With the passing of the New Year just in the rear view mirror, it’s finally time to stop procrastinating and start turning the house remodeling gears. That long list of improvements you created last year has been gathering dust for far too long, and with Spring just around the corner there’s never a better time to roll up the sleeves, stare your tape measure in the face and get to work.
While that list is probably long and distinguished, it’s important to narrow your scope down to a few projects to make sure you follow through rather than drowning in the overwhelming flood of ‘must do’ items. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Keep it on budget. With a streamlined set of tasks laid out with a clear budget and a clear schedule, you’ll be free to complete your remodels relatively stress free.
Here are 5 simple but life-changing remodeling ideas to improve your house this 2017.
1 | Exterior Siding Improvements
You’ve probably been yearning to take this task on since you purchased the home and decided to ‘live with’ the pink board and batten siding with bright purple trim. Well, now’s the time to stop yearning and start doing. It’s never been more affordable to bite the bullet and re-side your home. Not only will you increase market-value and weather protection, you’ll have full creative control to give your home the curb appeal you imagined it having.
However, with all that creative control can carry the burden of OPTIONS. Yes, there are literally thousands of options when it comes to exterior building materials. Your best bet is to start off by narrowing it down to a group of materials. Exterior wood cladding is a great middle ground in terms of appearance and cost. Depending on where you live, sourcing wood cladding that is native to your region adds sustainability and adds depth to the narrative of your home.
If you’re looking for more inexpensive home exterior options, going with a fiber cement panel is worth looking into. You can buy them in panels for a more contemporary look, or boards if you want a more traditional lap siding aesthetic. Even better, you can paint them in any and all colors under the sun - so if you’re feeling a bit of separation anxiety from green and blue, the fiber cement world is your oyster.
2 | Flooring
Updating your flooring is a no-brainer, and should be considered to be a worthwhile improvement for anyone’s first project. It’s a great way to ease yourself into the ebb and flow of a remodel project without breaking the bank (or more importantly, your spirit). Just like with exterior siding, there are unlimited options, so it’s best to agree upon a general aesthetic first and look at specifications later.
Hardwood flooring is the most ubiquitous material choice, whether solid or engineered hardwood. If you’re looking to re-floor your home on the cheap, manufacturers are working magic these days with engineered hardwoods. Bamboo is a great option too because it’s sustainably sourced, easy to install, durable, and comes in a wide range of finishes.
3 | Build a Fireplace
Not too long ago adding a fireplace to your home meant ripping up some exterior walls, calling the town mason, and applying for a second mortgage to pay for the thing. Thankfully, times have changed, and adding a warm fireplace to your living room has never been easier. If your home is already stubbed out for gas, this proposition becomes a slam dunk, and there are a variety of ways your can finish the feature out - whether it be with brick, stone, or blackened steel.
If you don’t have a gas hook-up, there is a growing list of butane fireplace options that don’t require a natural gas hardline or any exterior venting. These products can be a bit more expensive, but eliminate much of the fuss that can come with more traditional gas fireplaces. Oh, and you’ll have to figure out a creative way to hide the butane tank. Get crafty!
4 | Make a Space For a Home Office
These days, “living the dream” can be literally translated to “work from home.” There’s nothing more appealing than the prospect of answering emails and staring at spreadsheets from the comfort of your pajamas and the smell of freshly baked apple pie to occupy your senses. But if you’re going to make this leap, you’re going to want a quiet, organized, professional feeling office space in your home in order to work efficiently and diligently.
A home work environment should feel like a commercial office space. It should be able to remove your - at least in some capacity - from the hominess of the rest of your space. To do this, you should look into sourcing some commercial grade hardwood floors, plenty of natural light (and ideally a view), and a desk that makes you feel like some work is about to get done. Be deliberate about every piece of furniture, and if you are creating this space by adding new walls, be sure to consider how you will be using your home office so you get things perfect the first time. You might even consider talking to an architect to make best use of your existing space.
5 | Rear Deck or Patio
The backyard is the homeowner’s best friend. Host to BBQs, hot tubs, and the occasional game of hot potato, a backyard is nothing without a proper place to flip burgers and kick up your loafers. Before you dive those loafers into the deep end, however, you might want to consider how the topography of your yard might determine going with a deck vs a patio. If your yard is sloping away from the house, a deck is going to be your best option. For flat yards, or yards that slope towards the home, a patio is the way to go.
Not sure? Ask someone! These can sometimes be large, technical tasks, so getting some help from someone who’s done it before will make your life easier, and get you one step closer to sipping margaritas under your brand new veranda.
Remodel Your House This 2017
Whatever direction you decide to take your next home improvement adventure, just be sure to do the research and plan ahead. Winging it isn’t really an option when it comes to remodeling your home, so be smart, talk to a professional, and have fun!