You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘remodeling’ tag.

Capture

PROFARM Neighborhood Advocates
Remodeling ROI (September 2017)

Whether you’re thinking about modernizing a room in your home or rehabbing an entire house, you’ll want to make sure the money you invest in the project has a positive effect on your home’s value. Before you start tearing up tile, ripping out old plaster or buying that “handyman’s special” you’ve had your eye on, consider consulting a professional real estate appraiser about the economics of your proposed project.

You may receive good advice on questions such as:

  • Is the improvement feasible and marketable?
  • Are neighborhood trends pointing to an upward cycle?
  • How to go about it

When it comes to improving your home, don’t count on a dollar-for-dollar return on every improvement. For example, real estate appraisers have found that remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or adding a room may bring the greatest return on a homeowner’s investment. Some custom installations can actually detract from value, which appraisers call “overimprovements.”

“The latest research shows that home improvements with a relatively low cost are most likely to generate a positive cost-to-value ratio,” says Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin. “Spending big dollars on major renovations doesn’t necessarily equate to a dollar-for-dollar return. In short: cost doesn’t necessarily equal value.”

Amorin encouraged homeowners contemplating renovation projects to compare the planned improvement to what’s standard in the community. “Projects that move a home well beyond community norms are typically not worth the cost when the owner sells the property,” he says.

Make sure essential repairs are completed before you start improving — a posh sauna won’t make up for a leaky roof. In fact, simple and relatively inexpensive repairs such as plastering and painting could earn a better return on your investment than some major improvement projects. Many buyers can’t overlook tacky paint colors, old or dirty carpet and ugly kitchen cabinets. Start with freshening up what you already have before adding new features to your home.

When deciding what to improve first, take a look around and find out what other homebuyers want. That way, you’ll select those improvements for which the market is willing to pay. Beware of overimproving.

If you do it yourself, do it right. Keep your improvements consistent with the quality of your home and the character of the neighborhood. If you decide that you can’t do the job yourself, be sure to contact a reputable contractor. Pay a fair price for improvements, not an inflated price.

Also be sure to consider energy-efficient improvements. While they may not save you a great deal of money now, as energy costs increase, so will your savings. Many buyers are looking for “green” and “smart” features in homes these days. Even something as simple as installing a smart thermostat can be an attractive bonus to buyers.

Most importantly, obtain any necessary permits to make sure your improvements are legal. Illegal improvements might not add value. In fact, work done without the necessary permits can create problems for you and the new buyer when it comes time to finalize a sales transaction.

I would be happy to discuss ideas and a strategy with you that would be appealing to buyers. Let me know how I can assist you! Thank you.

AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com, 727-804-6566

 

Sources:

The Appraisal Institute, “Remodeling & Rehabbing: Some Valuable Hints for Homeowners,” © 2014 (http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/assets/1/7/remodeling_rehabbing_web.pdf)

Florida Realtors News, “Top return on investment? Smaller remodeling projects,” April 20, 2017 (http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=351064)

REALTOR Magazine, “Ugly Home Features Buyers Can’t Overlook, “ August 3, 2017

(http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/08/03/ugly-home-features-buyers-cant-overlook)

© 2017 Pinellas Realtor® Organization

Advertisements

 

 

Built-in shelves and a gas fireplace Image: Dream Book Design

Enjoy your home more today — and sell it for the best price tomorrow.

When it comes to home improvement, some dollars stretch more than others. And if you’re on a limited budget, it becomes even more important to spend those dollars wisely.

Here are eight affordable (under $5,000) home improvement projects that’ll help you enjoy your home more today and provide excellent financial return in the future.

1. Add the Finishing Touch of Molding

Decorative molding is a classic touch that’s been around since the ancient Greeks and Romans first installed it to add grandeur to their buildings.  Centuries later, molding is still one of the most dramatic ways to dress up a room. It’s a budget-friendly improvement that trims a room for a finished and expensive look.

Today’s wood moldings come in hundreds of options — from simple to ornate — that you can stain, paint, or leave natural. You can also find moldings in flexible materials, such as foam, that make installation a whole lot easier. Some moldings even include lighting that casts a soft, ambient glow.

Buyers consistently rank both crown molding and chair railing in their list of most desirable decorative features they seek in a home (#3 and #7 respectively), according to the annual National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, “What Home Buyers Really Want.”

And at $1.50 per foot if you DIY it, or $8 per foot if you hire, it’s a no-brainer in terms of personalizing your home while adding value. (Although we don’t recommend DIY unless you’ve got above-par mitering skills.)

A few tips about molding:

Use crown molding to make a room seem bigger and taller. But be careful about proportions. If your ceiling height is 9 feet or less, go with simpler styles to avoid overwhelming the room.

Place a chair railing at one-third the distance of the ceiling height. Chair railing placed incorrectly can make a room seem out of proportion.

Don’t forget entryways, doors, and windows: Bump up the trim around these areas to give rooms a completed and expensive feel.

2. Install Quality Ceiling Fans

If crown molding and chair railing were #3 and #7 on buyers’ decorative wish lists, what was #1?

Ceiling fans.

Over the years, ceiling fans have become quite the crowd pleaser. Once they were just a cheap solution to rising energy costs — ugly, wobbly, noisy eyesores endured because they were cheaper than air conditioning.

Today, ceiling fans have evolved into an essential component of American homes as energy prices continue to rise. And since designs have caught up with the times, they come in a variety of styles and colors to complement any room.  If your ceiling fans are old and outdated, new ones (coupled with a fresh paint job and crown molding) could give your rooms a refreshing update while saving money.

Some tips about ceiling fans:

  • Ceiling fans should hang 7 to 8 feet above the floor. If you’ve got a low ceiling, buy a hugger ceiling fan that’s flush-mounted.
  • Size matters more than the number of fan blades. Go for the biggest Energy Star-rated fan that will fit the space.
  • Choose quality. You’ll get better cooling results, less noise, and good looks at a digestible price point of $200 to $600.

3. Plant Some Trees

Apple tree outside of a house next to a patio Image: M. Williams

Say what? Adding trees doesn’t instantly pop into your head when you think of adding value to your home. But trees are moneymakers that get better with age.

A mature tree could be worth between $1,000 to $10,000, says the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers. A 16-inch silver maple could be worth $2,562, according to a formula worked out by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

In urban areas, money really does grow on trees. A recent study of home sales by the Pacific Northwest Research Station of Portland showed that street trees growing in front of or near a house boosted its sale price by an average of $8,870 and shaved two days off its time on the market.

There’s more. Trees also:

  • Save $100 to $250 annually in energy costs
  • Lower stress
  • Prevent erosion from downpours and roof runoff
  • Protect your home from wind, rain, and sun

But don’t just run out and plant trees willy-nilly. Here are some tips:

Follow the sun. Plant shade trees on the south side of the house where the sun beats strongest and longest.

Follow the wind. Plant windbreak trees, which can lower winter energy costs by 30%, on the north and northwest sides of your property.

Don’t plant too close. If you do, branches can scrape roofs and siding, causing expensive damage.

Rule of thumb: Don’t plant trees any closer than the tree’s mature height plus one-fourth of that height. So, for example, if a tree reaches 40 feet, it should be planted at least 50 feet from any other trees.

Related: Good Landscaping Adds HOW MUCH Value to My Home?

4. Install a Patio

Back yard patio in the dusk Image: Suzanne Davis at bebehblog

Patios are a great cost-effective way to increase your home’s living space without actually adding on. Plus you’ll recover 30% to 60% of your investment. A $2,000 patio would return around $900 at resale.

But don’t go crazy and trick out your patio with high-end amenities, like an outdoor kitchen — especially if you’d be the only one on the block with one. When it’s time to sell, you won’t get back much — if any — of your investment on kitchens and other high-end amenities. Instead, keep it simple and functional. (And, really, how often would you use an outdoor kitchen?)

Some wise advice when planning a patio:

  • Check property for slope, sun, and shade patterns.
  • Remember ‘dig alerts’ that utilities provide free of charge.
  • Don’t skimp on patio lighting. It can make all the difference in functionality and beautification.

Related: How to Make Your Hobbit-Sized Patio Feel Like Versailles

5. Pump Up Your Home Security

The peace of mind that comes with installing a home security system is priceless.

In reality, price varies. You can buy and install it yourself for $50 to $300, or a security company can sell and install a system from $0 to $1,500. The “zero” is the hook companies use to lure you into signing a multi-year monitoring contract that ranges from $95 to $480 per year.

If a monitored system suits your needs, you’ll also get a break on your home insurance. Most companies will discount your annual rate 15% to 20% if you have a security service.

Home security systems also make your home more marketable: 50% of homebuyers (in the NAHB survey) say a home security system — particularly security cameras — tops their list of most-wanted technology features.

You can go over the top and install high-tech security gadgets, like smartphone-operated locks and a laser trip wire. Or you can keep it simple with a keypad that communicates with sensors and motion detectors throughout your house.

Tips:

  • If you do decide to go with a monitoring system, choose a company with a 10-year track record to ensure reliability.
  • Don’t rely on any system as your sole means of security. Locking doors and windows is still your best first-line of defense.

6. Do Almost Any Energy-Efficient Upgrade

The value of energy-efficient houses just keeps going up and up. A UCLA study examined the sales prices of 1.6 million California homes from 2007 to 2012 and found that homes with Energy Star, LEED, or GreenPoint certification had, on average, a 9% higher price.

That finding is echoed in NAHB’s report that surveyed homebuyers across the nation: Nine out of 10 potential buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home priced 2% to 3% less.

One energy-saving home improvement project that not only saves energy but gives you tons of enjoyment, too, is converting a wood-burning fireplace into a gas one. If you like to crunch energy numbers, gas fireplaces have energy-efficient ratings as high as 77%, compared with wood-burning fireplaces that convert only 15% of wood’s energy into useful heat.

In fact, 39% of homebuyers say a gas fireplace is an essential or desirable feature of the next home they purchase. So when it comes time to sell your home, more than one-third of potential buyers will be looking for a gas fireplace.

In the meantime, it’ll be paying for itself in reduced heating costs.

Some tips for converting to gas:

  • direct-vent gas insert most closely replicates the wood-burning experience at a cost of about $3,000 to $4,000, installed.
  • If you don’t have an existing fireplace, you can install a direct-vent (vents directly outside so you don’t need a chimney) gas fireplace for about $5,000 (installed and finished).

Related: 5 Quick Energy Fixes to Save Up to $660 a Year

7. Add Some Creative Storage

We don’t have to sell you on the value of storage and built-in organization. Since when have you heard someone complain about too much storage? Never, we bet.

Adding storage is a no-brainer, but it does take a little brainpower to find your home’s hidden storage.

Here are a few ways to think outside of the toy box:

  • Open drywall to create storage cubbies between your wall’s studs.
  • Install platform storage that hangs from your garage ceiling.
  • Even stairs can give you more storage. One clever mom repurposed an old chest of drawers and created storage within a basement staircase.

Related: Storage Hacks from Space-Challenged New Yorkers

8. Light Up the Outdoors

Exterior lighting makes your home shine in the evening, accents features you like most about your house, and helps keep burglars away. A hard-wired lighting fixture can cost $150 to $250 to install. On the plus side, you could get a 50% return on your investment, says Judith Patriski, a Cleveland appraiser and REALTOR®. Installing motion-detecting lights can even lower some homeowners’ insurance premiums. (Check with your agent.)

And with technological advances in solar lighting, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to boost your home’s nighttime curb appeal.

Plus, 90% of buyers say outdoor lighting is on their list of desired home features.

Tips:

  • Place accent lights under your favorite trees to show off your landscaping’s top earners.
  • If your lights are hard-wired, put them on a timer so you don’t waste energy running them during the day.
  • Choose a warm white light. It’ll make your home look and feel welcoming.
Hope that you have a fantastic weekend, whatever you choose to do!
If you are thinking of remodeling or updating your house or yard, this is a great event to attend for ideas and to see the newest products.
Tampa Bay Home Show (All Weekend)
Home improvement experts will be at the Tampa Bay Home Show this weekend.  Exhibits, giveaways, door prizes, seminars, and  the latest trends in home remodeling: from kitchen and baths to flooring, to windows and home protection. Friday and Saturday from 10am-6pm, Sunday from 10am-5pm. Free admission and parking. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Drive. St Petersburg, Florida
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Pub Crawl and Pokemon GO Day @ Jannus Live. (Not sure I feel about this-could be interesting.)
Pokemon GO has quickly become an international sensation. This Saturday, players from all over Tampa Bay will gather downtown for a huge Pokemon Pub Crawl. The festivities begin at Jannus Live at 2pm and will move to designated zones beginning at 3pm. This event is 21+ and is free to attend. Check with Jannus Live for details, 200 1st Avenue N.

Girls Rock Camp at The Local 662. (This is cool.)
The campers from the very first Girls Rock Camp St. Pete will be performing LIVE in front of an audience of friends, family, supporters and fans! 2-6pm. $10 for adults, $5 for kids 13 and under (cash only at the door). The Local 662, 662 Central Avenue. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chef’s Summer Tasting Menu at Stillwaters Tavern (next to our office-238 Beach Dr. NE. Great smells come drifting from the there. Oh, yum.)
Enjoy the new Chefs Tasting Menu at Stillwaters Tavern with 3 courses for just $19.99 Starter: House or Caesar Salad; Main: Grilled 5 oz Tavern Steak, Fish of the day, or Char Siu Chicken Ramen; Dessert: Brioche Bread Pudding, Almond Tart with Citrus Curd and Pears, or Summer Berries with Ice Cream. Available 4-7pm. Call 727-350-1019 for reservations. Stillwaters Tavern, 224 Beach Drive Northeast.

The Florida Bjorkestra: The Music of Bjork and Kate Bush, with Jamie Perlow and Whitney James at Palladium Theater. (This is something new and different to attend.
 Fifteen piece ensemble of local luminaries known as The Florida Björkestra bring the sound, arrangements and quirky harmony of Icelandic artist Björk delivering chamber-pop renditions of songs such as Human Behaviour, Army of Me, Hyperballad and I’ve Seen It All. The orchestra features strings, horns and chorale backed by bass, drums, guitar and piano. Vocalist Jamie Perlow fronts the group. 6pm. $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Palladium Theater, 253 5th Avenue North.

According to the 2016 Remodeling magazine Cost vs Value survey, the average return on home improvement projects was 6.7% higher than the previous year. This may vary a bit,  of course, depending on where you live. Where home prices are higher and  job growth is strong, the payback  is much higher.

Curb appeal is number one. Buyers generally make up their minds about a place within the first 30 seconds. They may not even go into the house if it looks drab, in need of repairs or paint and has overgrown landscaping. So it makes sense that the number 1 return on improvement is to spruce up or replace the front door and entry. I have received several emails in this last month regarding which are the “in” colors for painting the front door this year. All, of course, have different ideas but generally bright, clean & inviting. By replacing or upgrading the front door you should see about 91% return. Not bad. Also make sure that your address numbers are visible from the street. Then add a colorful planter too.

The rest of the improvements  & their returns are:

Get new siding, which yields about 75%, replace the roof at 72%, build a deck about 75%, refresh the kitchen gives you 83%, renovate bathrooms will give you about 66% (new bathroom will add even more), family room-68%, remodel the basement for 70% if you live where basements are present-not too many here in Florida.

But surprisingly, the REAL number one upgrade is something that you can’t even see-insulating the attic.

 

Excellent advice-stride for the perfect blend of form, function, and meaning when remodeling.

Growing up, I always wished I had an older brother or sister who could tell me what was cool. Back in the day, I wanted someone to explain which bands were awesome and which ones were “posers,” as was the vernacular at the time. Now that I’m about to purchase my first home, there’s a part of me that wishes I had an older sibling who was working on making their second or third house a home. What disastrous remodeling project would s/he warn me against? Is my DIY idea going to be a homey improvement, or cheesy and impossible to resell? Is wallpaper a natty way to dress up a nook, or is it a literal pain in the neck that will be outdated by the time I’m done Instagramming it?

Sure, there’s Pinterest and Houzz and a million other home improvement blogs I could consult with my specific design queries. But what if I want to have a conversation? What if I wanted to page through the potential of my new home, room by empty room?

Sherry and John Petersik. (©Todd Wright)

Well, I’ve decided on adopting Sherry and John Petersik as my know-it-all older sibs.* Not that they’re arrogant (quite the opposite really) but they have much more experience than I do at this sort of thing; they have three home purchases and countless upgrade projects under their collective belt. The couple started blogging about their home adventures some seven years ago, and continue to do so at Young House Love. Now they’re on their second book (Lovable, Liveable Home: How to Add Beauty, Get Organized, and Make Your House Work for You, due out from Artisan publishing on Sept. 22) and reading it, I can guess how the first one found its way onto the New York Times Bestseller list. Their advice is eminently approachable and chic while always keeping cost considerations as part of the conversation. Among their own step-by-step project instructions and case studies from home owners around the world who conquered their own design issues, they sprinkle in snarky asides from their dog, Burger, poll results of their sizable readership on trends and common home conundrums, and realistic but flexible rules you might glean from an interior design class.

Burger the dog (from Lovable, Livable Home).

My favorite part is the Petersik’s approach to infusing personality in one’s home. Because, please: Who wants to actually live in Martha Stewart’s house? No thanks. Instead, the guiding principle of their advice is to try for the perfect blend of form, function, and meaning. Having the most efficient, workable house (function) is no better than having the most beautiful one (form). Then again, no one picks up a home design book with the intention of wallpapering the whole place with their children’s amateur artwork (meaning). The key, say the Petersiks, is to marry these three ideas as best you can in each project.

Above all, this is a practical read. The Petersiks include considerations for families in all stages of development and often make note of the most durable, easy-to-keep-nice options available to each project. They’re keen on helping home owners make a good use of the space they have (whether that’s too much or too little).

I’ve been trying to read it slowly, because we haven’t moved in yet and I think it’ll be more useful when I’m actually in our new space (can you tell I’m counting the days?) But I can’t put it down, so I guess I’ll be reading it twice. It’s the most addictive home design guide for new-ish, young-ish home owners I think I’ve ever come across, and I highly recommend it as a closing gift, or even a staple in your office. Because we all need a big brother or sister’s advice from time to time.

*I should mention here that I draw plenty of inspiration from my little brother and sister-in-law’s adorable home in Minneapolis and my husband’s brother and sister-in-law’s super cute Salt Lake City home, and I wouldn’t give any of them up for the world!

Meg White

Meg White is the multimedia web producer for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine’s Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

I have been compiling this list of home improvements and the general percentage that is recouped when you sell your home. Of course, the percentage rates will vary slightly depending on your location and your market.

Percentage of your investment that is recouped at resale:

150% for  Remodeled Kitchen
A kitchen update can reward a seller with a sizable payback. Just remember though; splurging on fancy finishing materials or sophisticated equipment may cut into your profit. Keep it simple and don’t update over what is common in your neighborhood.

100% for Revitalized Lawn and Garden
A beautiful green lawn and a modest but colorful flowerbed will entice potential buyers. The few hundred dollars invested may yield several thousands in profit.

100% for Fireplace
Especially if it is energy efficient, such as a gas-powered model, a fireplace holds the promise of cozy family gatherings around the warmth of the hearth. Location will  make a difference too-Florida & California will not yield as much.

90% for Second Bathroom
All it takes is a simple 5×9 foot extra bathroom to make mornings more civilized for most families. But don’t count on a return on extras like a heat lamp, sauna or whirlpool tub.

80% for Room Addition
For the most attractive return of your investment dollars later on, the added room should be today’s most popular rooms-family room or a third bedroom.

80% for Remodeled Bathroom
A master bathroom is on many buyer’s list, so invest here. If you own only one bathroom, install two sinks or a double vanity to handle the morning crowd.

70% for Expanded Master Suite
To keep costs down, try to find extra space to create this wish list item by combining existing rooms and spaces. Heavy structural work entailed by adding square feet diminishes your return.

70% for Deck
Outdoor living space is a desirable asset no matter where the locale. No maintenance decking material leaves lots more leisure time, too.

50% for Exterior Paint
Sprucing up tired siding, trim, etc., can take years off the look of an older house, which helps curb appeal and may help your home sell quicker.

50% for Finished Attic
You can expect to recoup more of your investment if you make sure the renovation does not detract from the aesthetics of your home. It is especially attractive as an extra bedroom in a small house or office but it must be well insulated.

40% for Finished Basement
If you live in an area where there basements, his is a great way to gain added living space without building a costly addition. If the basement has an access door to the outdoors, the project becomes more valuable. Unfortunately, in Florida & California, you don’t find too many basements!

40% for Heating and Cooling Systems
Replace it only if your old system is dysfunctional. Depending upon a buyer’s priorities, a new energy efficient furnace/AC may or may not be a selling advantage.

35% for New Windows and Doors
Buyers appreciate changes that improve the look of a house, so attractive new French doors, for example, may be a plus. Energy efficient units are an ecological boom, but may be a resale bust.

30% for Garage
Don’t go overboard to blend it into your home’s architectural style. Its desirability increases if you live in a part of the country with a harsh climate.

0% for Swimming Pool
Unless you live where the sun always shines, such as Florida, this luxury item can detract from your resale profit.

What an informative article!! Please take the time to read this wonderfully written article if you think that you might remodel your kitchen in the next few years.

By: John Riha  from Houselogic.com
Afraid your kitchen remodeling choices will look so 2013-ish in a few years?  Relax, we know how to make your kitchen timelessly gorgeous and functional.

Fiesta ware displayed on open shelves in kitchenA white kitchen is the perfect backdrop for showcasing Fiesta ware on open  shelves. Image: Kim Woodward/NewlyWoodwards.com

We see lots of kitchen trends at HouseLogic, so we know it’s easy to get  swept along with what’s in vogue, only to get bummed out by your faddish design  choices a few years later. Thank you — and damn you — Pinterest.

But chances are you’re only going to remodel your current kitchen once. After  all, the annual Cost vs.  Value Report from Remodeling magazine pegs the average price of a  major kitchen remodel at about $54,000. With that much on the line, you want to  make all the right moves. If you do, you could recoup nearly 70% of your  investment if you sell.
So we’re here to future-proof you from angst by  naming the seven definitive kitchen features that will retain  their beauty, marketability, and value — all while giving you lasting enjoyment.
#1: White is the Dominant Color
Bottom line:  White is the most marketable color. You’ll always find it atop the National  Kitchen and Bath Association’s annual survey of most popular kitchen colors. It  simply doesn’t go out of style.
White’s mojo:

  • Throughout history, it’s been associated with happiness, purity (think Snow  White), and new beginnings.
  • It’s a bright color that reflects light and makes even small  kitchens feel larger.
  • It’s a neatnik’s dream — dirt has no place to hide.

Even better, it’s uber-tolerant of both your budget and taste: A standard  color for any manufacturer, you’ll find white cabinets, tile, counters, faucets,  sinks, and appliances at any price point.

Vintage stove

Credit: Ken Clark, Realtor

Related:

  • White:  The Savvy and Chic Kitchen Color Choice
  • Before  and After Pictures of White Kitchens

And with a white backdrop, you can be as conservative or expressive as you  want. After all, it’s about your enjoyment, not just dollars and cents. For  example:

  • Add your personal touch with colored glass knobs and pulls.

Glass knobs

 Credit: Allessia of Little Lessy

  • Show off antique Fiesta ware on open shelves or in upper cabinets with glass  fronts.
  • Paint walls the color du jour — even off-white!

Paint walls

Credit: Lisa Damrosch

Heck, with a white palette, you can change your mind about paint color on a  whim. Those all-white basics will make any hue you choose look fresh and  contemporary.

Related: Using  Color to Personalize Your Kitchen and Home
#2: Hardwood for  Flooring

Wood floor

 Credit: RJK Construction, Inc.

It’s been our foot fetish for years. That’s especially true ever since  hardwood flooring was mass-produced during the Industrial Revolution, making  beautiful flooring readily available at a reasonable cost.
Today, more  than half of home buyers who purchased a home without hardwood floors say they  would have paid an extra $2,080 for them, according to the 2013 Home Features  Survey from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. And among buyers of any age,  upwards of 80% say hardwood floors are “somewhat” or “very  important.”
“It’s the one feature men and women agree on,” says Debe  Robinson, NKBA treasurer and owner of Kitchen Expressions Inc. in Sheffield,  Ala., who’s also worked in the flooring industry.
Why? The love of wood  is in our genes. Our nesting instincts know that hardwood has warmth,  personality, and makes our homes cozy and inviting. That’s why this clever  chameleon pairs well with any kitchen style — from casual cottage and sleek  contemporary to the most chi-chi Park Avenue traditional.
More reasons  why wood flooring is the goof-proof option:

  • Perfect for open floor plans. It flows beautifully from the  kitchen into adjoining rooms.
  • It’s tough. Hardwoods such as oak, ash, and maple will  shrug off your kitchen’s high-traffic punishment for years. Solid hardwood  flooring can be refinished 10 to 12 times during it’s typical 100-year  lifespan.
  • It’s eco-friendly. Hardwood is considered a green building  material when it’s certified  by the Forest Stewardship Council and comes from sustainably managed  forests.

Related: The  Best Choices for Kitchen Flooring

#3: Shaker Style for Cabinets

Shaker cabinets

Credit: Stacey Collins Design

Thank heaven for the Shakers. While they were busy reducing life to its  essentials, they made cabinets with clean, simple lines that will  forever be in style.
Shaker cabinets are an enduring legacy of American  style and, like wood flooring, have the knack for looking good in any setting.  Their simple frame-and-panel design helps reduce the amount of busyness in a  kitchen, making it a soothing, friendly place to be.
“In a kitchen with a  timeless look, you want the cabinets to be part of the backdrop,” says Alan  Zielinski, a former president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “You  don’t want to be overpowered. You’re looking for plain, simple, clean  lines.”
Those plain, simple, clean lines are a perfect fit for  transitional style — a beautiful combo of traditional and contemporary styles.  In fact, the National Kitchen and Bath Association says that after creeping up  on traditional for years, transitional is now the most popular kitchen  style.

As our families grow more diverse, transitional style will only get more  popular. It lets us personalize and blend cultural influences — Latin, Asian,  Mideastern — into our homes; it’s the perfect balance of old and new, just like  Shaker-style cabinets.

Related: How  to Choose Kitchen Cabinets for the Best Value
#4: Carrara  Marble for Countertops

Carrara marble

Credit: Jennifer Thompson

Carrara marble is a timeless classic that’s been used in homes for thousands  of years. (Michelangelo’s “David” was carved from Carrara.) It’ll look as good  in the next millennium as it does now.
Here’s why:

  • Carrara’s lacy graining and subtle white colors look terrific in a white  kitchen (or any kitchen, for that matter).
  • It has a whiteness you won’t find in other natural stones.
  • It’s readily available, making it less expensive than other high-end  choices, such as quartz.
  • It’ll last for generations.

If you Google it, you’ll find a lot of debate about it (and marble in  general) because it stains easily. But if you want something truly timeless,  Carrara is the answer. And with today’s sealants, the problem of staining is  almost moot if you reseal once or twice a year.

Related: How  to Get the Look of Marble Without the Cost
Still not sold? Or don’t  have the budget? Laminate  countertops are relatively inexpensive and can be upgraded to stone when you  do have the budget.
#5: Subway Tile for the  Backsplash

Subway tile

Credit: A Lo and Behold Life

Subway tile goes back to the early 1900s, when it was used to line New York’s  first subway tunnels. Classic subway tiles are white, 3-by-6-inch rectangles — a  look that became popular in American kitchens and baths, and has stuck around  ever since. Now it’s an iconic part of the American design vernacular, destined  never to go out of style.
In the kitchen, ceramic tile excels as a  backsplash, where it guards against moisture, is a snap to clean, lasts forever,  and always looks classy.
Sure, a backsplash can be an opportunity for a  blast of color and pattern, but neutrals will always be current and blend with  any look. Plus, a subway tile backsplash and a marble countertop make a dashing  couple that will stand the test of time.
To make it even more enduring,  keep it achromatic and camouflage dirt with gray or beige grout.

Related: Classic  Backsplashes for Any Budget
#6: Ergonomic  Design
Adaptability and universal  design features mean easy living at any age. A recent survey on kitchens  from the American Institute of Architects points to the growing popularity of  smart ergonomic design, a sign that kitchen adaptability will stay in vogue.
Smart ergonomics simply mean convenience — for young or old, party  people or homebodies — a key factor when remodeling  a kitchen that will function well, retain its value, and always feel  right.
No matter you or your buyer’s current or future needs, everyone  wins with these approaches:

  • Create different countertop heights. Standard height is 36  inches, but you can raise or lower sections of cabinets by altering the height  of the base. Add color-match shim strips to the bases of countertops that don’t  include sinks or appliances. You (or a new owner) can easily remove them or add  to them to adjust the height.
  • Swap a standard range for a wall oven and a cooktop. Ranges  have fixed heights. There’s no getting around the fact you have to bend to  access the oven. But a wall  oven conveniently installs about waist-high.
  • Add pull-out shelves to base cabinets. Lower cabinets with  doors mean having to twist like a pretzel to see what’s inside. Pull-out shelves  put everything at your fingertips.

Smart storage

Credit: Autumn Clemons of MyDesignDump.blogspot.com

  • Keep wide clearances. Kitchens attract people, and with  open floor plans, you’re apt to have folks hunting for snacks, helping you cook,  or just hanging out while you prep meals. Keep traffic flowing with a minimum of  42 inches between counters and islands.

Related: Find  Out How Stylish Ergonomic Design Can Be

#7: Smart Storage
Today’s families store about 47% of  their kitchen stuff outside the kitchen — in laundry  rooms, basements, even sheds — according to data released at the 2013  Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
We blame it on the fact that kitchens  have evolved from a tucked-away place at the back of the house into a  multiple-chef, multi-tasking space that’s the hub of family life. Plus, our love  of open kitchens and stocking up at warehouse stores means less wall space and  more stuff, kitchen design expert Robinson says.
The solution: smart  storage. Cabinet manufacturers have you covered with nearly unlimited storage  options — shelves and compartments that unfold, turn, extend, and  slide.
But it’s not just about having storage, it’s about designing it  smartly. Follow these guidelines to make your storage  timeless:
Create a primary storage zone. This is an area  30 to 60 inches high and within two feet on either side of your body. Store your  most-used items here — your favorite work knives, measuring cups, salt and  pepper for cooking, your trusty pots and pans. With one easy motion, you can  grab what you use all the time.
Plan for the unknown. A  truly timeless kitchen anticipates and adapts to future needs, such as:

  • A space that can easily convert to an office, wine  storage, or a closet.
  • Lower cabinet spaces that can accommodate a wine cooler, under-counter  refrigerator, a second  dishwasher, or new must-have kitchen appliances on the horizon. (Remember  when microwaves didn’t exist?)
  • An open space that fits a freestanding desk or favorite antique that can  personalize the kitchen — no matter who owns the home.

See Storage Options  that Pack More Space in Your Kitchen

Related: Smart  Kitchen Remodeling Strategies to Get You Started
We feel strongly  about these kitchen features, but we love your strong opinions, too. So tell us  what you think! 

John_Riha   John Rihahas written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on  home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of  the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of  Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

This is fun to check out. It shows some of the different homes styles that have been built over the years. It sometimes helps my first time buyers decide what style they do or more importantly don’t like when home buying. Actually, it has helped some of my sellers when remodeling or adding onto their home too.

Every house has a style. Sometimes it has two or more; because of renovations and new, eclectic mixes, fitting a home into one specific category can be daunting or even impossible. Thankfully, there’s no need to memorize complicated architectural terminology. REALTOR® Magazine has compiled a convenient compendium of common styles. Delve in and learn to highlight the details that give a home character, history, and romance.

By: Dona DeZube

As long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bill and make your home a bit healthier?

Saving energy wasn’t on the list of reasons we’re finally ripping out the kitchen in our mid-century home (green-veined, imitation marble laminate countertops figured much more prominently). But, a session at the recent 2012 Remodeling Show in Baltimore clued me in as to why adding a few simple tasks to our remodeling plan could lower our home’s energy bill, get rid of some of the annoying hot and cold spots in our house, and make our home less hospitable to mold and other allergens.

Carl Seville, author of Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, shared some simple, inexpensive ways to make remodels and additions more energy efficient from the standpoint of energy usage and conservation of resources.

Try these eight tips from Seville:

1. Check for water intrusion, condensation, and excess moisture before you begin the project. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality (excess moisture encourages mold).

2. Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls. Not only will you have to pay for less lumber and fewer nails, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy efficient.

3. Resist the urge to splurge on multiple shower heads. Opt for a single low-flow shower head rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of shower heads.

4. If possible, add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled, rather than placing them in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

5. Be sure to insulate around recessed lights that protrude into un-insulated attic spaces — these are major sources of air leaks.

6. If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy. Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

7. Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates for the outlets where you plug in your televisions and computers to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using.

8. A humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan when moisture rises beats depending on teenagers or tenants remembering to use the fan. Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances you’ll have mold.

When I pull the kitchen cabinets off the wall, I’m going to use caulk to seal between the wallboards and the floorboards before I put down new flooring and install the new cabinets. And since I’ll have the caulk out, I’m going to seal the top of window trim, something my home’s builder didn’t do.

What are your tips for smart energy savings during a remodel?

 

 Most homeowners opt to add some upgrades to a new home, with the cost rolled into the mortgage. But the choices of what flooring, lighting, or other upgrades to choose can be overwhelming.

Designer Candice Olson, author and host of HGTV’s “Candice Tells All,” says lighting and extra wiring are key upgrades new home buyers should consider.

“Adding lighting – or at least the wiring for it – means you’ll be able to have bathroom sconces instead of that one overhead light the builder gives you,” Olson says. “Your flat-screen TV can be where you want it. You’ll have a floor outlet for the lamp in middle of the open room. And you won’t be ripping out walls later to do all this.”

She says homeowners shouldn’t forget about the exterior lighting either. “Outside lighting, plus landscaping, will set apart your house from the others in the neighborhood where buyers chose from plans A, B and C,” Olson says.

As for flooring, Olson recommends hardwood floors for the main living areas, and cork floors in any areas where water leakage could be a problem.

She also says the addition of taller baseboards, chair rails, crown molding, coffered ceilings, built-ins or a banquette also are smart investments for upgrades.

Source: “Decisions, Decisions: Add Character to Your Home With a Few Choice Upgrades,” Chicago Tribune (2011)

© Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 392 other followers

List of Categories

Monthly archive of my posts

RSS PROView-Pinellas Realtor Organization

  • Pinellas REALTOR® Organization awards members for volunteerism, longevity, creativity September 17, 2018
    The Annual Business Meeting & Installation was held on September 14, 2018.  The following PRO members received the Good Neighbor Award for making an extraordinary impact on our community by giving their time and resources: • Kim Adams, RE/MAX Elite Realty – Wheelchairs 4 Kids • Susan Littlejohn, Littlejohn Real Estate – Dunedin Museum, Inc. • Jaime McKni […]
    PROView
  • 2019 Pinellas REALTOR Organization Board of Directors September 17, 2018
    The following members will be serving on the Board of Directors in 2019: Chair: Kevin Batdorf, Batdorf and Associates Chair Elect: Cyndee Haydon, Future Home Realty Past Chair: Paul Hendriks, Gulf to Bay Homes & Estates Secretary: Tom Steck, Century 21 Real Estate Champions Treasurer: Glen Richardson, Smith & Associates Real Estate Director: Ken Brel […]
    PROView
  • ‘Welcome’ to all our new members who joined us in August September 4, 2018
    The Pinellas REALTOR® Organization would like to welcome all of our new REALTORS® who joined us in August! We are happy to have you as a part of our organization and wish you much success in your careers. A Better Life Realty Christian A. Ellis All County Advanced Prop Mgmt Sarah D. Holsopple A-Team Home […]
    PROView
  • July 2018 Pinellas County Real Estate Statistics August 21, 2018
    Click here to view the report to see what the numbers tell us about the market.
    PROView
  • PRO recommends candidates, Clearwater Mayor ordinance, Flood insurance update August 3, 2018
    PRO Recommends Candidates for State and Local Elections The Board of Directors of the PRO announced its recommendations for Florida State House District 66, State House District 69, Pinellas County Commission District 6, Pinellas County School Board District 2, District 3, District 6, and District 7. Based on the public service, respect for property rights, […]
    PROView

Visit Me at Active Rain

Advertisements