Story by Ann Butenas
When the pandemic set in and people were positioned to stay at home more, many began to roll up their sleeves and tackle some long-awaited projects around the home. Whether simply repainting a room or remodeling a whole house, home renovations have been gaining in popularity.
If you have been considering making some changes and/or upgrades to your home, this is the year to do it. Giving some rarely used or never used rooms in the house new life can help you maximize the way you use the spaces in your home.
We spoke with Jan Burchett, Executive Director of Kansas City NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) to find out what is hot now in home remodeling trends.
KCH&S: What is one area of the home that you have seen becoming a popular redesigned space recently?
BURCHETT: Kitchens are the hot item now, and so are home offices and outdoor living areas. Because of Covid, people cannot travel as they used to do, so they have decided to make something nice out of their homes. One of the biggest things we have seen is the addition of a backyard pool. Also, whereas open floor plans were quite popular, we are now seeing a shift towards separate spaces. If a parent has to work from home, they want some peace and quiet away from the kids. The kids may also need a place to study if they are attending school virtually. Of course, after work and school, people want time to play, so there has been a big focus on creating relaxing outdoor oasis-like spaces to enjoy.
KCH&S: If I want to redo my kitchen, should I consult with a kitchen remodeler or go with a whole house remodeler?
BURCHETT: I have mixed opinions on this topic. A good general contractor with experience is a great choice. However, going with someone who specializes in kitchen remodels as a niche can also be a good choice. There is not a right or wrong answer here. Even a general contractor with experience can provide a great outdoor living area. The biggest thing to consider is you have to like who you are hiring. Get references. Go see some of their previous work. If you feel comfortable with that contractor and trust them, then that is who you should hire.
KCH&S: How important is it to get multiple bids for a job?
BURCHETT: I usually tell people to get about two to three bids, with three being the maximum amount. However, if you feel comfortable with the first one and you have asked the right questions or they have come as a referral, you can stop there. Again, there is no right or wrong answer. It is all about the comfort level you have when working with that person. If you have knowledge of a contractor because it is someone you know or a neighbor has used that person or you met them at a home show, then it is really an individual decision.
KCH&S: What should I keep in mind when starting a home remodeling project now?
BURCHETT: It is important to be aware of wait times now. Because of various delays in products and materials, you have to be patient and plan ahead. However, I will say if someone says the project can be started next week, that is a red flag. You need time to get a permit, create design plans and order materials. On the flip side, if you start a project now, do not anticipate it being completed by the end of this year. I have a lot contractors now who are already booking halfway into March of next year. You have to be flexible. You need to take the time to pre-plan, know what you want to spend, and know what you want the layout and design to be. All of these things impact the overall schedule.
KCH&S: When hiring a NARI remodeler, of what is one assured?
BURCHETT: All of our contractors are licensed, insured, and experienced professionals who follow a strict code of ethics. Aside from that, they are also honest, responsible, and work with integrity. However, I always advise people to call for references. A contractor should also be a great communicator. It is also important to hire someone who is passionate about what they do. NARI members love what they do, helping people make new things out of their homes.
KCH&S: Tell us a bit about the upcoming Remodeled Homes Tour.
BURCHETT: We are excited about the 23rd Annual Remodeled Homes Tour, set for September 18-19. On display will be a basement finish, kitchen addition, updated master suite, a main floor remodel and more. Come and get inspiring ideas for your own home and meet the contractors. You can learn more about it and purchase tickets at remodeledhomestourkc.com.