Not long ago a Wall Street Journal article reported a claim by the U.S. Census Bureau that the number of U.S. households with two or more adult generations had jumped by 9.2 percent between 2008 and 2010. It’s a trend that seems to be on the rise. Not only has there been an increase in the number of adult children moving back home after graduation, but also an increasing number of families are choosing to create space for their aging parents—rather than sending them to retirement homes.
Both of those scenarios require more than simply clearing out the guest bedroom. In order to accommodate multi-generational lifestyles, the best solution may be an addition that allows for togetherness and privacy—sometimes referred to as an “in-law addition.”
Is an in-law addition right for your New Jersey home? There are certainly some facts that suggest this might be the right choice. For one thing, there are a number of studies that indicate that most of the cost of a mid-range two-story addition can be recovered when it’s time to sell your home. And building an addition is almost always cheaper than building a new home with the same amount of space. Plus you avoid the hassle (and expense) of a move.
If you’re thinking about remodeling your New Jersey-area home to accommodate additional family members, you might want to take a look at a helpful resource called,In-Laws, Outlaws, & Granny Flats. It features 50 different floor plans and more than 200 color photos, and walks you through a thorough process that can help you determine if multi-generational living is right for you. (You can check out In-Laws, Outlaws, & Granny Flatson amazon.com)
We’ve been building quality additions in the Morris, Sussex, Somerset, Bergen and Essex county areas for years. We invite you to check out some of our recent addition projects here or visit houzz.com for inspiration.. And if you have more questions about home additions—and if it’s the right move for you—please contact us. We’ll do our best to give you the information that will help you make the right decision for your family!
We’ve been remodeling homes in Morris, Sussex, Somerset, Bergen and Essex counties for more than 35 years, and we’ve seen some pretty interesting trends come and go. One of the major trends we’ve seen during the past few years has to do with the way homeowners view their bathrooms—and specifically their master baths.
More and more, we see homeowners treating this space in their home as a spa-like retreat from the stresses of daily life. It’s no longer simply a place to get ready for the day (although there are a lot of improvements you can make to your master bath to make that function a lot more pleasant and convenient).The master bath has become a place to relax at the end of the day and to enjoy a bit of pampering.
A few years ago, Jacuzzi-style whirlpool tubs became very popular features in upgraded bathrooms. People enjoyed being able to soak away the worries of the day. And while these soaking tubs are still quite popular, many homeowners are opting for soaking tubs. It’s just one more way to bring a bit of serenity into the home. And because some homeowners are also wiring their bathrooms for music—or even televisions that “disappear” into mirror fixtures—dampening the sound is even more attractive.
Not everyone, however, enjoys a long soak in the tub. And another trend we’ve seen emerging is an emphasis on the shower in the master bath. There is a definite move toward larger showers (which, naturally feel less cramped and constricting—and therefore are more relaxing). Many homeowners are installing multiple fixtures in their showers that deliver water spray from a number of different angles. That provides the massage-like effect of a spa—without the long soaking time.
Of course there are all kinds of new trends in flooring material, sink and faucet treatments and even in-floor radiant heating. If you’re looking for some additional ideas, we invite you to download our free 5-page Building a Beautiful Bathroom design guide. Or take a look at some of the bathroom remodeling projects we’ve recently completed in the Morris, Sussex, Somerset, Bergen and Essex county areas.
We’ve been doing this kind of work since 1977—and bathrooms have never looked better!
Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of remodeling your home—but you’re just not sure if it’s time. Maybe you wonder if remodeling is really justified. Here are six signs that now may the time to get started on that renovation project that’s been rattling around in the back of your mind.
1. Things are feeling a little “tight.” Maybe you have more kids than when you first moved in to your current home. Or maybe your kids have grown and just need more space. Perhaps you’ve got a senior parent living with you now. Or maybe you’ve simply acquired more “stuff” than you had before (It happens!). Regardless of how you’ve outgrown your space, you feel like you need more space—or at least you need to make better use of the space you’ve got. That’s a good reason to look at remodeling—particularly if you like the neighborhood you’re in and don’t really want to move.
2. You have some safety concerns. This can be a real issue if the house you’re presently in is a bit older. There’s a reason that safety codes for homes keep changing. Some of the things that were acceptable years ago aren’t allowed today—because we’ve discovered that they aren’t safe. You may not be required to change them, but if you’re concerned about the safety of your family, you may want to address them anyway.
3. Your lifestyle has changed. Even if you haven’t outgrown the amount of space you have, the way you live may have changed. Small kids don’t need a lot of bathroom space, and you probably didn’t mind sharing space with them. As they get older, however, it can become a problem—especially if everybody is trying to get ready for the day at the same time. Or maybe you used to eat out more and now you prefer to entertain at home. That can be hard to do if your kitchen is too small or if you don’t have another space where people like to congregate.
4. You want to protect your investment. Your home is probably still your single largest investment. But homes need maintenance and updating to hold their value. Making the right improvements to your home can help you enjoy living in it more—and can pay off if you should decide to sell at some point in the future. The key, of course, is making the right improvements and making sure they’re done properly.
5. Energy efficiency and environmental impact. There’s no way around it; older homes simply aren’t as energy-efficient as new homes. If you’re in an older home, you may be using more energy than you need to. Not only does that cost you money, but it also impacts the environment around you. There are an increasing number of products and solutions that can make your home more environmentally friendly.
6. You just want to make a change. Sometimes homeowners feel a little bit guilty about making changes just because they’re tired of “the same old thing.” But that’s a perfectly acceptable reason to remodel. Our tastes change over time. Things we thought were “cool” once upon a time no longer hold much appeal (and sometimes we’re even embarrassed by what we once thought was stylish). You should feel comfortable in your own home. And if that means making some changes, that’s a legitimate reason.
If any of these “signs” resonate with you, we’d love to hear from you. Shoot us a note and let us know what you’re thinking. Or give us a call at (973) 386-0707 and tell us what you’d like to change. We’ll be happy to help!
If you want to significantly impact the look and feel of your home, your kitchen is probably the best place to start. Designers and builders often refer to the kitchen as “the heart of the home” because so much of daily living involves activities that take place in the kitchen. The steps you take when you remodel can make your kitchen a place your family and guests love to be.
Because the kitchen is so important to the life of a home, people (designers, builders and homeowners) are always looking for ways to improve the look and functionality of the kitchen. We thought you might like to take a look at a few of the trends that have emerged for 2013. Obviously, you don’t have to run with these trends if they don’t fit your lifestyle or match your taste. Still, it’s interesting to see how things change. And if you ever decide to sell your home, incorporating some newer trends can keep your home from looking dated.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) surveyed about 350 of their designer members recently to see what kinds of products, materials and styles they had been specifying for their kitchen designs. Here’s a brief overview of some of their responses.
Lighting Trends—Not terribly long ago it was considered kind of “trendy” to have energy-efficient lighting in the kitchen. It’s no longer simply the “in” thing to do. It’s a full-blown trend in the industry, and it’s evolved. LED lights have passed CFL lights in popularity. In recent projects 70 percent of designers specified LEDs, while only 26 percent specified CFL lights. Part of the reason for that is that homeowners just aren’t happy with the color of light CFL bulbs offer. And many are uneasy about the mercury found in the bulbs.
New Backsplash Materials—Homeowners looking to make a splash with their backsplashes are opting for some newer materials. Natural stone and ceramic tile are still the most popular materials, but more designers have specified glass backsplashes now—up to 52 percent from a previous high of 41 percent. Granite is also very popular (at 30 percent), followed by quartz (at 20 percent).
Faucet Style—The trend in faucets is one that reflects both improved functionality and style. It’s probably no big surprise that pull-out faucets have become the style of kitchen faucet most specified by designers (approximately 93 percent choose them over traditional styles). Faucets that can be pulled out from the sink (as opposed to standard “fixed place” faucets with stand-alone spray units) give modern kitchen sinks an elegant, streamlined look. Besides the visual appeal, homeowners are finding that installing a pull-out faucet often eliminates the need for a separate pot-filler faucet.
Shifts in Cabinet Materials—Cherry wood kitchen cabinets have been extremely popular
throughout the years (and are still very popular). There are some designers, however, who seem to backing off from using cherry—at least a little bit. In 2010 approximately 80 percent of designers specified cherry as the wood of choice for kitchen cabinets. By 2012, that number had dropped to 69 percent. Even maple—the longtime “king” of cabinet woods—has seen a decrease in use (even though it remains very popular). Oak, walnut, birch and bamboo are growing in popularity, although they still aren’t specified as much as cherry and maple.
Trends, of course, are not mandates. And just because something is popular doesn’t make it the right choice for you. All the same, it’s helpful to keep an eye on what’s happening in the kitchen and to keep the heart of your home looking fresh and inviting.
If you’re looking for a few ways to reduce your green footprint, look no further. By changing the way you use home appliances, wash your clothes and even landscape your yard, you can decrease the demand and need of natural fuels like oil, gas and coal—and shrink the size of your energy bills in the process.
- Turn the refrigerator down. Fridges make up approximately 20 percent of your total electricity bill. Once you have already detected the energy saving switch on the machine, turn it on. And don’t forget to pay attention to the doors' gaskets, ensuring they’re sealed tightly.
- When turning on the washing machine, opt for the cold water setting. Use washing detergents that can get rid of stains even on lower temperatures. Going from hot to cold and staying that way, by washing two loads per week, you save about 500 pounds worth of carbon dioxide/CO2 a year (if using an electric water heater). You’ll save 150 pounds of CO2 if you’re using a water heater that runs on gas.
- Run the dishwasher only whenever it is fully loaded. Otherwise, you waste both energy and water for washing just a few of dishes. Check for an energy saving switch on the dishwasher, and if there is one, turn it on. This will allow the dishes to dry naturally, instead of using heat for doing so.
- Turn down the water heater thermostat. Its usual setting is 140 degrees F. However, you can do just as well with 120 degrees F. By reducing even as little as 10 degrees, you will save up to 600 pounds of CO2 each year.
- If your budget allows, buy new, replace old appliances with new energy-efficient ones. Yes, that means additional expenses, but it’s a smart investment, as these appliances typically pay off in the long run. Their lower energy consumption will also reduce your electricity bill.
Home heating and cooling
- Try not to cool or heat your home too much. Maintain a temperature that will make it comfortable for you to be in the house. For example, during the winter, set it to 70 degrees F for the day whereas at night, keep it at 60. As for the summer, a constant temperature of 75 is just fine.
- Clean the filters regularly and replace them whenever necessary. You will waste plenty more energy if both hot-air furnaces and air conditioners have to draw air through dirty air filters.
Small investments that pay off
- Put power savings light bulbs in place of your regular ones. Normal light bulbs consume four times more energy than energy-efficient ones.
- Installing low-flow shower heads is also a smart investment. They reduce hot water usage and cost about $20. They’ll also save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide each year if you are on an electric heater.
- Weatherize your house/apartment. Put insulation and use weather stripping and caulk in order to fill leaks in your walls. That is one way to stop cold drafts from entering your home.
- You can do a little modernizing of your windows so that you could reduce the money you pay for your power bill. Put double-glazed, argon-filled windows in place of your old, ordinary ones.
- Plant a few trees to act as shades to your house. Your house’s color also matters. Dark colors attract sunlight, so if you live somewhere cold, paint your house in a relevant color. Similarly, if you are in a warm area, paint it a light color. The proper color together with shade trees will help reduce energy consumption and save up to 2.4 tons of C02 emission per year.
Photo credit: sciencenavigators.org
Heather Roberts is a content writer from London, UK. She has great flair for decoration and interior design. She is searching for new challenges and hence often moves to different places. Therefore her present article is focused on the best energy savings tips for your new home: If you need more useful and valuable tips for your removal you can contact: removalcompanylondon.com
There was a time in this fair land when basements were dark, dingy places that were the domain of washers and dryers, and tools that were seldom used. It was the place where unwanted Christmas presents went to die. Then homeowners in search of more living space discovered that basements could become habitable spaces. “Man caves” started appearing in basements everywhere. But these were still rather dark rooms, usually devoted to some kind of large television where men could watch sporting events with their buddies.
Things have changed since those days. With the proper design (and skilled execution) the hidden potential of basement space has been unlocked at last. The basement is no longer the place where people and things are banished. Now it can be a place where people want to spend time. Here are just a few ways you can turn the unused space under your feet into great, usable space where family, friends and guests will feel comfortable.
A Spare Bedroom: If you regularly have guests, but hate having to put them up on the sleeper sofa in the family room, you can turn your basement (or at least part of it) into a great guest room. It may also be the solution you’re looking for if you have a teenager at home who is looking for a little more personal space away from the rest of the family.
A Home Office: Even if you don’t work out of your home, it’s nice to have a place where you can do paperwork, work on the taxes, pay the bills and not have a pile of papers laying around. And if you do occasionally have to work at home, it’s nice to have your office in a place that’s a bit removed from the activities in the rest of the house.
A Home Entertainment Room: We’re not talking about a man cave here. We’re talking about a place where the whole family can gather and watch a movie or play some games. The right design, flooring, lights and sound system can turn your basement into one of the favorite rooms in your home.
A Craft Room: If you’re into crafts, you know that things aren’t always totally tidy. If you’re tired of having to put everything away all the time when you’re in the middle of a project, you could turn part of your basement into a craft room—designed specifically the way you want it.
We’ve just scratched the surface on the things you can do to make your basement more livable. For some additional ideas, check out our portfolio of basements we’ve remodeled in the Morris, Sussex, Somerset, Bergen and Essex area. If this is being banished…bring it on!
New Year's resolutions typically involve some sort of personal improvement-whether to get in shape, spend more time with the kids or improve overall levels of happiness. This year consider making 2013 the year of resolutions for your home. To help you get started, here are some tips from the JMC team:
Begin with the end in mind. It's not uncommon for homeowners to struggle with seeing the potential of their homes. The good news is you're not alone! Scroll through JMC's before and after photos to see how we've transformed some of your neighbors' bathrooms, kitchens, basements and more.
Get inspired. Deciding exactly what you want out of a space might be a challenge, so consider jumpstarting your home improvement resolutions by joining JMC on two of the best idea-sharing sites available: Houzz and Pinterest.
Trust your neighbor. When partnering with a contractor for your next project, choose one like JMC who will give you the best value for your dollar-but don't take our word for it! See what your neighbors have said on Angie's List or GuildQuality after blazing the remodeling trail with us.
More people remodel their kitchen than any other room in their home. That’s no big surprise since the kitchen is the heart of your home and is probably the most used room in your house. Of course that means if you’re going to remodel, you want to get it right.
However, there’s one important question you should ask yourself before you start drawing up the plans and tearing out the walls. It’s a simple question—but it takes some time and thought to answer: What do you want from your kitchen when the remodeling is done?
Seems pretty obvious, huh? The problem is that it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the specifics like countertops, cabinets, hardware, appliances, flooring, faucets and lights that you can lose sight of the big picture. Why did you want to remodel in the first place?
That usually comes down to how you use your kitchen. If your kitchen is going to be a place where the kids do homework and you gather for informal meals, you need to plan accordingly. You’ll want to make sure the space is set up with space to handle the activities you have planned.
If you use your kitchen to entertain, you’ll want to make sure that your design reflects that. Are you allowing enough space for people to congregate? Is there easy access to a second room so that it doesn’t feel crowded? Can you take out a wall and create a “great room” concept?
Another thing to keep in mind is that—unless you plan to cater all your meals—your kitchen needs to be functional for one of its primary purposes: preparing meals. It doesn’t matter how great your countertops look or how beautiful your fixtures are if you get frustrated when you try to get a meal on the table. You’ll want to be sure your kitchen works the way a kitchen should.
Making sure your kitchen meets your needs is why it’s a good idea to sit down with your builder or designer to talk these things through before you start drawing up the plans. It’s also one reason why the design/build concept is such a good option. If the same people that design your kitchen also build it, you know you’re going to get what you planned.
If you’re looking for some specific ideas that will give you the kind of kitchen that will meet your needs, we invite you to download our free Creating The Ideal Kitchen guide. This five-page guide will help you learn how to design a kitchen to fit your personal style—and even links you to an online kitchen design tool.
Some people would never dream of remodeling their home this time of year. However, winter is actually a great time to take on some home renovation projects and start planning for the spring.
Don’t let lousy weather scare you off. A good professional home remodeling contractor knows how to make accommodations for cold-weather work. And besides, there are a number of projects you can tackle regardless of what the weather is doing. The good news is that you just might find your remodeler has a bit more availability in the winter months. And that could mean getting your projects done more quickly.
So what kind of indoor projects could you tackle this winter? Here are just a few ideas:
Cook up something in the kitchen. There is probably no single remodeling project that can transform the look and feel of your home more than updating your kitchen. Whether it’s updating cabinets, putting in new flooring, changing countertops—or creating a whole new room—you’ll love the impact your new kitchen has on your house. Looking for ideas for your kitchen? Download our Guide to Create Your Optimal Kitchen!
Add space for your stuff. Nobody ever complains about having too much storage space. Whether you need more closet space or a pantry in the kitchen, you’ll be glad to have more living space once you get the “stuff” out of the way. Can’t think of where to put it? Professional remodelers are great at finding storage space in places you’d never think of!
Redesign your “dungeon.” You may be sitting on a real treasure without knowing it. You could turn your dingy basement into a guest bedroom, a wine cellar, an entertainment room or a room for crafting. And one advantage to a basement remodeling project is that you can close the door and not be bothered by the construction mess!
Turn your bathroom into a private retreat. If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own personal spa—in the comfort and convenience of your own home—now you can. For some ideas on how to make that happen, download our free Beautiful Bathrooms: Building the Ultimate Retreat guide. Or maybe you just want to spruce up the guest bathroom so that you’re not embarrassed when guests come over.
Don’t hide away just because it’s winter. Now that the holidays are over, ’tis the season to make your home the place you’ve always dreamed it could be!
Photo credit: info.powellrenovations.com
Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about finding home remodelers, talking to references, seeing the contractors’ work, asking the lots of questions, and finally, how to select the renovation company for you. Open and transparent customer feedback is critical to finding out about the home remodeler you’re talking to.
In 2007, we began surveying our clients upon completion of their projects. In 2011, we hired GuildQuality, which is a survey company that measures the quality of service delivered by homebuilders and remodelers. Membership in GuildQuality demonstrates JMC’s commitment to service excellence and client satisfaction in every aspect of our business. GuildQuality membership allows our clients to give us a thorough, honest evaluation of work by completing a survey about their overall project experience. Every homeowner is sent a survey upon completion of their project.
We recently were recognized with a 2012 Guildmaster Award for exceptional customer satisfaction. “JMC Home Improvement Specialists was one of the nearly 200 home builders, remodelers, developers and contractors throughout North America recognized for their superlative performance by GuildQuality. When JMC Home Improvement Specialists applied for a Guildmaster Award, they verified that they had provided GuildQuality with a complete and unabridged customer list. In addition, JMC Home Improvement Specialists achieved a recommendation rate of greater than 90% from their clients surveyed through GuildQuality.”
We’d like to share comments from a survey which just came in today.
“Finding any contractor that truly understands the importance of a homeowner’s project is a very rare thing. JMC and their craftspeople have that understanding. Throughout the process, from the very beginning "design and concept" stage all the way through to completion and cleanup, JMC was sensitive to our needs and flexible and responsive to our changes and modifications. They showed patience and carefully listened to us and completely explained all the facets of the job that would take place. In the end, the quality of their work was outstanding!” Bathroom renovation, Parsippany, NJ
Please click on the link below to read through all of our survey results. And, although we’re proud of our client satisfaction ratings, we’re always striving for better!