How to Remodel for Less
As promised here is part 3 of the three-part series I promised you written by my former executive producer Andrew Ellenberg.
Trevor and his wife Tiffany were sitting on the bleachers watching their oldest son play baseball, waiting for his chance to slide into the home plate from third base when Trevor got a text from his boss that he would be working from home full time. A flood of emotions rushed to his head as he grappled with his ambivalence about the change.
Less time stuck in traffic braving the morning commute for 45 minutes was a game-changer for quality of life and cost savings. But his house wasn’t configured for a home office and needed work.
Over the next several days, as the reality of the remote lifestyle started to settle in, Trevor and Tiffany discussed their options for transforming their house into a remarkable but affordable space for life and business.
After researching the project online for hours, their plan had come into sharper focus. Two weeks after Trevor got the text, they were ready to hire a remodeling contractor. Now they needed to figure out how they would pay for the project.
With 60 percent equity on their mortgage, they were sitting on the right side of supply and demand and figured they could tap some of it to pay for the renovations.
Their research found a loan officer who said he could help them tap the equity in their home to fund their bold new vision. During a date night on their covered porch, they uncorked a bottle of champagne, made a toast, tapped glasses, and laughed uncontrollably in relief and excitement.
Halfway across the country, it was a brisk evening in May when Bryce Johnson spoke with Life In Style about high-impact remodels that won’t break the bank. He is a seasoned industry vet with a 30-year history of transforming outdated spaces. Johnson has an eye for design, a sharp mind for functionality, and an almost manic intensity about his work.
He said the perception that luxury remodeling projects need to be exorbitantly priced is mainly misplaced.
“People think that high-end materials and finishes have to be expensive, but that’s not always the case,” Johnson said. “I’ve found that many people are surprised by how affordable their dream home can be.”
People traditionally view luxury vinyl tile as something you would never see in million-dollar homes. But Johnson installs them all the time. They have hundreds of colors and style choices, some with textured or distressed designs to add character.
They are also water-resistant, ideal for high-traffic areas or homes with pets. “The same is true of many other materials people associate with more modest price tags,” Johnson said. “The key is to use them in ways that elevate the overall design.”
He said you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a significant impact. His philosophy at his firm, Bryce Johnson Construction, is that you can find ways to get the look of more expensive materials for a fraction of the price with ingenuity and creativity. That means more bang for the buck while more equity bucks make homeowners flush.
“Homeowners are likely getting an extra incentive from record-high home equity levels. Home prices continue to gain as demand for housing soars. People are crunching numbers to calculate their ROI on projects,” said Justin Rabin, a loan officer at Fountain Mortgage.
Internationally respected interior designer and regular Life in Style contributor Karen Mills stresses the importance of “future-proofing” your remodel with timeless spaces that don’t go out of style.
“Materials don’t need to be expensive to look high-end. By strategically repeating elements – shapes, colors, lines, finishes, and styles in a design, a true artist can draw you into the room, causing an emotional response that speaks to your soul.”
Lior Brosh, the owner of UK-based Brosh Architects, recently designed a secret bathroom door for a client with four children. She hid it behind a slick contemporary display cabinet with cool decor bolted to the shelves, so items don’t shift when opening and closing the door. With a budget of less than $10,000, the remodel is stunning and looks like it cost three times more than it did.
“Getting the most value for your money is all about creative thinking,” she said. “There are ways to make affordable materials look like a million bucks.”
Brosh said high-impact remodels don’t have to mean high-budget projects. With savvy design choices and impeccable execution, you can have a stunning space that rivals those at the top of your wish list.
Three months after Trevor received the text message about working from home full time, he sat with Tiffany in their newly remodeled home office. Enclosed in tinted glass, the space is bathed in natural light but provides privacy from the rest of the home.
The built-in transparent desk appears to be floating, and the walls are painted in a burnt orange bursting with energy. The hanging barn doors lead to the kitchen and the living room, a commute two steps from his favorite rooms in the house.
Trevor is in good company. In today’s competitive real estate market, homeowners are looking for ways to increase property values and enhance their quality of life. For many, this means making bold remodeling decisions that will give their homes a high-end look without breaking the bank.
Life in Style, the weekly Publication from Team Real Estate, helps homeowners make more inspired decisions about their homes and lifestyles. It features original news, commentary, tips, and analysis from leading industry experts. To be considered for inclusion in future stories as a professional or homeowner, email email@example.com.
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