To Stay Or To Go!


With rising home prices, a shortage of homes for the growing population, and rising interest rates navigating the real estate market can be challenging.  But with life having a series of phases some home owners are having to make very difficult decisions to accommodate the changing needs in their life.  Perhaps they are dealing with a growing or shrinking family dynamic, a change in lifestyle, or even just a preference for an updated home…whatever the reason, their house may have stopped feeling like a home!   

For some, it may be simple to make a decision to move elsewhere or build a custom home.  But for many others, making a move is simply not possible.  It may be because of higher prices of a newer or larger home in the same or a different area or it may be for a more personal or heartfelt reason.  Perhaps, they cannot bear to leave their neighbours with whom they have become great friends, or because they just love the general tranquility or maturity of their neighbourhood that the possibility of moving is something they cannot consider.  It may even be because of logistics and proximity to work, stores, a particular school, daycare or the babysitter, or other family and friends.  When moving is simply not an option, custom renovations may provide a solution. 

Over time, eventually finishings in a home have a ‘shelf life’.  Perhaps because of years of wear and tear, or maybe because of changes in the home owner’s functional needs or preferred aesthetics.  For whatever the reason, it may be time to change something within the home to accommodate a new phase in the homeowner’s life.   

Many homeowners tend to invest in the kitchen which is considered to be the heart of the home.  After all, most people spend a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking for their themselves, for their families and friends, or with their families and friends.  The modern kitchen has become the gathering place…a place for everyone in the home to come together to create a meal, just talk about their day, do their homework, even celebrate an event, or just make memories. Converting a more compartmentalized home into an open concept one is no longer a trend. Being in the same room as the children or one’s guests while making snacks, appetizers, or dinner is a must for many people. 

But kitchen renovations may not be the change or the only change that is needed for one’s phases of life. As families grow or over time wear and tear begins to show, the need for additional bathrooms, or updated bathrooms changes from being part of someone’s ‘one day’ wish list, to a matter of  necessity and functionality.   

Changing family dynamics, can also create a need for more space.  Whether it is for an in-law or nanny suite, an extra bedroom or two, an office, or just a larger family room it may be necessary for occupants that are outgrowing their house to consider the solution of adding on to their home.   

For some homeowners, a complete renovation of the interior as well as an addition is the only way to meet their needs.  They will have to really weigh their options for either renovating or moving. 

Interior deficiencies can be easily noticed by those living with the challenges of those deficiencies within the home. However, far too often the homes’ exterior is overlooked … often until it is too late.  With busy schedules, some homeowners spend very little time in their yards, so they may not notice the wear and tear of the exterior until their home truly looks truly dated.  

But it is vitally important to keep in mind that what really makes a house a home is the comfort that envelopes you when you are there.  That comfort comes from the trust we place on our home to keep us safe, warm and dry. Here in the Niagara region, with its four seasons and sometimes extreme weather, it is no surprise that we see the effects of our environment on exterior elements of our home.  It is easier to see that products do have a “shelf life” when we really take a look at the exterior of our home. 

When deterioration of a home’s façade occurs it is not always superficial … breakage, cracks, and rot can affect the integrity of the building envelope which is the very structure of the home.  Where there are cracks, there can be a pathway for water to leak in and mould to grow.  Breakage, cracks, and rot can also give way to an access point for insects and critters.  It is essential to your health and investment to keep your home mould free and critter free. That is why quarterly home maintenance checks are vitally important to do, and sometimes with intense weather occurring, homeowners need to do those checks more often. 

With this in mind, just as most people make efforts to do things that rejuvenate themselves, over time it is also necessary to make changes or improvements that breathe new life into a tired home.  So, when contemplating your renovation ideas, you will need to consider both your interior and exterior needs, along with any budgetary restrictions, and permit and City by-laws. 

Here are some things you may want to consider for your home’s exterior renovations: 

  • Make sure that your roof is sound and re-shingled when needed (which is before a leak occurs).  It is imperative to protecting your coveted living space.  
  • If your windows and doors are dated, new energy efficient windows and doors can also be an opportunity to enhance your indoor space by capturing more natural light and improving your views.  New doors and garage doors may enhance your home’s aesthetics as well as security. 
  • If you love the way your home looks, but it needs a refresh, exterior renovations can simply be an update of similar styles but new materials (shingles, siding, stucco, doors, windows, soffit, fascia, or trough, etc.).  But if you are looking for a more than a ‘facelift’ for your home, your renovation can include changes to the cladding for ease of maintenance or to encompass an entirely new look.  Changing old siding to a stucco and/or stone façade or replacing old stucco stone can enhance a home’s curb appeal and character.  Stone façades with their texture, colours and dimensions, can create a visually stunning transformation that takes your home from the ordinary to the extraordinary. 
  • Architectural enhancements may add charm and character to a home.  Elements like decorative details, decks, wrap around porches, sunrooms, gazebos, fences, partition walls, retaining walls, and new walkouts, or outbuildings can help you reclaim your outdoor space and create a harmonious transition to a new outdoor room.  Space is a commodity—recapture yours! 
  • The reconstruction of walkways and/or driveways can not only improve safety and function, but could help to define the entry way making your greeting of friends and relatives, one with style. 
  • Making strategic and aesthetically pleasing changes for accessibility through a custom renovation can be the difference that makes one feel truly at home.  

Your home may be the biggest investment you will make – it is essential that you do not forget that it requires maintenance.  “Curb appeal” is important, not just for your neighbours and passersby, your investment or for even a potential buyer, but especially for you—after all it is your home!  Imagine yourself walking up the sidewalk to that dream home that you always wanted, at the house you have always had. So much is possible – We, at Vanderzalm Construction Inc. can transform your house into the extraordinary home of your “happily ever after”.