Balancing Acts

Anderson Resende shares tips for a smooth home renovation.

Anderson Resende. Photo by Katie McGee

In planning a home renovation, it’s easy to focus your energy — and Pinterest boards — on dramatic changes like demolishing walls, tearing up old carpet, updating the kitchen or making exciting paint color decisions, but some smaller steps have the bonus potential of saving you money and time in the future while meeting your needs in the present. Below are five considerations for renovation projects focusing on often-overlooked touches that can have a huge impact on your home now and for years to come. 

1. Maximize Kitchen Storage

Islands are getting wider and longer these days, so whenever possible, install shelves and cabinets on both sides for showcasing a cookbook collection or storing frequently used appliances, as well as hiding those items you don’t need on a daily basis. Warming drawers and microwaves are also making their way into islands for easy access. All lower cabinets should have drawers for a more efficient use of space, as well as pull-outs to accommodate organic waste, recycling and laundry for dirty dish towels, napkins and bibs.

2. Easy Bathroom Luxury

The number one consideration for a bathroom remodel is how to draw in more light while minimizing shadows. If bigger windows or skylights are not an option, integrate mirrors with adjustable LED lighting to approximate natural light. In addition, black-and-white finishes create a classic, clean look. For master bathrooms, make the central focus a double shower, giving the room an instant upscale appearance. For simple, affordable luxuries, add in-floor radiant heat and wall-mounted towel rack warmers. Additional outlets near toilets allow for smart toilets and night lighting. 

3. Get Smart

By choosing smart, efficient features and appliances early in the renovation process, you can save money, time and energy down the road. For instance, app-monitored security systems, intuitive thermostats, camera-embedded doorbells and pre-wired roofing to accommodate solar panels will lay the groundwork for future upgrades. Include a 220V outlet in the garage, which can also be hooked up to receive solar power, for a future electric vehicle. Consider adding circuit interrupter receptacles — the latest innovations in electrical safety technology and cost-effective ways to prevent electrical fires and electrical shocks. Wherever possible, install pocket doors and high-tech materials for privacy and sound reduction throughout the home. 

4. Consider Your Critters

If you’re an animal lover, planning for your pets’ needs during renovation is a priority. Identify a specific place to store pet foods and toys. Litter box and pet crates can have their own location in a room with an exhaust fan to help disperse odors. Consider installing a laundry room shower or walk-in tub in which to bathe pets. And last, but not least, plan a location in your custom kitchen cabinets to keep the furry ones’ food and water bowls, which can slide in and out of the cabinets, for easy feeding control and cleaning.

5. Think Ahead

When building a new home, some builders don’t take into consideration how window treatments will be installed, which means curtain rods may not be optimally supported. If this is the case in your home, a renovation will allow you to add additional support to framing on the top side of windows to keep curtain rods sturdy. Finally, with a population now living longer than ever before, some homeowners, during renovation, have been thinking ahead in order to age comfortably in place by adding an elevator shaft for a future elevator. In the meantime, the elevator shaft can serve as a storage closet.

Anderson Resende is an interior designer at Ellsworth Design Build, ellsworthdesignbuild.com.

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