It may be thrilling to refurbish the home where we spend so much of our time, especially during a pandemic.

“With people taking less vacations, there are more individuals using that money to perform home upgrades,” said Randy Miller, president of Allrite Home & Remodeling, a family business in Milwaukee since 1969. He is a Temple Menorah and Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun member who specializes in exterior renovation and insulation.

And, with today’s technology, there are virtually limitless options for house upgrading, according to Mark Brick, owner of B&E General Contractors Inc. in Glendale and a member of Temple Menorah.

“We’re seeing a lot of kitchen, bathroom, and basement remodels and expansions to homes in today’s market,” said Brick, who has been in business for 37 years.

In kitchens, he added, people want the ceilings opened up and the soffits over the cabinets eliminated.

“People prefer full-extension drawers over doors in the kitchen because they want more movement.” It makes it a lot easier to get to any thing you could keep in there. And we’re seeing deeper, broader drawers set up for specialist things like spices.”

Customers, according to Brick, prefer higher-end appliances, such as Wolf and Sub-Zero with quartz worktops. “You’re also seeing more built-in coffee and espresso machines,” he added.

“You’ll also see multi-level counters and the island – the kitchen’s eating and gathering area – with pass lighting, LED cans, pendant lights, and task lighting under the cabinets.”

Brick is putting in foot pedals for sinks like the ones you find in commercial kitchens. “There are also faucets that switch on and off with the wave of a hand at pre-set hot or cold temperatures.”

There are now platforms available to lift your washer and dryer off the ground, providing a more solid surface that reduces vibration and relieves tension on your back and shoulders. “There are many forms of storage, such as racks that draw out to you and down for accessibility,” he explained.

More bathrooms are being updated. “It’s possible they’ll receive a modular acrylic or fiberglass unit.” “They want a standard cast iron tub, or they want to convert that room to a walk-in shower and get rid of the tub,” he explained.

Frameless glass on shower doors allows for built-in soap and shampoo niches. “You can put LED illumination within your niches and have a Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker installed in the shower head,” Brick suggested.

In showers, brick is seeing more straight drains that collect water like a trough. You may also turn it into a steam shower. Benches have been erected, and a handheld shower is available.

Brick stated that basements are becoming more like upstairs. “You can make them quite pleasant by installing a fireplace, a TV on the wall, and a full kitchenette or kitchen, as well as a gaming or movie area.” You can accomplish almost anything in the basement if money is no object.”

Then there’s the outside of the house. According to Randy Miller of Allright, customers are choosing darker hues for window exteriors. “We’re seeing a lot more blacks and dark browns.” “They look wonderful in modern designs and with a range of house types,” Miller says.

Exterior projects are likewise moving toward higher-end, more stylish materials. “Instead of vinyl windows, they’re looking at fiber glass or wood interiors and aluminum coated exteriors,” he says.

On the other side, home renovation projects have been pushed back due to supply shortages and soaring material costs.

“There is a global aluminum scarcity, and prices have skyrocketed,” Miller explained. “Paint goods are also taking a hit as a result of this.” However, if you’re inventive, you can work your way around it.”

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