Home office expansion and modification
For a Carmel, Indiana home owner, additional office space was more important than an exterior balcony. The orginal house was built with an upper level, walk-out balcony porch that attached to what is now a second floor home office. The door to the balcony was centred in forty-five degree angle exterior wall.
Essentially, this angled wall with a door out to the balcony encroached the room by four feet. And unfortunately, the exterior balcony was constructed in a way that relied on a rubber membrane to protect the outer floor system from the weather, as well as keep the finished first floor space below dry!
In this case, the change that was about to become was a good thing, as the rubber membrane balcony porch floor was beginning to leak. The plan was to remove the 45 degree angle wall and sqare off the corners. As the floor system was already in place, construction involved extending new sub floor and new exterior wall system. New windows, siding and trim were installed to blend the new into the existing. In place of a rarely-used tiny space, the homeowners regained more wall area and more volume and did not sacrifice much light.
The pay-off for this family was useable all space, about eight additional feet in all. As well, there is now a peace of mind knowing that no further damage would occur in the first floor below from a leak in the balcony floor above. To blend in the new expansion with the existing roomf, the interior walls, ceilings, baseboards and crown moulding were extended. The new space looks as though it was constructed that way originally, which is most always the goal with an addition or expansion of any kind. Check out the finished pictures below.
New expanded office space pictures:
While not always apparent, there are many creative ways to add more family living space, more bedroom space and, in this case, a larger home office. An experienced Indianapolis area design and remodel contractor can help assess your needs and come up with a solution to accomplish your goals. Choosing the right contractor for your next project will ensure your overall happiness by working with you to not only meet your needs, but build it in a way that makes it look like it was always that way! For more information about reconfiguring your existing space, click below.
Spring/summer remodeling vs fall/winter
As a home remodel contractor serving the Indianapolis area for quite some time, we get asked a handful of common questions by our prospective clients. Perhaps one of the most common questions we are asked is, "does it make a difference if we complete our project within the spring and summer months, or the fall and winter"? I suspect for some contractors, depending on their specialty, it may matter. For other remodeler's, it may not.
Although interest in remodeling and home improvement slows somewhat during the fall and winter months, I don't believe it's due to weather alone. With fall, most family's see their children back to school for the year. The back to school season is soon followed by Halloween and Thanksgiving in the late fall and Christmas and New Years in the winter. After the New Year, many begin to think about and plan their home improvement and remodeling projects for the upcoming spring and summer months.
So what about seasonal weather?
Does it truly matter if it is warm versus cold, or if we see more rain than snow? In reality, for those of us in Indiana it's a crap shoot. We can have snow in May just as we can experience 70 degree days in February. All kidding aside, weather truly does not matter to the full-service home remodel contractor.
I like to use second story addition porjects as a perfect example. This type of project requires a lot of work to be done both on top of the existing roof as well as during construction of the new roof system. In the summer time, being on a roof is HOT! In many cases, our workers would prefer to do this during the cooler months, for obvious reasons. It's easier to be able to layer clothes based on the conditions than get to the point where there is nothing left to remove! Then again, snow can be a challenge. However, most snow can be swept off roofs, before it melts. In the case of rain and ice, we avoid both for safety reasons, both for our workers and to protect the home.
In our experience, we have had the best luck in removing existing roofs in the colder, winter months where the likelihood of rain is less. However, as mentioned above, rain requires planning. On days where there is a good chance of a rain shower, we avoid demolition altogether. If there is a chance, we always have a tarp ready to protect the home. Removing roofs in sections can also be beneficial in minimizing the exposure of the home to the elements. In any case, being prepared is the key.
In summary, a professional remodeling company that has been around a while has learned to cope with changing weather conditions. The amount of challenges between seasons is the same, just different. Being prepared to deal with the weather amounts to common sense for the most part. With careful planning, all conditions can be dealt with.
Ultimately, the choice of when to remodel your home is on you, the homeowner. It depends on the schedule and lifestyle and your family. The important thing is, it really doesn't matter to us, your remodel contractor, as it does to you and your family.
If you have any home remodeling and improvement questions you would like to have answered, please "Email the expert".
Two things to consider for starting that DIY remodel project
Replace a toilet, check! Fix the faucet, check! Replace that old light fixture, check!
Sure, you might be willing and able to do just about any home improvement project around your house, but before you tackle any major work, consider two things:
First, ask yourself if you can do the job right.
Saving money is one thing, but are you knowledgeable enough about the task at hand so you don't encounter major (and costly) problems?
Second—and perhaps more importantly—put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer, even if you're not likely to sell for years.
You might be proud of all your home improvements, but the homebuyer may ask lots of questions about the work. Like it or not, there is an inherent skepticism about homegrown handymen, no matter your talents. There are safety concerns and potential legal issues. You did get permits right?
Professionally done work, on the other hand, tends to have a certain "seal of approval" that assures the job was done properly. Plus, most pros guarantee their work for an extended time, which gives buyers even more confidence.
Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but if you do your homework, you will find a reputable, professional contractor that will do what they say they will do. Ask your neighbors, friends and family for recommendations. Or, consult an online resource such as Angie's List or CustomerLobby which list reviews of local area contractors.
Affordable bathroom updates that make a big impact
Keeping your home up to date is a good way to maintain its value. One of the most popular rooms of the home to update is the bathroom. Bathroom updates can vary in size and scope, from simple half bath or powder room upgrades, all the way up to full master bathroom remodels. And while it is true that a full bathroom remodel can be costly, a simple update does not have to be!
Sometimes, replacing simple items can make a big difference in the appearance. The bathroom provides a great opportunity in that there are several components that can be replaced and usually for an affordable price.
Below is a list of bathroom items that are easy to upgrade:
Bathroom flooring -
Replacing the floor in your bathroom is a great way to update the look. Tile is the most popular choice for a bath floor, but you can also consider hardwood if it's a hall bath or powder room (a bath without a tub or shower). If your on a tight budget, you can also choose a vinyl tile that looks like ceramic or other tile materials at a fraction of the price. If you your confident you can tackle the installation yourself, you can save a bundle if you only have to purchase materials and are willing to do the demolition on your own. However, for a professional looking installation, you should remove the toilet to install new flooring so be sure you are comfortable with that.
Bathroom lighting -
Replacing dated bathroom light fixtures is another to way to change the appearance of your bathroom. There are many styles to choose from, but most people tend to choose a finish or look that compliments the look of their fauce or bath accessories. Light fixtures are rather inexpensive and can be changed easily by a homeowner if they are comfortable working with electricity. However, be sure the power to the fixture is off before removal of the old and installation of the new lights!
Bathroom mirror -
Updating your bathroom mirror is also an inexpensive way to spruce up your bathroom. Mirrors come in a variety of styles ranging from standard plate glass with or without polished bevel edgese to wood framed varieties. Choose a mirror that compliments the style of your bathroom. You can purchase a new bathroom mirror at your local home improvement center, or from a specialty glass shop. Just be sure to take measurements of the space above your sink to make sure your new mirror will fit! Also, be sure to read the directions carefully on how they should be installed.
Bathroom accessories -
Along with replacing your mirror and update to your towel bars, towel rings and toilet paper holders will revamp the look of your bathroom. Consider some of the newer, more popular finishes such as brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. Or, simply base your choice on your faucet or lighting color or trim. In most cases, accessories mount directly to wall studs or can be installed with the use of wall anchors.
Many of us have dated, worn out sink faucets. Perhaps they are bright brass, which used to be all the rage? Or maybe your ready for a new style. Whichever the case, replacing your faucet can have an immediate impact on the look of your bathroom. Find a style and finish you like, but make sure the faucet hole spacing matches the existing spacing.
Replacing an old swirly cultured marble bathroom countertop or plastic laminate countertop can also update the look of your bathroom. Cultured marble is still a fine choice for a bathroom and they even manufactur bathroom tops to resemble natural stone countertops. However, if your budget allows, consider a granite bath vanity top. The popularity of granite has made it a more affordable choice. However, be aware it may require a new undermount sink bowl.
Bathrooms are typically a small confined space. This gives you the opportunity to affordably experiment with different trim. This could be baseboards or the addition of crown moulding, which can add a special touch!
Removing old wall paper or repainting bathroom walls can have an immediate impact on the look and feel of your bathroom. Even if you choose not to replace anything at all, a fresh coat of paint in a new color can freshen up things quickly and it is the least expensive update you can make!
All the options above offer a great way to give your bathroom a new life. Most are relatively inexpensive to complete and can be accomplished by most homeowners without the help of a professional remodeler.
However, it is advised to consult a reputable local contractor if your considering a more substantial upate. If your Indianapolis area, consider the services of Gettum Associates Inc, an award winning remodel contractor serving central Indiana since 1987.
Knowing what to expect during a remodel project will lessen stress
Remodeling your home can be stressful. However, if you know what to expect, it can lessen the impact on you and your family.
First and foremost, developing a comfortable working relationship with your contractor is paramount to a successful outcome. For more information on selecting a contractor, read "6 Mistakes to avoid when selecting a contractor". Be sure your partnership is a good fit!
Mutual respect between both parties from the very beginning is a must. Both homeowner and contractor alike must respect each others time and investment. Hopefully, your contractor will establish expectations from the planning phases, into negotiation and contract signing and all the way through the completion of your project. Trouble during a remodel project is usually a result of a homeowner not fully understanding something or the contractor not setting proper expectations.
Here are a few bullet points to understand and consider, no matter if your just beginning to think of a remodel project or you have already selected a remodel contractor for your next project:
Realize that reputable remodel contractors consider themselves professionals. They keep business hours. In most cases this means Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm and they rarely make exceptions. Contractors have family's and lives, just like homeowners. In most cases, this means they will NOT be tearing apart your house, running their tools, and constructing your walls on a Saturday and Sunday. Remodeling is expensive and is an important decision. If your serious about your intent to renovate, give it the time it deserves, even if that means going into work late or leaving a little early.
Remodel contractor's time is valuable, just as much as homeowner's. Yes, rescheduling appointments due to conflicts, or illness do happen from time to time. We understand you may need to do the same. If your NOT going to be able to keep an appointment, please give us call as soon as possible. Again, we will extend the same courtesy.
Don't beat a contractor up on price. It is acceptable to question costs and negotiate certain items, but for the most part a professional remodeler who has been around a long time, knows what it takes for a project to be built and what it takes to make certain they are still in business when your project needs service. If you find one ridiculously low price out of line with two other quotes, chances are your not comparing apples to apples. If you base your choice on price alone, a professinal remodeler is not the right fit for you.
Expect to pay a fee for design work. This may be a fixed charge or an hourly rate. Design work take time, but it is important to understand how everything will come together before a price is presented. Avoid accepting a price quote for additions and major modifications without a working plan in which to build from.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO to ensure your happiness concerns is to read and understand every line of your scope of work/roject specifications and contract. This is extremely important as most conflicts during a remodel project occur because either the homeowner to not read and understand what was specified, signed and agreed upon. In some cases, perhaps the contractor failed to clearly describe something but do yourself a favor: If you have a question about a selection, or do not understand what something means, ask. It's that simple. But please do so before you sign the contract!
Try and make as many selections as possible before you sign a contract. Agreed upon selections can be written in the specifications and help eliminate allowances. Likewise, try and keep changes to minimum to avoid change orders, which cost additional time and money.
Discuss such issues such as the use of your bathrooms, any pets that may need to be secured and the safety of any children in the area. As well, understand when to expect work to begin and end every day.
Realize that delays may happen and many of them can be out of the control of the contractor. Some are due to product selections. Making timely choices can help with this. Other delays in the construction schedule may be due to building inspections. For instance, a rough-in inspection of electrical, heating and cooling or plumbing must occur before drywall is installed. In some jurisdictions, inspectors are given up to 48 hours to complete a inspection. The important thing to realize is contractors want to keep you on schedule. Time is money. Not only in extra expenses for your project, but also starting another project.
If you have a question or concern, let your contractor know as soon as possible! Do not let minor issues fester. Rather, address them as soon as they arrive. Mistakes happen, but it is how your contractor reacts that is the important thing. And remember, remodel contractors stay in business by making you happy!
Your house is most likely your single largest investment you will ever make. Sometimes our home needs modified, or routine maintenance at the least. When your home needs attention or you need to add extra space, take a breath and do your homework so you know what to expect. Reducing the stress present in many projects is key to being happy with the end result!
For more information, click below:
A garage addition example of the importance of matching home designs when remodeling
Yet again, we harp on the importance of matching your next renovation and remodel project with its existing surroundings. We take it seriously. So should you. For those who have missed the preaching, take note: Anything you add to your home should always match what you have.
When renovating or adding on or anywhere near a historic, period home it is even more important! Building with inappropriate materials or a contradicting style can kill the overall look and feel of an otherwise important home!
Here is a great example:
Below, is a picture of an existing garage on a historic period home in the Indianapolis area. Note the slate tile roofing, prominent dormer on the roof, the overhead garage door at the end, and the exterior trim detail.
Existing house and garage:
The homeowner wanted a detached garage to the rear of the home.
To not only replicate the look and feel of the existing home, but also the materials used originally.
We feel the completed project accomplished the objective: to create a great garage and storage space that served the purpose, yet match the original as close as possible.
The wall heights of the new garage matched the existing garage. The windows were an upgraded, yet similar replication. The brick blended seamlessly, as did the slate tiles. The dormer styling completed the blend. And accurate trim detail set the project off!
Completed project pictures:
The moral is, as is always the case, it's best to blend new with old. For this project, the objective was to create more garage space. But for this home, it was important to maintain the character of the existing home. However, even the newest of homes benefit from improvements matching the original styling and feel.
Additions and renovations can meet their intended goals without looking as thought they "just landed". It's important. Not just from a stylistic view, but from a realistic, resale point of view. Keep this in mind when considering your next remodel, renovation or home improvement project. Not only do you want your home to be consistent in it's detail, but so do potential buyers, should you ever want or need to sell your home. Curb appeal adds value. Inaccurate room additions or other modifications to your home will detract from it's value. Do your homework and find out what makes sense for your home!
For more on curb appeal, get the FREE "Indianapolis Curb Appeal Guide."
To learn more about blending in your dreams with your existing, consult with a reputable, Indianapolis-area design and remodel contractor, like Gettum Associates Inc. It is possible to make your house your dream home!
Reusing existing granite countertops in your kitchen and bath
Question: Can I reuse my existing granite countertops for my next kitchen or bath remodel?
More Indianapolis homeowner's are choosing to stay in their homes and renovate or remodel what they have. Kitchen and bathroom remodel projects are among the most popular improvements. In some cases, homeowner's already have upgraded their countertops in the past, but now choose to replace the cabinetry beneath.I have heard many owner's voice there concern of whether they put the cart before the horse, so to speak, and if they made the wrong choice initially. The good news is with a little care and time, your beautiful natural granite countertops CAN be reused!
However, there are a couple of caveats:
You will want to keep your existing cabinetry layout.
You will want to keep your existing sink location
You will want to hire a professional company. Granite can be heavy and bulky, let a professional do the work for you and preferably the same company that installed the countertops originally. They will know the best way to go about a successful removal and reinstallation.
You will need to accept the fact that no company can guarantee your countertop will not be damaged or break during the attempt. In fact, most companies will have you sign a waiver disclaiming this risk.
That being said, you can save A LOT of money by reusing your existing granite countertops. If you have installed granite countertops to your kitchen in the past, consult with a reputable Indianapolis granite countertop supplier, such as Marble Uniques, about your project.
Do you have other questions about remodeling and renovating your Indianapolis home? Do you need advice on how to select a contractor? Check out our free information guides by clicking below:
(Photos courtesy of Marble Uniques, Inc. )