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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.

Kitchen Lighting 101: 4 Essentials to Consider in Your Next Kitchen Remodel

Homeowners choose, as priority number one, to remodel their kitchens every year, and it’s no surprise why. Every member of the family spends significant time in this room. It’s where we prepare meals, gather for games, congregate for chats, get work done, discuss family plans, snack, laugh, talk and make all kinds of daily decisions. And yet, as popular and as often-used as this room is, it’s surprising that lighting becomes an afterthought in the remodeling process. Instead, kitchen lighting should be an integral part of the entire design process, right from the start. It needs to be layered and carefully planned to effectively illuminate all the various activities your family enjoys in this space. As you plan your next kitchen remodeling project, keep these four lighting design essentials in mind:

1. Know Your Lighting Types

There are four basic types of lighting that can be used in any room. The utility and high-traffic areas of the kitchen demand using all four of them in various ways. These lighting layers include:

Ambient Lighting—This is broad, general lighting that should illuminate most of your living space. It’s not too bright, but it provides enough light to enable you to perform tasks and move safely about the room—a necessity for any space, and especially the kitchen. You can choose from a host of different light fixtures to include recessed lighting, track lighting, chandeliers or other ceiling-mounted fixtures.

Task Lighting—While ambient lighting provides general illumination of a large space, task lighting highlights specific areas where work needs to be performed. It illuminates focused beams on specific areas, removing unwanted shadows, making slicing, mixing, kneading and reading ingredients on food packages or a recipe a breeze. For example, puck or strip lighting placed under cabinets are used to illuminate countertops for food preparation. You can also consider adding task lighting inside of cabinets to make it easier to locate rare spices (or essentials) hiding in the back.

Accent Lighting—These bright beams are used to throw flattering light on a specific design element in a room. While they are par for the course in living rooms and dining rooms, they can also be used to highlight some lovely aspect of your kitchen design. For example, a shelf in a cabinet or island can be highlighted by accent lighting to spotlight a unique heirloom or art piece. Highlighting an accent fixture that is 4 to 5 times brighter than ambient lighting can really set off the space.

Decorative Lighting—While accent lighting focuses your eyes on a particular design element or piece of art in your kitchen, decorative lighting is the design element itself. A dramatic pendant or chandelier can really complete the look of your kitchen and make visitors take notice.

As you work with your design/build team on a kitchen remodel, make sure to discuss these kitchen lighting essentials from the outset and not as a last-minute decision.

2. Understand the Sources of Illumination: Think LEDs

In addition to the four different lighting types above, you’ll want to consider the ways in which lighting works and how much it might cost you. In the past, homeowners had to choose between fluorescent, incandescent and halogen options. Recently, however, LED lighting has taken kitchen lighting by storm with its bright adaptability and its very low electricity draw. LED lights last longer and they don’t heat up like other light sources. This makes them a safe, stable source of illumination that comes in almost any form.

Important Note: Don’t count out natural light in your kitchen design. Explore ways that you can increase it and add to the ambient lighting in your living space.

3. Design with Light: Think Spacing and Proportion

It’s easy to get all excited about light fixtures, even adding more than your kitchen really needs. But going overboard on lighting is just as bad as leaving it to the last minute. Think balance and proportion to get the right look, along with the proper illumination. For instance, island task lighting has very specific space and proportion guidelines you should follow:

Above island pendants should have between 30 to 32 inches between them and hang approximately 30 to 36 inches over the island, with a 6-inch clearance from the edges. Depending on how long your island is, you may have room for 2 or 3 pendants.

If you have a higher kitchen ceiling, consider a linear suspension light fixture over the island. This should hang about 40 inches above the workspace.

Recessed lighting, puck lights, track lights, and chandeliers also have similar spacing and proportion rules, something you’ll want to consider as you plan your kitchen remodel.

4. Ask a Kitchen Design Expert about Your Kitchen Lighting

Lastly, don’t let decisions about kitchen lighting overwhelm you. If you’re struggling to choose between pendants and chandeliers, track lights or recessed lighting, or any other aspect of the lighting in your kitchen, take a look at our kitchen remodeling portfolio for some ideas. You can also sign up for one of our free kitchen design seminars where you can discuss your ideas and questions with other homeowners and our design experts. If you’re ready to dive in and get started now, schedule a personal consultation and begin the process of upgrading your kitchen with light: (765) 838-1644.

5 Major Remodeling Design Mistakes To Avoid

You watch HGTV. You spend hours pouring through design ideas on Houzz. You have 20+ Pinterest boards organized according to room, color and materials. As a result, you might be closer to thinking that you can design your home remodeling project by yourself. This is very common, particularly from homeowners who are ready to jump into a remodeling project head first.

Unfortunately, this is often a recipe for disaster. While you are the best at understanding your needs and design style, a design/build remodeling company is an essential partner in making sure you get what you want in your remodeling project in the smartest, most affordable, most beautiful way possible. We can help you avoid these 5 most common remodeling design mistakes:

1. Choosing the wrong products

This happens frequently when homeowners “go it alone” in a home remodeling project. They’re so taken with the beauty of a luxurious marble countertop that they install it in a very busy kitchen. Soon, they discover the inconveniences of selecting a high-maintenance marble and wish they’d chosen a different countertop. And that’s just one example of the many design mistakes made by homeowners who forgo working with a design professional from the very beginning. Your professional designer can guide you toward the right materials to withstand your needs in the most beautiful, durable ways.

2. Not getting the best deals

Another way in which your design/build firm can help is to hook you up with the best deals on potential material selections. We have relationships with many suppliers, understanding their lead times, seasonal demands, inventory shortages, etc. We know how to navigate these issues, from lighting and floors to fixtures and lumber to paint and tile and everything in between. We can evaluate whether a deal you’ve heard about really is a deal, or if we can get a better one. And when that happens (as it often does), we’ll look for smarter options for you. 

3. The time vortexes and money pits of multiple change orders

We hear this repeatedly from homeowners who try to go it alone in the design process: “We wish we’d used a professional designer to help us before tearing down the walls.” The wrong materials, wrong measurements, forgotten (yet critical) under-the-surface design considerations like electrical wiring, plumbing, and lighting all conspire against homeowners to cause them to have to rip out fresh remodeling work and re-do it. This often leads to thousands of dollars in extra, unbudgeted costs and months of lost work. Getting a design pro on board before you make the first cut helps you minimize these errors so that you can minimize any costs for change orders and spend more time enjoying the results of a beautiful remodeling project done right the first time (like the ones in this home remodeling portfolio). Using your professional designer’s expertise up front is an investment in wisdom that will last for years to come.

4. Making choices based on limited knowledge of the options

While you may have spent a lot of time watching HGTV or wading through design magazines, the truth is that these media outlets filter the information. There simply isn’t enough time and they have to use advertising dollars to make decisions about what they present. Here at Riverside Construction, however, it’s our business to know about all the options, from materials to design considerations, long before you might hear about them on TV. Also, if you hear about a new material or have a design idea you heard about on one of your favorite shows, you can bounce that idea off of us and we can give you guidance on whether or not that would work in your project, or if there’s a better option for you.

5. Not getting the benefit of a design firm’s advanced tools

A lot of people still think about seeing remodeling plans in a flat, two-dimensional perspective. But Riverside Construction has gone way beyond that. We employ 3D design technology to help homeowners “see” their options and what the finished product can look like, even in the very beginnings of the planning stage. Using these proprietary tools, you can benefit from an inspired preview of your finished project as well as head off any potential wrong decisions, saving you thousands of dollars and time in change orders. These advanced tools simply help you understand the ins and outs of each design aspect of your remodeling project—before the dust flies. These tools also help increase measuring accuracy, which helps you use your available space in the most efficient way possible while avoiding common design mistakes that can leave you frustrated and disappointed.

Get All the Benefits of a Professional Designer for Your Remodeling Project

Aside from helping you choose the best materials while getting the best price on all the aspects of your remodeling project, not to mention avoiding grave measuring and under-the-surface errors, there are a lot of great benefits you receive by working with a design expert in the planning stages of your home remodel. We can help you use each space in the most effective, convenient way possible. We can even create space you didn’t know you had or increase your storage capacity and make your living space fully functional. Ultimately, the end benefit is designing a space that you will be happy with for many years to come.

If you’re not quite sure where you want to go with your home remodeling project, you can also sign up for our newsletter to get inspired until you are ready to remodel.

And we are happy to share our knowledge with you! Sign up for our next home remodeling design seminar—it’s free, but space is limited, so make sure to grab your spot now. Or, schedule a consultation to discuss your remodeling design project in person today at (765) 838-1644.

Basement Renovations: 3 Budgets, 3 Basements

What it Costs to Remodel a Basement in Lafayette, Indiana

Are you ready to tackle your finished or unfinished basement and turn it into something you or your whole family can enjoy? Whether your decision to renovate is based on desire or necessity, the cost of your project will vary greatly by the complexity and scope of work, quality of materials and size of your space. The good news is? Adding this livable square footage to your house can also vastly increase its value.

According to the 2018 Cost vs. Value report by Remodeling Magazine, a homeowner in Lafayette, Indiana can expect to recoup on average 70% of the cost of a mid-range basement remodel; and the National Association of Realtors considers basement remodels to be among the most valuable home renovations.

So, whether you’re looking to sell your home now or in the future, or you’re ready to transform your basement into new livable space, it just might be the perfect time to renovate your basement.

To help guide you in your decision-making process, we’ve outlined three typical basement renovations and their associated costs, to help you better understand what a basement remodel will cost in the greater Lafayette, Indiana area and choose one that is right for you.

Level 1 Basement Remodel

Finishing an Unfinished Basement

An unfinished basement is like a valuable blank canvas. There may be nothing but a concrete floor, exposed beams, pipes, electrical and no finished walls. Because the space is left open with unfinished walls and floors, any changes to electrical and plumbing are typically easier and thus less costly. There are also fewer costs associated with demolition, or lack thereof (flooring, walls, ceiling material, etc.).

Projects that may need to be tackled to finish a basement include, but are not limited to:

  • Framing in walls with studs and adding insulation
  • Framing in for egress windows, especially if needed to upgrade to fire code
  • Hanging drywall
  • Adding/upgrading electrical for lighting
  • Installing outlets and charging stations for electronic devices
  • Encasing ductwork; rerouting ductwork
  • Installing a ceiling
  • Installing flooring

Remodeling a Finished Basement

When it comes to remodeling a finished basement, and budget is a priority, you are looking to alter or change an existing space at a relatively low cost. As such, a Level 1 Basement Remodel would include using as much of your existing layout as possible, avoiding adding or tearing down walls. An exception might be removing a non-loadbearing wall to create an open concept design. All finishing work can be kept low by staying with the basics. Keep in mind that the larger the basement, the more it will cost for labor and additional materials.

Flooring – When it comes to flooring, there are a wide variety of materials to choose from—ranging in quality and price. First and foremost, you want a floor that is attractive, durable and moisture resistant, this means staying away from hardwood floors. However, you can choose from these fabulous options instead: carpet or rubber tiles (great for a family room), vinyl plank flooring (durable and easy to clean), laminate, ceramic tile, or even a concrete stain.

Walls – If there is old paneling, wallpaper or a popcorn ceiling, these can be easily removed and replaced with new drywall and paint. Interior doors and baseboards can be painted, as opposed to being replaced.

Electrical – Depending upon whether you need to expand the HVAC and electrical system, additional outlets, and new fixtures could be included in a Level 1 renovation. However, significant rewiring would require a more extensive budget.

Plumbing – If there is an existing bathroom or kitchenette area, these spaces could likely be updated with new fixtures, cabinets, and hardware, but the current footprint would need to stay the same.

KEY POINT: Egress windows (or doors) are required in every habitable space for safety purposes.  Riverside Construction knows the local ordinances and building code requirements to keep you compliant.

These costs for completing a Level 1 basement remodel will typically run between $45K – $65K for a 1,000 square foot basement.

Level 2 Basement Remodel

A Level 2 basement remodel would include more significant room changes, such as knocking down walls, framing out new rooms, adding a bathroom or kitchenette and potentially upgrading the home’s HVAC, electrical and/or plumbing systems.

Are you looking to build a new craft room, media room, or even a kid’s playroom? Will you need a half-bath or full bath in your basement? Knowing how you plan to use your basement living space will dictate many factors, including the functional purpose of a bathroom (half bath or full), grade of flooring, type of lighting, utility usage, etc.

Flooring – At this budget level, you will have access to a broader range of flooring options. For example, you might choose to install hardwood flooring in the central living space, but less expensive carpet or tile in the remaining rooms in the basement.

Walls – A level 2 budget could accommodate the build-out of new rooms with key features like walk-in closets, simple built-ins, crown molding, baseboards, and higher-end doors.

Electrical – A level 2 budget allows you more flexibility when it comes to moving or adding power sources, accommodating the need for additional outlets, recessed lighting or even a TV/entertainment system. You will also have the option to budget for higher-end lighting fixtures (think chandeliers and pendant lighting) for select rooms in your new basement.

KEY POINT: Home theaters are popular for basements. Make sure to include soundproofing in your design plans when framing and insulating your basement walls and ceilings. A basement is also susceptible to water damage and leakage. Make sure to include waterproofing as well.

These costs for completing a Level 2 basement remodel will typically run between $60K – $80K based on a 1,000 square foot basement.

Level 3 Basement Remodel

Are you looking for a complete overhaul of your basement?  Perhaps you’re interested in building a fully functional in-law suite?  Or maybe you’re ready to create the ultimate media/game room for endless nights of entertainment?  If so, then an extensive basement remodel is what you’re looking for and could include the following:

Reworking the Layout – This budget range gives you the ability to remodel your existing space to meet your exact needs. The demolition of walls and existing structures, framing and building out of new rooms, designing a new kitchen or bathroom(s), adding a fireplace or extensive custom built-ins, would all be possible with a more significant budget.

Plumbing and Electrical – Depending on the scope of work, a complete overhaul of your home’s electrical and plumbing systems would be possible.

High-End Materials – At this level of renovation, you will be able to allocate funds for high-end finishes and materials used throughout your project. For example, a new kitchenette could include all new high-end appliances, upgraded countertops like Quartz or Granite, a wine/beverage cooler, custom cabinets and more. Built-ins could be designed into a new home entertainment center, sleek stacked stone on a fireplace addition, or a custom handrail on the stairs that lead to the main floor.  

KEY POINT: Professionals agree the utility room should not be finished. The ventilation and drainage requirements for these systems are very specific, and thus require easy access to the systems for inspection and repair.

These costs for completing a Level 3 basement remodel will typically run between $70K-$130K.

Make no mistake: a basement remodel is a major project. An understanding of the variables above can give you a better understanding of what awaits you, and how to plan for it. A finished basement can also add immeasurable valuable to your living space, not to mention your home’s resale value. Designing your ideal basement is limited only by your budget and imagination. As such, a well-planned and executed remodel will be well worth your investment. Contact Riverside Construction today to request a complimentary design consultation. We’d be happy to guide you through the process.

For further design inspiration visit Riverside Construction’s Basement portfolio.

Not quite ready to start a home remodel but interested in learning more? Sign up to be notified of our upcoming complimentary home remodeling seminars. These helpful seminars will teach you how to budget for your remodel, how long your project should take, current design trends, products to consider, and how to select a reputable contractor. Lunch is also provided.

An Inside Look Into the Remodeling Design Process

A Q&A Discussion with Riverside Construction’s Interior Designer Kelly Grish

Many homeowners can feel overwhelmed when embarking on a home remodeling process. Where do you even begin? There’s so much to think about! And, once you decide to move forward, what can you expect in the way of working with a designer? Get an inside look at what it’s like to begin the design process, and the advantages of working with a design expert, from our very own in-house designer, Kelly Grish.

 

Q: “What can I expect in our first design meeting?”

We will measure the affected areas of your home and ask you deliberate questions that will result in a clear understanding of your needs for the space. Questions we might ask include, “What are your must-haves? “Nice-to-haves?” “What is working?” “What isn’t working?” “What are your biggest challenges with the space?” “What are you hoping to see changed?” “If you could do anything with this space, what would you want to do with it?” While we are in your home, we will also be looking to get a sense of your personal design style, color preferences, and making sure the new remodel ties in with the rest of your home, and your home’s architecture.

 

Q: “What are the most common question(s) you get from a homeowner at the beginning of the design process?”

Homeowners are commonly concerned about cost. They are seeking my help in finding the best way to add value to their home, improving their living space, all the while keeping within their budget.

 

Q: “So, how good are you at solving this problem for them—keeping within their budget?”

Pretty darn good, actually. That’s one of the primary benefits of working with a design/build firm.

 

Q: “How often are you able to design a space that the homeowners want, at a cost they can afford?”

That answer depends on what you want. Are they structural changes? Do you want to knock down a load-bearing or non load-bearing wall? Are we moving a wall with plumbing or electrical? Every space is different.

As a design/build firm, we can make suggestions for changes to the design that fit within the your budget. For example, we had a client that wanted to remove a soffit that had plumbing in it. To save money and make her project affordable, we designed the new kitchen cabinetry to hide the soffit instead. While the client preferred the soffit to be removed, the end result was that the ceiling no longer looked too short and our work-around kept the cost of the remodel in line with the homeowner’s budget.

 

Q: “I have never hired a Design/Build firm using an Interior Designer for a kitchen or bathroom remodel before, how does the design process work?”

We start by meeting with you, listening closely to what you like and don’t like about your home. We also discuss your hopeful timeline and budget. After a budget range is provided, we measure your space and narrow in on our design preferences. We take all of the information and transform them into a blue print—a space plan. You review the new concept drawings, brought to life through 2D plans and 3D renderings. We then follow up with a project budget proposal and start working with you on making final selections. Upon your approval of the final plans and specifications, we order materials, start the permitting process, and schedule your project to start.

 

Q: “What do you do as an interior/architectural designer? I think some people misunderstand your qualifications.”

As an interior/architectural designer, I make interior spaces functional, safe and beautiful by determining space requirements and helping people make selections such as colors, lighting, cabinetry, flooring, fixtures, etc. More importantly, I help homeowners with style selections that make their new remodel blend cohesively with the rest of the home.  Function is a huge aspect of what I do. No matter how beautiful a space is, if it doesn’t function properly for the homeowner, it is not a good design. Achieving better function in a space might include removing or moving existing walls— when budget allows.

As an architectural designer, I also work with CAD programs to make sure that building designs are feasible—drawing blue prints and measuring your existing space. I do almost everything (redesigning an existing inside structure) with the exception of HVAC and calculating load-bearing points. It is usually possible to determine if a wall is load bearing or not based on its distance from an exterior wall. However, if a wall were to be removed (all walls can be removed, some are just more expensive than others) I would need the expertise of an engineer or architect to specify the type of beam needed to span the space and carry the load. I do have the qualifications to create an electric plan and make the perfect lighting plan for your home.

 

Q: “How do you help homeowners make their selections?

First of all, Riverside Construction has a fabulous showroom, which I invite homeowners to—where you can touch, feel and compare a selection of cabinets, and countertops. We also take our clients to a local flooring store to select carpet, tile and wood flooring in person. For plumbing fixtures and lighting, we can effectively shop for selections online and at the homeowners request we are able to take advantage of a few local show rooms.

 

Q: “Do you recommend homeowners spend some time on their own narrowing down their design likes and dislikes, before meeting with a designer?

Yes, I do recommend that homeowners do a little homework up front. If someone wants to change the style of his/her home, then seeing it in person doesn’t help. Being able to look at finished project photos and material samples that portray the design style that the homeowner prefers is a big help.

 

Q: “What websites, magazines or books do you recommend homeowners use to identify their design style?

The main sources to rely on are Pinterest, Houzz, and doing a Google Image search online. There are also several remodeling magazines that provide some great ideas, like Kitchen & Bath Magazine.

 

Q: “If a client has a hard time deciding on a color palette for a particular room, how do you help them narrow down their choices?”

In a lot of cases, homeowners are not sure what they want. If space is open and connected to other rooms, I’m looking at their existing color selections and seeing how we can tie the color of the new space into the rest of the home. In other words, what exists in the home drives the design, to some extent.

It is also very common to start with one item, like flooring, and determine what their preference is. After two or three selections, we can see what they like.

 

Q: “What if a homeowner has caviar taste but a tuna fish budget? How do you handle?”

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to be a little shocked by the cost of materials. We are really good at educating people on the actual cost of things. And, after showing them how much something is, we offer alternatives that result in a similar look but are not as expensive. For example, a client may really want travertine tile until we show them a porcelain tile alternative that looks similar at a fourth of the cost.

 

Q: “Do you use special design software? If yes, how does this aid in the design process?”

Yes, Riverside Construction uses a 3D design software as part of our design process. There is no better way to understand and experience your new design than to see it in 3D first, before construction begins. Instead of relying on our imagination, you get to see your design and your material selections before approving any specifications. As a designer I’m able to visualize what some of these changes might look like without the 3D design work, but that’s rarely true for clients. If you want to see what your kitchen looks like with bulkheads removed, “Voila!”

 

Q: “What would you say is the benefit to a homeowner of working with a design/build firm?”

The biggest benefit of working with a design/build firm is that we tailor your home remodeling design to your budget. There are many architectural firms. They may do a great job of producing a beautiful design project, but may or may not take into consideration the best way to design your space affordably. A design/build firm encourages your active participation in the design process so that if your budget won’t allow it, we’ll come up with an alternative design to make it work. Then, we take care of everything from start to finish. If you were to take a plan from an architect, then you would need to find your own contractor.

 

Q: “What are the current kitchen design trends you see emerging in the Lafayette area?”

The kitchen continues to be the center of the home. It’s where people like to congregate. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of people requesting islands with bar seating. Homeowners are getting rid of soffits, to create more space. They are using under cabinet lighting, and many are choosing the fresh, clean look of glass or ceramic tile backsplashes. We are seeing less Corian in the kitchen, and more quartz and granite.

Many homeowners are choosing to use tile or wood plank vinyl—a smart choice that typically water resistant.

The colors, grey and beige are still big in Lafayette. Taupe, a mixture of the two colors, is also popular. A lot of people don’t want to renovate again. These neutral colors are popular colors that stand the test of time.

White cabinets are also very popular. Our cabinet manufacturer is currently delivering 70-80% shaker style white cabinets. We are also seeing some requests for darker wood cabinets.

 

Q: “What are current bathrooms design trends in Lafayette, Indiana?”

If homeowners have a tub somewhere else in there home, they are doing away with their master bathroom tub and replacing it with a large, walk-in shower. We’re also seeing a lot of floor to ceiling tile and glass wall shower partitions, which make the room appear larger. Storage is always a must. We are forever finding creative ways to add storage to bathrooms.

Breathtaking Design Ideas for Your Basement Renovation

With the New Year, it’s only natural to feel a renewed impetus for change. It’s the perfect time to channel your energy into that remodeling project you’ve had on the back burner. Kitchen and bathroom remodels are popular, but an unfinished basement? Now THAT’S promising! Think of your unfinished (or partially finished) basement like a blank canvas. Paint in a gym, a studio, an office, or a “man cave” – to name a few ideas – and imagine the endless hours of enjoyment you and your family will find in the finished space. Whatever your downstairs dream room is, the possibilities are practically endless. Here are some exciting ideas that combine fun and function. Scroll down and get those creative juices flowing!

MEDIA ROOM

A Riverside Construction Project

Who doesn’t want a room devoted to kicking back? Whether you have a growing family or you simply enjoy entertaining guests, the basement is an ideal space for a fully loaded media room. With an adjacent half bath and a custom bar or kitchenette for drinks and popcorn, a media room brings a new functionality to your home. Enhance the space with a large screen TV, a custom projector, audio system, plush carpets, and a comfy couch, and your new media room is bound to draw guests and family alike.

ARTS & CRAFTS STUDIO

A Riverside Construction Project

Are you into crafting, sewing or other artistry? Turn your unfinished basement into a large sewing or crafting space with large workspaces, ample task lighting, and plenty of custom storage options. Whatever your hobby, a finished basement provides added function, versatility, and – best of all – designated places for everything you need at hand.

MAN CAVE OR SPORTS ROOM

A Riverside Construction Project

It’s every sports fan’s dream. Heck, it’s every man’s dream. If you drool over a secluded retreat of your own, your dark and dreary basement can make those dreams come true. Remodel your basement into the perfect man cave using hard wood flooring, back lighting, custom bar and beverage refrigerators, shelving for sports memorabilia, granite countertops, and a fireplace – to name a few ideas. The clubhouse days are over, boys. Welcome to the big leagues.

HOME GYM

A Riverside Construction Project

Getting to the gym can be difficult. But with a home fitness studio, there are no excuses. Installing the appropriate flooring for exercising and some custom cubby storage for your gear means you can ditch the excuses and catch a workout at a moment’s notice. Whether you’d rather revel in the added privacy, or invite your friends to hang, you’re guaranteed to reduce the distractions – and the germ count – while still getting in your daily reps.

HOME OFFICE

Courtesy of K. Marshall Design

 

Working at home doesn’t have to be a drag. On the contrary, remodeling your basement into an inspiring home office is one of the best things you’ll ever do for you. With great task lighting, a built-in desk, bookshelves, and wiring for all of your technology needs, you can work with ease in the comfort of your own home.

GUEST ROOM

Courtesy of Pavel Burmakin

Every house can use an extra bedroom. Whether you have visitors from out of town or just down the street, a guest bedroom is essential. Give your company the luxury escape they crave with great closet space, an adjacent bath, and reading nook in warm, neutral tones that everyone can enjoy. Your guests will thank you for a great night’s sleep in their cozy retreat. Better still, they’ll never guess their ultra-chic sanctuary could ever have been a dark and scary basement!

MUSIC ROOM

Courtesy of Contemporary Basement by Salt Lake City Photographers Lucy Call

Have you recently acquired a resident musician? A renovated basement can provide a much-needed space for jam sessions with plenty of storage for instruments and equipment. Consider designing a basement practice space that preserves the peace with soundproofed walls and flooring.

GAME ROOM

A Riverside Construction Project

Game rooms are great for kids and growing families, providing a convenient space to entertain and hang out. With the essential functionality of a half bathroom, kitchenette, an entertainment center for movies and video games, and a selection of seating areas, a game room means fun for the whole family. Better still, a basement game room can keep you enjoying outdoor sports – even in bad weather. With a miniature indoor sports court complete with the appropriate flooring and padded walls, kids can keep on practicing all year round.

KID’S PLAYROOM

Courtesy of Midcentury Kids by Grand Rapids Interior Designers & Decorators Mindi Freng Designs

Devote your basement remodel to inspiring your little ones with a playroom of their very own. Design custom playhouses and chalkboard walls to keep the magic of early childhood alive. Using pony walls or custom furniture, you can create designated play areas for a variety of activities. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Consult your kids, too! In the end, their fairy tale playroom will be your peace of mind.

WINE CELLAR

A Riverside Construction Project

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate wine, but those in the know will surely covet a custom, built-in temperature-controlled basement repository. What better way to add a touch of class to your home than with a luxurious wine cellar complete with proper storage, display cases, and a seating area? Consider transforming even a small, unused space into the ultimate wine cellar with special touches like rope lighting, unique countertops, and a coffered ceiling.

LAUNDRY ROOM

Courtesy of E/L Studio

Need a better space to do laundry? Consider designing the ultimate laundry room as part of your basement remodel. A well-lighted folding station, a custom drying rack, and a built-in ironing board go a long way to making chores seem less tedious. If your basement has a ground floor entrance, you might even consider an adjacent mudroom or a dog washing station.

IN-LAW SUITE

A Riverside Construction Project

An in-law suite is a separate living space within a larger household. It usually includes a bedroom, a full bathroom, seating area, laundry area, and a kitchenette. Converting your basement into private living quarters is ideal for resident family members in need of a independence – with all the benefits of living just downstairs.

CUSTOM STORAGE

Courtesy of Spacecrafting / Architectural Photography

Courtesy of ACRE Goods and Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Riverside Construction Project

At the very least, a basement renovation is the perfect opportunity to enhance your home storage systems. Goodness knows one can always use more practical organizers! From custom built-ins to open shelving, don’t be afraid to utilize every nook and cranny – including under the basement stairwell.

For more specific details on how to finally transform your “empty canvas” basement into your very own masterpiece, check out this article on reclaiming your basement. Then, take the first step toward your new basement space and schedule an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

8 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

Getting ready to hire a contractor? Make sure you know who you are hiring. Finding the right contractor makes all the difference in your home remodeling experience—from the quality of the work, to your emotional stress, and the timeliness of your project. As you narrow your search for potential remodeling contractors to work with, ask these important questions to ensure the right fit:

  1. Is your company a full-service or a specialty firm?

If you are planning a small project, for example replacing the bathroom plumbing fixtures, you may be better off hiring a plumber. However, if you’re looking to change the entire layout (building an addition, knocking down walls or reconfiguring your living space), then you may want to consult a full-service company or a design/build firm.

  1. How long have you been in business and can I get a list of references?

Longevity often coincides with experience, and it’s important to find out how long the company you’re considering has been in business. A long track record of happy clients speaks volumes. Ask for a list of client references and call on them. Take the opportunity to ask questions that will give you an idea of what it is like to work with them. Some questions might include “What did the contractor do well?’, “What did they do poorly?”, “Were there problems or surprises along the way?”, “If there were problems, how were the problems handled?”, “Were there cost overruns?” If so, why?” “Did they complete on time?” If not, what caused the delay?” If you can visit a current job that the contractor is working on, even better!

  1. What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business?

A satisfied client wants to give referrals. So, if the remodeling contractor you’re considering has a high percentage of referral business, it is a strong indication that you would be in good hands—working with a firm that focuses on customer satisfaction.

  1. Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

Licensing laws vary by state, so check requirements and verify contractor licensing requirements before hiring. In the Tippecanoe county Indiana area the only contractors that are required to be licensed are plumbing and electrical contractors.

Bonding protects you if a remodeling contractor fails to complete a job, doesn’t pay for permits, or fails to meet other financial obligations, such as paying for suppliers or subcontractors or covering damage that workers may cause to your property.  Any contractor who is bonded will be held financially responsible for completing your project.

It’s also important for a company to have general liability insurance, which covers property damage and bodily injury caused by the contractor’s work. Also make certain the contractor’s insurance policy includes workers’ compensation, which covers injuries the contractor’s employees may suffer while on the job. Without it, you, the property owner, could be held liable for personal injury if the contractor does not have proper coverage. Consequently, it’s in your best interest to ensure the company you choose is bonded, licensed and insured.

  1. Will a permit be required for my project?

Small changes to your home, like painting, new flooring, minor electrical repairs or fixture replacements won’t typically need a permit. However, updates that include major structural changes, room additions, window installations, or electrical wiring will usually require a city permit.

Failure to obtain the necessary permits or to arrange obligatory inspections can be illegal. A qualified remodeling company will be aware of any necessary permits and will handle obtaining them on your behalf.

  1. Is your company lead certified?

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.  Contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination if they find lead in the paint in your home. For the health and safety of your family, you’ll want to make sure the company you choose is lead certified and performs a lead test before they start your project.

  1. What professional memberships do you belong to?

Membership in an industry association keeps business owners on top of important, ever-changing issues, trends and legislation within the local area. For remodeling firms, membership in various trade associations like NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) and Remodelers Advantage can be a mark of quality and is another indicator that the company you are considering is among a respected, trusted group of builders.

  1. Are you a general contractor or design/build firm? What is the difference?
  • What is your approach to planning and scope of work?
  • How do you control the quality of your jobs?
  • Do you use subcontractors of employees?
  • How do you handle scheduling?

As you begin your research, you’ll discover that there are two distinct types of remodeling companies – general contractors and design/build contractors.  General contractors traditionally work with a designer or architect independently, and hire a variety of subcontractors to help complete the home remodeling project. As an owner, you could potentially have multiple contacts during the design phase, as well as, multiple contacts during the construction phase.

A design/build firm is different from a general contractor in that there is one chain of command held accountable for properly managing your project from start to finish. An assigned project manager coordinates each vendor and sets the pace and expectations for the design/build remodeling process—greatly reducing any chance for items to fall through the cracks. Serving as the main contact between the designer, construction crew and you, the project manager acts as an “air traffic controller” and oversees the entire schedule.  They keep the team moving as each deadline approaches.

A general contractor works independently with an architectural designer (of your choosing) and carries out construction based on the architect’s finished plans. If there are any issues (errors in measurement, structural issues, etc.) there is no one held accountable for the error. This unfortunately can leave the door open for “finger pointing”.

On the other hand, a design/build firm is accountable for your project’s end-result—including the finished design, cost and timeline. Because the same team designs and builds your project, there is more focused attention on accurately estimating and scheduling the project early in the design phase. As such, you will never hear complaints that the project ran over two times what the architect estimated. All costs are considered before the construction process starts.

We hope these questions help you establish a company’s qualifications and reputation and lead you decide on the right person for your home remodeling needs.

If a design/build firm is right for you, we would love for you to consider Riverside Construction. To schedule your first appointment with Lafayette’s premier design build firm, call 765.838.1644 or request a free in-home consultation.

Five Key Steps to a Fantastic Family Room

With the demanding schedules of today’s households, it can sometimes be difficult to get everyone together in one place. A comfortable family room where family and friends can easily be together for board games, movie nights, parties, and viewing of sporting events encourages us to spend more quality time with those we love. Here are five key steps to make your family room shine: Read more

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