Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market Value

Basements have experienced a dramatic shift in reputation over the years. In the beginning, they were often a neglected space. Serving little purpose, other than extra storage space and collecting cobwebs, basements were deemed unlikely to yield a smart return on investment. As time has gone on, more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of remodeling their lower levels into a potential living space.

“Basement conversion is such an inviting prospect because it is significantly less expensive than putting on an addition,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer with Callen. More specifically, many architects and contractors put the cost savings of redoing a basement versus putting on an addition at one-third to one-half less, depending on project scope and area of the country. “Homeowners already own the space and taxes are paid on it; not to mention basements come equipped with a roof, walls, ceiling, foundation and sewer hookups in place,” she added. Consequently, a basement remodel adds value to your home, particularly in urban areas where extra square footage brings a premium.

According to Paulette, there are a few aspects homeowners should keep in mind when tackling a basement remodel. For instance, if your basement shows signs of water or moisture, it’s imperative to resolve these problems in order to avoid replacing furnishings. “Be sure to have a dehumidifier and have proper heating and cooling systems installed for a more comfortable atmosphere,” she said.

“It’s also important that your contractor know the local ordinances regarding the required number and sizes of exits for adding in a bedroom,” said Paulette.

In addition, it’s vital to never seal off existing mechanical systems, circuit breakers, and future plumbing lines. Professionals will need to have access to these for maintenance and repairs. “If needed, homeowners can always soundproof mechanical systems,” she explained.

Moreover, try not to chop up space. “Similar to how homeowners prefer open space on main floor living areas, it should be more open downstairs too,” said Paulette. “It makes the space more transitional of how you will use it as time goes by.”

Basement Conversion Provides Extra Living Space and Higher Market ValueFinally, homeowners don’t necessarily need to renovate their basement in a style that that is consistent with upstairs. “Basement conversion is unique to the individual. Whether a gym, a theater, or a playroom, the basement can be an outward expression of personality,” Paulette said. “Our team of experts not only makes the necessary provisions, we will also advise you on how you can further optimize your basement design to ensure higher value for your home.”

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.



Keeping Your Home Warm in Winter

When you’re an adult, the fun of winter activities like sledding, ice skating, and building snowmen with the kids doesn’t quite make up for the high utility bills that come with Wisconsin’s cold winters. Check out these tips from Callen, the top Lake Country remodeling company, to make the winter months a little easier on your pocketbook.

Let the sun warm your home naturally. An easy (and free!) way to help heat your home this winter is to take advantage of the warmth provided by the sun. Make sure that curtains and blinds are open in rooms that receive direct sunlight during the day. Just don’t forget to close them when the sun goes down, or the warmth you gained will be lost. Consider purchasing thermal curtains for the winter to help keep the heat in.

Keeping Your Home Warm in WinterInvest in a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat is a great tool to help keep the temperature in your home consistent. Setting the thermostat to lower temperatures when your home is unoccupied and when you sleep at night will help conserve energy and lower your energy costs. Cooler nighttime temperatures may even contribute to better sleep. Simply program your thermostat to the low- to mid-60s for the hours you’re asleep, then set it to start warming the house up again within an hour or so of when you usually wake up.

Keep the doors closed to rooms used the least. Most people spend the majority of their time in two or three rooms, such as the kitchen and living room. By keeping the doors closed to rooms that aren’t frequented as much, as well as closing the vents in those rooms, you are reducing the amount of space that needs to be heated. This will help your home heat up more quickly and stay warm longer, plus save on your heating bill.

Reverse the direction your ceiling fans spin. By changing the direction your ceiling fans rotate, from counter-clockwise to clockwise, warm air that rises to your ceiling is pushed back down into the room. Be sure to keep the ceiling fan at a low speed to prevent it from cooling the air too much.

Get Assistance from the Top Lake Country Remodeling Company. To save more money this coming winter, take stock of your windows to determine if your home would benefit from window replacement in Milwaukee. When you are ready to invest in energy-saving replacement windows, call Callen 414-765-2585 to get started.



Plan Ahead: Remodeling to Do Before Next Year’s Holidays

If you are like most homeowners, the holidays tend to sneak up on you! With all the planning of menus and holiday guest lists, those home updates you had planned to do before your next holiday gathering probably took a back seat. Although it may be too late for pre-holiday completion, now is the perfect time to plan and implement home improvement projects, including kitchen remodeling in Milwaukee, to get your home ready for next year’s celebrations.

Replace Outdated Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets take up a lot of space in the kitchen, so cabinets that are old-fashioned and unattractive quickly make your kitchen look dated. There are many modern cabinet styles available to give your kitchen a fresh, new look, or you can stick with a timeless, classic design. The same goes for bathroom vanities. If you have the time and want to save yourself some money, try painting your cabinets and putting on some new hardware to make them stand out.

Plan Ahead: Remodeling to Do Before Next Year’s HolidaysAdd a Backsplash

A quick and easy way to give your kitchen new life is with a tile backsplash. While bright colors and bold patterns have been en vogue, the trends are moving toward tastefully understated backsplashes. These backsplashes add elegance while blending into the background, and will help protect your walls from stains and moisture damage. Ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles are good material choices because they look great and won’t stain.

Transform a Breakfast Nook

A breakfast nook can become wasted space if it isn’t utilized properly, but with careful planning it can be the perfect solution for extra seating at your next holiday gathering. Make the most of your space by using a pedestal table with a round top, which allows for more seating than a square or rectangular table. Use a unique chandelier to add interest to the space, or go for something simpler if your table has a lot of detail. Thermal-lined window treatments will keep out the sun’s hot rays in the summer and protect against cold air in the winter.

If you would like to try one of these projects, or want to go bigger with a remodeling project such as basement finishing in Greenfield, WI, give the experts at Callen a call at 414-765-2585. We will get you on your way to the perfect set-up for your next family gathering.





Lighting Techniques for the Kitchen

When designing a kitchen, much attention is given to the countertops, cabinets, flooring, and appliances. But just as important is the lighting. Without the right types of lighting, a kitchen can look dull, dark, and dated.

“No single light source can provide all the necessary light for a kitchen. A well-lit kitchen layers and blends different types of light,” said Paulette Sodemann, a designer with Callen. “When planning kitchen lighting, we incorporate three main types: ambient, task, and accent. Every kitchen is different, so what works for one may not be appropriate for another, but here are some general guidelines.”

Lighting Techniques for the Kitchen

Ambient lighting provides the basic illumination of the kitchen, allowing you to see and move about safely. Typically this lighting is recessed in the ceiling (can lights) or flush mounted. Recessed lighting is best placed around the perimeter of the room. Ambient lighting can also be accomplished with a central, decorative chandelier, or wall mounted fixtures. Lighting above cabinets that do not reach all the way to the ceiling is another choice for ambient light.

Task lighting focuses directly on work surfaces such as food prep area, stoves, sinks or islands. Over an island, pendant lighting is a workable solution; on perimeter countertops, undercabinet lighting works well. Ideally, task lighting comes between a person’s head and the work surface, which makes lighting located below the upper cabinets so effective. Many times, a pendant light can also work over a sink in addition to the island, but this depends on the size of the kitchen.

Accent lighting is the finishing touch used to highlight an architectural feature or decorative items or collections. Accent lights can also be put into glass cabinets or above open cabinets with a high ceiling, in toe kick spaces, or even under island overhangs to create drama.

If the kitchen has a traditional eating area outside of the island, lighting there is critical too. Either a decorative pendant or a chandelier that fits the style of your kitchen are options.

“We also recommend dimmer switches for the times you don’t want an abundance of light. Dimmers on all your light switches will help you create the mood you want,” Paulette said.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.