Dan Barton, Renovation Design Group
When is it a good time to remodel? Well, the obvious answer is when you have unlimited funds and plan to be on a world tour for about a year. If you don’t think you will be in this position in the near future (or ever), what are the triggers that cause people to stop dreaming and talking about remodeling and actually do it?
1. When your family outnumbers the bedrooms.
Families often outgrow a couple’s first house a few years into marriage when the children come along. Depending on the family dynamic, siblings sharing a bedroom can solve the problem. Bunk beds were invented for a reason. In other cases, however, sharing a bedroom can cause daily conflict among children and more personal space would alleviate the issue. If your family members outnumber the amount of bedrooms in your house, it may be a sign it is time to remodel to create more bedrooms.
2. When your children move out.
When the last child moves out, the family dynamic is — in theory — permanently changed and the home can be adjusted to reflect the new reality. This is a common time for couples to consider the next phase in their lives, and determining whether to move or stay put is high on the list of options. If the decision is to stay, the home usually needs both updating and reconfiguring. Repurposing old bedrooms for home offices and sewing rooms is an easy transition, but there are many other options for reallocating that space. Eliminating excess bedrooms can create more gathering space which will be critical when children, spouses and grandchildren all come home for the holidays or Sunday dinner.
3. When you enter a time warp when you step in the front door.
If you get a blast from the past each time you return home, then it might be time to remodel. Our moods and mental outlook have been proven to be affected by our surroundings. Outdated finishes and appliances can actually put a damper on your quality of life. There comes a time when the boomerang countertop loses its appeal. Even if you are living in a relatively newer house, (let’s say a house built in the 1990s) it is 20 years old now. Those cabinets that came with the house have faded, and the flooring and fixtures are outdated or falling apart. You probably have replaced a few appliances through the years, but if more than one appliance is on its last leg then it is probably time to upgrade the whole kitchen.
4. When your house tells you it is time.
If there are any structural issues with the house, then it is time to remodel whether you like it or not. If you have foundation problems, cracks or settling, then you can’t wait for your house to collapse before you do something about it. If you have water damage or termites that have destroyed part of your walls, then a repair/remodel is in order. If you find the electrical wiring or plumbing of the whole house needs to be replaced, then the “while you are at it” catchphrase actually makes sense and will save you money in the long run. When you are faced with a major repair, it is time to get a master plan before you tackle any construction. It will cost you double if you redo the plumbing now and then remodel the bathroom down the road.
5. When you have or can get the funds.
Remodeling is not an inexpensive proposition. I am sure most of us would like to change something about our homes, but paying for it may be the catch. Projects can be funded by savings, sudden windfalls (inheritance, bonuses, etc.) or by borrowing. A bank or mortgage company can help you figure out what amount you will qualify for if you are going to finance your project. Knowing the amount you can (or are willing) to spend on your project will clearly influence the scope and extent of your master plan.
In order for a house to be a home, it must support the goals and lifestyle of the inhabitants. Obviously, these elements change over the years, so it is not surprising that a home needs to undergo remodeling at some point. People remodel because they love where they are or because they prefer to be in control of the layout and style of their home. We know it takes courage to commit to making major changes to both your home and your lifestyle, but when the need meets the opportunity, the time is right.
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