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Curl Up in the Warmth: How to Remodel a Fireplace

You’ve been staring at that fireplace for too long now. The dated mantel, the wrong colored tile, the dated brick. Any or all of these things act like nails on a chalkboard whenever you look at it. The good news? You’re not the only one. We’ve worked with many people who have wanted to know how to remodel a fireplace and over the years, we’ve picked up a few things that will help you through the process and make your new fireplace exceptional.

Identify what’s wrong with your fireplace

Is it the tile or rock or brick that surrounds it? Is it the placement in the room? Is it the mantel or lack of a mantel? Is it the built-in structure that surrounds it or the hearth? Or, maybe you’re doing a larger remodel project and you’re considering adding the fireplace to the project. Whatever your reason, depending on what you don’t like about your fireplace will ultimately guide your project and its cost.

Surrounding material and future options

A variety of materials can surround a fireplace. Sometimes, the surrounding material is attached to the wall and can be torn out. Then, the backing material can be replaced and a new material applied. Other times, the surrounding material is a part of the structure. No matter what your circumstance is, we can help you figure out the right solution. We work with experienced contractors who will help you determine what, if any, structural changes need to be made to your home.

Remember though, the great thing with a material change – and the most fun part – is figuring out the look you want. So many choices exist these days. You’ll be amazed what can be done with tile, brick veneer and ledgestone. And even if you have an idea in mind, we recommend you look at several of these options before deciding on one. You never know what may surprise you.

The placement

If you don’t like where your fireplace sits in the room, the level of complexity of the project increases, but don’t let that discourage you. We’ve helped many people move their fireplace. Just know, that moving a fireplace to another place in the room most likely will involve some sort of structural change internally and externally. For instance, do you know where your current fireplace is vented? Is it through a chimney that’s a part of the house? Or is it vented through a hidden pipe in the wall? Once again, we can help you find an experienced contractor to guide you through a fireplace move.

The mantel

The mantel, often the centerpiece of the fireplace, is definitely worth thinking through really well. What do you want it to look like? As with surrounding materials, you’ll have a lot of fun options to consider. And don’t forget to think about what you want the mantel’s purpose to be? Do you want to display framed pictures or decorative objects on top of it? If so, a groove in the top to help things stay in place may make sense. Are you thinking you might put a TV above it? If so, you’ll want to consider how high the TV will actually sit and where the power for the TV will come from. If the TV is too high, you may be craning your neck to watch your favorite shows. And if there’s no power in the area, you’ll need to add outlets to avoid unsightly wires.

The firebox

How old is your firebox? Does it look dated and out of place with your current style? Does it look beat up and used up? Does it have a blower? Many times, when someone remodels their fireplace, it makes sense to replace the firebox. Other times, a really good cleaning or even a refinishing with heat resistant paint may be all that is needed. We do see many fireboxes that were initially installed by the contractor and are quite inefficient or, they’re surrounded with brass trim or accents that just don’t cut it anymore. Don’t fret, though. If you choose to replace your firebox, there are a variety of options to consider.

Enjoy the process

As you can see, remodeling a fireplace offers a lot of things to think about. We do advise, based on the possible complexity of this project, that you speak with professionals who know how to remodel a fireplace and have experience doing so. If you’re like some people who visit us, it could be a matter of tearing out some old tile and redoing what was there. But, if you’re like others, it could mean tearing out walls, running electrical, and thinking through structural changes. No matter which project yours ends up being, have fun researching your options, embrace the process and know that we’re here to help.

How to Avoid Project Creep and Stop Home Improvement Mistakes Before They Happen

Not a week goes by that we don’t help someone out who is experiencing project creep. Project creep, one of the top home improvement mistakes, happens when homeowners set out to change one “simple” thing in their home only to realize, halfway in, that to do the job right, more is needed. The following example should help you avoid project creep and can be applied to a change in your bathroom, a change with your flooring, a change with anything, really.

Your Hideous Kitchen Countertops: An Example

We all hit that point where we know the kitchen countertops must go. They’re outdated. They’re worn. They’re ugly, hideous in fact. You’ve lived with them long enough and it’s time for them to go. But, you still like your backsplash – you had it changed a couple of years ago – and you see no need to change your cabinets right now. You plan to do that in a year or so.

So, you decide to move forward with just the countertops. You’ve picked out your pattern, measurements have been taken and installation has been scheduled.

But…

  • Have you considered your sink? Is your current one acceptable? What about when you decide to change your cabinets? Will it still be okay?
  • Have you considered the height difference between your new countertop material and your old ones? Will there be a gap between your backsplash?
  • Have you considered how you will slide your old cabinets out from under your new countertops when you decide to change them next year?
  • When you change your countertops next year, will you want to stay with the same kitchen layout?
  • If you think you may want to change your kitchen layout, what will you do about flooring?
  • And if you think you may want to change your kitchen layout, what about the plumbing? Will you want to move your sink? If you want to move the oven and microwave, how will you get the gas and electric lines moved?

We could continue asking questions about the kitchen, but what we really want is for you to avoid home improvement mistakes altogether by asking yourself:

“What else is related to this project?” and “What else could possibly be affected if we decide to change X?”

After you’ve asked these questions, make a list – a thorough one. You may be surprised about how things are interconnected and how changing one “simple” thing may mean changing many.

And always, after you’ve made your list, seek a second opinion. Or, if you have no idea how things are connected in the area you’d like to change, ask for help. Talk to a friend who’s been through a remodel. Talk to a contractor. Or, better yet, bring your plans and ideas with you and stop in to see us at Eheart. We’ll be happy to take a look. In the end, your project will go much more smoothly if you are proactive and work to understand the complete picture ahead of time.

Also, if you’re just starting to think about remodeling, check out our handy Home Remodel Return On Investment Guide  It’s full of stuff we think everyone, who’s doing a remodel, should think about and will definitely help you avoid additional home improvement mistakes. 

 

 

Remodel or Move? That is the question.

If you are like most homeowners, you have a list of things you’d like to change in your house. You may not have written it down, but it’s definitely in your head. In fact, if someone asked you what you’d like to change, you’d rattle off an answer with the few top things. Some of those things may be small. Some, on the other hand, may be big, like a remodel. If it is a remodel you’re thinking about, and you know you have the finances to move a project forward, then we have some things for you to consider..

Should You Remodel or Move?

Most people, when thinking of  a remodel, don’t think about moving, but in our experience, we think the “remodel or move” option must be addressed. First off, ask yourself this, “What about my home isn’t meeting my needs?” If the answer is location, it’s probably time to consult a realtor. If the answer is, “I don’t like where the staircase sits,” it’s also probably time to consult a realtor. Although we are regularly amazed at what a contractor can do to the internals of a house, there are certain structural things that financially put a remodel out of the question.

Considering, however that a contractor can do a lot to the interior, and your answer lies more along the lines of, “I don’t have enough space in the kitchen,” or “I don’t like the layout of the master bath and bedroom,” or “I wish the space between the living room and the kitchen didn’t feel so closed off,” then it’s time to explore a remodel.

A Set of Fresh Eyes

Once you’ve addressed the “remodel or move” question and hit on remodel as an answer, it’s time to get some help. You look at, and live in, your house each day. This makes you biased about certain things. You may not see some possibilities that someone else may see. We recommend you bring in a neutral party who does this regularly, who can look at your house and give you options you might not even consider. Preferably, that person can also look at your house, listen to your suggestions and say, “Yes, that’s possible within your budget,” or “No, that’s not possible within your budget but you might consider doing this.” You’ll be amazed at what someone else can see that you might not.

Can You Live in Dust and Chaos?

If you’ve never lived in a home during any sort of remodel, you might not realize what an impact it has on your day-to-day living. Imagine your master bath being out of commission for a week. Now imagine it being gone for four weeks. You’re sharing with your kids, trying to get ready in the morning, routines get thrown off…It can be hard. And it’s not only bathrooms. Ever thought about life without countertops and a stove? Microwaves and crockpots and takeout only go so far.

A remodel will most certainly disrupt your daily patterns.Workers will be coming in and out of your house all week and often times on the weekend in order to meet deadlines. And no matter how neat and tidy your contractor is, there will still be dust, dust and more dust. (Hint to avoid a big portion of the nuttiness: Figure an 8-week furnished apartment or short-term rental house into your remodel budget. The people we see who do this have a much better experience and the work can often move faster as the contractor doesn’t have to work around a family living in the home.)

Have Fun With It

All of the things we have mentioned take time and energy during any remodel. But once you’ve decided to move forward, for the right reasons of course, make sure to enjoy the process. Too often we see people get stressed out about colors and fixtures and floor plans and more. They lose sight of why they want to do the remodel instead of making the entire process enjoyable. Remember, you’re choosing to make your home a better one than you have right now, and what could be more fun than that?

Remember, there are other things to take into consideration when it comes to remodeling. Here’s a handy Home Remodel Return On Investment Guide we think everyone, who’s doing a remodel, should think about. 

 

 

Home Remodel Return on Investment Guide

We love a good remodel. Not only does it spruce up your home and update the interior to your liking, it can also add tremendous value. In general, modest bathroom and kitchen remodels see an 80% return on investment. Follow these four tips to protect your remodel return on investment (ROI).

 

Tip #1: Keep it modest – Follow the 20% rule

Start your remodel planning process by getting a realistic understanding of your home’s value. You can figure this out by comparing sale prices of similar houses in your neighborhood, getting an appraisal, or using a site like Zillow. Once you know your home’s value, apply the 20% rule – spend no more than 20% of your home’s value on a bathroom or kitchen remodel. If you spend over 20%, you’re likely overdoing it and will see a diminished return on your financial investment.

Tip #2: Upgrade with future buyers in mind

When remodeling with a goal of ROI, a project budget should reflect a future buyer’s priorities and not just your own. For example, you might think that your cabinets are good quality and in good condition, but if they are made with a dated wood species, finish, or door style, no matter how many thousands of dollars you put into new countertops and backsplash, you’ll still end up with dated cabinets that aren’t relevant to most buyers. In fact, in some cases, it may make sense to spend less on the countertops and backsplash and prioritize an affordable cabinet replacement.

Tip #3: Design complete – The wow factor

What does design complete mean? Basically, you want visitors to enter your home after a remodel and say, “Wow! Did you just remodel?” If you are missing the “Wow factor,” home buyers will not assign value to what you consider a charming remodel. The key to achieving the “Wow factor” is having the discipline to focus on only the kitchen or the bathroom and allocate a realistic budget. A design complete remodel should fully transform the space. When you try to do too many things, it often comes out looking like the space was updated but not remodeled.

Tip #4: Is it sellable?

Ask yourself the question, “Is this remodel “sellable?” Would a potential buyer happily pay 80% of the remodel cost on top of the normal home price? The goal of the remodel is to create undeniable design improvements with mass appeal, now and in the future. Making remodel choices that are “sellable” can be difficult. Let your designer be your guide to the best, personalized remodel path. At Eheart, our designers provide several remodel paths for your style that all map to financial success.

Find the Best Time to Remodel with 6 Tips

Considering a renovation in your home but want to know the best time to remodel?

 

When planning a remodel, it is helpful to understand the timeline and potential speed bumps that you may encounter. At Eheart Interior Solutions, we are here to help guide our clients through the remodel process while providing tips and tricks that we’ve learned through years in the industry. Every remodel is different, but there are several common customer concerns that we can shed some light on to help make the process as fun and efficient as possible. 

Depending on the scale of your project, expect to have work being done in your home for potentially six to eight weeks. Prior to the in-home work, plan for materials to take up to six or eight weeks, as they are custom made for your remodel.

 

With that being said, here are a few tips to help you plan your remodel to best accommodate your lifestyle.

 

Think twice about summer as the time to remodel.

The common misconception is that summer is the ideal time to remodel because you have an outdoor living space and a grill. Actually, in our northern Colorado climate, there are enough sunny days that any season is perfect for a remodel. The only time that the season needs to be taken into account is for projects that include windows or pouring foundation. The drawback of remodeling in summer, which is usually overlooked, is that a remodel can displace your kids who are home from school for the summer.

 

Do not pick a time to remodel that is prior to an event you would like to host.

At Eheart, we do our best to meet every deadline, but unforeseen circumstances can always arise that lead to delays. For example, if you want to host Thanksgiving, plan your project for an end of October finish. That way, if any surprises or loose ends come up, your project will still be complete in time to set your table for Thanksgiving.

 

Consider planning your in-home work when you are going to be on vacation.

Even though you won’t likely be gone for the entire project, missing the less exciting steps, such as drywall installation, wouldn’t be a bad idea. Talk to your designer about any vacation plans you may have and see if it is possible to align them with your project timeline! Worried about contractors being in your house while you are away? Don’t be, you are in good hands. All of our partners are licensed, bonded, and insured and can certainly be trusted in your home. Just make sure you are somewhat reachable for questions during your vacation.

 

Have you started the bank financing process?

Often times, homeowners don’t realize that getting financing for their project often requires pre and post appraisals, along with other steps that can each take several weeks. Be sure to start this process early so that it doesn’t hold you back once you’re ready to order your materials.

 

It can never hurt to order your materials early.

A perk of working with Eheart Interior Solutions is our capability to hold onto your materials in our warehouse until you’re ready to begin the in-home portion of your project. With this option, customers have more flexibility throughout the scheduling process. The last thing you want is to be ready to start your project and have to wait nearly two months for your custom materials to arrive.

 

Planning a remodel doesn’t take as long as your think.

Often times, it only takes two to four weeks of planning before we are able to schedule a remodel and order materials. Our experienced designers are able to streamline the planning process to help you design your new dream room.