When a home is first bought, there’s generally a feeling of great excitement in the air! Typically if a home isn’t being built specifically to the new homeowner’s specifications, there are areas where a homeowner envisions making improvements at some point down the road. Or, rather than being move-in ready with a few improvements that can be done whenever the opportunity is right, the home may be intended as a fixer-upper in the first place. For any significant home remodeling projects that are going to be enjoyed for years to come, it’s important that you utilize the vast expertise of the capable professionals here in Lincoln to help you convert your vision for your home into a finished product that’s exactly what you had in mind. There is great potential in any home, from adding living space or modern decorative touches to repurposing existing space to better fit your needs and so much more—the sky is truly the limit!
The appearance of a home is often a main priority to individuals, both for personal satisfaction and as the first thing that is noticed by visitors, neighbors and passersby. However, as many are fully aware after going through the home buying process, looks are not everything. Structure in a home, often referred to as its “bones,” and everything functioning as it should is also important. Thus, making sure that elements that have been remodeled both work and look nice can be seen as the “golden rule” in residential remodeling.
Upgrades to the kitchen and living room areas are enjoyed by all because they get the most regular use and can have multiple purposes. Many are advised to allocate a majority of their remodeling budget into these areas, and with good reason, because they are high-traffic, focal points of the home that double as both living and entertaining areas.
Next on the list of most popular areas for remodeling is the master suite. According to Chad Lyon of Keystone Homes, “With the goal of a ‘peaceful oasis’ in mind, master suites now include spacious walk-in showers with rain heads, possibly a ‘bubble tub’ or ‘soaker tub’, and spacious walk-in closet with organizing racks and built-ins.”
A popular trend is expanding into an adjoining bedroom to make the master suite larger, with more space allocated to the bedroom, bathroom, adding a walk-in closet, or a combination of all three.
Keystone Homes is a family business serving the greater Lincoln community for more than 20 years. The firm provides a seamless project delivery system for design through construction, which is definitely nice for renovation projects. Based on that experience, Lyon provides a word of caution regarding interior planning and design, as it is a critical part of the process that tends to get neglected, especially if the project seems fairly straightforward. Particularly now with the popularity of open floor plans, it’s important to put thought into the design because there are many different ways that older homes can be altered depending on your preferences and intended use of the resulting space. Open floor plans provides a lot more flexibility along with a nice look and flow if designed properly, so it’s certainly something where the outcome is well worth the investment.
Alternatively, design features that are a little less labor intense might include incorporating different finishes such as quartz countertops or ceramic and glass tile wall splashes with under cabinet LED accent lighting, and even cabinet interior lighting. The most important part is ensuring that all of the design elements are cohesive, which is why a well thought out design is a much better approach than throwing everything together and hoping for the best. Even for the do-it-yourselfers out there, looking for inspiration and then simply asking for advice or opinions from a professional first is better than shooting from the hip.
A lot of times, older houses are broken up into different rooms, whereas newer homes have been moving away from that, specifically designed to be more open. The possibilities for the outcome really depend on the unique features of your home and the space you have available. The location of the rooms and walls will determine most of what you’ll be able to do in terms of creativity. If you have a room you can give up and it’s in ideal proximity, you’re good to go.
This same idea goes for build outs, which are usually the kitchen or master suite area. However, the size of your lot and ability to obtain a building permit from the city based on their guidelines are the limiting factors here.
“Remember that some things are easily changed while some things are there forever,” Lyon emphasizes. “Approach your planning with that in mind. We advise our clients to choose interior finish materials that are not ‘trendy’, but selections that will be timeless. In contrast, painting is the place where you can be adventurous and as your furniture and accessories change, the paint can change with it. Repainting your interior spaces every few years is a good thing and probably the least expensive phase of any renovation. Sometimes an interior ‘transformation’ may be no more than new paint, new furniture, and coordinating accent pieces.”
In addition to the color palette for the walls, the flooring can really transform the look of the room(s) you are remodeling. With faux finishes all the rage right now, just about any look can be achieved with the quality to back it up. Regarding the average renovation request of replacing the floors, Greg Lee of EMO Flooring Company says that the big industry trend is engineered wood flooring. “I believe wood flooring is the most popular trend right now, but LVT and LVP (luxury vinyl tile and luxury vinyl plank) are becoming very popular too. This flooring can look like wood or tile and can be installed with or without grout lines. The floor is very durable and not cool to the touch like tile. In fact, residential and commercial clients are both using these products.”
Also, when faced with replacing worn carpet, many homeowners are moving towards other types of flooring that offer greater durability, meaning less visible appearance of wear and tear that’s common with carpet, particularly in high-traffic areas so you won’t have to shell out the cash for replacement as often. It’s also beneficial for those with pets, suffering with allergies, and so on. However, carpet has made its own advances over the years in order to improve its strength and stain-resistant properties for greater longevity, so it’s still a great option if that’s the look and feel you’re going for. With any flooring, quality is critical to making a good investment, so make sure you aren’t evaluating your options on price alone.
As previously mentioned, design will help you literally see into the future as a good indicator of what the end result will look like when all is said and done. Technology in the residential remodeling industry is ever-growing, just ask Nate’s Custom Renovations. With 3D rendering design services, they have the ability to come in and show the homeowners exactly what any desired modifications would look like. As you might suspect, adding a “real-life” visual component during the planning process makes decisions so much easier. A lot of people are thrilled to take advantage of this technology, not only because it is hard to visualize what the product will look like, but because it is such a major change.
Investing in the design is always a worthy place to put your money. “By investing in design, you will ensure that the project goes that much smoother once you get to production,” emphasizes Nate Bahm of Nate’s Custom Renovations. “With a great design in place, when it comes time to start both the homeowner and the contractor are on the same page; all parties will know scope of work, cost, and timeline. These three are critical— flying by the seat of your pants is not the way to go these days, it is 2016. Instead of being shortsighted, think about the finished product and focus on what you can do to get exactly what you want. By doing this, it will return dividends in the end with a stress-free, exciting and enjoyable experience and the home of your dreams that you’ll be able to enjoy well into the future.”
Going back to finishes and what’s currently trending in the interior design world, Bahm advises that he’s been incorporating ceramic and porcelain tiles that looks like wood a lot lately. It is installed mostly in bathrooms and kitchens and gives you the best of both worlds. As far as countertops, most are going away from granite and more towards quartz material, which offers durability over time and is maintenance friendly.
He also addresses the costs of materials, and advises to take into consideration not just the price tag but the quality. “Many people are going away from shopping solely based on price, which is great to see. While the lower up-front cost can be really attractive, when you sacrifice quality, you’ll end up paying much more in the long run when you consider the actual monetary value and all of the headaches that will come along with it. You get what you pay for has never been truer in any other industry. Along with ensuring that you’re not cutting corners with the quality of the materials, it’s important to partner with an experienced, reputable professional who will make sure everything is in place so that the job gets done right. Make sure to do your research and check reviews. Many contractors will also provide references of past clients so that you can call and ask them for yourself. While a commodity mindset largely prevails to this day, with many operating on the assumption that not much differs from one contractor to another, I can assure you that is not the case. There are many great ones and unfortunately there are the not-so-great ones that give our industry a bad name altogether. So, my biggest piece of advice is to do your due diligence to ensure that you are working with someone who is just as invested in the outcome of your remodeling endeavor as you are.”
As already touched upon, bathroom remodels are quite popular as they are functional areas that are used often. Modern features are commonly requested as luxury and relaxation are at the forefront here. Similar to the requirements of opening up a floor plan or a build-out, there are some rules of thumb and limitations with bathrooms too.
Todd Jones of Nebraska ReBath explains, “Many times our clients request a complete bathroom remodel with the exception of leaving something that’s been with the house since it was built, such as a toilet or sink, that’s seen as a ‘timeless’ piece that has aesthetic value. However, as these are functional items too, certain upgrades need to be added to the pre-existing pieces at specific intervals, and many times replacement is a much better option. Water can be extremely damaging to homes, so anything that has to do with water should be monitored and replaced as needed. It is really important to remember that some upgrades to your home might be costly, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind, and you’ll benefit from a new, fresh look while also achieving better function overall. You will generally get back what you put into your home.”
A trend for older homeowners who plan to age in place or those with limited mobility is remodeling the bathroom with components that are more easily accessible and incorporate safety features, such as a walk-in shower and bathtub with raised seating.
As far as features with electrical components, one of the best upgrades one can add to their homes to enhance the atmosphere is lighting, particularly with accent lighting being very much on-trend right now. “Lighting is one of the best upgrades to consider with any home remodel project,” advises Matt Collins of Oak Electric, Inc. “For example, if you are investing thousands of dollars into updating your kitchen, why not invest a little more to install under cabinet lights to showcase your new kitchen? The same goes with bathrooms; you can install new lighting over the shower or bath area. Furthermore, one should consider directional lighting to enhance art work or photography hanging on their walls. The most popular trend in lighting that we’re seeing currently is replacing old overhead light fixtures with strategically placed can lights. It’s also important to keep in mind that lighting is equally important on the exterior of your home. Outside lighting provides safety after dark, greater functionality by allowing you to utilize your outdoor living and entertaining space at any time, and more curb appeal.”
He also adds a word of caution, “Before you start any remodel project, have a licensed electrician come out and evaluate your home’s electrical panel to ensure it can safely handle any and all upgrades.”
Indeed, first and foremost, as new features are added to the home when it comes time for a residential remodel, it is important that the home’s existing infrastructure will be able to support them. Otherwise you’ll be looking at an investment in that area as well to get the desired results. Your electrician will be a great source to utilize for anything that is related to your electrical system, whether that’s updating some old lighting fixtures or installing new control devices for your home’s systems in place of the outdated ones.
We are also living in a time where homeowners are able to take advantage of impressive technology specifically designed with applications for the home. Not every form of technology, system work, or in-home accessory is as glamorous as the next, but they all generally add something in terms of function, aesthetic value, or both. “Smart homes” are definitely on-trend; in fact, accordingly to wireless industry group GSMA, the smart home market is projected to grow to $44 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2017, which signals that there is major interest and demand from homeowners.
Pat Killeen of Engineered Controls offers some ideas to consider in the area of smart home technology:
“How cool would it be if you had a house you could control from wherever you are? Or if you never had to remember to turn the lights off again, or worry about losing your house keys, or worry if the kids are home alone? For this reason, every home remodel project is the perfect opportunity for homeowners to upgrade their home’s technology to an environmentally friendly Connected or Smart Home.
By partnering with professional security companies like Engineered Controls, we have proved products from industry manufacturers such as Honeywell and others that provide connected homes technology of the future: a connected home where heating, security and entertainment are fully automated and all of the latest gadgets enable creature comforts with the press of a button or a spoken command. These companies have been providing the desired features of smart home systems for years. From award-winning wireless thermostats and zoning systems to control your home heating and cooling comfort system, to security and monitoring technology like wireless occupancy sensors and IP cameras to give homeowners the peace of mind they are looking for. And the beauty of it is Engineered Controls already has integrated smartphone apps for the end-user interface from both Androids and iPhones.
And the best part is that even if you’re not a technology wizard, you can purchase a household’s worth of sensors, cameras and devices for far less than it would have cost just a few years ago.”
Based on all of the ground that we’ve already covered in residential remodeling, when it comes to interior features of your home that could potentially be upgraded, there are so many possibilities it’s all about what’s a priority to those who are living in the home.
As such, when deciding that a remodel project is in order for your home, the exterior features may get passed over in favor of improving the indoor space where the homeowners spend the majority of their time. Yet, most of the perception of a home is generally shaped quickly after just scanning the outside of a home. Past presentation and curb appeal, there’s often additional space that’s not being utilized and has a wealth of untapped potential.
In fact, HGTV recently stated that outdoor living upgrades very commonly have a very high return on investment. Not only will you get most, if not all of your investment back when you sell your home, but you also get a really nice outdoor living area that makes your home nicer, more enjoyable, and more desirable.
Outdoor shade products are very popular recently. “The convenience of motorized retractable awnings makes Nebraska Awning the leading choice for many,” says Bill Budler of Nebraska Outdoor Living Center, Inc. “However, pergolas with optional retractable shade features are the most sought after product in our showrooms.”
The best way to determine what type of outdoor living renovation you want is to spend time with a professional and work with them to help narrow down exactly what you are looking for. “We always spend time with our clients to determine how they plan to use their outdoor living areas,” reveals Budler. “More shade is typically their primary goal so that they can use their patio or deck more often. Extending the inside outside seems to be the hottest trend right now. We help make that outdoor living room the coolest place in their home.”
Your home’s roof is something that will eventually need to be replaced, and when the time comes, it will also enhance the look of your home in addition to its significant functional value in protecting everything (and everyone) that’s inside.
Neil Falk of Roof Tech notes that switching from asphalt roofs to stone cut steel has become a very common upgrade as far as residential roofing systems go. “Many people decide to make this change because it has a longer warranty, provides hail protection, is fireproof, and often reduces your homeowner’s insurance.”
When it comes to the design aesthetic, Falk says that the major trend remains to be matching your roof to the rest of your home. This will really elevate the look of the home as a whole and is a feature that can easily be coordinated no matter the chosen material or system.
An easy way to spruce up a home inside and out, with benefits for both the look and function of a home, are the windows and doors. As such, this makes The Window & Door Store a popular one-stop shop for homeowners. New windows can make your home quieter, more attractive, and less drafty… and they do not ever need to be painted!
New windows are also easier to clean than old windows with the use of Marvin’s patented exclusive wash mode. “This wash mode enables you to wash your windows from the inside,” advises Bryce Bornemeier of The Window & Door Store. “Replacing windows involves many decisions. If you are in the market for new windows, we will help you choose the best ones for your home. As just one example, the Marvin Ultimate Casement Window is an innovative, high-performing casement window, offering expert craftsmanship, a variety of customization options, and superior value. Designed to suit virtually any application, these state-of-the-art windows feature concealed, multi-point locks that are patented with exclusive wash mode, and durable hardware that ensures easy opening and smooth operation, even on larger-sized windows. The Marvin Ultimate Casement features a recessed sash for a traditional look, plus a full jamb that makes it perfectly suited for your window replacement.”
When it comes to the full suite of Marvin products carried by The Window & Door Store, Bornemeier notes that Marvin Contemporary Casement Windows and Marvin Ultimate Multi-Slide Door are a great combination and are currently trending in the industry. Marvin Contemporary Casement Windows offer expansive glass and flush frames to combine for massive views. These can be installed solo or grouped together. Minimal hardware streamlines sightlines and perfectly complements the minimalist and angular design. Contemporary Casements are available at The Window & Door Store in sizes up to 36” x 96”. Marvin Ultimate Multi-Slide Door is another product that allows for a great view. With an unmatched 0.28 U-Factor and narrow stiles and rails, the Ultimate Multi-Slide Door invites fresh air and an abundance of warm and natural light into your home. They are available in pocket and stacked configurations, and up to six panels not directional and ten panels bi-parting in sizes up to 50” x 12”.
Bornemeier also mentions that contemporary windows and doors are very much “in style” for residential remodels, which typically entails big glass, narrow frames, clean lines, and modern complementary hardware that are combined to create open, light-filled spaces that seamlessly connect interior spaces to the beautiful landscapes that surround them.
With all of the options at The Window & Door Store, you can pick the look you prefer without compromising top-notch performance. The Integrity by Marvin product line is durable, strong, stable, low-maintenance, and energy efficient. Bornemeier specifies, “Integrity windows and doors are made with Ultrex fiberglass that outperforms vinyl. While other windows might break down over time, Integrity Windows hold strong and perform in the face of environmental factors and time. Our windows offer design flexibility, easy installation, performance, durability, and smooth operation, with special sizes that can match or complement existing architecture. Select a casement to pair with a round top for an extra splash of sunlight or use them with a picture window for a great view and a cool breeze. Or, choose our more traditional double hung windows to combine with picture windows, polygons, and more to create breathtaking windowscapes. Here at The Window & Door Store, remodeling options are endless, allowing you to be offered the best fit for the future of your home.”
Along the same lines of visual appeal and proper function being of equal importance, a door that often gets used the most yet is commonly overlooked in terms of home remodeling is the garage door. Upgrading your garage door can have many benefits to your home’s exterior and interior value. Many do not realize that the garage door can be a part of a house that stands out a lot more than other items that people typically spend a lot more time and money on. Jacob Hiatt of Raynor Doors of Nebraska explains, “As garage doors are the largest moving object and a prominent feature in a majority of houses, it can add a very aesthetically pleasing view when it comes to upgrading or remodeling. When a homeowner has invested in upgrading other major exterior features, such as siding or windows, but yet they still have an old, worn garage door that does not match, it really does stick out and detract from the curb appeal of the home. Instead of realizing that you’ve fallen short on your home’s final appearance when everything is said and done, make sure to consider how everything works together as a whole in addition to what would provide the best return on your investment. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value report in remodeling magazine that includes all major garage door retailers, the value of your home as a result of a remodel that incorporates a new garage door goes up on an average of 5.3 percent.”
Since there are also a wide variety of options for garage door replacement, many people can be unsure of how they ultimately would want their garage doors to look. Raynor Doors of Nebraska uses a software program that will show you how each garage door you’re interested in would look on your home, which gives you an idea of what it would look like before you’ve pulled the trigger with purchase and installation. By taking the guesswork out of the equation, you can feel a lot more confident in your selections—which is a really nice in an area where you traditionally have to envision what it will look like and then hope for the best with the final result. Visiting Raynor Doors of Nebraska’s showroom is yet another way to get a great look at some different models as they have eight full garage doors to look at, as well as numerous samples.
For garage doors, as with many other trends in residential remodeling, there are numerous upgraded designs, models, and a wider range of colors that have been introduced in the last five years. Hiatt further specifies, “A garage door does not just come in a simple raised panel design anymore. Having a different design than neighboring homes or finding a design that incorporates the details featured throughout the rest of the exterior of the house can really make it stand out. Not to mention you’ll benefit from the higher insulation values that all of these newer models offer as well.”
Speaking of the garage, in terms of the space it occupies, you can also make upgrades that will allow you to utilize it for more than its original intended use, which is obviously parking your car. For many, it can double for entertaining as an extension of the yard and driveway where guests can get out of the elements. So, if entertaining outside is your goal, Great Plains Epoxy is a great source for helping you to transform what’s generally a boring and barren place into a fun and usable space. Epoxy is a thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating that’s used for areas that require a safe, clean, and barefoot friendly, non-slip surface. It is also an aesthetically appealing flooring solution that can easily incorporate design elements (Husker fans: think a Big Red “N” in the center of your garage for when you’re having friends over for the game).
Epoxy is low maintenance and easy to clean with no resealing or grout. It is more affordable than vinyl or tile and increases your home’s re-sale value too, even if you’re not using your garage for anything other than to shelter your vehicle. However, many homeowners are opting for turning their garage into a space to accommodate overflow for larger gatherings. These events might include: graduations, football games, family get-togethers, and entertainment. Marcus Hellwege of Great Plains Epoxy notes, “Homeowners are installing televisions, sound systems, heaters, and dressing up their garage in general now more than ever before. Our new thing is installing decals into the floor, which has really taken off. We also do lava flow for interior rooms, such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms, bar areas, and mud rooms.”
As the average cost of a home remodel ranges from $18,000 to over $100,000, it is no wonder professionals and those who have already remodeled their home recommend hiring experienced professionals for the job. Many times it seems simple enough to translate a Pinterest idea or something you’ve seen on TV into a do-it-yourself job, and then you get started and realize you’re out of your depth. However, that’s not always the case; some people are just much more inclined to carry out these projects successfully than others.
If you are thinking that a job is easy enough for you to do and all that is missing are the machines or equipment needed in order to carry it out, Sunbelt Rentals would be a great source to utilize as opposed to investing in items you’ll only likely use that one time. After all, this is money that you can put into your remodeling project!
Furthermore, a “handyman” company like Handy Mark that has taken on all sorts of different projects, thus offering experience in many different areas, is certainly an option to consider depending on the scope of your project.
Whether the indoors or the outdoors are more important to you as the homeowner and whether you want to remodel your whole home or focus more on a certain area, residential remodeling can be the answer to many of your problems and complaints regarding the place that you spend most of your time; your home. As everyone has different design concept related to their taste and desired functionality, the main ideas of residential remodeling remain very similar and consistent. As we’ve covered, the home’s structure and appearance are two of the most important factors when it comes to design, seeking out help for the remodel job will save you a lot of time and money, incorporating home accessories is an exciting way to keep things fresh and new as the homeowner, and don’t forget about your home’s exterior features. If each of those are considered, the road to your remodel will be taken with much more ease and executed productively.
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