Makeover Madness: Eleven remodeled homes open their doors for August’s Tour of Remodeled Homes BY TARA LEISURE Looking for a little inspiration before you renovate? Need a few ideas beyond what Pinterest and Property Brothers can offer? Lexington’s 24th annual Tour of Remodeled Homes in Lexington offers an opportunity to check out all those stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops in action before you start drilling or combing Angie’s List for your next contractor. Past tours have featured everything from aging-in-place upgrades, room-by-room, to lifestyle enhancing additions like outdoor spa areas and pool houses. The Tour of Remodeled Homes is presented by the Lexington Remodelers Council, a division of the Home Builders Association of Lexington, and has been a tradition in Lexington since 1991. The purpose of the tour is to showcase notable examples of state-of-the-art craftsmanship in Lexington.BACK Construction’s Rob Hundley is a fan of visual aids like Houzz.com for homeowners. The Tour represents an excellent opportunity for Show, don’t Tell. He recommends, “go into the tour with a game plan. What would you like to see? Are you considering a kitchen or bath or addition or…” He also has a word of advice about commentary, “Make notes as you visit as to what you do and do not like; being mindful the homeowner may be nearby so best to jot down those thoughts and not verbally express them to the crowd. Before and after the tour visit www.houzz.com and create idea books that can be used in the future for planning your remodel. The more information you can share visually with your remodeler the better.”Keitz Construction is on their third year of the Tour. This year’s project is an ambitious whole-home remodel, “taken down to the bare studs” according to owner Nick Keitz. From his perspective, one of the biggest challenges as a builder/remodeler is “competing with non-insured, non-licensed people.” The Tour represents an opportunity for homeowners (and prospective homeowners) to view the work of licensed contractors and remodelers. Keitz’s advice is “don’t try to do all the projects in one day.”Chip Crawford of Crawford Builders said they have had projects on the tour every year since its founding. He said that he normally meets 600-800 people during the two-day tour.This year’s home by Crawford Builders is a historic home from 1900, located on an 18 acre horse farm on Old Frankfort Pike. Their team has added 2500 square feet to the historic property, as well as a three car garage.The biggest change Crawford has seen since the beginning of the tour has been the popularity of energy efficiency. In incorporating the latest technologies, Crawford says they have made their 115-year old home twice as efficient as the average new home, earning a Home Energy Rating (HERS) of 43. Crawford said this can be done in a number of ways, from updating windows and doors to equipping a home with geothermal heating and cooling.Crawford said that while a remodeled home is typically more expensive than a new home, one should consider cost versus value. It is important for many growing families to have homes that cater to their unique needs.“A lot of people live in the houses through the project,” he said. “It’s a very intimate thing. You’re part of their family for six months to a year. You watch their children grow, you play with their dogs. It’s a real personal thing, you’re helping them create their dream version of what they want for their home.” Sandy Beck of the Homebuilders Association says, “The biggest benefit of this Tour is to be able to see each Remodeler’s work and actually talk to the Remodelers themselves – ask questions about your own potential projects. Each home has its own character and flair and what’s right for one home may not fit at all in the next. Getting ideas on the Tour and then advice from a Professional Remodeler on what will or will not work in your home is most advisable. Remodeling is serious business for the homeowner and choosing the right professional for the job is key to quality and a good result,” Beck said. Beck recommends that Tour visitors download the MyHomesFound app. “Review the projects before hitting the road and with the homes open only over one weekend, make note of the projects you are most interested in. If you are considering a kitchen or bath remodel, make those projects a priority. You never know how your needs may change in life, so it’s fun to look at all of the projects to get ideas.” In recent years, the most popular features have been energy efficiency and technological advances. Beck says that outdoor living spaces, landscaping to enhance curb appeal, storage upgrades and kitchen and bath remodels are also always in demand when it comes to remodeling. The homes featured on the Tour of Remodeled homes are commonly already sold and are occupied because the purpose of their remodeling process stems from their owner’s vision. So the Tour isn’t a house hunting venture; think of it as more of an idea expo. The Home Builders Association of Lexington’s Grand Tour of Remodeled homes will begin at noon Saturday August 29. All homes will be open Noon -5:00pm Saturday and Sunday. The tour is self guided. Admission is $10. At your first stop you will pay your admission fee and receive a ticket and a guide book. At each subsequent stop on your self-guided Tour, simply show your ticket to be admitted. ----------------------------------- A Sampling of this year’s tour projects include…. Outdoor Living on Tates Creek Road BACK Construction Inc. worked with the homeowners to design a large outdoor living patio space with an outdoor kitchen and dining area to complement their swimming pool and patio. Some of the new finishes included custom exterior cabinets, antique wood privacy wall panels and trims, beaded wood ceilings, granite kitchen and bar countertops, as well as state of the art appliance and lighting amenities. The new outdoor living space consists of large double sided wood burning stone fireplace with antique wood mantle and an outdoor television and speaker audio system. Multi-Room on Lakeside Court With minimal improvements since this home was built in 1968, Conrad Construction Company took on the task of renovating the interior to update the décor, provide modern amenities and improve functionality. The main living areas were gutted and reconfigured to provide for better flow and expanded spaces. The enlarged kitchen provides modern conveniences as well as design touches like leathered granite countertops and double islands. The family room design includes a built-in entertainment center, an updated slate fireplace and new hardwood floors. The Master Suite was enhanced by converting a bedroom into a walk-in closet and completely remodeling the Master Bathroom to include Carrera marble, a large walk-in shower, separate tub and double vanity. Room Addition on Raintree Road Conrad Construction Company designed and constructed a 450-square-foot addition to accommodate a living room, small office and powder room at this 1960s ranch house. Removing 20 linear feet of the rear wall opened up the kitchen and dining room (the former living room) to the new living area. Design features include custom built-ins, a vaulted ceiling and a corner gas fireplace. New hardwood floors were stained gray for a modern touch.This area boasts exposed pea gravel concrete and a covered porch featuring exposed cedar beams and rafters. To complete the space, a new custom-built outdoor brick fireplace adds both ambiance and function. Addition on Old Frankfort Pike Crawford Builders: This 1900 home was purchased by the current owners in the hopes of restoring its original character. A 2,600 square foot addition was added to the rear of the home, but everyone involved in the project strived to maintain the historical aesthetic. Wherever possible, existing materials and finishes were used including door hardware, the staircase handrail used as a kitchen island foot rail, and the original window glass used in the new kitchen cabinets. Under the surface, the home is well equipped with modern conveniences such as a central vac system, all new windows, geothermal heating and cooling, and a state of the art audio/visual system. The existing home and the addition flow to best accommodate the modem day family with slight alterations to the footprint. Multi-Room on Island Drive LCM Construction, LLC This classic ranch home from the 70s needed more elbow room. The trees in the back yard, now mature, provided the inspiration for a sunroom addition. The kitchen/breakfast room that had once been the center of the family universe was ready for an update and improved utilization of space. By removing a wall, the hallway from the rear entry door to the garage has now become part of the open plan that allows ease of access to the powder room, laundry room and either egress to the back yard or garage. Whole House on Berry Lane Vimont Builders, Inc. teamed up with Architect Alan Hisel and kitchen designer Scott Lewis to convert this 1950s starter house into a more spacious and livable home. The entire house was remodeled. There are two new full bathrooms. The new master bath boasts a walk-in tile shower. A new kitchen was added featuring Seville custom cabinets, new appliances and soapstone counter tops. The kitchen opens up into a newly added family room addition that has a rear wall of glass doors opening out onto a private covered porch. The glass wall provides natural lighting blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior spaces. The home features hardwood flooring throughout with the refinished original flooring in the bedrooms, and reclaimed barn siding used in the foyer, kitchen and new family room. This article appears on pages 6-7 of the August 2015 print issue of Ace. Subscribe to the Ace e-dition for Lexington news, arts, culture, and entertainment, delivered to your inbox every Thursday morning. TOP TEN TIPS for Homeowners considering a Remodel Ask questions. Reliable remodelers and contractors expect you to have dozens. A home is a significant investment, and it’s where you spend the majority of your time outside work. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to remodeling or custom building. Ask for references and referrals. Most homeowners who are delighted with their recent remodel will be equally delighted to talk about their experience (and talk, and talk, and talk). Be Prepared, with time and money. Most remodels will take longer than you thought they would and cost more than you anticipated. Have a timeline and a budget, and a contingency plan for both. Don’t schedule a Family Reunion brunch for Noon on the day your contractors are scheduled to complete your new kitchen. Calculate the costs. Would you rather invest in the home you have, custom build a new one, or buy a pre-existing dream home? There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so add up both the expenses and the lifestyle issues that matter most to you: Neighborhood? School districts? Commute? The cost and pain of moving? The cost and pain of washing your dishes in the basement bathroom for three months? Prospective remodelers will caution homeowners to keep in mind cost vs. value, because … of course they will. Be Realistic. Think about how you use and enjoy your living space on a daily basis. You might love the all-white loft you just saw in the West Elm catalog… but do you have dogs or children? Do you plan to actually prepare or consume food in that kitchen? Know Your Limitations. If you fancy yourself a “handy” person, that might be a great asset when it comes to painting bookshelves on the weekends, but a true remodel usually involves plumbing, electrical, and building codes. Know when to safely DIY and when to call a professional. If you’re thinking about your budget, factor in what you will pay a professional to repair that re-wiring that caused a small fire. Know what a Change Order is. Your contractor does, and you should too. Prioritize. Know your wish list and your dealbreakers, your must-haves versus your fantasies. Show, don’t tell. Provide visual samples of your remodeling goals. Have pictures, pins, and print-outs on hand. Of course that can be a little like going to the hairdresser and saying “make me look like Gwyneth Paltrow,” — remodelers won’t be able to transform your 1200 square foot condo into the 10,000 sq ft mansion you eyed on Pinterest — but they will be able to get a sense of your style and goals. Think about the Lifespan of your House. Will you be there for five years or 25 years? Is your family expanding, or are the kids going off to college soon? What is the resale value in your neighborhood? Have you considered aging in place, or do you plan a post-retirement move? Do Grandma and Grandpa plan to live out their golden years in the mother-in-law suite?