By Molly Congdon
People’s homes are full of precious moments and memories that people like to preserve.
Many people want to stay in the same place but there are changes that must be made to make it possible. Many people remodel for accessibility, gravitating toward open designs.
People also give their homes a face lift to increase resale value or because they want to make their living situation more enjoyable. Instead of moving forward with new construction, some prefer to renovate.
“Since the big banks mortgage collapse, I believe more than ever that people are leaning toward renovating their homes and protecting the investment that they already have,” said Dan Camarota, owner of Custom Renovations in Saratoga Springs. “Upgrading their existing home into a dream kitchen or mini spa or a family room basement is much more affordable then taking the chance with a new, higher mortgage for their ‘dream home.’ They are already invested right where they are, so they make it as comfortable as possible for much less than buying a new home.”
The market in Saratoga and Glens Falls is a hot market, said Greg Raczkowski, owner of Inspired Designs. “I think because of the recession a lot of people are a little gun shy to buy new. Back before the recession, interest rates were so low, when people wanted to renovate or remodel they would just say, ‘Well, why don’t we just sell our home and buy a new house.’ It was an easy transition and it made sense at the time.”
In the age of gadgets–smartphones, tablets, GPS navigating systems, iPods–adding new technology to older homes is a trend. So are eco-friendly and energy-efficient functions.
“People are tending towards greener aspects of construction,” Raczkowski said. “Whether it be a higher R-value in the insulation that they are using, more efficient heating units and solar is a big trend right now.”
Some people are choosing to restore items such as cabinets instead of replacing them entirely.
“The most popular renovations for the last few years have been kitchens, bathrooms and finished basements for sure,” Camarota said. “People know if they do sell their house down the road, these areas are where they are going to get the best return.”
He said people are turning bathrooms into mini-spas by removing bathtub enclosures “and extending it into a big beautiful walk-in tiled showers with frame-less glass shower doors, just like in the hotels.”
For bathrooms, “a sleek contemporary design is very in style. Marble looking tile, Victorian or something else,” Raczkowski said. “People are getting away from Jacuzzi tubs and putting in soaking tubs, but they are really putting a lot of money into their showers … Some even turn them into a steam room.”
In basement, many people are converting the space for things such as a guest bedroom.
Said Camarota, “Basements are on the top of the list as it provides families with a whole other living space that can include an extra bedroom, bathroom, play area, a gym area, as well as more family room space.”
“There are a lot of trends with flooring right now,” Raczkowski said. “Back 10 years ago, a lot of people would put carpet in their basement and now people are using laminate or a vinyl that looks like hardwood.”
He said kitchens are his top remodeling task. “It’s probably the most used room in the house. A lot of times they are the heartbeat of the house, the real soul of it. Families congregate to the kitchen.”
“I see a lot of Shaker-style kitchens going in–straight lines, less-is-more concept–but I also see a lot of contemporary in there so it’s kind of this eclectic mix between contemporary and shaker.”
“We are doing a lot of new kitchens with the diamond cabinetry,” said Kevin Knobloch, owner of Refacing & More in Glens Falls. “These are better quality than some of the box stores. People want white shaker style cabinets with LED lighting.”
Despite the popularity, there are still some issues that face the remodeling business.
“Being in business for over 25 years, I think the prices of materials is the biggest one,” Camarota said. “People don’t realize that the cost of a piece of plywood has almost tripled in the last 10-15 years, so all the material costs add up quickly. People don’t tell you their budget like they do on TV, so the more time I spend with a potential customer, the more idea I can get for their wants and needs, without breaking their bank.”