addition to Barbara Heimschs Wauwatosa home included a
living room featuring this unique ceramic-faced fireplace.
Heimsch, a ceramic artist, designed and made the tiles
herself. Pekel Construction performed the remodeling work.rt.
Choosing to remodel a home or build
an addition can be a difficult decision. For Barbara Heimsch of
Wauwatosa, it was an especially difficult decision.
Her father had passed away two years
ago and her mother Anita Heimsch had also experienced some health
problems. The time had come for Anita Heimsch to consider selling her
three-bedroom home in Waukesha and look for other living arrangements
without the maintenance.
After careful consideration of the
alternatives, the answer was clear for Heimsch. Build a
600-square-foot addition to her current residence which would allow
her mother to move in with her and her teenage son.
The addition included a master
bedroom suite, full bath, walk-in closet and family room on the first
floor. An additional 600 square feet were added to the basement as a
living area for Heimschs son. The expanded basement also has a
bedroom, bath, walk-in closet and living room.
Heimsch chose Pekel Construction and
Remodeling in Wauwatosa as the general contractor for the first floor
project. I contacted three other contractors, Heimsch said. The
Pekel bid was not the lowest, but they were recommended to me and I
liked the fact that the company was familiar with Wauwatosa and had
done a great deal of business in the area.
There were a couple of issues that
had to be discussed before the project could proceed. Heimsch had done
a lot of work for Habitat for Humanity and was well versed in how to
use the tools in a tool belt. No matter what contractor she chose they
had to be willing to let Heimsch work with them side-by-side.
You should have seen the look on
the carpenters faces when I showed up the first day with my tool
belt, Heimsch said. I dont think they knew what to expect.
But after the third day they realized I knew what I was doing and
wondered where I was when I couldnt help.
In addition to the hands-on
stipulation there were some other areas that needed to be explored.
According to David Pekel, president of Pekel Construction, anyone
considering a remodeling or addition project should make sure that the
cost of the project will not price the home out of the market. Heimsch
had already looked at other homes and neighborhoods and decided she
wanted to stay in the area.
The area is wonderful. Were
near schools, the freeway and hospitals and have great neighbors. And
even though the area has older homes, we knew that with the addition
the home would still fit into the area housing market, Heimsch
In order to give Anita Heimschs
bedroom living area a more open feeling, the design included a large
bay window with a window seat which brings in additional natural
light. There is a large walk-in closet and a handicap accessible full
bath. The family room acts as a transitional space, joining the
original living area to the addition. The combination gas and wood
fireplace is the centerpiece of the family room.
Heimsch was able to utilize her fine
arts background and handmade the tiles that surround the fireplace.
The fireplace is my favorite part of the project, Heimsch said.
You can view it from any angle of the room. I can even see it when
Im in the kitchen doing dishes.
Another concern for Heimsch was that
the addition fit seamlessly on the exterior into the existing house.
Together Heimsch and Pekel created a design which used the existing
pitch of the roof, the roofline and even window sizes in the new area.
To make sure the transition was perfect, Heimsch removed the old
aluminum siding from the garage, scrubbed it and placed it on the
exterior of the addition.
The siding is older and we were
not able to match the color exactly. By using the siding from the
garage, the match was exact. The newer siding was then put on the
detached garage where the color difference is not noticeable,
Construction was flawless with work
beginning in August, 1999 and completed in January of 2000.
Fortunately according to Heimsch, the large project did not disrupt
their lives very much. Because it was an addition, they were still
able to live in the existing living space. The few changes that needed
to be done in the existing area were small and did not force Heimsch
and her son to make changes in their daily living habits.
According to Pekel, not every
remodeling project can be done this way. Each project and each
customer is different, Pekel said. There are two kinds of
remodeling projects. The first one is when the customer realizes that
what they currently have doesnt meet their needs. The second type
of project is when what they currently have meets their needs, but
they just dont like what they have. In both cases it is possible
that the customer doesnt quite know what they want, and may need
help in looking at the options available, he said.
Customers should also have an idea
of the amount of financial investment they are willing to make in the
project. How much of that investment you will get back should you sell
the house in the future may also play a role. But some homeowners are
willing to spend more to get what they want, knowing that at resale
they may not get a full return on their investment.
Heimsch did her homework. She knew
that her existing situation did not meet her needs and also determined
that the financial investment made in the home would see a return
should the house be sold.
Im very happy with the project
and my mother loves her new living area. I was also very happy with
Pekel Construction. Either they were here at the house checking on the
progress or they were calling me on the phone to make sure everything
was OK, Heimsch said.
Both Pekel and Heimsch agree that
with a little bit of homework any remodeling project can be done to
everyones satisfaction on time and on budget.