October 26, 2022

Is now the right time to remodel?

With the housing market cooling down and interest rates rising, we are seeing a lot of questions from homeowners around whether they should remodel their existing home rather than looking to purchase a new one. So, let’s take a look…

The first thing you’ll want to do is evaluate how you feel about your current home, measure that against your needs and see if those needs could be met by making changes to the house itself.

If you decide that you love your current home and location but the reason for feeling the desire for a new one has to do with the layout, size or it’s outdated feeling. Those are adjustments that can be explored through a physical remodel with the help of an architect.

Our Queen Anne ADU turned a basement into a private place for short-term rentals that could also be utilized by visiting family.

For example, maybe a recent life change, like having a new baby or permanently working from home, has made your space feel smaller. Options like finishing a basement to get extra space, re-working your layout to create an additional room, or even bumping out a wall, adding a dormer or a second story could all be solutions. Perhaps the opposite is true, and you need less space, in which case, turning your basement into an ADU could offer some additional income as well as help you downsize.

Maybe the increased amount of time spent at home has taught you that you love to cook, and you dream of a chef’s kitchen that is a far cry from your current one. All it could take is moving some walls to expand the space, re-working the layout and adding some new fixtures, finishes and appliances. Then you could get your dream space at a fraction of the cost while keeping all the other things about your home that you love.

A new kitchen bump-out in this home added a much-needed family dining area with a dutch door and large windows for connection between the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

This photo comparison shows the before and after of our Leschi House which had a huge impact with little construction. The partial wall was removed that previously created a very closed off kitchen and then, with some updated custom cabinetry, new fixtures, finishes, furniture and brighter paint, the home feels like an entirely new space.

After mostly being at home for a couple of years, staring at the same walls, many people are feeling less inspired by their current space – they desire a space that better reflects their personality. If you are feeling this way, you’re not alone!

If you’ve taken the time to evaluate your current home and you came to the conclusion that your location is optimal and the house itself has good bones, this is even more of a reason to remodel rather than seek out a new house. Not only would a refresh allow you to stay in the neighborhood, but you could get exactly what you want down to every detail. 

It doesn’t take a big home addition project to affect real change, even interior improvements such as updated cabinetry, finishes, different wall colors or even some bold wallpaper in select areas, and a few new furniture pieces could entirely transform your space – all without moving a single wall.

This remodeled water view home in West Seattle previously had zero curb appeal and not only didn’t have enough space for their growing needs but didn’t take advantage of the sweeping unobstructed views of the sound. Everything about the located and the bones of the house were perfect – and while it definitely needed an overhaul – it was the absolute dream home that this family will love for decades to comes.

The Madrona Craftsman was originally built in 1911 and with its last remodel over 20 years ago, it was due for a refresh that better suited its owners tastes while staying true to the original style of the home. One of the bathrooms on the main level was transformed with soft green paint and a contrasting dark, floral wallpaper, gold light fixture and mirror. The look was completed with black fixtures throughout. Simple upgrades that created a completely new look and feel.

If you decide that the most important catalyst is the neighborhood or proximity to a job or school, yet the house of your dreams is still out of reach, remodeling is still an option – except maybe it’s not your current house but a new one that went on the market just down the road. If you find a new home that is in your budget and has the right bones, an architect can help you come up with a plan to transform it into the home of your dreams. Still not sure if the house on the market has what it takes?  You can do a pre-purchase walkthrough with an architect to determine if the home has everything you need for your desired remodel before you get locked into the purchase.

The North Seattle Family Home was perfectly located for this young family – it even had a park right across the street! But the square footage was not big enough for their family to grow into and the layout was terrible. Above, you can see the before and after shots of what now looks like an entirely new home with the addition that added a second floor and turned the attic into a large suite for guests or a light-filled home office.

Below shows the existing kitchen and living room. The previously narrow galley-style kitchen was not only horribly outdated but split up the house in an awkward way since it was right in the middle of the home. Nothing about the layout worked well for the families lifestyle.

The photos below show just how much the main floor remodel, with its newly re-worked layout, completely changed the functionality of the space. The small and outdated galley kitchen was transformed into a large light-filled eat-in kitchen for cooking and gathering. The ground floor is now open with a centrally located playroom and dining table that function as the hub of the house. The large sliding wall between the two rooms provides flexibility for use as another guest sleeping space, homework room, or just to close off the kid’s “clubhouse.” The previously outdated style was replaced with whitewashed pine floors, black wainscoting, clean lines and modern functional lighting.

Right now, a remodel could be a great investment to improve your life and the lives of your family to create a home that better fits your lifestyle, but it can also increase the value of the home when the day comes that you decide it’s the right time to list.

The next question we are often asked by those who consider their remodel a temporary solution is, which types of remodels offer the best return on investment if a future sale is likely?  While it’s best to consult with a realtor familiar with your market, most agree that the best return on investment come from the following project types:

  • Kitchens
  • Adding bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Adding home office space
  • Adding an ADU or DADU

Other smaller improvements can also have a surprisingly positive both short- and long-term effect:

  • Refinishing hardwood floors (or removing carpet and installing hardwoods)
  • Updating your curb appeal
  • Refreshing your paint

This full home remodel and second story addition in West Seattle had it all – from serious curb appeal to bumps outs, newly remodeled kitchen, beautifully refreshed bathrooms, finished basement turned into a play area with a new bedroom and bath and all new fixtures, finishes and appliances. While this family intends to stay for a while, they made all the smart investments for any future sales.

Whether you are looking to stay in your home for years to come or looking to make short term improvements before you sell in a few years, working with a team of architects and interior designers is the best way to help you come up with just the right plan for you and your space.