Sunrooms can be a great addition to any home where the homeowner wants a little bit of the outside on the inside—whether it’s stargazing at night, taking in a cool breeze in the afternoon, or enjoying the beauty of a rainstorm safe inside. Sunrooms can provide the inviting warmth for a cool winter day or a blast of cool during the hot summer months. Think of them as your own little oasis.
February 28, 2018
It’s no secret that bathrooms and kitchens are what truly sell homes. If you aren’t in the market to sell your home, then you can make personal touches and additions to your en-suite bathroom. If you don’t have an en-suite and are creating one from scratch, this is your time to really customize this room with anything and everything you could ever want. The sky’s the limit for what you can do in a bathroom as long as your budget will allow for the splurge. Here are some popular design ideas that will make your en-suite bathroom go the extra mile for you:
February 21, 2018
Many homeowners get excited about the possibility of adding a room onto their house. Their excitement quickly fades away though when they become frustrated with all of the building logistics. But the truth is this: Adding a room onto your house doesn’t have to be a daunting task. To get your room addition started on the right track, follow these three important tips:
February 13, 2018
A bonus room is an incredible addition to a home. Aside from being an additional space for you and your family to have a great time, a bonus room increases your home’s value. Adding a bonus room that’s appealing to buyers allows you to raise your asking price a great deal. Here are five bonus room ideas that can help you decide exactly what type of room you want to have.
February 7, 2018
A lot of homeowners shy away from a garage conversion because they fear it might decrease the value of their home. However, this type of remodel could actually increase that value in the long run—if done correctly.
Garages carry a lot of weight when it comes to the worth of a home. After all, most people would rather have shelter for their cars than more livable square footage. Some buyers won’t even look at a home if it lacks a decent garage. However, there are ways to convert this space without detracting from a buyer’s needs while maintaining your home’s value. Here’s how to increase your home’s value with a garage conversion:
January 30, 2018
January 24, 2018
A garage conversion comes with a wide-open range of possibilities for your new room. Some homeowners have specific visions for their garage conversions, but many struggle with finding the perfect addition to their home for their family. Sometimes the best way to decide what to convert your garage into is to ask yourself: What do you most need? What hobby, chore, or activity could make your life easier by bringing closer to home?
A second room to entertain
Try converting your garage into a second living room or dining room. Since you likely already have some room to entertain guests, you can have some fun with the design for a second one. For example, you could create a dining room that’s kid-friendly or as a place to host children’s parties and playdates. Or create a game room or home theater, depending on your family’s preferences and hobbies.
A playroom or a more tech-focused game room, depending on your family, for leisure time can be a great addition for fun family time, as well as for hosting playdates, sleepovers, parties, and more. Plus, keeping games and toys all in one place that’s separate from the rest of the house can help your kids—and you—stay focused on the task at hand when it’s nottime to play.
A home office
No matter what you do for a living, it’s almost always helpful to have a designated office, whether it’s to work at home, to keep important family records and documents, work on school work, or more. A specific office space can help you focus when you need long blocks of time to work quietly, and it can double as a space for kids to do homework in a quiet, focused environment.
A home library is a great addition for many reasons: to have a quiet place to concentrate and read; for shelves to hold books, movies, games, and more; and to encourage kids to carve out time to read and study. Plus, it’s a great place to store all of those extra papers, knickknacks, and other items that you don’t have a specific spot in the house for.
A craft or hobby room
Do you sew? Knit? Play music? Maybe you’re interested in woodworking or pottery. Whatever the case may be, why not create a space to work on projects and pursue your hobbies right in your home? It’s very convenient to have a spot in your home designated to the hobbies you want to pursue; it makes it easier to carve out some time to work on them, and you’ll likely even save money in the long run.
A home gym
Finally, what’s more convenient than a home gym? Whether you need a treadmill, free weights, or your own yoga studio, having a place to work out without leaving your home or disturbing the rest of the family is a great use of space, especially if the weather in your area isn’t fit for exercising outside.
Keeping in mind your top priorities and personal preferences is the most important part when it comes to any renovation. No matter what you decide to do with your extra space, a family-friendly garage conversion is a great way to add your personal touch to your home.
January 17, 2018
Basements often require a few extra steps to remodel, whether it’s fixing problems like standing water, plumbing or insulation problems, clearing out storage, or finishing up an unfinished basement before the rest of your remodel can begin. With so much to do before you can even begin the process of a normal remodel, basement remodels can cause a lot of stress and tension.
Take everything one step at a time
To begin with, we suggest a piece of advice that’s often given to anyone feeling stress about a project: Break the project up into steps and take it one step at a time. Instead of thinking about your remodel as one whole, giant project, break it down and think about each step—clearing out storage, cleaning, plumbing and electrical work, etc.—as its own project along the way. Try taking a break or celebrating after each step in the process is done, after all, each part in a remodel is a huge accomplishment. Knowing that you don’t have to do everything—or even think about everything—all at once can relieve stress and help you remain focused on the task at hand.
List out your top priorities
Before you start your remodel, understand that not everything you want in your new basement may be viable in your space or within your budget. That’s almost always the case with remodel projects, but don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world. Just make sure you know before you start what your top priorities are for your remodel, what would be nice to have, and what you don’t need.
Interview and hire a qualified contractor you can trust
Make sure you hire someone qualified and experienced to lead the charge on your basement remodel. Interviewing multiple contractors before making a hiring decision, taking recommendations from people you trust, and following up with references can help you hire someone you can trust to do a great job. And when you’re interviewing, look out for someone with good communication skills. The ability to communicate well can help reduce stress even when unexpected complications arise.
Set a flexible budget
When you inevitably set a budget for your remodel, make sure to do your research beforehand. Talk to friends and family who have remodeled before, as well as your contractor, architect, and anyone else who has experience with remodeling. And then, once you’ve thought of everything you’ll need to put in a comprehensive remodel budget, make sure to still leave yourself some room for unexpected costs to arise. Expecting the unexpected—and preparing yourself for it ahead of time—can save you a lot of stress, worry, and re-budgeting along the way.
Set realistic expectations
Our previous tips—listing out your top priorities, interviewing contractors, and setting a flexible budget—will help you with this last best practice for a stress-free basement remodel: setting realistic expectations. Knowing exactly what to expect in terms of time, amount of work, budget, and inconveniences during the remodel can help greatly with reducing stress along the way. Plus, if you have a family, it’ll help to set expectations for everyone in your household, including cleanup time, opening your home to workers, noise, and more. And even if you think you know exactly what it’ll be like, you should also remember to expect the unexpected, because no matter what, you can’t ever be completely prepared for a construction or remodel project. Sometimes, you just need to prepare to be flexible.
January 10, 2018
Looking for more space? The answer could already be part of your home.
Converting a garage into a comfortable, livable space is easier than you think. Not only that, but this home project offers a lower price tag than building an addition. It’s the perfect solution if you are running out of space and there’s no other option. Here are some of the things you can do with your cold, damp, junkyard of a garage:
- Extra living room. The perfect spot for growing children to relax, watch tv, and play video games.
- Extra bedroom. A luxurious alternative to sleeping on the couch—guests will love their privacy.
- Kitchen extension (if it’s next to your kitchen). Now you can finally have that big kitchen of your dreams.
- Office. A secluded area far away from noise will be much appreciated.
- Home movie theater. Install a huge flat screen TV, quality speakers, and lounge furniture.
- Playroom. Pool tables, video games, board games, and more for family and friends.
- Home gym. Install mirrors, gym equipment, and even a small shower. Finally, get rid of that membership.
But before you go ahead and roll out a new carpet in your new living space, certain details must be met. Here are a few of our suggestions to get started in order to make you garage conversion a success:
1. Consult a building inspector
Make sure your new room meets city codes. See if your municipality has garage conversion regulations or standards. Otherwise, you could face fines over $1,000 in penalties. Just take your floor plans to a city planning office and get feedback. It’s better to do this crucial step up front.
2. Work with professionals
The key is to work with the right architect, contractor, electrician, etc. These guys know all about building codes, safety standards, and your type of project through and through. Professionals should understand what will and will not work for you, keeping your best interests at heart.
3. Insulation and comfort
Garages aren’t meant to be cozy. Without insulation, they’re hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If your garage walls offer insulation already, then you’re ahead of the game. If not, you’ll have to outfit the walls with stud framing with insulation in between. Furthermore, you should consider if your HVAC system can handle the extra space. If not, you’ll have to install another system. Alternatively, you could install baseboard heaters, window air conditioners, radiant floor heating, and even mini-split heaters/air conditioners. This new space needs to be as comfortable as possible, no matter what time of year it is.
If your garage floor is just a concrete slab, you’re in luck. You have a lot of flooring options available like tile, hardwood, and carpet. However, before any of this happens, the floor needs a moisture barrier application, patching, and cleaning. You’ll forget about the unforgiving, cold concrete floor in no time.
If a wet bar, kitchen, bathroom, or sink comes to mind when you think of your new garage, you’ll need a great contractor or highly rated plumber. For running water, supply and drain lines will need to be installed in the concrete. You should pay attention and address this feature of your project first.
Renovating and finishing your garage into a needed living space will not only increase your home’s resale value but also increase your quality of life. Expect a more affordable solution with fewer hurdles compared to an addition. While it won’t be easy, following our tips will ensure a more successful garage conversion project for you and your family.
January 8, 2018
Someday, you’ll sell your home. So you want the money you invest in it to come back to you. However, if you have no plans for selling in the near future, another form of value that you should consider when planning a remodel is the pleasure of making your home more comfortable and attractive.
Although it’s helpful to pay attention to research about the quantifiable value of remodeling projects, you need to pay attention to what your commonsense tells you about changes you would enjoy in the here and now. Many projects are best choices for both financial and feel-good payback.
Top types of home projects include:
- Converting attic space to a bedroom
- Remodeling or adding a new bathroom
- Updating your kitchen in a minor or major way
- Increasing living space by refinishing your basement and
- Improving your home with a number of small but important refurbishments, including replacing the front door.
- Figures mentioned here are all 2015 national averages for midrange home projects cited in Remodeling magazine’s annual cost-versus-value report.
Attic Bedroom Maybe you have always wanted a second- or third-story master bedroom where you view the clouds outside your windows and listen to tree foliage rustling in the breeze. It’s a like living in a luxury tree house.
Instead of popping the roof and adding on, redo your attic as a bedroom. If square footage is limited and standing space must be maximized, forgo a flat ceiling for a peaked one following roof lines.
Remodeling notes that a nationwide average cost for an attic bedroom was about $51,700 in 2015 and that more than 77 percent of that cost would be recouped now if you were to sell.
Bathroom Improvements Often, the payback for simple remodels is greater than for new additions. That’s true for bathrooms. Remodeling reports that, at present, the remodel of a 5-by-7-foot bathroom — complete with new fixtures, cabinets, flooring and vinyl wallpaper — currently costs about $16,700 and immediately regains 70 percent of cost.
In contrast, you’ll regain about 58 percent of the roughly $39,578 it costs to add a new bathroom of the same size. But a new one may be the only comfortable solution if you own an older home with only one or two bathrooms.
Kitchen Remodels Kitchens are the command central of any home. So a complete redo complete with an island, new cabinetry, countertops, appliances, fixtures and flooring as well as custom lighting and a fresh paint job may be a feel-good success for everyone.
However, this amount of fix up for a 200-square-foot kitchen poses 12 percent less in immediate resale value than a minor remodel in which cabinetry is refaced, less appliances are changed out and… you get the picture.
If you are only concerned about your kitchen making the grade with buyers during a sale in the near future, a minor remodel of about $19,000 likely will pay back about 79 percent. In contrast, a major redo costing nearly 57,000 may only be worth about 68 percent of its cost.
Basement Refinish If your home is outside of flood-risk areas and includes a basement that is either unfinished or outdated, you may want to increase living space by creating a large entertainment area complete with a full bathroom, bar area, plenty of cheerful lighting and a mechanical area hidden from view.
For a 20-by-30-foot space, you can count on this costing more than $65,000 and recouping about 73 percent of costs.
Assorted Small Refurbishments Even if your money is tight for home improvement, small changes can make big differences in how you feel about your residence. For example, a new entry door may add greater security as well as greater attractiveness to your home.
Of all the home improvements cited by Remodeling, a steel entry door costing about $1,230 was the only one with immediate payback exceeding its purchase price.
This Old House magazine interviewed real estate brokers to learn what inexpensive projects could boost resale value. All the changes are ones that would also boost the way you feel about your home. They include cleaning up the landscape, repairing plumbing leaks, replacing rain gutters, fixing a broken doorbell and replacing flooring or carpeting.
Upkeep of your home — with or without the help of architects and contractors — is an investment that both you and future owners will value.