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Top remodeling trends and tips for 2011

faucet011911_optBY MARGARET MORGAN
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

In a recent poll taken by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) the results indicated that most people are not starting major renovation projects due to the economy, but are taking care of smaller projects around their homes.

Almost 50 percent of homeowners are most concerned with the design and the ultimate outcome. According to Michael Hydeck, president-elect of the NARI, homeowners want the design to cater perfectly to their lifestyles and how they intend to use the space.

Given the slumping economy and sluggish real estate market, more homeowners are remodeling, rather than selling and are planning for the long term, possibly the rest of their lives.

Hydeck advises that a homeowner makes note of every activity done in the home and how it is accessed every day — what paths are taken, what counters are used most and for what, where belongings are stored and where one sits and relaxes.

According to CBS MoneyWatch.com, the 12 top remodeling trends for 2011 are:
  1. Save money by remodeling your bathroom(s). Baths cost less than a kitchen or addition and most houses have more than one bath.
  2. The trend is for people to do "have-to projects rather than want-to. Homeowners will continue to complete the projects that need to be done, like repairs to siding or roof leaks.
  3. kitchen011911_optWarming up your home with warmer tiles and colors. The trend is to move away for minimalist, white designs in favor of cozier, earth tones that are more contemporary and calming.
  4. Decking out your home – with the trend to stay home more frequently, homeowners want to enjoy the outdoors.
  5. "Consumer diligence" is on the rise with homeowners taking a closer look at hiring a great contractor by asking detailed questions and seeking substantial referrals.
  6. Paying in cash is replacing taking out loans for renovation projects. Homeowners are working on a budget and picking and choosing what projects they can do with the money.
  7. Open floor plans are in – interior walls are being removed and opening up spaces in older homes. Open floor plans allow families to be more flexible.
  8. bath011911_optThe Bronze Age is in. Along with warmer tones in homes, are warmer tones in metallic features as in hardware and decorative architectural accessories.
  9. Going Green in big with bamboo flooring, grass-thatched roofs and bark siding, as well as energy efficient upgrades.
  10. There is a flair for the industrial with open beams and stainless steel cabling and architectural products.
  11. With home values still falling in many areas and a weak prediction on home sales, homeowners are more stressed than ever. Creating relaxation spaces has become necessary to develop spaces that are tranquil like "Zen-like" bathrooms.
  12. Planning ahead towards retirement — homeowners are putting in easy-opening cabinetry, hand-held showers and more accessible kitchens and baths.

These trends indicate that in customization of the home, good design is in demand, which creates multi-functional capabilities of a room – a kitchen that opens into a family room becomes the hub of both family and entertainment activities.

Tips: While a timetable and budget are important questions to ask, more important is to ask questions about a company's business practices and experience in a similar type of project; obtain, not only references from homeowners where similar projects have been completed, but business referrals from suppliers; the kind of insurance coverage the contractor carries, and what certifications does he have and in what trade associations is he a member.

In finding more energy efficient utility operations that are cost-saving, a recent New York Times article, Preventing Heat from Sneaking Out of the House, by Bob Tedeschi, suggests having your local electric or gas company do an energy audit of your home. For green remodeling information, visit greenremodeling.org. For connecting with an accredited remodel-ready contractor, connect with NARI at NARIremodelers.com.

For the latest food news and seasonal recipes, visit me at Shore Region Food and Drink ExaminerShore Region Restaurant Examiner and TastefuLiving.net.

 

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