Luxuries Worth Considering
The most fun part of every remodel? Perusing—and choosing—some life-enhancing frills. Remodelista partnered with members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory to come up with a list of extras large and small that are well worth the splurge. True, these frills aren’t inexpensive, but they’re often money well spent. They lived with many of these details themselves and are eyeing several more for future remodels.
Here are luxuries worth considering:
The favorite roofing material of every architect we polled? Hands-down the vote goes to “low maintenance, high aesthetic” standing-seam metal. Energy-efficient, sustainable, and long-lasting, metal roofs also provide a nice pitter-patter in the rain. See Remodeling 101: Standing Seam Metal Roofs for the lowdown. Pictured above: photovoltaic (PV) panels integrated into a standing seam metal roof. Photograph via Fabral.
2. Solar paneling
If you’re looking to reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint, the time may be right to go solar. See our Solar Paneling Primer and then get inspired by architect Rafe Churchill’s new solar Connecticut Farmhouse, standing seam metal roof included.
3. Radiant heat flooring
Can anyone resist the sensation of walking barefoot on a heated floor? If you’re just embarking on a renovation or building a new house, consider installing radiant heating (also known as underfloor heating), an energy-efficient way to keep warm throughout the cold months. “As an architect who has supervised and survived many remodels, I have experienced radiant floor heating in other people’s houses and covet it in my own,” writes our own resident architect, Christine.
Stone tiles work well with radiant floor heating because of the material’s thermal conducting properties. Shown above: rough-hewn tiles in a bathroom by Atelier AM of Los Angeles. Photograph via Mark D. Sikes. Learn more in Christine’s post Remodeling 101: 5 Things to Know About Radiant Floor Heating.
4. Flat-panel radiators
“Imagine a heating system that isn’t seen or heard,” writes Janet in Remodeling 101: Wall-Panel Radiators. The embodiment of quiet, gentle warmth and minimalism, these European designs, now making inroads in the US, free up floor space, operate efficiently, and look good too. Shown here, the Sloan White Vertical Double-Panel Radiator by UK company Hudson Reed.
Renovated cottage with modern white fireplace, Remodelista
5. A fireplace or woodstove
A fireplace can have enormous impact as an architectural detail, and a wood stove is a significant and efficient heat source, point out Seattle architects Malbouef Bowie. “You can have a really simple interior,” architect Tiffany Bowie says, “and if you add a focal point, it really grabs people’s attention and interest.”
Pictured above is a minimalist fireplace in a house remodeled by Napa, California, designer Carolyn Leonhardt, who recommends making “at least one spectacular change” per remodel. Read more of Leonhardt’s tips in Expert Advice: 15 Secrets for Saving Money on a Remodel.
6. Pullout shelving in kitchen cabinets
For storing appliances and pantry items, architect Sheila Narusawa suggests installing pullout shelves. They bring all of the hidden items at the back into the light, making them easy to reach—and easy to put away.
7. A top-of-the line range
The race cars of the kitchen, a beautiful range is what we recommend for when your midlife crisis hits. Architect Vincent Van Duysen equipped his own kitchen, shown here, with La Cornue’s Château Series, sparking a black appliance rage. Photograph by David Spero for the New York Times. For more stove lust, see 6 Château-Style Cooking Ranges and take a look at Beth Kirby’s Star Is Born Kitchen, Lacanche Included.
8. Double dishwashers
Have a large family or love entertaining? BAR Architects of San Francisco suggest adding a second dishwasher to handle overload. Photograph via Pure Style Home.