Jul

17

Four Popular Updates for a Better Laundry Room

Four Popular Updates for a Better Laundry RoomWhile kitchen and bathroom remodeling still lead the pack when it comes to home renovation, homeowners have increasingly started to choose a laundry room upgrade as their remodeling project of choice. Smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize they spend a lot of time doing laundry, so they may as well do it in a space that they enjoy! If a laundry room update is in your future, consider these ideas from Callen Construction to get a fresh new look.

Hook It Up

If your laundry room doesn’t have a good spot for a clothes rod, you can go another route by adding hooks to the wall, the doors of an armoire, or the side of a revamped entertainment center. Being able to hang your clothes as you launder them is important, as it helps decrease wrinkling and allows for easy, convenient transfer of your clothing items from the laundry room to the closet.

Create a Folding Station

When it comes to folding laundry, folding as you go will save a lot of time and trouble. If you have side-by-side front loading appliances, a counter-height table built directly over them will give you an ideal surface on which to fold each load as it comes out of the dryer. If this set-up is not a viable option for you, a baby changing station is a good alternative that lets you fold at a comfortable height and has the advantage of additional shelving for your laundry supplies.

Lighten Up the Room

Many laundry rooms are in the basement, which can make the already dreaded task of tackling laundry even more challenging. To combat this, paint your laundry room a bright, cheerful color, such as a sunny yellow. With as much time as the average person spends in the laundry room, why not make it a more pleasant place to be?

Repurpose Furniture

As more and more people opt for wall-mounted flat screen TVs, big and bulky entertainment centers are becoming a thing of the past. Fortunately, there are many ways to repurpose them for other uses, one of which is as a laundry station! Simply adjust the entertainment center shelves as needed to allow room for laundry baskets and supplies, and add a clothes rod to accommodate items that need to be hung. Freestanding cabinets and armoires are another great option that allows your laundry station to be hidden when not in use.

If you want a local remodeling company that knows its stuff, Call Callen at 414-765-2585. We can answer your questions about laundry room updates, as well as any other home improvement projects you may have in mind.

Jun

12

2017 Design Trends

2017 home design trends“From gunmetal, to customized storage walls, to laundry rooms with personality, there is an array of new design trends that have come to the forefront in 2017,” said Kathleen Yttri, designer with Callen Construction in Muskego.

“Gunmetal finishes have been making a jump in popularity in recent years, admired for their ability to bring be bold and stand on their own without the high price tag. They are reflecting the new trend in appliances with the black stainless finish,” Kathleen said. More recently, designers have been turning away from the reflective finish of polished chrome and are embracing satin or brushed finishes, which is more muted. “A matte gunmetal finish can be transitional or contemporary and it looks fantastic against any color of cabinetry,” she said.

In search of more open space in their kitchens, many homeowners and designers are pushing storage into a single hardworking wall, instead of using upper cabinets. This design development creates a one-stop storage area that frees up the rest of the space to promote a more open free flowing look and gives you the opportunity to use tile and floating shelves in place of upper cabinets.

The use of different white tones is also becoming more popular, as there’s something refreshing about a room bathed in white with subtle accents of other neutral colors. Conversely, things can start to feel clinical when only one stark white tone is used. “Balancing a white palette with creamy off-whites, cool greys or natural linen hues creates a breathtaking look that can be rich with character. It can also let you have tons of flexibility with bold color accents and a rich wood tone floor,” she said.

Upgrading on laundry rooms is increasing in popularity, as homeowners are seeing value in enhancing this area of the home. “Smarter storage and better function resonate with homeowners who realize they spend a lot of time doing laundry, they may as well do it in a space that they love,” Kathleen said.

Similar to the laundry room, entryways are also receiving more attention. The entryway is the first part of the home guests see and therefore has become a focus of organization, a reflection of the homes style in a compact area. You can have fun with design and a function and organization to the hub of coming and going without allocating a significant amount of money. “Sometimes all it takes is a few customized sayings in frames, a statement mirror, and a narrow table or bench with a tray for shoes underneath,” she said. “After all, first impressions matter.”

Lastly, counter-depth refrigerators are providing an option when kitchen space is tight. “For small to modest-size kitchens, remodeling is often a game of inches,” said Kathleen. “Counter-depth refrigerators sit closer to cabinetry and countertop depth, freeing up just a bit more clearance space, while creating a more streamlined look.”

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Aug

19

Making the Most of Interior Spaces (part 1)

by Paulette Sodemann

Kitchens and baths are by far the most common remodeling projects, but there are other smaller projects that contribute to making your house comfortable, efficient, and beautiful.

For example, we are doing a lot of spiffing up of mudrooms.  In our climate, with snow in the winter and mud in the spring, it’s nice to have a transition area from the outside to the main part of the house.  But mudrooms are more than just a place for shucking boots and shoes. They are evolving into beautifully organized areas where there is a place for everything.  For households with children, lockers or cubbies at just the right height make it easy for the little ones to leave their backpacks, hang their jackets, and store their footwear. An adult household doesn’t need those hooks 40 inches off the floor, but closet space for outerwear, handbags, and umbrellas are a great addition.  A mudroom equipped with counterspace is a convenient stopping point when bringing multiple bags of groceries in from the car.  Enclosed storage, whether it’s wall cabinets or a pantry-type closet, can handle all those bulk items and overstock that don’t need to go in the kitchen.  More and more, the counters include docking stations to recharge the cell phone or laptop.  Organizers can handle keys, mail, and other household miscellaneous.

Further enhancing the mudroom are updated laundry centers.  Main floor laundry rooms are not only step savers, but make doing the laundry a lot more enjoyable.  Relocated from the basement, the old free-standing laundry tub is replaced by a drop-in sink surrounded by a countertop.  Recessed washer boxes keep the supply hoses, discharge hose and shutoff valve into the wall, accessible but out of sight.  The sink can be eliminated entirely if desired and replaced with a counter or storage.  Front loaders also allow placement of a counter over the machines. The counter is higher than standard, but the point is to maximize usable space.
Of course, in much of the older housing stock, mudrooms are not more than tiny entranceways. Even so, there are creative ways to carve space from an adjacent room, the garage itself, or a back porch.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your space is, just use every inch of it to create order out of chaos.
More interior remodeling ideas in my next blog.

Jun

16

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Washing Machine

As the owner of Callen Construction, Inc. and Callen Design Group and a member of Milwaukee/NARI, I’m quite eager to show off our work during NARI’s annual tour of remodeled homes, the Spring Home Improvement Showcase.  I never expected or planned to put my own home on tour, but that is what happened, all because of the laundry room.

My wife, Bonnie, really wanted a first floor laundry room, which she got later rather than sooner, because like the shoemaker’s children who had no shoes, I’m the construction guy busy on other people’s projects.  Anyway, we were able to create a laundry room by utilizing closet space in the eating/entertainment area of our kitchen and bumping out a bit into an adjacent bedroom.  Now here is how one simple project morphed into almost an entire first floor re-do and a spot in the Spring Home Improvement Showcase.  Since we were opening up a wall and changing up the eating/entertainment area, we decided to freshen up its look, beginning with stripping off wallpaper.  Well, the wallpaper extended into the kitchen cooking area, so of course we had to continue with the stripping and repainting.  And since we never liked our countertops, backsplash, and sinks, why not replace those, too!

Does it stop there?  You guessed it.  The kitchen connects to the dining room, which we had redone a few years prior, but not the windows.  So we thought now was as good a time as any for window replacement.  As long as we’re replacing windows in the dining room, let’s fix those living room windows as well, replacing a picture window and two French casements with three cottage-style double hungs.  And we were never crazy about the fireplace.  Let’s gut it to the studs and replace the woodburning feature with gas.  We need some new comfortable furniture, too.  Before you know it, we’ve got a whole new look.

Now in early March, I met with my staff and marketing people to discuss the spring tour and possible projects we could feature.  I never gave a thought to showing my own house, but at their suggestion, well, I suppose Bonnie and I could feature the laundry room, kitchen and living room.

A little background here.  Over the past 25 years, Bonnie and I have redone almost the entire house bit by bit.  Prior to the laundry room fix, our most recent projects were the upstairs bathroom and bedrooms in 2007 and the dining room and front hallway in 2006.  We’ve made cosmetic changes several times throughout. So now we are talking about not only showing the first floor, but the entire house.

The race is on.  Do you know what’s involved in prepping a house for a home tour, even a house that was recently remodeled?  You start by taking a long hard look at everything in the house, where it’s placed, how it functions, if it’s attractive or worn, and so much more.  Is there a crack in the plaster somewhere that was overlooked? Does the carpeting have a stain?  Do the window treatments need updating or cleaning? Will our new furniture arrive in time or will the living room be empty?  Should we get a new bedspread?  You look at everything from a different perspective, wondering what people will notice, and what will they think, down to the infinitesimal detail.

So many things to consider and accomplish in a short amount of time.  Remember, we decided this at the end of March and the tour was the second weekend in May.  Needless to say, it was intense. Thanks to Merry Maids for the deep cleaning.  Thanks to Faith Wolf, our interior designer, for making sure our furniture came on time.  Thanks to Bonnie and Faith for coordinating all the finishing touches, their good taste in choosing just the right accessories, and setting our dining room table so that it was fit for a presidential visit.

The day of the tour, we went to a hotel, exhausted, and slept most of the afternoon.  But the house looked the best it ever had.  We had 97 visitors on Saturday and 90 on Sunday.  Faith Wolf, who was in the home during the tour, said the response was fabulous.  The good thing about this is that having the home on the tour meant everything we wanted to do got done.  No postponing of a project or putting off the finishing touches.

Now every time I come home, I come to a home I really enjoy.  And it makes sense.  This is where we want to be.  There is no Florida getaway, no lake cottage.  This is the house we want to enjoy and stay in for as long as we possibly can.

Now the funny thing is, what do you think is Bonnie’s favorite part of the remodel?  If you guessed the first floor laundry, you would be correct.  She loves not having to walk up and down the stairs to the basement lugging clothes back and forth.  I enjoy most my new leather chair by the gas fireplace.

My point in this rather long blog is that a homeowner should truly love where they are living.  Make your home what you want it to be.  You don’t need to knock out a wall or build an addition to make things more comfortable or beautiful.  Little things can go a long way to improving appearance and functionality, like our laundry room and the fireplace.  Even if you can only afford to do one thing at a time, change out old doors, get that new sink and faucet, invest in closet organizers, replace your cabinet hardware…it all makes a difference.  The best part is you will feel good about where you are living.

– Tom