Tips For Avoiding Common Home Remodel Headaches

Home remodeling is an investment of both time and money with the end goal generally being to create extra space, increase in property value, or to redesign a current room into more usable space. Before making an investment, the following tips should be considered.

Tips For Avoiding Common Home Remodel Headaches:

  1. Once you set a budget, don’t deviate from it. As the remodel process commences, numerous people will be working on your home. Each will have ideas that may seem like a good idea, but each new idea means additional spending. Homeowners can find themselves going thousands of dollars over budget before they realize what has happened. Consider as many options as you need to before you begin work, then stick to your plan.
  2. Be prepared for the unexpected – even with new houses. Many people think because their house is new it’s in perfect condition. What it usually means is no one has lived there long enough to discover any problems. Some problems may include termites in walls, needing to rewire a room, water damage or mold behind walls. While a budget is set for work, a buffer should be set aside for any unavoidable repairs or fixes that need to be made during the process. If an owner is not prepared, stress and tension can result as well as a slow-down in the process.
  3. Don’t ignore permits. While obtaining permits can be a lengthy, drawn-out process, they are necessary – not just for the city to know who is building what, but also to ensure homeowners safety. Some permits have to do with structural integrity, size and to keep property values high. A qualified general contractor can ensure you get the proper permits and make sure the entire process runs smoothly.
  4. Don’t follow trends. While silver may be the new black this year in design, or open cabinets instead of closed, trends don’t last. In five to ten years your house may look completely out of date, devaluing your property when you decide to sell. Instead stay with a classic look that will stand the test of time.
  5. Use quality materials. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ couldn’t be truer when it comes to home building or remodeling. Cheap materials mean you’ll most likely be replacing them in a few years. If you can’t afford a remodel with quality materials, wait until you can. The result will last a lot longer.
  6. Go green. Energy star appliances save money over time, but they also increase the resale value of your home. This is also true for green materials and energy efficient designs.
  7. Keep your improvements in-line with your neighborhood. If you are the biggest house on the block, you won’t get the same property value you would if you were in a neighborhood where larger houses were the norm. Property values are based on the average cost of a home in the area. Putting expensive finishing touches on a home in a neighborhood where houses are furnished minimally won’t give you a return on your investment. Buyers are going to wonder why your home is so overpriced.
  8. Be careful with DIY projects. Many people underestimate the expertise needed for a successful remodel. Projects get started or not finished, or in worse case scenarios unnecessary damage is done that costs more to fix than the entire project. If you want to undertake a remodel project make sure you have the expertise to do it the right way.

Enjoy your home. Whether you are fixing up your home for improved livability or to sell, make sure you have a space you like living in.

Kitchen Remodeling in NYC

Ever owned a New York City Apartment? What was one room that you wish you could have remodeled? Well for a lot of us the room we spend a lot of time in is the kitchen, and in New York City Apartments, kitchen sizes are on the small side!

A couple of years ago I renovated a tiny kitchen, it was literally 5 x 5 square meters, and throughout the project I was completely convinced that the finished product would come in well under budget – it didn’t. When you take in to consideration cabinet construction, fitting, shelving, plumbing, tiling, painting and accessories – even if it is a DIY job, the dollars keep rising (as did my blood pressure at the time).

In New York City we are lucky to be surrounded by an enormous amount of well-designed, functional and relatively inexpensive home furnishing and design products. The only real problem to be figured out is what style will suit your budget and where to begin!

So let’s begin in the kitchen! Making the best use of a small space is tough, but definitely achievable and well worth the initial planning you put into it. Smaller spaces just mean that you need to think a little bit more creatively. Probably one of the main intentions behind redesigning a small space is to mystify the visitor with how big it looks post renovation, while of course improving the functionality of it.

One of the best designer tips for making a kitchen look larger is to think about choice of colour. Keeping walls and ceilings light and bright is always a top tip, especially if you have no windows. To enhance the feeling of floor space, sometimes it is better to replace those funky colored floor tiles with something simple and durable. You can get some pretty tough vinyl products these days if you’re on a tight budget and don’t think you need to necessarily choose white all the time, try other slightly neutral colors like wheat or cream. Sticking to the basics, choosing light cabinetry and opting for a darker bench top will create a flow between the walls, flooring and bench space and create an illusion of space. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules and in some instances if there is enough light created through your flooring, cabinetry and good lighting then a darker background on the walls can also look warm and expansive without feeling cluttered.

A well functioning small sized kitchen should not only make you happier, but a lot more efficient when preparing those special dinners. The essentials to a kitchen are sometimes minimal but without things like adequate bench space and the correct placement of appliances you can become fairly dissatisfied pretty quickly. A general rule in any small kitchen is to keep things simple and functional. Think about buying kitchen appliances, such as the fridge or dishwasher, that are streamlined and will fit well in to limited designated spots, choose open shelving instead of closed cabinetry and if you decide to install cabinetry, ensure it has multi leveled capabilities.

Living in a small space also requires you to become a bit of a neat freak. Keep your bench tops free of papers and other objects that take up space, remember that you are trying to create a space for cooking not writing a term paper!

Remodeling small kitchens can be really fun. Once you have decided on your budget, commit to it and design a space that will meet all your needs.

Remodeling For Better Value – Living Rooms

The main living area is the central core space in your home. It is both public and private – a space that you share with family members and with guests. From the main living room, one should be able to connect easily with dining areas, kitchen, and hallways to bedrooms. The living area should be given top priority in the hierarchy of rooms. Often it is not.

Sometimes the front door opens right into the living room, and the passage deeper into the house cuts right through it. Please! Before you go a step further, stop to imagine how you will furnish and enjoy sitting in a room like this. If you home has this layout, consider some serious surgery to correct this problem. Never allow walkways to cross through the middle of living areas. This creates a division within the space which no amount of furniture placement will help. If you have this floor plan, face up to it, and make the necessary changes before moving on.  

Most buyers today prefer two or more living areas. These may include a main living room, plus a family room or den, a study, and a game room. Keep in mind that the trend today is to avoid wasted space. Rooms that are used primarily for display have very little real use and value. Consider converting an unused formal living room to a study. Sometimes a wall can be opened up to bring a seldom used room into a real relationship with the house. This is much cheaper than adding on more space. Remodeling tip: Make better use of the space that you have.    

The “greatroom” is a popular layout that combines the living-dining-kitchen space. This open style is efficient in its use of space, combining multiple uses. The house seems bigger than it would if divided into small rooms. People are able to work in the kitchen and talk with family members or guests in the living area. If you can open a kitchen wall to allow a connection between spaces, you will be making a change that most buyers prefer. 

If budget allows, a gameroom is a space that serves a multitude of functions. It is a more private living area that is often used for TV watching, computers, pool table, or children’s toys. It is often an upstairs common area that connects to bedrooms. Special media rooms are sometimes added, although the trend today away from little used spaces.  

You cannot talk about living areas without considering the flow through rooms. A natural and logical flow will guide people from the front door into the heart of the home – the main living area. The pathway should not wind through the middle of rooms, or make you skirt around furniture. Visitors should not be confused as to where to go. A logical floor plan is crucial to making visitors feel welcome and comfortable in your home. A great living area draws people into it in a natural way, and provides a center for common activities. Remodeling decisions that place great value on this space add value to the home