When a home is first bought, there’s generally a feeling of great excitement in the air! Typically if a home isn’t being built specifically to the new homeowner’s specifications, there are areas where a homeowner envisions making improvements at some point down the road. Or, rather than being move-in ready with a few improvements that can be done whenever the opportunity is right, the home may be intended as a fixer-upper in the first place. For any significant home remodeling projects that are going to be enjoyed for years to come, it’s important that you utilize the vast expertise of the capable professionals here in the Omaha Metro to help you convert your vision for your home into a finished product that’s exactly what you had in mind. There is great potential in any home, from adding living space or modern decorative touches to repurposing existing space to better fit your needs and so much more—the sky is truly the limit!
Key Design Features
The appearance of a home is often a main priority to individuals. However, as many are fully aware after going through the home buying process, looks are not everything. Structure in a home, often referred to as its “bones,” and everything functioning as it should is also important. Thus, making sure that elements that have been remodeled both work and look nice can be seen as the “golden rule” in residential remodeling.
Anything that gets a lot of use in your home or places that you spend a lot of time can be seen as the most popular areas when it comes to residential remodeling projects. In the home setting, a lot of enjoyment is derived from one’s surroundings for many different reasons— relaxing, entertaining, and specific purposes for space, among other things.
As such, upgrades to the kitchen and living room areas are enjoyed by all because they get the most regular use and can have multiple purposes. Many are advised to allocate a majority of their remodeling budget into these areas, and with good reason, because they are high-traffic, focal points of the home that double as both living and entertaining areas. Flow or circulation planning is essential, followed by the selection of the appropriate and most functional features and finishes that also look stunning. For those with a limited budget, you’d be surprised how much, for example, a new backsplash in the kitchen or updating the fireplace can really add to the atmosphere.
Mike Prendergast of Modern Concepts Tile advises, “We see a lot of people adding to the areas of the home that they utilize for entertaining, such as the bar and the flooring. Flooring is always an investment that enhances the overall look of the home. Trends can be found in larger floor mat tiles and plank tiling, as well as faux wood finishes. As far as design goes, there really are so many different styles and looks that you can choose from to achieve the exact look that you are going for. For those with families or in high traffic areas, the larger tiles in a quality porcelain material are made to last so that you’ll avoid costly premature replacement. Longevity is key to a good return on investment when it comes to any of the materials you’re incorporating in residential remodeling projects.”
Particularly with flooring, Prendergast further advises, “A level surface is critical when it comes to flooring— it needs to be perfectly flat and depending upon the surface that can be tricky, so certain flooring systems make it easier to ensure proper installation with all of the corners and edges nicely fitting together. One thing that I’d caution people on is buying lower quality materials typically found at big box stores. It is more difficult to install most times and you can tell the difference in the look once it is installed, as opposed to quality-checked materials that come directly from experienced suppliers and distributors. It is worth paying an extra dollar or two per square foot for something that will look much better and for a much longer period of time. I can’t stress enough that proper installation and materials are both critical to longevity.”
Home remodeling is very much about the personal touches, so just about every project is different. With tile, so much can be done with design—especially with areas that you can incorporate intricate designs, such as bathrooms. It is a space that must be functional, but also aesthetically pleasing for a luxurious experience or daily use. Modern Concepts Tile has helped clients that are at many different points in planning, from the very beginning with a clean slate to just coming on for the installation process based upon a design that is already established. It all depends on defining the client’s vision so that what is in their mind is translated to what the finished product will ultimately look like when all is said and done. As some people already have picked out and/or purchased their tile, Modern Concepts Tile would then come alongside to help with the design and installation so that it all comes together right. Alternatively, if the client is just starting to look into the possibilities, Modern Concepts Tile can provide plenty of ideas.
The goal of Modern Concepts Tile is to just ensure that their clients are happy with the finished product. But, getting to that point is different for each job.
“With planning, we find that it is important to cover all of the bases right from the beginning, which generally comes from knowing which questions to ask,” says Prendergast. “For example, how much shelving do you need in your shower? It is always the little things that people do not necessarily think of, but a professional knows to look out for so that the end product comes out great. Our job is to have our clients thinking about anything that may need to be included or would have a benefit to them if included.”
When it comes to options, with all of the new items out there are also the classics that have only improved with time. While we just discussed the popularity and advantages of faux finishes, to this day, hardwood flooring remains one of the most popular remodel requests. It definitely has other benefits in addition to the obvious, it’s timeless beauty.
Jim Kwasniewski of Heartland Wood Floors notes, “This type of flooring gives the consumer the option in the future of changing color multiple times throughout the life of the wood floor. No other floor covering will do that without removing the total floor and having to replace it.”
As far as the different looks that can be achieved with wood flooring, reclaimed materials, wider planks, and rustic-looking materials continue to be on-trend. “Engineered floors in the wider dimensions actually help with expansion and contraction too,” Kwasniewski elaborates. “Always look at the mill thickness of the top layer of material to ensure that there is enough workable surface for future sandings. However, keep in mind that not all wood flooring can be sanded—the thickness of the wear layer will determine that.”
If you are planning to take on flooring as the complete focus or just one part of your remodeling efforts, it is important to consider the maintenance that will be required in the future to keep it in the best shape possible.
Another popular trend on our radar is expanding into an adjoining bedroom to make the master suite larger, with more space allocated to the bedroom, bathroom, adding a walk-in closet, or a combination of all three. A lot of times, older houses are broken up into different rooms, whereas newer homes are more open, but a different floor plan that’s more in line with your taste or intended use can be achieved from homes originally built in many different time periods. The possibilities for the outcome really depend on the unique features of your home and the space you have available. The location of the rooms and walls will determine most of what you’ll be able to do in terms of creativity. If you have a room you can give up and it’s in ideal proximity, you’re good to go.
This same idea goes for build outs, which are usually the kitchen or master suite area. However, the size of your lot and ability to obtain a building permit from the city based on their guidelines are the limiting factors here. All told, some things are easily changes while some things are forever, so it’s helpful to approach planning with that in mind.
Particularly with respect to the kitchen and master bath area, as previously touched upon, tilework can prove to be both beautiful and beneficial.
Jason Tidblom of Ceramic Tileworks Center encourages those who are considering a remodel to do a little bit of homework before approaching the job. “Place your trust in a reputable company; let them know what your selections are and exactly what you have in mind, and they’ll be able to tell you about all of the options you’ll have. Everyone takes advice from friends and family, which is great, but it is even better to seek advice from knowledgeable suppliers and professionals. Also, do not always believe what you read on the internet about these projects. Not every method applies to every product.”
Tidblom also further advises that trend-wise, large walk-in showers have grown to be more popular. These luxury showers can contain amenities such as a bench or multiple shower heads, just to name a few. This trend is seen as replacing the popular Jacuzzi tubs from 20 years ago.
As a word of caution, interior planning and design is a critical part of the process that tends to get neglected, especially if the project seems fairly straightforward. Particularly now with the popularity of open floor plans, it’s important to put thought into the design because again, there are many different ways that older homes can be altered depending on your preferences and intended use of the resulting space. Open floor plans provides a lot more flexibility along with a nice look and flow if designed properly, so it’s certainly something where the outcome is well worth the investment.
Along with guaranteeing that you’re not cutting corners with the quality of the materials as previously mentioned, it really is of the utmost importance to partner with an experienced, reputable professional who will make sure everything is in place so that the job gets done right. When it comes to selecting who that will be, make sure to do your research and check reviews. Many contractors will also provide references of past clients so that you can call and ask them for yourself. While a commodity mindset largely prevails to this day, with many operating on the assumption that not much differs from one contractor to another, but be assured that is not the case. There are many great ones and unfortunately there are the not-so-great ones that give our industry a bad name altogether. Ensuring that you are working with someone who is just as invested in the outcome of your remodeling endeavor as you are is by far the best way to go.
Incorporating Cutting-Edge Technology
Presently living within the age of technology, it is no wonder that accessories and amenities are ever so popular in homes. Not every form of technology, system work, or in-home accessory is as glamorous as the next, but they all generally add something in terms of function, aesthetic value, or both. However, we are living in a time where homeowners are able to take advantage of impressive technology in all areas of their residences.
Echo Systems is a great source for all things related to technology with applications in the home, ranging from invisible speakers throughout the house to automated shades, or even just a simple home wireless network. In fact, a home’s wireless network has actually become one of the most important upgrades that one can make this day in age. A couple dozen homes today use the Internet more than the whole world did just 6 years ago! Given this current reality, a $50 router from a big box store is no longer a good fit for the world we live in.
According to Doug Dushan of Echo Systems, hiding technology is one of the most common requests when it comes to home upgrades. “Whether a client wants a small or even invisible speaker, or a television behind a mirror or piece of art, we are willing to provide assistance with that. The demand for customized home technology has grown exponentially in recent years. Despite the fact that some of the better aesthetic solutions can be on the pricey side, we’ll find a way to work within almost any budget to deliver a design that doesn’t compromise appearance.”
If incorporating cutting-edge technology sounds like a part of your remodel dream, heading over to the showroom at Echo Systems will allow you to see a world of possibilities with your own two eyes, and experience how these things function as well. Make no mistake, not all audio and video capabilities are created equal and the proper infrastructure to support all that you’re incorporating is critical.
Indeed, “Smart homes” are definitely on-trend; in fact, accordingly to wireless industry group GSMA, the smart home market is projected to grow to $44 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2017, which signals that there is major interest and demand from homeowners.
Pat Killeen of Engineered Controls offers some ideas to consider in the area of smart home technology:
“How cool would it be if you had a house you could control from wherever you are? Or if you never had to remember to turn the lights off again, or worry about losing your house keys, or worry if the kids are home alone? For this reason, every home remodel project is the perfect opportunity for homeowners to upgrade their home’s technology to an environmentally friendly Connected or Smart Home.
By partnering with professional security companies like Engineered Controls, we have proved products from industry manufacturers such as Honeywell and others that provide connected homes technology of the future: a connected home where heating, security and entertainment are fully automated and all of the latest gadgets enable creature comforts with the press of a button or a spoken command. These companies have been providing the desired features of smart home systems for years. From award-winning wireless thermostats and zoning systems to control your home heating and cooling comfort system, to security and monitoring technology like wireless occupancy sensors and IP cameras to give homeowners the peace of mind they are looking for. And the beauty of it is Engineered Controls already has integrated smartphone apps for the end-user interface from both Androids and iPhones.
And the best part is that even if you’re not a technology wizard, you can purchase a household’s worth of sensors, cameras and devices for far less than it would have cost just a few years ago.”
That fact is, the world of technology is changing so rapidly that it is imperative to work with a company that stays up-to-date on the latest training and certification coursework. If anyone in the technology field says “We have always done it this way,” you should run the other way!
Furthermore, remember that as new features are being added to the home when it comes time for a residential remodel, it is important that the home’s existing infrastructure will be able to support them. Otherwise you’ll be looking at an investment in that area as well to get the desired results. Your electrician will be a great source to utilize for anything that is related to your electrical system, whether that’s updating some old lighting fixtures or installing new control devices for your home’s systems in place of the outdated ones.
Maximizing Your Space
When deciding that a remodel project is in order for your home, the exterior features may get passed over in favor of improving the indoor space where the homeowners spend the majority of their time. Yet, most of the perception of a home is generally shaped quickly after just scanning the outside of a home. Past presentation and curb appeal, there’s often additional space that’s not being utilized and has a wealth of untapped potential.
Within the entirety of your property, there are ways that remodeling projects can achieve the goal of adding more usable space to the home. This includes build-outs or targeted improvements to the existing features, such as the garage or outdoor square footage that’s not currently serving a purpose.
In fact, HGTV recently stated that outdoor living upgrades very commonly have a very high return on investment. Not only will you get most, if not all of your investment back when you sell your home, but you also get a really nice outdoor living area that makes your home nicer, more enjoyable, and more desirable.
Adding a sunroom is one way to get the best of both worlds as far as indoor entertaining space that’s protected from the elements but that offers full exposure to natural light and the beauty of the outdoors. With a variety of sunroom types, including: Gable sunrooms, Studio sunrooms, Solariums, Conservatories, screen rooms, and existing sunroom work or fill-ins, Malibu Sunrooms is a great business to reach out to if having a sunroom is your dream, or alternatively, if your improving upon your existing sunroom or adding living and/or entertaining space is your goal. “Sunrooms not only add value to your home, but it’s like bringing the outdoors ‘in’,” says Terri Petersen of Malibu Sunrooms. “They add character and charm when you see them on a home, but from the inside, the benefits are even greater. They allow more light into your living space, more room for relaxation and they give you a positive, peaceful state of mind. It’s everyone’s favorite room in the house! Just ask Paige Zutavern, owner of Strictly Business–she’s a proud owner of a Malibu Sunroom!”
Another space that can serve multiple functions is the garage. In terms of the space it occupies, you can also make upgrades that will allow you to utilize it for more than its original intended use, which is obviously parking your car. For many, it can double for entertaining as an extension of the yard and driveway where guests can get out of the elements. So, if entertaining outside is your goal, Great Plains Epoxy is a great source for helping you to transform what’s generally a boring and barren place into a fun and usable space. Epoxy is a thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating that’s used for areas that require a safe, clean, and barefoot friendly, non-slip surface. It is also an aesthetically appealing flooring solution that can easily incorporate design elements (Husker fans: think a Big Red “N” in the center of your garage for when you’re having friends over for the game).
Epoxy is low maintenance and easy to clean with no resealing or grout. It is more affordable than vinyl or tile and increases your home’s re-sale value too, even if you’re not using your garage for anything other than to shelter your vehicle. However, many homeowners are opting for turning their garage into a space to accommodate overflow for larger gatherings. These events might include: graduations, football games, family get-togethers, and entertainment. Marcus Hellwege of Great Plains Epoxy notes, “Homeowners are installing televisions, sound systems, heaters, and dressing up their garage in general now more than ever before. Our new thing is installing decals into the floor, which has really taken off. We also do lava flow for interior rooms, such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms, bar areas, and mud rooms.”
No outdoor living and entertaining area, or landscape for that matter, is complete without beautiful lighting to illuminate the area and accent the property overall. At Natural Nightscapes lighting is seen as a multi-functional way to bring beauty, drama, and added security to your landscape. They see every space as an opportunity to make it unique and profoundly satisfying.
On the topics of design and quality, Travis Lerdahl of Natural Night-Scapes states, “These are everything in the outdoor lighting world. Every beautiful outdoor lighting project starts with a design, and the design starts with an understanding of the client. The initial consultation is our time to talk about the style, characteristics of the property, and the overall expectations between us and the customer. Upon discovery, the landscape and architectural lighting design begins.”
The latest and greatest innovation in lighting is seen as color changing outdoor lighting, which really adds drama and is an upgrade that when incorporated, will truly elevates the overall look of your property.
Certain projects such as those that involve landscaping, outdoor living and entertaining spaces, and build-outs will first require properly defining where you property lines lie. Toni Montana of Land Survey Inc. advises, “One should not begin to implement a project near property lines without knowing exactly where those borders are first. The effort, time and money spent on planning and then building can easily go down the drain without taking the initial time to have a professional boundary survey done. I have experienced too many property owners skipping this process and unfortunately it ends up costing more than double the money (or more) to properly complete their landscaping project. By getting a professional boundary survey of your property done, it will be on file and any future disputes will be nullified. You’ll then be able to proceed with your project and enjoy the fruits of your labor for the rest of the year and on into the future without any complications that would arise from accidentally crossing past where your property lines lie.”
As the average cost of a home remodel ranges from $18,000 to over $100,000, it is no wonder professionals and those who have already remodeled their home recommend hiring experienced professionals for the job. Many times it seems simple enough to translate a Pinterest idea or something you’ve seen on TV into a do-it-yourself job, and then you get started and realize you’re out of your depth. However, that’s not always the case; some people are just much more inclined to carry out these projects successfully than others.
If you are thinking that a job is easy enough for you to do and all that is missing are the machines or equipment needed in order to carry it out, Honeyman Rent-All would be a great source to utilize as opposed to investing in items you’ll only likely use that one time. After all, this is money that you can put into your remodeling project!
Honeyman Rent-All takes pride in their extensive rental inventory and hands-on customer service, thus, making them perfect to be your equipment supplier. Their goal is to help you turn your remodel vision into a reality. As an added value, Honeyman Rent-All’s knowledgeable staff will make sure you fully understand how to operate each piece of equipment that you rent before you leave with it and are on your own. Troy Honeyman, General Manager of Honeyman Rent-All, explains, “Our main goal, besides having everything you might need available, is to provide guidance and hands-on service in order to ensure that you have the right equipment and tools for the job so that you can bring your home remodeling project to life!”
Also, you might be ready to host a party once your remodel is actually done to celebrate your accomplishments and show off your new digs to all of your guests. If so, Honeyman Rent-All also has a comprehensive party and event rental side of the business, with inventory including canopies, centerpieces, linens, games, and supplies—basically anything you could possibly need to throw that backyard barbeque or fun soiree in honor of your remodel!
Whether the indoors or the outdoors are more important to you as the homeowner and whether you want to remodel your whole home or focus more on a certain area, residential remodeling can be the answer to many of your problems and complaints regarding the place that you spend most of your time; your home. As everyone has different design concept related to their taste and desired functionality, the main ideas of residential remodeling remain very similar and consistent. As we’ve covered, the home’s appearance and functionality are two of the most important factors when it comes to design, seeking out help for the remodel job will save you a lot of time and money, incorporating home accessories is an exciting way to keep things fresh and new as the homeowner, and don’t forget about your home’s exterior features. Also, remember that when it comes to your remodel that you should always do your research, not only on the professional that you hire to complete the work but on the materials and features you’ve got your heart set on incorporating to ensure that they’re the best choices after all. If each of those are carefully considered, the road to your remodel will be taken with much more ease and executed productively.