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Trends in Remodeling in Greater Des Moines

by Judi Russell - September 3rd, 2014
Posted in: Remodeling

By and large, contractors say, people in the Des Moines area tend to like their homes and their neighborhoods, especially if their children have friends nearby. So when their houses become dated or just don’t work well for them anymore, homeowners often opt for remodeling rather than moving.

Remodeling can make a tired house look fresh and new. But the benefits don’t end with a livelier appearance, local builders say. With the right planning, a remodeling project can make your house more comfortable, efficient and functional as well.

Kitchens draw the lion’s share of attention, says Carrie Norris, co-owner of Grand Homes and Renovations in Altoona. The first step may be figuring out how to open up the kitchen as much as possible, perhaps by removing walls to make one large cooking, dining and entertaining room.

“People no longer want to stand in the kitchen by themselves,” Norris says.

Adding an island is usually part of the plan, says Marc Black, general manager of Silent Rivers Inc. in Clive. Islands are popular for entertaining, he says. To add interest, the island’s cabinetry and countertops may be different from those in the perimeter of the kitchen.

Granite remains the top choice for countertops, although quartz is gaining in popularity. When it comes to cabinets, white has its fans, but many people prefer the look of high-end furniture. If homeowners trade up to custom cabinets, they can utilize every inch of space, says Marilyn Struecker, co-owner of Construction Professionals LLC of Dexter. She says most of her clients want clean lines, choosing cabinet doors without lots of grooves and details. That makes for a sleeker, more modern look and cuts down on cleaning.

When it comes to appliances, stainless steel retains its No. 1 spot, contractors say. Brushed nickel is also popular, and chrome is making a comeback with some.

Master bedrooms and bathrooms also come in for their fair share of remodeling, Black says. Sometimes homeowners want to steal space from other closets to create a master walk-in closet

People want serene, spa-like bathrooms with high-end touches, builders say. Norris says some of her clients are choosing marble for their countertops in both baths and kitchens; marble needs more maintenance than granite or quartz, but it adds a lot of interest and beauty. Other bath upgrades include installing heated floors and replacing small tiles with floor tiles that are 12-inchby-24-inch or 18-inch-by-18-inch.

Sometimes the extra space families need is right under their feet. Basements, once relegated to laundry and playrooms, are now being turned into comfortable entertaining spots complete with big-screen televisions, fireplaces and wine cellars. “More companies are offering prefab wine rack systems, easy to assemble and more affordable,” Black says.

To make the space more versatile, families create basement kitchenettes, Struecker says, with microwave ovens, beverage refrigerators and even dishwashers. “If we finish off a bedroom down there, it’s also nice to have at least a three-quarters bath,” she says. Basement remodels work especially well with walk-outs, because of the light.

Lighting itself is easy to overlook, but the right combination of lights can make a big difference, Black says. “People are layering their lighting a bit,” he says. They might have can lights on the ceiling, pendant lights hanging over large islands and upper- and/or under-cabinet lighting for ambience.

Norris says her clients have gotten a little more daring with their lighting choices. They tend to make more traditional choices when it comes to paint and floor colors, she says, while letting the light fixtures add a little “bling.”

Even small changes can make a big difference in the appearance of a house, Norris says. Lots of homes built in the 1980s and 1990s have staircases with tired-looking painted or maple spindles. “We work with a custom welder,” Norris says, who can create some trendier spindles.

Other ways to bring your house into the 21st century include:

  • Upgrade your technology, installing USB ports in different parts of the house.
  • Ditch the carpet and go for hardwood, traditional or engineered.
  • Carve out space for a mud room, complete with storage for shoes, school bags and sports equipment.
  • Cover your open deck so you can entertain when it’s hot and sunny.

Will your remodeling job pay off when you sell? Maybe, experts say, depending on your neighborhood and the cost of the materials you use. But most homeowners say the value of their remodel comes in allowing them to remain in neighborhood they love, while giving their house the improvements it needs to make their lives easier and more comfortable.

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