What are you stuck with and what can you change?

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – Some things are easy to change, like the color of your living room. For most folks, it’s a weekend worth of work and a couple gallons of paint.  The location of a window, chimney, or plumbing now that’s a little trickier.  It can be done of course, but it’s important to consider the cost/ benefit of such things before getting started.  It’s important to consider what you can change, and what you are willing to change.

You can change anything about your house – it’s just a matter of dollars. I’ve seen people change living rooms into kitchens, closets into bathrooms, and single story homes into two story homes.  It’s all a matter of cost.  Most of the time your budget is limited.  Even if you “don’t have a budget,” at some point you will run into a dollar figure that will cause you to stop and reconsider.

With labor usually being about a third of a remodel budget, what you choose to change is an important consideration. Sometimes the costs are worth it to achieve the ultimate goal:  a more open floor plan or better flow of work space in the kitchen.  However, sometimes due to budgets and time constraints, learning to embrace compromise will do you good.

Your costs will fall into one of 2 categories: structural or specialty.

Moving walls, changing windows, adding or changing the configuration of space are structural changes.  They will require careful planning.  Changing the size or location of a window will affect inside drywall and outside siding.  Taking down walls may require adding support headers if they are load bearing. Some things are almost impossible to change without full house remodel, like the location or stairs or a chimney.

Some changes will require a specialty tradesman. Changes to the location of a sink or dishwasher, stove or vent hood, can require both plumbers and electricians to come in and rework things.  Even moving a fridge can become a big deal if a new water line needs to be run.  It may be a simple job if your basement is unfinished, but if that’s not the case, your dollars can really add up here. Removing bulkhead will sometimes mean changing HVAC, plumbing or electrical that it hides, and will always require drywall patch and repair.

So what should you invest in changing? That depends on why you are remodeling, what you are willing to compromise on, and how flexible your budget is.  If you are remodeling to sell, keep it simple and don’t make it personal.  Your dream kitchen might be fully open concept, but if the wall you want to take down is structural – a pass-through might be a good compromise.

If you are remodeling to stay, go ahead and put in that support header.  However, if your budget is not able to compromise, something else will have to.   You may have to choose engineered wood floor over solid wood, or hold off on putting roll out trays in each of your cabinets.  Your designer can help you identify what is most important to your project and high-light areas where compromise can help your budget.  We know the products and make excellent suggestions.