What to Include in a Successful Aging-In-Place Bathroom Remodel

When you first purchased your home, you may not have given much thought to how future lifestyle changes may necessitate a home remodel. As a matter of comfort and safety, it’s important to keep in mind universal design features that can accommodate everyone’s needs and/or requirements, regardless of age or ability.

Whether you build a new home or remodel your current home, incorporating universal design features may minimize injuries for you or a loved one such as slipping and falling in the bathroom and prolong the stay in your home.

Here are a few aging-in-place bathroom design elements that will provide maximum convenience and livability in your home:

Bathtub/Shower

To minimize the chance of falling when getting into the tub or shower, consider installing a new walk-in tub. Instead of climbing over the edge, you simply open the door. When closed, it’s watertight.

Homeowners who prefer to keep their conventional tub and shower in place can opt for a glass door to replace the shower curtain, which is beneficial for the added stability it provides. And since you’re doing upgrades, a flexible, hand-held shower, grab bars and a stool to sit on when bathing will make for a much safer and comfortable experience.

Cabinets

The cabinets where you store toiletries, as well as first aid supplies and medicine, should be easy for anyone to access. And if you or someone else in your family will be using a wheelchair, it’s helpful to lower the cabinets so they can still be reached from a sitting position. As people age, they often take more medications and use other health remedies, so make sure to install cabinets with ample size for better organization and easier access.

Floors

Slippery bathroom floors are particularly dangerous for people who experience difficulties with mobility, balance, or vision. While bathroom tiles are often preferred for their ease of cleaning, some can be quite slippery and hard, although, in recent years, slip resistance has improved for many tile choices. Rubber flooring is an excellent non-slip option, while Vinyl is ideal for creating a softer surface. For best results, consider adding additional thin rubber bath mats wherever water might accumulate, such as near the sink and shower/tub to help prevent falls.

Grab Bars

Whatever a person’s age, it makes sense to proceed with caution in a wet and slippery environment, especially when moving about in the bathroom. This is where grab bars can make a difference for your aging-in-place bathroom remodel. Install grab bars to assist you when you get up and down from the toilet and get in and out of the shower and/or bathtub. Adding grab bars doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice appearances, though. Unlike stark, institutional metal bars that you see installed in bathrooms at medical facilities, you can find home grab bars in a range of colors and styles to nicely compliment your bathroom design.

Lights

There are two primary considerations to keep in mind for lighting when upgrading your bathroom. Lighting must be abundant and adequate so you can see clearly, avoiding accidents; this is especially important since our eyesight tends to worsen with age. The lights must also be easy to access when it comes time to change them. Ideally, you’ll want multiple light sources, so if one bulb goes out, you’ll still have plenty of light until you change it. Another suggestion is to switch to eco-friendly LED bulbs that can last for years before burning out.

You also may want to consider adding lights powered by batteries, avoiding the hassle of rewiring the bathroom and giving you a great deal of flexibility for where you place them. Want a light right next to the toilet, or above a towel rack? No problem! Individuals with mobility issues can make the bathroom even safer by installing some motion sensors to switch lights on and off automatically when you enter and leave.

Sink

Whether you are recovering from an injury or are experiencing aches and pains such as from arthritis, it makes sense to switch out clunky, uncomfortable knobs to handles, which are much easier to manage. You can also install a foot-operated faucet, allowing hands-free control. As is the case with bathroom cabinets, you may need to lower the bathroom sink to accommodate a person sitting in a wheelchair. You can reduce the chance of injury from hot water by installing scald-prevention devices at the shower/tub and sink.

Every aspect of the bathroom should be evaluated for potential slip and fall problems. For example, choose rounded edges for the bathroom counter, to lessen the chances of injuries caused by falls.

Toilet

To make it easier to use the toilet, it’s a good idea to replace the original with a new, higher unit that is easier to sit on and stand up from. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of installing a taller seat. People with mobility issues can add a bidet, making personal hygiene all the more convenient.

Upgrading Your Home With Universal Design for Aging-in-Place

There are some important considerations to keep in mind when preparing a bathroom remodel for homeowners who want to harness the principles of universal design to accommodate issues such as disability and aging-in-place. An excellent way to start is by signing up for a free home remodeling seminar. Homeowners can stay on top of the latest design ideas by checking out our remodeling portfolio. And once you have a better idea of what you need for your bathroom remodel, you’ll want to speak with one of our expert designers. Give us a call at 765.838.1644 today.

 

6 Revealing Questions to Ask Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Do you ever dream about what it would be like to have an unlimited budget and lots of space to design a new kitchen? The sky is the limit! Unfortunately, for most of us, we are constrained by a budget and square footage. The good news? Even under constraints, you can plan a successful kitchen remodel—one that dares to deliver in style and function. To guide you and your decision making, we have put together a few questions that will help you plan a successful kitchen remodel.

1. How do you use your kitchen today?

Look at your current kitchen and consider: What gets in your way? What irritates you most? Do you feel cramped in your kitchen when you prepare meals? Do your guests congregate in the kitchen with no place to sit? Does your kitchen lack storage space, or are frequently used items difficult to reach? List your pain points and discuss them with your design-build contractor. These will be critical items to discuss and incorporate into your design plan.

Also, beyond today, how will you be using your kitchen? 5 years from now? Ten years from now? How many family members will be living in your home? Will you have accessibility needs? Forward thinking will help you make design choices that keep your kitchen working for you well into the future.

At the same time, ask yourself what’s already working well in the kitchen. Are there aspects of your kitchen that you love that you wouldn’t want to change? Add these important items to your list as well.

2. What’s your balance between day-to-day living and entertaining?

Whether you’re feeding a family of four, or just two; entertaining once a month, or once a week; it’s important to think of how you want traffic to flow through your kitchen. Even if you only entertain a few times a year, designing a flexible space that makes you and your guests comfortable can serve your needs long into the future, particularly as your family grows.

3. What is your price vs. value considerations?

There are so many decisions to makes in a kitchen remodel: from sinks, faucets, hardware, and cabinets to countertops, appliances, storage solutions, flooring, and light fixtures. And, every decision comes with a host of product quality and pricing options. Each also come with specific benefits and limitations. So, refer to your list of needs and wants, and ask yourself:

Will splurging on a particular item improve my daily life?

Will the item resolve a long-standing irritation?

Will purchasing one item over another add value to my home?

Ask these questions for each kitchen remodeling item you’re considering for your new space. Then, evaluate this list to conclude where you should invest more money, or where you can save. For example, you may be able to cut back a little on the flooring (there are so many quality, economical options these days) to spend a bit more on high-end appliances.

4. Form vs. function?

Consider this question as an addendum to question 2. If you do a lot of entertaining, having a kitchen that is designed to comfortably cook and serve a party of people will be more important than aesthetics. You may want to redesign your existing space to achieve the right functional layout; choose upscale appliances in exchange for a less expensive countertop or backsplash material. Fortunately, there are several fabulous countertop, backsplash, lighting and hardware options to choose from. So, saving on a few selections doesn’t have to mean sacrificing beauty or style; and smart design never goes out of style.

5. How fast do you need your kitchen remodel completed?

Patience is a money-saving virtue you need during a kitchen remodel. Don’t let the noise, dust, and inconvenience of the job tempt you into unwise choices just to speed up the process. Take time to evaluate and research your options. If you have questions, utilize your design-build team to better understand the benefits and drawbacks of each decision.

6. How wide is the gap between your “dream kitchen” and reality?

Is a kitchen remodel going to change the way you use your kitchen? Likely, yes! Your kitchen remodeling project should incorporate your lifestyle needs into the design, not someone else’s—not a friend’s, neighbor or even a lucky homeowner who received a home renovation on HGTV. If, for example, you need a place to store coupons and bills, a homework station for your kids, or counter space to bake, build those elements into your design plan. Don’t remodel based on someone else’s “dream kitchen”—renovate based on how YOU use your kitchen.

Expert Help with Questions about Your Kitchen Remodel

Each of these questions requires thought and consideration. And, they’ll help you arrive at a kitchen remodeling project you will love for years to come. For inspiration, explore many of the beautiful kitchen remodeling projects in and around West Lafayette.

If you’re ready to dive into your kitchen remodeling project now, schedule a conversation to get the ball rolling: 765.838.1644.

Your Lafayette Home Addition Guide: How to Add Lifetime Value to Your Home

Sometimes even the coziest of homes can feel a little too cozy. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to love their house and neighborhood but just need more space. A home addition is a great way to get infinitely more enjoyment out of your home.

Some homeowners choose to add on to the ground level, creating a bigger kitchen, a larger family room, a master suite or a sunroom out of a previously unused section of the yard. Others choose to build up—adding living space on top of a garage, putting up an entire second story or converting attic space into living space. Still, others build down, remodeling a basement into a bedroom, family room or office.

The smartest home additions are the ones that you’ll use and enjoy day-in and day-out. In Lafayette, these are the most popular home additions producing maximum enjoyment:

Adding a Sunroom or Enclosed Patio

Do you have a spectacular view or live on a golf course? Do you miss lazy afternoons on the patio in the winter?  If so, then a sunroom addition or enclosed patio is a must-have. An architectural bridge between your indoor and outdoor living space, it will bring that beloved view straight into your home.

You can use traditional stud-and-truss framing and shingle roofs, and build it to your specifications, but of course, the hallmark of any sunroom or indoor patio is the essential glass wall. This visual portal may be a literal exit (perhaps French or sliding doors) or full-length windows, but don’t skimp on its size. Typically, as much as 80% of this outer wall can be glass.   

Adding a Great Room

Photo Courtesy of bitmeerut.club

While a formal parlor has gone out of fashion, there’s still appeal in having a space dedicated to bringing friends and family together. Call it a great room or family room, it’s the place where the kids can do homework and then enjoy gaming. It’s where you relax after dinner or have friends join you to watch a football game. And with the addition of a pull-out couch or rollaway, it can easily double as an informal guest room. No matter what you’ll be using it for, with the time spent in your family room, you’re sure to add both sentimental value and financial worth to your home.

While there are many options for locating a family room, placing it adjacent to the kitchen is a popular choice among homeowners of Tippecanoe County and the surrounding area. When the family room is near the kitchen, it’s a perfect fit for entertaining—joining the two most used rooms in a single location. At the same time, it preserves the peace and privacy of the bedrooms and more intimate space. (Also, if you have kids in the house, the family room/kitchen combo is a great way to keep an eye on them, while you make dinner.)   

Finishing a Basement

Remodeling or finishing a basement can be another way to gain more enjoyment out of your home. Also, because basements tend to be separate from the main living space, the remodel process likely won’t be as disruptive to your daily life.

Basement remodeling projects do have some special considerations, though—particularly related to the age and condition of your home’s foundation and drainage systems, and also to the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. Additionally, many basements do not have windows and, particularly if you’re adding a bedroom, you’ll need to find a way to bring in some natural light.

Basement remodels vary quite a bit from home to home, here are details about three basement renovation projects and the costs for each.

Adding on to your home is a decision that can yield tremendous benefits for you and your family. A remodel may allow you to stay in your home and neighborhood, have a loved one move in, or create the space you need to get maximum enjoyment out of your home.

Since most addition and remodeling projects increase the lifetime value of your home, a well-planned and executed remodel can certainly be worth the investment. Contact Riverside Construction today to request a complimentary design consultation, and let us guide you through the process.

For further design inspiration, visit Riverside Construction’s portfolio. You can also sign up to find out about our upcoming complimentary home remodeling seminars: There, you’ll learn how to budget for your remodel, how long your project should take, current design trends, products to consider, how to select a contractor—and you’ll even get a free lunch!

Kitchen Islands: Styles to Consider for Your Home

Kitchen Islands: Styles to Consider for Your Home

Considering a kitchen remodel? How about designing a kitchen island into your space? Over the past two decades, islands have steadily risen in popularity, not only for smart storage solutions, but added prep work, cooking, eating, seating and entertainment.

As a focal point for the kitchen, it is important to select an island that not only blends aesthetically with the rest of your space but also meets your practical needs. With so many styles and options to choose from, selecting an island can be a bit confusing to say the least. In fact, you may discover that an island won’t work in your kitchen at all.

To make the decision process a little easier, we have highlighted some of the more sought after island styles you might consider:

 

Basic Built-In

The basic built-in kitchen island is your standard workhorse. A cook can never have enough workspace, and this island offers that in spades, limited only by the size of your kitchen. A basic built-in kitchen island is also a great option if you are looking to maximize your kitchen storage space.

Kitchen Remodeling

Island for Dining

Seating is a premium in many kitchens. Homeowners often seek ways to add additional seating for large groups or entertaining. Installing an island that has plenty of room for seating solves two problems—1) extra counter space and 2) additional seating.

Clean-Up Island

Another great choice is to use the island as a clean-up area by locating the sink and dishwasher in the island. Scraping dishes and loading the dishwasher becomes less of a chore when strategically placed next to each other. Plus, you’ll have extra prep and storage areas for your kitchen as well.

Two-Tier Island

If you like to entertain, more often than not, your guests are hanging out in the kitchen while you’re prepping your meal. A two-tier island not only adds dimension and visual interest to your kitchen, it also hides the messy work of cooking from people in the adjacent living area when one of the levels is a raised dining bar (as shown below).

Optionally, a two-tier island can be designed so that the working side is set lower for prep work and the dining side is set higher to accommodate bar stools and seating. This also gives the host breathing room to prep and cook, which is separate from guests that can visit and enjoy their food and drink.

Transitional Kitchen West Lafayette 2

Cooking Center Island

Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may decide to designate the island as a cooking center, by including feature appliances like a stove top, a lower oven, microwave, warming drawer or beverage refrigerator. This style requires the island to be outfitted with power and water and may cost a little more. The advantage, however, is that it leaves plenty of remaining counter space for other amenities like a designated baking station, second sink or wet bar for entertaining.

Courtesy of MainStreet Design Build

Furniture Style Island/Island on Wheels

If your kitchen has a small footprint, a furniture style island is an excellent choice. It’s basically a table with a flat work space and some open or closed storage depending on the style of the piece. Since this island is not built-in, it’s portable and gives you the freedom to move or remove the island as your needs change.

Another smart choice for a smaller kitchen is a portable island on wheels. These little workhorses can be pushed around with ease, offering additional work space when cooking or acting as the beverage station for entertainment purposes. Then, when it’s not needed, it can be pushed into a corner and out of the way.

Courtesy of Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Nix the Island

You may also discover, given the layout of your kitchen, that an island may not work for your space. When designing a kitchen, it’s important to consider the traffic flow and ensure there is enough room to maneuver between all key activity zones in the kitchen. In some cases, adding an island will impede this flow and should be left out of your remodeling design plan altogether.

Inspired to design your own kitchen? Like the idea of incorporating a new kitchen island into your living space? Let the design professionals at Riverside Construction help you plan a space that is just right for you.

Not ready to pick up the phone, but would like to learn more? Sign up to attend our next Kitchen and Bath Seminar. We’d love to see you there!

Don’t Remodel Your New Home Just Yet: 3 Unexpected Reasons to Wait

 

If you just moved into your new home, congratulations! If your first intention after the last box is unloaded from the moving truck is to get busy remodeling your new home before you unpack, hold on a moment. If this seems like a crazy thing for a remodeling company to say, hear us out please.

It’s probably just fine do some immediate remodeling touches like updating the paint or switching out the flooring. And naturally, you’ll want to remodel or update any damaged areas that need repair before the home is habitable. Accessibility or major functionality issues are also a good reason to remodel right out of the box.

But it’s the major structural changes that have more to do with taste that make us say, “Whoa there!” In our experience, this scenario is often fraught with frustration for homeowners. Ask yourself if the remodeling is a functional need or just a really intense want.

We strongly recommend living in your home for about a year before digging into your “want” remodeling list. Look at these 3 reasons we tell people to wait and you’ll end up saving time, hassle and money in the long run:

1. Let Your Financial Situation Settle

You’ve just purchased a home—that’s a big financial responsibility. Aside from the new mortgage, you likely paid for movers, professional cleaning, etc. Give yourself a year to let all of that settle out. Pay down some bills over the next several months. Go ahead and change the doorknobs and a few other light touches that make you feel happy, but don’t break the bank. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how much remodeling your budget can handle. Your wallet and credit score will thank you.

2. Give Yourself a Chance to Get to Know the House

You and your home have really just met. What you saw before the previous owners moved out probably wasn’t everything there is to know about your home. Maybe your first thought was, “Wow, we should remodel the kitchen.” But now that you’ve lived there for a while, you realize a more important project is remodeling the bathroom or the closets. You can only know these things by living with the house for awhile. Over this year, do the following:

  • Observe family traffic patterns through various areas of the house. Note inefficiencies and places where the flow doesn’t work.
  • How is your storage space working out for you? Any design elements that drive you nuts?
  • Throw a couple of dinner parties and see how well your guests are able to mingle and how efficient it is to get food from the kitchen to the dining room or patio.
  • Spend time on the patio and around the yard—is it fabulous or not?
  • Pay close attention to how well your home handles each season. Does it get too stuffy in the summer or drafty in the winter? Is the color scheme too dark or too glaring? Are there indoor leaks or outdoor drainage issues?
  • Once you’ve spent a year getting to know your new home, you’ll be able to make wiser remodeling decisions that will increase the value of your home, improve your quality of life, and save you the trouble of having to remodel a remodel that was too hastily done in the first place.

3. Give Yourself Time to Get Educated about Remodeling

This “honeymoon” time with your home is also a great year to learn all you can about different remodeling projects you’re interested in before actually plunking down the cash and letting the sawdust fly. Becoming an informed homeowner will help you save time and money when you reach the point where you’re ready to commit to a remodeling project or two.

Riverside Construction holds regular complementary home remodeling seminars that cover a wide range of remodeling projects you might be dreaming about. Our next one, which is always very popular, is our Kitchen and Bath seminar. We’ll be digging deep and answering all of your questions about remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, so save the date and register for the class:

Riverside Construction’s Kitchen and Bath Seminar
On Saturday, August 19th from 10:30 a.m. to noon
At the Holiday Inn City Center in Downtown Lafayette

Although the class is free, space is limited, so register as soon as possible. When you register, be sure to leave a question or comment in the bottom box about the remodeling project you’re considering so that we can come prepared with some ideas and answers for you.

If you can’t come to this seminar, we will hold more in the future; keep an eye on this page so you’ll know when we schedule the next one.

You can also request a personal consultation with one of our Riverside Construction remodeling experts that fits within your schedule.

And remember—don’t jump into a remodeling project too quickly with your new home. Follow our three tips and wait a year so you can get the most satisfaction and value from your remodeling project!

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.

Andrew Haste Honored With Big50 Award

Andrew Haste, owner of Riverside Construction LLC, has been selected by REMODELING magazine to join the REMODELING Big50. The 2013 Big50 winners are featured in the May issue of REMODELING, Read more

Emerging Kitchen Trends

“A survey of 100-plus kitchen and bath designers reveals styles will change direction in 2011.” says Stephani L. Miller in her article entitled 11 Emerging Kitchen and Bath Design Trends. Read more