10 GREAT WAYS to add value to your home.

Are you looking for ways to add value to your home?

Here are 10 ways to customize your home to invest in the long term, from Matthew Kronsberg of Worth.com.

1. Paint and Landscape- When it comes to return on investment, it’s hard to beat a fresh coat of paint—and not just because it boosts curb appeal, according to Bennett Carr of Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills, Calif., but because it also makes buyers more confident that the infrastructure is sound. “If something looks poorly maintained, it makes buyers very suspicious about the underlying condition of the house,” Carr says. Next: Bring on the boxwoods. The other essential project is landscaping. “People make more money onpaint and landscaping than on anything else.”

2. Open up the View- Now that you’ve improved the interior and the exterior, find ways to “open up the dialogue between the inside and the out,” Carr says. “I had a client take out a house wall to open up a city view, and that expenditure of about $50,000 brought him another half million dollars on the sale price. Whatever your view—even if it’s only a garden—open it up.”

3. Create an Outdoor Kitchen- Maximize the potential of your outdoor entertainment areas. Erika Granath of Balistreri Realty in Boca Raton, Fla., suggests upgrading to a full outdoor “summer” kitchen. This might include a bar, a pizza oven and a fireplace or fire pit. “Buyers are wowed by great outdoor spaces,” she says.

4. Put in a Pool- High net worth home buyers don’t have the same issues with swimming pools—concerns about maintenance and insurance costs, basically—that other home buyers do. So don’t be shy about adding a pool. In the Sunset Hills of Los Angeles, where Car sells homes, “A pool will probably pay quadruple what it cost, particularly if it’s part of a whole landscaping package and has easy access to the entertaining rooms of the house.”

5. Create an Entertainment Room- Home theaters are common enough in new construction to be considered a necessity. You can easily spend $250,000 installing one, but it’s possible and probably advisable to do it for less. Any boost in appraisal value will reflect improvements such as soundproofing and cabinetry more than the electronics, which will need to be updated or customized for the buyer anyway. Most important is creating a luxurious and comfortable space.

6. Bring Kitchen Details Up to Date- If you’ve been in your house for some time, consider updating your kitchen. The cherry-wood cabinets and dark granite countertops that were in vogue a few years ago have been overtaken by lighter colors. And the closer you can get your cooking and cooling appliances to restaurant quality, the more they’ll add to your sale price.

7. Create an Open Kitchen- Updating a kitchen means more than improving the surfaces and buying new appliances, suggests Mona Hellinga, who specializes in estates along Chicago’s Gold Coast. Especially in homes built in the early 20th century or earlier, kitchens were closed off from the entertaining areas. Now, “people like to have kitchens open to the family rooms. Families are much less formal than they used to be, and people don’t have as much live-in help as they used to have.“

8. Exploit Every Inch- Putting your space to better use—or creating more of it—can bring a home in line with buyers’ expectations, says Hellinga. “It doesn’t cost much to convert attic space to finished space. It adds square footage, and adds space that they can dedicate to whatever they want.” A maid’s or other small room adjacent to a master suite can be converted to a walk-in closet, also attractive to potential buyers.

9. Pump up the Garage- In South Florida, three-car garages are now standard for new construction at the $1.5 million-and-up price, so consider an expansion if your garage isn’t that big. At the very least, suggests Carr, make sure that the surfaces in the garage are well finished and freshly painted. Hellinga finds that car collectors in northern climates appreciate not just epoxy-finished floors, but also heated garages.

10. Install a Generator- As major power outages become more frequent due to climate change, a generator sufficient to keep your home going for up to two weeks has become more than just an attractive amenity— it’s part of a home’s suite of safety and security systems. Jim Magliaro, appraisal operations manager for the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, says that a generator is “an investment in the protection of your home,” and may well reduce insurance premiums.

Kronsberg, Matthew. “Top 10 Ways to Add Value to Your House.” www.worth.com, 10 Aug. 2013. Web. 

Wayland- from the ground up

Homeowners Susan and Brad, two of the most lovely people one could meet, contacted me in 2014, and we soon embarked on a year long project that resulted in one of my most comprehensive projects to date; it was a fulfilling and rewarding project, full of learning experiences and adventure every step of the way. Susan and Brad's aim was to transform a Wayland cape into a more contemporary living space. The exterior continues to reference the cape style, however the open interior plan, material selections and finish details fit a more contemporary sensibility.  Color, light and texture are were the main focus for material selections throughout the project.  I was able to focus much of my time directly along side the clients through every stage of the project. Initially, the three of us sat sat together for many hours pouring over design plans. Once the project took shape on paper, I continued to provided complete architectural services (including weekly construction administration meetings where all relevant parties came together for a meeting of the minds) and many field trips for various material selections. I am particularly proud of this projects and exceedingly thrilled to see the product come to fruition. I will most certainly miss seeing Brad and Susan's cheery faces on a regular basis. The project was completed in December 2015 and the clients couldn't be more thrilled with their new home. Have a peek at the construction images below to see what it takes took to get this project going. 

Click here to view the completed project gallery.

Eclectic ocean-front space transformed

I embarked on a full blown rehab of the existing interior and exterior spaces of this 1890's ocean-front home in June of 2014. In the fall of 2015 the project was coming to fruition.  It was a joy to visit this job site, not only to witness the excitement of the homeowner as the project progressed, but also to breathe the fresh sea air.  Winthrop is full of historic homes with wonderful period charm.  This project called for a more modern open space to enhance circulation for the interior space; by flipping the primary living areas to the home’s ocean side, the owner is now able to interact with the waterfront views on a daily basis.  I also custom designed the mill work for many of the interior spaces, in keeping with the homes original grandeur. The exterior updates feature energy efficient windows, spray-foam insulation and period trim details. In each room you'll encounter refined, tactile finishes that help create a backdrop for the homeowner’s eclectic artwork.  Once a dark interior of inward-facing rooms, the home is now full of light, rich architectural textures and commanding ocean views in all directions. Time to pull up a chair, kick back and take it all in - a great escape from the hustle of the city with gorgeous spots to watch boats drift by and planes pass overhead. 

DGS Architecture Launch Party!

I couldn't be more thrilled to announce the beginning of DGS Architecture!  The launch party was a wonderful way to commemorate this milestone.  The warm sunny day enhanced the gathering in the garden with friends and former colleagues.  I want to thank everyone so much for all the encouragement and support I received along the way--I couldn't have done it without you!  Stay tuned for more updates on new projects & ideas.