Feb 7, 2014

My top 10 updating musts....or not!

So, you're thinking of an update! Whether you do a small re-fresh or a large scale remodel, it's smart to think of a few things before you start.  How about these ideas:

1. wider doorways. Its' so much easier to get pieces of furniture in and out of your home, not to mention better accessibility for everyone in and throughout your rooms.

2. easy clean surfaces. You might love real granite counters and stone bath floors, but is it easy to maintain and seal with your lifestyle? There are SO many fabulous and gorgeous options in quartz and porcelain that you should consider. 

3. concealed storage. We all have 'stuff' and often get more without doing away with what we already have. I'm a kitchen accessory 'junkie'. Having organized and expandable space to have all of that is as important in my kitchen as it might be in your family room, kids room or master closet! Closed doors, covered baskets, deep drawers with dividers, and even open shelves with nifty containers, contains and makes everything neat and easy to access.

4. timers or sensors on light switches. Ever walk into a room with your hands full and trip on something in the way?  Do your kids forget to turn out lights?  There are SO many inexpensive sensors you can buy and install yourself (unless you're really not comfortable with wiring) that pay for themselves quickly.  Lights go on when you enter a space and off after a set period of time when you leave. Put a timer on a switch in a bathroom, closet or children's room and the lights will go off for you. Same with turning on entry and hall lights. Don't walk into a dark house and install a wall timer to schedule lights going on and off.  This is great for porch and patio lighting.

5. self closing drawers. If you're redoing a kitchen or bath, these are really nice to have! It makes them easy to open, keeps your drawers closed, and no one has to remember to close a drawer when you're all using the same kitchen or bath room.

6. charging station. With small laptops, tablets, pads and smartphones, most of which need a unique port, if you create a landing area with all of the cords contained. You'll keep everything together and never misplace a cord again, not to mention the neatness factor....

7. better ventilation/natural lighting.  Adding or expanding the size of existing windows can bring more light and air into your home.  You can often save on air conditioning bills with properly placed ventilation. Having more natural light also helps cut energy use. If adding a new window might not be in the budget, but consider ceiling or wall mounted fans to circulate air, and solatubes that have LED backup.

8. drawers instead of doors on cabinets.  Why reach into a fixed shelf after opening a door, when a drawer can be a better storage option?  You gain better access inside - especially in deep kitchen cabinets - and certainly  make it simpler to use.  With new interior systems from  most cabinet companies, and good carpentry in custom fabrications, you get wonderful compartmentalization and organization too.

9. a fireplace.  No, you don't need a chimney.  Take a look at ethanol burners. The can be installed in a wall, a shallow room, and have many size options that actually produce heat.

10. energy efficient lighting design. don't simply replace one fixture with another. Consider the placement, the amount of light you need, whether the fixture is even the right type, and improve your lighting, your energy bills, and even your use of the spaces you're updating.