Out With the Old: Renovation Trends

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Two decades ago when Del Webb broke ground in Anthem, entertainment niches, multi-level kitchen islands and gold bathroom fixtures were all the rage. If this doesn’t ring a bell, ask any neighbor who hasn’t remodeled yet to show you what they’re stuck with.

For many homeowners, and homebuyers, these 20-year-old architectural flourishes are cringe-worthy.

Renovating can bring you joy and fresh functionality, and even if you plan to sell your house the makeovers can help you stay competitive with other homes on the market, experts say.

Kitchen Redux

“The architects used the multi-level island and everyone is no longer happy with that design,” said Dale Kendall, president of Kendallwood Designs. “It doesn’t have the countertop space that the same counter has when it’s one level. It doesn’t give the openness that people want. A lot of people are redoing the island and refinishing the cabinets.” 

Refinishing cabinets costs less than replacing them, Kendall said.

While both kitchen and bathroom remodels are trending high these days, kitchens tend to be the priority. “That’s what sells the home,” said MarJeanne Buckner, marketing director at Rise Above Remodeling.

Better Bathrooms

The big trend in bathroom updates is a new shower and tiles, Kendall said. He added, “And countertops, sinks, faucets and lighting…” illustrating how one update inevitably leads to another in older homes. 

Color preferences are shifting from cold grey to taupe, Buckner said. “We are still seeing the wood look for tile,“ she said. “Modern and clean lines still, and white subway tiles made a huge comeback. People are tired of the same old thing.”

And guys, don’t expect to do much more than nod your approval on the bathroom renovation.

“At the end of the day the woman is making the choice on the home and women really like those master bathrooms,” Buckner said.

Nix the Niches

Now that many people have less equipment and fewer wires hooked up to their TVs, putting up new drywall to remove the niches has become popular. People prefer to hang the TV on a flat wall, Kendall said. “We trim it out. It’s a lighter, more airy feeling.”

“Some have fireplaces or entertainment centers and put tile over them, or cabinets for storage,” Buckner said. “Really that’s for enjoyable personal use. That’s not going to add value to your home.”

A bigger issue often lurks underneath the kitchy features.

“Most of these houses are relatively the same,” said Nick Kahler from Creative Home Enhancements. “The one thing you run into is when you’re reframing—these walls aren’t plum and straight.” 

Sometimes Kahler finds another surprise: “We open up the walls and we’ll see Happy Meal leftovers inside from the construction workers. They put them up pretty fast during the boom.”

To DIY or Not to DIY

If you fancy yourself the HGTV-type, the contractors we spoke to have two words of advice: “Start small.” As in maybe a paintbrush.

If you’re ambitious, then perhaps the best DIY project is new vinyl flooring, Kahler said. “You should get a good quality product, but it’s worth the investment. You can learn how to do that.” 

And skip the plumbing and electrical projects.

“If you go in and we have to fix it, you’re paying twice,” Buckner said. “Always choose a licensed contractor especially for plumbing and electrical.”

On a Low Budget?

If you’re thinking of remodeling, Step 1 is to consider your budget. If you have only $5,000 or so to spend, the smart thing may be to simply get the house in order. 

“Replace all the valves in your house so you don’t have a flood. And your smoke detectors are at the end of their life,” Kahler said. “At that price, maintenance is more important than a pretty hall bathroom.” 

If you have money leftover, update your color scheme with some fresh paint and other simple cosmetic projects, says Kendall. These might even be projects you could tackle yourself. 

Buckner suggests for $5,000 you might be able to fill in those ugly niches to make a showpiece wall and a dramatic statement.

Help Save Our Community
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and even more so this community. Supporting local businesses during this crisis can help keep our community economically viable. Please strongly consider supporting the businesses below, In&Out Magazine's display advertisers, as well as those in the Classifieds section of the magazine (see the full April 9 issue in PDF form). Many of these businesses have been part of the fabric of this community for two decades, not just serving our professional, service and retail needs but stepping up to support local charities, sports teams and so much more. Tip: If you know you’ll need to schedule a service, consider contacting a local business you trust and paying the standard fee for the deferred service. The links below go to their web sites.

Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates • 602-242-4592
Anthem Senior Living • 602-909-9550
Appliance Pros • 502-501-5501
Business Network of Anthem • 623-455-9630
Carroll Law Firm • 623-551-9366
Century 21 Real Estate - Jeff Huff • 623-223-1221
Creative Home Enhancements • 623-551-5409
Daisy Dream Homes Real Estate • 623-879-3277
Daisy Mountain Dentistry • 623-551-5250
Desert Foothills Air Conditioning • 480-595-0938
Edward Jones • 623-551-0523
Element Dental Centers • 623-551-5555
Hand & Stone Massage • 623-551-6602
Kendallwood Design • 602-252-3844
Kodiak Roofing • 602-501-7717
Luv My PC • 480-703-6609
Merrill Gardens • 623-201-4881
North Valley Water Solutions • 623-551-0515
Preferred Business of Anthem • 623-551-0523 
Prickett Realty • 623-551-8111
ProSkill Services • 623-551-7473
RE/MAX Professionals - Mike Higgins • 623-640-7502
Rise Above Remodeling • 623-551-2013
Soft Water Plus • 623-551-7383
SonoranScapes Landscaping • 602-842-9948
State Farm Insurance - Justin Simons • 623-551-3700
Storage at Anthem • 623-226-8634
Sunset Cabinets • 623-687-6579
Thompson & McGinnis Attorneys at Law • 602-952-2666
Titan Tree Care • 623-444-8448
Titan Pest Control • 623-879-8700
Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical • 623-551-6688

For more local businesses, see In&Out Magazine Classifed Ads >>>  
Lara Gates
Anthem resident Lara Gates is executive director of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She's a former managing editor of In&Out Magazine and prior to that was an executive producer in local television.

Lara Gates

Anthem resident Lara Gates is executive director of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She's a former managing editor of In&Out Magazine and prior to that was an executive producer in local television.

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