The second week in August, National Resurrect Romance Week, is a great time to take a closer look at the bedroom, say members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 49 years.
Remodels that make the bedroom more functional usually focus on increasing the amount of usable space, said Bob Sebastian, CR, CKBR, design consultant with Brillo Home Improvements, Inc. in Milwaukee. “The bedroom is one of the places that people spend the most time in their home,” Sebastian said. He suggested homeowners consider the following questions about their bedrooms:
• Is the bedroom as big as the homeowners would like it to be?
• Is the layout ideal?
• Could a connecting master bath be added?
• What is the status of the closet, carpet, and décor?
“Renovating a bedroom doesn’t necessarily mean increasing square footage,” Sebastian points out. “These functional changes can include relocating doors and windows to allow for better furniture placement. Even changing the size and style of these can have a positive impact.”
For some homeowners, changing the size or layout of the closet also can make a big difference. “It doesn’t always mean making the closet larger. Splitting a longer closet into two with a piece of furniture between them doesn’t really compromise storage and can visually expand the room,” he says.
However, it’s the dream of many homeowners to add on to the closet space. That dream became reality in a recent project by Design Group Three in Milwaukee, where an attached garage attic was converted into a master closet. “It’s quite common to take advantage of that existing attic space, especially when the garage is attached,” states lead designer Matthew Krier. “‘This space cannot be big enough,’ were the words I heard again and again during the preliminary design phase.”
A number of things were done to provide organization and storage. Introduced into the garage were heating and cooling ducts, all new insulation, and an engineered support beam. Direct access was created between the bedroom and closet with a new interior door. The design included a high vaulted ceiling, ample lighting, a ceiling fan, and task lighting for the built-in ironing board. Secondhand shelving, hanging systems, mirrors, a large island with benches, pull-out tie and belt racks, pull-out chrome baskets, more adjustable shelves, and velvet-lined jewelry drawers were installed.
“Tucked away behind the door is a 13-cubic-foot home safe for valuables and documents,” Krier says. “The safe is built into the wall and secured to the floor framing.”
Another dream-come-true for one of the homeowners is the entire wall filled with neatly organized women’s shoes. “Each shoebox has its own Polaroid photo showing what’s inside,” he says. “Another wall displays women’s clothing organized into sections by color and season.”
The husband also has a corner dedicated to suits, T-shirts, shoes, and Wisconsin Badger items. “Creating a new closet freed the garage of clutter and has allowed the husband to finally get ‘his’ space back, which turned out to be a hidden agenda all along,” Krier says. A new insulated door allows access to the remainder of the unfinished attic space, where the owners store their suitcases and holiday decorations.
Beyond the closet, Milwaukee/NARI offers a few tips for homeowners who may want to remodel the bedroom:
• Ask yourself what else the room could be used for after a few changes are made – crafting, reading/library area, or a den, complete with big screen TV and small refrigerator?
• Create a universal design with accessible features that will meet any anticipated future needs, such as wider doorways, minimum thresholds on doorways, and digital displays that are easier to see.
• When interviewing Remodelers, ask if they’ve done bedroom remodels in the past and if you can call their past clients for referrals.
• Once you’ve chosen your Remodeler, use him or her as a resource about cost and quality when selecting new windows, woodwork, furniture, and even décor features like bedspreads, pillows, window treatments and wall art.
• For an extra hand in decorating, homeowners can hire a design/build firm that partners with a decorator or has its own on staff.
Milwaukee/NARI members suggest thinking outside the box. “Aesthetic changes go way beyond paint,” Sebastian reminds homeowners. As an example, he describes a child’s bedroom project. “Removing the flat ceiling in bedrooms is a great way to add volume and drama. I removed the flat ceiling above the kid’s bedroom and closet, creating a loft above the closet that the child could access by a built-in ladder.”
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI’s Remodeling Guide,” call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at www.milwaukeenari.org.
Note: A photo of the Design Group Three attic closet project is attached.
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