Turn Your Dreams into Reality: Part 1

With a new year comes new resolutions. For yourself (get more sleep! exercise more!), for your work life (clear out that inbox! update your portfolio!), even for your family (less tech time, more family time! plan that summer vacation!).

What about some resolutions for your home?

Apart from what would be nice to have, think about things that just plain need replacing. Leaky toilets, creaky doors, cracked tiles, sagging shelves…

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating, “you can pay me now, or pay me later” clearly describes home ownership and maintenance. I would even go to the point of saying that you should budget at least 1% of your home’s value each year for maintenance and repairs.

If your home is worth $300,000 you should plan on spending (or setting aside) a minimum of $3,000/year. And the number will not go away…it will compound if you don’t spend it in one year. Think about water heaters, garage doors and exterior wood rot. Or faucet replacement, disposals and toilets that need attention. And how about roof replacement, a new furnace or water damage. These are all routine parts of a home that require attention. It is no wonder that the hardware store is so busy on a Saturday dispensing parts and advice!

These items aren’t necessarily the glamorous “update” you may have been dreaming about, but are important to remember.

Back to dreaming. Just like you start out January with intentions of living a better life, do the same with your home—give it new life. There are both big and small projects to consider.

First, some smaller scale project ideas. 

Would a new motion-activated “touchless” faucet be helpful when you’re cooking and your hands are full? What if you could access a particular pot, pan, or bag of sugar without having to remove the contents of an entire shelf or cabinet? Sometimes the smallest updates have the biggest impact on your daily living.

Look at your floors. Did you know that using different flooring in each room breaks up your home visually and makes it feel smaller? Selecting the same flooring material for multiple rooms on the same level will increase the perceived size of your home. Hardwood flooring throughout, in place of tired wall-to-wall carpeting, not only creates a nice flow, it provides a fresh, up-to-date feel.

Lighting is another area that is relatively easy (not to mention affordable) to update. There are four kinds of lighting to consider when designing a room:

  • Ambient lighting: this provides overall illumination and is best when it comes from several sources, including natural light.
  • Task lighting: extra lighting, focused on a specific area to make visual tasks easier.
  • Accent lighting: used to draw attention to certain details within a room, define spaces, focus attention on photos or artwork, and create dramatic effects using the interplay of light and shadow.
  • Decorative lighting: any lighting that adds an aesthetic appeal in addition to functional light, with fixtures designed to enhance the personality and beauty of your room, like an eye-catching chandelier.

Lighting doesn’t end inside your home, exterior illumination is often thought of as a matter of safety and security. Well-placed light fixtures help prevent visitors from tripping on your walkway or front steps, and prevent intruders from approaching unnoticed. Exterior lighting can also add drama to your landscaping, a welcoming warmth to your home or even the ability to use your patio or deck for entertaining in the evening.

Replacing your front door is one of the most popular ways to instantly increase curb appeal. Just step outside and notice what your visitors see as they wait for you to answer the door. Is everything as welcoming as you’d like? Today’s exterior doors and frames look better, fit better and are better insulated, compared to older conventional doors.

If these projects have piqued your interest, we can do something that’s small-scale but high-impact called a “Fixture and Finish Update.”

Instead of renovating by knocking down walls, we can go through the home replacing elements that are worn and lack the freshness of new materials and finishes and the functionality of new products.

To give you an idea of the relatively small scope of an update, our work might include things like replacing the home’s lighting fixtures; giving those all-white tiled bathrooms a spa-like feel with natural stone elements; installing good-quality wood cabinets; and replacing corroded faucets and worn brass-plated door knobs with handsome new levers in brushed nickel. For more contemporary-looking floors and stair rails, we refinish the oak, stain the floors and handrail a deep walnut, and paint the balusters and stair risers white.

Many homeowners have the intention of being in their homes for many more years and just want it to feel fresh and current again. Room by room, we can update a home so it does indeed look – and feel – like it’s brand new. With a “Fixture and Finish Update,” you get much of the impact of a whole-house renovation, but with a fraction of the budget.

Give us a call if you’d like to explore possibilities for your own update!

And stay tuned for part two of our resolutions for your home, where we discuss some BIG ideas for your home in the new year.

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