Sandra Paim AIA

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    Articles Index

  1. Starting From Scratch
    vs. Remodeling

  2. Designing for a Multi-
    Generational Family

  3. Moving vs. Remodeling

  4. Let There Be Light

  5. To Live or Not To Live
    (in a Construction Zone),
    That is The Question

  6. Have Your Say on
    The House Next Door

Articles Index: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


Moving vs. Remodeling Home

Q: I am trying to decide whether to remodel or move because my house is way too small and this seems like a good time to buy. Can you give me any advice on what attributes to look for in a home I buy, or things I should consider in my remodel, so that I can get the most for my money? From an architectural standpoint, is it easier to remodel an old house or build a new one?

A: Here are some of the things to look for when buying a new home:

  • Natural light
  • Good quality windows (look for windows that meet green standards for heat savings)
  • Easy access to the outdoors
  • Flexibility that will allow you to close off portions of the house to help you control noise from room to room
  • Rooms that are large enough to accommodate your furniture and lifestyle
  • Privacy from neighbors and the street
  • Layout of zones such as living and sleeping spaces and whether the flow works for your lifestyle

If you are remodeling your existing home or one you have purchased, here is a list of things you will need to think about:

  • Make a list of your functional and space needs before you begin any work
  • Re-assess how you want to use each room
  • Come up with a furniture plan to determine traffic patterns and the best use of each space

  • Consider areas or rooms that can serve a dual purpose, such as a kitchen and family room combination
  • One way to create a feeling of more space is to raise ceilings in the main living space or entertainment areas
  • Consider adding skylights, which are a great value and very effective and improving light when they are installed on northern or eastern-facing roofs
  • Reclaim small out-of-date spaces such as closets or utility rooms and use them to increase the remodeled area
  • Consider lighting to create mood, provide focused lighting for performing tasks, and accent artwork
  • Provide a bench in your entry foyer or coat closet, and perhaps a cabinet or table for keys, cell phones, kids' backpacks or even writing paper

Architecturally speaking, it may be easier to remodel than to buy a new home. This is particularly true for people who won't enjoy the process. With a remodel, it is easier to stage or phase the work, and if you have a master plan, there will be less stress and more control over the budget. Remodeling also has its architectural advantages, assuming the house has "good bones" and an architectural style the owner likes and feels is worth enhancing.

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