Inexpensive House Remodeling Tips

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.04.34 AMYour house is not just the place where you live; it is a place where your emotions and sentiments are attached.  A home is where we raise families, entertain our friends and find peace and quiet from the outside world.  A home is where we can feel comfort.  So, it should make sense that we want to create a home that is beautiful and comfortable.  A home is your space to make unique to your own tastes, needs and values.  Many times we are not able to afford expensive items for our house. But, there are certain remodeling tips that are cost effective and can still make your house beautiful and fit to your needs and style.

Choice of paint color plays a big role.

Whether you are looking for Seattle remodels and home additions or Bellevue bathroom remodel, the choice of paint color can make a huge difference. In fact, choosing the right color paint is one of the most important aspects of house remodeling. It is the first thing that catches your attention when you enter the house; it is also the first thing that your guests notice too. The choice of colors should reflect on not just your feelings but also on your personality traits. The colors you choose for each room in your home should play off one another and create a unified flow throughout the house.

So how do you decide which color to choose for your house? You don’t need to have the same color for all the rooms and areas of your house, in fact that would be quite boring, but the colors should complement and tie together to create a space that feels effortless and complete.  What colors you choose depends upon your personal style. If you have difficulty choosing colors, seek the advice of a professional.  Many home builders employ interior designers who can help guide you or help choose colors for your home that will give your space the look and feel you want.  Also, paint textures and patterns can give more interest and dimension to a room, so consider this too.

Don’t forget lighting.

Another very important aspect of house designing or house remodeling is the lighting arrangement. No matter how good the colors you choose, you need to have the proper lighting to make sure that the shades are augmented properly.  When planning your home remodeling budget, don’t cut costs on lighting.

Lighting in a home makes a big impact.  Its the deciding factor whether your house looks beautiful or just ordinary. You don’t need to spend a great deal of money on lighting. Lighting arrangements done strategically can do the trick for your house. For instance, if you are tight on budget, you can buy ordinary lamps and put them strategically to get good lighting effects. If you can spend some money on chandeliers, it can completely change the look and feel of your house.

Seek professional advice.

Unless you are an adept do-it-yourselfer or home builder, get the help of  professionals.  Home remodeling projects, whether your are remodeling an entire house or just a kitchen or bathroom, can become a very large and complicated endeavor.  Its not uncommon for other issues to spring up once you start to uncover areas of your home.  Be prepared for this.  A good contractor or home remodeler will know how to deal with the issues that crop up and keep you informed along the way.  The right house remodeling expert can also bring ideas and expertise to your project that can make your dream home a reality.

5 Unique Ideas For Your Home Remodel

Under stairs home officePlanning your home remodel is an exciting process.  Whether you are planning a Seattle kitchen remodel, bathroom or an entire house remodel, here are 5 unique ideas help you transform your home into an inspiring space.

 Making use of under the stairs space
Many Seattle remodels involve creative ways to find more space.  Making use of the area underneath the stairs is a great space-saving storage trick.  These days, remodelers have gotten very creative with this space.  Under the stairs isn’t just used for storing coats and boots.  Here are some other cleaver ideas for how to use the space under your home’s stairs:

  • A perfect place for a mini library
  • An artistic place to display an art collection or treasures from your exotic travels
  • A cozy reading nook
  • Wine storage
  • A mini bar
  • Dog bed
  • A home office
  • Drawers that can store toys or linens

Transform a garden shed
Transforming an old garden shed into a backyard retreat is a wonderful addition to any home.  Ideas are endless when it comes to transforming a garden shed into a creative and useful space.  A whimsical artist space or writer’s retreat.  A cozy guest room.  A playhouse for the kids.  A private and romantic summer get-away.  Inspiration can help homeowners transform their old backyard sheds into amazing spaces.

Two-sided fireplace
Add warmth, charm and ambience to two rooms with one fireplace.  Seamlessly connect your interior sitting area to the exterior patio and bar with a two-sided, retractable glass door fireplace.  Or, create a luxurious retreat with a two-sided fireplace between the master bedroom and bath.  However you choose to use a two-sided fireplace in your home remodel, you will definitely create a dramatic focal point in your home.

Create stations
Designing areas of your home that cater to a specific activity bring a unique appeal to any home.  These areas not only serve a functional purpose, but they quickly become the reasons why you love your house.

  • Home office.  When you’re integrating an office into another room such as the kitchen or living room, the first rule is not to let the work space stick out―aesthetically or physically. Keep to the room’s color and decoration schemes, and make sure the furniture doesn’t impede traffic flow. Make use of what’s already there (shelving, cupboards), and introduce elements (lamps, chairs) that can serve other purposes when the work is done.
  • Baking station.  If there’s an avid baker in the family, creating a special counter space in the kitchen to hold the baking essentials such as a mixer, bowls and utensils is a great idea.  Having a special area in the kitchen dedicated to baking and storage for all the accoutrements will make baking projects enjoyable and clean up easier.
  • Homework station.  Create a bright and lively space that’ll get your kid’s creative juices flowing! Putting a desk in a space just outside the kitchen provides a bit of privacy for independent workers but keeps them close just in case they need homework help. Easy access to snacks is also a plus.
  • The bar.  Entertaining in your home is a breeze with a built-in, fully stocked bar.  Whether you decide to build a fully-equipped miniature kitchen that can accommodate seating your guests and serving up hors d’oeuvres, or a niche carved out for glasses and bottles, having an inviting and accessible entertaining station is a popular home remodel idea.

Add a master bedroom balcony
A master bedroom is an important place for escape, sanctuary and preparing yourself for each day.  Adding a balcony off the master suite helps to create a peaceful and tranquil space from the rest of the family.  Whether the view off your deck is of the Olympic Mountains or the backyard, the outdoor sitting area off the master bedroom is an oasis.

Small Kitchen Design Tips

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.33.31 PMMany older Seattle homes have small kitchens.  Small kitchens, or “galley kitchen” or “gentleman’s kitchen”, may be a design challenge, but they can also be highly functional , beautiful and efficient. Whether you’re redecorating or doing a total Seattle kitchen remodel, taking the time to think through your needs when planning a home remodel is especially important when you have limited space. And if you are looking for a web design company for remodelers, here are the best ideas for small spaces:

 Install smaller appliances.  Smaller and compact appliances can give your small kitchen the same functionality as a larger kitchen, but uses a lot less space. Appliance manufacturers now have more compact, space-saving appliances to choose from, for example refrigerators that are 24 inches deep instead of 30 inches deep or microwaves that can be hung underneath cabinets to save counter space. These smaller appliances are a great solution to designing small kitchens, and they maintain the conveniences of a modern kitchen.

 Maximize storage.  Maximize the efficiency of your cupboards with a system of smart options for the interiors, such as stackable shelves, roll-out baskets, lazy Susans, spice rack cabinets, and cup and plate racks. Also, extra storage can be found under dining benches or in kitchen islands or peninsulas.

 Go vertical.  When space is tight, use your vertical space.  Stacking your kitchen cabinets vertically can give compact kitchens as much storage as some larger kitchens.  Especially if your home boasts high ceilings, tall, vertical cabinets are not only stunning visually, but they add a lot of storage.

 Seating.  Since much of family life and entertaining happen in the kitchen, being able to provide seating, even in a small kitchen space, is something every homeowner would like to have.  Bar stools are a perfect solution.  Stools that can be slipped under the counter to save space, especially when they match the color of the bar they are nested under creates a unified room, that’s pleasing visually.

 Rethink the kitchen island.  Kitchen islands are very popular, but the reality is they can require a fair amount of space.  So, unless you have a big enough kitchen that can accommodate an island, think about a peninsula or even a butcher-block table on casters.  Both peninsulas and mobile butcher-blocks or tables are wonderful options for smaller homes.

 Light.  Create the illusion of more space with lighting. Under cabinet lighting or under the counter lighting can make a small kitchen made to appear larger.  Windows can do the same thing to a small space.  So, when designing your space, whether it be a kitchen, bath or whole house remodel, consider making the room appear larger by putting in a big grand window.

5 Remodeling Ideas That Increase Your Home’s Value

Seattle Remodel, Deck1. Basic updates.  Before you begin your Seattle home remodel project, start with the basics.  Basic home updates and maintenance add the most value to your home. The following list is an example of basic updates:

  • maintaining the exterior of your home, including landscaping
  • fixing the roof when it leaks
  • removing mold
  • keeping the paint fresh
  • maintaining plumbing, electric and heating systems in good working order

These types of chores keep your home from deteriorating over time. Buyers want a healthy, solid, safe home, and they look carefully for signs of routine maintenance. Buyers want to be sure they are investing in a well-cared-for home.

2. Remodel the kitchen.  Most people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home, and because of this, updates in this room pay off. In general, you can expect to recoup 60%-100% of your investment on a Seattle kitchen remodel, as long as you don’t go overboard. Take care that you don’t make your kitchen fancier than the rest of the house, or the neighborhood.  If you overindulge in deluxe amenities that don’t fit the rest of the house, you will likely not get that money back when it comes time to sell.  But, amenities like energy-efficient appliances are a great investment and can go a long way to increase your home’s value.

3. Add a bathroom.  If your home only has one bathroom, you can recoup a large chunk of your investment by adding another one. It is estimated that you can recoup 80%-130% of whatever you spend adding a bathroom.

When it comes to finding room in your house for an extra bathroom, take a look at any underutilized spaces. Consider spaces such as closets or areas under the stairs. Keep in mind, if you want a half-bath you need at least 18 square feet. If you want a full bath, including a stand-up shower, you need at least 30 square feet. If you want a bathtub, make sure you have at least 35 square feet to work with for a bathroom addition. Like any project, the cost of adding a bathroom depends largely on the types of additions and accessories you want to use, and the cost of each of these items.

4. Reinvent a room.  Many homeowners want more room, but adding more square footage to a home can be an incredibly expensive project. Instead of adding square footage, consider using existing space to reinvent a room. Reinventing existing space in your home can save you money, but its also a way for you to customize your space to suit your family’s needs in a unique way.   Finishing a basement or converting the attic to a bedroom are commonly done. Many homeowners can also add small apartments in, or over, their garages – which they can then choose to live in, or rent out.

Before you demolish walls and rafters, try to think about the ways that you, and potential buyers, can use the space:

  • Versatile rooms have greater appeal to potential buyers.
  • Basements frequently work well as second living rooms, or game rooms. Many people also turn this space into a small apartment for an aging relative or a tenant.
  • Attic spaces often work well for craft rooms and game rooms, especially if they have high ceilings. If you have kids, you can add swings to the rafters, and create a cool play room just for them.

5. Add a deck.  Adding a deck increases the value of your home. Outdoor living spaces have become very desirable. If you make your deck and your backyard more appealing, your house will be more appealing to prospective buyers when you decide to sell.

The cost of adding a deck to your home varies widely. Everything depends on its size, and how many bells and whistles you want added, like built-in seating, multiple stairs, built-in flower pots, and the size of the deck.  Like any house remodel or home improvement, the cost depends largely on the design and materials used, but homeowners should expect to recoup much of their investment when it comes time to sell.

No matter what part of your home you are working on, be sure to completely vet your options when looking for help on the project from a contractor.

What You Need To Know Before Beginning A Home Remodel

small great roomThe idea of remodeling, whether its a kitchen, bathroom, or whole house remodel, is exciting. However, the reality of a home remodeling project is often frustrating and can put anyone or any relationship to the test.  Careful planning and preparation can help limit the unpleasant surprises that are bound to occur.

Here are some things you need to know before you begin your Seattle remodeling project:

Talk to others who have done a remodel.  Talk to friends, family and coworkers who have done a home remodeling project.  For those who love to search online for home improvement ideas or watch the home network channel on TV, its easy to get lost in the dreaming stage of remodeling imaging your beautiful new kitchen or updated bathroom. .  This stage is important for inspiration, but for a reality check, learn from others who have done a home remodel about what to expect.

Prepare.  There will always be unexpected surprises during a remodel, especially if its an older home.  Tearing out walls and removing old brick may reveal something different than what you were expecting.  Have contingency plans, which boils down to extra budget and time.  If everything goes without a hitch, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and have a little in reserve for fun extras.

Don’t skimp or take shortcuts.  In a remodel, shortcuts usually mean costly troubles down the line.  Do it the right way first and you’ll spare yourself the difficulty of having to go back and redo something again.  If you feel stressed by time or money, rather than take a shortcut which you’ll likely regret, its best to wait.

Hire a good contractor. Before hiring a home remodeler or contractor, do your homework of checking their credentials, getting references, seeing examples of their work and talking with other homeowners who have used their services.  You should feel confident that the contractor you hire will perform the job well and meet your expectations.  You should feel comfortable communicating with them and trust them to make decisions that will meet your goals.

Leave the house.  If at all possible, its best to leave your house during a remodel.  Especially if its a total home remodel, but even a kitchen remodel can be incredibly disruptive to a family.  Remodeling is dusty and noisy work.  Even if its possible to live in a home that is undergoing a major remodeling project, you wouldn’t want to.  Homeowners who live in the house during a remodel are irritable and on-edge.  Progress on the house may be slower if builders need to work around the family and their schedule.  Everyone will be much happier if you live elsewhere during the worst of the remodel.

Know what you want before you begin.  Thinking the project through and anticipating how those changes will affect other areas of the house can help you contain a project and keep its focus.  Its not uncommon during a remodel to discover something extra that needs to be done, such as replacing old wiring or dry rot, but don’t add new ideas on a whim – which can add to the cost and timing of a project.  For the sanity of everyone involved, clearly define the parameters of the project before beginning.  As a rule of thumb, the more custom quality work you undertake, the longer and more involved the process will be.

Have it in writing.  Even if your contractor is someone you know well, make sure you have a written contract.  A contract makes clear the scope of work, how much it will cost and the scheduling.  Negotiating the contract helps homeowners become comfortable asking questions and talking about the process with the contractor.  A contract, in the end, serves to protect everyone involved and can help define expectations.

Keep your schedule open.  Don’t plan a major remodel just before a big family event is supposed to take place in your home.  A schedule for completion is important, but many factors can cause schedule slippage and a deadline may only make everyone unhappy and stressed.  Keep your schedule open during a remodel and expect it may run-over the anticipated date for completion.

Remember why you are remodeling.  If you love your home and you plan to live in it for years to come, then you are remodeling for yourself and for your desire to continue living there. If you are remodeling with the objective of selling your home, you should be knowledgeable of the current value of your home, and the housing market in your neighborhood.   Knowing the market value of your home can help you keep a healthy perspective on what you’re willing to spend on a remodel.  You wouldn’t want to spend $50,000 on a remodel with no hope of recouping this money.

See the project to completion.  Especially for large remodels, homeowners often run out of steam and become fatigued of the whole process and never finish the last details.  If its in the contract, then these last items will get done.  But if you were planning to save money by doing those final details yourself, then make sure you do them.

Choosing The Right Remodeling Contractors To Work On Your Home

Seattle remodel ContractorAfter you have decided that you want to remodel a room in your home such as your kitchen or bathroom, or even your entire house, it is important to go through a thorough process to find the best designer and contractor to do the job.

Choosing the top result in Google when you search “home remodeling company ” or maybe deciding to use a business based on the first TV spot you see could have you regretting your decision for years.  Not only could you lose money, but you could find yourself with a sub-par home remodeling experience leaving you with low quality materials and a design you don’t love.  A thorough selection process can help you avoid this experience.

Get Recommendations

Speaking with family and friends is a great way to get quality referrals.  Maybe a neighbor or a family member has had a great experience with a local contractor.  You can also take it to the professional level when looking for recommendations for a remodeler by talking to people at your local hardware store, lumber yard or if you have already chosen one of your other contractors, like a custom cabinet maker, ask them for their top recommendation. .  Last but not least, check with with NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) on recommendations they have for your area.

Qualifying Your Prospects

Once you have a list of possible contractors, make time to call or email each of them with a list of important questions.  These questions should be practical questions to establish the trust and fit for your project.  You can describe what you are looking for, but mostly you are looking to learn about:

  • Do they have a list of previous clients
  • How many projects do they work on at one time
  • Do they subcontract and how long have they had these relationships

Meet Them At Your Home

Meet the your top 3 to 4 options in person at your home.  Whomever you choose will be spending hours upon hours there and you want to make sure communication and comfort in the relationship are easy.

Talk To Their Referrals

Good contractors will leave a trail of happy home, bathroom, and kitchen remodels from previous clients for you to review.  Contact as many as you feel is important to get a feel for their experience.  Was the remodel completed on time?  How were the workers behaved onsite?  Was everything within the projected budget?

The Bottom Line: Bids and Plans

With your top two or three choices to remodel your home, request they submit their bids, broken down into categories for materials, labor, overhead, etc.  Most quality contractors will want to see the plans you have drawn up for your remodel and will also ask about your budget and personal expectations.  These pieces of information will help them give you a more qualified bid.

Don’t Let The Dollar Rule Your Decision

Home remodeling contractors often have varying payment plans and schedules for their clients.  A reasonable schedule involves a small down payment and equal payments as the project moves along.  Maybe 10% down, 25% when a quarter of the work has been done, another 25% when half the work is done, and the final payment upon completion.  With that stated, don’t decide on who you will choose solely based on financial decisions.  Trust your gut, the referrals, and the interactions you have had to really make an informed decision.

Make It Official

Now that you have selected a contractor to remodel your bathroom, kitchen, or simply to update your cabinets, make sure everything you have discussed and agreed upon is in writing.  With any unforeseen problems in the future, you will need to rely on the contract to support your agreement.

Choosing a quality home remodeling contractor isn’t the most exciting part of remodeling your home, but it may be the most important.  Whether you are planning a Seattle kitchen Remodel for your Puget Sound home or possibly adding a new addition that will hold your guests when they visit, in order to guarantee that you will get the remodel of your dreams, you must first do your due diligence.