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October 2016

Get More from Your Remodeling Budget, by Design

With the holidays coming soon, you have so many pleasant things to think about: food, parties, gifts, visits with friends and family. You might also find yourself reminded that it's finally time to re-do the kitchen, update the bath, or enlarge the family room, before the holidays roll around next year.

Your family budget is probably another thing that's on your mind this time of year. And when it comes to remodeling, many homeowners think that getting good design means paying more. The truth is that you can end up paying the same for a well-designed project that's uniquely you as you would for a remodel that lacks personality and functionality. In addition, it's our experience that good design can actually save you money.

Home remodeling photo by Sylvestre Construction

What's our approach?

Our approach to remodeling certainly looks at how the design and the budget affect each other. But we also take a look at your lifestyle and the livability of your new space, so that the end result stretches your budget to make the most of everything from traffic flow and natural light, to storage and multipurpose functionality.

Three elements of great design that can also stretch your budget:

Thoughtful space planning. Without good space planning, the placement of closets, doors, windows and other features can eat up space without providing the features, function, and feel you're after. Good space planning carves the most value from every square inch. It also rewards you with a space that is designed for your lifestyle and comfort. You don't want to spend money on a beautiful kitchen only to find out that there is no place for a trash can or the dog's bowl.

Space planning can also reclaim "lost" space. Just imagine the space between wall studs becoming the perfect place for a storage niche in the master bathroom. A blank wall in a galley kitchen might, with some clever reconfiguring, become a storage wall of shallow cabinets perfect for stashing everything from the crockpot to barware.

Home remodeling photo by Sylvestre Construction

Upscale style on a modest budget. With good design, even smaller remodeling budgets can buy major style. Here's an example: you may love the look of certain expensive tiles, but they may be priced out of reach. It's possible to enjoy that high-end look for less by combining handsome tiles that cost less with sparing use of high-end tiles as an accent.

Products and priorities. Because we know what products are available and how they look in real-world homes, we can help you spend your remodeling dollars most efficiently. We can also help you get those special items you want and still stay within budget. For example, if it's a priority to have a Sub-Zero refrigerator, we can show you how to stay within budget by scaling down to a less-expensive cabinet line and counters that still give your kitchen a high-quality look and feel.

Remember, the cost for construction basics like studs and dry wall won't vary much for remodeling a certain size space. It's the products and finishes that can bust the budget. Great design doesn't have to cost more, because a thoughtful approach to great design can help you end up with the features, functionality and flow you want while getting the most from your space and your budget!

Fall cabin shot – the dock is out
Fall cabin shot – the dock is out.

Maintenance Tip: Inspect Your Home's Exterior for Potential Problems

Autumn's a great time to check the outside of your home. The ground around your foundation should be graded away from the house. Downspouts should carry runoff at least 3 to 4 feet from the foundation. Also make sure mulch or woodpiles don't come into contact with siding, as this invites termites and carpenter ants into your home.

Photo: Aurora Borealis
Kate's daughter Lauren's shot of the Aurora Borealis at their cabin 

What's the Story?

Our article this month talks about the value of good design which, being trained as an architect and designing most of the remodeling projects that we have done the past 40 years, I endorse completely. To us, the highest compliment we receive is always "It looks like it has always been there." The remodeling blends in, fits in the neighborhood and the details match. That is real value.

I recently attended a seminar on Energy Efficiency which briefly covered the topics of Green Building, High Performance and Building Science. These subjects could be a semester course. One concept our teacher touched on was the "value" of energy improvements and he measured value not in monetary terms – payback or Return on Investment – but from a qualitative viewpoint. He reminded us that a home is typically a person's largest investment and yet, people are looking for the least expensive repair, materials or remodeling project to this investment. If we build homes to last 150 years, why would we opt for inexpensive materials, windows or a design that doesn't fit, and accept that as "value" in lieu of the alternative? It makes one wonder. I know a while ago I talked about a repair project we did that was over $10,000.00 and would have been unnecessary if they would have spent $10.00 more on a metal flashing. In design, materials and our process, we want to make sure that our clients receive and see the value in what we do and how we improve their homes. We know that flashing is pretty important when you talk about value.

Our big garage project excavation – no rain
Our big garage project excavation – no rain
Our smaller garage project – rain
Our smaller garage project – rain

November will be upon us in no time. We have 2 large concrete/excavation projects that we are trying to get completed before it turns cold and we have been dancing between the rain and the beautiful fall weather. I am banking on another 30 days of fall – could that happen?

Enjoy the fall colors and the days ahead.

John Sylvestre

Until next month,

John Sylvestre
Phone: 612-861-0188

Sylvestre Remodeling & Design