For many of us this pull-out-your-hair frustrating recession has caused many of us to scrap our grandiose plans for home remodeling. Luxuries regularly seen in homes in booming 1990’s probably wouldn’t get the same positive bat-of-the-eyelash in today’s economic climate. Melinda Fulmer, a columnist for MSN Real Estate, talked about eight home projects that are overrated and that, she predicts, will soon be on their way out entirely. Some of these fading renovation choices might be sitting in your home as we speak. If that’s the case, don’t sweat it – they’re already there and you probably love them, but for those of you thinking of installing one of these soon-to-be home remodeling pariahs you might want to think twice.
Starting off with the overrated home addition closest to our hearts: countertop material selection! Fulmer says marble countertops, and similarly porous surfaces such as limestone and heavy poured concrete, “requires more pampering and attention than a spoiled princess” as it is susceptible to getting burnt by hot pans and to stain far too easily. She recommends granite countertops and man-made quartz composites as better long-term countertop selections.
I’ll lump these two together as they both deal with the art of lounging in hot water in the comforts of your own home. Both whirlpool bathtubs and hot tubs make the eight-item long list. Fulmer suggests that in this day and age more people are opting for the more functional and less involved walk-in shower. The time commitment of filling a tub, taking a bath, and then draining and cleaning it has proven to be a less then desirable post-work activity. Hot tubs, on the other hand, are a generally more attractive and inviting option to soaking the body than a bathroom-bound tub. The problem is, hot tubs require a large amount of power and when a technical problem arises the cost for repair can sometimes be massive. Hot tubs, while luxurious, can sometimes prove to be never-ending sources of financial drain (but they sure are relaxing.)
If you own this next home addition faux pas and worry that you don’t use it enough, don’t worry – you’re in the majority. About 90% of people, according to Stewart Davis, the design director of CG&S Design Build in Austin, who have had a deck installed as an offshoot of the master bedroom never use it. That’s right – never use it! That claim seems to have some validity, because it’s hard to imagine your coffee maker sitting bedside and it would be one moseying morning to go downstairs, fill up a mug, stroll back upstairs and enjoy the deck views. It’s an overthought luxury much of the time.
Speaking of additions to the home, far too often people add additional rooms when a space already present can be suitably converted. Attics, basements, old children’s bedrooms or offices, can all be converted into dens, game rooms, bars, offices, and guest rooms. Allow for some creative juices to flow before you plop down a colossal chunk of change on a new room to augment your home.
This one might seem aggressively obvious to us today, but to tell a home theater owner in the 1990’s that he will one day be able to replicate the experience almost entirely while spending less than half the price of home theater installation he might call us crazy. Well, it’s true. For a home theater to be installed, an investment that can cost $20,000 or more when the seating, screen, projector, and lighting has been figured out, you’ll really have to want to have a single function room in your home. Nowadays you can purchase a 50” high definition television, a BluRay player, crisp digital surround sound, and comfortable couches and chairs all for the fraction of the cost of going the grandiose route and installing the whole shebang. It makes the resale value a tricky proposition as well, as you probably can’t command what it cost.
Fulmer talks of the many ills of over-complicated home automation. Sure, we’d all love to own a house like Bill Gates’ where we can change the colors of the walls and let a room know which occupant is currently, well, occupying it, but keeping things simple is a respected (and inexpensive) virtue. If you’ve ever visited a home with centralized controls for heating, air, audio, lighting, appliances, and home security systems, you can bet the cost of roping them all together in such a technologically bumbling way came at an astounding premium.
Finally, we return to a comfort zone for us here at GT: the kitchen. In an American quest for kitchen remodeling with classically European accents of ornate and detailed kitchen fixtures, the pleasure does not always match the price. As everyone’s favorite (mine at least) home improvement personality Bob Vila pointed out “People will go into hock finding themselves surrounded by $150,000 of polished granite and fancy French or English cabinetry. They’ll wind up saying, ‘I’m still paying on that and what the hell pleasure am I getting out of it?’ Going overboard with any aspect of home remodeling can be a mistake.” We couldn’t agree more Bob. Quality, cost-effective kitchen and bath remodeling is our M.O. here at Granite Transformations and we hope you check us out before succumbing to one of these also-ran home improvement choices.