They did WHAT to that house?
While it’s true that a homeowner can make any kind of improvement or remodel he or she wants to as long as he’s not violating any covenant rules or city building codes, some choices are better than others.
A stunning home is desirable; a home that leaves guests feeling stunned, confused or violated isn’t usually the goal of home improvement projects.
It’s easy to get carried away with ideas at the Home Improvement and Remodeling Expo, but before you take a jackhammer to that living room wall or purchase pink paint for the kitchen, consider carefully what you want to do and how it may affect the resale value of your home.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s your home. If you really want a lime green dining room, then paint away and enjoy tropical dining even in February.
Here are a few thoughts and tips to bear in mind when considering a home improvement project:
Paint: Bright accent walls are fun, interesting and lively. An entire room painted in a bright, bold color may be overwhelming. Luckily, the fix is simple, although it may take a coat of primer and at least two coats to cover some particularly dark color choices.
Floor plan: Bedrooms and bathrooms are destinations, not hallways. When considering a remodel or addition that leaves the home with a floorplan that doesn’t work, get some outside help to create one that will. It’s never a good idea to go through the bathroom to get to the family room.
Colored bathroom fixtures: What can we say? It was once a hot trend to have toilets in every color of the rainbow. When you want to replace the sink, don’t try and find a pink one that matches the 30-year old pink toilet. Consider replacing both the sink and the toilet with white or beige. Ditto for harvest gold, avocado and baby blue fixtures.
Unusual heights in cabinets and countertops: This one isn’t black and white. If you’re extremely short or exceptionally tall, it probably makes sense for you to consider replacing standard-height countertops with something that suits your needs. Just remember that when it comes time to sell your house, most buyers come in standard-height variations. They’ll need to replace your customization with something that works for them and may want to take the cost to replace off the purchase price.
Inadequate bathrooms: You’ve got seven kids and need three more bedrooms, but you don’t want to pay for additional plumbing and electricity to build another bathroom when you add those bedrooms. Think twice. Homes with a large number of bedrooms work when there’s an equally large number of bathrooms. Most buyers aren’t interested in a six-bedroom home with one bathroom.
Garage conversions: This one needed more than a paragraph – check out the feature story about garage conversions on page 8 for more information.
Flooring: Outdoor carpet works on a patio, not in a dining room. Carpets and bathrooms may not mix, especially around the toilet. Although you love the teal carpet and want it in every room in your house, prospective buyers may find it a real turn-off.
Outdoor nightmares: Before you plant the tree five feet from the house, think what it will look like in five years. Trees get big, so give them plenty of room away from the house. Likewise for shrubs that will eventually cover windows and walkways. If you choose to build a do-it-yourself sunshade or awning, use materials that will hold up well in the blistering sun.
Do-it-yourself projects: If you know what you’re doing and feel confident that you will do it well, then doing it yourself can save money and time. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t have the expertise and can’t tell a paintbrush from a hairbrush, then it might be best to hire out specific home improvement jobs.
When safety is at stake, always bring in an expert.