What’s it like to remodel?

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If I haven’t told you, I’ve been looking for a house.

I know it’s crazy, but when I walk into the kitchen, instead of thinking:

“Do I like this?”

I think:

“Do I like what this could be?”

And I’m not alone. Many homeowners envision what their space could be, given a little help.

That’s the story at the homes in the Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase, which hopefully you had a chance to check out last weekend.

Families in the Showcase give us a peek into the “after” of their own partnership with a remodeling team so that people like me can see that maybe falling in love with what a home could be isn’t so crazy.

I enjoyed this interview our friends at New Spaces did with their client, Sue, following her recent remodel, which was featured in the Remodelers Showcase. I think it — along with the “before” photos — lends insight into the process before and during a kitchen and home remodel, rather than just the beautiful results we’re used to seeing in magazines.

I’ve always been curious about what drives people to remodel. What was it for you?

Sue: It was our kitchen — it wasn’t well designed. The refrigerator stuck out from the wall and the door would hit the counter. The island was really awkward — a hipbanger — that’s what our designer called it. The space was cramped, especially for a family of four.

Before

After

How did you find your remodeler?

Sue: We got to New Spaces in action. Our neighbors used them and invited us over on a regular basis to see their work. They really were impressed by the whole process. And New Spaces finished up a week early. When does that ever happen with a remodeling project?

We also saw a house New Spaces remodel in the Parade of Homes. It was similar to ours, and we liked what we saw.

Did you have a look and specific details in mind?

Sue: Our home is about 24 years old. I like the modern look, and my husband leans to traditional styling. So Nicole, our designer, helped us balance the two.

Nicole did a great job finding out what we wanted. She didn’t push her ideas on us at all. Instead, she asked us questions and was observant. She saw some of my art on the wall — I’m a painter — and thought we could mix some artistic touches into the design.

Before

After

It sounds like a thoughtful approach — she really got to know you. Did you ever feel a little challenged with all the decisions you had to make?

Sue: Yes, remodeling our kitchen from scratch was challenging for us because there were so many choices. Nicole used a computer design system to show us how different designs would look. And when we couldn’t decide, she would jump in and make some great recommendations.

What were some of her design ideas that stood out?

Sue: Nicole suggested inlaying a decorative strip of tile behind the stove. It’s a really nice touch. The stainless steel brackets that hold up the granite counter on the island get a lot of nice comments from our guests. I love the long arch over the fireplace in the family room. The wall-to-wall mantel she designed and the arch adds style to the room. Nicole also found a manufactured stone that gives the fireplace surround a more modern feel.

We all know that remodeling can be stressful at times. How did the process work for you?

Sue: Really great. Ed was our lead carpenter and on-site manager. He was in charge of the day-to-day work, coordinating the subcontractors and doing a lot of the work himself. We liked that he always knew what was going on, and he did a great job communicating with us. Having him in charge really streamlined the communications.

Did anything unusual happen during the process?

Sue: Our furnace went out the day before the floors were going to be refinished. I had to call Ed at 9 at night. He immediately rearranged the schedule with the workers and then called me back to confirm a new schedule. He was so professional and nice about it.

When you get up in the morning and walk into your newly remodeled kitchen and family room, what jumps out at you?

Sue: The light! We replaced the kitchen window with a bigger window. And we removed the walls separating the kitchen from the family room, so the space feels more open. There’s more natural light in the space. It’s wonderful. Not to mention more storage.

Love the light coming in on this one...

For an even closer look into Sue’s remodel experience, check out this video:

Warners’ Stellian Apple Valley will host a Kitchen Workshop offered by the experts from New Spaces on Thursday, April 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. We’ve had a great response to these events so far, with attendees walking away with some great ideas and creative solutions from a truly no-pressure approach.

Space is limited, so register now.

You can find lots more events for homeowners at our Education Events calendar.

Parade of Homes and Remodelers Showcase are registered servicemarks of the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. They are used with permission.

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2 Responses to “What’s it like to remodel?”

  1. Refrigerator Gaskets Says:

    Great interview. I have been really hesitant to get my place remodeled. I know it needs to be done, but it is so overwhelming. Some of Sue’s words were pretty calming for my anxious thoughts. Thanks.

    • Julie Warner Says:

      Glad you found it helpful. The thought of remodeling, I think, does make people nervous. That’s why I like ideas like New Spaces about offering workshops for people to get an idea of remodeling would look like for them.

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