If You Build It…
They will come from miles around to compliment your work. There is truly no obstacle that a little bit of planning can’t overcome. Yes, it is going to be messy—if you’re doing a bathroom remodel, your style is going to be cramped for a few days to a week. A kitchen renovation may take a few weeks before the dust settles. Back yard projects are great because they are always evolving, and a lot of the inspiration for how to finish the inside of your home comes from what your surroundings are on the exterior. Some projects—like upgrading windows and insulating the attic better—are just plain smart for efficiency and resale reasons. Let’s talk projects in order of importance.
What to do First…
The most important of projects should start from the exterior and work towards the interior. This can mean a variety of jobs like making sure your roof is up to code and hasn’t been damaged from previous storms. Many times local and reputable roofing companies will offer a free inspection of your roof. If they believe there is damage, let your trusted roofing contractor set up an appointment with your insurance adjuster. Many times your insurance agent will not only cover the cost of a new roof, but will also cover the cost of things like painting and screen replacement.
Your siding and paint are next on the list. If your paint job is looking flat, dull, and chipped, then it’s time to think about painting. Siding can go from paintable to replaceable within a very short period of time if neglected. One year, a paint job may cost you $3,000 whereas if you skip that paint job for too long, it may end up costing you three to four times that amount to replace the damaged siding. The cheapest siding in the world will last forever if properly maintained.
The exterior of your home also includes making sure your windows and doors are up to modern energy standards and have no drafting. A simple guide to your windows: if the frames are made of steel or aluminum, they are going to transfer heat and cold faster from the outside in. Vinyl and fiberglass frames are channeled to transfer temperatures at a slower rate, allowing for better performance. It is also important to know how many panes of glass are between you and the weather. Double pane is industry standard, while other options like spacing between the glass and what the butyl is made of are all heavily debated among professionals in the field. Lastly, wood windows are not only beautiful but do well with heat transfer. The only issue is the heavy maintenance that needs to be attended to yearly.
Now that we’ve worked the outside of our home in order to protect our structure, maintain curb appeal, and keep us warm, it’s time to tackle the fun stuff. I believe your money should be spent in three major areas that will then influence the rest of your home. By focusing your efforts on the kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom, you will not only get a proper return on your investment, but coming home will also be truly refreshing and inviting at the end of your days.
The master bedroom is crucial: Truthfully, most of us spend much of our time in that room. I personally have a small workout spot, a place to do paper and computer work, a place to get dressed and check out my appearance, and also my bed. I highly recommend a book shelf close by.
The most inviting bathrooms have clean lines, hard surfaces, modern plumbing, and lots of accents—like hand towel bars and vanities to create a welcoming and warm environment. The choices are endless for high quality accessories, and once again, your return on investment is always high when it comes the bathrooms of the home. Natural stone is always a top choice because of its ability to go with most any decor. One easy upgrade that can add dramatic difference is to install a glass shower door and new tile surround to your shower and tub. Tile can be reglazed for slightly cheaper costs, but I say for the price, find some tile that speaks to you and replace the old stuff completely.
Finally, Your Dream Kitchen
Let’s talk shop about where to put your dollars when it comes to building your perfect kitchen. The right layout for cabinets with unique designs like wine coolers, trash containers, pull out shelves and baskets, and even bookshelves for your favorite cookbooks are all details that you don’t want to overlook. Take the time to really discover the unique qualities of each cabinet designer, just as you would your favorite designer of clothes.
I will always recommend the countertop be a solid, natural surface. They will last a lifetime and the upkeep is very easy. There are always great faux style countertops and with the right research, you can find something to fit a tighter budget in the synthetic category.
A beautiful backsplash to accent the countertops is essential, and from there it’s all about the appliances. Just as the Right Tool, Right Job motto goes for building, it carries over into appliances as well. Think long term with solid warranties, and happiness is yours. As far as how much of the work should you tackle, I say have faith in your abilities…but when it comes to certain projects like upgrading electrical or setting the countertops, let a professional help out. From there, I always urge people to take the risk of frustration because in the end you’ll feel a great sense of pride when you see your handiwork.
At the End of the Day…..
Take the time to really enjoy the fruits of your labor. By taking pride in your craftsmanship and understanding how things could go smoother the next time, you open yourself up to great ideas for your next project. I always say a clean job site is a happy job site—it’s the truth. Take time at the end of each day to clean tools, organize materials, and formulate goals for the next day. Some projects like laying tile and doing drywall can be messy and proper cleanup at the end of the day will save much frustration when going into the next day. Most important in the whole process is to always be planning ahead, always have the right tool for the job and budget 10-15 percent higher than you think—I promise you’re going to use up the extra money in ways you never planned for!
What’s Your ROI
(Return on Investment)