Should You Stay or Should You Go? Remodeling Versus Moving

The question of whether to remodel or move is a difficult one that many families have to face at some point. When the starter home becomes too small for a growing family, or the family home feels a bit too big for empty nesters, it may be time to ponder the idea of taking on a major construction project to make your home better suited to your new lifestyle. Or would it be easier to simply find a new place? Here are some simple considerations to help you make the decision.

Determine your needs. If you now have more children than bedrooms, you will likely want more space. If you’ve recently started a home-based business, an office is probably on the wish list. These kinds of renovations can easily be accomplished by an experienced Brookfield remodeling company. If, however, you need so much space that it would require the roof coming off a second story or raising the house, it may make more sense to move.

Be honest about what you want to change. If you are in love with the area where you live but not your home, remodeling makes sense. But if it’s the yard, location, schools, neighborhoods or other unalterable features that are problematic, a move might be the better option – even if you like your home.

Evaluate the market. In your neighborhood, how many properties have sold in the last few months? Did they sell for close to the asking price or below? How long were they on the market? And don’t forget about real estate commissions, financing charges, moving costs, utility deposits and other expenses associated with buying a new home. Collectively, this information will help you determine if now is a good time to sell.

Think about the final value. It’s always easier to sell a home that’s around the same price as neighboring homes. In the end, doing major home improvements might put your house above and beyond the value of the other homes on your block, which could make selling painful.

Speak with a professional. A professional remodeler can help you calculate the costs of materials and labor for your potential project so you will know whether you are financially ready to do the work. He will also be familiar with local building codes and ordinances, which could have a big impact on what you can do with your home.

Callen Blog - Remodeling vs Moving 080315At Callen Construction, our goal with a home remodel is always to exceed a client’s expectations while keeping within their budget and solving any problems along the way. Managing expectations and detailing every part of the process allows you to know what’s coming up and us to stay on schedule. Discover for yourself how we put the “WOW” in home remodeling! Call Callen today at 414-765-2585 or schedule a no-obligation consultation with the best remodeling company in Lake Country, Milwaukee, Waukesha and Brookfield areas.



Essential Bathroom Lighting Tips

Callen Blog - Bathroom Lighting Types 072715Last month, we blogged about types of lighting for the kitchen and ways to use lighting to improve the look and functionality of the kitchen area. Now let’s take a look at the bathroom, where similar types of lighting are used to create ambiance while still keeping the space functional.

According to Randall Whitehead, a nationally renowned lighting designer and author of seven books on lighting, lighting matters more in the bathroom than any other room in the house. This is because bathroom lighting is used for detailed grooming tasks such as putting on makeup and shaving. Lighting also influences how we see ourselves. Improper lighting can wash out the complexion and cast shadows that make you appear older, negatively impacting your confidence and how you feel about yourself when you “take a look in the mirror.”

It is recommended that a combination of the following types of lighting be used to make the most of bathroom remodeling in Brookfield and transform your bath into a relaxing yet functional oasis.

  • Task lighting. Task lighting provides ample light for the daily grooming routine, and is best achieved when two fixtures are mounted on either side of the mirror over the sink – also known as cross-illumination. The light fixtures should be mounted at least 28 inches apart and around 60 inches off of the floor. Avoid recessed overhead lighting because it can create harsh shadows and lines on the face. Also, installing task lighting with a dimmer will allow your eyes to adjust first thing in the morning, and help you wind down at night.
  • Ambient lighting. General ceiling lights that distribute light in all directions should be installed for ambient light, but are not ideal for beauty and grooming tasks. Natural light from windows or skylights can also be a good source of ambient light.
  • Accent lighting. Used in combination with task and ambient lighting, accent lighting can be used to highlight unique areas or features of the bathroom, such as artwork, plants, or a beautifully tiled shower.

For guidance on layering lights to create the optimal balance between task, ambient, and accent lighting in your bathroom, or for other questions about bathroom remodeling in Waukesha, Brookfield, Milwaukee, or surrounding areas, call Callen today at 414-529-5509. Our experts put the “WOW” in home and bathroom remodeling!



“Staycation” Suggestions for Your Home’s Exterior

by Christopher Wittmann, CR, Callen Exterior Product Specialist

With many families watching their spending, opting for “staycations” instead of extravagant getaways has become a frequent compromise. A staycation is a vacation from work for relaxation and leisure activities at home. Designing outdoor spaces does take planning, but these suggestions can help turn your backyard into a staycation destination. A wide range of upgrades, additions, and remodeling projects for the home’s exterior can be done to create the ideal atmosphere for vacationing at home.

The first step is to think of exterior space like the inside of your home. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want space for cooking and entertaining? Do you want seating and recreation areas? Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you can move forward on developing the space.

Callen Blog - Staycation Suggestions 072015Deck
Homeowners can make the deck a destination by defining different activity zones within the space. For example, a pergola featuring vines and an abundance of plants in containers bring the surrounding garden up onto the deck and help blend the structure into the landscape. Another option is adding a hot tub or spa for long, relaxing soaks. To determine the best location for the spa, consider access to the house, privacy, and whether you want the tub in sunshine or shade. A typical round hot tub is six feet in diameter, requiring 30 square feet of space, while a rectangular tub requires about 48 square feet. Additional space is needed for sitting and walking around the tub.

The patio has become an extension of the home and with planning, the space can be a restful seasonal room.  Patios are usually surfaced with brick or stone. If concrete is used, add texture and color to imitate stone for a more natural look. It is also best to pattern the space after the home’s architecture.

Outdoor Kitchen
If you are a regular griller throughout the year, eating outdoors as weather permits, an outdoor kitchen is often an excellent addition to a home.  A countertop for preparing food, along with closed storage and a separate side burner will improve the outdoor cooking experience. Also consider adding a small refrigerator and sink to make preparation and cleanup even easier.

Outdoor Structures
A gazebo adds another aspect to an outdoor getaway. Whether adjacent to a deck, near a pool, or within the landscape, a gazebo is its own outdoor room, providing a sheltered space for dining or relaxing.  Adding tall objects, like arbors or fences, can make the eye travel upwards, creating a larger sense of space. Pergolas and trellises are other options that also help delineate zones within the space.

Additional Amenities
Fountains, fireplaces, and fire pits are used to augment the attractiveness and effectiveness of outdoor spaces. Fountains add the calming sound of trickling water and often serve as the space’s focal point.  Fireplaces can also be a focal point and define the space. Whether built-in or moveable, fire pits also draw people together and can prolong use of the outdoor space.

Consider these aspects of the outdoor space to ensure it is utilized to its fullest potential.

Privacy: The area needs to have a sense of enclosure, achieved through the use of fences, garden walls, pergolas, and landscaping to define the space and restrict views of neighboring houses.
Shade: You will enjoy the outdoors more by providing relief from the sun through the use of mature trees, umbrellas, retractable awnings, or pergolas and arbors planted with vines.
Furniture: There are more options than ever when it comes to outdoor furniture, including wrought and cast iron or aluminum, wood, wicker and synthetic, weatherproof furniture and fabrics.
Lighting: At a minimum, this entails porch lights that illuminate home access and provide ambient lighting.  For outdoor kitchens, task lighting is needed at the grill and work areas. Other options include wall mount down lights and dimmable electric lamps. Steps and walkways should also be illuminated for safety.
Landscaping and Gardens: Incorporating the area with natural greenery allows the mind to rest. Use of colorful and fragrant flowers, tall grasses, and gardens can bring back memories of past vacation venues.

General upkeep for the space is also important. Clear and trim low hanging branches to open the view, sweep away leftover spring debris, and wash hard surfaces. Not only will this type of maintenance make the space function better, it will make it safer to walk around and play outside. Also, make sure there is plenty of space around high traffic areas like doorways and grills.

For assistance with any exterior improvement projects, call Callen today at (414) 765-2585 for a FREE inspection and estimate. We’re the exterior remodeling company Milwaukee homeowners have trusted since 1986!



Seven Signs It’s Time for Roof Replacement

Callen Blog - When to Replace Roof 071315Years of exposure to the elements will eventually leave your roof unable to effectively protect your family and possessions. But waiting until you see water stains on the ceiling or a puddle on the floor is never the best way to find out your roof is failing! Instead, be proactive by routinely looking for signs that indicate your roof may be damaged or nearing the end of its useful life. Here are several signs that it may be time to consider roof replacement for your home.

1) Most experts agree that a typical asphalt shingle roof will last between 20 and 30 years. If your roof has hit the 20-year mark, chances are it’s time to begin preparing for replacement.

2) Cracked, curling or missing shingles can allow water to penetrate your roof and result in leaks.

3) When an asphalt shingle roof is in need of replacement, large amounts of granules can be found in gutters. Granule loss happens as the shingle mat ages and dries out.

4) Penetration of the shingle layer or roof deck caused by hail or other impact.

5) Leaks, staining, or spotting of interior ceilings, rafters, or in the attic.

6) Streaks along exterior walls that could indicate problems with water overflow.

7) Excessive mold or moss growth that traps moisture against the roof surface.

Don’t wait until the puddles start to form! When it’s time for roof replacement, trust Callen Construction, the best roofing and remodeling company in Brookfield, Milwaukee, and surrounding areas. We are pleased to be among an elite group of roofing companies that has been named a GAF Master Elite™ contractor. Callen has also been awarded the prestigious GAF President’s Club Award, reserved for those Master Elite roofing contractors that have earned the Consumer Protection, Installation Excellence, and Training Excellence awards.

Call Callen at 414-765-2585 today to find out about high-quality, durable roofing products that will solve your leak problems and give your home an updated appearance!