Hey there and welcome! KP Home is a full-service interior design firm based in the glorious and character-filled city of Chicago. At KP Home, we believe that your home should be as unique as you are. We combine beautiful design with your experiences, personality, and taste to create a masterpiece.
From charming suburban homes to high-rise city condos, renovating in the Chicago area isn’t always as straightforward as it should be. But, even though it can have unique obstacles, living in a home that tells your story and reflects your lifestyle is always worth it.
The best thing you can do before getting started is to prepare yourself with realistic expectations and the knowledge that your team has your back. So, let’s explore the 5 most common renovation challenges in the Chicago area, along with remedies that will help you navigate a successful renovation…
Like most urban living arrangements, space is hard to come by. Unless you buy a second unit next door (which can be done), there is limited room for remodeling and reconfiguring layouts. For example, condos have a fixed amount of space, and single-family homes are often on small lots. If that’s the case, you can only build up, which comes with its own set of limits.
Solution: With space at a premium, creativity is required. This is where a designer comes in. We can creatively approach your existing floor plan to make your home appear and feel larger while maximizing functionality. We can also swap room functions to reflect your needs. For example, maybe you have an unused dining room and you need an office. We’ll discover a creative way to make that work for you.
Cities love their rules. Depending on the building, there are usually strict codes about when, how, and what type of construction can take place in your unit. These rules are in place to cause the least amount of disruption to all the unit owners, but it can make scheduling workers and deliveries challenging.
Solution: To avoid issues with your building management, condo association, and neighbors, we suggest:
In the early 2000s, there was a quick-flip phenomenon when many renovated condos were updated with builder-grade materials and “trendy” (for the time) aesthetics. Think beige tones, everywhere. Tile, cabinetry, countertops, and walls were often covered in a palette of tired browns. These are features most homeowners no longer want to look at. The challenge? How to update them.
Solution: My advice? Gut it. Or at least part of it. There are so many great reasons to say “out with the old and in with the new.” First, you will have the chance to create a space that feels like you, which is the whole point of design. Second, there are so many incredible, long-lasting materials out there now. Not only will high-quality materials endure daily life better (meaning low-maintenance for you), but it adds to your overall home value. Third, design you love never goes out of style.
Older buildings are landmarks of Chicago’s charm and character, but their age can present other problems hiding behind walls and in plumbing. Because these are problems that will need to be addressed during construction, updating kitchens and bathrooms (or any structural changes) can turn into a more significant renovation. In general, no homeowner loves surprises, but getting things like mold, water damage, etc. out of your home will create a healthier environment overall.
Solution: Expectations are key here. Research your home to find out how old it is and the last time it had a renovation. Knowing that information ahead of the remodel will adequately prepare all teams (contractors, builders, designers) to navigate any age-related challenges that might arise. Your team will most likely have experience renovating homes of a similar age and will know how to prepare.
Because of ALL of the challenges above, working with experienced industry professionals is always advised during a home renovation. This includes your contractor, interior designer, local cabinet maker, plumber, electrician, etc. Each person has a different specialty and huge depth of knowledge in their field — leverage that knowledge for a project as stress-free and successful as humanly possible!
So, what’s the challenge? Finding the right people. A blind Google search is a little scary. Can you really trust the person you just cold called? And how do you know who you need?
Solution: I have two suggestions for you. First, referrals are your best option. Even if you’re considering someone you found online (maybe that’s us!), ask them to speak with past clients to discuss their experience. This will give you a much better feel for whether it’s a good fit.
Second, hire an interior designer first. Of course, I’m biased, but if you care about the aesthetic and living experience of your home, we’re the ones responsible for the design. (More about working with a designer here.) We have also worked with other industry professionals and can connect you with the roles and experts we recommend. That’s a referral you can trust!
Don’t let these challenges keep you from loving the place you call home. There is a remedy for each one; it just requires flexibility, creativity, experience, and execution. Get those pieces in place, and you’re good to go.
Are we on your shortlist? I’d love to hear about your project and see if we’re a good fit. Reach out to us here, and let’s get to know each other.
Until next time,