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Realistic Expectations

Creating an inspired home with a pragmatic approach.

Deciding to remodel your home is just about as important as your decision was to buy it. It’s a significant investment that makes a statement about your intentions: how long you plan to stay, the number of children you have, the lifestyle you want to lead. While it’s easy to fall in love with a room on Pinterest or Houzz, those inspirational photos don’t tell the whole story. Rarely is a project as carefree as its outcome, but with realistic expectations, you, too, can have a picture-perfect home.

First, before you Pin the entire Internet, check your bank statements. Determining your budget is the first priority. Remodeling projects are not as cheap as HGTV would have you believe. “They are complicated, require good planning and good plans, talented labor and quality materials,” says Jim Scovell of Scovell Wolfe & Associates. “These things can be expensive.”

To get a ballpark figure on a kitchen remodel, for instance, he suggests you start shopping for appliances. If you’re good with decent, functioning machines, you’ll probably come in around $6,000, but if you want commercial brands and extras such as warming drawers, you’re more in the $30,000 range. Factor in cabinets, countertops and tile, and Jim estimates that you’ll run up a bill that’s $24,000-$60,000, with all of your items still packaged and sitting in the garage! 

Once you’ve worked out the numbers, you’ll need to add 10 percent for overages. Terry Skilling of Rhino Builders says some project loans allow this to cover the inevitable changes. Old houses tend to reveal hidden surprises, especially those built before 1960, from substandard framing to termite damage. If something pops up, plan on a change order and, thus, added cost.

The temptation to scrimp on certain things might end up costing you more. The major mistake is falling for the low-bid contractor. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is a helpful source for homeowners, with listings of companies who adhere to a code of conduct. For a list of questions to ask during your interviewing process, go to remodelingkc.com. In addition to the quality of work you hire, the quality of product you buy also will matter. Jim recommends never skimping on windows, cabinets or appliances; Terry adds a no-no on painting and lighting. So where can you cut costs? “Save your money by not buying the latest fad item that sounds good now but you easily tire of later, like in-house steam or sauna baths,” Jim notes.

If you can adhere to the admittedly no-fun but necessary rules of remodeling, you can be well on your way to living each day in a home tailored just for you.  

Starting from Scratch

Now is the time to get creative. Add some pattern or sparkle, old with the new, or sustainability and durability to your remodeling project.

Trendy, Timeless Lighting

Old or new? Try both. Get the industrial vintage look with modern-day technology. Kichler’s Colerne chandelier, a rustic wood and metal fixture with exposed bulbs, brings sophistication and nostalgia together above your dinner table. Available in three variations through Ferguson Enterprises, Wilson Lighting, Rensen House of Lights and Western Chandelier. kichler.com

Wall Show

Tiffany glass isn’t just for your lamps, now you can get the look in your kitchen or bath. Walker Zanger’s Chelsea art glass has the warmth of historical inspiration paired with the trendy, cool factor of glass tile. Go classic with Artisan field tile or jazz things up in Rhythm (shown). $30 per square foot. Available through RBS Tile & Stone. walkerzanger.com

Helping Hand

Adding a prep or bar sink to your highly customized kitchen offers flexibility for getting help when you want an extra cook in your space and keeping them out of your way when you don’t. Rio Chico’s copper trough sink perfectly balances utility for the job and beauty for the party. $1,598. Available through Ferguson Enterprises, Kitchens & Baths by Briggs, Neenan Company, and Pyramid Pipe & Supply. nativetrails.net

Open to the Public

You don’t need to invest in closed cabinets for your storage needs. If you can keep your contents tidy, Swedish shelving units offer maximum capacity with ultimate accessibility. Configure your own set for the kitchen, pantry, bath or utility space. $8-$200. williams-sonoma.com

Floor Stopper 

Opt for soft. Cork has always been forgiving underfoot and sustainable to boot, and now it offers real design opportunities. Globus Cork manufactures glue-down tiles in 25 shapes and sizes, as well as 40 colors, and options for customization. Made in the USA. $5-$8 per square foot. Order directly from corkfloor.com.

Countertop Queen 

Quartzite is an up-and-comer in the countertop world, taking on granite and marble as an alternative choice in natural stone. It most often comes in whites, grays and browns, with recrystallized quartz pieces giving the slab some sparkle. Shown is Madreperola. Approximately $48 per square foot. Purchase through MS International. msistone.com

Sunblock

Don’t make the mistake of getting all the way through your remodeling project only to realize you didn’t budget for window coverings. Set aside cash for some fashionably functional bamboo roller shades from Chilewich and The Shade Store. Choose from 25 designs. Prices start at $154 for a 24” x 36” shade. chilewich.com

HVAC Service Charlotte North Carolina

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