Your home is probably your most expensive possession and the one you’re proudest of. So it’s important to pay attention to what it needs—on a regular basis.
This weekend, take a leisurely stroll around your home, room by room, and jot down some notes about what needs fixing, improving, updating, upgrading, enlarging, removing or rethinking. Then, get a general contractor on the phone and start the process.
- The kitchen is the heart of any home. Take a good look at the cabinets, countertops, floors, appliances, sink and faucet. Do you like them? Are you proud to show off your kitchen to friends and family when they visit? Is the room big enough to entertain in? (The party always seems to gravitate to the kitchen, doesn’t it?) Is it arranged in a way that makes sense for the way you cook, serve and clean up after meals? Does it box you in while you’re cooking and everyone else is in the family room next door playing games or watching movies without you?
Of all of the remodeling projects you could take on, renovating the kitchen might have the most value. Everyone who lives in or visits your home spends time there. Make it your favorite room by reorganizing, enlarging and opening up the room, and by updating colors, finishes, appliances and cabinets.
- There’s no substitute for privacy. Whether you have children at home, a job with long hours or just a busy schedule, a comfortable, private space where you can relax and be quiet for a while will help you through. If your master bedroom is too small for a sitting area; if its closets are so small that you have to drape some of your clothes over the backs of chairs.
- You’d be surprised at how much room a good designer/builder will be able to find to allow you to enlarge your master bedroom into a suite with large closets, a roomy, private bathroom and plenty of space to relax . Some options: “Borrow” some space from the unused bedroom next to the master bedroom by removing the common wall; build a small addition onto the house next to the master bedroom; turn an unused dining room or formal living room into a master suite.
- Everybody sees the powder room. Just about anyone who enters your home—even if it’s just for a quick “hello”—will ask to use the powder room. So the smallest room in the house can make a big impression on friends and other visitors. What kind of an impression does yours make?
- The mud room isn’t just for muddy boots. Most people enter their homes through a back or side door—maybe it’s attached to the garage—instead of through the front. And the first room they step into becomes a depository for boots, keys, phones, coats, sports equipment and mail. How much easier would your mornings go if all of those things were organized into drawers, cabinets, shelves or counters all their own? Consider improving your mud room by attaching it to a first-floor laundry room and building storage areas—some with doors to hide things you don’t need every day and some out in the open to hold things that you do.
Take a walk outside. The inside of your home isn’t the only space that you can improve. When is the last time you had your patio or deck replaced or repaired? Have you been thinking about covering your patio so you can use it during rain showers and on sunny days? Do your lawn and gardens look as good as your house?
You might think outdoor work is just for spring and fall, but plenty of winter days are nice enough to get started on exterior improvements.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, is president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.jebdesignbuild.com.