Putting your heart back into your home
BY LISA CIPRIANO
Home is supposed to be where the heart resides. But, what if your heart just isn’t in your home? You may want to consider a home addition or remodeling a room or two! The investment not only will make life more convenient and your surroundings more beautiful, but it will boost your homes resale value as well. According to the design experts, kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that are most in need of updating in older homes.
That’s because lifestyles have changed dramatically over the decades. Most of us live much more casually and fast-paced. More homeowners are looking for open, airy floor plans with less walls, beams and barriers that separate the family as busy lives decrease precious family time. “Most of my clients are looking for a comfortable, relaxed and casual environment; a place they can gather with their family and friends that’s easy to care for but looks polished,” said Sharon Kory, owner of Sharon Kory Interiors in Birmingham.
The open air approach isn’t being used for just family rooms and living rooms, but for all areas of the house including kitchens. “Kitchens are no longer a traditional closed off space. That’s where people congregate,” explained Allen Bodiya, co-owner of Ferndale-based Kitchen Concepts, Inc. “They want the kitchen open to the living room and dining room. They want it completely open to the house.”
So, that means some of the walls and interior doors of a lot of older homes are coming down! ”The older homes had more formal, closed off dining rooms. We live more casually now. So, people are tearing down the walls and soffits and opening it all up. They want to interact and see what their children are doing in the other room while preparing meals,” added Bodiya.
Victor Saroki, president of Birmingham-based Saroki Architecture, agrees. His clients also are looking for that open, airy casual feel to their room remodels and additions. “Lifestyles have gone from one where everybody sat all at once at the dining room table to eating at their kitchen islands and not everyone eating at the same time,” Saroki explained.
The formal family dining room or front room for entertaining are also things of the past. “Now, when people entertain, they are entertaining right in the kitchen. People are gathered all around where the food is being prepared and are all part of the event.”
Homeowners are also removing eaves, soffits and raising cabinets up to the ceilings to get more space and achieve that more casual, light and airy feel. “People are going for more of a transitional look instead of traditional. The look has more clean lines. Whites and greys are really popular right now,” Bodiya said.
Formica and Corian countertops are being replaced with granite, quartz or a manmade, durable and maintenance free stone product like quartzite. Hot modernized kitchen trends also include under the cabinet lighting for convenience and ambiance, porcelain tile that mimics the look of natural stone or wood and counter depth refrigerators and large commercial six-burner ranges.
Bathrooms are the other room in older homes most in need of changing with the times to accommodate busy lifestyles. “People want dual sinks in a master bathroom. They want more large showers instead of bathtubs. The standard built into the wall tubs are hardly ever used,” explained Bodiya.
But, the concept of the home bathtub isn’t dead yet. In fact, they have gone back in time a bit. “Customers are gravitating toward freestanding bathtubs with feet, which are sometimes used a focal point of a master bath,” Bodiya added.
Not only have our lifestyles changed, but so has the process of designing and visualizing a room remodel or addition. No longer are homeowners bringing in pictures from magazines. They are armed with a world of pictures, ideas and information from the internet on their smartphones. “I ask my clients to provide me with their inspiration photos or ‘lookbooks’ of spaces they’re attracted to, either from Houzz or Pinterest,” said Kory. “This gives me a starting point for their design aesthetic.”
And, of course, homeowners are expecting a certain level of technology when it comes to designing and visualizing their home remodeling and room addition dreams. “We do a complete 3D, color rendering of their project. And from there, we can play around with the design with different styles, products and colors,” said Bodiya.
It’s very important to hire a room remodeling and home addition company that works closely with homeowners to give them exactly what they want, need and dreamed. These experts meet with their customers regularly during the process to extensively discuss the design and construction process. “Being at the high-end of the industry, we are very specific. We can spend as long as three to six months in the designing phase while meeting many times with the customer. Then, sometimes it can take as long a year for construction. It varies by the client and the project,” Saroki explained.
The cost of a room remodeling or home addition, of course, varies according to the size and scope of the project. “Project costs can range anywhere from $5000 to more than $100,000 depending on the client’s needs and budget,” said Kory.
Regardless of how much you spend, room remodeling and home additions pay off in more ways than one. Aside from your home being more comfortable, family friendly and convenient, its resale value is guaranteed to increase. But, the biggest benefit is putting the heart back in your home. And, that’s priceless.