Best of Kitchen Renovation Trends 2013

Kitchen RenovationKitchen renovations are some of the most popular home improvements, and for good reason.  A full kitchen renovation creates a great space in both form and function.  The kitchen remodeling market is ever-evolving, with new kitchen renovation trends surfacing all the time.  Here are some of this year’s most popular kitchen remodeling ideas.

Stainless Steel

Up to 63% of new kitchen remodels now include stainless steel elements in the sink, stovetop, appliances and even countertops.  Stainless steel has long been a fixture in industrial kitchens, and is both attractive and functional.

Chef’s Stoves

High-end stoves are a must have for many of today’s homeowners.  Many chefs prefer gas ranges, as they provide quick, even heating.  If you’re looking to go ultra-modern, consider an induction range.  Induction ranges use a magnetic field to directly heat your pots and pans rather than simply heating the area underneath like conventional gas and electric stoves.  This allows not only for ultrafast heating, but also leaves the range cool to the touch once pans are removed, preventing burn hazards.

Let in the Light

Today’s kitchens typically have many more windows than in the past.  Efficiently designed storage space frees up more wall space for windows, allowing a more open, brighter kitchen.  If your kitchen opens directly to the outdoors, you can also opt to install glass doors to let in some light without making major renovations.

Think Green

Environmentally friendly materials have surfaced on the home renovation market, including in kitchen remodeling.  Greener options for flooring, paint, cabinetry and countertops are increasingly popular, as are more eco-friendly appliances.

Glass Backsplashes

In the past, tile backsplashes have been the norm, but glass backsplashes are now increasingly popular.  Art glass backsplashes are an excellent way to add some color and personality to your kitchen, making it a style all your own.  Glass is also easier to clean than tile, and doesn’t need to be re-grouted.

Over to You

Have you remodeled your kitchen in 2013?  If so, we’d love to hear what features you included in your kitchen remodel, and your own take on current kitchen renovation trends.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Kitchen Cabinets: Refinish, Reface or Replace?

kitchen remodelKitchen cabinets are one of the big-ticket items for kitchen renovation, but updated kitchen cabinets can go a long way towards freshening up your kitchen’s décor.  However, if your kitchen cabinets are in reasonably good shape, it’s possible to refurbish pre-existing work to freshen up your look without breaking the bank.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets and replacing hardware is relatively easy and inexpensive.  However, before you start picking out colors, be sure that your cabinets are paintable.  Solid wood, wood veneer and metal cabinets handle paint well, but laminate and melamine cabinets aren’t paintable, and refinishing these two types is best left to a professional.  Luckily for kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available for small and large jobs alike.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re looking to do something a little more than skin deep, you can also reface kitchen cabinets.  Kitchen cabinet refacing involves either installation of a thin veneer over existing cabinet doors or alternatively replacing doors but leaving the cabinets intact.  This is a little pricier than refinishing, but may be ideal if your doors are dinged up or if you’re looking to update the woodwork itself.  Just make sure that the underlying cabinets are in good repair and that you’re satisfied with the layout before your invest in refacing kitchen cabinets.

Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are in rough shape or if you’d like to change the layout of your kitchen, replacing your kitchen cabinets may be the way to go.  Stock or modular cabinets will be cheaper than custom cabinets, although some homeowners prefer custom cabinets that are tailored to their needs and to the home’s décor. Whatever your choice, be sure to purchase cabinets made of high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.

Updating your kitchen cabinets will be a huge improvement to your kitchen’s décor, and you’ll be glad you’ve done it.  The extent of the job is up to you as a homeowner; consider your budget, personal preferences and the condition of your existing kitchen cabinetry before moving forward.  Also don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional in both the planning and construction phases of your project.

 

Best of Bathroom Renovation Trends in 2013

bathroom remodeling torontoAny savvy real estate agent will tell you that bathrooms are big business on the housing market these days.  In the past bathrooms weren’t much bigger than a walk-in closet and were limited primarily to the fundamentals.  It seems that bathrooms in new homes are bigger each year, and for good reason.  The bathroom remodeling market is ever expanding with new concepts, and today’s bathroom is packed with amenities.  Here are some of the year’s top trends.

Ditching the Jacuzzi

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, a hot tub-style Jacuzzi was the picture of modern luxury, and was a must-have for many homeowners.  Jacuzzis still do look nice and can even be nice to use, but if you’ve ever used one, you’re familiar with the not-so-luxurious noise.  Many homeowners are replacing noisy Jacuzzi tubs with quiet, energy-efficient soaking tubs.

His and Hers

Double sinks have long been a staple for couples, but recent bathroom renovation trends have taken the concept of his and hers to a whole new level.  Many couples with the square footage and budget are opting to have both a common two-person soaking tub and separate showers and vanities tailored to gender-specific tastes and needs.

Multimedia

We are living in the digital age, and our powder rooms are no exception.  Many homeowners are installing full entertainment systems in their bathrooms, including TVs, stereos and even gaming systems.  Some prefer to angle TVs so that they can be viewed from the tub, or to go ultra-modern and install flat panel TVs behind mirrors.  Either way a teched-out bathroom is a sure ticket to luxurious relaxation at the end of a long day.

All Steamed Up

Steam showers are perfect for Toronto’s cold climate, and are one of the more popular current bathroom renovation trends.  Imagine coming in from a bitterly cold winter day, summoning up a haven of tropical moisture with a touch of a button in your shower, and sitting down on a bench to enjoy. Finish off with a refreshing rinse, and you’ll step out feeling like you’ve spent a costly hour in a spa all from the comfort of your own home.  Steam showers can be retrofitted to your existing shower, and use very little water.  Sounds like a deal!

Consult with a reputable bathroom remodeling contractor to begin planning your luxury bathroom upgrade.  You’ll be well on your way to an ultramodern, luxurious space that you’ll enjoy with your family for years to come, and your home will stand out from the rest when the time comes to sell.

Winterizing Finished Basements

winterWinter is now upon us, and brings with it increased energy usage and potential damages to your home.  Many homeowners overlook the basement when they winterize their homes, but this is an important aspect for many reasons, particularly in finished basements used as living space.  These tips for winterizing finished basements will help you increase your energy efficiency and avoid damages to your home.

Why Your Basement is Cold

Although your cooler basement may be a good thing in the summer months, it becomes a nuisance in the winter.   Basements are surrounded by the ground on at least three sides, meaning that the cold from the frozen ground is transmitted to the basement itself.  Hot air also rises, so your basement, as the lowest point in your home is naturally colder.  Further, most basements aren’t insulated, only compounding these problems.

A cold basement increases your energy bills and risks damages resulting from frozen pipes that burst.  Winterizing finished basements is particularly important, both because the basement is used is a living space and because water damage resulting from a burst pipe is more costly to repair.

How a Cold Basement Increases Your Energy Bill

The basement frequently houses some or all of a home’s utilities including the furnace, HVAC system, water heater, hot water pops, ducts and others.  These utilities use energy to make heat, and if they’re in a cold environment, they need more energy to do so.  This means that every utility housed in your basement is more costly to operate in a cold basement.

A cold basement also results in a cold floor and chilly conditions upstairs, meaning that you will raise the temperature in your home and subsequently increase your energy expenditures even further.

Addressing Energy Loss

Windows are a key source of heat loss in basements.  Replacing windows, especially if they’re north-facing, with energy-efficient windows can make a world of difference.  It’s an up-front investment, but it will save a substantial amount of money on your energy bills and increase your enjoyment of your finished basement in the long run.

Insulating your basement walls is also very helpful, although improper insulation can accumulate moisture and do more harm than good.  Check out our article on basement insulation for more information.

Winterizing Your Pipes

Freezing pipes are particularly problematic in Toronto finished basements due to our cold climate.  It’s thus very important to winterize your pipes to prevent the catastrophic water damage resulting from a burst pipe.

Simply increasing the ambient temperature in your basement through improved insulation and windows will go a long way towards preventing pipe breakage.  You can also insulate pipes with polyetheyleine or fiberbglass tubes to protect them.  On particularly cold nights, it’s also advisable to keep faucets adjacent to external walls dripping.

Taking some extra time for winterizing finished basements can cut your energy bill back dramatically and even prevent damages resulting from frozen pipes.  If you feel out of your element, your basement finishing contractor can also help to make your basement more energy efficient.

Over to You

We’d love to hear your own insights on winterizing basements.  Please leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Is a Finished Basement for You?

services_basementsFinished basements dramatically increase your home’s usable square footage, and provide an excellent recreation space that you will enjoy with your family for years to come.  A finished basement is also a major selling point, and will increase your home’s value and appeal to potential buyers.

However, basement finishing is a big job, and isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.  Prior to moving forward, consider the benefits, and identify whether they are worth the time, effort and expense.

Benefits of Basement Finishing

 If you’re working with limited square footage, as many Toronto homeowners are, a finished basement is an excellent way to increase your livable space, and is also cheaper than moving or adding on to your house.  Basement finishing runs from about $30 to $55 per square foot, while moving or additions can cost $150 to $200 per square foot.

A fully finished basement provides an excellent recreational space, and is also great for entertaining.  Further, a finished basement increases your home’s value, and makes your home markedly easier to sell when the time comes.

Basement Finishing Cost

Any reputable contractor will tell you that basement finishing is costly.  You can generally expect a finished basement to cost from 10-20% of your home’s total value depending upon the basement size and extent of the remodel.  Any contractor that quotes much less than this amount is likely cutting corners and using subpar materials, so be leery of the lowest bidder.

Consider your personal finances, and also how long you anticipate staying in your current residence.  If you’re not in a great place financially or are planning to move in the near future, it may be best to hold off for a while.  You want to make sure that you’ll be able to enjoy your finished basement for a good long while, and to do so without going bankrupt.

Marketing Matters

Chances are that you will move eventually, and you should always consider the effects that any major renovation will have upon your home’s value and appeal to buyers.  The two main points to consider here are quality and usability.

A well-finished basement makes your home stand out from the rest, and is a huge selling point.  However, visibly shoddy work may be unappealing, as the buyer will be concerned about potential repair costs.  Additionally, be aware that specialty finished basements, such as a photography dark room or microbrewery, for example, may not have a broad appeal to potential buyers.

Over to You

If you’re the proud owner of a finished basement or are currently considering a basement renovation, we’d love to hear your own thoughts on the subject.  Tell us what pros and cons influenced your decision and offer up your own advice by leaving a comment.