Anyone who has lived in their home for several years probably sees thingsinside of it that aren’t even there. Things like home offices. A sun room.An extra bedroom. Maybe you can look from the family room to the entry of the kitchen and envision the wall being knocked out, turning the entire area into a great room that allows you to cook and help the kids with theirhomework at the same time. Or maybe you can close your eyes and imagine your tiny master bath transformed into a luxurious spa-like retreat.
If these ideas sound remotely like the thoughts that have been running through your head, it’s time to remodel. And plenty of people are doing it. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Americans are spending more than $100 billion on remodeling each year. Rather than abandoning their longtime homes for newer versions, more homeowners are opting to make everything old new again.
Even when a family outgrows a home, moving isn’t always the best option. In order CREATE AN ESCAPE: Turn an ordinary bath into a daily escape by installing a sunken tub with a waterfall faucet.
to keep the floor plan they love so much, the garden they’ve tended for the last 20 years, or the kids’ favorite climbing trees in the front yard, homeowners are doing whatever it takes to keep their houses updated and fresh. They don’t want to move. They like their neighbors. Their kids know every shortcut to school. Moving to a new home would mean hiring a moving service, packing, and enduring longer commutes to work.
“People remodel because they really like their house,” says Chris Miles, president of the Dallas chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI. “When you remodel, of course you’re putting money into it. But if you move, you’re also spending money. And chances are, your house isn’t going to be everything you want it to be. Sometimes, the best option is to just stay where you are and turn your house into exactly what you want.”
One reason homeowners are remodeling is that they find that even the newest homes and floor plans still don’t offer everything they want. Sharon Flatley, owner of Sharon Flatley Interiors, says 90 percent of her business is remodeling, and most of her clients request additions and changes that fit their specific lifestyles to make living easier. Mud rooms off the garage for kids to toss dirty clothes and gear after playing and clever use of storage are popular requests.
Even though the majority of remodeling jobs are done so homeowners can keep their houses, remodeling is also a choice for those who need to sell their homes. It isn’t unheard of, Miles says, to spend hundreds of dollars on remodeling and get thousands back on your investment. Drive-up appeal, new carpeting, nice kitchen cabinetry and counter-tops, and new appliances all make a good first impression to a buyer.
Joe Rahal, owner of The Remodeling Group in Piano, says the key areas to update in any home Lire the kitchen and bath. Sure, plenty of homes have potential in these rooms, but a buyer won’t see them like the homeowner does. To get more money out of the home, update it before it’s shown.
’’Buyers can’t see beyond what’s there,” Rahal says. “They get turned off by the out-of-date wallpaper, the avocado green coun-tertops, and the worn carpet. They concentrate on the negative. People like a house where they can walk in and say, ’I could move in here today.”
Jonathan Wheat, a registered interior designer at Gabberts Furniture and Design Studio in Dallas, remodels others’ homes for a living, but he’s also remodeling his own home in Piano to help sell it. He’s added small details with a big impact to give die home more show appeal, knowing from experience that he’ll see a big return. The 15-year-old home now has new wallpaper, light fixtures, and kitchen countertops with a ceramic tile backsplash. Wheat also updated die flooring by installing ceramic tile in all walk areas and carpeting in the formal living and dining areas and bedrooms. The carpet and ceramic tile are die same tone, so the relatively small house actually appears larger inside.
Whether you’re remodeling to keep or sell your home, experts recommend homeowners avoid the temptation of choosing the cheapest bid from contractors. More than likely, problems will arise.
“In our industry, unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors who promise things they can’t follow through on. and many jobs go uncompleted,” Rahal says. “If you go with cheaper goods or services, you may get something that lasts six months to a year. It won’t look good and it won’t last, so you really haven’t made a good investment. You end up paying for it one way or another. With remodeling, you need to do it right the first time.”
Trends in Remodeling
Remodeling isn’t just knocking wails down and adding rooms. It’s any change to a home that makes you feel like you have something new and special. Not surprisingly, most remodeling trends in Dallas fall into the category of luxury. To avoid having to move, Dallas homeowners like to fill every square inch of their home with luxury and convenience. George Lewis, president of George Lewis Custom Homes, says his favorite remodeling projects aren’t putting on a new roof or adding new siding. He likes the remodeling jobs that make life fun.
“I have a lot of customers in Dallas who remodel by adding surround sound to their homes, converting an ordinary bath into a luxurious master bath, or putting in a home office,” Lewis says. “Remodeling is fun when it adds luxury to your life.”
Preparing For A Remodeling Job
Unfortunately, the excitement of remodeling your home can be diminished after only a few weeks into it. An endless parade of workers trampling through your
I home, more dust than you could possibly imagine, noise, and angry neighbors can get I old, fast. Chris Miles, president of the Dallas chapter of NARI, says homeowners should expect their lives to be somewhat disrupted during the remodeling process.
“Before you remodel, decide what you can live with,” Miles says. “If we’re remodeling your kitchen, you may want to consider setting up a little kitchenette in your bathroom for a few weeks. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then plan to eat out or hold off on remodeling until you’re ready. Also, be prepared for dust. No matter how much I try to I explain the amount of dust that collects, my clients are never prepared for it.”
The following is a list of things to be prepared for when your house is being remodeled:
■ Eat out – a lo
■ Noise from tools, radios, etc.
■ Make arrangements for pe
■ Notify neighbors about the proje
■ Notify contractors about your being out of town during the proje
■ Access to home for worke
■ Child-proofing the area
■ Protect your plants/yard for outdoor projects
■ Parking for worke
■ Bathroom access: They use yours or bring their own and set it up in your yar
The Kitchen: The Most Popular Room to Remodel
The focus on the family is back, Spending time with each other and eating meals together is becoming a priority again, and the kitchen has become the designated place for this. The kitchen is a home’s nucleus where families not only gather to eat, but also where the kids do homework and where parents set up their home offices. Unfortunately, most kitchens aren’t equipped for these activities, making them prime candidates for remodeling.
“The kitchen is still the heart of the home, and that will continue,” says Sharon Flatley, owner of Sharon Flatley Interiors. Families want them to be bigger and more open to accommodate family interaction.”
Another change in kitchens is the type of materials used. Rex DeWald, president of Redstone Kitchens, says the cost of remodeling a kitchen has gone up about 50 percent in the past few years, and it’s not because the price of materials has increased. It’s homeowners’ tastes that have changed. Getting by on average appliances and materials isn’t good enough anymore. Homeowners want granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and natural stone flooring.
A big alteration in kitchens is cabinetry. Clean-lined, sleek cabinetry-especially Shaker and imported styles-are favorite choices. Wood cabinetry with special finishes and glazes is popular, as is cabinetry that is built to look free-standing so it resembles real furniture. DeWald says the key to remodeling kitchens is to make them look like they belong with the rest of the home. With more kitchens opening up to family rooms and dining areas, it’s important they flow nicely into the adjoining room.
“Kitchens are what sell houses,” DeWald says. “This is where people spend their time. Everybody comes home at the end of the day and goes straight to the kitchen. It only makes sense that it’s the No. I room to remodel.”
Furnishing Your Home
Once you’ve remodeled your home, it’s time to refurnish it. Maybe you painted the dark, drab paneling white to freshen up the living room. Or maybe you exchanged your worn, golden shag carpet for gleaming hardwood flooring. Whatever the change, updated rooms needs updated furniture. Fortunately updated doesn’t call for formal anymore. The latest trend in home furnishings is comfort. Oversized chairs big enough for two, soft chenille sofas that beg to be napped on, and charming antiques are all big news in furniture.
“Dallas is really moving toward a more casual look in furniture,” says Matolyn Marschall, assistant manager of the Preston Road location of Storehouse Furniture in Dallas. “Everyone wants an inviting look.”
One reason people are gravitating toward comfort is the fact that more people are working at home all day. Bringing work into the home calls for areas of relaxation now that home is no longer an escape from work. Marschall says home office furniture is one of the store’s biggest sellers, especially armoires that hide computer equipment. Fortunately, today’s casual furniture mixes well with antiques-another popular furniture choice in Dallas, especially with so many home owners choosing period homes. Inessa Stewart, owner of Inessa Stewart Antiques, says any homeowner who remodels an older, historic home will only benefit from using antiques because they add authenticity. She suggests homeowners look beyond using only antique furnishings and incorporate antique architecture such as doors, balconies, and gates.
Remodeling is also the perfect time to raise ceilings or create wall niches to accommodate beloved antique pieces that may have been too tall or large before. She recommends homeowners bring their remodeling plans to their antique dealer before making any changes to learn which antiques will work best with their style of home and floor plan.
Dallas’ Favorite Remodeling Trends:
Granite countertops (preferably ergonomie)
■ Natural stone flooring
■ Recess lighting
■ Center islands
■ Stainless steel appliances
■ Marble backsplash
■ Marble slab Whirlpool tubs
Marble countertops and flooring
Natural stone countertops and flooring
■ Heated flooring
■ Vessel sinks
■ Updated lighting
Glass block showers with multiple massaging shower heads Plenty of space for full-size furniture Built in refrigerators, wine storage, cof fee and juice bars
Replace sliding glass doors with French doors
Brightly painted walls
Smart Homes (wired for Internet access, fax machines, multiple phone lines)
Outdoor kitchen areas with built-in grills and sinks
Natural light through an abundance of large, striking windows and skylights
Remodeling on a Budget
Yes, it’s possible to remodel without spending a lot of cash. The following is a list of small, inexpensive changes to a home that can make a big difference. Most can be done with $ 1,500 or less.
■Add decorative ceiling molding
■Paint interior and exterior of home
■Paint dark paneling
■Use contrasting paint colors on the baseboards and wal
■Hang new wallpaper
■Install a new front door
■Hang new house numbers
■Add a new kickplate and doorknob or knocker to front do
■Do some landscaping to the front yard
■Update the hardware on kitchen or bath drawers and cabine
■Install a new sink and faucet
■Change the backsplash on kitchen counterto
■Install updated ceiling fans or light fixtur
■Get all windows professionally cleaned
■Add a skylight to a dark room.