Planning your renovation is both exciting and challenging.
You want to create a home that suits your lifestyle and your budget. You also want to protect your investment by making wise decisions that let you recoup all, or most, of your money on resale.
Recently, a group of professional renovators from across Canada were asked what design advice they most often give to their customers. Here are some of their answers:
Be realistic about the space that you need
Homeowners often overestimate the amount of space that they need, and underestimate the amount of space they already have.
Look closely at your home and try to “see past the walls”; rearranging rooms and eliminating separations may give you all the space you really need.
When you do decide to add more space, make sure the design will continue to work as your family changes. “Over-building” your home can make it less comfortable in the long term.
Add natural light to create an open, spacious feeling
In older homes, windows are often small and located high on the wall, reflecting an era when windows were both “energy-consuming” and expensive.
Today’s energy-efficient windows, skylights and glass doors bring the outside into your living spaces, bathe your home in light and add wonderful decorative touches throughout the house.
Look at your neighbourhood
Older, established neighbourhoods usually have a balanced overall design; homes and lots have similar proportions and styles, creating a pleasant and harmonious streetscape.
When your renovation involves external changes or additions, spend some time studying your street before you decide on a design.
Additions that blend with the existing streetscape will probably add the most value to your home, and they will certainly be appreciated the most by your neighbours.
Kitchen renovations get noticed on re-sale
If there is a move in your future, a high-quality kitchen renovation is an important selling feature.
The condition of your kitchen can determine whether potential buyers will make an offer on your home, and can influence the size of their offer.
Look under existing carpeting and sheet flooring before deciding on new floor treatments. Old hardwood, even if covered with glued-down flooring, is often of high quality and can be refinished.
If you want the warmth of natural wood in your renovated home, check what’s under your feet already.
Don’t overlook storage areas
Efficient and convenient storage space makes everyday living easier.
The layout of older homes reflects different patterns of living, before the advent of microwaves, exercise equipment, home computers and CDs.
Having somewhere to keep everything is important, especially in an open-concept home, where just a few things lying around can quickly become the beginning of clutter and disorder.
Detailing ties your renovation together
If your renovation project involves only some areas of the home, consider changing the detailing in other areas to tie it all together visually.
Replacing the baseboards and moldings in the non-renovated areas, and installing French doors in the “transition areas” can effectively blend the old with the new.
Remember – Renovating generates equal measures of enthusiasm, loving care, patience and reward.