Keeping Kitchen Renovation Cost in Check

kitchen remodelIf you’ve done your homework, you’re well aware that kitchen renovation cost is considerable. Although it will never be cheap, it’s possible to keep your kitchen renovation budget in check by planning your kitchen remodel wisely.

Don’t Compromise Quality

Before we begin discussing the right way to keep kitchen renovation cost in check, we should emphasize that it’s never a good idea to skimp on quality. In the end, low-quality construction will come back to haunt you. Because you will ultimately have to replace shoddy work and perhaps repair any resultant damage, shoddy construction is often more expensive than doing the job right the first time around.

That being said, the below guidelines will help you keep your kitchen renovation budget on track without compromising the quality of your new kitchen.

Increase Efficiency, Not Size

Today’s kitchens are ever expanding in size and function, and increasing your kitchen’s size may be desirable, especially in older homes with smaller kitchens. However, expanding your kitchen by only 200 square feet can cost up to $48,000. Increasing space efficiency through well-placed storage and making the most of wall space can increase your kitchen’s functionality while avoiding costly expansions.

Refurbish and Refinish

Cabinetry, countertops and flooring are some of the most costly aspects of kitchen remodeling. If these elements are in good enough shape to be refinished rather than replaced, doing so will cut back your kitchen renovation cost significantly.

Use In-Stock Fixtures

Special-order fixtures and plumbing cost significantly more than in-stock materials. If possible, use items that are already in stock for your kitchen renovation; they’re just as good as custom-ordered and are much more cost-efficient.

Be Realistic with Features and Amenities

Today’s gourmet kitchens are chock-full of features, luxuries and amenities. Although these amenities are convenient, they rack up kitchen renovation costs, and aren’t necessarily required in most cases. Consider your priorities for your new kitchen, and if you won’t get much use out of a potential feature, you may want to consider doing without it.

Over to YouHave you recently renovated your kitchen? If so, we’d like to hear all about your own budget-friendly kitchen remodeling ideas. Tell us all about it in the comment section.

Summer Finished Basement Tips

Summer is upon us, which is a much-welcomed change. However, there are some special considerations for your finished basement in the summer months. These tips will help you to get the most out of your finished basement, and to ensure that it stays in the best possible shape.

 Prevent Basement Moisture

 With snow-melt and spring rains, the soil will become saturated, and basement moisture can become problematic. Make sure that your property has adequate drainage, and check for leaks in your basement.   If your basement ahs any features that are subject to water damage, such as carpeted floors, now might be the time to upgrade to something that’s more moisture-resistant.

Condensation, which appears as beads of water on the walls or as wet spots on the floor, is another source of summer basement moisture.   “Sweating” pipes, warming temperatures and inadequate ventilation can cause basement condensation, and you may need the help of a professional to identify and rectify basement condensation.

Protect against Humidity

The summer months are more humid than the spring or fall, and excess humidity is the number one factor for Toronto basement mold. Monitor your basement’s humidity regularly, and install a dehumidifier if appropriate. Additionally, make sure that you’ve taken general precautions to prevent basement mold.

Finished Basement Cooling

Although your basement may stay cooler than other parts of your home, you may need to cool it in the hottest summer days, particularly for a walk-out basement. A window air conditioner is likely sufficient in most cases, although a forced air system is another potential option for basement cooling.

Are you the proud owner of a finished basement? If so, how are you preparing to enjoy your basement the most this summer season? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment in the comments section below!

Bathroom Design Styles

bathroom renovation torontoIf you’re in the planning stages of a bathroom renovation, your first task is to sift through the many available bathroom design styles and find a style that fits your personal taste and practical needs, and complements your home’s décor.  The sheer number of bathroom renovation ideas can be overwhelming, but rest assured that the perfect bathroom renovation design is out there.

Modern Bathroom Style

Modern or contemporary bathrooms incorporate mid-century modern design elements, and often feature contrasting color schemes and textures for an up-to-date feel.  Angular curves integrated with flowing corners cultivate an edgy, modern ambiance.

Eclectic Bathroom Design

Eclectic bathroom styles are very popular, and keep things interesting by smoothly combining seemingly incongruent elements for a unique, playful design.  This is a great way to incorporate your own personal style into your bathroom design.

Rustic Bathroom Design

Country-style bathrooms bring the outside in with design elements such as unfinished wood or plants along with traditional fixtures such as claw-foot tubs or porcelain pedestal sinks.  The homey, comfortable style of a rustic bathroom creates a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for unwinding after a long day.

Retro Bathrooms

Retro bathrooms incorporate a twist of funky flair for a unique look that’s all your own.  Many retro bathrooms incorporate a color and design scheme from a certain era, although some smoothly incorporate a range of pieces into a unique, eclectic look.

Euro Bathrooms

Euro-style bathrooms are quite popular, and incorporate a softer, more quirky design.  Modern fixtures are integrated with soft colors such as pinks, yellows or muted neutral tones.  Some homeowners even opt to include a bidet if space and budget allow.

When choosing bathroom design styles, be true to yourself and pick a style that suits you.  Do make sure, however, that your design scheme integrates well with your home’s existing décor to prevent a dissonance between your new powder room and the rest of your home.  If you’re currently planning your own bathroom renovation, we’d love to hear your own style selection and the factors that influenced it.  Tell us all about it by leaving us a comment.

 

Seven Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates

kitchen remodelIf your kitchen needs to be updated but kitchen renovation cost just doesn’t fit in your budget, it’s possible to freshen things up a bit without breaking the bank.  These budget-friendly kitchen updates will reinvent your space for less.

Cozy it up

A bright or patterned rug will instantly give your kitchen a pop of color while also adding warmth.  Position your rug in an area where you spend a lot of time on your feet such as next to the stove, sink or refrigerator.

Freshen Your Color Scheme

A fresh coat of paint can liven things up, or improve the looks of cabinetry that’s seen better days. Try an accent wall for added color if things are a bit drab.  Just be sure to mask your baseboards off properly and put a drop cloth down to avoid stray drips of paint.

Add Some Wall Art

Wall art adds color and personality to your space.  If you’re on a budget, try picking up some art at an estate or garage sale in your neighborhood.  If you’re patient, you can find original works of art for a fraction of the cost.

Upgrade Lighting

Many kitchens look dingy because they’re insufficiently lit.  Upgrade your lighting either by installing additional fixtures or replacing old fixtures with something a little more current.

Replace Cabinet Hardware

Replacing outdated cabinet hardware can make a surprising difference in your kitchen’s overall appearance.  If you’re on a tight budget, try picking up some discount hardware on eBay.  Just be sure not to compromise quality.

Install a Tile Backsplash

A tiled backsplash adds color and personality to your kitchen, and can be installed over a weekend by handy homeowners.  Try using smaller tiles so that you don’t need to use a tile saw, which is one of the more difficult and time-consuming aspects of tiling.

Treat Your Windows

Window treatments liven things up inexpensively, and also conserve energy by preventing heat loss through bare windows.  Try curtains that fit your kitchen’s décor, or perhaps mini blinds.

Are you currently updating your kitchen on a budget?  Tell us all about your own budget-friendly kitchen updates by leaving a coment.

 

Eight Unique Bathroom Remodel Ideas

bathroom remodeling torontoYour bathroom remodel is not only a chance to update your bathroom and make it more functional; it’s also a chance to add a taste of your own personal style.  These bathroom remodel ideas are off the beaten path, and can help make your bathroom uniquely you.

Life in Black and White

Black and white is a classically elegant yet bold color scheme.  Carry this into the bathroom with black walls, white doors and a few pops of color to keep things lively.  Just make sure that your bathroom is well lit, so that it doesn’t become dreary.

Maintain a Theme

Themed bathrooms add a bit of fun accent to your house.  Try an oriental theme or perhaps a teched-out loo for the technologically advanced among us.

Wall-Mounted Sinks

Wall-hung sinks are secured to the wall with no cabinets or visible plumbing below.  This creates and ultra-modern, sleek feel and also conserves space in smaller bathrooms.

Get Creative with Lighting

Bathroom lighting is typically pretty standard stuff, but a creative flair can add some personality.  Consider using a chandelier over the tub or perhaps pendant lighting over the sink.

Add Some Greenery

If you have the room, adding a few plants can freshen up your bathroom’s looks.  Consider species that do well in humid environments such as African violets, Christmas cactus or even bamboo.

Re-purpose Old Furniture

This is both a creative and an economical bathroom remodel idea.  Try using old furniture pieces, say an antique dresser, as storage space or even as vanities.  This adds a unique bit of personality on a budget.

Go Bold with Picture Windows

Bathrooms typically have small or frosted windows for the sake of privacy.  However, picture windows can provide an open-air feeling without compromising privacy if used in the right setting.  Only consider this option if your bathroom opens to a privacy-fenced backyard, and consider planting a thick hedge, for example bamboo, a few feet away from the window.

Add Color to Your Shower

Bold colors throughout a room can become somewhat overwhelming, but an intense pop of color here and there can add texture and personality without being too loud.  Consider boldly colored tile in the shower or tub area for a bit of extra style.

Are you currently renovating your bathroom, or planning to do so in the near future?  If so, we’d love your feedback.  What unique bathroom remodel ideas have you incorporated in your own bathroom renovation?  Tell us all about it by leaving a comment.

Bathroom Renovation for Resale

bathroom renovation torontoBathroom renovation is a big investment, and one of the most important questions to ask yourself as a homeowner is whether the investment is worth it to you, and how much of your bathroom renovation cost you’ll recoup when the time comes to sell your home.

There’s no easy answer to this question, as a lot of this depends upon the age of your home and how recently your bathroom has previously been renovated, although the average value added to your home is 60-70% of the original bathroom remodeling cost.  However, if you’re renovating with resale specifically in mind, it may be best to emphasize certain features, as buyers are likely to value some updates more than others.  Here are some of the amenities that are most likely to add long-term value to your home.

Storage Space

Bathrooms are relatively small spaces, but are called upon for a host of purposes.  It’s therefore practical to have ample and well-designed storage space.  Upgrading cabinetry to increase storage space or make it more efficient will pay off long-term.

Lighting

Upgrading your lighting is relatively inexpensive, but makes a big difference in your bathroom’s overall appearance.  Overhead lighting tends to cast shadows so isn’t the most effective option for bathrooms, so install ample wall-mounted lighting, especially around mirrors.  This is both practical and makes your bathroom appear roomier.

Energy-Efficient Water Supply

An updated hot water heater will make sure that you have ample water for your new shower and tub, and is also an amenity that buyers will value.  Consider a tankless hot water heater, which is more energy efficient and will also supply as much hot water as is needed, on-demand.

Soaking-Depth Tub

Whether you opt for a whirlpool tub or a simple soaking tub, a tub deep enough for a good bubble bath is a major amenity that will catch the eye of potential buyers.  Who doesn’t love a good hot bath after a long day? If you have a small water heater tank you might run into shortage of hot water for your bath. In this case you might consider a tankless water heater by Consumers Comfort Inc. They specialize in all types of water heaters.

Neutral Design Scheme

Even if chartreuse is your favorite color and seeing it on your walls would make your day, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter a buyer who feels the same way.  If you’re looking to sell in the near future, try to pick more neutral colors that will appeal to a wide variety of tastes.

If you’re currently remodeling your bathroom or are on the market for a new home, we’d love to hear your own input.  What bathroom renovation ideas are most important to you as investments?   Leave us your thoughts in the comment section.

Reigning in Your Basement Renovation Budget

Basement renovation Once you’ve planned out your dream finished basement, the price tag can be staggering.  Although cutting corners in construction to save money is a sure bet for problems down the road, reassessing your priorities can keep your basement renovation budget reasonable while still maintaining a high-quality basement remodel that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

In the end, the most important amenities will depend upon your intended use for your basement.  However, because some features are more costly than others, it’s advisable to think long and hard about which amenities you’ll get the most use from.

Basement Bars

If you’re a hardcore entertainer and regularly throw large get-togethers, a fabulous full basement bar may be just what you need.  However, if you only have guests occasionally, consider toning down your bar a bit.

The sink is the most costly component of a full bar, so if you don’t anticipate frequent use, you can cut costs by simply installing cabinets and a fridge.  This setup still allows you to serve drinks, but doesn’t require plumbing work.

Guest Bedrooms

A guest bedroom is frequently something you’ll only use a few times a year, such as for holidays or other special occasions.  If you don’t plan on having overnight guests all that often, a basement guest bedroom may not be for you.  However, if you frequently have guests or plan to expand your family, an additional bedroom may be just what you need.

Separate Rooms

The expense of doors, studs and drywall needed to create separate rooms quickly adds up.  Having one large space is much cheaper, so unless you have a specific need to close certain areas off, this is a feature you might be able to do without.

Downsizing

Many basements span the entire floor plan of the home, and are thus very large spaces.  It’s therefore entirely possible that you won’t need all of the space in your finished basement; just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it.  Downsizing your plan will cut your budget, and you won’t enjoy your new space any less.

Purchasing Standard Sizes

Buying prefabricated, standard-sized cabinets and countertops avoids the extra cost of custom work.  If it’s possible to use standard sizes for these features, be sure to do so.

Are you currently undertaking your own basement finishing project?  If so, what factors influenced your final budget, and what are your own suggestions about reigning in your basement renovation budget?  Leave us your thoughts in the comment 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.

 

Kitchen Space Savers

kitchen flooringOne of the major issues with kitchen renovation Toronto homeowners face is limited kitchen size.  Kitchens are required to support a multitude of tasks, and the available workspace in a compact kitchen is frequently insufficient.  Incorporate these kitchen space savers into your kitchen remodel to make the most of your space for a kitchen that is both attractive and functional.

Work Your Wall Space

If you’re working with a compact kitchen, it’s important to use your available wall space wisely.  Hooks and racks provide extra storage without compromising valuable floor or counter space.

Knife blocks suck up a lot of space on countertops, so consider installing a magnetic wall mounted knife rack above your workspace.  Just be sure to install the rack in a place that children will be unable to reach.  You can also store other goods, such as pots, pans and utensils on hooks or racks.

Rethink Your Faucet

If you have a smaller sink, and articulated faucet can be an excellent kitchen space saver.  Articulated faucets can be folded out of the way until they’re needed, so increase your available space.  If an articulated faucet isn’t for you, select a faucet that is taller than it is deep, and in which the knobs and sprayer incorporated into the main console.  Some faucets can be wall-mounted, which saves even more space.

Make the Most of Corners

Corner space is often underused, as corner drawers and cabinets can be difficult to access.  To get better use out of your corners, install a lazy susan.  You can also install specially designed corner stack drawers.

Downsize Appliances

If you generally have a light cooking load, downsizing your appliances can free up a lot of storage and countertop space.  If you don’t often cook for a crowd, a smaller stove, oven or dishwasher may meet your needs without sucking up space.  Also be sure to install a built-in microwave, as a freestanding microwave takes up a lot of counter space.

Reconsider Trendy Extras

Today’s kitchen renovation market offers a lot of extra features that are both practical and attractive, such as pot filling faucets, kitchen islands and appliance garages.  However, if your kitchen space is limited, install these sorts of luxury features sparingly and after careful consideration.  An experienced kitchen renovation contractor can help you identify which features will truly add value to your kitchen, and install them strategically such that they take up minimal space.

If you’re currently involved in a compact kitchen remodel of your own, we’d love to hear your own kitchen space savers.  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Basement Lighting

basement remodelingBasement lighting is an important aspect of any basement remodel.  You’ll want to install adequate, even lighting that lights the entire basement effectively.  There are some special considerations for basement lighting, so you’ll want to choose your lighting carefully.

Special Considerations for Basement Lighting

Your basement is unique from most other rooms in your house in that it has no windows, but is also a fairy large space.  Therefore, you’ll want lighting that is bright and also distributed throughout the space. Additionally, most basements have a relatively low ceiling, so you’ll want to install lighting that doesn’t take up too much vertical space.  For example, pendant lighting may not be the best option for basement lighting.

Can Lighting

Can lighting consists of a round fixture, or can, that is installed above the drywall of the ceiling, meaning that the trim of the fixture is flush with the ceiling.  The bulb is then placed within the can. There are many trim options for can lighting, meaning that it can be customized to your finished basement’s décor.  Can lighting can be installed on both sides of the basement spanning the length of the wall such that the entire basement is evenly lit.

Track Lighting

For the track lighting method, light fixtures are attached on a continuous track that contains electoral conductors.  This is unique from other forms of lighting, which rout to individual light fixtures. Track lighting has several benefits in that it is easy to install, effective and versatile.  Light fixtures can be evenly dispersed throughout the track, or instead focused in particular areas.  Track lighting is an excellent choice for larger spaces that require ample lighting, so it is an ideal choice for finished basements.

Safety First

Any kind of electrical work, including lighting installation, can be very hazardous if done improperly.  Serious or even fatal injury can occur during installation, and an improper install poses a fire hazard.  Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional if you’re inexperienced in electrical work and always make sure that contractor’s work get inspected by ESA inspector. This little step that most contractors try to skip will save a lot of trouble down the road.  Fortunately for basement finishing Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available. Are you currently undertaking your own basement finishing project?  If so, we’d love to hear about which type of lighting you selected.  Give us your own thoughts on basement lighting in the comments section.