Wade had always been interested in older homes and their histories. In 1994, he finally was in the position to purchase a home of his own. The 1906 fixer became not only Wade’s first experience with home-ownership, but as a general contractor as well. Frustrated with the quality of work and poor communication he encountered, Wade fired his contractor and assumed the role himself. Realizing his passion, temperament and skills for the work, Wade switched careers, leaving behind his job as a department head at an exhibit design firm, and setting up shop in his home attic in 1996.
A home remodel is one of those things that can breed procrastination. Many homeowners, especially the uninitiated, put it off like a long-delayed trip to the dentist. But good things, like a bright, healthy smile, can result from overcoming ill-founded anxieties, making us wonder why we waited so long to get started.
Admittedly, home remodeling can be more involved than scheduling a dental procedure. But in starting the deferred course of dental health or a home remodel, knowing what to expect will boost your confidence in the decision-making process. We’ll be breaking down the steps in five blog posts.
Step One: Do Your Homework
Many people do more research buying a car than considering what they want from a home remodel. But the first, day-dreaming step holds the joy of anticipation. Create an idea file to share with your future designer. Make lists of what you like and don’t like about your current space. Search the internet, rip out pages from magazines, or if you’re doing an exterior project, take photos of homes in the neighborhood. Then prioritize your list, ranking your “must-haves” from your “lottery wish list.”
Not so fun but essential: get a realistic idea of costs. Look at a cost versus value report, like the one put out by Remodelers Magazine, to see how much future return you might expect from your investment. Be realistic about what you’re willing to invest in your home and the results you can expect. Gotta have that custom pebble floor in your shower? Go for it, and adjust your budget accordingly.
Budget for “surprises.” Even with reputable remodelers and the most thorough contracts, unforeseen circumstances might require additional work. (Dry rot and inferior framing, for instance, can be difficult to detect before demolition.) Or maybe you’ll be presented with an opportunity to save some money by spending a little more now rather than later. For instance, you may have decided to reduce your bedroom renovation budget by delaying the closet remodel, only to find it would actually cost less to do it now rather than later. The savvy remodeling client will budget an additional 10 percent for such a contingency.
Your final homework assignment: consider how you are going to pay for the project. Many homeowners pay cash, either by reallocating resources or saving up. Others finance through traditional methods or asking their contractor for advice on financing solutions. Contractors might also break a larger project down into smaller phases for a “pay as you go” approach. If you can’t afford to redo the bathroom of your dreams now, it might only be a delay of months to get what you really want.
It’s holiday season, when our kitchens get a workout from a range of ambitious endeavors, from hosting holiday dinners to crafting artisanal treats for gift-giving. And most of us find that our cookie-cutter kitchens don’t make the grade. It’s a good time, then, to take notes on what does and doesn’t work for you, so that when you’re ready for a remodel, you can help create a kitchen that’s truly yours.
In a recent kitchen project, part of a larger remodel of a grand Portland Foursquare, we worked with a couple who had carefully considered their tastes and habits. Consequently, we could customize their space for enduring enjoyment.
Having a clear vision of the aesthetics of the kitchen, the clients informed just how faithful the design and construction needed to be to the home’s historic origins. For instance, we custom built cabinets to match the cabinetry elsewhere in the home, both in wood species and profile details. We also encased a built-in fridge and pantry, visible from the dining room, in custom-built fir cabinetry. If historic fidelity is important to you, make sure you hire a professional who can recreate the space convincingly.
Personalizing with furniture
The remodel took into account a treasured antique table and display cabinet that the residents wanted in the newly expanded room. Knowing what furniture, if any, you’ll want in a space helps ensure they’ll fit and be shown off to good advantage.
The couple wanted the additional work space and focal point of an island but didn’t want it to dominate the room. A simple yet elegant table with a Carrera marble top was custom-built to serve as a workspace for baking, food prep, and additional storage.
After living with the original kitchen, the homeowners realized they liked the convenience of open shelves, and also enjoyed seeing their collection of Arts & Crafts pottery prominently displayed. The new kitchen now has open shelving that fits into the kitchen’s genre and befits the collectibles they hold.
Both doctors, the clients requested a hygienic feature adopted from their work environment: foot-operated hot/cold water faucets at the sink. Additionally, the double-wide sink allows the two to keep out of each other’s way while working side by side. Dual dishwashers allow for similar multi-tasking: one can wash pots and pans while the other washes delicate glassware.
Taking the time to assess your tastes, habits and aspirations will ensure a remodeled kitchen that is a joy to work in now and for years to come.
Historic preservation is one of our passions and specialities at Craftsman Design and Renovation. From design to build, we enjoy remodeling and preserving the classic homes of Portland.
It may seem like an overwhelming subject for a homeowner who cares for the history of their home, but also wants the space to cater to their modern needs. Here are some tips to help you both preserve and change your home to fit your needs:
1. Take a walk down your block
Your home probably fits right in with many other historic or period homes on your same block or in your neighborhood. If you are working to restore your home to its original structure or need help adding-on without the addition looking garish, take a stroll in your neighborhood. Study the homes surrounding yours. You may have a neighbor who pulled off exactly what you are trying to accomplish who you can learn from.
2. You can replace when necessary
There are times when a gorgeous old piece of molding or an ancient pillar is rotting away. Someone at a lumberyard may tell you that this piece is irreplaceable, but there are many times when this statement is untrue. Your old pillar may not be in stock, but Portland has many craftsmen who can design a match and keep your home’s integrity and beauty intact.
The same goes with old, intricate pieces like latches and door knobs. There are craftsmen, hardware shops, and antique shops which specialize in such pieces and can help you find the best match for or fix your broken piece.
3. Add your own history to the home
Your home may be historical, but so is your family line. Old photographs, your grandmother’s rocking chair or a quilted family tree can all add your own history to your home.
4. Decide what to change first
There are major changes that one can do to a home to restore it and there are small changes with a big impact. If your home needs repair before restoration, prioritize your projects and see if any overlap. For example: if you are planning to re-shingle the home with fish-scale shingles, and you have a leaky roof, you might as well do both at the same time.
5. Check in your attic, crawl spaces, and basement for original home parts
Previous owners may have stowed away original wainscotting, stained-glass windows, or even an original door in an unlikely corner of your home. This not only gives you a great original piece to use, but allows you some extra storage space as well.
6. Stay inspired
Restoring your home can feel like a long-term job, and sometimes it is. Seek out others with your passion, research your area, go on walking tours in historical neighborhoods and keep your passion burning.
We have restored and remodeled many historic homes in the Portland area. Our passion is helping homeowners blend their modern needs with their historical or period homes. You can find more tips and seek inspiration on our portfolio: <a href=”https://www.craftsmandesign.com/portfolio”>https://www.craftsmandesign.com/portfolio</a>.