The Meadowlark Blog
Meadowlark Design+Build

You know you need to make some changes in your home, but the thought of all the planning, the construction process, the overwhelming decisions—not to mention the cost—just seems too much to bear. Well, don’t panic. Master planning can help you navigate your way through the journey of making your home the perfect place for you and your family.

Master Planning in Action

Rather than describe in words what master planning means, we’ll give you an example of a three-phase project we completed for a family in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our clients purchased this 1980s built home in 2009 and loved the quiet neighborhood and wonderful wooded lot. They knew there were changes necessary when they moved in, but rather than dive right into renovations, they decided to live in the home a while to get a feel for what was working for them and what wasn’t.

Remodeling in Phases - The Beauty of Master Planning

Also, like most of us, they didn’t have an infinite budget, so they wanted to be sure that when the time was right to make the investment they would be getting the best results for their needs and wants.

Renovation Goals

Working with our designers, the clients came up with three key goals for their long-term investment into the home:

  1. Sustainability and comfort: Make the home more energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy for its occupants
  2. Get rid of the chaos and the brown: Improve the flow and functionality of the first floor, bring in more natural light, and update the outdated brown and beige color schemes
  3. Improve the outdoor space: Update the exterior and improve the curb appeal

With these goals in mind, we created a four-phase renovation plan.

Phase 1: Long-Term Sustainability

Since our clients were planning on staying in this home for many years, their first priority was to make the home more comfortable to live in, easier to maintain, and more energy-efficient. To this end, new attic and basement bond insulation was installed along with a geothermal heating/cooling system and an energy recovery ventilator.  Additional upgrades to the thermal envelope of the home (exterior insulation and siding, new windows and doors, new roof, etc.) would be addressed in future phases.

Phase 2: Get Rid of Chaos (and Brown)

A boxy floor plan, a brown and beige color scheme, and inefficient use of space made this home dark and chaotic for the family. There was loads of space, but none of it was very inviting, so everyone and everything gravitated to the kitchen—creating an overwhelming mess.

This phase was all about opening up sight lines, lightening up the finishes, and addressing the day-to-day needs of a growing family of four. Utilizing the existing footprint, our designers reconfigured the kitchen, laundry/mudroom, and office areas of the home to better meet the needs of the family. New and larger energy efficient windows replaced the old. Light and airy finish selections replaced the brown and beige.

The resulting first floor spaces are clean, organized, and full of natural daylight.

Phase 3: Improve the Outdoor Experience

Our clients really wanted to update the exterior of this home and make it work better for their needs. Obviously, the dark brown exterior was in need of a facelift. With an eye on energy efficiency and maintenance, the existing siding was removed, and two inches of rigid exterior insulation was installed and covered with Hardiboard lap and panel siding. The front porch was extended to balance the front of the home, and a larger patio was added onto the rear of the home, allowing the family to enjoy the beautiful forested lot.

Phase 4: Bathroom Updates

Updating the 1980s beige bathrooms is on our clients radar screen. When the timing is right, they will take the plunge. Stay tuned!