If you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you'll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.
If you're doing your own project, slash your materials-delivery fees by picking up goods yourself. No pickup truck? For about $400, you can purchase a nearly new single-axle utility trailer online, which you can tow behind your SUV. Get one just big enough to carry 4-by-8 sheet goods flat. Use it for a half-dozen trips, and it's paid for itself. Find trailers for sale near you via eBay Motors, or try your local classifieds.
Brian Peppel, a homeowner in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, attends one building-supply auction each month in nearby Lancaster County. His recent finds include two pallets of concrete block for $10 and a solid-wood prehung exterior door for $65. "Their inventory is everything under the sun, a lot of scratch-and-dent, misordered custom items, or new overstock supplies," reports Peppel. He once watched the auctioneer's gavel fall on a large, custom-made triangular window with an original retail value that he pegs at several thousand dollars. The winning bid? $1.

Start prowling the aisles at the hardware store or home center way before the wrecking crew shows up. Get a good feeling for what you want in fixtures and appliances and what they cost. If you aren't absolutely specific up front about what you want, you'll have to rely on your contractor's estimate, called an allowance, and his notion of what is acceptable may be quite different from yours. "Ninety-eight percent of the time, allowances are too low," says Tom Silva. For instance, you may have had a glass-tile backsplash in mind, but your contractor's bid was for ceramic.


Some imitations just make sense: Lumber giant Weyerhaeuser sells a fast-growing natural eucalyptus hybrid under the brand name Lyptus. Sustainably harvested in plantations in Brazil, the clear-grained hardwood looks and feels remarkably like mahogany. It's sold as toungue-and-groove flooring and in planks and sheets for cabinetry and millwork. (Visit Lyptus.com to find a distributor near you.)
Take your bathroom remodeling to the next level! Customized bathrooms are a step beyond standard bathroom with the implementation of personalized cabinets, vanities, and facilities. While stock options are always available, many homeowners find that they need something just slightly bigger, smaller, wider, or in a different color. Some popular options include floating vanities and double-wide sinks. You can also invest in custom cabinets with your choice of wood, made in a specific style. Your opportunity to expand on your custom bathroom depends on your budget and style needs. Cabinets are very advantageous on the bathroom, sometimes even more so than in the kitchen. This is because storage space in the bathroom is always more necessary than homeowners think. Having wide cabinets and drawers with enough space to store linens, toiletries, and emergency supplies is a great way to make your custom bathroom both functional and beautiful. There are certain considerations needed for custom bathroom designs, however. For example, when choosing a type of wood for the cabinets, think about what kind of wood can stand up to moisture. Professionally-installed custom bathroom pieces are your best bet for guaranteeing that your cabinets will last for years.
That’s a great point that good bathroom lighting will eliminate shadows on your face in the mirror. That would be really nice because then you wouldn’t ever be frustrated about not being able to see parts of your face well. We are thinking of doing a bathroom remodel, and the lighting is the top priority on my list because our current lighting is quite dim.
Remodelers can do some amazing things, but they can't read minds. "Let the company supervisor or project lead person know if anything is unsatisfactory so they can deal with the issue," says Jeff Hurst, a Certified Remodeler (CR) and president of Hurst Total Home, Inc., in Kettering, Ohio. "The contractor may not be aware that something is not OK with the owner."
If you’re an experienced DIYer, you are likely good at working around the disruptions of a house remodel. However, if you’ve hired a contractor for any part of the job, be sure to be clear about your daily routine, and work with the contractor to come up with start and end times that cause the least disruption in your family’s day. After all, no one wants to encounter tradespeople while you’re still in your bathrobe.
I love your tip to talk to everyone that will be regularly using the bathroom space for ideas on what you want the remodel to look like. It would be important to make sure everyone will be happy with the remodel and that it will fulfill everyone’s needs! I’m planning on remodeling my guest bathroom, but I’ll make sure to talk to all my roommates before I call a remodeling company. Thanks!
I really want to remodel my bathroom later on and I wanted to look up some ideas and tips on how to go about it. I didn’t think about adding recessed lights with some over the mirror as well! Having a dimmer would be a really nice thing to have in the morning as well when everything is too bright. That’s a great idea. Thank you so much for the tips and ideas!

When it comes to things like flooring, ask your subcontractor if he has odds-and-ends stock left over from other jobs. While renovating a Civil War-era bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey some years back, contractor Bill Asdal needed wood flooring. He made a few phone calls and came up with hundreds of square feet of hardwood, in various lengths and widths, that otherwise would have gone into the trash on other job sites. Just by planing it to uniform thickness, then sanding and refinishing it, he saved his client almost $9,000 in materials costs.
Thanks for talking about the small details like air circulation in bathrooms. I never knew that you have to plan things like the mirrors around circulation, but now that I know that, I definitely want to get a professional remodeling contractor to do it for us. They would know what to look for and be able to do it well, so I’ll just leave it up to them! The air circulation in our bathroom right now is not very good, so that’s something I’d like to fix in our remodel.

To have the best chance of success, and to help in the budgeting process, make a master checklist of items you need, from administrative tasks like permits, right down to rollers for the paint. It’s helpful to separate the list by items you have, and items you need to purchase. In the case of tools, making a list can help you decide which tools you can rent to save on costs versus purchasing new.
Remodeling should be practical. Figure out what bothers you the most about your home, and fix those things. Also, consider items that can lower your overall costs. Some green home improvements, such as adding insulation, better windows and upgrading your furnace, can provide you with monthly savings — and you can get a tax credit too. Think about practical things that will make your home more comfortable for your family first, and then add bling later if you think it will enhance your quality of life.

Start prowling the aisles at the hardware store or home center way before the wrecking crew shows up. Get a good feeling for what you want in fixtures and appliances and what they cost. If you aren't absolutely specific up front about what you want, you'll have to rely on your contractor's estimate, called an allowance, and his notion of what is acceptable may be quite different from yours. "Ninety-eight percent of the time, allowances are too low," says Tom Silva. For instance, you may have had a glass-tile backsplash in mind, but your contractor's bid was for ceramic.

I love your tip to talk to everyone that will be regularly using the bathroom space for ideas on what you want the remodel to look like. It would be important to make sure everyone will be happy with the remodel and that it will fulfill everyone’s needs! I’m planning on remodeling my guest bathroom, but I’ll make sure to talk to all my roommates before I call a remodeling company. Thanks!


You’re right that there should definitely be some kind of ventilation in a bathroom to prevent moisture build-up. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom and removing the window that is attached to one wall (it’s just so awkward having one there) and installing a vent to replace it is definitely something we’ll want to look into. I’m not sure if we already have an inlet valve, but our toilet can be rather noisy, so we’ll have to talk to the contractor about that, as well.
If you jump into a remodeling project with an ambiguous contract or no contract at all, you may as well hire an attorney and set a court date right away. "The contract needs the right address, a start date, a completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done," says Rosie Romero, founder of Legacy Custom Builders in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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