In-Law Suites, a Sweet Addition to Your Home

Considering adding an in-law suite to your home? Given the changing landscape of the economy, in-law suites are becoming a popular choice for many homeowners. Particularly, with multigenerational housing increasing as well. Whether you are converting a room, adding a free-standing apartment, or building a bedroom and bath addition, one common attribute is the ground floor accessibility and added sales appeal (generally, in-law suites increase property value).

If you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. As you think about your parents’ future and those of your in-laws (and even your own), some initial planning can ensure both you and your loved ones are comfortable, independent and safe.

Consider these helpful tips before you build:

1) Location, Location, Location

Decide where to build the in-law suite. You’ll want to assess your home to determine the best possible location. Do you have a garage or enclosed porch that can be converted into a living space? Do you have two bedrooms that can be combined into one, or a basement that can be converted into a separate living area? Or, perhaps you have adequate space to build a room addition?

If a room addition is necessary to accommodate your new in-law suite, you’ll want to make sure that the new space blends seamlessly with your home’s exterior. A design build contractor will work with you to ensure the addition flows with the original architecture of your home.

Basement Remodel 2 Basement Remodel Bedroom 4

2)  Accommodations

Once you have identified where to add your in-law space, you will need to decide what you want to include in the space and how it should flow. Typical in-law suites include a living room, full kitchen and a separate bedroom and private bathroom with adequate storage in both. Ideally, an in-law suite will also have a separate entrance. In this case, zoning restrictions may come in to play and determine what you can or cannot do. Your design/build contractor will help you navigate this process.

We’ve collected some in-law suite ideas for you on our Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Basement Remodel Living Room 3 Basement Remodel Bathroom 5

3)  Universal Design Principles

When designing an in-law suite, it’s important to incorporate universal design principles, to ensure whoever occupies the space is safe, independent and comfortable for years to come. The National Association of Home Builders defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable to all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation of specialized design.” A universally designed space considers aging-in-place needs, whether you are young or old, short, tall, healthy or ill. These amenities include, but are not limited to:

  • No step entries and non-slip floors
  • Wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers
  • Wider hallways (36-42 inches wide)
  • Extra floor space
  • Easy open, lever door and drawer hardware
  • Larger bathrooms with hand-held shower heads and level-entry, curbless showers
  • Good lighting to include well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances
  • Lower light switches and thermostat controls, within easy reach of the bed.
  • Easy access to separate heat and air conditioning controls as well as smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors.

For questions about incorporating an in-law suite into your home, contact Riverside Construction today! Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

8 Critical Remodeling Mistakes to Avoid

It doesn’t take much to run a home remodeling project over budget. If it’s important to you to keep your savings intact, avoid these common mistakes before construction begins.

We interviewed Riverside Construction’s owner, Andy Haste, to find out what breaks people’s budgets when they remodel their homes. Here are some helpful tips to help you circumvent those errors:

  1. Changing Your Mind After Construction Has BegunOne of the biggest, most costly remodeling mistakes a homeowner can make is making changes after construction begins. One advantage in working with a design/build firm is that every detail is thought through and even previewed, and fixed to a budget, before construction begins.
  2. Failing to Define Your Project Scope (Not Creating a Master Plan)Every home remodeling project should start with a clear project scope. A professional contractor can help you define your master plan and make sure every detail is accounted for. When meeting for the first time, expect to answer a lot of questions, especially WHY you are remodeling. By flushing out this deeper understanding of your home remodel, a remodeling contractor earns his weight in gold by coming up with creative, cost-effective solutions that you might never have thought of.Other questions you should be prepared to ask are “What are your needs, wants and desires for your new space? What do you love about your home? What don’t you like about your existing space? What is the size of your family? Is it expanding or will you be empty nesters soon? How often do you entertain? Where do you and your family spend most of your time? The more details you can flush out up front, the more precise a professional remodeling contractor can be in coming up with ideal solutions for your new living space.
  3. Choosing a Contractor Solely on PriceEveryone loves to save money! But the old adage “You get what you pay for” is never more true than when you hire a remodeling contractor. Choose a remodeling firm that has a stellar reputation in the industry. Start by asking for referrals and evaluate new companies by reading their online reviews and client testimonials. Some companies even provide direct access to their client survey results. Pay attention to the comments and how issues are handled.Instead of choosing a contractor solely on price, pay close attention to the overall value you will receive. Are they likely to still be in business five years from now when something needs fixing? Do they offer a workmanship warranty, and will follow up on their commitment to stand behind their work?Choosing a contractor shouldn’t be so much about “can they frame a wall or put in a sink”. It should be more about whether or not they have established trust in doing the job you need them to do. Emphasis should be placed on HOW the work is done. Will they protect your home? Will they do what they say they’re going to do? What measures will they put in place to protect your family or pets? Can you reliably trust them to carry out your vision?
  4. Failing to Create a Realistic BudgetOne of the key advantages in working with a design/build firm, in particular, is that they can help you determine a realistic budget up-front before construction begins. Make sure you work with a remodeling contractor that listens to your needs, develops a scope of work, and guides you in a design that realistically fits your budget. No time or money is wasted when you design to a budget that you can afford right from the start.
  5. Taking Too Little Time to Consider Specialty ItemsThe last thing you ever want to experience after spending valuable time and money on a home remodel is regret. “I really wish I’d put in that glass tile I wanted,” or “I’m really disappointed that we didn’t put in quartz countertops,” are statements that a quality contractor will ensure you never say six months or three years after your remodel is complete.Creating a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ is a helpful place to start. A design/build firm will incorporate these items into the design discussion early on, before a conceptual design and budget proposal are presented to you. This allows you to incorporate your needs into your overall plan and specifications right away. Be prepared to address why you want your ‘must have’ items as well. A reputable contractor will want to know WHY you want these items so they can present you with alternative options and steer you in the right direction.
  6. Not Knowing the Process Going Into Your RemodelHaving a clear understanding of the home remodeling process you’re about to embark on is a smart and effective way to alleviate anxiety. You should know approximately how long your project will take, what date it will be done, how your home will be managed and protected (both the construction and non-construction areas), when and how your ideas will be incorporated into the design process, and more. When you are looking for a contractor that is right for you, be sure to get a thorough understanding of their design and construction process.
  7. Not Being Prepared for the UnexpectedAny time you embark on a home remodel, no matter how old your home, you want to go into your remodel with a clear understanding of what to expect. Be prepared for dust and noise, for starters. And, have a plan in place for your pets.Unexpected situations can also rear their ugly head as soon as you start tearing down walls. Whether there is dry rot found behind a soffit, or dangerous electrical wiring that needs to be replaced, it is important that you prepare yourself for these types of surprises also. A reputable contractor will be able to set all of these expectations up front and help you set a realistic budget.
  8. Not Exploring ALL Options for Adding Space in Your HomeDon’t want to move, but desperately need additional square footage? One obvious solution is adding a new room addition to your home, but there are other options as well. You can maximize storage and reclaim space by creatively reconfiguring your existing space. Do you have a basement or attic that can be refinished? Do you have a wall that can be knocked down to improve traffic flow? By discussing your needs with a reputable remodeling contractor, you can explore all options that add square footage to your home, without breaking the bank.

Contact Riverside Construction today, for more information.  We would love the opportunity to help you with your next remodeling project.  Take the first step by scheduling a conversation with a design consultant.

REMODELING DESIGN TRENDS TO WATCH FOR IN 2016

If you are anxious to see what remodeling design trends are hot and what’s not in 2016, you’re in good company. Riverside Construction has compared notes with designers throughout the country to arrive at these six new looks that are consistently driving home remodeling decisions specific to Tippecanoe County.

  • A Color Palette of Neutrals
    If you’re already thinking of changing up your color scheme, you might want to stay away from bold, primary colors. While white remains a popular color choice of years past, there has been a natural shift to soft whites, light gray and browns; and even neutral pastels like pale blues and greens.
  • Natural Ingredients
    Homeowners are incorporating a variety of natural materials into their homes today. Natural wood, bamboo and stone products remain very popular. Bulk and thickness are also being replaced with thin, elegant countertops—the most popular being Quartz that comes in many striking colors, unique styles and a variety of patterns. While homeowners are opting for the look of natural wood, they are also choosing porcelain or ceramic tile that mimics the look of wood—purposefully blending style with function.
  • Smart Spaces
    This year, incorporating smart spaces for our smart devices is nothing short of a necessity. Anything from hidden charging stations to storage space for our tablets, phones and all of the accessories, are finding a way into our functional living space. As a result, we are seeing a majority of new kitchens being designed with a desk or home office space. And smart technology doesn’t stop there. It is also finding its way into state-of-the-art smart appliances such as convection steam ovens, built-in wine coolers and refrigerators that are wired with the capability to send text messages.
  • Simple Cabinetry
    Present day kitchens are embracing simple design that emphasizes clean lines. That is why Shaker style cabinets, characterized by their simplicity, are often a top choice among homeowners. For those who prefer wood cabinetry, the Shaker style showcases the natural beauty of the wood. For those who want the look of a clean, white painted cabinet, the Shaker style is also a great choice.
  • Kitchen Sink Styles
    This year, we’re seeing a comeback in demand for the larger, single-basin kitchen sink. Available in a variety of shapes and styles, homeowners are choosing undermount sinks used with solid surface countertops such as granite, Quartz or composite. For a more sleek look and seamless transition, homeowners are also choosing integrated granite or Quartz basins. For a timeless, country-style option, farmhouse sinks are the preference. We’re also seeing homeowners supplement their primary kitchen sinks with a separate food preparation sink.
  • Open Floor Plans
    Certainly not new, but definitely still in vogue, homeowners are finding ways to create that open, airy living space they’ve always dreamed of. With an open floor plan, space is opened up between the kitchen and living room and even the dining room, leaving plenty of room for everyone to sit comfortably.

Whether you are ready to update your kitchen with this year’s hot remodeling design trends, or you’d rather stick with timeless design elements, Riverside Construction has plenty of ideas to inspire your next remodel. Consider working with our professional design team to help you identify your own unique style and ensure your remodeling decisions last a lifetime. If you are interested in more information or are ready to start your next project you can contact us here.

KEY 3 – DESIGN YOUR PERFECT FLOOR PLAN

Designing your perfect floor plan is one of the more exciting steps in remodeling your home. But for those of you who struggle with visualizing what it will look like, enlisting the help of someone who has experience designing rooms or experimenting with various layouts may be incredibly helpful.

In the first two keys we recommended defining your objectives and creating a wish list for your project. The next step is exploring how to get help turning your wish list into a functional and visually striking floor plan and how to experiment and think through various layout options.

Getting Help – If your project requires structural changes or is a large scale project, it is wise to seek the professional services of an architect or designer who specializes in kitchens or bathrooms or a company that can help you with your entire process from designing to building. Architect and Designers can both help you design the rooms that you are remodeling, but they won’t do the building for your or be able to provide you with an accurate estimate. Full service contractors, like Riverside Construction, have design/build capabilities in-house which offers a more complete solution. These firms offer both the expertise in the design and construction of the part of the home you are planning to remodel. Choosing someone you are comfortable with who can guide you through this stage is vital to coming up with a floor plan, schedule, and budget that is right for you.

Choose a professional who will tailor a plan that will address your wish list and find ways to incorporate as many items as possible. Work with someone who is willing and experienced enough to recommend different materials and construction options to give you a plan that you can enjoy and afford. Good designers will be creative and provide multiple solutions to accomplish your design objectives. By being flexible you will find ways to create that new “space” that will be just right for you and your family.

Thinking through the Floor Plan – As you begin to think through and review your floor plan, you’ll also want to think through furniture placement, traffic flow, and visual appeal. If you already have a clear vision of the room’s size and shape, you can begin this process now. The easiest way to experiment is by placing barriers and moving furniture in your current space so you have an accurate feel for what the future changes will represent. When that’s not possible, the next best thing is to draw the room to scale on graph paper and add potential furniture to the drawing.

As you experiment, you may notice problem areas or creative opportunities. These are the areas a designer or a company that offers a visual design can help you make the most of. Riverside Construction offers a 3D image or “rendering” of your remodeling project from various angles for just this reason. The rendering allows you to visualize your space which can often highlight changes you want to make. Using the 2D floor plan and the renderings, you can experiment with the placement your furniture, cabinets, windows and doors to get the beautiful space you want. We’ll help you make sure that when new counters, cabinets, and doors are installed, or walls are moved, that the walkways will be to your satisfaction and the room will be a functional, enjoyable room.

A few thoughtful hours invested now with a tape measure can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Altering your design layout once construction has started can add both cost and time to your project. Spend the time to get the feedback of others and to get comfortable with all aspects of the project. You’ll be glad you did.

If you need help with designing a room that is both beautiful and functional we would love to help you. You can contact us for more information. Missed the first two steps in our keys to remodeling with success? Read about the first step in remodeling. Read more about step two.

THE SECOND KEY TO REMODELING WITH SUCCESS

It has been said that the most successful people are goal setters. It is the same with renovation projects. The most successful renovations are those where there is a clear set of goal oriented objectives followed by the priority of items that you would like to see in your newly remodeled space. By clearly establishing the objectives of your remodeling project and the importance that each item carries it will be much easier to communicate your “wish list” to your Contractor. This will have a significant bearing when you are establishing your budget and design options.

The first step to a success in a remodeling project is to prioritize each wish list feature as to how important it is to meeting your overall objective. Put your highest priority item at the top of the list and then rank your other items in the order of importance, realizing that when budget and design considerations are taken into account, the items at the bottom of the list may or may not fit into your budget.
Don’t forget to let all members of the household share their input on the prioritized list and the reasons why each item is important to him or her. Once this step is completed you will have made significant progress toward a sensible plan that will accommodate the wishes and desires of all those involved.
The next step is evaluating which parts of the project will add the value that you desire to your home. Almost all remodeling projects will add value to your home. Not only by increasing your resale value, but just as importantly by increasing the utility and enjoyment you and your family will receive from your investment. According to Remodeling Magazine, a few of the projects that recoup the largest amount of their original costs are kitchen remodels, bathroom renovations, enhanced master suites and room additions. These values can vary depending on your home’s location, but regardless of where you live, any decision to remodel your home should be based on both the increased value and the personal satisfaction you will obtain from having new features and comfort added to your home.
If you are in the process of thinking about a remodeling project we are here to help you make your project a success! Please contact us for more information.

THE FIRST KEY TO REMODELING WITH SUCCESS

Each remodeling project should be designed to reflect who you are and how you use your home. The space you are remodeling should have the functionality you need, not just for your lifestyle today, but for as far into the future as you can see.
At Riverside Construction, we believe that as a more informed consumer, the decisions you make will ensure that you will enjoy the benefits for years to come, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in costly mistakes. Our team is here to help you get the most out of every decision. Here is the first key step to a successful remodeling project.


When you consider the space that you’d like to remodel, your emphasis should be on the way you hope to use the new room. You want to spend time considering how the new space should function – including how often it will be used, by who, and what possible wants and needs people might have in the space. Sometimes it’s easier to start with a list of frustrations and limitations of the current space.

Start with Walking Around
Having a general idea of what you want to resolve with your remodeling project is important. Start with walking through your home and making a list of what frustrates you. Be sure to include other family members as you go.
Is the space too small for your growing family or too difficult for an aging loved one to enjoy? Is the outdated style keeping you from entertaining guests? Is the room cold and drafty or does noise travel too easily from one space to another? Are you missing out on a beautiful view or stuck in the kitchen while the family is relaxing in the room around the corner? Are there structural problems as well such as low ceilings, leaky pipes, or creaky floors?
Of course some underlying problems will not be easily visible and will have to be dealt with when they arise. However, by taking into account as many potential factors as possible, you’ll help minimize surprises when it comes time to draw up a time-line and budget

Define your Project Objectives
Once you’ve completed your walk around and started to create a mental image of what you want to improve, the next step is to create your wish list and define your remodeling project objectives.
1. Are you wanting a new look?
2. Are there features of your home that have bothered you over time?
3. If there were no budget constraints, what would your ultimate space look like?
4. How do you see yourself using the remodeled or new space?
5. Do you like to entertain?

Asking yourself these questions can provide significant insight into the features you want and the look of your new kitchen, bathroom, or addition. By compiling a complete “wish list” you can then move to the next step and begin prioritizing your wants and needs in a way that will move you closer to your end goal.
If you are ready to take the next step forward with your remodeling project we would love to help you. You can contact us for more information.

HOW TO CREATE A DREAM KITCHEN

Is your kitchen looking tired or worn out; does it lack the appeal it once had? We believe that your kitchen should be both highly functional and beautiful. Kitchens should be an expression of how you work and entertain.

When remodeling your kitchen think about how you work in the space. What types of activities do you and your family do in this room? Today’s kitchens have become the hub of the home. Here are a few thoughts to help you plan the kitchen of your dreams:

Create space for Cookbooks or Tablets
Being able to easily access your recipes is critical for anyone using a kitchen. Whether you use cookbooks, recipe cards or some other technology to give you your directions for cooking, it’s important to plan for their use and storage. Open shelving, easy access book cases, under cabinet tablet holders or charging stations at key locations in the kitchen can make accessing your information easier.

Carefully plan your counter space
Having open counter space to either prep food or mix your ingredients is incredibly helpful. The key here is to look at how you use your kitchen. If you enjoy making cookies or kneading bread it’s important to leave space for those types of activities. If you need space for chopping vegetables make sure to leave space near sinks and garbage cans to make that process as easy as possible.

It’s also important to think about the type of counter you will have. Choose a material that compliments the projects you find yourself most often doing. For example – Granite countertops stay cool longer so they’re good for people who knead bread or roll out other types of dough. It’s also important to consider the height of those working at the counter and potentially have lower sections of counter for those tasks you prefer to do sitting down or areas that you prefer to have accessible for someone with limited access to counter space.

Organized storage for Spices
Spices are vital to cooking of all kinds. A truly useful kitchen needs to have spices that are well organized. You can keep spices organized and within easy reach with an in-drawer spice rack or spice rack pull out. A rack can position the containers so they’re easy to read and access. Slim pullouts in your kitchen can offer the perfect solution to spaces that might otherwise be wasted.

Open Shelving for Quick Access
If you have items you access all the time, you may want to consider open shelves. Open shelves allow you to store the items you use all the time conveniently and not on your countertop. This is also a great spot for displaying some of your most colorful items to bring some extra decorating space into your kitchen as well.

Plan for the Appliances you Need
When you’re planning your next kitchen make sure to include the appliances that will make your life easier. Do you bake at multiple temperatures? If so, a double oven may be a helpful tool for you. If you do a lot of mixing, consider installing a base cabinet that includes a standing mixer stand that pulls up to the ideal height and locks into place to allow you to conveniently lift and lower your mixer as needed. Do you need more burners or unique range features. It’s important then to plan for a larger range to easily accommodate larger pots and pans. Do you hate to carry heavy pots filled with water? Make sure to add a convenient pot filler over your range top. Additional ideas may be standalone freezers, ice makers or convection ovens. The idea is to have easy access to the appliances that will allow you to make the best use of your space.

Creating a kitchen that allows you the best possible environment to be creative is a great way to practice and improve your cooking and baking skills. If you need help designing and remodeling your next kitchen please contact us.

HOW TO MAKE SMALL BATHROOMS FEEL LARGER

Corner bathroom sinkSmall bathrooms can be a big headache for homeowners who want style, storage and functionality. The best way we’ve discovered to make the most of your limited space is to be incredibly intentional about how you use the space.

There are plenty of challenges when designing a small bathroom. Things like ensuring that there is enough clearance space between sinks, toilets and showers define how the majority of your space is laid out. However creative ideas can go a long way towards making your space seem as large and comfortable as possible. We come up with a list of the best design trends for small bathrooms.

1. Install a Corner Sink
Corners of bathrooms are often an overlooked area. Installing the sink in the corner can save a huge amount of floor space and can allow enough floor space between toilets, shower stalls and sinks.

2. Use Clear Materials (Materials that you can see through)
Instead of solid cabinets or visible shower curtains, install cabinets with open shelving and clear glass for shower doors. Both allow the space to feel bigger and more open.

3. Don’t be Afraid of Color
When used in moderation creating a colorful, visual centerpiece for the room draws your eye away for the limitations of the space and provides a welcome focal point for your room.

4. Use a Rounded Vanity
Everyone who has been in a small bathroom quickly becomes aware of where the vanity corners are. Something as simple as installing a rounded vanity and counter can prevent some of those painful bruises.

5. Extend the Countertop
Extra countertop is always useful. In some cases there are ways to extend the counter space in small bathrooms by installing narrow cabinets or even just extra counter space that can be used to store or display items.

6. Install a Recessed Medicine Cabinet
Medicine Cabinets with mirrors continue to be a valuable addition to small bathrooms. Cabinets that are recessed (in the wall) provide you with the much needed storage space along with making the space feel larger.

Being intentional about designing your small bathroom can make all the difference. Making sure you have a good blend of style and flexibility will allow you to enjoy your space without constantly wishing it was bigger. Your bathroom won’t get bigger, but in the end, you can achieve the necessary balance between comfort, size and function. If you have a small bathroom that you need help with feel free to contact us.