on the upswing, with homeowners investing in projects
that enhance efficiency and comfort. Among the trends
for 2014, according to highly rated remodelers and
space between the kitchen and other rooms. Removing
walls to create flow between rooms makes smaller homes
seem larger. It also creates a warm atmosphere in which
household members can do many things, from cooking and
eating to homework and socializing. Options include
placing an island between two previously separate rooms
and creating continuity between spaces by using hardwood
flooring instead of tile in the kitchen.
Projects include turning unused rooms into places for
specific purposes, such as dens, offices, hobby spaces
and playrooms. Also, remodelers report increased
requests for custom charging stations for phones and
computers. Ideas include adding stations to existing
cabinets so wires and gadgets are hidden or installing
electrical outlets with built-in USB charging ports.
combinations. A shiny stainless-steel fridge might pair
with an antique farmhouse sink. Or a modern bookcase may
be lit with a vintage light fixture. Remodelers also
report increased demand for incorporating recycled
building materials into newer spaces.
eco-friendliness. Projects aimed at reducing energy
waste include installing home automation systems and
replacing outdated light bulbs with LED lights, shower
heads and toilets, windows and doors. Reupholstering
rather than replacing furniture can help preserve
design. This concept aims to make homes usable by people
of all ages and ability levels. Projects include
widening halls, enlarging doorways and keeping
appliances at countertop height. Bathroom-specific ideas
include zero-threshold showers, comfort-height toilets
and safety grab bars that increasingly feature
the bathroom. The emphasis is on comfort and luxury,
with heated radiant flooring, music systems,
furniture-grade cabinets, standalone tubs, and standup
showers that feature multiple water options, including
rain heads, handheld sprayers, jets and stationary
moving ahead on a project, talk to several well-regarded
contractors. Provide each with identical information so
you have an apples-to-apples comparison of estimates.
Clarify whether subcontractors will be used and get
proof of insurance, bonding and any necessary licensing.
checking references or reading online reviews, note
whether customers report delays or problems, including
with communication and site cleanup.
contract should include a detailed project description
as well as specifics about who’ll pull permits and
submit paperwork for any necessary inspections, start
and finish dates for phases and overall, payment amounts
and due dates, and warranties and guarantees. Also, ask
for lien waivers so you aren’t held responsible if the
contractor doesn’t pay subcontractors or suppliers.