Update Your Laundry Room to Make It More Functional

When people are considering home renovations, they often forget about the laundry room. Though usually out of sight, this room is a space that demands efficiency, and yet they tend to be afterthoughts where a washer and dryer reside, with perhaps a paltry cabinet or shelf to house the laundry essentials. This room can be so much more with just a little TLC! We’ve pulled together a few tips to update your laundry room to make it more functional…and beautiful!

Pick a color that inspires you

Unless you’re one of those unique people that absolutely loves doing laundry, most people disdain if not dread this necessary chore. Why not add a little oomph to the task by choosing a vibrant paint color that will inspire and delight?  Sure, only you will see it most likely but who cares?  Have some fun with color and create a space that is fun and functional. Some good paint color options are vibrant citrus tones like lime green, yellow or orange. A crisp, bright white is another good option that brightens the room and the mood.

Add built-in cabinets

A basic laundry room may already have a cabinet or two, but is that enough for everything you likely house in that room?  You can build cabinets around your washer and dryer if you have room and have drawers and pullout shelves to house those often-used items. While you’re add it, add some nicer knobs and pulls to give it a little extra style. You’ll be much more efficient if you have everything at your fingertips the next time you toss a load of dirty clothes in to wash.

Add counter space

Do you do all your laundry in one room, then haul everything to another room to fold?  If space permits, why not grab and fold right out of the dryer?  Counter space in a laundry room is a wonderful way to add efficiency. Don’t think you have the room for permanent counters?  Shop around for fold down or pull out counters for laundry rooms.

Add shelving

Maybe you have the room for cabinets but adding them would overcrowd a smaller laundry space. If that’s the case, or you simply don’t want full-on cabinets, try shelving instead. It offers all the convenience of cabinets with less expense and space.

Get creative to get more out of your room

Need to squeeze even more efficiency out of your space?  Try pullout clothes bars so you can hang clothes straight from the dryer (they’re also called “closet butlers” or “closet valet rods”). Add a dirty laundry sorting system. A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of three dirty laundry bins for white, light and colors or dark clothing. Hooks are great for hanging bags and items that need attention later.

Good lighting is a must

Unless you’re one of the lucky few with a window view, chances are that your laundry room has one little light. Add a little flair and style with something more interesting. Try a pendant light or even a chandelier. Why not?! You’re going to spend a lot of time in that room!

Add a few hideaway features

Try adding a fold down ironing board or clothes drying rack that you can easily use when you need it and put away when you don’t.

Create a room that’s functional for everyone

If space permits, why not get more use out of your laundry room by having it double as a mud room, craft room, or even a cleaning supplies storage area? A few very smart people have even created a small office space in their laundry room; chances are no one will ever bother you there!

Look at your laundry room and see how you can upgrade yours to organize and add value to your home. Not sure how to pull it off?  Contact Interior Innovations to see how their professional designers can help you upgrade your laundry room to make it more functional!

Renovating Your Bathrooms Before the Holidays

When temperatures continue to be in the triple digits, many Arizonans start dreaming about cooler weather and the upcoming holidays. If holidays include out of town guests, homeowners start thinking about remodeling projects that can get done by the holidays. Next to remodeling your kitchen before the holidays arrive, the next big ticket item tends to be bathrooms. Here are a few helpful hints about renovating your bathrooms before the holidays.

Decide which bathroom(s) you want done by the holidays

Assuming you have more than one bathroom in your home that needs updating, take a moment to decide which bathroom(s) you want done. Master bathrooms will likely take the most amount of work, with guest bathrooms next in line, and powder rooms first. Look at all your bathrooms in need of remodeling and prioritize what “must” get done before the holidays, and which one(s) can wait until later. Next, do a quick “wish list” of what you want for each bathroom you’re remodeling. Items to consider may include:

  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • Lighting
  • Mirrors
  • Flooring
  • Hardware
  • Cabinets

It might be a good idea to create a master list with what you need for any bathrooms you’re remodeling to see if you can get all the materials at once, which will help you decide what can be done within a realistic timeline before the holidays.

How long it takes to remodel a bathroom

Obviously, the timeline to renovate a bathroom depends on what you’re having done. A simple coat or two of paint and swapping out fixtures is a fairly quick upgrade, but assuming you’re going for the whole enchilada, that timeline can increase extensively. Let’s take remodeling a master bathroom as an example.  For the work alone, you can expect a bathroom to be fully remodeled in no less than 23 working days. Assuming that no work is done on weekends, this translates to 4½ weeks. Before you get too excited, let’s take a closer look at that. That’s assuming that work is being done in 23 consecutive working days (excluding weekends). Since you’re likely working with more than one resource to get work done (plumbers, electricians, flooring, etc.) the chances of a flawless, consecutive schedule are unlikely. Even with the best bathroom renovation company, it’s nearly impossible to line up all the workers’ schedules seamlessly. And that is just the work itself. You also need to consider permits, demolition, ordering of parts and materials, and other unseen delays. When it’s all said and done, you’re looking at closer to 8 weeks minimum realistically. Keep that in mind when considering renovating your bathrooms before the holidays.

Should you do more than one bathroom at once?

If you’ve ever lived through any kind of major renovation, you know they can be messy and inconvenient. Assuming you don’t have the luxury of moving out while demolition happens, you’ll need to plan on having at least one functional bathroom that has a toilet, sink and shower or tub.

The pros of doing more than one bathroom at a time include:

  • Only living through renovations once instead of twice
  • Cost savings for labor
  • Cost savings for dumpster and other demo-related costs
  • Potential cost savings on buying multiple items for bathrooms (sinks, hardware, etc.)

The cons of doing more than one bathroom at a time include:

  • More cost at once instead of spreading it out
  • Added inconvenience of multiple bathrooms out of commission
  • More time to get project done than if only one bathroom was being renovated

What to consider when preparing for a bathroom renovation before the holidays

Let’s go back to that timeline we discussed earlier. Many homeowners fail to plan on how long it takes for certain materials to come in, especially if they’re looking for upgrades that aren’t off the shelf. Want that cool soaker tub? It might be special order, which can take 2-6 weeks. How about that beautiful Italian tile you saw when you were on vacation? Also special order. Same with lighting, fixtures, etc. If you want to go unique and different, you’ll need to take that into consideration as well as how the arrival of your products impacts worker timelines.

Those special surprises no one plans for during a bathroom renovation

So far, we’ve described a bathroom renovation without any surprises. Ever done a remodeling job before?  There’s always at least one surprise delay in bathroom remodeling, including:

  • Delays in permits
  • Approvals from homeowner’s association
  • Backorder of products
  • Products coming in damaged or incomplete orders
  • Electrical issues, such as getting wiring up to code
  • Weather-related delays
  • Structural issues – slab leaks or mold found upon demo, necessity to move support beams, rerouting plumbing lines, etc.

End of summer is a good time to schedule your bathroom renovation for the holidays

By late August/early September, we’re already telling people that renovating your bathrooms before the holidays is tight. Aside from product ordering, worker schedules and surprises to take into consideration, interior design companies schedules for new projects fill up quickly for pre-holiday work.  If you’re looking to renovate your bathroom for the holidays, reach out to a renovation design specialist now and get the process started for a beautiful new bathroom by the holiday season.

How to Help the Environment When You Remodel Your Home

Many homeowners don’t think about the environment or using sustainable materials or designs when renovating their home, yet most people when asked are open to the idea of helping the environment if possible. People recycle more nowadays, are moving away from plastic, and often forgo products encased in wasteful packing materials. The fact is, you can create a more environmentally friendly home when you renovate or remodel. Every little bit counts, so why not take a few ideas into consideration when you’re ready to remodel your home to help the environment.

Saving water

There are a few options to consider during renovation that can help save water. The most popular choice is opting for a low-flow toilet. Flushing is the biggest water hog in the house. Older, conventional toilets can use 5 to 7 gallons per flush, but low-flow toilets use as little as 1.6 gallons. Since the average person flushes five times a day, the gallons can really add up. You can also install low-flow faucet aerators in your sinks. Conventional faucets flow as high as 3 gallons per minute, but low-flow faucets flow at 1.5 gallons per minute. If you’re remodeling your bathroom shower, shower heads that are labeled as WaterSense are more water efficient than the average shower head. Keep an eye out for these types when shopping for a new shower head. And although they are considered a luxury, steam showers use the power of steam to keep clean, but they are also very water efficient. They use less water than a traditional shower and are very relaxing to use. Luxurious and environmentally friendly!

Saving materials

Oftentimes, a major remodeling project entails a lot of demolition, resulting in a lot of materials going straight into the dumpster. Sometimes that can’t be avoided, but with a critical eye, you might find a way to recycle or reuse some of those materials during renovation. Instead of coming in with a big hammer and demolishing the interior of your home, take it slow and steady. Give yourself and your contractor a chance to see what can be repurposed or refurbished. Old kitchen or bathroom cabinets could be reused in the garage or workroom. Same with certain lighting fixtures. The less you put in the dumpster, the less goes into landfills.

Reusing materials

When you think of reusing materials, think outside your own home for resources. One of the benefits of the farmhouse chic trend is the use of reclaimed wood for mantels, barn doors or decorative beams. If you’re thinking of adding these or similar features to your home, talk to your home designer about reclaimed wood options. Some of those most stunning home pieces used to be something else in a previous life!

Low-energy appliances

If you’re creating your dream kitchen, you’re likely replacing your appliances to go with your vision. Take the time to scout out appliances that are beautiful, functional, and low-energy. There are many options to choose from nowadays in a limitless number of colors and features. This applies to washers and dryers too, if your renovation includes adding or expanding a laundry room.

A change of view

If you’re doing a major remodeling project, you have the opportunity to change the orientation of your home, or at least how certain rooms are laid out. You could reconfigure your family room or home office, where you spend most of your daytime hours, so that it faces south. This will give you maximum sun and heat during the winter, reducing your home heating costs. If your master bedroom windows face west, causing your bedroom to stay too warm well into the evening, you have the opportunity to move windows are invest in window coverings to help keep your bedroom cool, reducing energy costs.

Remodeling or renovating your home can be exciting! Work with your professional home remodeler to help you look at eco-friendly options that will save you some money and help the environment. Win win for all!

Remodeling Your Aging Parent’s Home for Safety and Comfort

Elderly parents are staying in their homes longer than ever before, which is creating new challenges for adult children who want to keep their parents safe and comfortable. If your parents want to stay in their home, it may be time for renovations to make sure they live comfortably. Below are tips for remodeling your aging parent’s home for safety and comfort.

Aging in place is becoming more popular

Aging in place is when a person lives and ages in their residence of choice, for as long as they can. It means a person being able to live in the place of their choice without losing their quality of life when they reach senior age. But ideally what aging in place should be addressing is not just to maintain the quality of life that the person is used to, but also to make it better whenever possible.

Remodeling bathrooms for older parents

One of the most common areas in a home where elderly parents fall is in the bathroom. With slick surfaces and sometimes tight spaces, it can be hazardous unless upgrades are made for safety and comfort. Here are a few ways to remodel a bathroom to make it more age-appropriate for elderly folks:

Shower seats

If your parents prefer taking a shower over using a bathtub, shower seats are a great way to safely shower.

Shower grab bars

Grab bars a fantastic way to provide stability in a shower.

Low or no shower curb

Nowadays, there are many low and no-curb showers to choose from. Ask a remodeling professional for recommendations.

Non-slip bathtubs

Non-slip bathtubs come in a variety of styles and help elderly people safely get in and out of a bathtub without the risk of slipping

Bathtub grab bar

Many people don’t know that grab bars are available for bathtubs too, but they’re a smart addition for any home looking to increase safety for aging parents.

Walk-in tubs

These tubs have been around for years and are getting more and more stylish. As a bathroom renovation professional about options.

Creating a safer kitchen for the elderly

For self-sufficient parents, cooking doesn’t go away with age, but safety becomes an even bigger concern for elderly cooks. Care.com put together a great list of ways to remodeling a kitchen for elderly parents:

  • Install a pull-out pantry
  • Round the edges
  • Keep the sink close to the stove
  • Opt for a shallow sink
  • Place the microwave at or below counter height
  • Choose standard counter-depth appliances and cabinets without any frills
  • Make corners accessible
  • Pick drawers, not doors for easier access
  • Focus on clearance space
  • Ensure that floors are slip-resistant

Other useful ideas for remodeling homes for aging parents

While the kitchen and bathroom are the two more challenging rooms for elderly parents, here are a few ideas for other rooms in the house, depending on their level of mobility:

  • Widen doorways to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers
  • Install lever-style door knobs that are easier to grip for arthritic hands
  • Replace flooring with slip-resistant material
  • Add a wheelchair ramp
  • Adjust kitchen countertops heights
  • Install a chair lift or elevator

Most expenses for home renovations will need to be paid out of pocket. However, Medicare or private insurance may cover the cost of medical equipment that’s installed in a home, but they generally don’t pay for home remodel projects. Do your homework to see what renovation costs may be covered. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask! Some seniors may qualify for a limited number of home improvement grants, based on their income and where they live. The Department of Health and Human Services’ ElderCare.gov website has more details.

Staying at home as long as possible is usually the desire of most aging parents. To make sure they’re both safe and comfortable, try these ideas for remodeling your aging parent’s home.

6 Ways to Protect Your Home During Renovation

Remodeling your home to suit your lifestyle can be exciting when it’s all said and done. Living through a remodel can be a bit more challenging, especially if you’re living in the house while the remodeling is being done. Depending on what you’re having done, there are a lot of moving pieces which can cause quite a mess during the project. Here are 6 ways to protect your home during renovation to ease the process for you on the way to the home of your dreams.

Protect corners and handrails

Even with the most careful renovation specialists, when you have workers in and out of your house, up and down the stairs, moving equipment from room to room, removing debris, and working with tool belts, your corners and handrails are going to take a beating. While it’s easy enough to fix this dings, dents and scratches, you can keep them to a minimum with a little prep work. Corners in high traffic areas can be protected with cardboard. Handrails on stairs can be bubble wrapped or protected with a material heavy enough to protect rails against scrapes and dents.

Cover your blinds, shutters and window treatments

If your renovation includes any kind of demolition, there is going to be dust. A LOT of dust. No matter how careful your workers are, that dust is going to go everywhere, and one of the hardest places to clean dust off is your window treatments. Here’s what you can do to protect your home during renovation:  Take a piece of plastic wrap that you can find at any home improvement store, and literally tape the plastic wrap over your window during demo. Be sure to use painter’s tape so you don’t take off the paint when you take off the tape! Most window openings that will be exposed to dust should be entirely covered with plastic, but for windows you need to open, cover the window treatments in plastic instead of removing them.

Cover your furniture and any countertops in plastic

You might be doing renovations in another room entirely, but dust travels. Unless you want to spend the next month after your project is complete dusting your tables and countertops, as well as vacuuming all your furniture, you should cover all of it in a loose plastic. It may not be very attractive during renovation, but you’ll save yourself a lot of clean up time afterwards by doing this before renovation starts.

Turn off the A/C or cover your vents

Dust travels fast through air vents to if you can cover them, it’s a great way to keep dust to a minimum. If possible, turn you’re A/C off altogether to keep dust from traveling from room to room.

Cover your traffic areas to avoid damage

If you have workers going up and down your stairs, regardless of whether your stairs are wood or carpeted, it’s a very good idea to cover the stairs to keep staining and damage at bay. Be sure to pick up a paper that is appropriate for walking on and doesn’t create a trip or slip hazard. For those high traffic areas in the house, put down a similar cover, as well as the main pathway in and out of the house.

Beyond the dust:  protecting from damage and theft

You may be forced to temporarily relocate during large-scale home renovation or construction projects. When the construction crew leaves each day, your home and belongings are left unsupervised and may be at risk of theft. In-home cameras can be a good way to keep an eye on things and of course, always ensure the home alarm system is set when workers leave. Construction projects often involve new electrical wiring and highly combustible materials throughout the house that can lead to a devastating fire. Keep working fire extinguishers on each level of the house and throughout the work site. Consider installing a sprinkler system and a UL-listed (Underwriters Laboratories) water flow alarm if you don’t already have one.

These are just a few ideas to protect your home during renovation to make sure your experience during the project is a good one!

Home Remodeling Ideas for Pet Owners

Remodeling your existing home can be an exciting opportunity to add those features you always wanted in your home. The usual checklist usually includes updated lighting, new appliances, better cabinetry, etc. but what about upgrades to accommodate your pets?  Believe it or not, features that cater to family pets is high on the list for many homeowners looking to improve the living condition for ALL family members. If you’re interested in making your house a home for your fur baby, check out these home remodeling ideas for pet owners and discuss how to incorporate these designs with your home remodeling professional.

Custom feeding areas

You can create a built-in area for pet bowls to keep your kitchen looking neat and tidy. This option prevents you from tripping over bowls and spilling food everywhere. You can also install a faucet near the ground in that area to make it easy to refill water bowls. Many homeowners feed their pets in their kitchen or laundry room, so this is a great way to add convenience and make the area neat and tidy!

Pet food storage areas

If you keep your bags of pet food in a closet or out in the garage, you’re going to love this idea! If you’re installing new kitchen cabinets, think about putting a deep drawer near the pet bowls to use for pet food storage. It’s easy to access the food when you need it without lugging bags of food back and forth. You also gain back that closet or shelf space that you were using to store those bags. Win win!

Bathing and grooming areas

If you bathe your own pet, you know what a big pain it can be!  If you bathe them outside with a garden hose, your back will remind you of your good deed the next day….and maybe the day after that! Bathe your fur baby inside but hate trying to get them in and out of the bathtub? Replace your old tub/shower combo with a walk-in shower to make it easier to get a larger dog in and out. You may also consider an open-concept shower without any door at all to give you plenty of room to wash your dog. You can even install a handheld showerhead closer to the ground which makes bathing your dog easier when you need to rinse muddy paws.

Pet gates

Lots of pet owners use baby gates to keep their dogs out of places they’re not supposed to be. Functional, but not the most appealing décor addition! Try installing a swinging gate or half door. These can keep pets out of the kitchen when you’re cooking without making you feel shut off from the rest of the house.

Cat features

Are cats more your thing?  Or perhaps you have both cats and dogs. Either way, cats provide a few extra challenges that remodeling upgrades can help. Again, a nearby storage bin for kitty litter is great, and keeps dust to a minimum. For many pet owners, the litter box is a challenge since you want it out of site. Whether you keep your litter box in the laundry room, mud room, or bathroom, here’s a great idea:  If you’re replacing your cabinets, you can leave a nook to slide the box in. The other challenge with cats?  They like to climb to high places so they can see things. Consider installing a series of cat perch floating wall mount shelves dedicated to your adventurous cat, or an accommodating window ledge where they can enjoy the sun without being bothered.

No matter what kind of pet you own, these home remodeling ideas for pet owners will make your four-legged family member happy!