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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.

2019 Basement Design Trends to Watch for in Tippecanoe County

Basements no longer need to be damp, dark and unattractive storage spaces in the home. Today, finishing a basement can add much needed, affordable square footage that will allow for a variety of unique uses—a dedicated home theater, a game room complete with kitchenette or private in-law quarters are just some of the possibilities.

A finished basement not only adds space; it adds lifetime value. But there are right and wrong ways to tackle a basement renovation. Here are a handful of emerging trends:

Flexible Design Is Good Design

When planning a basement remodel, a good idea is to keep your options open. Today’s desires might not constitute tomorrow’s needs. Consider the following: Open space plans are adaptable to many uses. They will make a small space seem larger, and enlarge the realm of possibility for using space creatively. Whether you want your new space to be used for entertaining or to accommodate personal interests or needs, think about how to manage the square footage with a minimum number of walls.

Include the features that are important to you: Perhaps a snack center for children and grandchildren, a combination game room and media center rather than a dedicated home theater; space to pursue crafts or hobbies. Other time-honored ways to repurpose basement space include adding a guest bedroom and bath, a family room with kitchen or bar facilities, or even a home gym.

Adding recessed lighting throughout the basement banishes the possibility of a dark, dreary space while keeping future lighting options open. And no matter how the area will be used, you’ll always want to use appropriate waterproof materials to ensure your basement stays warm and dry.

Meet Special Needs with a Basement Remodel

Farmstead West Lafayette Basement Remodel 1

Sometimes special use rooms are just what the “doctor” ordered. If you’ve been looking for space for a home gym, your crafting supplies, a home theater, a teenage retreat, or a comfortable guest bedroom, the basement is the perfect space for these rooms. Take the opportunity to personalize your space, tailoring it to meet you and your family’s specific needs and requirements.

Popcorn and a Movie?

With available technology, adding a large flat-screen television and auxiliary speakers is simple. But if you want a “knock your socks off” media room, plan for built-in bookshelves and cabinets, comfortable seating, light dimmers, blackout shades and noise-dampening materials that might include carpet and additional insulation. There’s also no reason the room cannot be used for reading and music, so assess all the options as you begin planning your basement remodel.

Add a Mini Kitchen or Wet Bar

Double or triple your entertaining options by installing food prep or drink-serving capabilities. If there is existing plumbing in the basement, it should not be too difficult to add a bar sink; assuming that there is sufficient electrical service, small appliances like coffee pots, blenders, and slow cookers should also be easy to add.

What you will want to consider is the need for serving counters and clean up space, as well as for storage. But with the ability to prepare and serve food and drinks on the spot, you’ll double the pleasure you get from inviting guests into your home.

Make Room for Sleepovers

There’s a distinct difference between making space for teenage guests by spreading sleeping bags on the floor and creating a comfortable bedroom in the basement. A guest-worthy sleeping space involves many considerations, including the needs for appropriate egress windows, and the desirability of an adjacent bathroom.

Both should be discussed in advance with your designer at Riverside Construction to ensure that your needs can be addressed and to determine the budget.

A newer trend is to remodel a basement to provide additional multi-generational living space. Many families welcome in-laws and adult children today, and semi-private living arrangements are ideal. Such renovations can be “sweet additions” to a home, especially if your basement includes a walk-out feature, but they do require advance planning.

Comfort Underfoot

Both lighting and flooring are worthy of extra consideration when you consider a basement renovation. Floors, especially in winter, can feel damp and cold; it’s essential to install flooring that will minimize the cool, be visually attractive and durable, and cost-effective. Luckily, the options range from carpet with a good pad to installing radiant heat under tile or luxury vinyl flooring.

Whether you opt for an applied moisture barrier or go with in-floor heating under the finished flooring, be sure to investigate with your remodeling contractor the pros and cons, and determine the best, most cost-effective solution for your particular need.

Finally, Finish that Raw Space

There is really no way to express the personal sense of satisfaction that comes from turning underused or totally unfinished basement space into something attractive and functional that you can enjoy for years to come.

Knowing that a finished basement also adds value to your home is an additional reason to get busy on your renovation plans.

Riverside Construction has the experience and expertise to help you design your perfect basement room or to enlarge your home by renovating the entire existing basement. We can show you examples to inspire you, and we will also explain the perils of some all-too-common basement renovation mistakes.

Why not contact us now to discuss your wants and needs? We’re up on the trends and ready to get to work!

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.

5 Popular Kitchen Remodeling Trends in Lafayette

As cooler weather approaches, you might be coming back into your kitchen from summer’s cookouts, thinking, “Wow. I didn’t realize how dated this looked,” or “This setup is really inconvenient.” Here at Riverside Construction in Lafayette, we’re excited about the upcoming kitchen remodeling trends we see for 2019. So, if you’re planning a kitchen remodeling project in the coming months, here are 5 trends you’ll want to consider:

1. Cabinets with a Color Pop

Yes, all-white cabinets are still popular because they reflect light and make smaller kitchens look bigger. Colorful cabinets, however, are increasing in popularity. This is partially because cooking and spill stains stand out so obviously on white—but also because homeowners are looking for more color in their kitchens. Here at Riverside Construction, we’re an authorized dealer of Wellborn custom cabinets, and they’ve introduced some new standard paint colors for their cabinets: Mink Gray, Olive, Gray Mist, Aqua, and Mint. One popular design trend is using lighter cabinets around the kitchen perimeter with a more daring color for the island. Some are opting for darker colors on the lower cabinets with a lighter shade of the same color on the upper cabinets. Those still choosing all white cabinets are playing with mixed countertops, bright accent walls, fixtures and backsplashes with different colors and designs. Mixing neutrals and whites with bright color accents is also growing in popularity. Take a look at some of these great custom kitchen cabinet designs to get a few ideas for your own kitchen remodel.

Photo courtesy of Wellborn

2. Appliances: Thinking Outside of the Stainless-Steel Box

Bright, silver stainless steel has been the go-to finish in appliances for several years now, but for all its solid, time-tested stability, people are looking for more color even here. Yes, you can have black, graphite and slate finishes. You can even have white if you want it bright. But this is your kitchen, and if you want to have brightly-colored appliances, your options are growing considerably. If this is the kitchen you will be cooking, eating and working in for years to come, why not try some bold color combinations? If you aren’t sure how long you’re staying or want to have your kitchen ready for resale in a few years, you can still choose colors, but think of timeless combinations that work with the colors of your cabinets and walls. Reds with white, black or gray, blues with white or light gray, earth tones in different shades, etc.

Photo Courtesy of Savvy Home Supply

3. Everything in the Kitchen Sink

If you thought kitchen sinks were all the same, get ready for the kitchen sink designs of 2019. Kitchen sinks are being created out of different materials and adding new, time-saving accessories that home gourmets are raving about. For example:

New Kitchen Sink Materials—At least 70% of kitchen sinks are stainless steel. It goes with everything and is durable for years. But kitchen sink designers have been coming up with amazing, functional materials that go beyond what you’ve come to expect in a sink. For example, granite composite sinks (made of crushed stone and resin); they last a long time and are easy to clean and maintain. The timeless cast-iron enameled sink is also making a resurgence because you can choose different glaze colors than just silver or dark gray. It’s also very durable and easy to clean. The new fireclay sinks (often used in farmhouse sink designs) are made of high-heat glazed clay with a hard enamel finish (usually earth-toned). And while they are durable, they are vulnerable to impacts and may chip more than other materials. Natural stone, glass, marble, and copper are also up-and-coming kitchen sink materials you might consider.

New Kitchen Sink Accessories—Newer kitchen sink designs also tool up the functionality of the ordinary sink to help you save time and effort during meal prep. In fact, you could call them “kitchen sink systems” because they integrate so many tools seamlessly into a larger sink. Consider multiple levels, built-in colanders, removable cutting boards, ice buckets, pot holders, etc. A large, custom sink with these accessories can significantly reduce your prep and post-meal clean-up time; you’ll have more time to enjoy your meal with family and friends.

Photo Courtesy of Homestyle PR

4. Earth-Toned Rustic Never Goes Away

One look that never really goes out of style is the organic, natural, earth-toned rustic look, from backsplashes and cabinets to floors and farmhouse sinks. Think neutral colors that make custom wood cabinets glow warmth into your kitchen. If you’re going rustic, you’ll likely avoid glossy finishes and opt for rugged, matte, natural finishes instead. Ceramic or cast-iron sinks, wide-plank wooden floors, antique metal fixtures like distressed bronze, wrought iron or rubbed brass look great in a cozy, rustic kitchen. Butcher block or honed granite countertops complete the natural, sturdy look if you’re going this direction.

5. The Mix-it-Up Eclectic Kitchen is Now

And yet, if traditional or rustic kitchens aren’t your thing, variety may be just your style. Good thing too, because mixing up materials, colors and finishes is taking off like crazy. Bold colors on the custom cabinets, floating shelves, polished concrete countertops, stone accent walls and wild mosaic backsplashes with pops of color and shine will turn heads whenever guests arrive and have you feeling like you’re cooking in your dream kitchen every day. And really, if you can dream it, we can make it happen in your kitchen.

If you’ve got your eye on a kitchen remodeling project for the upcoming year and aren’t quite sure where to start, be sure to sign up for notifications on our upcoming kitchen remodeling seminars. We’ll notify you as soon as the next one is scheduled so you can be the first to sign up for these in-demand events where we can answer your questions, provide ideas and offer expert guidance on your dream kitchen.

If you’re ready to start now, schedule a personal consultation with Riverside Construction’s kitchen design experts today: (765) 838-1644.

Avoid These 5 Disastrous, But Surprisingly Common Basement Remodeling Mistakes

Photo Courtesy of State Farm

 

Are you thinking about remodeling your Lafayette, Indiana basement from a dark, spooky, musty storage catch-all into a bright, fabulous living space where you can welcome family and friends? As you load your Pinterest board and scrapbook with ideas, step back for a moment and please make sure you know what not to do with your basement remodeling project first! This will help you prevent expensive, time-consuming and downright maddening problems you don’t want in your amazing new basement! The key to avoiding many basement design mistakes is getting experienced, professional help. The design-build team at Riverside Construction can help you steer clear of these six common basement mistakes, as well as many others:

Creating Too Many Tiny Rooms

The mere fact that basements are underground can bring out the claustrophobia in many people, so you want to design a space that doesn’t feel like it’s underground. That means creating a lot of light and open space. While it’s fine to add a couple of rooms, you’ll want to consider space-opening options like in-line cabinets and shelves built into the walls. Whether you’re designing a family fun room, an entertainment room, a man cave or an in-law suite, make sure to choose basement design ideas that are open, airy and bright.

Forgetting the Waterproofing

Again, being underground makes basements extremely susceptible to water damage. Anytime a pipe bursts, a drain gets clogged or there’s a heavy rainfall, you can have puddles (even lakes) forming down there, costing thousands of dollars of damage. Even small amounts of excess moisture can cause mold and mildew—two other things you absolutely want to avoid (see point 4 below for more on this topic). Your design build team can help you by making sure your design includes the following basement waterproofing elements:

  • A sump pump
  • Good drainage
  • Waterproof building materials

Not Adding Soundproofing into the Design

There are two main reasons soundproofing is critical to your basement remodeling project:

  1. If you’re turning your basement into an entertainment room, it could get noisy down there.
  2. Many of your home’s mechanical systems live in the basement, humming, buzzing and clicking along at all hours. This can be unpleasant if you’re turning your basement into an in-law suite or guest apartment. All that background noise can bug you during movies too.

There are several ways to add soundproofing to your basement, including building extra space between wall layers or using soundproof padding. Our design-build team can make the best soundproofing recommendations based on your needs and basement design.

Installing the Wrong Lighting

Choosing the right lighting for your basement remodel is absolutely critical, not just for mood and space reasons, but for safety. As the naturally-darkest area of your home, you’ll need plenty of light to make it brighter and prevent safety issues.

Unobtrusive, space-saving recessed lighting is an obvious choice for basements due to the ordinarily-low ceilings, but you’ll need to check the insulation in your basement’s ceilings first. Depending on what type of insulation you have, you may need to install IC-rated pot lights to avoid fire hazards. Depending on how high your basement ceilings are, you may also be able to install some pendant or other hanging light fixtures as well. Also consider lighting built into the shelves, along the walls and other ways of bringing more light into this normally-dark space.

Neglecting Building Permits and Proper Egress (Emergency Exits)

Proper egress means having safe, essential exit methods in case of an emergency. Not only is this a safety issue that you must not forget for the safety of your family and friends, but neglecting this and other building codes can cost you a lot of money too. Insurance companies will make you pay. Building inspectors will make you pay. Potential homebuyers may cross you off of their list if you’re trying to sell. Your Riverside Construction design-build team in Lafayette will help you make sure that essential window and door exits are added to the design from the beginning, and that the stairways are strong and safe.

Also, if you fail to get the right permits for your building project, this can cause you a lot of expense and hassle too. Riverside Construction helps homeowners obtain the correct permits and ensures that all of the design plans adhere to the latest safety and building codes.

Do Your Basement Remodel Right the First Time

Remodeling your basement beautifully and safely can add a lot of value to your home, but only if you get an expert to help you avoid these and other basement remodeling mistakes. Your design-build team can also help you stay within budget and use the correct, waterproof building materials that will stand up against moisture mishaps that could happen in any basement.

If you’re still considering basement designs, flip through our basement design portfolio for some more inspiration, and contact us for a personalized consultation today: 765.838.1644.

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

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

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

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

Adding a Sunroom or Enclosed Patio

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

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

Adding a Great Room

Photo Courtesy of bitmeerut.club

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

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

Finishing a Basement

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas to Add Long-Term Function and Value to Your Home

For most Indiana families, the kitchen is the home’s nerve center. Essential discussions, conversations, laughter, cooking and nourishment all go on in this room—more so than any other room in the house. It’s a place to cook, eat, work, socialize, play games and entertain.

So, if you’re considering a kitchen remodel, consider how you use your kitchen now, and how you’d like to use it in the future. A well-designed kitchen not only helps improve functionality, it can also significantly boost your home’s resale value.

In fact, looking at the 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, almost half of participating homeowners said something like: “I can’t stand the old kitchen anymore.” And 36 percent reported they would jump into kitchen remodeling once they had the means.

If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen soon, list all the things that bother you, or that you’d like to improve. Then, talk with us about smart kitchen upgrades to improve functionality and value. These are the top eleven remodeling features that promise both in today’s housing market:

Smart, Spacious Kitchen Storage

We can’t even count the number of homeowners who complain about utterly wasted, poorly-thought-out storage spaces, i.e., cabinets that are too shallow, or drawers that are too small. Some cabinets are so deep that people can’t reach some items without unloading others. We can make it better! Storage design is one of the first line items we discuss when talking with homeowners who want a kitchen remodel. Here are some great kitchen storage design ideas we suggest:

  • Drawers with custom-designed dividers for cutlery or small kitchen tools
  • Kitchen cabinets with smooth pull-out trays to easily organize and access everything from spices and bottles to pots and pans
  • Separate, hide-away waste and recycling cabinets
  • Extra deep drawers for storing larger food containers and kitchen tools or appliances
  • Sturdy, adjustable shelves you can customize to your needs

As you go through your day, make note of your kitchen storage “pain points” and we can come up with great solutions!

New, Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances

The kitchen draws a lot of energy, so incorporate new, Energy-Star certified appliances right into your new kitchen design. Beginning with the appliances in the design saves time and money from the start: they can be incorporated seamlessly into the whole kitchen design itself, and begin saving energy as you use them.

Also, think about ergonomics when you’re designing your kitchen. As you go through your day in the kitchen, think about appliance placement and workflow so the new design can boost efficiency and ease-of-use.

Stylish, Functional Kitchen Islands

Covington Contemporary Kitchen Remodel 1

Kitchen islands increase your work surface and storage capacity, as long as the cabinets are intelligently designed and organized.

If you’re adding a kitchen island, think about function and dimensions. An open living and dining island requires space for chairs and should accommodate convenient eating. If you’re creating an eating island in the kitchen, we recommend about 36 inches high, so it can be used both for casual dining and food preparation. If you’re adding a breakfast bar, then 42-46 inches high is about right. The countertop overhang for sitting should be about 12 inches.

Durable, Gorgeous Kitchen Countertops and Finishes

Durability is absolutely essential for hard working kitchen countertops. Evaluate your kitchen lifestyle to narrow down your choices for the right countertop material. For example, an active home chef teaching kids to cook may want to avoid marble countertops. They look superb, but they etch and stain easily under frequent use and require more maintenance.

Instead, a hard-working kitchen with a busy family could consider the many beautiful granite countertops or some of the newer, durable laminates that look like your favorite stone instead. Other options for busy kitchens include engineered quartz or Cambria natural stone. Quartz countertops, for example, are tough against scratching and staining. They’re incredibly durable and require little maintenance while also coming in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and edge treatments. They’re a smart, long-term investment that will work for you while boosting your kitchen’s resale value.

Fantastic Faucets and Fixtures

There are so many new, functional and beautiful kitchen faucets and fixtures to choose from these days, that it can be hard for many homeowners to choose which they like best when they’re remodeling their kitchens. High-tech touch features that make it easy to switch a faucet on or off… sprayers that make clean up quick and easy… consider some of the following fixtures:

  • Faucet mounting options—Sink mounted (the faucet comes right out of the sink assembly), deck-mounted (from the countertop itself, rather than the sink), or wall-mounted (easy to clean, but need extra insulation in our cold Indiana winters).
  • Faucet handle options—Single handle (twisting one handle to dial between hot and cold), double-handle (one for hot, one for cold), and “hands-free” (you simply nudge the faucet with your free elbow to turn it on, but you still need to adjust the side handle for temperature).
  • Faucet Finish options—Stainless steel, nickel, brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, black, white… those are just some of the more common options.

Fabulous Flooring

As always, consider how you use your kitchen to get the right flooring option for your needs. For example, hardwood floors never go out of style, but they need a bit more maintenance than some of the engineered hardwood and laminate options that look just like hardwood. But real hardwood can be refinished and refurbished, whereas damaged laminate needs to be completely replaced. You can also use reclaimed hardwood that looks amazing in many kitchen designs.

Today’s high-quality laminates can stand up to a lot of hard use, though, so it’s still an excellent, lasting investment. You also have more choices for design with laminate: think wide planks and exotic textures like Brazilian cherry.

And don’t forget tile. Porcelain and ceramic floor tiles are huge right now. They can be engineered to look like anything (even wood or fabric), they’re incredibly durable and easy to clean (but a bit more of a challenge to install).

Spectacular Backsplash

A backsplash protects your walls from stains and splatters, but they can also be fantastic focal points. It all depends on the materials and designs you choose—and there are so many options: wood, metal, glass, ceramic, stone, tile and more.

“Consider changing a tile backsplash to modern glass, mosaic tile, or a classic white subway tile, which never goes out of style,” says Riverside Construction owner, Andy Haste. “These now come in many sizes and shapes and can be laid in a herringbone or soldiered pattern for an updated, fresh look.”

Remember: neutral colors make your kitchen space feel bigger and brighter to you and to potential home buyers who may have different color tastes.

Natural and Artistic Lighting

Think about all the ways you can incorporate natural light into your kitchen from windows and skylights to light tubes. In addition to saving energy costs, natural light makes kitchens look brighter and bigger. Great, functional under cabinet lighting options brighten countertop workspaces while vintage chandeliers or brightly-colored pendants to add pop and focus over your kitchen island.

Neutral Colors Create Value

Neutral paints and finishes in shades of ivory, white or gray are the smartest colors, both for design flexibility and resale value. You can add personal color accents with accessories, light fixtures, and other design elements to tie other areas of your home together with the kitchen, but keeping the colors neutral also attracts potential homebuyers, helping them “see the possibilities” rather than being jarred by style choices that may not match theirs.

Clever Kitchen Sinks

One of Riverside Construction’s incredible interior designers, Kelly Grish, advises homeowners to consider the sink as both functional, and as a showpiece. Beautiful, apron-front farmhouse sinks are generous, functional and, as she says, they feel “custom and thoughtful”, demonstrating the long-term value of your home’s design, right from the kitchen.

Chef-Worthy Range Hoods

Grish also says that installing a new, stainless-steel hood over the stove says “chef’s kitchen” in a split second to any potential homebuyer, adding literally thousands of dollars in value. It also expands your kitchen’s functionality. You don’t even have to add extra ductwork if you don’t want to—you can use recirculating filters instead—while still enjoying the range hood’s benefits.

If you’re ready to remodel your kitchen, Riverside Construction is prepared to share the knowledge and experience we’ve collected over the years to help you create your perfect kitchen design experience. Schedule an in-home consultation to get the ball rolling with your own personal design consultant, or attend one of our monthly, complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars. Reserve your seat now as demand is high and space is limited! Let’s create the kitchen of your dreams!

Countertops 101: The Pros and Cons of Engineered Quartz

 

For many years granite has been a preferred countertop material of choice for homeowners looking to remodel. For the last three years, however, quartz has steadily gained popularity over granite and is now the leading countertop material, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Unlike granite or quartzite which are natural stones mined from the ground, quartz is an engineered material created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately ninety-five percent ground natural quartz with five percent polymer resins.

Is quartz the right choice for your new kitchen?  To help you with your decision-making process, we have broken down the pros and cons of this trending countertop material:

The Pros of Quartz

Expansive Selection

Because quartz is an engineered product, manufacturers can create an endless range of colors and styles that fit almost any design sensibility. Color choices range from the darkest black to the purest of white with every color of the rainbow in between.  Whether you like a little sparkle or prefer something more plain and smooth, there is a quartz design that fits virtually any taste. The manufacturing process of quartz has become so sophisticated it even comes in a wide variety of designs and irregular patterns that can mimic the look of natural materials like marble and granite.

Extremely Durable

The kitchen is the hardest working room in the house for most families. From kid’s backpacks that are thrown on the counter to heavy pans scraping across work surfaces, many families need a virtually indestructible countertop material like quartz. Quartz resists knife cuts and, unless you take a hammer to it, won’t chip or crack. In fact, quartz gets top ranking over materials like granite, tile, laminate or solid surface countertops when it comes to durability. Ready to give your kitchen or bathroom countertop a workout? You can’t go wrong with quartz!

Easy Maintenance

If you want a low-maintenance countertop, then quartz is an excellent option. Unlike granite or quartzite counters that need to be sealed to maintain their beauty and stain resistance, quartz countertops are non-porous, naturally stain- and bacteria-resistant and never need to be sealed. Now that’s my kind of countertop!

Great Value

Quartz is not the least expensive option on the market but if durability and easy maintenance are high on your priority list, then quartz offers superior value for the money.

The Cons of Quartz

There aren’t many downsides to choosing quartz, but there are a couple things you should keep in mind:

Lower Heat Resistance

While Quartz is virtually indestructible in standard kitchen scenarios, it does have a weak spot—heat.  You can set a boiling pot down on granite without any worries, but because quartz contains resin you can run the risk of damaging the surface with a hot pot or pan in the kitchen; or a curling/flat iron in the bathroom.

Cost May Be Prohibitive

Although priced competitively with other high-end countertop materials such as marble or concrete, quartz is 30 to 50% more expensive than granite.

With the wide variety of design materials on the market today, it makes it an exciting time to remodel your kitchen or bathroom from top to bottom.  If you’re looking for a contemporary, high-scale look with very low maintenance, quartz countertops are definitely worth considering.

Need some design inspiration?  Visit our Design Portfolio or read from our library of helpful design tips:

Kitchen Island Styles to Consider for Your Home

A Lesson in Kitchen Cabinetry Design

Kitchen Remodels: 3 Budgets, 3 Kitchens

2018 Stylish Design Trends for the Bathroom

Bathroom Remodels: 3 Budgets, 3 Bathrooms

Or sign up for our next free home remodeling seminar to learn how to remodel your kitchen or bathroom and smile while doing it!

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.

Home Remodeling Guide: How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor that Is Right for You

 

Your home is an intensely personal space. If you’ve made the exciting decision to remodel your house, you don’t want just anyone working on your home. In fact, you want a highly qualified, trustworthy and conscientious team of professionals who are committed to helping you remodel a living space that fits your functional needs and design style. Taking the time up front to research and ask the right questions is not only time well spent, but will ensure you select the right remodeling contractor for you.

The Ultimate Checklist for Vetting Potential Remodeling Contractors

 

  • Assemble a list of Contenders

A simple Google search is an excellent place to start assembling names of local home remodeling contractors in your area.  Use words that describe what you’re looking for and your location. For example, search for “home remodeling contractor Lafayette” or “kitchen and bath remodeling West Lafayette”.

Websites like houzz.com, angieslist.com, and thumbtack.com can also be helpful resources to search for local contractors.

A safe and reliable way to assemble remodeling contractors is to reach out to your friends, family, and co-workers for any recommendations they may have.  Do you have a neighbor who just had some remodeling done?  Ask them about their experience and if they would recommend them.  Your local hardware store may also have some good suggestions as well.

  • Website Review

Once you’ve assembled your preliminary list of home remodeling contenders, review each company’s website. This is an easy way to find critical information that will help shape your decision. You should be able to find answers to important questions like:

  • Are they licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Do they have a physical office location?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Do they have staff, or only use subcontractors? What is the longevity of their staff?
  • What special certifications or qualifications does the company have in performing a similar remodeling project as yours?

Qualified home remodeling contractors should also feature a project portfolio or sampling of their work. Take some time to peruse past projects and see what speaks to you.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then look at the finished project photos as an informative way to get a sense of the type of work they do.  Moreover, some remodelers only specialize in kitchens and baths, for example, and may not remodel other areas of the home, like basements or additions. This should help you rule out some contenders depending on the type of work you want to have done.

Another important distinction is the type of remodeling contractor you want to work with. Are they a full-service design build firm or a general contractor?  What’s the difference? The quick answer is that a general contractor works independently from an architect. As a homeowner, you would be responsible for finding an architect first—someone who produces a set of architectural design plans for you. Then, you would hire a general contractor independently to build the remodel from the set of drawings provided by the architect.

On the other hand, a design build company takes care of all the remodeling and design under one roof to make the integration of your project easier.  From the very beginning, you work with a personal designer to produce a set of plans that fit your budget, design style, functional needs and time frame. In contrast, you work with one company who handles every detail for you. Click here for more information on the design build difference.

  • Phone Interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to call on the companies directly to fine tune your decision even further. Ask pertinent questions like, “How many projects do you currently have on-going?”, “Do you take on remodeling projects of similar size?” and “Can you provide a list of references?”. This will help you decide with whom to set up an in-person meeting. For a complete list of questions to ask of a remodeling contractor, read 8 Essential Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Remodeling Contractor.

Checking client references is another crucial step in your selection process. Reputable remodelers should be happy to provide you with a list of current and past clients. Taking the time to call a sampling of customers and asking questions like “What was your overall experience working with the remodeling firm?”, “What did they do well?”, “What did they do poorly?”, “Did they keep the job site neat and clean?”, “Did you have cost overages? If so, why?”, and “Was the project completed on time?” will give you tremendous insight on who you want to hire and work on your home. And, if you can visit a current or past job site, even better!

  • In-Person Consultation

An in-person consultation is a perfect opportunity to meet with the remodeling contractor to get a feel for the company, their process, and the people you will be working with. This face-to-face meeting is also where you’ll discuss the entire scope of work with the contractor.  Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions!

Once you’ve discussed your renovation goals, an established professional remodeling company will offer to provide a detailed scope of work and price estimate for you to review.  If you work with a design build company, you will have the added benefit of exploring concept designs for your project as well (this may include a fee, as it requires a lot of work to put together).

  • What Does Your Gut Tell You?

Finally, do you feel comfortable and see yourself communicating well with the remodeling firm that you’re considering?  Remember, these folks will be in and out of your home for weeks or months. You’ll be interacting with various carpenters, designers and office staff throughout the project and you want to feel that your home and family are in good hands.

Overwhelmed yet?  Don’t be!  Taking the time to do your homework and due diligence, before you approve your construction agreement, will help guarantee you end up with the ideal living space you dreamed of, with the least amount of headache as possible.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards remodeling your home, give us a call today at 765-838-1644 or fill out our Request a Consultation form to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation. We are ready to help you get started and answer any questions you may have about your unique home remodeling project.

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