Why Renovate Your Home?

New Home Design Sketch
New Home Build in Progress

More families are deciding to stay in their existing residence and renovate instead of buying new homes. Renovating allows homeowners to customize their home to meet their needs and desires without giving up their familiar neighborhoods and school systems. In many case renovation can be more effective than selling or buying a new home while adding value.

Renovation has become easier to finance with the increased equity that a homeowner can access either through refinancing or home equity loans. Many homeowners have decided to remain and improve their homes after researching new home sale prices. The high costs of homes make improvements a better investment while allowing a high percentage of the cost to be recouped upon the sale of the house.

When planning for your renovation it is important to decide exactly what alterations you want to make to your home. Renovation can:

  • Add to the comfort, use and value of the home.

  • Add extra space to accommodate an expanding family or simply add a sense of spaciousness.

  • Add rooms for special purposes such as office, media or wine storage.

  • Change the configuration of the residence for better flow.

  • Create usable spaces or orientation to sun and views.

  • Update spaces such as kitchens for a more modern appearance.

  • Restore the house to its original character while adding current amenities.

Another important consideration before formulating your home renovation is the costs involved. Your budget will greatly determine how extensive the project can be. Research shows that kitchen renovation can significantly increase the real estate value of a home and ranks as highest investment return for homeowners. Other types of renovation improvements with high investment returns include bathroom remodeling, new flooring, new windows, new siding, and new roofing.

Adding energy efficient appliances, insulated windows, foam insulation, energy efficient lighting and programmable thermostats will help to make your home more affordable. Homeowners may qualify for renovation rebates when they upgrade their windows to selected Energy Star labeled windows as well as high-efficiency heating systems and water heaters.

To learn more about the renovation process and how innovative design can dramatically improve your home contact Steven Mueller Architects, LLC.

The Architectural Process : a four part series

Part 3: Construction Documentation/Bidding + Negotiation

New Home Sketch Floor Plan

The Architectural Process continues into the Construction Documentation Phase once the Design Development drawings have been completed and a Preliminary Cost Estimate has been approved (newsletter #2). The Construction Document consists of delineating specific Architectural, Structural, and Electrical elements including written specifications and schedules.

Construction Documents are sometimes referred to as working drawings and are used by all involved in a project to work on the actual building of the design. In order to produce a comprehensive set of construction drawings, knowledge of design and building methods are both necessary.

An architectural set typically consists of a cover sheet, floor plans, exterior elevations, reflected ceiling plans, lighting and electrical plans, interior elevations and millwork details. Additional drawings include exterior wall sections and details, as well as structural framing plans and foundation/framing details. Demolition plans and elevations are incorporated into the set if the project is an addition/renovation project.

These drawings provide all the information, both graphic and written, about the project. It is specific information. For example, the paint color to be applied to the walls will be listed by manufacturers name, phone number, the paint color number and name, and type of finish (latex, enamel) to be used.

Detailed information is given about everything in the project. Walls, doors, furniture, equipment, lighting, outlets, demolition and so on, are all specified. Graphic symbols are used to represent walls, doors, furniture, etc.

Dimensions are used to define the location of these components. Text is used to further describe them or to point to specific elements of the design. Legends are used to describe doors, finishes, lighting, etc. Standard drawing symbols are used to cross reference information.

The Construction Documents are now ready for bidding the project and arriving at a contract for construction. Competitive bids are solicited from a number of contractors and the selected contractor negotiates an agreement with the Owner.

Now that the Construction Documentation and Bidding Process have been completed, the next phase of the process, “Permitting and Construction Observation / Administration”, begins. This will be covered in our next newsletter.

Debra Lutsky