Home remodeling is different – home renovation has changed with the pandemic and evolving tech | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Home remodeling is different – home renovation has changed with the pandemic and evolving tech 


It can be truly exciting to renovate the place we spend so much time in, especially during a pandemic. 

“With people doing less vacationing, there’s more people that are utilizing that money to do improvements on the the house,” said Randy Miller, owner of Allrite Home & Remodeling, a family business in Milwaukee since 1969. He is an exterior remodeling and insulation expert and a member of Temple Menorah and Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun. 

And, with all the technology today, there are endless possibilities for home remodeling, said Mark Brick, owner of B&E General Contractors Inc. in Glendale, and a member of Temple Menorah. 

“In today’s market, we’re seeing a lot of kitchens, bathrooms and basement remodels and additions to homes,” said Brick, who has been in business for 37 years. 

For kitchens, homeowners want the ceilings opened up, and with soffits over the cabinets removed, he said. 

“People want more mobility in a kitchen, full extension drawers versus doors. It makes it so much easier to access any item that you might have in there. And we’re seeing deeper, wider drawer space configured for specialty items like spices.” 

Brick adds that customers are wanting higher end appliances, more Wolf and Sub-Zero with quartz countertops. “You’re also seeing more coffee and espresso makers built in,” he said. 

“You’re also seeing multi-level countertops and the island – the eating and congregating area of the kitchen—with pass lighting, LED cans, pendant lights and task lighting under the cabinets.” 

Brick is installing foot pedals for sinks that you see in commercial kitchens. “There’s also faucets that turn on and off with the wave of a hand at pre-set temperatures for hot or cold.” 

There are now platforms to raise your washer and dryer off the ground for a more stable surface that will reduce vibration and ease the stress on your back and shoulders. “There are different types of storage, racks that pull out to you and down for accessibility,” he said. 

More bathrooms are getting renovated. “They might get a modular acrylic or fiberglass unit. They want a regular cast iron tub or to convert that area to a walk-in shower and eliminate the tub,” he said. 

Frameless glass on shower doors give way to niches that are built in for soap and shampoo. “You can add LED lighting inside your niches and have a portable speaker mounted in the shower head that is enabled with Bluetooth technology,” Brick added. 

Brick is seeing more linear drains in showers which pick up water like a trough. You can also make it a steam shower. Benches are installed and you can use a handheld shower right there. 

Turning to basements, Brick said they are becoming more like upstairs. “You can make them very comfortable with a fireplace, TV on the wall and full kitchenette or kitchen, game or theater room. You can do virtually anything in the basement with money being no object.” 

Then there is the home exterior. Randy Miller of Allright said that he is seeing people choose darker colors for window exteriors. “We’re seeing more of the blacks and dark browns. They look great in modern designs as well with a variety of home styles,” Miller said. 

Exterior projects are also trending to more high-end materials with style. “They are looking at fiber glass or wood interior of the window and aluminum clad exterior instead of vinyl windows,” he said. 

On a sour note, home improvement plans have been delayed due to supply shortages and skyrocketing material costs.  

“There is a global shortage of aluminum and prices have soared,” Miller said. “Also, paint products are seeing a bit of a hit from that point as well. But, if you’re creative, you’re able to maneuver your way around it.”