Home Additions

Is it time to remodel your kitchen or bath?

In the current financial environment many people have been waiting for the economy to stabilize and home prices to increase before undertaking a remodeling project. But history has shown that kitchen and bath remodels return the biggest bang for your buck. Right now might be the perfect time to make this investment in your home! Updated kitchens and baths add value to your home and provide you with a functional, comfortable, beautiful space to enjoy. If you are preparing your house for sale, remember that kitchens are the number one priority for homebuyers. A renovation can mean the difference between making or not making the sale.

So how do you proceed if you have decided to remodel? Keep in mind that in most cases, a kitchen remodel is not simply a cosmetic fix. Think of your remodel as an investment, not an expense. Your project will cost money; take the time to do it right! A kitchen specialist can help you identify the many things to consider. There are lots of questions to answer.

Is your space adequate? Do you have sufficient floor, counter, and cabinet space? Does the traffic flow work for your needs? How many cooks are generally working in your kitchen? Are you satisfied with the light in your kitchen? Does the space work for your personal entertaining style? What types of products meet the quality level best suited to your house?

This is also the time to consider Universal Design/Aging-in-place needs. Have you included convenience features that will allow you good access to your storage space? Also find out if you can save money with energy efficient appliances. Will new appliances help you save time and enhance your enjoyment of the kitchen?

The many things to consider may seem overwhelming, but a professional kitchen designer can help. They are versed in the guidelines associated with good kitchen design and have experience to offer recommendations and options. They are familiar with the many, many materials and products that are available. Professionals have access to a wide range of products enabling them to meet the budget, quality, and style requirements you have identified. A professional will also consider durability and maintenance in their recommendations. Enlist this valuable help to personalize your space!

Have you decided to take the plunge? There are things you can do to help with the process. Create an idea file with photos of things you like. Include floor plans, products, designs, and convenience features that appeal to you. This file should help identify what is important to you. It should reflect your tastes and provide a reference point as the project develops.

You also need to identify your goals. What is the most important reason for remodeling? Is your kitchen too cramped? Is your goal to increase the size of the kitchen or improve the storage capabilities? Are your cabinets and counters dated? Is your goal to improve the look of the space, changing from boring and bland to warm and inviting? Does your kitchen design no longer work? Is your goal to eliminate the desk you no longer use, replacing it with a useful beverage center for entertaining, or to open up the flow of the kitchen to work better with the rest of your house?

Another primary consideration is identifying a budget. The budget needs to reflect what you feel is a reasonable amount to invest in the project. Recognize that that you may underestimate what remodeling costs. Most consumers do not have experience remodeling and often they don’t know the many parts and pieces involved. Again, a professional can help you establish a reasonable budget. They can help you separate needs from wants and help you hone in on your particular “must-haves”. They can direct you toward the products that can help you stay within budget.

Where can you find help? A good place to start is with the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers of Northern Colorado (NAHBR of Northern Colorado) www.northerncoloradoremodelers.com. Members of this organization are professionals dealing specifically with the intricacies of remodeling. You might also investigate a company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau. See how a company is rated by the BBB.

While remodeling is a great investment, don’t forget that a good remodel is not just about adding value to your home. It’s about what serves you, too. A well-planned and executed design should reflect and enhance your lifestyle. Daily meal preparation should be easier, storage and access to items should be much improved, entertaining should become much more enjoyable, and your new space should look fabulous!

Submitted by Rich and Cathy Norman, Kitchen & Bath Design Center, 226 Remington #2, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. Phone: 970-224-3424, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.kitchenbathdesignctr.com

Top 10 Home Remodel Paybacks

Once again, exterior remodeling projects lead the way for recovery on dollars spent in this year’s Cost vs. Value survey. When you compare the national averages, replacement projects that boost curb appeal—siding, windows, and decks—give you the greatest chance of recouping your money. Inside, only kitchen remodels can compare, at least on a national level.

  1. Upscale fiber cement siding (86.7%)
  2. Midrange wood deck (81.8%)
  3. Midrange vinyl siding (80.7%)
  4. Upscale foam-backed vinyl (80.4%)
  5. Midrange minor kitchen remodel (79.5%)
  6. Upscale vinyl window replacement (79.2%)
  7. Midrange wood window replacement (77.7%)
  8. Midrange vinyl window replacement (77.2%)
  9. Upscale wood window replacement (76.5%)
  10. Midrange major kitchen remodel (76.0%)

Now May be the Perfect Time to Remodel

Maybe you need additional space for your growing family or a home based business. Maybe you want to modify your home to make it safer and more comfortable as you get older. Maybe there are components of your home that are wearing out or are not as energy efficient as you would like them to be, or more simply, maybe it is just time for a change.

As I walked around the floor at our recent Home and Remodel Show, one question that I kept hearing from attendees was “Is this really a good time to remodel, now, in this economy?” There are several reasons why now is a great time to consider remodeling your home. With stable and in some cases even falling material prices, interest rates continuing to hover at historic lows, rebates and available tax credits for energy efficient upgrades, now may be the opportune time to consider that remodeling project you have been dreaming of.

After seeing rampant inflation in the cost of building materials for years, prices have now fallen to near record lows for stick lumber and many lumber products. Other commodity prices for items used in building components like steel, aluminum, copper, and petroleum are also down. Many material suppliers are offering deep discounts to move excess inventory created by a slowing new construction market. Now is a great time to take advantage of these lower prices and discounts.

Contrary to popular belief, borrowing money to help finance your remodeling project is still an option. Many of you may be thinking that banks are no longer in the business of lending money for remodeling projects or home improvements. That is actually not the case. At our recent Home and Remodel show lenders were there to let us know that financing is still available and rates are at historically low levels. Many financing options exist from home equity lines to new first mortgages. With rates this low, many people are choosing to borrow the money to finance their project and take advantage of this bargain rates. Now may be a good time to explore those options.

Now is also a good time to take advantage of the many rebates available to customers from their utility providers. Rebates for installing new Energy Star appliances, on-demand tank-less water heaters and high efficiency heating and cooling systems are just a few of the items that may be eligible for rebates. Other lower cost improvements that may qualify for a rebate include upgrading the insulation and air sealing your home. There are rebates available for solar power and water heating systems, as well as wind power. These rebates will help provide short-term relief from the cost of improvements, but the real savings is over the long term.

Another opportunity available to you now are tax credits that have been restored and even increased up to three times under the new economic stimulus plan. Improving the energy performance of your home through the installation of new energy efficient windows, doors, roofing and insulation, as well as high efficiency water heaters and heating and cooling systems may qualify you for up to $1500 in tax credits. Geothermal heating systems, solar systems, and wind systems may qualify you for tax credits of up to 30% of the total cost of the system. These tax credits are available from now through 2010 and could go a long way towards paying for the cost of these improvements.

Remodeling your home now can modernize the style, add needed space, make it more safe and comfortable, and improve energy efficiency and performance, all while increasing the value of your home. Remodeling is a sure investment in your home and now may be the best time to take advantage of these money saving opportunities available. Contact our local Home Builders Association-Remodelers for a list of members to assist you in finding the many opportunities available to you. We can be reached at www.nocohba.com or 970-686-2798.

Michael Doddridge, CGB, CGP, CAPS, is owner of Doddridge Construction, a local full service remodeling company. He is currently serving as Vice President of the Home Builders Association of Northern Colorado and Chairman of the NAHB Remodelers of Northern Colorado. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 970-218-3120.