Tag Archives: Quality Over Quantity

The Wrong House

Turn that Fixer Upper into Your Dream Home.

You’re ready to make the move. You’ve landed on a budget and researched what you could buy or build for that price point, but the available home inventory is low or lacking those turnkey, ready-to-move-in homes.

Where do you go from here? Do you decide to build? Building is definitely an option, but there can be some trade-offs.

It may be time to consider the “fixer upper.”  What do we mean by “fixer upper?”  It’s the wrong house in the right place at the right price. It’s in an established neighborhood, a desirable location with good schools and tree-lined streets, but it doesn’t quite fit the bill. Perhaps, the previous homeowners have lived there for years. They’re comfortable and think it works, but the home needs updating (sometimes major updating) and a more functional layout.

Maybe choosing that home that’s under your means***, that’s in the right place, but needs some love seems overwhelming. But it can be a fun challenge, and the perfect opportunity to have everything you ever wanted in a home.  Let’s look at the “perks” of choosing a fixer upper.

Location, Location, Location

We all know that location is often king! It’s important to be near parks, shopping, restaurants, and good schools. Beyond your must-have location list, the fixer upper is usually in an established neighborhood, which means mature trees, landscaping, and other amenities.

Not-So-Cookie-Cutter

It may seem appealing to purchase or build a new home (perhaps, it’s the easier option – the work has already been done for you), but customization and character are definitely limited. Think about driving into a new subdivision with freshly built homes.  They’re lovely, but you may notice something – they’re all essentially the same.  Sure, they may have varying color schemes or different window configurations, but they truly lack charm and a unique “personality.”

Remodeling the fixer upper will ensure you don’t end up in that cookie cutter home.  Older homes often have hard-to-replicate architectural details and other charming features.  Plus, once you begin the remodeling process, you’ll realize there is a lot of opportunity to be creative and tailor your home to your preferences (sometimes to an overwhelming extent, which is why hiring professionals to guide you is the best approach).

Quality Over Quantity

Renovating a fixer upper can often cost as much as a building a new home, but there’s an important difference.  In a new home, you’re putting your money towards quantity items – moldings, windows, doors, hardware, flooring, cabinetry, appliances, HVAC systems, plumbing fixtures, landscaping, a driveway.  A new home needs everything!  Remodeling gives homeowners more flexibility to put their money towards quality materials and high-end finishes because there are existing details that can be saved, repurposed, or remain completely untouched.

Now, let’s look at this idea in action. Here is an example of our clients’ fixer upper that was transformed into their dream home!

Check out more photos of this project on Houzz!

***For example, you may have a $450,000 budget for a home, and you decide to purchase a $300,000 home, leaving $150,000 for renovations and an opportunity to truly customize the home to your needs and preferences.

Simple.

Simplicity.  It’s something we hear in reference to many aspects of our lives.  But what does it mean for home design?  First, let’s discuss what it does not mean.  A common misconception is that simplicity is synonymous to boring, modern, cold, plain, or sterile.  Simplicity should not be confused with these descriptors.  So what does it mean?  Simplicity is timeless and unfussy.  It is effortless.  It puts emphasis on quality materials, functionality, and efficiency rather than ornate details and expansive floor plans.  How does one achieve simplicity?  Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource explores the “how” in this article.

Subtle InterestHartford Sunroom Addition

Although order and repetition can be used to achieve simplicity, there are many opportunities to add detail and character to a simple space.  Include “imperfect,” yet soft, elements such as distressed woodwork or hand-hewn beams.  Consider a monochromatic color scheme.  Create contrast with a mix of old and new items.  Add texture or pattern to your home.  Reclaimed materials, hand-scraped floors, honed countertops, a herringbone backsplash or floor, tin ceilings, brick – the options are endless to add charm and showcase your style in an understated manner.

Wauwatosa Master Bath RemodelNeutral and Natural

Cool neutrals, soothing earth tones, natural textures – simplicity is warm and adaptable to changing styles and trends.  Many homeowners opt for tone-on-tone grays, beiges, and off-whites.  For an organic feel, weathered wood, natural stone, and various metals are just a few ideas.  These elements can add a calmness to your space.

Restraint

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

-William Morris

This quote is a great example of simplicity.  For a simple, uncluttered space, homeowners need to learn how to “edit.”  They must choose what’s important to include and what is not necessary.  This is the “less is more” or “quality over quantity” idea we’ve discussed in the past.  Instead of a huge, open floor plan or elaborate design details, opt for efficient space planning and quiet elements.

ConnectionWauwatosa Sunroom Remodel

Simplicity and less “stuff” can connect you more to your surroundings by emphasizing natural light and showcasing views of your home’s backdrop.  It also focuses on establishing a better flow and seamless transition between the indoors and outdoors such as a sunroom with a patio door or accordion glass door that creates easy access to an outdoor entertaining space.

Quality over Quantity

Homeowners focus on the details rather than square footage.

As you look around your home, you may be thinking about the wish list you have for it – better storage, an updated kitchen, more usable space. Is the logical solution to make the move to a bigger home? Or should you consider an addition? Although these are both plausible answers, you don’t necessarily need more square footage to satisfy your list.

More and more homeowners are making the decision to update and upgrade their homes within the original footprint, focusing on better space planning and special details.

Smarter Space Planning

Unused Spaces

You need more space, but how can you find it without expanding? It’s important to evaluate how you live in your home. Are there areas you rarely or never use? Perhaps, it’s time to ditch those rooms and use the additional space in places, such as the kitchen, where you spend more time. For instance, many homeowners are getting rid of formal dining and living rooms to allow them to enlarge more functional areas of the home.

Open Concepts

People are also eliminating walls, doors, and other barriers to create open floor plans for a better flow between rooms. With proper space planning, an open floor plan can make the area feel larger and perform more efficiently.

Ample Storage

There are many creative storage opportunities to keep rooms organized and make them functional for you. Don’t waste any space. Make use of vertical space, incorporating cabinetry that extends to the ceiling. Consider systems, such as Rev-A-Shelf, that offer pullouts, racks, lazy susans, and other accessories to make use of dead corners. There are often pockets of space in areas – under the stairs, on empty walls, in an island – where you can seamlessly (and without taking up space) fit in storage.

Family FoyersWauwatosa Mudroom Remodel

Family foyers, or mudrooms, are a practical use of space and could possibly be the hardest working room in your home. It’s a great area to stash all the necessities for getting out the door in one convenient place. Many homeowners incorporate lockers into this area, assigning one to each family member to store coats, shoes, and backpacks. It can also include a “drop zone,” bench, additional storage, or laundry space. The possibilities to make the area efficient for your family’s needs are endless.

Personalization

Without the cost of extra square feet, homeowners have the opportunity to invest in quality products and finishes for their home. This allows you to not only personalize your spaces, so they aren’t “cookie cutter,” but also enjoy luxury items.

What are examples of products and materials people are investing in? Check out this brief list (the possibilities are endless).

In the Kitchen

High-End Appliances

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, high-end or specialty appliances may be a great investment. Examples include stainless steel appliances, double ovens, warming drawers, large cooktops with griddles or grills, induction cooktops, steam ovens, and beverage refrigerators or drawers.

Beverage StationsHartland Wet Bar

We are seeing more people include beverage stations in their kitchen or family room. Wet bars are popular for entertaining, often featuring a sink, beverage refrigerator, and extra storage for glasses. Built-in coffee units are also becoming commonplace. The Miele Coffee System, for instance, is a built-in unit with a water reservoir or plumbed-in option. Now, homeowners can enjoy coffee, espresso, and cappuccino right at home.

Hot Water Dispensers

How often do you use hot water? Do you make hot beverages? Or enjoy oatmeal at breakfast? Do you cook pasta al dente? Or need to soak dirty pots and pans? Hot water dispensers allow you to do things like this instantly, saving time and offering convenience.

Custom, Furniture-Style Cabinetry

Sculpted toe kicks, corbels, faux finishes, crown molding – furniture-style cabinetry adds a personal, luxurious touch to your home. Custom cabinetmakers are also offering more “gadgets and gizmos” to make homeowners’ lives easier and more organized, including soft close hinges and drawer glides, tray dividers, roll outs, and spice racks.

Colgate Kitchen with custom cabinetry and granite countertopsCountertops

There are numerous kitchen countertop materials available. Soapstone, granite, marble, quartz, high-definition laminate, and concrete are just a few durable examples. Each has its own “personality.” For instance, granite and soapstone create a natural look while marble offers a classic feel. Your countertop is just another way to add character and introduce quality materials to your space.

In the Bathroom

Thermostatic Shower

A shower that features a series of shower heads and sprays, such as a rain head and hand spray, allows homeowners to feel pampered during shower time. A luxury shower can also include a thermostatic control valve, allowing the user to turn on all shower heads at the same or different times and regulate the temperature.

Around the House

Custom Millwork

Incorporating custom millwork – wainscoting, crown molding, arches, base boards, corbels – throughout your home creates an upscale look and adds architectural interest to an ordinary room.

Wauwatosa Foyer FloorQuality Flooring

It’s important to invest in quality, durable flooring. From custom hand-scraped floors to porcelain and ceramic tiles, there are many options for kitchens, family rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and other spaces. The floor is also a great place to have fun and display your personality. For instance, we used custom wood staining in a home to blend two hardwood floor colors in a foyer, creating a checkerboard pattern.

Home Automation

Many homeowners are turning to home automation for better efficiency and safety. Whole house automation is a central system that connects and communicates with appliances and systems in your home. It allows homeowners to instantly control their lighting, thermostat, entertainment unit, security system, and other objects. It’s just another opportunity to tailor your home to your lifestyle needs.