When we were approached to remodel this Albany Park, it already had a fairly open floor plan and ample space to work with. The kitchen had lots of existing lighting, but the cabinetry and layout were outdated and did not quite meet the practical day-to-day needs of our clients. The clients desired a functional kitchen with lots of storage as well as space to entertain. The previous kitchen did have an area with bar seating, but it was on the outskirts of the kitchen and felt cramped and secluded from the overall dining space. Our in-house designer, Ivana, came up with a fresh design to give the kitchen an open layout that would improve the flow of the home. Read below for details on how she transformed this u-shaped, closed-off area into a seamless, accessible part of the living space.

Can you describe what the design process was like for this project?

Ivana: The previous kitchen design was about thirty years old, so it needed to be updated a lot. There were many issues regarding storage in the existing space. I knew that I had to develop some storage solutions for the clients, so that was my main focus when I started designing this project. The u-shaped kitchen was inhibiting the flow of traffic in the living area. You want guests to be able to walk around comfortably without stepping on toes, so opening up the kitchen as much as possible was a priority as well. To bring the maximum amount of storage to the space, we decided to bring the cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling. This not only gives the clients way more storage than what had existed in the kitchen before, but it also adds height to the room by bringing the eye all the way up. Speaking of creative storage solutions, I decided to convert two existing closets into a pantry. This decision freed up a good amount of cabinet space as well. We added a small prep fridge in the landing for more organizational space. The new kitchen design included more appliances than what the clients previously had, so it was an interesting task to fit them all into the kitchen while also adding storage and not risking functionality. For the hardware in this space, we chose to go with a honey bronze finish to contrast the dark cabinets.

Are there any challenges you ran into when designing the space?

Ivana: There were some challenges on this project. In addition to the challenge of adding extra appliances and storage into the space, we ran into the issue of not being able to do a recessed niche that had been planned because of an unforeseen existing water line. While this is not an uncommon problem to encounter when remodeling a project, it does take resilience, adaptability, and creativity to be able to come up with solutions to work around these issues. When a client is set on something, you try your hardest to make it work. If that thing is not possible, you give them something even better that they didn’t even know they desired in the first place. Incorporating the tile accent over the stove was a bit of a challenge as well. While it is very visually appealing on its own, I had to come up with ways to make it blend into the space and not look like an afterthought. Ultimately, we achieved that by choosing an ornament that brought in multiple colors. It was an intentional decision that the accent included the blue color of the island, the black that exists in the hardware, as well as the white that’s in the cabinetry of the space. By using the same blue color in the rangehood (which contrasts beautifully against the neutral backsplash), we were able to create a stunning focal point in this kitchen. It’s the magic of design!

What was the most fun part of your work on this project?

Ivana: The most fun part of designing this kitchen was adding in all of the details. For instance, choosing the specific style of pendant lighting that would tie in the wall sconces that frame the rangehood. Also bringing out the rich blue accent color of the island in other subtle ways throughout the space. The client was very specific about not wanting to go with a basic subway tile, so we went with a cracked gray vintage tile look instead. It’s the incorporation of all of these details that make the clients feel at home in the space.

Any helpful design tips that you would like to share?

Ivana: Yes, and it goes with what I was saying before. The most crucial part of the design process is the smaller details. In regards to this space, you see a lot of meticulous thought put into those intricacies. The lighting in the upper cabinets, while a simple design feature, adds a warmth to the kitchen that is absolutely stunning. You see this warmth carried down all the way to the floor by the brown leather barstools that not only frame the island perfectly but also allow for more entertainment space. Last, but certainly not least, a glass cabinet display was included so that our clients could should off their glassware. The copper mule mugs on display add a nice touch that goes perfectly with the leather seating and warm hardwood floor as well. It is these details in a design that make the space extremely functional while giving it a customized feeling as well. The client wants to feel like you took all of their pain points into account to transform their existing space into a new space that meets all of their needs and more.

Areté is committed to helping you make your dream space a reality. If you are thinking of remodeling your Chicago home or condo, call us at Areté Renovators at 773-610-4551 and let our interior designers work with you to create a design that reflects your own personal style.


This stunning living space remodel boasts the perfect blend of neutral tones. The black farmhouse sink and range hood are married seamlessly with the touches of black fixtures featured throughout the kitchen. The bold copper pendant lights dance perfectly above the spacious white island, bringing immense warmth to the space. White flat paneled cabinets rest above light natural wood color cabinets. The under-cabinet lighting serves both functional and aesthetic purposes as it cascades down the beautiful white slab backsplash. To tie everything together, the light wood flooring that spreads from the kitchen to the living room also spans up the newly remodeled staircase. This draws the eye vertically as well, making the already open space feel even more expansive. A refinished fireplace serves as the perfect focal point for the living area, as well as an essential element to any Chicago home during the course of those long winter months. Our clients chose to get the most out of their mantle by displaying a colorful array of books, making the fireplace both an architectural gem and a conversation starter.

Our in-house designer, VasilkaTodorovska, is traditionally drawn to projects that include eclectic elements. This project was no exception! Below, we go into great detail about her experience mapping out her vision for the space. We touched on the challenges that it entailed, as well as the adaptability that it takes to be a successful designer.

Can you describe what the design process was like for this project?

Vasilka: The original idea was for the kitchen to be primarily dark gray, but because of the style of cabinetry being discontinued due to supply chain issues, we had to pivot and adjust the design plans accordingly. As a designer, you must be both adaptable and versatile when it comes to your ideas with each project. You never know when an issue may arise that is completely out of your control, and being open to editing your design plans is key! While I had planned to go with a completely industrial design for this project, we ended up choosing a hybrid of contemporary and industrial elements. We kept the copper pendant lighting and leather barstools but chose lighter cabinetry to complement and brighten up the space.

Could you describe your design work on the kitchen?

Vasilka: The kitchen is a very eclectic mix of contemporary and industrial elements. The building has a mid-century modern feel, so I definitely wanted to stay true to that during the design process. When designing a space, you never want to clash with the character that the building already possesses. The flooring in the space was initially a dark espresso/maple stain, so we stripped it and stained it an ash blonde color to marry seamlessly with the cabinetry. Another way we were able to bring an industrial feel to the space was through the hardware we selected. By going with a matte black sink and faucet, as well as cabinet hardware, we were able to create lots of contrast within the space.

Are there any challenges you ran into when designing the space?

Vasilka: Yes, absolutely. I already mentioned the supply chain issue. Aside from that, the original layout of the kitchen was very challenging to transform to the end product. The kitchen layout was not functional at all, and my goal was to create the perfect working triangle. We had to move a lot around in order to achieve that. I had also planned to move the soffit above the stove to carry the cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling, but we found that due to an existing pipe being there, it wasn’t possible. The logistics of relocating the range hood for the stove was a bit difficult as well. Oh, and the island! Many people don’t realize that there is code that requires a kitchen island to have outlets in this city. We also located the microwave in the island to optimize storage space. To make this possible, the flooring had to be removed to run the electrical under it. Luckily, the client had the budget to redo the flooring. We recommend that clients plan on remodeling the entire room at once because of issues like this. In this remodel, walls were relocated to get the desired layout. Had we not had the budget to redo the floor, this would’ve caused scarring and inconsistencies in the hardwood that wouldn’t have been aesthetically pleasing.

What was the most fun part of your work on this project?

Vasilka: I would have to say that the most fun part of this design was blending the updated kitchen design with the existing architecture. The space had a fireplace as well as French windows that were pretty traditional, and these items had to stay in the space. I was tasked with the challenge of giving them a refresh that made sense with the new look and feel that I wanted to give the client. We chose to update the existing black fireplace by painting it white and replacing the existing granite tile inset with marble tiles. To give it a finishing touch, we painted the walls white to obtain a cohesive blend of all of the architectural elements that exist within the space.

Any helpful design tips that you would like to share?

Vasilka: Yes. If you are looking to refresh an existing traditional fireplace, painting it and replacing the existing tiles will give you a lot of bang for your buck! Also, muting down loud colors in a space helps bring more shape overall. Being strategic about color placement is key. We replaced the old limestone with clean, neutral colors to give the space a contemporary, luxurious feel.

Areté is committed to helping you make your dream space a reality. If you are thinking of remodeling your Chicago home or condo, call us at Arete’ Renovators at 773-610-4551 and let our interior designers work with you to create a design that reflects your own personal style.


When our team met with the client to come up with an estimate for this project, our team was very excited about the potential of the space. Located in River East, this modern townhouse was slightly outdated with dark, heavy wooden cabinets, earth-toned granite countertops, and a U-shaped layout that didn’t quite maximize the functionality of the space. Luckily, the space already contained top-of-the-line, stainless steel appliances that we were able to keep. The bathroom, while impressive in stature, was also shrouded in dark beiges and cherry wood tones that restricted the freedom of the space. Our in-house designer, Ivana Stojanovska, was tasked with bringing both luxury and light to this home, and she was able to do just that! Read below to find out the details of her incredible work.

Can you describe what the design process was like for this project?

Ivana: We wanted to keep the wooden elements that already existed in the space while also giving it a more modern, updated feel. The bones of the space were pretty solid, and while it had large windows throughout, the home itself is built in a way that feels narrow. Because of this, we were challenged with coming up with creative solutions for storage. I worked closely with the clients to figure out exactly what they needed/desired and tried to incorporate it all into the design in the smartest ways available.

Could you describe your design work on the kitchen?

Ivana: As I’ve stated, the previous kitchen contained a lot of wood. The flooring and cabinets carried the wood from floor to ceiling, and while this gave the space a dated feel, the wood did provide a feeling of warmth to the room. I decided to keep the warmth in the kitchen by doing the island in a rich walnut. To modernize the space, we went with a shaker door style in a clean, neutral white. We also did some custom cabinetry, built-in all the appliances, and updated the color of the flooring. For accent lighting, we chose these gorgeous black and wooden pendant lights to hang above the dining table and island. These work in tandem with the recessed and undercabinet lighting to really brighten up the space since the dining area doesn’t have natural lighting. A pot filler hangs between the professional grade gas stove and the custom built-in range hood for maximum functionality. We wanted to carry the white all the way up the wall, so we went with a beautiful porcelain backsplash. A hidden feature that this kitchen boasts is a refrigeration drawer in the island. This was included to make the best use of the space that we had available. There’s also a built-in wine fridge in the corner of the kitchen. The unique, custom details in the space really give it a luxurious feel while avoiding gaudiness.

What about the bathroom?

Ivana: Designing the bathroom was my favorite part. We wanted to go with a natural spa-like feel, which you can see in the wooden detail of the vanity, cabinetry, and shelving. We carried the calacatta tiling all the way up the shower wall, which adds so much height to the space while reflecting the light beautifully. We went with brass for all of the hardware in the bathroom, and of course, to add a touch of opulence to the space, we chose these gorgeous aged brass wall sconces. They were built into the mirror and used as accent lighting for the art in the room, so they served as task lighting while bringing luxury into the space. Last but certainly not least, a gigantic, freestanding soaking tub rests under a large window nestled in the far side of the bathroom. It is positioned under a round chandelier that mimics the rectangular shape of the wall sconces. It’s a bathroom fit for a king and queen, truly!

Are there any challenges you ran into when designing the kitchen?

Ivana: Yes, we did run into some. We didn’t have much space for storage in general, so we had to come up with some unique ways to get around this. One of the ways we created space was by hiding the pantry in a column. There is also cabinetry enclosing the fridge and microwave that not only provides ample storage, but also gives the kitchen a unique, one-of-a-kind look and feel. This is an example of marrying design and functionality in the most efficient way! We also did completely customized add-on storage for the client. One of the main jobs of designing a space, especially kitchens and bathrooms, is creating the maximum amount of space.

What was the most fun part of your work on this project?

Ivana: While coming up with solutions for storage in this space was quite the challenge, it was a fun challenge for me. Aside from having to maximize the storage in the kitchen, I also had to incorporate a dining space without taking away from any of the existing storage. We went with a four seat leaf table that has the ability to extend and accommodate six or even up to eight people. Creating two functional spaces out of one is always an interesting task for a designer. You never want to inhibit the flow of traffic or make the space feel fragmented in any way, but you always want to be sure to define each space and meet the needs of each specific client.

Any helpful design tips that you would like to share?

Ivana: Being meticulous about the accents in your space is what will really tie it all together and give it a cohesive, custom feel. In this kitchen space specifically, we added wooden detail into the lighting fixtures to compliment the beautiful walnut into the design. We also went with green details in the bar area for an exciting pop of color, as well as going with a brushed nickel faucet with a walnut neck. The devil is in the details!


Investment: $90,000-$100,000
Designer: Ivana Stojanovska of Areté The Art of Design and Amy Courtney of Amy Courtney Design
Photographer: Rayne Troxell
Location: Streeterville, Chicago

When this returning client approached us to renovate an investment property that she’d recently acquired, we were absolutely thrilled! This two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Streeterville already boasted the most stunning panoramic view of the city, but it needed a modern refresh to give it that extra flair.

This amazing condo remodel features everything from new Benjamin Moore paint, to brand new hardwood floors, new shower tile, and most things in between! The kitchen and guest bathroom both received a facelift. In the kitchen, the light blue-gray flat panel cabinets bring a pop of color that meshes perfectly with the white backsplash and countertops. This color also marries very well with the scenic sky blue cascading in through the large floor-to-ceiling windows. Gold fixtures and hardware are sprinkled about for the perfect amount of luxury and sparkle. With a new textured vanity and new tiles, the guest bathroom is an absolute dream. Porcelain floor tiles and ceramic wall tiles line this bathroom in a gorgeous monochromatic pattern. A new gray vanity with double under-mount sinks was added to the master bathroom as well. Read below and learn all of the intricate details of this design from the two incredibly talented women that made it possible.

Our in-house designer, Ivana Stojanovska collaborated on this project with Amy Courtney (Amy Courtney Design) to create a dream space for our New York City-based client. It isn’t common that multiple designers collaborate on a residential space, but having two unique visions on a project is always an added bonus! Together, they were able to take this space from drab to fab. Continue reading below for a detailed recounting of their design processes.

Can you describe what the design process was like for this project?

Ivana: This was an easy remodel because we already had a relationship with the client. I had also collaborated with Amy on a previous condo remodel for this client, so we already had a working relationship as well. The client was very receptive and open to suggestions when it came to the design of the space. We decided not to remodel the entire space, primarily focusing on updating the color of the kitchen, hardware, master bathroom, and flooring.

Amy: I previously worked on designing a condo for this client in the same building as the current remodel, so we knew that we wanted to go in a different direction. We chose to go with a lighter floor and darker cabinet color in this apartment. Overall, we just wanted to create the antithesis of the last space that we worked on and use more daring finishes!

You can see examples of these bold finishes in the gold hardware and blue kitchen cabinets. This use of blue incorporates the beautiful scenic view of the skyline into the space so seamlessly. The pops of gold hardware in the space bring a royal feel with a modern twist. The amount of detail that both designers brought into the space is very intricate and pairs beautifully with the overall design of the building.

Tell us a little bit about your work on the bathrooms with this project.

Ivana: For the master bathroom, we chose a modern design with neutral and airy tones. We went with a terrazzo floor and earthy materials as well. The walls are gradient white with light gray detailing, and the base of the tile in the bathroom is multi-gradient white. It has an immaculately feel. We really wanted to highlight the tile that was already there, so we chose colors to bring out the detail in that design.

Amy: We did a full renovation of the guest bathroom. We picked gorgeous mid-century terrazzo floors that work well with the building and also introduce a “tiki-like” vibe into the space. To contrast the bathroom floor, we went with a smaller format tile for the shower flooring. I wanted to give the space a handmade feel with a modern style, so it has a much warmer feel than a typical modern design.

Amy and Ivana worked with the client to create a space that married a very modern design with an invitingly rich color palette. The use of rich browns in the guest bathroom is not extremely common in a modern design aesthetic, and it really sets this space apart from your everyday high-rise remodel. Walking into this space feels like a tropical vacation.

What was the most fun part of working on this project?

Ivana: For me, the most fun part was bringing out the beauty that already existed within the space. I really enjoyed accenting the hardware that already existed, as well as choosing all of the different materials. The kitchen design was the most exciting part for me!

Amy: Working with this client is always awesome! This was my third time working on a project with her, and I have enjoyed it time and time again.

Are there any helpful design tips that you would like to share?

Ivana: Painting is key. Painting the walls can really take any space a long way. Another way to really transform your home is by updating cabinets, backsplash, and hardware! These are east replacements that will make your home feel like new. Personalization lies in the smallest of details.

Amy: Tile backsplash can be a nice place to add personality, but a slab backsplash is the way to go! For a more interesting take, consider adding personality to cabinets and bringing color into your space that way. You can also do this through lighting and hardware.

Areté is committed to helping you make your dream space a reality. If you are thinking of remodeling your Chicago home or condo, call us at Arete’ Renovators at 773-610-4551 and let our interior designers work with you to create a design that reflects your own personal style.

Simple Home Remodeling Projects That Yield the Best ROI 

home remodeling

Q: What basic factors should be considered before starting a remodeling project?  

A: The first of the basic factors would be the following having a clear understanding of what the scope of work is that you want to accomplish. Make a list of the things you want to do organized by priority. Start with what’s most important to you. After that, you can go on you can fill in the pieces. In addition, have a clear understanding of what your budget is. As a creative, I like to have an idea for good design, so I would recommend having an inspiration board. Discover what inspires you and then you can articulate that to a designer or anyone helping with your project.  

Q: What comes first when starting a home remodel?  

A: First, vet the companies you want to reach out to. Get on Google, research the companies, submit the contact forms, read reviews, and so on. I always recommend the client get three different quotes. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Step one is always to do that research, schedule a consultation to talk to someone at the company and get an estimate. Have an idea of your budget, it doesn’t have to be set in stone. They’re probably going to ask you about budgeting at your initial consultation, so start thinking about it early on.  

Q: Which home improvements return the greatest value at resale? 

A: I would break this down into the difference between living in a condo or a high rise, versus a single-family home. In the Chicago market, for a single-family home or even a smaller multi-unit, exterior work consistently has the highest return on investment. That could be a garage door, replacing your vinyl siding, windows, entry door, and so on. The way we think about that is it’s your curb appeal, it’s the first thing people see and if they have a great first impression, then they’ll pay more for that property. When looking at a condo, the big return on investment will always be the kitchen and bathroom. People typically don’t have a very creative eye when going into those spaces. Since the kitchen and bathroom are the two spaces that we spend the most time in, they’re going to want to see updates there. 

Q: What should be expected once you start the remodeling process? 

A: Expect the unexpected. Expect potential delays in the timeline of your project. When it comes to materials, shipping can often take longer than expected. Definitely keep an eye out for that in the beginning. We have a mix of clients who want to stay living in the unit during construction and some who don’t want to be anywhere near. It’s loud. It’s messy. It’s construction. There is always something unexpected that will come up. Be prepared for those unexpected issues. There are still some industry-wide delays in cabinetry and plumbing fixtures. Lumber and rough material aren’t as bad now, but still taking a little bit longer than we are used to.  

Q: Does upgrading the hardware make an impact when remodeling for the best ROI?  

A: When I’m referring to hardware, I’m speaking about your faucet, your cabinet or drawer poles, and little things like that. I don’t see that making a big impact on your ROI. However, if you are an owner and looking at listing your unit for sale, any of those little updates will help a buyer see the potential. Also, you’re not investing a ton of money in a remodel that someone might want to change later. I think it’s a small investment to make, but I don’t think it’s really going to have a huge impact on your ROI.  

Q: Is it realistic to set a strict budget when starting the remodeling process?  

A: Yes, you have to have a number in mind that you really want to stay within, but take into account that depending on what you’re doing, we cannot predict what we’re going to find in the space after demolition. You should have a budget, but you should also have an allowance in there for roughly a five to ten percent contingency fee for the unexpected that nobody can predict.  


The Areté team is dedicated to fulfilling all of your Chicago home remodeling desires. Whether you want our home designers to come up with plans for your space or a complete remodel of your home, our in-house team of designers and project managers offer fully customizable services to meet your needs on any project. To get started, schedule a consultation with our team today here, or call Areté at 773.610.4551. Let’s collaborate on creating the space that you deserve!

Our Top Design Trends For Chicago

Chicago home design trends

In our recent blog posts, we’ve touched on the benefits of creating inspo boards before embarking on your newest renovation project. Not only does this help you figure out what you are most drawn to aesthetically, but it’s also a great way to gauge what color palettes and art pieces would be appealing in your space. Sifting through countless hours of photos to find what you like can be a daunting task, but don’t fret! We’ve done the work for you by compiling some of the best design trends at the moment. Take a look at this list and let your imagination run wild!

Display Shelving

display shelving

display shelves

While this trend is far from new, that doesn’t make it any less elegant or appealing. Adding built-in shelving into your space gives you a wide array of options when it comes to decorating your home. Not only is it an extremely versatile design element, but it’s also very functional. Your shelving could serve as a bookcase, a place for your plants to grow, or even a wine rack! The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to this pillar of home architecture.

Bold Bathroom Tile

bold bathroom tiles

There’s no denying that a neutral palate is a staple regarding current trends in home design. Now, more than ever, homeowners are choosing classic wood or marble floors. While it is nearly impossible to go wrong with featuring these tried and true materials in your home, going with interesting patterns in unique places is a refreshing design choice that is sure to set your space apart from the rest. A great example would be adding visual intrigue with your bathroom tile choice. Not only is it a feast for the eyes in terms of aesthetics, but it also adds some much-needed excitement to the room.

Gold Hardware

gold hardware

If you are looking to elevate the look of your kitchen while maintaining a timeless appeal, consider choosing hardware with a bronze/gold finish as opposed to the more common nickel, matte black, chrome, etc. While this color complements almost any palette, it tends to play very well with neutrals, greens, and blues. Feel free to experiment and find out what shade pairs best with your existing or desired kitchen cabinets. This hardware is typically easy to find in both traditional and contemporary styles, which provides you with a vast range of options to choose from!

Patterned Wallpaper

patterned wallpaper

Wallpaper has gotten a bad rap over the years. We can assume that this stems from the majority of people associating it with their grandparent’s outdated wallpaper from the 70s that they refused to get rid of. However, wallpaper is back in style now, and the patterns are more stunning and intricate than ever before! With a little research and determination, it should be super easy to find a wallpaper that suits both your space and your aesthetic. Wallpaper can be used on your accent wall to bring out the colors in your space that you’d like to feature more. It’s also wonderful for adding intrigue and dimension to your smaller spaces such as bedrooms or bathrooms. Don’t let bias make you shy away from all that wallpaper has to offer!

Statement Backsplash

statement backsplash

Backsplashes are a design essential for the modern kitchen. They not only protect your wall from whatever sauce splatters may occur whilst you indulge in culinary excellence, but they also enhance the look of your space. Currently, it is very common to choose either a singularly-patterned backsplash or a solid slab look. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either, but adding in a hint of texture and detail will elevate your space even more. Consider adding in a few rows of tile with a design. This will create a nice focal piece for your kitchen and add more high-end appeal.

Solid Slab Backsplash

solid slab backsplash

As mentioned above, solid slab backsplashes are a huge design trend of the moment, and for good reason! Not only are they absolutely stunning, but their seamless look adds height to your kitchen by drawing the eye up from the countertop all the way to the ceiling of your space. This design element is one of my personal favorites because of its clean look. It also vibrantly reflects the under-counter lighting which brightens your space overall.

Warm Tones

warm tones

Balancing warm tones with neutrals is the perfect way to create an inviting space. Our designer made use of the stark contrast between the colors in the photo above draw focus to the lovely details in the space, such as the copper pendant accent lighting and matte black hardware. Do not be afraid to play with dramatic color variation within your space. It can pay off in the most gorgeous of ways!

Fluted Cabinetry

fluted cabinetry

This fluted cabinet design serves as both a place for ample storage and a breathtaking art piece. It adds a dramatic element to the bathroom by elevating your everyday vanity into a sure-fire conversation starter. As design enthusiasts, we are always seeking innovative ways to add texture to our spaces. This style of cabinetry, in any color that you may choose, is a creative way to level up any room that it resides in.

Two-Tone Cabinetry

two tone cabinetry

Two-tone kitchen cabinetry seems to be a trend that is here to stay. It is a bold, exciting way to feature an accent color throughout your space. This design element works best when a lighter color is contrasted with a darker hue, or the cabinets feature different textures/materials. If you are seeking a distinctive method to add some color to your kitchen, look no further!

Highlighting Existing Elements

Highlight Existing Elements

One of the most satisfying accomplishments of a remodel/redesign is being able to enhance the existing bones of the space. Many older homes boast beautiful, sturdy architectural marvels that we rarely come across in this day in age. It is imperative that we attempt to preserve these whenever it’s possible. This is a fantastic way to make your space uniquely yours. Maintaining and updating the existing elements that already make your space special will only add to the value of your home.


The Areté team is dedicated to fulfilling all of your Chicago home remodeling desires. Whether you want our home designers to come up with plans for your space or a complete remodel of your home, our in-house team of designers and project managers offer fully customizable services to meet your needs on any project. To get started, schedule a consultation with our team today here, or call Areté at 773.610.4551. Let’s collaborate on creating the space that you deserve!

Bathroom Remodeling in Chicago: Where to Start

Chicago Bathroom Remodel

master bathroom remodel Chicago

An updated bathroom sits in the top three of most of our lists regarding home remodeling desires, and for a good reason. Your bathroom is not only your designated space for the most intimate of self-care practices, but it’s also a room for decompression and relaxation. Such a sacred space should be beautifully designed to fit both your wants and needs. Since the thought of remodeling any room in your home can feel like a gargantuan task, it is imperative to picture yourself (as well as your loved ones) enjoying the end product! This guide will help you consider all of the possibilities necessary in order to successfully remodel your space. Within the article, we will break down aspects to anticipate when taking on a bathroom remodel of any size.

Create an Inspo Board

Before beginning any project in your home, it’s important to have an idea of not only what you desire aesthetically, but what will best serve you in the space functionally. Of course, a designer can help you flesh out that vision, iron out all of the intricacies, and design features that will enhance the ideas that you already have. Whether you prefer to gather pictures from Google searches, look through your favorite design magazines, curate a Pinterest board, or search through remodeling-related hashtags on Instagram, there are countless mediums at your disposal to draw inspiration from. You can also check out our Houzz profile to see images displaying some of the beautiful spaces that our team has completed. Having some solid ideas for your space will aid your designer in envisioning your dream space.

Consider the Costs

Now that you have some inspiration to fuel your design journey, it’s time to get practical. Look through your Inspo Board and take note of the types of materials that you are drawn to. Selecting a custom or semi-custom vanity will require more of an initial investment than choosing a pre-fabricated one, but this choice could also potentially provide more return on your investment in the long run. The choice of quality of the tile that you desire will play heavily into the overall costs of your project as well. Going with marble tile will be more expensive than a ceramic or porcelain. It’s also important to pay attention to how tile size and material will affect your labor costs. Glass tile or small mosaic is more labor intensive to install and cut versus a standard subway or 12×24 format tile. Researching the pros and cons of the materials that you are drawn to will help you get a realistic view of what the project will cost.

Begin Budgeting

To estimate a budget for your project, we need to consider the size of your remodel and the type of bathroom that you plan on remodeling. Smaller bathroom updates that don’t involve reconfiguring the layout typically begin at 10k. This would include aesthetic changes such as updating tile, replacing a vanity, switching out hardware, etc. For a full gut of a standard-sized (5 x 8 ft.) full bath with a tub/shower combo, pricing would begin at around $25k. If your project involves converting a tub to a walk-in shower, the total cost would lean closer to $30k. On the other hand, if your vision is to remodel your master bathroom into a luxurious space with all separate components (double sink vanity, soaking tub, walk-in shower, and toilet), a full remodel of such a space would cost around $35-$40k. This budget guide is important to keep in mind when determining your remodel investment range.

Chicago Bathroom Remodel

Anticipate Timing

After figuring out the estimated budget that you are looking at for your remodel, the next step is to consider the amount of time that it will take to complete the project overall. Since your bathroom is a space that you use every day, multiple times a day, you will definitely want to make an alternative arrangement for the time that it will be inaccessible. If you are considering a small powder room remodel (that does not involve relocating any plumbing or electrical), this project could be completed within as little as one week! However, large projects, of course, take more time. Remodeling a bathroom with a shower typically takes anywhere from 3-5 weeks depending on plumbing configuration. A full bath or a master bathroom will remodel will more than likely take 5-6 weeks.

Contact Our Team for a Walkthrough

You’ve done all of the groundwork to embark on your bathroom remodeling expedition, so what’s next, you ask? Contacting a design professional will not only get you the maximum amount of value out of your project, but it will save you many hours of agonizing as well! Our award-winning team is well-versed in tackling any remodeling project ranging from bathroom remodels to renovating your entire space. It is a designer’s job to consider all of the aspects that you may not consider when remodeling your bathroom. More specifically, these considerations include whether or not it is necessary to move any plumbing, if your layout should be optimized for the maximum amount of storage/space, and the availability/practicality of the materials that you desire, among countless others.

Enjoy the Value!

According to Zillow’s analysis of the average return of investment (ROI) for home resale value, bathroom remodels yield a much higher return than any other investment. More specifically, in the Chicagoland area, homeowners received (on average) 65.7% of their initial value added to their home upon resale, according to’s most recent Cost vs. Value report. If you needed tangible evidence that the bathroom remodel that you have been desiring will add equity to your home, look no further!

Contact the experienced bathroom remodelers at Areté Renovators

The Areté team is dedicated to fulfilling all of your Chicago home remodeling desires. Whether you want a designer to come up with plans for your space or a complete remodel of your home, our in-house team of designers and project managers offer fully customizable services to meet your needs on any project. To get started, schedule a consultation with our team today here, or call Areté at 773.610.4551. Let’s collaborate on creating the space that you deserve!

Kitchen Remodeling In Chicago: Where to Start

Chicago Kitchen Remodeling

Chicago kitchen remodel

The kitchen is commonly referred to as “the heart of the home,” and for good reason. It is the central hub for entertainment and the central gathering place in our homes. It’s a place where tasty creations come to life, heartfelt conversations are held, and souls are fed time and time again. Kitchen remodels can be tricky because there are countless factors to consider before embarking on such a grandiose adventure.

For most, functionality is the top priority when it comes to a kitchen remodel, and rightfully so. Although capability is key, we want spaces that speak to us and appeal to our imaginative sides as well. No one wants to spend the bulk of their downtime in a space that is outdated and uninspiring. Within this article, we will explore steps that will guide you along your kitchen remodel journey.

Create an Inspo Board

If you are wondering where to begin, this is the perfect starting place! There are many ways to go about finding inspiration for how exactly you would like your space to look. Are you interested in a contemporary space? Maybe a traditional kitchen would appeal to you more? If you’re anything like me, a mixture of both would intrigue you the most. Instagram and Houzz are wonderful places to get started in looking for design inspiration.

Both sites have options to save images that speak to you on “boards” or within “idea books.” Think of it as scrapbooking, but the 21st-century version. This is a simple way to keep your remodeling ideas organized throughout the entire process. This way, when you are ready to meet with a designer, you can easily share your collection with them to get a head start on finalizing your likes and pain points. While you’re at it, you can draw inspiration from Areté’s stunning renovations on our very own Houzz Page.

Consider the Costs

One of the primary reasons that homeowners are iffy about remodeling their kitchens is the cost. Thinking about the amount of money that you may spend taking on a project of this magnitude can be overwhelming. You can minimize the cost of your project by going with pre-fabricated cabinetry instead of custom. Another helpful tip is choosing a subway tile backsplash over a mosaic, or quartz countertops over marble. Choosing these materials will give you a high-end look that won’t break the bank.

Begin Budgeting

You may be wondering: what is this remodel going to cost me in total? Budgeting is often the most stressful part of a remodel/renovation, and often a deterrent that stops a project in its tracks. At Areté, our average kitchen remodels start at $30,000. This includes smaller updates such as new countertops, backsplash, updated flooring, new sink hardware, etc. Larger remodels start between $40,000-$60,000 (depending on material selection) and include replacing appliances. Hopefully, these averages will give you an idea of the potential expenses of your project.

Anticipate Timing

When redoing any part of your home, you may have to adjust your routine to adapt to losing the use of that room temporarily. Of course, the inconvenience will be worth it in the end, and planning ahead will save you a lot of stress and grief in the long run. We estimate that a basic kitchen remodel will take 5-6 weeks. This timeline is for projects that have no change in layout. More complicated projects take 7-8 weeks. These are remodeling projects that include changes in wall structure or plumbing. Be prepared to come up with alternative measures during the time that your kitchen will be under construction, and be sure to ask your contractor scheduling questions. For example, we do not start any projects until all material is in stock and ready to install. This gives us the ability to shorten project length so our clients do see lapses in work being done.

Contact Our Designers

Now that you have some ideas about the style of kitchen that you would like in your home, as well as the potential costs of the project that you’re about to take on, it’s time for the real fun to begin. At Aret é, our in-house design team can aid you in bringing your dreams and ideas come to life. We offer a one-hour complimentary consultation in order to get a better understanding of your design concept and goals. This is so that we may prepare a customized and accurate cost estimate. Your designer will help you decide whether or not it will be necessary to change the layout of your existing space to fit within the way you live and use the space. Our design team will also present you with options of quality materials that fit within your desired budget and aesthetic. We pride ourselves on customizing the design process to fit the individual needs of each client. If you’d like to get started, you can schedule a consultation with us today!

Enjoy the Value!

When remodeling our spaces, we always want to consider the Return on Investment. According to a recent Housing Trends Report conducted by Zillow, 58% of buyers stated that their preferred kitchen style is an extremely important characteristic that they consider before purchasing a property. This being considered, one could concur that having an updated kitchen is a crucial part of giving your home a competitive edge in today’s market!

Contact The Experienced Chicago Kitchen Remodelers At Arete’ Renovators

There’s no time like the present to get started on creating the kitchen of your dreams. While it might seem like a behemoth task to tackle, planning ahead and working with the right team will make all the difference. Whether you are seeking minor kitchen upgrades or a complete overhaul of your space, these steps should help you put your project into a perspective that will be less intimidating. Put your Chicago kitchen remodel into the hands of our talented, capable in-house design team at Areté. Schedule a consultation and let’s get started on creating your stunning new space. The possibilities are endless! Call Arete’ now at 773.610.4551.

Is Renovating Your Outdoor Space In Chicago Worth It?

Chicago deck remodel

Chicago deck remodel

Visualize The Outdoor Space Of Your Dreams

Take a moment, close your eyes, and visualize the outdoor space of your dreams. Maybe it is a haven for you to hide away from the kids while escaping from reality in a lengthy novel. It could be a comfortable entertaining space for friends to come over and enjoy. If you are like me and your imagination knows no bounds, you could be picturing a wonderland that would make even Walt Disney envious.

Does your yard space suit your needs? We evaluate our indoor spaces so meticulously that we often forget that our outdoor spaces should be just as functional and habitable. Maximizing the potential of your outdoor space will bring your summer vacation right to your doorstep!

It is no secret that spending time in nature has positive effects on our mental wellbeing. Even though May was Mental Health Awareness Month, it is crucial that we make efforts to care for ourselves year-round. A 2020 study conducted by Kirsten Weir with the American Psychological Association (APA) found that being in nature can provide benefits such as “improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.” If creating an outdoor space that you enjoy being in can add to your life expectancy, it is not only an investment in your property but an investment in your health.

Property Value Must Be Considered

Relating to the topic of investments, property value must be considered when evaluating the viability of any home improvement project. In their recent Remodeling Impact Report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) concluded that landscape upgrades, upgraded patios/decks, statement landscaping, outdoor lighting, and outdoor kitchens were within the top ten home improvement projects that add to resale value.

If you were on the fence about beginning any renovations to your outdoor space, this should be the incentive that you need to do so. The survey also found that “99 percent of NAR members believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer.” The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly does not apply to homebuying!

Simple upgrades could include adding flagstone to provide a walkway to your front door, planting trees/flowers, or adding lighting to your yard. These minor improvements could make a world of difference in setting your home apart from the neighbor’s. Larger tasks may require hiring professionals for maximum efficiency. Consider hiring a designer with a trained eye for spotting details we may often overlook.

While hiring someone to design a specific outdoor space that will suit your household’s needs is an investment, you can rest assured that you will walk away with the functional space you deserve. Nothing is more depressing than having a half-finished home improvement project because you ran into unforeseen issues. A professional should be able to catch any of these issues before they arise. The piece of mind is priceless. Give someone else the burden of taking all of the measurements, digging up those mounds of dirt for electrical, etc. Your nail beds will thank you as well!

Complete Your Outdoor Space Renovation In One Project

When redoing outdoor spaces, a common trap that homeowners fall into is attempting to break up the project into pieces. While this method appears more manageable and budget-friendly from the onset, it usually isn’t. For one, the fluctuating costs of materials must be taken into account. With our ever-changing market, an item that you price at the beginning of the season may be more expensive after. This can put your entire project over budget and diminish the margins on your return.

This method is not the most conducive to maintaining a set budget, and it also isn’t the most effective for having a cohesive space. Think about it this way: when you renovate a kitchen, you choose the appliances, materials, and lighting to complement one another, correct? The same method should apply to designing your outdoor space. The flow of your space is an asset regarding its aesthetic appeal.

Check With Local Authorities For Required Permits

Make sure to check for permits required for any outdoor changes you intend to make! Of course, permit stipulations vary based on your location. For this reason, you can never be too cautious when checking the requirements for your area. If you plan to outsource your project, then this step may be completed for you. Some common projects that do require permitting are installing driveways, masonry work, replacing decks or porches, installing fences taller than 5 feet, etc.

However, landscaping projects, painting, and minor exterior repairs do not require a permit. Make sure to double, triple, and quadruple check! The last thing that you need is a fine from the city to take up any portion of your budget. You can find information about specific requirements on the City of Chicago website.

In Chicago specifically, an outdoor heater or fire pit is an investment that should be factored into your budget! After you finish perfecting your space, you’ll want to indulge year-round. Your hard work should not only be habitable in those few summer months. Imagine how sweet it would be to have an outdoor space to curl up and drink hot chocolate in those harsh winter months. The only issue you will have is getting the company that you are entertaining to leave!

Call The Chicago Outdoor Space Renovation Experts At Arete’

Now is the time to make those plans concrete (no pun intended). The possibilities of what your outdoor space could be are endless. You have taken the time to visualize your dream space. Now let’s take the steps to bring that dream as close to reality as possible. Make a list of five must-haves regarding what you want in your new space. After you have finished those, add five things you would like to have if your budget allows. This list is a practical way to begin planning your outdoor renovation. Our Areté team is eager to collaborate with you on creating a space that will take your breath away! At Areté, we believe that each space we design is truly its own work of art. Are you ready to create your masterpiece? Call our outdoor space design experts in Chicago today at 773.610.4551

10 Ways to Prep Your Home for a Fruitful Chicago Spring

Chicago home remodeling

Breathe in, breathe out. The sun is starting to peak out at least once a week, and we all know what that means. It means Chicago spring is peeking behind the shadows! There’s nothing more enthralling than watching the trees regain life all around the city and seeing the flowers bloom. You can feel Chicagoans reeling with anticipation over the impending gorgeous weather (the tourists will be landing at O’Hare soon). With that being said, one starts to wonder: how can we refresh our spaces to ring in the new season blooming all around us?

Chicago home remodeling

  1. Refresh Your Fabrics

We can liven up our space by changing out darker colors for lighter, more neutral hues. Bright and bold colors are in, and just in time for spring! It’s time to pack up that winter decor. Switching out linens, pillows, curtains, or even accents at least once a year will make your home feel like new. Think of it in a similar vein as packing away your winter coats and bringing out your favorite pairs of summer shorts.

  1. Change Up Your Space

Rearranging even one room in your home always invites positive, new energy! We get so used to the way our spaces are set up, and there is comfort in this familiarity. However, seeing the same setup in your home day after day (especially being trapped inside during quarantine), can become monotonous, stale, and mundane. When was the last time you did a full walk-through of your space? Take a moment and examine each area of your home. Do all your rooms flow well? Are your bookshelves, pantry, and workspaces organized for maximum efficiency? “Marie Kondoing” your space might bring some newfound inspiration.

  1. Plants, Plants, & more Plants!

Bringing greenery into your home adds both life and fresh air. As the trees outside our windows sprout new life, bringing the color indoors naturally makes the eye travel toward windows. Adding plants with vertical height will draw the eye upward toward the ceilings of your home. These details will make your space feel more expansive overall. If you are anything like me and you didn’t inherit a green thumb, here is a list of some low-maintenance indoor plants that aren’t so dramatic: snake plants, cacti (and most other succulents), ferns, aloe, pothos, etc. Don’t forget the centerpiece floral arrangement!

  1. Add “Springy” Scents

Changing out your candles, diffusers, and room sprays from winter scents (i.e. pumpkin spice, anything coffee or pastry-related, cinnamon, etc.) to a lighter scent (anything fruity, floral, or tropical) will add an inviting flair to your home. A pleasant smell is not only an immediate mood-booster, but it’s also an inexpensive way to add a touch of luxury to your space. One of my favorite scents is Mahogany Teakwood because it’s so rich and earthy.

  1. Switch Your Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans in your home, you may not know that most models have a switch that changes the rotation of the air. It is usually a small black switch located on the base of the ceiling fan. In the winter months, your ceiling fan should be rotating clockwise for a warmer space. In the spring, switching the rotation counterclockwise will push air down toward you, making your home cooler (and saving you money on your electric bill). While we’re on the topic of air circulation, if you suffer from spring allergies, investing in an air purifier can be a small price to pay for improving your quality of life.

  1. Invest in Outdoor Furniture

Let’s be candid: no one is interested in sitting outside for prolonged periods of time during the Chicago winter unless absolutely necessary. If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor space, now is the time to take full advantage of it. Invest in some quality, comfortable furniture for your patio, deck, or yard for both you and your company to enjoy. Give your friends and family a place to relax and unwind while soaking up some vitamin D! You can bring extra flair to your space by adding some nice ambient lighting or a firepit if you have the room. This is a great option to make your spring and summer nights both scenic and picturesque.

Chicago deck remodeling

  1. Spray for Insects

Now is the perfect time to spray the interior and exterior of your home for those pesky bugs that come out to play in the sun. During the winter smaller bugs usually die off, and only the strong survive. Spraying at the beginning of the season shift will stop these bugs from reproducing and becoming such a headache in the coming months. Hiring a pest control specialist could also be a viable option that will pay off year-round.

  1. Boost Curb Appeal

The skies are bright and clear – which means we can see everything! Give your yard some TLC. Go ahead and plant those flowers, put those bags of salt away, pressure wash that exterior, and clean out those gutters. The exterior of your home withstood some harsh weather over the past several months. It deserves a little spring facelift, and your neighbors will surely be grateful for your efforts. Upgrading your exterior (replacing windows, siding, shutters, garage doors, etc.) can give you anywhere between a 70-96% return on investment. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! First impressions, aka curb appeal, are crucial when taking property value into account.

Chicago exterior remodeling

  1. Spring Cleaning

The much-dreaded but very necessary step to getting your home ready for the warm weather is spring cleaning. Now is the time to donate those clothes, clean out those cabinets, detail those baseboards, etc. A detail that many often overlook is having outdoor trash bins detailed. Let’s not even think about how germy they might be! Spring cleaning is a crucial step toward not only giving your home the fresh start it deserves but that YOU deserve.

  1. Home Projects

If you’ve been in the market for a home remodel, there’s no time like the present. Since it’s much easier to get out of the house during the spring/summer seasons, now is the opportune time to renovate those rooms that you’ve been dying to refresh. Schedule your consultation with us today by contacting us here or by calling us at 773-610-4551. Let us make your dream home a reality!