Home remodeling trends reveal that as the economy picks up this Spring, homeowners are increasingly considering a remodel to update, upgrade or reconfigure their homes. Before pulling out the checkbook for the latest and greatest remodeling trend, Jim LeVeque of Jim LeVeque Remodeling highly recommends value planning between a general contractor and the client.

Born and raised in Sierra Madre and working across the San Gabriel Valley since 1988, Jim is celebrating his 25th business anniversary continuing what he loves to do best, delivering the best value for each client’s project, whether it’s a kitchen or bath remodel, a ‘down to the studs’ complete makeover or a custom built home.

“Gone are the days where homeowners just hand us a remodel wish list without carefully planning the budget and prioritizing their dream list,” chuckled LeVeque. “It’s critical to prioritize and plan to make sure the essentials are covered, as well as evaluating the realistic timeline for a needed return on their investment in the project.”

Depending on that timeline reality, the answer to which parts of a project to choose, or deciding the price point may be quite different. “Do they have a five year plan to up or downsize? Do they plan to retire there and ‘age in place’ or do they intend to flip the house and sell immediately?”

“It’s really important to take a look at maximizing the return on a remodel investment. I regularly switch between two hats, as I have a degree in Real Estate Finance from Cal Poly, so I can analyze the project from a financial point of view,” pointed out LeVeque. “When I put my hardhat back on to discuss the construction and aesthetic aspects, clients can feel comfortable that they’re fully informed in making their decisions.”

Trends in 2013 home remodeling are revolving around several themes.

“The biggest trend we see is moving multiple generations back under one roof,” said Jim. “Grandma and Grandpa are moving in… Kids in their 30’s and 40’s are moving back home, sometimes with their children.”

“As families consolidate their living arrangements,” he continued, “we’re fixing up a main family home, remodeling upstairs, downstairs, garages and basements to accommodate living together but separate. By reconfiguring baths, adding privacy, widening passageways, fitting in a kitchenette or a separate entrance, we’ve had great success and delighted clients.”

Sometimes, seemingly insurmountable floorplan and accessibility issues can now be solved with new products available.

“We were working with a family with wheelchair bound grandparents in a tri-level home. Most of the living area was inaccessible for the couple. Well into the project, the owners asked if it was possible to make some type of change to allow wheelchair access to the upstairs. We were able to find a spot off the front door to add a compact elevator in an aesthetically attractive way.”

“Five to seven years ago, these products were a real luxury. Now, they’re not mainstream, but definitely a lot more affordable and achievable, allowing the family to utilize more of the home, instead of being relegated to one level.”

“Energy efficiency and consistency are two big areas in today’s remodel requests”. “Of course, LED lighting options are expanding exponentially, with their attendant electrical usage reduction, and reduced heat generation, especially compared to halogen and incandescent lighting. Insulation products available today are definitely more green and better for the installer as well as the homeowner living in it, using recycled components. We rarely use fiberglass anymore.”

“Some of our clients have ‘had it’ with unreliable power and frequent interruptions especially in the last two years, and are installing hardwired backup generators run on natural gas. Two companies, Kohler and Onan, long known for their commercial backup power for hospitals, etc. now offer great residential systems.”

“With natural gas, there’s no diesel storage tank, and they’re soundproofed to make them quiet. We install them up on the roof where they’re hidden. The technology actually self tests the unit regularly. The systems are designed to sense when power is lost, then starts up to transfer the load within 20 seconds. When utility power is restored, it automatically transfers back, again within 20 seconds.”

Another area that initially might be regarded as decadent is installing radiant heat under a bathroom’s tile floor. “Especially if a household has residents on different schedules, like one showering at 430 a.m. and another not til 8, radiant floor heat is a great alternative to heating the whole house in the morning,” said . “When our feet are warm, the ambient temperature doesn’t need to be as high to be comfortable. The radiant systems with time and temperature settings actually save rather than waste energy.”

One of the most “comforting” trends isn’t new at all. As American as apple pie and Mayberry, the resurgence of the front porch as the outside living room is a favorite project for the LeVeques.

“We’re seeing homeowners wanting to reconnect with their neighbors and utilize the front porch as an outdoor living space. They want to wave to their neighbors, watch the kids play out front, and have coffee or a drink out front. We love creating a personal, welcoming area, and it definitely adds value to the home. When it’s time for resale, buyers seem to be really drawn to a home with a welcoming front porch!”

Jim LeVeque Remodeling is celebrating 25 years of quality construction in the San Gabriel Valley. They hold CA General Contractor License #599887, and several additional specialty #72993 B1, C10, C20 and HIC licenses. For more information, visit www.jimlevequeremodeling.com or call 626-664-2988 for an appointment with this master builder.