As we are architects who specialize in residential remodeling, every client we see has a problem with his or her house. Some of these houses just need a cosmetic upgrade (replacing outdated finishes, appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc., in their current location), while others need a more substantial overhaul or expansion to bring the function of the home into the 21st century.
Our clients realize they need a change in their circumstances, but they don’t want to move. They still love the location, commute (or lack thereof), neighborhood, schools and church congregation, but not their house in its current state. The obvious choice in this situation is to consider remodeling.
Here are some solutions that remodeling can provide for common housing problems:
Accessibility upgrades: Sometimes there is an accident that leads to a family member having some level of mobility impairment that makes life in one’s current home difficult. Other clients are concerned about aging in place and want to plan ahead so they won’t be forced to leave their homes in the future. Whether it is an imminent situation or just a matter of looking ahead, we work with more and more clients who are motivated to address accessibility issues in their homes. We move bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry rooms to create main floor living based on the concept of having all the everyday needs easily accessible on the main floor.
Expanding bedroom wings: The need for more bedrooms often results from a change in the family dynamic: a new baby, small children inevitably becoming teenagers and needing their space, or a grandparent moving in. Families also often add rooms to allow for a guest room, craft or hobby room, or home office.
Fixing ugly house disorder: Adding more curb appeal to a house is one of the top client requests when considering a remodel. While some issues of deferred maintenance need to be addressed on a practical level, changing the look of their home is often more of a psychological need for the client. They want to pull up to a beautiful house and be proud of their home. Home should be a refuge and bring joy and peace into your life. Addressing the ugly house disorder can turn a source of stress and anxiety into a relaxing retreat.
Opening for more gathering space: The great room is becoming a must-have for many families. Families want their homes to be the spot where their children’s friends hang out and party on. For families with grown children, the great room makes it easy for grown children to return with spouses and grandchildren. It is not uncommon that the home where you managed to rear your children cannot now comfortably hold the generation that appears after the nest is empty. Many clients are requesting a bigger gathering place, and it is a problem that can be solved with additions or by reallocating existing space, removing walls and changing the function of now obsolete rooms.
Adding storage space: If there is one issue common to almost every client, it is their desire for more storage space. Additions are an obvious solution, but one of our skills is to help clients find space in their revised home design to reallocate to storage. We tweak kitchens to find room for a bigger pantry; redesign bedrooms to add bigger closets; and design hallways, stairways and basements to include custom storage options. Many times, more space than a client realizes is being wasted by a bad design.
The first thing to do when it comes to remodeling is to analyze your house and how you live in it. Go through your house and determine what is working for you and what isn’t. Write a list of your wants and your needs. Remodeling should solve problems to make your house work and feel better for you.
The most efficient houses use every room every day. If you have rooms or space that goes unused while you feel cramped in other parts of your house, it is time to reallocate space. Don’t let parts of your house go to waste when they could be just what you need to solve your remodeling challenge. You may be sitting on a gold mine.
Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to ask@RenovationDesignGroup.com