-friendly to extraordinary and pricey.

Stephen McNiel is the President of Creative Property Restoration (C.P.R.), an award winning Design/ Build & Remodeling Company located in Houston, Texas. Stephen started C.P.R. in 1991 as a 1-man operation focused on buying, restoring, and selling houses when he was a Real Estate agent. He has since grown the company into a full service Design/ Build remodeling firm serving the greater Houston area. Stephen has achieved two certifications through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Certified Graduate Remodelor (CGR), and a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). Stephen has achieved one certification through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry NARI, Certified Remodeler (CR). Stephen was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and he is married to Renee, and they have two children.

Kenneth Charanza is President of Charanza Contracting, an award winning residential construction firm of 27 years. He is a NAHB Graduate Master Builder and a Certified Graduate Remodeler. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and performs custom remodeling and new home construction.


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