Maximize Your Home Remodel

Posted on July 8, 2014

Renovating and remodeling your home can be a stressful and expensive endeavor.  Many families realize their home is not fulfilling all of their needs and they must make changes.  There are definitely going to be financial stresses, but most families lose sleep over all of the decisions that must be made and lived with for decades to come.  These decisions are abundant and encompass both small and big details with both big and small ramifications.  One key is remodeling your home to fit current trends but not creating a home where it looks outdated in just a few years.  The upfront cost of remodels can be quite expensive, but if done right can add much more in value to your home, thus making it a great investment and use of your money.  Proper research and expert help can make this process as easy as possible and give a homeowner a finished product their family can enjoy for decades to come.

house of tools graphicMost remodels focus on the areas of the home where the family spends the most time.  This is usually the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and backyards.  Kitchens and bathrooms can not only be the most costly, but also involve the most decisions from the homeowner.  Knowing your families tastes and needs as well as market trends is very important in making the best decisions.  Unless a family has a very large budget and can remodel a whole house at one time, most families need to sit down and really decide what areas of the home are most important to them and where and how much money they can realistically spend as well as thinking about the time and hassle a remodel will cause the family while it is going on.  Understanding your neighborhood and surrounding areas is also important as you do not want to over renovate your home as this will not increase the value of your home.

Kitchens are typically where a family spends most of its time and the place where many families feel they need improvements.  Local architect Sarah Nettleton has some insight as to what families are now looking for in their kitchen, “Kitchens are the No. 1 remodeling project because it’s the part of the house that feels the most dated and typically done in the style of the era the home was built. What people want today goes back to the farmhouse idea of the kitchen as the heart of the home — with cooking on one side and a big table for seating on the other side. Now it’s updated with a center island, easy pullout drawers and walk-in pantries. Today’s kitchen fits more seamlessly aesthetically with the rest of the house.”  With life moving so fast today and each member of a family with much to do, the kitchen is the one place a family can all come together after a long day.  In addition to a great, open family space, the kitchen is also where most congregate when throwing a party.  Local architect Geoffrey Warner says, “The party always happens in the kitchen, and people want it open to the rest of the house. Big center islands give you enough room to spread out, cook and work on a laptop. We use a lot of stock Ikea cabinets — they’re cost-effective, and people like the clean look. Granite is still popular because it’s cheaper now. But a lot of people are attracted to salvaged marble — it’s softer and can stain, but they like the tactile qualities.”

Bathrooms are used several times throughout the day and having something that works best for the individual can make their lives more peaceful and efficient.  Many older homes have bathrooms that are smaller and provide less lighting and windows.  Most remodels involve expanding the bathroom into adjoining closets or other spaces to allow for all the space and amenities that one wants.  The selection and variety of all bathroom fixtures has greatly expanded, providing the homeowner many options to best suit their needs.  Warner says, “People now know what a dual-flush toilet is. There’s so much more to pick from and better design quality in water-saving features. Bathrooms are more open, with natural light and often have views of nature from a tub or sink.”

Improving the curb appeal of your home can be a cost-effective way to add value to your home.  This also makes your home more appealing to you and provides you with a sense of accomplishment every time you either drive or walk up to your property.  Improving landscaping, creating more seating areas, and adding dimensions to your home will make it more inviting and provide your family more areas to utilize.  The backyard is similar to the front in that you want to create an inviting area with plenty of vegetation and seating.  Break the yard into separate sections where different activities and conversations can easily be had.

A lot of recent renovations involve families who are both cost conscious as well as environmentally conscious.  Warner states, “Clients are much more aware of sustainability, greener ways to use resources and overall energy efficiency. The energy code will get stricter, and that will affect design. Solar panels may be mandated at some point. People are more open about using metal and fiber-cement siding, which has been exploding over the last 10 years. Taking down walls in older homes and creating open floor plans are a big trend.”  All of these points are very important and understanding trends are also important.  However, trends come and go, and the most important thing is that a family understand their needs and focus on those with a design that is basic enough for most families to utilize.  Local architect John Vetter explains, “Try to repurpose existing spaces, and open them up to more light. Examine your family dynamic, from raising children to empty nesters, to rework spaces to fit your lifestyle. Don’t get caught up with what the market says you need.”  There are many decisions that go into a remodel of a home.  Just make sure your family is prepared and knowledgeable enough to make the best decision for now and in the future.