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Spring Brings Fresh Home Renovation


As we enter the spring and summer home design and decorating season, there are a number of things homeowners and home buyers should consider as they plan for and make their design decisions and purchases.

Here are some helpful tips from our team of experts at Design Studio Interior Solutions:

1. The sun in Colorado is strong and it can heat up a room and fade furniture and flooring. Rooms that are south- and west-facing need window treatments to tame those powerful rays. Protect your space with draperies, shutters, or programmable roller shades.

2. Considering Colorado’s unpredictable weather, outdoor furniture must be heavy weight. Hailstorms and 60 mph winds happen often, so opt for outdoor furniture that has the weight to withstand the wind.

3. Hardwood flooring is beautiful but needs humidity to avoid buckling, splintering, and splitting. Go for a whole-house humidifier.

Or better yet, consider engineered hardwood. It is built to withstand 85 degrees one day and 30 degrees and snow the next, and is a beautiful alternative.

4. Performance fabrics are your friend. They come in every color and texture imaginable now and most stains will come out with ordinary soap and water. When shopping, be sure to ask for these fabrics.

5. Your family will sit on your sofa every day, so make sure it is well made (and covered in a performance fabric). Great accent pieces are available for a variety of prices. We recommend splurging on the sofa and saving on the cocktail tables.

6. The budget of a kitchen remodel can run up to approximately 10 percent of the current value of your house. So, do some shopping around and planning ahead of time for this bigger-ticket item.

7. With plumbing and lighting fixtures, what you don’t see is as important as what is visible to you and your guests.

Rough-in valves for plumbing fixtures should be made of solid metal and durable materials. Same for lighting. Since we can’t always see these things, we don’t always consider how important they are.

8. Wallpaper is back, and it is not your grandmother’s wallpaper anymore. The colors, patterns, and styles will inspire you to try it in a powder bathroom, a dressing room, or a dining room.

9. Ottomans are the hardest working pieces of furniture in your house. They can prop up your feet, hold trays full of drinks, or serve as extra seating when needed. We never met an ottoman that we did not like.

10. Work with an interior designer — they know all the great new products, they understand the logistics of putting together your home, and they will not let you make mistakes. They are worth every penny!


Photo Judy Goldman

Judy Goldman is the CEO and Founder of Front Range Design Center, Design Studio Interior Solutions, LLC Architecture and Design, in Boulder. Goldman has been one of ColoradoBiz Magazine’s Women to Watch, including Rising Star and Top Woman-Owned Companies. Goldman can be reached at [email protected] or (303) 652-1727.

To buy or to upgrade?

A competitive housing market and aging homes mean many homeowners in Denver are tackling long-planned renovations.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the median age of owner occupied homes is 39 years in Colorado–and some much older than that. Aging homes mean many homeowners either want to bring their homes up to date, or they need to replace well-worn parts of their homes. And they’re taking remodeling into their own hands to make their home fit their lifestyle.

Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights Report: Home Improvement and Equity Spotlight found 65% of younger homeowners (ages 18 to 43) and 60% of Gen X homeowners (ages 44 to 56) are likely to renovate this year, compared to 22% of older homeowners (ages 57 to 75).

Making home improvements can simultaneously help you build equity while enhancing your everyday life. In fact, twice as many respondents say they’re approaching home improvements as a means of greater enjoyment in their living space (67%) compared to those seeking to increase their home’s value (33%).

Bringing your home up to date can create a place your family can enjoy for generations to come and help build a legacy and long-term wealth.

In Denver, we’ve seen an uptick in cash-out refinance and home equity line of credit (HELOC) requests as homeowners look to tap into the equity in their homes to fund improvements to their existing homes.

According to Bank of America’s latest report, sustainability is especially important to younger generations when it comes to popular renovations. Half of younger generations want to add solar panels (51%) and energy-efficient appliances (48%) as well as use sustainable or recycled materials (43%).

And while we see so many design ideas we’d like to try, we don’t get much information when it comes to paying for all these fun changes. You might think your only options are to save for a project or rack up debt for that emergency repair, but you have a number of options to turn your dreams into a reality.


The first option that comes to mind for most homeowners is to pay for a renovation with savings. In fact, 62% of homeowners say they plan to pay for the work by using money they have saved. While this can be an effective way to finance some smaller projects, it might not be feasible for homeowners who are doing big projects such as a complete kitchen makeover. Pairing savings with other financing options can give you the funds you need to accomplish your goals.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

One of the most valuable benefits of homeownership is the ability to borrow against the equity you build up in your home over time. With rising home prices, homeowners are accumulating wealth at a faster rate and a home equity line of credit lets you borrow against the available equity in your home up to your credit limit. You’ll then have the flexibility of a revolving credit line that can be accessed as needed.

Cash-Out Refinance

cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new, larger loan that includes a new interest rate and term. Pocketing the difference between your old mortgage and the new loan can provide you with funds to make home improvements.

Credit Cards

If you’re making minor updates to your home, such as repainting a wall, installing new lighting, or even purchasing appliances, using your credit card can be an effective financing option. However, for more involved projects, credit cards carry high interest rates, so you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance.

No matter how long you’ve lived in your home, the idea of customizing your space to fit your lifestyle can be both exciting and daunting. The excitement of a more functional kitchen or the satisfaction of refinished floors is too often overshadowed by the intimidating questions around money.

For big home renovation projects, doing a little homework and planning before diving in is essential.

Learn how to put a home equity line of credit to work for you with tips from Better Money Habits or by speaking to a lending specialist.

Brandon Blankenship is the Vice President, Enterprise Retail Sales Manager for Bank of America in Colorado.

Planning a home remodel? Here are a few things to consider

With travel restrictions in place, entertainment options at a minimum and people cooped-up in their homes for hours-on-end, many are deciding to dedicate their “spending money” to home renovations and remodels.

The more they see of their house, the more they become aware of the changes they’ve always wanted to make and improvements that will truly turn their house into the home of their dreams.

Perhaps you’re one of these people. And whether you’re considering a new kitchen or bathroom, a dedicated office or study space, an in-home theater, new backyard patio, a sizable addition or complete overhaul, there are initial steps that need to be taken and relevant questions to ask before you start tearing down walls.

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make when starting the process of remodeling a home is calling ten different contractors and asking for bids. It seems like a logical step, to compare prices, but it could lead to much bigger problems down the road. Obviously, finding a good price is important, but finding the right person and team for the job is critical in order to avoid scheduling issues, time delays, cost overruns and overall confusion.

Some of the more important aspects to consider at the outset include:

Don’t try to be your own general contractor

There’s a lot of work involved, and underlying issues to consider, during a home remodel/renovation and many of these challenges require the experience and knowledge of a professional.

For example, obtaining city approvals and permits, taking into account structural issues, as well as electrical, mechanical and plumbing barriers and making sure the desired improvements can be designed according to a set budget are critical factors to a successful outcome.

Too often times a person will lock-in on the type of design they want, without considering all the things that might impact the cost, and before they know it their remodeling project has become a costly catastrophe.

Review qualifications, not just cost

If you decide to go with the lowest priced bidder, be prepared to face some serious consequences. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” This is especially true in the current market, when a lot of remodeling work is happening and the design and construction workforce has been stretched thin.

Some of the less-than-ethical in the field will take your money and leave the job, not show up when they’re supposed to, aren’t experienced for the work you want done, don’t have a loyal and dedicated team working with them or simple are too busy to get around to what you want done.

Be sure that you take the necessary steps and ask the right questions to get the references and qualifications of the “professionals” you’re considering, not just the price for your project.

Important questions to ask

The questions to ask the person or team you’re considering for your home renovation don’t have to be overly technical, but they can be pointed and get you the information you need.

They will also help you to get beyond the surface of the work you want done, and provide you with a better understanding of how your candidates do-business:

  • Have you worked with the architect/designer before?
  • What is your current workload?
  • Will you self-perform the work, or hire subcontractors?
  • What is your process to protect my home from a lien?
  • What is your bookkeeping process for paying subcontractors?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How will you communicate with me?
  • How often should I expect to hear from you with updates?
  • Can you present a certificate of insurance?
  • What is your liability track record?

Questions such as these will help you to get a better understanding of the person(s) you’ll have working in your home for days/weeks/months depending on the scope of work. Some of the questions might put a candidate on-the-spot, but it will help you in the decision making process.

Regardless of answers to questions and the written contract you receive, it’s never a bad idea to ask an attorney or your bank/lender to review it quickly and make sure everything is valid and doesn’t put any liability back on you.

A home remodel should be a fun experience, as you watch your vision become a reality. There will always be some hiccups along the way, but don’t let those hiccups become gags if you find out that you made bad decisions early in the process.

Photo Pat M Pat Minniear is the CEO of Milo Construction.