Home Improvement

Beautifying your Home from the Inside to the Outside
Interior of white cabinets and marble countertop kitchen
Dream House Dream Kitchens

Kitchens Worth the Investment
A gorgeous new kitchen redesign can dramatically boost your home’s property value. Whether you want to attract prospective buyers or you’re just looking to increase your home’s importance to you personally — truly transforming the kitchen into the heart of your home — your kitchen is the perfect place to invest your time and money. Dream House Dream Kitchens makes the process of designing and installing custom cabinetry incredibly simple.

Beginning with a consultation in your home or the showroom to discuss styles, materials, layout and more, your Dream Team drafts a colored 3D rendering of your space to bring your project to life. You will see precisely what your home’s kitchen will look like before the project even begins. “Dream is a small family business, not another big-box store,” says Jerry Schmidt, Dream House sales director. “We work with each family and take the time to talk through appliance selection, workflow and your style … no detail is overlooked.”

If you decide to make any changes, a new rendering will be created so you can see another version of your dream, says Lindsay Nelson, a designer at Dream. Throughout the process, your Dream designer will be there with you every step of the way until you are fully satisfied. Since you will be excited about your kitchen’s progress, you will be given a thorough timeline of your project, detailing the process step by step all the way to the final touches. “If you dream it, Dream House Dream Kitchens can make your dream cabinetry,” says Nelson.

With more people staying at home, the demand for kitchen redesigns, such as custom cabinetry, is on the rise. Now is the time to reinvest in your home. “Our cabinetry can be designed to fit anyone’s style and look. You won’t find a team that’s as personal as the Dream Team,” says Schmidt. “You spend a lot of time in your home, so it should be a space that makes you happy. When we put a design together for a homeowner and they
know it is right for them, we’ve done our job right.”

Exterior of house with clear glass doors opening to wooden deck and outdoor potted plants

Window Design Center

Windows for Your Lifestyle
Whether you have an older home ready for an update or are currently dreaming up the ideal new build, Window Design Center from Zuern can enhance the functionality of your space with windows and glass doors perfectly suited for your lifestyle. Through individualized consultations, the professionals at Window Design Center will assist you in a home refresh by bringing the outdoors inside through new windows or sliding doors. Or perhaps you are considering altering your room’s traffic flow (adding in new glass patio doors for example) and need expert insight on where to install the new feature. No matter the project, Window Design Center will assist you in finding solutions to your design needs.

SUMMER TRENDS | With people staying home more these days, outdoor design is focused on cozy charm and entertainment — think outdoor kitchens, fire features and custom landscape lighting.

Perhaps the most important piece to the remodel challenge, windows come in all shapes and sizes. But what really matters is the window or glass door’s function. The expert design team at Window Design Center walks you through options and asks the important questions: How do you envision your space’s flow? How are you going to live in this space? What solutions can we provide based on your lifestyle? The creative process begins with client feedback. If you are looking to bring the outside in, instead of having a patio door and a bunch of windows, would a multislide or bi-fold door suffice to bring in the most natural light? In the bathroom, would smaller windows offer more privacy? Increasing the functionality of your space while giving you the best high-end products is the goal every time.

Every remodel or replacement is individualized to fit your home and preferences through one-on-one design meetings. Consulting with clients at the center’s showrooms, the team of experts goes through the different options available to help you make an educated decision for finding the perfect windows and doors. Come by the Madison or Delafield showroom to start your new window or door design project today!

Outdoor brick patio with outdoor furniture and landscaping

Ground Affects Landscaping

A Focus on the Outside
When designing a new home, the indoor elements might seem the most exciting — from choosing custom kitchens to closet space. But the outside of the house deserves attention, too, and earlier in the build than you might think.

Tom Ball, president of Ground Affects Landscaping in Sullivan, recommends pulling in a landscape designer or landscape architect as soon as possible in the building process. They can address any crucial issues, like grading or retaining walls, and also craft an outdoor space you’ll love spending time in. It also helps to have an estimate for landscaping services so you can factor the cost into your budget and consider folding those expenses into your mortgage.

Of course, sometimes you can’t construct the perfect outdoor space all at once. If you are prioritizing, Ball says proper grading, installing retaining walls or hardscaping and seeding a new lawn should be at the top of the list. Since they’ll take several years to grow, plant any large shade trees right away, too. Elements like foundation plantings or a fire feature can wait until next year if necessary.

Homeowners turn to Ground Affects Landscaping for a variety of services, including designing and planting shrub beds, water features and hardscaping, such as brick paver patios, seat walls, built-in grills and fire features.

Ball says some clients come in with a clear idea of what they want, while others would rather rely on the creativity and expertise of the Ground Affects team. The first step is to picture how you’ll most commonly use your outdoor space, not plan for that one big annual barbeque picnic.

“We know it’s going to get used over and over and it’s really exciting to hear a client say, ‘We use our backyard all the time, we absolutely love it.”

Modern white farmhouse with black roof and window frames

Victory Homes of Wisconsin

Build Your Vision
Customizing your home build ensures that every layout, fixture and detail is exactly what you want. Victory Homes of Wisconsin works closely with clients to perfect every detail of building plans to ensure confidence in the quality, craftsmanship and beauty of their new home.

The surest way to get your dream home is to design and build it from scratch.

Victory Homes of Wisconsin, an award-winning luxury homebuilder, offers an expert design team that works with clients to ensure every room, fixture and feature fits their vision. “Buying an existing home, you are either stuck with what the previous owner selected or you would have to start planning for a remodeling contract, which sets the customer up for another list of surprises,” says David Roembke, partner and vice president of sales.

Roembke says their in-house design team works closely with clients to create the perfect home build plan. While Victory offers some base home styles that clients can customize to their liking, designers can also draw up entirely new plans to fit a client’s wishes.

Modern farmhouse continues to be a popular exterior style, with white or gray siding paired with dark-trimmed windows.

“Interior-wise, we are still seeing a trend for white painted woodwork and cabinets, darker hardwood floors, amazing tile showers and still quartz or granite for countertops and backsplashes,” Roembke says.

Victory has also been creating unique outdoor living space designs, including pool houses, covered porches with fireplaces and three-season rooms with either screens or foldable glass walls.

Victory can also help people who want to build but haven’t found the perfect lot yet. Many members of its sales teams are licensed in real estate sales, and Victory also has several lots available in certain subdivisions.

Roembke says Victory’s clients are very involved in their home build process, even after construction is underway. Clients can still make changes at the job site if need be, which is an option most builders don’t allow.

Visit victoryhomesofwisconsin.com to get started on your perfect home.

carpeted stairs going to another level of the home


Design-driven Results

FLOOR360 is a leader in installing stylish, quality flooring in new homes around Wisconsin. Its talented team works closely with clients to understand their tastes and provide a wide range of design options from its impressive inventory of flooring materials.

FLOOR360 offers a design-focused approach to adding quality, stylish flooring and tile to your new home.

FLOOR360 offers clients a dedicated interior designer who can showcase the best options from the company’s unique, design-driven assortment. “Over the past year, FLOOR360 has curated our collection and reimagined our showroom to cater to the new home construction market and remodeling industry,” says Jen Fickling, director of residential sales. Fickling says FLOOR360 has curated its collections to offer the latest styles of hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate, carpeting and tile in a variety of price ranges, including luxury designer brands that can’t be found elsewhere.

FLOOR360 is a leader in new home flooring. Fickling says the company’s homebuilding partners appreciate the preferred pricing FLOOR360 can offer based on the volume of flooring it purchases and installs.

“FLOOR360 installs more flooring in more new construction homes than any other flooring provider in the state of Wisconsin,” Fickling says.
Those who are remodeling their homes can set up a private consultation to give them an in-depth understanding of their style and desired outcome.

“Where we excel is in ensuring all design elements and finishes work together and are installed with superior skill while using our process that’s proactive, responsive to needs and above all hassle-free,” Fickling says.

Some of the most popular trends have centered around people spending more time at home in peace and comfort. Hard floor styles, such as wood, luxury vinyl plank or laminate remain popular in the main floor common areas. FLOOR360 can also create custom area rugs to accent those floors and give your home a unique design touch.

Carpeting is popular for stairwells, both for comfort and for noise reduction. Fickling says many customers have chosen bold patterns for stairwells near the front door in order to make a stylish first impression on visitors. To learn more about FLOOR360’s design-driven services, visit floor360.com.

Illustraition of a Summer vacation home

Getty Images

Vacation Home Buyers
Four walls, a roof and memories that’ll last generations. With mortgage rates at historic lows, now is a great time to purchase your second home. There are several components you should take into consideration before purchasing your vacation home. Most people purchase their second property as a place to call home during extended vacations.

Lifestyle and Location
Choosing a location for your getaway spot can be very exciting. A good vacation home should be distant enough to allow you to escape the hustle and bustle but still convenient enough to travel to. Before you start researching popular areas, consider the purpose of your vacation home and your lifestyle: Your ideal getaway could involve relaxing on the beach and exploring nature trails, while others may prefer shopping and seeing the sights. Your location decision should align with your family’s interests and ensure the area has something for everyone to enjoy.

Out of Sight, but Keep in Mind
A step that often gets overlooked when shopping for vacation properties is considering the fees associated with different kinds of housing — like condo fees, insurance and taxes. Additionally, there are seasonal maintenance expenses associated with a second home, like preserving the lawn and gutters and winterizing. Your second home should be viewed just as much as an investment and responsibility as your primary residence. Establishing an annual budget for maintenance will help reduce stress, as you’ll know your property is being well taken care of in between visits.

Consider Your Goal
With such a substantial purchasing decision, it’s best to take some time and consider your end goal. Ask yourself the following five questions:

  • What’s your target price range?
  • What amenities are you looking for?
  • What geographic location is best for you?
  • Is it a short-term/long-term property?
  • What kind of home (condo, ranch-style, etc.) are you looking for?
  • Approve and Peruse
    1. UW Credit Union is a great place to begin your interest in home ownership. Getting preapproved lets you know how much you qualify and makes you a more confident buyer.
    2. Now you can begin your house hunt. There are plenty of online tools and professionals who are interested in finding you the right home.
    3. Schedule one last meeting with your lender and real estate agent to close the deal. Congrats on your new home!

    “Nothing excites me more than helping someone purchase a new home. I get so much joy from being able to provide this opportunity.” says Julio Rios, UW Credit Union vice president of mortgage lending.

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