Homes are almost everyone’s largest investment, but they are much more than that. A home is also the background to our experiences and memories, and they are the physical basis for life’s daily patterns. When the realization comes that a home doesn’t meet our needs, fit with our sense of aesthetics, or isn’t as energy-efficient as is appropriate for today, it launches a series of decisions. Fortunately, local architects and designers have experience, training, and even checklists to walk homeowners through these choices.
The other aspect of this decision is to conduct an unbiased assessment of the home. “If preliminary conversations indicate a remodel is the way to go, a proper survey is needed before any design to proceed,” notes architect Michael Blash, of Michael Blash and Associates, Sun Valley. “I would recommend that the architect assemble with the builder, a structural engineer, and the electrical and mechanical subs for a through walk-through, forensic examination, and documentation of the existing building. Special attention should be given to what can be recycled or reused. This can be stored and inventoried at a later date.”
With the new Blaine County and city energy standards, a remodel must perform better, and Jeff Williams recommends a blower test early on, so the homeowner and team has all the facts. This means, too, that conservation performance becomes an objective for remodels.
Where to start on an update is a key question, whether for homeowners trying it alone or working with a designer. It used to be an axiom to start selections for an interior based on a piece of art, so we posed the question of why to L’Anne Gilman, owner of Gilman Contemporary in Ketchum. Why do so many people start with a new piece of art? “It is timeless advice that still holds. When someone finds a piece of art that really pleases, there is something in the piece that resonates very deeply. By pulling out the colors for the home and paying attention to the scale and movement in the piece, the home’s interior should please them as much as the painting, and they have the painting as a focal point to draw attention and set the tone.” There are instances where as homeowners we want to improve it so it will sell in a competitive market. Janet Krogh and Connie Hagestad of The Design Studio say they address this question often. “When clients want suggestions for increasing the value of their home, we recommend focusing on remodeling key areas such as the kitchen or the bathrooms. Reconfiguring
the design of these spaces, as well as using new products for hard surfaces and updated color palettes can increase the value and marketability of their home.”
Opportunity to Go Greener
Michael Blash sees the availability of new green products as an asset for those who want to remodel. “The sourcebook of new cost-effective green products and materials is expanding daily. The good news is that the time and research for sourcing materials has been greatly reduced with the enormity of the products and services now represented on the Internet.”
Plan to Keep Planning
Wherever the remodeling decision path may lead, with professional assistance the possibilities are endless, but our experts say to plan on plenty of planning. In future issues, Western Home Journal will return to and expand on the subject of remodeling with assistance from experts. The heart of conservation is reuse, and remodeling revitalizes homes for continued enjoyment.