We’ve spent a lot of time in our homes this past year and you’re probably looking around and thinking it might be time to update, renovate or remodel. But which one?
Renovate or remodel? Let’s define the two so when you start considering companies, you’re all on the same page.
A RENOVATION is using the existing space and improving function. That includes updating materials, flooring, light fixtures, cabinetry, etc.
A REMODEL includes structural changes or additions. This would include finishing a basement with a second means of egress, changing a roofline, enlarging window openings, and adding additional rooms.
Whether you’ve decided on a remodel or a renovation, here are five tips to keep in mind that will help with your planning and design before you even get started.
- Efficiency of Space – Make use of what you have.
Add shelving for storage on the back of doors for extra pantry space, a spice rack, a shoe rack in a closet, or cork boards to hide all those school flyers and coupons.
Space under the stairs is underutilized space and often forgotten. This space can serve as hidden storage, a place for cubbies or lockers in a hallway entrance, a playhouse, or even a cozy nook for a small office.
Stairwell walls soar high into the staircase ceiling and this is an unexpected blank slate for displays, or a gallery of family pictures.
Add a shelf 12-18” below the ceiling that runs the perimeter of the room to display collectibles, books or other items that you do not readily need to access.
- Add Character without Adding Cost
Using recycled items reduces landfill and you can find some real gems. There are companies and vintage salvage warehouses that take donated items and extra material from contractors and homeowners, and make them available to the general public.
ReStore – new & gently used furniture and construction materials, and it benefits Habitat for Humanity.
Big Reuse is located in Brooklyn and, according to their website, they “have everything from panel doors to high-end refrigerators, window shutters to reclaimed lumber, kitchen cabinet sets to salvaged flooring. We serve everyone from contractors and interior design professionals to renters looking to creatively maximize their apartment space…Net revenue from our Reuse Centers support local, environmental initiatives.”
Reclaim Everything in East Northport focuses on salvaged wood from old barns built before 1920 and they create custom vintage furniture from these repurposed materials. Consider them for your flooring, installations, and antique accessories as well.
- You Do the Dirty Work
It’s not glamourous but you can save some money if you do the demo and clean up yourself. But if you do, remember: Safety First.
- Know where the gas, electrical and plumbing are and how to turn them off.
- Know which are structural wall. Remove only the sheetrock and leave the studs and supporting structures to the professionals.
- Have A Budget But Include a Cushion
Have a 10-15 percent cushion for extras.
- If you change materials: laminate to granite, vinyl flooring to real wood.
- For the “unexpected”: contractor finds mold, re-wiring needed, old plumbing.
- Upgrades that you hadn’t considered like soft closures on kitchen drawers and cabinet doors.
- Finally, where do you start?
If you’re not sure if you want a remodel or renovation, take advantage of the free design assistance at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They’re trained and know their products well. They will sit with you and plan your remodel or renovation, offer financing and warranties. They schedule the project that works for you and don’t forget the free delivery.
And the internet is your friend for ideas. Check out Houzz and Pinterest for ideas and create your own Inspiration Board. It could be a wish list but wouldn’t it be nice if, with a little planning and preparedness, you can actually make those wishes come true and have the home of your dreams.
Paul & Roseanne Frank are owners of Home Renovation Consultants, a consulting service for the homeowner & their renovation projects. You can contact them for a free consultation. HomeRenoConsultants.com