A home remodel is often necessitated by a change in one’s life, such as a new family member. Or, the desire to shake things up might be the reason for the renovation! Either way, a well-planned remodel can be a great solution for a family who loves their current location and community, but whose lot cannot accommodate an addition. If you have been living at your current house for some time, however, it can be challenging to imagine new possibilities for your house. That’s where we can help! Here are some of the many ways in which an existing home can be improved:
1. Express your own style.
When we buy a house, we often inherit someone else’s style and need to make it our own. Or, the house might be a builder-basic house that needs a strong dose of character. In the project pictured below, we added architectural interest in the form of arched doorways and a sculptural staircase, to match the owner’s taste.
2. Restore a historic home.
A renovation doesn’t have to compromise the historic integrity of your home—in fact, it can be an excellent opportunity to enhance its character. At the same time, you can embrace the comfort of modern amenities, which can be tastefully added in keeping with the style of the house.
A great example is this Lincoln Park Victorian, which was the only wood building in the area to survive the Great Chicago Fire. We removed layers of irreverent past remodeling jobs to restore it to its original glory.
Mid-Century Modern houses are also seeing a revival, and we were able to pay homage to that great period of style when we renovated a Park Ridge home on an episode of the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation.
3. Open up your floor plan.
Open floor plans are a must-have for many homeowners and buyers. If you enjoy entertaining, an open floor plan allows you to converse with guests while preparing dinner. It can also make a small house feel more spacious. We can help you figure out how to best open up your floor plan while taking into account any load-bearing walls.
4. Make better of use of space.
Some families don’t have a need for a fourth bedroom or formal dining room. Consider annexing unused spaces to enlarge a small kitchen or create a master suite.
5. Update your kitchen and bath. These hardworking rooms are no longer simply places of utility. A spacious kitchen with island seating makes for a great entertainment hub. Meanwhile, the master bathroom has the potential to be a spa-like retreat with a waterfall shower and freestanding tub.
6. Finish the attic or basement. These floors can present an excellent opportunity to add living space without changing the footprint of the house. They’re ideal for teens who want their own living space, or really any member of the family who wants a personalized retreat. Additionally, waterproofing a basement can improve air quality, and insulating an attic can decrease both heating and cooling costs.
7. Ensure your house meets modern usage and safety standards. Older homes may have lower railings, steeper stairs, no egress in case of a fire, or no sump pump in case of a flood. Within the walls there may be knob-and-tube wiring and lead paint, both known safety hazards. While not the most exciting reason for a renovation, the knowledge that you are protecting your family and your investment is certainly a sound reason.
8. Update mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and other systems. Even best built homes’ systems degrade with age. Many houses in our city and suburbs are now over 100 years old and the systems can be that old too. Meanwhile, modern household appliances and lifestyles call for more electricity and water usage, and climate control is a must. You may want to upgrade from 60 to 100 amp service, add more outlets (especially in the kitchen—these should be GFCIs), and install recessed LED lighting for brighter rooms and energy efficiency. At Leader Builders our designs exclusively call for high efficiency equipment including 90%+ furnaces with a minimum 13 SEER rating on A/C units and high efficiency water heaters with direct venting.
9. Add energy efficient technology. Green technologies, including radiant floor heat, solar panels (we’re keeping an eye on Tesla’s newly unveiled solar roofs!), and insulation systems, offer many benefits. They contribute to the preservation of our planet, they offer utility bill savings, and at the same time, they provide unsurpassed comfort and convenience. This beautiful Craftsman kitchen remodel features radiant floor heat.
10. Plan for aging in place. If you love your home and want to ensure that it remains comfortable as you age, or if you plan to take care of aging parents, it’s wise to follow universal design standards. Considerations include removing thresholds from showers and doorframes, making countertops accessible, and widening doorframes.
If you would like to learn more about our renovation and remodeling services or find out how we can help with a project you have a mind, please get in touch!