Forever can be a scary topic. In some situations, dreaming about forever provides a sense of calm and stability. In others, it elicits unrest. The truth that I’ve learned from working in remodeling is that forever is all things. For some, forever means putting roots down and staying in one place for the next thirty years. For others, forever means variety. It means moving after five year stints to another house, another town, or another state.
Everyone’s forever is different.
Luckily, remodeling understands that. While it may sound silly, but determining what role your home plays in your forever has huge implications on how it needs to function. Our home is a major player in our histories. Before you take any steps in remodeling, you need to determine if this project is for your forever home.
What is a Forever Home?
A forever home is exactly what it sounds like. It is a space you will be living in for an extensive amount of time, and in some cases, forever. It isn’t for everyone. Some get claustrophobic just thinking about staying in one place forever. For others, the idea of building a history and growing deep roots is extremely appealing, especially for the sake of raising your family. For these people, their home needs to be completely theirs. It is the home that has your very own personal stamp in every room.
A forever home should not be a spontaneous decision. In fact, it takes thought and planning, especially financially. When you remodel your forever home, you only want to experience the pain and mess of a major remodel once, maybe twice.
There’s no denying that it takes a sense of boldness to embark on remodeling a forever home. To properly do it, you have to be ready to make selections based on what you love and what your lifestyle requires. You can’t stick to the cookie cutter designs. You need to strive for creative innovation that produces a space reflective of who you are.
The Uncertain Forever
I’m going to pause right here. For some reading, you may feel a sense of dread. You know you don’t intend to live in your current home forever. Maybe you know with your job or family situation, foreseeing your future is impossible, and you could be called upon to move any day. We understand that. A forever home isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a project for you. No one should have to live in a home plagued by dysfunction or one that embarrasses you every time a guest visits. Even if your current home isn’t your forever home, you should make it a livable home. We’ve had people who upgrade their home so that they could sell it within the following few years. We’ve had other clients who plan to retire to another, warmer state eventually, but who still wanted a space that met their current needs while appearing neutral enough to be marketable down the road.
The only time we recommend not doing a full scale remodel would be if you plan on selling immediately. When it comes to your return on investment (ROI), it’s not the wisest choice to make such a large investment for something you won’t get to enjoy at all. For those who plan on listing their home soon, we recommend a simple pull and replace. From new backsplash tile to replacing countertops, there are plenty of minor touch-ups that will help make your space feel new. Ultimately, if this is the situation you find yourself in, make one or two small changes to help boost your home’s value our talk to our team about what they'd recommend.
The Steadfast Forever
The steadfast forever is for the people who know that where they live now is exactly where they want to be in twenty years. Sometimes, this is for empty nesters who decide to downsize to a home that would be perfect for retirement. Other times, it’s for the young family who knows that this is where they want their golden family memories to be built and preserved. This is where they want to dance in the kitchen with their kids. This is where they will host Thanksgiving every year for the next 20 years. This is where their family will grow and change and experience love.
While figuring out 'why' or 'when' to remodel for a forever home is necessary, it’s important to not forget about 'where'. A sense of place and belonging is extremely important when deciding to enroot yourself. Do you want to be close to siblings and parents? Does it have a good school system, all the way through high school for families with young kids? Is it near public transportation or other important resources for those who are designing their home for retirement? If you haven’t found a community that you love and want to be a part of for the rest of your life, then you may not be ready to consider a forever home.
Once you find the place you want to be, it’s necessary to determine your personal reasons for making this your forever home. Oftentimes, it boils down to the fact that you want your home to be enjoyed. You want the unique and completely personalized experience of living in a home that you were able to help determine every detail in from flooring to backsplash tile to the type of bathtub. You know exactly what functions your house will need to meet, such as whether you’re a big cook or get take-out five times a week. You’re ready to set the stage for the rest of your life.
Take a Look at Your Finances
While it’s extremely fun to think about what your forever home is going to look like, it’s important to be practical in the matter. First, consider your financial standing before jumping into such a large investment. Do your research and read about how much a kitchen and bathroom remodel might cost. Have you been saving for this project? If not, we recommend, you take the steps and start now. If you need a little help, review the different financing options OHi offers. Always be wise and don’t dive into a project unless you’re financially ready.
For some, this can happen earlier in life. They prioritized saving for this project to be able to enjoy it for as long as possible. They get to enjoy the look they love for longer, while also building sentimental value into the space. Additionally, if they are able to save earlier, they’ll most likely be able to start saving for other needs they might have in retirement.
For others, they wait until close to retirement and save specifically for this project. The benefit of waiting is that they know the functional needs they would require in their home for long term safety and security. The downside is that once they reach retirement, they’re often living on a fixed income and have limited funds, which could limit their resources for other investments.
The Keeping Up With The Joneses Myth
I hope you’re sitting down for this mythbuster I’m about to share: the Joneses don’t exist. The idea of a family you are required to compete with can really get in the way of your forever home dreams. It can lead to you designing someone else’s dream forever home. Suddenly, forever won’t be as appealing or as functional as it could have been. I know it’s hard to not compare or compete with others. I know many of us have that one person in life who we want to be seen as an equal with, but maybe the answer is you become your own Jones family. Try to keep up with your own taste and functional needs, and you might be surprised by how much other’s love it.
At the end of the day, the remodel your neighbors have isn’t going to be your perfect remodel. For example, your neighbors might not have two large English Mastiffs. They might have a teenager while you have two toddlers. They might cook every meal of the day, while your family eats out. The layout, the products, and the functions of both of those spaces is going to be different in nature. And that’s okay. If you consider your lifestyle and your taste preference, I know you will find your remodel far superior to your neighbors.
Designing a Successful Forever Home
After determining the viability of designing your forever home, you get to the fun part: the design process. This is the part that Pinterest and Houzz are built on. You get to cast your vision for how you want your space to look. But before you get too overzealous, here are a few tips to consider in order to pull off a successful design.
The first thing to consider once you reach the design portion, is what function you need your house to serve. People who intend to age with their home should consider implementing universal design. This involves purchasing a ranch style home, opening up doorways to be wide enough for walkers or wheelchairs, and more base cabinet drawers. Many of the design factors are subtler, but help keep your home more accessible and safe for all age groups. Universal living is also a great choice for families with young children, as it discourages sharp corners, and encourages special appliances like an induction stovetop to prevent burns. Other things to consider when designing your forever home is how much you cook, how many pets you have (and what type), and if you tend to host large groups frequently. It is important to really examine your lifestyle and talk to a designer about how they can help you achieve each of these day-to-day functions as seamlessly as possible.
With the idea that this home will be your forever home, it’s smartest to invest in the highest quality products possible. For example, I would recommend Grabill cabinets because they're a custom, handcrafted option that will last a lifetime. Furthermore, if you get sick of the cabinets you select in twenty years, high quality cabinets are easier to sand down and refinish with a new paint color. Ultimately, durability and ease of maintenance should be your guiding force when selecting your materials. For countertops, consider quartz. For tile, choose a pattern with minimum grout lines.
When it comes to designing based on personal taste, remember that there is a fine line between picking only trends and going with timeless design. Really lean into the guidance of your designer to sift through your selections. Without the right balance, two things can happen. First, you pick everything you love, despite it being extremely trendy. If that’s the case, be prepared for it to go out of style. If you love it anyways, great. Just know, this is what happened with paneled walls, pink bathtubs, and vomit green carpet.
The second risk is that you play it too safe. You choose only neutral options. You’re conservative in every selection and throw any personal taste to the wayside at the risk of your space becoming dated. The problem with this option is that you’re making quite a large investment for a space to turn out “meh”. I recommend that you breathe a little life into your design. Choose a fun tile or a great accent. Ask your designer about embracing color in a tasteful way or get their guidance on how to mix textures. I think flair is good, as long as there is balance.
Starting a forever home remodel is a big decision that requires a lot of thought and planning. If you’ve already taken the time to consider it and are ready to start the process, reach out to our team today and schedule an appointment. If you’re not ready, start making an action plan, research, and sign-up for our email newsletter to receive design inspiration monthly.