It's not too late to plan that kitchen makeover you've been putting off. Or too early to think about new plants and pavers to enhance your summer landscape.
The Home & Landscape Expo, being held this weekend and next at the Metrodome, launches the home-improvement show season, which typically runs from January to April.
More than 100 exhibitors will be on hand to give advice, offer services and answer questions about everything from the latest green-building technologies to back-yard decks.
Home renovation projects will remain popular in 2012 as more homeowners continue to remodel rather than move. In fact, Remodeling Magazine listed Minneapolis as one of the 10 hottest remodeling markets last year.
At the expo, architect Chris Doehrmann of New Brighton will present a seminar designed to help renovation rookies make smart decisions when revamping their home's interiors or putting on major additions. Doehrmann said his clients' desire to stay in urban areas close to core cities and invest in fixing up existing housing stock is driving many remodeling projects.
"They have older homes that aren't laid out for the way they live today," he said. "We often knock down walls and open up rooms."
Doehrmann advises homeowners to hire an experienced residential architect to evaluate how to creatively reallocate existing space, which can be more cost-effective than adding square footage.
"The biggest way to save money is to use space you already have in a different way," he said.
But if a home expansion is necessary, a professional can help design an addition that fits the scale and style of the existing home and others on the block, said Doehrmann. "At the seminar, I give examples of "underachieving renovations,'" he said. "One bungalow with a second-story addition looks like one house ate the other house."
Many of today's remodeling projects reflect current design trends, such as open floor plans and larger, centrally located kitchens designed to be the hub of activity. People are also requesting a seamless transition between the old and the new.
"In the past, when you did an addition, it was obvious," he said. "Now when we're done, it flows and it looks like one house."
If you can't afford to pay for a major remodeling project all at once, it's smart to have a master plan that includes future improvements, he added.
"It's really important to do it right the first time to add to the home's value when you want to sell," he said. "Someone else coming in doesn't want to buy your mistakes."
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619