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Why Patience is a Virtue When Remodeling During a Pandemic

Remodeling your home is an exciting experience and is on the whole a positive one, but it’s not without its problems. Even during normal times and with the best-laid plans, delays and supply errors can happen, but when remodeling during a pandemic, there’s even more potential for things to go awry. 

That being said, a pandemic is actually a great time to remodel your home, and we’ll explain why in greater detail in this article. We’ll also cover why patience is a virtue when remodeling during these unprecedented times. By planning ahead and being flexible, you can attain the home of your dreams regardless of what is happening around you. 

With all this in mind, let’s first look at some of the current pandemic-related issues facing remodelers and homeowners.  

Pandemic Material Shortages

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into both supply and demand when it comes to materials. As a result, there are material shortages across the board, particularly lumber, appliances, and windows and doors. 

With lumber, the problems resulting from the shut-down of lumber mills were further exacerbated by wildfires across the Western US in 2020 and a surprising residential remodeling boom. 

Up to 87% of building professionals have found windows and doors challenging items to find over the last couple of years, according to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). With huge demand and not enough window and door manufacturers, lead times for these products are stretching from weeks to months. 

The national shortage of appliances, ranging from dishwashers and dryers to refrigerators and washing machines, mean homeowners and remodelers alike have been scrambling to find available products. 

The problems arose when the pandemic forced manufacturers to scale back plans and stores to pull backorders. Shipping was severely impacted the world over, and manufacturing companies, both at home and abroad, were forced to either close factories altogether or run a skeleton staff. As a result, everything slowed to a crawl. 

While things are improving compared to the previous year, it will take time for the situation to stabilize. There’s also uncertainty about what the short-term future will bring and whether the pandemic will see a resurgence. 

Rising Prices on Materials

During 2020, lumber saw record-high prices due to the compounding factors previously mentioned. Prices surged more than 48.3% from December 2019 to December 2020. 

Prices have since dropped but, at the time of writing, not to pre-pandemic levels. There are also fears the market might be volatile for a while depending on the course of the coronavirus as well as environmental and political issues.  

It’s expected that elevated prices will remain for the foreseeable future, even though they will vary. 

The price from a supplier, generally good for 30 days, might change quickly, and this is something both your design-build firm and you as a homeowner will need to bear in mind. 

Unprecedented Demand for Remodeling

Material prices are also being affected by the surge in remodeling and new home construction. Homeowners are using the record-high amount of home equity they now have to make modifications and additions to their residential properties.  

As house prices have increased as demand for housing has soared, families are also choosing to stay put and improve on what they already have. 

People are having more confidence in their homes as investments for the future. As such, with all the money saved from sheltering at home during the pandemic and missing out on vacations, homeowners have chosen to redirect the money into home improvement projects. 

Another reason why remodeling has seen unprecedented demand is that people have simply had more time. With so many people granted temporary leave from work and with many others being able to work remotely, there’s been more space and time for people to engage in projects they would have otherwise deemed overwhelming. 

The fact people have spent so much more time at home has also helped families identify reasons why their homes need remodeling. Homeowners realized they needed to reconfigure or update their indoor spaces for work, exercise, leisure, relaxation, and even for new health reasons.  

What does all this mean for you? Simply put, there may be delays because so many people are remodeling their homes at the moment. 

Advantages of Design-Build Remodel in a Pandemic

When choosing to remodel your home during a pandemic, there are many benefits to be had by hiring a design-build remodeling firm. In fact, it’s the one method guaranteed to rise above all the aforementioned pandemic-related issues and get your home modified as quickly and effectively as possible under the circumstances. 

You see, the design-build delivery model provides all required skills and services under one umbrella. The contractor looks after both the design and construction stages, with seamless integration of all relevant professionals. 

For the homeowner, there’s just one point of contact. This does away with the more traditional “design, bid, build” procurement system where you’re left to manage multiple contractors who have varying timelines, prices, ideas, and methods. Even at the best of times, this can be a minefield for the uninitiated, but it can be very stressful, confusing, and expensive during a pandemic. 

When you need your home remodeling project to be as simple and as stress-free as possible, especially during these trying times, then the design-build method provides these benefits and more. 

All of the design, planning, and ordering of materials is done well before the construction stage. The construction start time is determined by when materials are available, meaning everything is in place to begin as soon as this happens. 

While this might mean waiting a bit longer initially, it’s much more preferable and cost-effective than the often confused and chaotic method of the traditional “design, bid, build” system. 

When it comes to remodeling your home – pandemic or no pandemic – there’s nothing that comes close to the efficiency of the design-build method. 

Your Design-Build Remodeling Team in Lafayette, Indiana

Riverside Team

Riverside Construction, founded in 2008, is the go-to professional design-build team that has earned the respect and confidence of discerning homeowners in the Lafayette and West Lafayette areas. 

With an award-winning team of highly skilled and experienced professionals in a range of fields, we excel at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality. We can help you decide on a direction, provide guidance on pandemic-related remodeling issues, and be with you every step of the way to ensure your dream home is achieved. 

Whether you’re transforming a kitchen, updating a bathroom, or adding an addition, let us guide your decision-making and partner with you to achieve the results you envision. Contact us now to schedule an initial conversation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your ideas, soothe your worries, and work with you to finalize your plans.

Design the Perfect Sunroom

Let the sunshine in!

Arguably the best season of the year, summer gives us the freedom to relax, soak up rays, visit with family and friends, and enjoy the great outdoors. And, what better way to do all of these activities than by adding a four-season sunroom to your house to be enjoyed all year round.

Sunrooms have become an increasingly popular way to connect with nature while also adding valuable living space and increased value to your home. We know a home addition is a big decision, but gaining this extra space can boost your mood and dramatically increase the enjoyment in your home.

Not quite sure where to get started in adding a sunroom to your home? Here are some key points to consider as you conceptualize and begin designing a sunroom that is right for you:

Agree on the Best Uses of Your Sunroom

Sun Room Addition

Whether you plan to use your new sunroom as a hobby space, a gathering area for entertaining friends and family, a greenhouse, a quiet reading room, or yoga space, you should have an idea of its purpose before you plan its exact location, dimensions, square footage, and interior finishes.

A room designed for reading or working comfortably at home might include storage cabinets, built-in bookshelves, or closets to enhance its functional use. Or, you may want to consider sightlines, outdoor access, and a mini-kitchen if you need your sunroom to function as an entertainment area. Want a sunroom that acts as a private retreat, meditation room, or greenhouse? Make sure to plan a space that gets plenty of natural light, gives you access to the outdoors, and capitalizes on the view of your surroundings.

Plan Your Sunroom’s Size and Location

One common way to create a sunroom without building an addition off the end of your home is through a patio or porch enclosure.

Another option is designing and building a sunroom home addition, commonly off of the kitchen, living room, or family room. Its location should be based on your home’s orientation, property boundaries, and existing architecture. The size and shape will depend on your home’s roofline and its slope, and where you can build an addition off of your home.

Make sure to consider the pros and cons of northern and southern sun exposures and their effect on your home. Consult with a design-build professional early in the design stage to make sure you maximize the value of your sunroom and consider its ideal location for you and your home.

Let the Sunroom’s Planned Uses Dictate Your Needs

Sun Room Addition

It is wise to plan for year-round use following code requirements for ceiling and wall insulation. It’s also smart to plan for more than the minimum electrical requirements. Consult with a design-build professional to make sure your sunroom is not only compliant with building codes but is equipped to handle your family’s activity and equipment needs all year round—including, but not limited to, audio-visual equipment, speakers, large-screen televisions, computer stations, gaming devices, and the like. You will also want to think about the number of dedicated circuits and floor outlets you’ll need.

You’re limited only by your imagination, but remember that it’s always better to plan ahead and build these amenities into your space right from the beginning, with your future needs in mind, rather than retrofitting them into your space years later.

Consider How to Maximize Light, Views, and Aesthetics

A sunroom should be designed to complement your home’s existing structure. Consider how you will access the new sunroom and whether an exterior entrance is feasible or advisable. Also, consider window and door styles. The number of windows and doors used on the perimeter of the sunroom and skylights on the roof will dictate how much natural light you will be letting in—also influencing the design and your planned functional use.

Glass allows natural light to stream into the room, helping you heat your sunroom in cooler months and optimize the views of your natural surroundings. To help cool the room on warm days, windows should also be screened and operable. Consider energy-efficient windows and doors which include double glass panes.

Explore Various Design and Decorating Options

The beauty of a sunroom addition — both literally and figuratively — is that it can become anything you and your family want it to be. It can also be a space that changes as your family’s needs change. It can morph into anything from a playroom to a holiday dining room, a ladies’ “tea room” to a “gentleman’s card room,” a teenage hangout, and a comfortable senior retreat.

In terms of decor, it might contain overstuffed sofas, chairs, and ottomans for the ultimate in comfort, a sleek desk for working from home, or a banquet table that doubles as a game center.

The design options you decide upon should reflect your personality and design style. Whether you install slate or bamboo flooring, soft plush carpet or sleek tile is entirely up to you. Ideally, your new sunroom will adapt to the changing seasons and be usable in a variety of ways throughout the year, bringing delight to you and your family for many years to come.

Are you ready to get started?

Riverside Construction, serving Tippecanoe County since 2008, is your local authority on innovative sunroom additions, bringing light into your life and your home.

Share your sunroom ideas with the design-build remodeling professionals at Riverside Construction. Not ready to reach out? Sign up to receive our monthly e-Newsletter, “Designed for Life” and stay informed on what’s new in the world of home design and remodeling.

6 Reasons You Should Avoid a DIY Bathroom Remodel

The television shows make it look easy, right? If you have some experience using hand tools and you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, remodeling a bathroom may seem the way to go. Before you get too far in your planning, though, take a deeper dive into what’s really involved in a bathroom renovation. There are pros and cons, of course, but a bathroom’s relatively small size and apparent simplicity may make it seem enticing as a DIY project. However, the diminutive footprint of the average bathroom can make it more complicated when it comes to planning for new features and fixtures. It entails a bit more planning than you might envision, and take it from the pros; there’s usually a hidden problem just waiting to be uncovered.

Suppose your planned bathroom update involves more than just repainting the walls and installing new hardware. It might be a good idea to check with local building officials or an experienced remodeler to determine if there are permit and code requirements that you have to follow. Even if you plan to do little else, prepping the site for a new installation can also be exacting and time-consuming.

Likewise, tile work is more difficult than it might seem, regardless of the DIY videos and step-by-step instructions you can find online or view at a big box store. Here are 6 reasons to reconsider remodeling a bathroom on your own, without professional assistance:

#1 Design Guidance

Working with designers

The most important reasons to consult with a design-build professional come down to two words: professional and experienced. Because your home is your castle, it’s understandable that you want it designed for your functional needs and design aesthetics. A design-build contractor embodies these principles and can be your guide—recommending products and materials that will capture your vision, fulfill your needs and exceed your expectations.

With a wide variety of fixtures and materials available nowadays, there is an endless array of options that exist for tile, flooring, lighting, fixtures, etc. A talented designer will help you hone in on the layout and specifications that best fit your personality and lifestyle.

The functionality of your bathroom space is vital, and a designer has the knowledge and experience to improve a bathroom layout to gain both actual and visual space. Whether you want to revamp your dated master bath into a soothing at-home spa or provide a separate bathing and grooming space for growing children, a designer will work with you to make it happen. Be bold, or be subtle — it’s all up to you!

#2 Timing and Scheduling

No matter how simple your planned bathroom renovation might seem, scheduling can become complex. Materials must be chosen and ordered and deliveries scheduled. Trades must be coordinated and booked for their individual specialties. Proper supervision and site cleanup are constant needs. If you do the work yourself, you’ll have to juggle all of these tasks, and that’s a lot of balls to keep in the air at one time! You can alleviate all that angst by working with a professional contractor, especially a design-build team with the knowledge and staff to immediately address any issues and resolve them before they escalate into problems that can derail the entire job.

#3 Safety Comes First

Not all construction is dangerous, but it is all exacting; the steps to completion fall in a specific order for a reason. Understanding that principle does not always mean that a job will run smoothly. Still, it goes a long way to ensuring an accident-free workplace and the safety of all the people on or near the job site. Compliance with code and safety requirements is essential, but so is having the right training and the proper insurance to cover all unexpected contingencies. One of the prime rules of construction is that if something can go wrong, expect that it will. Cutting corners can cause accidents, lead to failure of materials and shoddy installation, and can also adversely impact your home’s value.

Avoid all of these issues by hiring a reputable contractor who is well-trained and adheres to all safety mandates; and has the proper insurance to handle anything that might occur on the job site.

#4 Avoid Costly Leaks

Leaking bathroom pipesChanging a faucet or replacing a toilet does not constitute rocket science. However, if you’ve ever done either, you know that it’s not always routine and straightforward. Many homeowners can tell stories of over-tightening a bolt and having to deal with a geyser of water or not compensating for an out-of-level vanity or a sloping floor. Avoid future plumbing problems by calling in someone whose job it is to get things right the first time.

#5 Tile Work Is Hard

Tiling Work

Unless you’re a serious creative tile hobbyist, you can be almost sure that a DIY tile job won’t reflect the quality or artistry you want for your renovated bath. Nor will it stand up to daily abuse and look fresh and pretty for years to come. It may not seem so at first, but setting tile is an art that requires patience and skill in equal measure. It is also strenuous and exacting work that must be completed quickly but allowed to cure properly to look its best. Whether it’s a tile floor, a tub surround, a full shower, or a simple, colorful backsplash, if you can visualize a design, a professional tile setter will be able to make it come alive.

#6 Trash Removal and Final Cleanup

No job is complete until the floor shines, the mirrors sparkle, and the bathroom is free of dust and debris. Don’t underestimate the volume of dust or the piles of trash and discarded materials that accumulate daily on the job site. If you do the work yourself, you will also, by necessity, become the after-hours cleanup crew. Eliminate that headache by getting an estimate from a design-build professional who will perform daily cleanup and straightening tasks. Consider it a gift to yourself!

The Advantages of a Design-Build Team

Riverside Team

Riverside Construction, founded in 2008, is the go-to professional design-build team that has earned the respect and confidence of discerning homeowners in the Lafayette and West Lafayette areas. We listen to our customers. We are attuned to contemporary design principles, modern methods, and materials, and the local aesthetic. Get started by exploring our bathroom design portfolio and then becoming familiar with how we approach every new bathroom design-build project.

We can help you decide on a direction, and we will be with you every step of the way to ensure an excellent result. Whether you are carving space for a powder room, enlarging a bath, or simply updating its decor, let us guide your decision-making and partner with you to achieve the results you envision. Contact us now to schedule an initial conversation. We’ll be happy to answer your questions, listen to your ideas and work with you to finalize your plans.

How To Create Better Storage in Your Kitchen

Homeowners almost universally long for more storage space. It doesn’t seem to matter whether home is a condo, a retirement villa, or a large suburban ranch. Sometimes, it just seems that “stuff” expands on its own. It’s not a problem easily solved by a “junk drawer” or even by serious spring cleaning.

However, collecting “stuff” is part of what makes us human, and finding better ways to store the things we use and treasure may not be as difficult as one would think. The first step, of course, is to simplify, sort, pare down and eliminate duplications. Still, there are also some practical ways to create additional space to store those things you want to keep, particularly in the kitchen. The key is to tailor your storage to your individual needs.

Consolidate Your Belongings: Get Rid of What You Don’t Use

Collections are part of every family’s unique history. No one would suggest that you get rid of anything that has meaning in your life.

But never feel guilty about eliminating or replacing broken or damaged pieces, whether they’re “Grandma’s china,” your wedding crystal, or seldom-used small appliances. Hold a yard sale; in addition to the old toys and furniture, sell seldom-used dishes, glasses, and flatware, cooking pots, and serving pieces; take them to a thrift store or consignment shop, or donate them to a shelter. Someone will make good use of your castoffs.

Once you achieve that first goal, it’s easier to complete a “deep clean” of your kitchen cabinets and pantry, assess your priorities and reorganize your storage space.

Small Storage Solutions Make a Big Difference

If you’ve ever studied professional chefs at work during a TV cooking show, take inspiration from their solutions. Then adapt some of their ideas for your kitchen.

They’ll reach for a knife from a wall-hung magnetic rack or grab a wooden spoon from a vintage crock; frequently-used spices are often on display, and cutting boards and mixing bowls are stacked or nested in plain sight.

If you can’t manage a professional chopping block, get a cutting board that fits over your kitchen sink to save space and facilitate clean-up. Install a sleek utensil rack or spice shelf near your cooktop or range. Not all kitchen storage needs to hide behind closed doors.

Make use of inside surfaces on cabinet doors as well. Hang pot lids and kitchen towels from simple screw-in hooks; add wire racks to hold boxes of foil and plastic wrap, sandwich bags and spray bottles, even cookie sheets and muffin tins.

Corral table-setting necessities, including placemats and napkins, salt and pepper shakers, water glasses, and everyday flatware, on a simple tray or decorative basket right on the countertop. This can be especially helpful if your kitchen table does double duty as a planning desk or homework center, and it’s a real-time-saver at mealtime.

Adopt a section of countertop as a beverage center or snack bar:

1. Install open shelving for coffee cups and glasses, snack plates, napkins, and utensils.
2. Hang stemware and coffee mugs from an attractive wall or overhead racks.
3. Locate a coffee pot and toaster, nearby, and finish off the space with a drawer with custom inserts to hold supplies.
4. Or go one step further and include an appliance garage that will hide your small appliances when not in use.

Depending on your kitchen, this would be an ideal location for an under-counter fridge, ice maker or wine chiller, or a dishwasher drawer. The goal is to personalize your kitchen to reflect the way you live.

Customize Cabinets and Drawers to Maximize Storage

Kitchens have evolved over the decades from the strictly functional, utilitarian workspaces they once were. Today, the kitchen is not only for food storage and preparation, but it’s also frequently open to the main living space, so it must be as attractive as it is functional.

If a kitchen renovation is on the agenda, plan ahead by researching the innovative storage ideas widely available from cabinet manufacturers and by working with your design-build contractor. Rethink traditions, and re-envision your kitchen in a way that makes sense for you and your family.

Here are just a few of the best creative storage solutions:

● Eliminate unneeded doors to showcase china and artistic serving pieces on open shelving.
● Take cabinetry to the ceiling; add lighted glass-door display space at the top, or use that out-of-the-way space for party supplies and holiday storage.
● Take full advantage of an island or peninsula with storage that can be accessed from both sides, or install narrow shelves at each end to hold cookbooks, linens, or decorative pieces.
● Install a pull-out step ladder into a base cabinet to reach upper shelves.
● Locate a pull-out drawer in a base cabinet to serve as a pet feeding station that can disappear from view as needed.
● Install pull-out shelving, even under the sink, to eliminate getting on your knees to locate items in the back of cabinets.
● Use telescoping shelving in tall, narrow cabinets, and install telescoping blind-corner shelving to maximize corner storage areas.
● Take advantage of space between the studs for a recessed spice shelf.

Your remodeling contractor will have a wealth of other ideas for you to consider. The range of options is almost limitless, from baking centers with built-in flour and sugar bins to recycle bins in the pantry to a custom utility closet. Be open to possibilities — kitchens of the future don’t have to look anything like kitchens of the past.

Design a Walk-In Pantry

If your kitchen is currently short on storage, a walk-in pantry may seem like the ultimate luxury. However, even if a luxurious butler’s pantry is a reach too far, it might be possible to carve additional storage from floor space as compact as 3×5 feet. A space-saving bi-fold door will keep it hidden from view, but you’ll gain 15 square feet of floor space for customized shelving for food storage, large cooking pots, party supplies, table linens, and perhaps even cookbooks and a planning desk.

Think about your options, and work with your design-build contractor to make the most of the “found space.”

 

 

 

Discuss Your Ideas with a Professional

In the Lafayette area, Riverside Construction is your trusted resource for advice on all things remodeling. An award-winning design-build firm with a team that excels at listening to client ideas and then translating those dreams into reality, Riverside stands ready to help you redesign your kitchen.

If you’re still gathering information and thinking about possibilities, we understand. Why not add your name to our mailing list? We’ll share design ideas and remodeling tips with you via a monthly e-newsletter. Browse through our portfolio of completed projects to get your creative juices flowing.

When you’re ready to move forward, we invite you to contact us to schedule an initial no-fee conversation.

Check out these other blog articles you may like:

A Lesson In Kitchen Cabinetry Design
Kitchen Remodels: 3 Budgets, 3 Kitchens

Inside View: A Client’s Kitchen Remodeling Experience with Riverside

Tamara tells-all, sharing her kitchen remodeling experience with Riverside Construction

Q: What prompted the need for your kitchen remodel?
A: Our home is located in West Lafayette near Purdue University. When we bought it, it had been used as a rental so we knew it needed work.

As a 1950s home, it needed a lot of updates and also is smaller in size—approximately 900 sf on the first floor, where the kitchen and living room is. With the two levels, it’s roughly 1,800 sf. As a dated home, the kitchen was designed in a closed-in space. I wanted to open it up and create more livable space. Our house is also a split-level. I had visions of tearing out a wall, opening it up to the backyard and adding a large island.

Kelly put my ideas to paper, and the results were amazing!

Q: You started your remodel during Covid-19. How did the pandemic alter your remodeling plans? Did your functional needs change in any way?
A: Yes, I believe we were one of the first of Riverside clients to start construction after the COVID quarantine. They started construction in April and ended in June.

Our kids were in college at the time, so it was just my husband and I in the house. We also moved a temporary kitchen downstairs, so we had a place to be while the workers were in the house. We always felt safe. Everyone was cautious. We kept clear from the workers most of the time, and there was always enough space to separate ourselves from each other. Riverside was also good about working quickly.

Q: Can you speak to safety protocols during construction? Did you and your family feel safe?
A: When construction started, we weren’t issued mask mandates (we still weren’t sure), so the crew wasn’t wearing masks. As we followed health updates, we all adapted. Then, I noticed the workers started to wear masks on site.

From the beginning, we made an effort to be distanced from each other, which felt smarter. We made it a point to not be in each other’s spaces. We also had meetings outside for added protection.

Aside from COVID, Riverside was good about locking up our home and securing the job site. Our team leads, Juan and Amos, were amazing—and felt like family. Amos could have been my husband’s brother based on how close they were.

Q: What concern(s) did you have going into your home remodeling project?
A: My biggest concern was finances. I talked to Andy two years ago. He advised me to pay down my loan and then refinance my mortgage to get the money I needed to invest in my house. I was basically trying to get enough equity built up. I came back two years later—I refinanced and got a one-year loan that I’m now paying off.

I didn’t worry about anything else. Our project came out exactly as I envisioned.

Q: What was a favorite part of your remodeling experience with Riverside Construction? Why?
A: Hands down the people at Riverside Construction. The employees are fun and very professional. They aren’t just about business. The workers would stop and talk to us. We got to know Amos—his personality, family and background. Everyone at Riverside really want us to be happy with our remodel, but they also want to build a relationship with their clients as well. And, Andy allows them to do that.

This may not be important to everyone, but it was really important to me. I think it’s a great way to run a business. It’s not just a job to these people. It’s actually something they enjoy, which carries over into their customer service. It’s a great business model and good for our community.

Now, I won’t use a remodeling company other than Riverside Construction. I won’t even request a quote from another company if we remodel again. Riverside is our only choice. It’s going to be them for now on. They are more expensive, but I’ don’t care. They are worth it.

Q: What was your least favorite part of the remodel? Why?
A: Waiting 10 days for the granite. During this particular time during the remodel, we were almost finished. Everything but the countertops were installed. The kitchen looked beautiful, but it wasn’t yet functional. The lag time between when the granite got measured and when it got put in was tough. We were excited to use the new kitchen, but had to keep using the temporary kitchen until the countertops were installed.

Q: After living in your newly remodeled space, what has become your favorite design feature?
A: The kitchen used to be dark, dingy and old. Now that it’s more open and inviting, we’re in this area all of the time and not sequestered in our rooms.

I am now working from home. They put electricity in the island, so I sit here on the island to work.

I hate Lazy Susans, but Andy convinced me to let him put one in that he said I would love. He was right. I love it!

You know, we don’t know everything. It was great working with a professional who could offer suggestions and help me decide what was good for me. I didn’t want to make all of those tough decisions. Riverside was great!

[Laughing] When they asked me initially, “What’s your design style?” I answered, “functional!”

Q: What was your inspiration behind the new larger window?
A: I wanted to be able to look out to the woods in our backyard—bring the outside in.

Q: Were there any big surprises during or after the remodel that caught you off guard?
A: The sticker shock. I was surprised how expensive it really is to remodel.

Q: Any pleasant surprises?
A: Although this was nothing, the only thing they did wrong was buy the incorrect light fixture. It didn’t look right in the space, and they agreed. I thought I was going to be charged for a new fixture, but that is not what happened. I was asked to pick out a new light fixture, and they took care of the rest.

Q: In hindsight, is there anything you would do differently if you were to remodel again?
A: I would have done more if I had more money, like the whole living room area.

Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: When I was searching for a remodeling company to work with, I wanted a reputable company that I could hold to task. I didn’t want someone who waltzed in once and awhile.

Riverside is very professional, while at the same time incredibly humble, fun, enjoyable, and easy to work with. That fabulous combination starts with owner and filters down. Not every person was perfect. But, Juan, Amos and Ben are literally amazing individuals—salt of the earth people who would give their shirts off their backs. We all got along so well.

If anyone is going into this for the first time, they need to understand that it’s a lengthy process. It’s important especially for a design-build company like Riverside that might be busier. I reached out in January and we were finished in June, which actually didn’t take too long at all.

Q&A: A Client’s Kitchen Remodeling Experience with Riverside

Sarah tells-all, sharing her remodeling experience with Riverside Construction

Q: What prompted the need for your kitchen remodel?
A: Our home was built in 1902 and was last remodeled in the mid-60s. Our oven model was dated from 1964. Bless my husband who was wise and blessed with many talents, but his philosophy was “if it still works, we don’t need to fix it.” Fast forward to November 2018, the oven stopped working and I only had one element working on the stove. After putting money aside, I retired in 2020 and decided it was finally time to remodel the kitchen.

Q: You started your remodel during COVID-19. How did the pandemic alter your remodeling plans? Did your functional needs change in any way?
A: Yes, we started our remodel during COVID-19 and it completed in August. The biggest impact on our remodeling plans was the availability of materials. We were 98% completed in August but then had to wait for the refrigerator, oven, and microwave which didn’t arrive until September. The cooktop was ordered right away because it was an older model and in short supply. Otherwise, Riverside Construction carpenters and subcontractors either worked when I wasn’t there or wore masks around me and each other when they were in my home.

Q: Can you speak to safety protocols during construction? Did you feel safe?
A: Yes, I never felt unsafe. Riverside Construction carpenters and subcontractors wore masks, put up barriers, used HEPA filters, and either worked in my home when I wasn’t there or masked up when we were in the home together.

Q: What concern(s) did you have going into your home remodeling project?
A: I was most concerned about the inconvenience during construction. I planned ahead for the kitchen remodel by loading up a dorm-size mini-fridge for perishables. I also ordered carry out a lot. My basement is where the washer and dryer are located. I was concerned about accessing it. But, after the guys were through working, I was able to get through to the basement without much problem. Riverside Construction also remodeled my half bath next to the kitchen. I wasn’t looking forward to having to use the upstairs bathroom during the renovation. More importantly, I live with three cats. It was imperative that the crew didn’t let any of them outside. They did great!

I never worried about the budget. When I signed a contract with Riverside Construction it was well-delineated. My design choices and materials were detailed from our initial planning meetings. The only exception was one change that I made and the other was an unforeseen circumstance. Otherwise, the budget didn’t change at all.

Q: What was your favorite part of your remodeling experience with Riverside Construction? Why?
A: I thoroughly enjoyed the Riverside Construction carpenters. Most days, it was the same group who was working in my house. They were skilled and very reassuring. There was one point in construction when I was fearful of how it was going to look. One carpenter, in particular, assured me to hang in there and it would turn out exactly as I had envisioned. He also said my project was his favorite one. He was right. It turned out exactly as I had envisioned, and even better!

Q: What was your least favorite part of the remodel? Why?
A: The dust. They put up dust barriers during construction a majority of the time. One of the subcontractors didn’t use a dust barrier. I believe it was the tilers, so it stirred up dust in the home.

Q: After living in your newly remodeled space, what has become your favorite design feature?
A: It’s all so wonderful. The ceiling and lighting have to be my favorite design features. The previous owners (in the 1960s) put in a dropped ceiling and panels in the kitchen. Riverside Construction removed the dropped ceiling and panels making it more spacious and brighter. The new pot lights and pendant lights over the island added the elegance and charm I was looking for.

 

Q: What was your inspiration behind your kitchen design?

A: I had visions of what my grandma’s beautiful kitchen looked like with dark oak cabinets, inset doors, and a particular type of latch. Under the linoleum was gorgeous oak hardwood flooring. I wouldn’t normally choose hardwood flooring in the kitchen, but because they were there, I couldn’t pull them up. Riverside sanded the floors and refinished them to perfection.

It was also important to me to design the kitchen to match the existing architecture of the home—to look like it had always been there, just refreshed. I think we accomplished that. As a testament, the cleaning crew came in after the remodel was done and said, “this looks like the kitchen was part of the original home.”

Q: Were there any big surprises during or after the remodel that caught you off guard?
A: Nothing big, no. There were a few small items like learning that the plumbers had to pull up the floor in the half bath to access the crawl space below. But, also not a big deal.

Q: Are you using your newly remodeled space differently now? How?

A: I absolutely spend more time in the kitchen. I’m not a really good cook. You have to remember, I haven’t had a fully functioning kitchen since November 2018, so I’m rediscovering cooking. I now spend a lot more time in the kitchen. And, I really like the butcher block island. Initially, I thought it would be hard to maintain, but I’m really enjoying oiling it—rubbing the oil into the wood once a month. My house gets particularly dry in the winter, so I’m sensitive to not letting it dry out.

Q: In hindsight, is there anything you would do differently if you were to remodel again?
A: Small things. There are a few of my lower cabinets that have pull-out shelves. I often think, having now worked in my kitchen, that I should have added a few more of those. Sometimes I also think I should have chosen different light fixtures, but there’s nothing major I would have done differently.

My original kitchen had a hanging pot rack. I thought I loved it and wanted it in there. As the design of my kitchen progressed, I realized that I could see more of the kitchen without it. Now, I have room for my pots and pans in the drawers and cabinets and they aren’t collecting dust. Ultimately, I’m happy with my decision to remove it.

Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: Yes, I definitely want to share something about Riverside Construction. I’ve had other contractors in my house before. They did a bathroom renovation upstairs years ago. I love Riverside Construction and all of its contractors and vendors. I was used to hearing a lot of cursing from contractors I’ve used in the past. Not that I’m a prude, but there was none of that language used by Riverside crew day in and day out. As they worked, they created a nice environment for me to be cohabitating with them in my home.

Now, Riverside is meeting with my daughter, doing a renovation on her upstairs bathroom. She was so impressed with my remodel that she decided to remodel her bathroom with them as well. Riverside Construction is becoming our “family renovator.”

For more information on this amazing kitchen remodel, visit our Portfolio.

How to Survive Your Kitchen Remodel

Aside from budgeting and decision-making for new surfaces, fixtures, and appliances, there are a variety of other factors at play in any home remodeling project, but especially when it’s arguably the most important room in your house. 

It’s finally time for construction to start on your kitchen remodel – but what will you do without a kitchen during the remodel? Without a fully functioning kitchen, your family’s daily routine could be thrown totally off-kilter. 

Rather than finding yourself unexpectedly without a meal for your family, take advantage of these great tips on surviving your next kitchen remodeling project in West Lafayette, Indiana. 

Create a Temporary Kitchen Space

The ideal first step for ensuring you and your family can comfortably survive your kitchen remodeling project is to create a temporary kitchen space somewhere else in your home. You might be tempted to rely on fast food for the duration of the project, but your wallet (and your figure) could be seriously impacted as a result. 

Your best bet for a stand-in kitchen is a low-traffic area in your home far from the construction area and close to a sink or other water source. Many families enjoy eating around the TV in the family room, so this could be your best bet for ease of access and comfort. Otherwise, use your dining room, garage, or even a spare bedroom if possible. 

Remember: kitchens can be messy spaces. Utilize plastic storage bins for items from your pantry whenever possible. Also, make sure any furnishings, flooring, or valuable items are protected from the mess you and your family might make while your kitchen remodeling project is in progress!

Keep it Simple

If you’re an ambitious chef who loves to prepare high-concept meals, you might find your cooking efforts entirely disrupted during your kitchen remodel. That’s why you should prepare yourself for keeping it simpler during the remodeling process. 

While you might miss some of your more specialized appliances and kitchen tools, there’s no need to transport everything to your temporary kitchen. Decide on the most essential utensils and minor cookware – you probably won’t need your waffle iron, food processor, or mandolin. 

During your remodeling project, it could be fun to practice a somewhat spartan cooking lifestyle. Think of it as a culinary vacation experience for your family!

Think Small and Multipurpose

Just because you don’t have your full kitchen at your disposal doesn’t mean you can’t prepare a full meal. These days, slow cookers, toaster ovens, electric griddles, hot plates, coffee makers, and microwaves are small enough to fit on most surfaces in your home. You could even purchase a minifridge and stock it with the essentials from your kitchen refrigerator.  

Keep in mind, though, that your temporary kitchen spot may not be able to sustain multiple appliances running in tandem. You don’t want to blow a breaker while your kitchen remodeling crew is hard at work – it might interrupt their work and delay the project longer than you want to wait!

Keep Disposables in Supply

Without the use of your kitchen sink, dirty dishes might pile up fast. That’s why it’s better to spend a small amount of money on paper plates, cups, napkins, and plastic utensils. These items make cleanup a simple task and function almost as well as your finest china. 

You’ll definitely be taking the trash out more often than usual, so make sure you keep your garbage and recycling bins close at hand. If you’re worried about smell or a dirty appearance in your temporary kitchen space, keep your bins in a spot out of sight and smell range but still near enough for easy disposal. 

Work the Grill and Takeout Options

Everyone has used a grill now and then for barbecue or grilling hot dogs on game day, but did you know your grill can handle almost anything your kitchen oven can? Whether you’re roasting meat, baking a pizza, or flipping burgers, your backyard grill is the perfect solution for whipping up some tasty meals without ever setting foot into your currently demolished kitchen. If the weather’s nice, you could even turn it into a fun picnic for the family.

Odds are good you have a grill gathering dust on your back patio. If not, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a friend or neighbor who has one you could borrow. Just remember to give it back once your new kitchen is fully operational!

Your other alternative for quick and easy meals is to find great local takeout options. These days, most restaurants either deliver or provide convenient pickup options. Clip some coupons before your remodel starts and plan a budget ahead of time to accommodate your evenings dining out. 

Consider a Vacation

Have you had any special trips, romantic getaways, or family fun-days planned for months? Now is the time!

Instead of throwing off your family’s at-home routines, leaving altogether and enjoying a few days on an exciting vacation or road trip might be the perfect solution for surviving your kitchen remodeling project. Take in some sights, bask in the sunlight, and finally feel excited to come home after a vacation – after all, your brand new kitchen will be ready and waiting.

Just remember, when leaving your home for several days, you want to be absolutely certain the construction contractors you leave behind are trustworthy. In order to feel completely comfortable with people in your home while you’re not there, be sure to hire a kitchen remodeling contractor in Lafayette or West Lafayette with a history of reliability and trust, as well as satisfied customers. 

That’s where the team at Riverside Construction comes in. 

Hire a West Lafayette Remodeling Company You Can Trust

Transforming your kitchen might take some time, but you’ll reap the benefits of a newly remodeled kitchen space for years to come. Not only will you get more functionality and enjoyment out of your new kitchen – it’ll also add tremendous value to your home in the long run. 

If you think you and your family are ready to take on a kitchen remodeling project, it’s critical you choose a kitchen remodeling contractor in West Lafayette you can rely on. The team of experts at Riverside Construction have decades of combined experience in the design-build home construction and remodeling industry. Our reputation speaks for itself – you can count on our experience and dedication to quality customer service as we create a phenomenal finished project for your new kitchen remodel.

If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen but aren’t sure where to begin, make sure to view our kitchen remodeling portfolio for inspiration and sign up for our monthly newsletter full of remodeling expertise and ideas. And be sure to schedule a consultation when you are ready to dig into the details of your kitchen remodeling project or call us (765) 838-1644.

Five Ways to Overcome Your Home Remodeling Fears

Buying or remodeling a house is a major financial decision that can bring you peace of mind and a comfortable place to live. It’s not surprising, however, that so many homeowners experience fear and anxiety when embarking on a home remodeling project. It doesn’t help that there are plenty of unfavorable remodeling experiences shared among friends, family, or neighbors and posted online—homeowners who have gotten tricked into trusting disreputable contractors, and lost tens of thousands of dollars. So, how can you overcome these imaginable home remodeling fears?

Whether you are a first-time homeowner or you’ve survived a remodeling project in the past, the most important first step is to become well-educated about your home, your project options, and how to find the right remodeling professional for you.

We’ve outlined five of the most commonly-shared remodeling fears and how to address each one intelligently, so you can prevent these remodeling mishaps from happening to you.

Fear 1: I’m afraid I’ll make the wrong decisions and won’t like the results.

The idea of spending thousands of dollars and sacrificing months of dust, noise, and inconvenience only to be disappointed in the end result is enough to scare away any homeowner. What if the materials don’t match? What if the craftsmanship is poor? Doing it once is disruptive enough, but getting it wrong and having to redo it is soul-crushing.

There are a couple of ways to banish these remodeling fears and ensure your project turns out exactly as you expect. First, consider working with a design-build remodeling firm that helps you create a detailed plan and scope of work for your project right from the beginning. A reputable design-build firm will not only help you flush out all of the “must have” and “like-to-have” details of your home remodel, but they will also offer creative solutions tied to a realistic and pre-approved budget. Then, upon guiding you through smooth remodel, they will ensure your remodel finishes on time, and on budget.

The more effort you spend with your design-build firm to conceptualize and plan your remodel, the more likely your project will turn out exactly how you envisioned it. Ask your contractor as many questions as you need to understand the process. The right contractor will be happy to answer your questions and give you the chance to sign off on each detail before construction begins. Allow yourself the grace to be fully immersed in the process, and you’ll start feeling more confident in the remodeling process and the results you hope for.

Secondly, during the planning stages, sophisticated computer systems can be used to help you envision your project well before construction begins. This takes the guesswork out of your design decisions. Remodeling firms that use 3D-design modeling can help you visualize your project in its entirety, including finishes, colors, textures, and other details. It can also create exact measurements and catch potential design or proportion inconsistencies during the planning stage.

Fear 2: My contractor will not finish on time.

We’ve all heard horror stories of contractors that walked off job sites before they were completed. The best way to overcome this remodeling fear is to do your due diligence. Commit to reading online reviews and ask for client references. When looking through reviews on Houzz or Google, it’s essential to look deeper than just the number of stars. Read the comments—as many as you can. Take notes and see if you uncover any patterns. How does the contractor handle challenges? What do they do well? How long have they worked in the area? What is their specialty? How consistent is the quality? How often do they finish on time or on budget? Note what customers liked and what they didn’t like when working with the contractor. Be particularly cautious of working with a contractor that doesn’t have a past or current review on Houzz, Facebook, Google or a third party review site such as GuildQuality.

Beyond online reviews, be sure to call on client references. If possible, try and speak to a homeowner who has completed a similar project as yours. Ask to see the work done in their home. Sometimes, it may even be possible to visit a home remodel that is currently in process. Above all, make sure you ask detailed questions of the homeowner, probing into their experience in working with the contractor. Also, make sure the contractor can verify it has insurance. A reputable contractor will be pleased to provide the information you ask for.

Fear 3: I’m going to blow my budget.

Going over budget is a huge concern for most homeowners. Even if your budget is generous, it likely has limits. It’s important to work with a reputable remodeling contractor that can design a project plan that meets your fixed budget before construction gets underway.

Traditionally, homeowners seek to work with an architect or designer first, separate from a contractor. In this way, design details are worked out before soliciting bids to a contractor. After a contractor is hired, change orders are then used to account for changes in the project scope. In this traditional design-bid-build approach, the budget is derived from the project’s design.

In contrast, a design-build firm works in collaboration with you, the designer and contractor develop a cohesive project plan fit to an agreed upon budget and timeline. Rather than the budget being derived from the project’s design, the design is derived as a result of the owner’s budget.

In addition, it is always best practice to plan a reserve budget for unknowns or changes you might make after construction begins. A reputable contractor will help you plan and provide a detailed scope of work, so hidden costs don’t seep into your project. Also, don’t hesitate to address any questions or concerns about budget items with your contractor. A reputable design-build firm will help you stay on budget and on schedule—as part of their delivery process.

Fear 4: The remodeling project will drag on forever.

Secondary to budget, homeowners are fearful of their home remodeling project going over a scheduled timeline. While the length of a remodeling project depends on its complexity (whether it requires HVAC, removing walls, or making structural changes, for example) it also requires coordinating suppliers, vendors and many other moving parts. Although every remodel has its hidden challenges that can impact a project’s timeline, working with a professional design-build team will certainly increase your likelihood that it will finish on time.

Reputable design-build firms utilize proven processes that start with a realistic and detailed timeline—built from years of experience working with vendors, suppliers and their own in-house team of lead and finish carpenters. You can also count on being assigned a dedicated project manager who is held accountable for keeping your project on schedule.

Fear 5: I’m not sure I can handle the inconvenience and the mess!

Unfortunately, remodeling is a necessarily disruptive and messy business—there’s no way around it. By planning ahead, however, you can better cope with the inconveniences.

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, for example, you can set up a temporary kitchen in another room. You can also temporarily adjust your family’s meal plan by changing from heavily prepared meals to semi-homemade foods. You’ll want to stock up on nonperishable items, disposable plates and silverware, and choose recipes that are best prepared with small appliances. Instead of a stove, switch to meals cooked on electric skillets or in a microwave. If you’re remodeling a bathroom, plan to use a secondary bath for a period of time. Create a daily morning schedule where family members can be assigned specific bathing/grooming times to prevent traffic jams. All in all, a little inconvenience for a period of time is a small price to pay for a fabulous new kitchen, bathroom, or whole house remodel!

A reputable contractor will also take extensive measures to protect your home from excess dirt, dust, and damage. Be sure to ask how they control dust, damage, and air pollution in your home during construction.

Hire a West Lafayette Design-Build Firm You Can Trust

Riverside Construction has helped homeowners dispel fear and embrace the delight of beautiful, precise remodeling projects that meet and exceed their expectations.

Whether a kitchen, bathroom, home addition, or basement remodel, Riverside Construction promises an enjoyable, smooth remodeling experience, delivered on time and on budget. Check out our online reviews and view our extensive portfolio of work.

If you are thinking about remodeling your home but aren’t sure where to begin, sign up for our monthly newsletter full of remodeling expertise and ideas. And be sure to schedule a consultation when you are ready to dig into the details of your home remodeling project or call (765) 838-1644.

It’s in the Details: Small Remodeling Projects Can Make a Huge Difference

The old expression that it’s the “little things in life that count” may also be true when it comes to home remodeling. If you think your home looks dated or you dream of having a magazine-worthy kitchen each time you prepare a meal, consider the smaller details as you plan your next home remodel.

By breathing new life into some of your home’s spaces, you will gain a new perspective about what it is you love about your house. It might also turn out that the comfort and familiarity of your existing home are what’s truly important after all.

Update Your Windows and Doors

Updating your windows and doors can make a huge impact on your home. Not only can you potentially benefit from energy savings and a lighter, brighter interior, new windows and doors can enhance your home’s interior and exterior appearance, while also adding value to your property. How’s that for a double win?

Consider high traffic areas when rethinking the use of doors and windows in your space, like your kitchen and bathroom. How can a new window bring in more natural light and update the overall look and feel of your home? Today, there are numerous features and options to choose from that will enhance your living space.

And choices are growing with homeowners’ preferences. Modern trends include windows with black frames, modern bay windows, transoms, window walls, and so much more. Homeowners are choosing window and door frames that have narrower profiles, which enhance their views and visibility. They are also opting for color-coordinated door and window colors. Finally, with more and more importance placed on the outdoors, many homeowners are choosing between slide, folding, French, quad, single, and movable glass wall systems.

Whatever the style you choose, make sure to take into account how the replacement windows and doors will look from both the interior and exterior of your home.

Maximize Your Illumination

Nothing belies a home’s age more than a single ceiling light in a bedroom or long hallway, fluorescent tube lighting in a kitchen, or inadequate bathroom lighting. Today there is no reasonable excuse for living with shadows and dark corners. Updating a home’s entire electrical plan makes sense and will save dollars and cents in the long run. Pay attention to the three types of lighting that are part of a comprehensive plan for every room: ambient (general) lighting, focused task lighting, and accent lighting.

Consider retro and industrial design styles that are making their way into West Lafayette homes. Choose between soft gold lighting fixtures, vintage Edison-style bulbs, or ornamental lighting with cleaner lines. Update old-style plugs and switches with new versions that come in a variety of styles and colors.

A creative designer will introduce you to the staggering array of available options for long-lasting, energy-saving lighting. Ask about lighting that is voice or motion-activated or controlled by smart technology. And consider new high-tech devices and entertainment options.

Refresh Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodeling is typically high on a homeowner’s wish list. But a kitchen remodel doesn’t have to involve a total gut job. Here are some options:

  • Repaint, refinish, or resurface older wood cabinets: Change the kitchen’s entire look by changing the color of the cabinets or replacing cabinet doors with a different style.
  • Replace kitchen countertops: While granite is still a top choice, there are numerous other options. Modern solid-surface materials simulate stone, but they’re also available in bright colors and patterns for immediate impact.
  • Changing the backsplash is a relatively small update that makes a significant difference.
  • Add a specialty appliance: An under-counter fridge, a wine chiller, or a dishwasher drawer, perhaps. Or install a second sink in a counter section to facilitate cooking and clean up.
  • Add an island or extend an island counter to provide additional seating.
  • Add pendant lighting over an island or raised kitchen counter.

Add New Hardware

Many homeowners are unfamiliar with the impact new hardware can have on their home. It’s relatively quick and easy to replace dated cabinet handles and drawer pulls, or to update bathroom towel bars and toilet paper holders. Survey all the hardware in your home. Replace an old doorbell button with chimes and replace it with a newer wireless model. Personalize your chime while you are at it!

If your home has simple round brass doorknobs, know that they date your home more than any other single feature. Boost your home’s curb appeal with a freshly painted front door and entry hardware. Think about trading those standard brass knobs for newer black, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze finishes, or replace knobs with trendy new levers.

Consider Adding Moldings

Beautifully crafted crown molding is a feature of traditional design. Still, its use is not restricted to conventional styles, nor are architectural details confined to whole house remodel projects. Crown molding can emphasize the ceiling height, provide a distinctive accent at the ceiling line or be the “crowning glory” of kitchen cabinetry and built-in bookcases.

In addition to crown molding, there are a variety of other moldings to consider.  For example, a chair molding (or chair rail) installed horizontally around the perimeter of a room adds both visual interest and is practical (no more chair dings on the walls!).  Upgrading existing or adding window and door casing is also a fantastic way to freshen up a space, especially when painted in a dramatic color.  Spruce up a den or home office using different moldings to create wainscotting panels.  The possibilities are endless!

Redo Your Floors

Flooring is sometimes considered the “fifth wall” of a room. While the surface you walk on may not be the most exciting aspect of design, it represents one of the most critical choices for a home — in terms of style, function, beauty, durability, and price. What’s underfoot sets the tone, in many cases, for the total ambiance of your home.

Among available flooring options to consider when planning a home update are traditional wood planks, reclaimed or distressed wood, engineered wood, newly popular bamboo or cork, ceramic or porcelain tiles, laminate or luxury vinyl tiles, stained concrete, natural stone or carpet. Flooring doesn’t have to be the same throughout your home, but if you choose different floor finishes for other rooms, be sure to coordinate the colors, patterns, and materials.

Seek Guidance from Riverside Construction

Riverside Construction has expertise in all things remodeling. We specialize in home additions, basement remodels, and kitchen and bath updates. Our design-build team will help you achieve your design and renovation goals in ways that correspond to your vision, time frame, and budget. We have been serving clients in Lafayette and West Lafayette since 2008, and we have built a reputation for satisfaction. Browse our remodel portfolio as you crystallize ideas for your renovation project.

We understand that not every home needs a whole-house renovation. Our design staff will work with you to find creative solutions that fit your lifestyle and enhance your family’s enjoyment quotient. It’s what we love doing, and it’s what we do best. We concentrate on the details so that you can capture your dream home.

Contact us now to schedule a conversation. Or sign up for our monthly newsletter which is chock full of design trends and remodeling tips to fuel your creative spirit.

Kitchen Islands 101: The Complete Guide

Kitchen renovations are more popular than ever before, not surprising considering the amount of time homeowners now spend at home. The need to balance form with function is increasingly important. As such, the kitchen has become an ideal multi-tasking space for the whole family, from cooking to eating, socializing and working. Also popular are open living areas bursting with plenty of natural light. Among these trends is the standalone, multi-purpose “kitchen island.”

Since a new kitchen island would become the centerpiece of arguably the most important living space in your home, designing and building the right one that perfectly complements your home’s style and your family’s burgeoning needs is job #1. Many options abound, so let’s consider everything you need to know, including the island’s purpose and building requirements. We’ll then review your many choices of appliances, storage areas, colors, and materials.

1. It’s your island, not Gilligan’s!

The last thing you want is a kitchen island that doesn’t make any sense for how your family will use it, so the first thing you need to do is decide between a few clear and functional options. These include islands that accommodate seating, storage, prepping, cooking, and/or cleaning. Your decision will dictate your island’s needs in terms of size, dimensions, and any built-in appliances or other functional components, along with necessary plumbing and electrical work.

Also note that your new kitchen island can combine several of these functions depending on your family’s needs, renovation budget, as well as the overall kitchen size and layout. Another option to consider is whether you want the island built-in, or a portable unit on wheels. Some homeowners go through the design process and decide not to build an island at all! So, to help you visualize and design your perfect kitchen island, consider a few of these options:

Island of Prep & Storage

The most basic kitchen island features an open top for additional countertop space, and units below for storage. These act as extensions of surface area for food prep, and are ideal for entertaining extended family or guests at parties. The entire volume below the top can be used in various ways for storing dishes, small appliances, and even extra pantry space. Of all your kitchen island choices, this one is the easiest to make mobile by simply adding lockable wheels.

Island of Extra Seating

This version combines additional countertop space with an inset base to accommodate seating. Depending on available island dimensions, you can build one to fit anywhere from two to four guests comfortably, or even more if you have the room. Most homeowners design these with more volume for a sidebar storage area.

Island of Cooking & Baking

Another level of kitchen island is to embed a stove top, oven, microwave, and even a refrigerator. The benefit is sheer convenience by locating all these units together and right in the middle of your kitchen floor, opening up all the space they would have taken up elsewhere. But with more functionality comes more cost; not only do you need to buy and install suitable hardware and appliances, you also need to extend the necessary plumbing and electrical work.

Island of Handy Cleanup

Yet another exciting and more sophisticated kitchen island to consider is one containing a sink, or wet bar. These can double-up from the ones you already have or take their place. Sometimes a second dishwasher is incorporated into the island as well.  If you have a large family or entertain often this can be a welcomed amenity.

2. No man — or woman — is an island

If you’re designing and building a kitchen island for extra seating, then make sure you leave plenty of space for everyone to sit comfortably. The National Kitchen & Bath Association offers guidance, starting with at least 24 square inches of elbow room per person on the countertop. Recommended height between a person’s knee and the countertop will vary depending on the type of chair used, and the overall height of the kitchen island, so plan the design accordingly.

Specifically, if you’re going for standard dining room chairs or low stools then the countertop should be 36” high. Bar stools or higher chairs will need an island to be at least 42” high. As a general rule, space above the knee varies by height, too, decreasing as the island gets taller. For example, experts recommend 18” above the knee for a 30” high countertop, progressively decreasing until about a foot of space for a 42” island. Work with your contractor to get it right.

Countertop overhang length is also an important factor, impacting comfort and the availability of storage space below. These also vary in proportion to overall island height; as the countertop height increases you’ll need less overhang length. These specs get more complicated and nuanced as you add more functionality to your design, such as a sink, cooking appliances, or other features. Each island is unique, so make it your own with an eye for efficiency and style.

3. The island of appliances

Transitional Kitchen West Lafayette 2

Your choice of appliances depends on the type of kitchen island you want your contractor to design and build. The more functionality you add the more appliances you’ll need to get the jobs done, of course. Since your island is by design smaller and more ergonomic than the other open spaces around your kitchen, choosing the right type of appliance is only the beginning: You’ll also need to choose the right size to accommodate a leaner and more efficient island design.

Depending on your needs and the design you pick, options include mini-fridges and microwaves, drawer freezers, and other “petite” versions of traditional appliances. Stoves, grills, and ovens are also available in smaller versions that retain functionality while adding efficiency and accessibility. Remember the “working triangle” of arranging components within an optimal and most convenient layout that demands the least effort from you and your family.

If you go the cooking and baking route for your kitchen island, then don’t forget about gas and electrical lines, plus providing ample ventilation. Some islands are designed with exhaust fans and hoods embedded in the ceiling directly above, so plan accordingly. And speaking of appliances, don’t forget to include sufficient and easily accessible plugs wherever they’re going to be needed, both on the countertop and within the cabinets or storage areas below.

4. Get the most from treasure island

As we’ve seen, regardless which type of kitchen island you choose, storage space becomes available as part of the build. Whether you go for a basic prep design or an elaborate combo island of cooking and cleaning with stove top and sink, the foundation below will provide ample room for containing pots, pans, cups, saucers, or even food ingredients and cleaning supplies. The overall volume and depth for storage simply depend on the other island dimensions.

Once you’ve determined how much storage space you actually have and in what configurations, options abound. Deep drawers are great for bulk items like dishes, bowls, and kitchen gadgets; vertical slots, in contrast, are ideal for serving trays and baking sheets; open shelves are useful for cookbooks and other immediately accessible items; drawer inserts useful for silverware; while glass-front cabinets can be perfect for displaying fine china and artsy knickknacks.

5. Turn it into an island paradise

Now that you’ve designed the essence of your kitchen island, you’re ready for the really fun part: Choosing materials for the countertop, cabinets, and other components. The need to match form with function (within your budget) applies here, too, along with an eye on blending your existing kitchen style with the look and feel of your new kitchen island. Your best choice of materials involves a considerate combination of utility, esthetics, maintenance, and economics.

Let’s start at the countertop: Options include laminate, wood, concrete, tile, quartz, marble, and stainless steel. If your island will be used primarily for food prep, then butcher block is a good bet. Bakers, in contrast, often prefer a marble top. If your new island will be mostly used for seating then an attractive, less overtly functional material might make the most sense. Remember, the top should match your other kitchen surfaces so the island fits right in.

Next let’s consider the storage areas: Cabinets are available in a wide variety of wood types from Oak to Maple to Cherry, depending on quality and appearance. Thermofoil (vinyl wrapping) and various laminates can ease cleaning and offer a modern esthetic. Cabinet door styles and hardware choices also abound, so work with your contractor to ensure the best match and optimum functionality. Make sure color selections also match and complement your kitchen well.

6. Partner with the best collaborator

Just as you have choices in selecting the type and style of kitchen island for your family, you have choices of the contractor to help make it all happen. Family owned and operated, Riverside Construction is your best choice to creatively and responsibly bring your dream kitchen remodel to life! Safety first, Riverside is pleased to conduct most preparatory work remotely and effectively; we also conduct all work according to strict EPA regulations.

Riverside Construction is Lafayette’s top award-winning, design-build remodeling company. Since 2008, we have provided clients personalized and enjoyable remodeling services, delivered on time and on budget. By listening intently to your needs we provide the region’s best work: Take a look at our portfolio and at our kitchen remodeling ideas.

If you need more ideas, check out our portfolio of kitchen remodels or sign up for our newsletter to get ideas delivered to your email. Our staff is always available to answer questions and provide more information about our design-build process. We can’t wait to partner with you to create the best kitchen island as centerpiece to your dream kitchen. A virtual or design consultation is only a click or phone call away.

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