New Season, New Look Homeowners find fun ways to freshen up their houses.

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Welcome to home improvement season, local contractors say. While it might seem like everybody is buying a new house this spring, many are choosing to renovate or upgrade their current homes.
Good neighborhoods, strong school systems or a love of their house are all reasons that families choose to stay put, says Karen Pitsley, owner and president of Transforming Architecture in Highland. But sometimes those homes they adore need a little freshening up.

“We are busier than we ever have been,” Pitsley says. Additions are the “bread and butter” of that boom, she says, but she also has many clients in the midst of remodeling projects.

The kitchen is one of a home’s public spaces and a “huge part of the family community,” she says. Not surprisingly, it’s an area that homeowners frequently choose to upgrade. More revealing is the fact that kitchen upgrades can happen on almost any budget.

For a few hundred dollars, homeowners can change out the hardware to give their kitchen a more stylish look, Pitsley says. In the $6,000 to $7,000 range, they can replace countertops and cabinets, if they do the work themselves. A new kitchen with an island and upgraded appliances is obviously a more substantial investment, coming in around $40,000, she says. But many families feel the investment is worth it. “All parties begin and end in the kitchen,” she says.

The average bathroom remodel costs homeowners from $15,000 to $25,000, Pitsley says. Again, it’s an improvement homeowners like, because it adds to the overall livability.

Kyriakos Efthimiadis, a partner in the Hanover-based MMG Marble, agrees that kitchen and bath redos are high on the remodel list.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of contracts for spring and summer projects,” he says.
Putting a new marble floor in a kitchen or bathroom can cost around $8 to $30 a square foot, and sometimes higher, depending on the size of tile, design, material and color. White has been a popular color choice for the past few years and will likely remain a top choice for 2018 as well, Efthimiadis says. His company’s specialty: Thassos White.

Besides a clean, crisp marble look, homeowners who are redecorating are drawn toward the eclectic, says Mark Klatsky, owner of Classic Imports & Design, a Cockeysville-based provider of antiques, restoration and interior design.

Home design magazines are featuring spacious and airy rooms, and in them, are a mix of antiques and contemporary products, which Klatsky says Baltimore homeowners are going for this season. Some of his current clients are mixing European antiques along with some art deco items for a look that is “not so ornate” and a space that is less congested, he says. The results are “beautiful.”

For homeowners who are not that far along in the redecorating process, he recommends getting started by choosing what they want to keep from their existing décor. His next step is to “introduce things they really love,” he says.

Once they have items they are happy with, Klatsky and the client figure out where they work in a space. The good news for homeowners who want a fresh look is that there is a wide range of cost involved in redecorating.

What about outdoors? April is when the landscaping season gets underway and many clients of Infinity Landscapes in White Marsh got on the schedule back in Februrary, owner Rob Ray says. The two biggest requests: Patio work, or replacement, and plantings. Popular among his clients is blue stone for patios. Many clients also seek landscape designs that will give their yards color through the fall.

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