Q: How can someone carve out space for a bathroom in an older house?
MS: In a 1940s Cape Cod, we took a small existing bathroom and expanded it into an adjacent closet. We took advantage of the shape, making a great big shower at the end with vertical glass subway tile, investing in color and materials to make an impact.
Q: What space has grown in size and importance over the years?
MS: Many remodelings create room for a mudroom — people need that landing spot and transition from work to home, where you can not only drop a backpack or briefcase but charge your phone in a charging station.
Q: How can you create more storage in the must-have mudroom?
GW: One solution is to remove the sliding door on a back-entry closet and build open storage lockers and shoe cubbies.
Q: What are ways to enhance an uninviting exterior?
MS: We gave a dated 1980s suburban home a welcoming contemporary entry by adding rich materials and details. We put a wood trellis over the front door, added textural siding and clerestory windows. By the entry, we created an outdoor room with a raised stone patio and garden wall for privacy.
HOME ENHANCEMENTS ON A BUDGET
Q: Everyone wants more space. How do you get it on a limited budget?
SN: First, look at rearranging what you have and possibly removing walls or moving doorways. As a last resort, add on — but don’t just build big. An addition should be functional and well-designed.
Q: How can you spend your remodeling dollars wisely?
MS: Get the basic shape and structure of the room right, then invest in quality materials, and lastly layer in color and texture. Invest in great lighting in key locations.
GW: Decide what’s most important now, and what you can do later. We renovated our house on the 10-year plan. Do the best infrastructure features you can within your budget. You can add custom cabinets later — but not insulation.
SN: In a kitchen remodel, we cut out a round recessed area in the ceiling of the eating area and put in a strip light around the perimeter. The circular glowing light, combined with the round table, define the space. It’s a timeless architectural element that’s cheaper than a chandelier.
UPDATING AN OLDER HOME