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Home Remodeling

How can I help facilitate the remodeling process so I am happy with the outcome?

Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve your ultimate remodeling goals:  

  • Visualize and map out your “dream” space.
  • Have a budget and stick with it.
  • Communicate your thoughts, concerns and wants with your remodeler.
  • If undergoing a major renovation, move out. This will ensure a quick finish and enable the professionals to work efficiently.

My bathroom is small, and I’m thinking about re-doing it. Should I hire a professional or do it myself?

One of the biggest trends in home renovations is doing it yourself (DIY). You should consider how large the project is and if you have the right qualifications to take on the task. It is better to start by hiring an expert, rather than having to hire professionals after a DIY project has gone bad.

Should I invest in new lighting fixtures?

Yes. Overhead light fixtures can turn any plain old bathroom into a luxurious vanity room. Think dressing room lights. Bright lights also enable a room to appear larger than usual. Different styles of fixtures can help achieve different looks. For example, Victorian fixtures add a romantic touch to the bathroom. Investing in new fixtures also could save you money if you buy fixtures that support energy-efficient bulbs.

What are some simple ways to decorate my home without major remodeling?

Here are a few tips to spruce up your home's personality:

  • Be creative with paint. Don't be afraid to upgrade your kitchen cabinets to a color other than wood base. For example, red and light blues are great additions to a retro-styled kitchen.
  • Dress up your mantle. Add your favorite photos or sculpture to personalize your home. Pile on the pillows. Don't be afraid to mix and match materials and prints. Stripes, fringe, polka dots, sparkly and ruffled patterns are all great additions to seating.

What are some simple ways to make a room “pop” and add a specific mood or ambience?

There are many easy ways to “make” a room. Here are a few of DreamMaker's favorites:

  • Include an indoor water feature, like a running water fountain, positioned near the foyer or dining room. Turn it on when receiving guests or during dinner. This creates a calming, soothing atmosphere.
  • Include rope lighting with a multi-tiered trey ceiling, turning it on during dinner. This adds to a formal, yet inviting environment.
  • Add bright, colorful throw pillows to your couch. This is a great way to temporarily create warmth to a typically neutral colored space.
  • For the kitchen, having a raised bar area where guests can sit allows them to be part of the event. Guests will be able to have a conversation with the host as the meal is being prepared. 
  • For the family, incorporate an open area with an information center and a computer hook-up. This allows you to help children do their homework while preparing dinner - family fun time and memories in the making.

My home is fairly small and some of the rooms are hard to work with. How do I effectively maximize all available space?

You need to take a look at the size of the room you are remodeling, your budget, and then have a professional create an appropriate design that will meet your needs for additional space.

Below are some options to think about:

  • Change out the cabinetry and countertops to make kitchen space more versatile; also make sure they complement the room’s design and layout
  • If you’re working with a small kitchen, consider installing cabinetry that has a multi-pantry closet or a lazy susan for the corner cabinet  
  • You can even create an office/homework center adjacent to the kitchen if you’re working with a larger budget
  • An easy thing to do is organize your spices, silverware, knives, pots and pans, medications, toiletries, linens and even trash. Use specialty accessories, additional shelving in your cabinets, pull-down overhead cabinets, built-in hampers, pull-out trash containers and multiple storage drawers to free up unused space.
  • Depending on your budget you can also remove a wall and adjoin rooms to install a more efficient closet system
  • Another option, depending on cost (it can vary based on the size of wall and if it supports something), is to open that space up to the adjoining bath or bedroom to create an alcove. You can utilize that space for a small gym or exercise area.
  • For closet areas, reorganize using the full height of the walls for cabinets and specialty built-ins

Is there such a thing as too many kitchen and bath improvements?

Yes, too many improvements can actually hinder the functionality of any kitchen or bath and may, in fact, actually turn the space into a complicated, non-user friendly area. The design aspect is also negatively affected. You need to determine what your purpose is for remodeling the space.

  • Evaluate your current space
    • What is the function in which you would like to utilize this space?
    • What works? What doesn’t?
    • What do you like and dislike about this space?

  • Prioritizing is a necessity
    • You are ultimately the one who needs to decide what you actually want in your space, the remodeler can only make suggestions
    • What items do you need and what are the ones you just wish you could have?

  • Make sure you convey all of these things to your remodeling professional for a successful project that you’re happy with

What are some things I can do to make my home more universally friendly?

Here are some examples of ways to improve accessibility and comfort in all areas of the home:

  • One entrance without steps to the main floor of the house
  • One bedroom on the main floor
  • Wide interior doors – 34” minimum
  • One full bath on the main floor with ample maneuvering space
  • Lever hardware on all doors
  • Electrical outlets placed higher on the wall
  • Light switches reachable from a seated position (36 – 44 inches from the floor)
  • “Rocker”(touch) style light switches
  • Adjustable closet rods and shelves
  • Stair handrails on both sides of the stairs
  • Kitchen countertops of varying heights for use sitting or standing
  • Lever controls on the faucet at sinks
  • Sinks with open space below to allow use while sitting
  • Kitchen base cabinets with pull-out shelves or “lazy-susan” type revolving shelves
  • Front loading dishwasher, raised from floor
  • Adjustable shelves in kitchen wall cabinets
  • Hand-held shower head in bath
  • Grab bars in the tub/shower
  • Shower stall with a minimum of 3x5 floor space
  • Raised toilet (seat 17-19 inches from the floor)

There is so much hype lately about the aging baby boomer population and incorporating universal design elements in the home. What exactly is a universally designed/universally friendly home?

Universal design assists with long-term use and accessibility for all, including young, old, mobility impaired or those living without impairments. Many homeowners are beginning to see the benefits of this type of quality living that allows for conveniences that will serve them now and in the future. Universal designed homes are part of an evolving movement away from aesthetic concerns, moving toward an increasing desire for style and functionality throughout the home. Also, in many cases, universal design features have also been shown to raise home value and resale desirability.

What is the best way to clean and maintain the finish on new wood cabinets and floors?

Your cleaning methods will vary depending on your wood finish. Make sure to check with the product manufacturer, dealer or installer. Most factory cabinets currently use a conversion varnish finish. In this case, occasional waxing can add water resistance and create a lasting shine. In general, preventive maintenance is vital for long-term performance and beauty of wood cabinets and floors.

Tips for Maintenance

  • When worn areas appear, recoat with the same finish used on the cabinets or floors
  • Use track-off mats and furniture leg protector pads to prevent everyday wear and tear on your floors
  • Vacuum floors frequently and wipe up spills promptly 

Things to Watch For

  • Avoid excessive and prolonged exposure to sunlight, high temperature and humidity
  • Heating and cooling vents should be closed or directed away from cabinets
  • Fingerprints, cooking fumes and smoking residue may accumulate and should be removed regularly
  • Refrain from using ammonia or silicone cleaning products over a long period of time

Recommended Products

  • Lemon or citrus oil
  • A non-wax solution that contains polish or a mild detergent (any excess moisture should be wiped dry)
  • Orange cleaner
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National Association of Home Builders
National Kitchen & Bath Association
National Association of The Remodeling Industry
Remodeling Big 50
NAHBR Remodelers