Interior Design – Trusting the Process

Chicago Interior DesignersInterior Design In Chicago When I tell people I work as a social media coordinator for a design and build firm in Chicago, their eyes light up at the thought of interior design. So many people are interested in this field thanks to HGTV, Instagram influencers, and many other outlets that have glamorized designing living spaces. While most of it is fun and creative work, a lot of people do not see the nitty-gritty details that go into being an interior designer. From dealing with suppliers to making sure you get every last detail correct for the client…it can be a pretty stressful job.

In the world of interior design, there are a couple of routes you can take when it comes to bringing the client’s vision to life. At Areté, our process is dependent on what the client envisions, their budget, and any time constraints they may have. Our designers keep in mind the client’s best interest throughout the whole process, and they are in constant communication with them to make any necessary changes as the project progresses.

I spoke with two of our designers, Vasilka Todorovska and Ivana Stojanovska, about how they take on the design process, any advice they have for clients, and how their process has been safely reformed due to Covid-19. Below are the steps they take from start to finish to help our clients get exactly what they are looking for in their homes.

Step 1: Meeting the Client

Getting to know your client might be the most important step of the whole process. In order to capture exactly what the client wants, you have to fully understand the scope of the project. It is imperative you ask for photos, Pinterest boards, material samples, and anything else that would help explain what exactly the client wants out of their remodel. During this meeting, our designers are also looking at the architecture of the client’s home and any rooms that they will not change to ensure the project is going to be the right fit for the space.

Natural MaterialsMany times, a client comes in with a picture of a design that they love, but they do not understand how much that design will cost them or how it will affect other design aspects in their home. It is important that our designers are upfront about the cost of the material and labor before moving forward with the client’s vision. Our designers prefer to meet with their clients in person at our showroom so they can show them the material selection we have on hand, but due to Covid, they have been using different avenues. Many clients are now choosing to meet with the designers over virtual calls, and the designers are sending material samples to the client’s homes so they can get a good feel for what the flooring, tile, or paint swatches would look like in their space.

This is where the client realizes that the most expensive option isn’t always the best when it comes to meeting their particular needs, and their Pinterest boards can still be brought to life with a few changes to the materials. Once the client gives their budget and chooses their material selection, our designers start walking them through their design process and schedule a time to measure the space. An estimate is given on what the materials and work are going to cost, but nothing is finalized until the designers create drawings, confirm material selection, and measure how much material is needed. This planning period is crucial to the design process going smoothly throughout the entirety of the project.

Step 2: The Design Process

Once the client has their materials selected and the designers have their inspirational photos, measurements, and budget, it is time for the designers to create final drawings to present at the final proposal meeting. A proposal clearly states and shows what tasks are there to be accomplished and which party is responsible for the respective tasks, the timeline that would have to be a realistic one, the working budget, and the fees.

Many times, our designers like to create mood boards on Photoshop that go along with the vibe of the space to add to the proposal. Mood boards can show paint colors, appliances, fixtures, flooring, and any other details that would be included in the project. Along with the mood boards, our designers also create CAD drawings that show 2D drawings of the space they are designing. CAD is an architectural software that creates 3D models or 2D drawings of physical components, but it is also used throughout the design process to help visualize the layout of the materials, any additions being added, or any current structures that will be taken away from the space.

Step 3: Approval Of Design And Materials

Once the client sees the drawings, approves of the materials, and agrees with the budget, they sign the proposal and the designers get to work. From here, our designers are in charge of ordering the material selection, coordinating labor times, and staying in constant communication with the client. Due to Covid, many of the shipping times and cost of products have increased, making it more difficult for the laborers to install the products according to schedule. When this happens, it is the designer’s job to get into contact with the client and either order something different for the space or push back the project completion time. They also must fix any problems that the contractors run into with the space and make frequent visits to the project sites, themselves. It is imperative that they stay extremely organized and flexible when a project runs into any issues.

Step 4: The Final Product

Once any issues with ordering the materials and coordinating labor times are smoothed out, the designers walk the client through the remodeling process. They help inspect any issues that come from products, and they make sure everything is installed according to plan. There should be plenty of communication between your designer and your contractor to make sure that everything gets built out as planned.

If possible, we always encourage our clients to do both the design and labor portion through Areté. If you choose Areté’s contractors, all of the design fees are waived, and you only have to pay for labor costs and materials. It also ensures smooth communication between contractors and designers and gives the functionality of everything being done under one roof. When the space is finished, they take a final walk-through with the client to tend to any final details that need to be touched up. This is when the client starts to realize that their dream home design has come to life.

Transforming Your Vision Into Reality

Our designers love being able to transform the client’s vision into reality, and seeing the client delighted with the final product is their favorite part. The client’s home is the epicenter of all parts of their life. If the client loves the look of their newly renovated home, then our designers’ work just influenced them in more ways imaginable.

It takes creativity, organization, and good communication skills to become a good designer, but most importantly, it requires a passion for interior design. Without that passion, it is easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of the design process, and it would be difficult to foster good relationships with clients. Areté is very grateful to have design consultants that not only care about the scope of the project but also pay attention to what exactly the client wants.

To sum up, interior design is not always a walk in the park, especially during these challenging times. Our designers have gone the extra mile to truly get to know their client’s wants and needs, and that shows once they reach the final product. Having the capability to actually think in a step by step process and follow through on all of the steps means that our designers can concentrate on the creative side of the job and work through the design process checklist, not having to worry that they might miss an important part of the process.

Constant Communication Is Crucial In The Design Process

It is crucial that the designers stay in constant communication with both the contractor and the client, and if any problems arise, they must be quick to resolve them. Job site visits are frequent and occasionally necessary to ensure that you get your dream remodel. Regularly checking in on the progress of the project can help to avoid delays and last-minute issues that may arise. By choosing Areté for both your interior design needs and contractor, you automatically have the continued service of our designer throughout the entire process. They help guide our clients through each step of the way and create the bridge between the initial plan and the final product.

Our designers are passionate about what they do and it reflects in the final product they create. If you are looking for quality interior designers, along with experienced contractors, who can help you realize your home design dreams within budget, get in touch with Areté Renovators today. We offer design and build services within Chicago in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village.

3 Exterior Home Additions That Will Add Value and Functionality

Exterior Home Additions In Chicago And Surrounding Area
At Areté, we are not just interior home remodeling experts, we also specialize in exterior home additions in Chicago and all of the popular neighborhoods. We also have completed many exterior home projects, as well. With Chicago’s summertime fast approaching, exterior projects are coming to the forefront of many people’s minds. After losing the ability to socialize properly with one’s family and friends the past year, people are now turning to enhancing their own homes to accommodate any outdoor parties or any other social gatherings they may have.

As the warmer months approach, it’s fun to take advantage of the nicer weather and dine outside with your favorite people. Exterior home additions like a front porch, back deck, patio, and multi-use garages are useful spaces to have that family get-together you have been thinking about, and if you are looking to sell, investing in enhancing your home’s exterior will bring a guaranteed return on investment. It increases the living space of your home while also improving your home’s aesthetic, and what home buyer wouldn’t like having a beautiful backyard space?

Whether you have a patio, screened-in porch, or a backyard escape, you’ll be able to get some fresh air as you relax and enjoy the warm temperatures that Chicago has to offer. Here are some exterior home additions that you should consider adding this spring that will enhance your home (and your social life) for months to come.

Deck Additions in Chicago

Exterior Home Additions in Chicago 3821 W. Montrose Avenue Chicago IL 60618Your backyard is a perfect space to increase your square footage while simultaneously offering another area to gather with friends and family. Building a deck can add value to your home and enhance its enjoyability. Relax in the sun, cozy up to a fire pit, host a cookout, or brunch under your favorite tree – the possibilities are endless. However, there are a couple of things you should know before adding a deck to your home.

Decks usually require a bit more upkeep in comparison to a patio or screened-in porch, and they can be more susceptible to weather damage over time if not kept up properly. But, there is a bright side to all of this. Deck additions usually bring a much higher return on investment compared to other home renovations, interior included.

This high resale value is something to consider when faced the costs upfront. Many homeowners see a 100% return on their investment after adding a deck, and it increases the aesthetic appeal of your home for those looking to sell. There are more decking materials on the market now than ever before. You can bring your design aesthetic from the inside of your home to outside of your home with natural or composite materials, from exotic hardwoods to rustic pine, or by creating a traditional look or complex geometric design depending on your style.

The design possibilities are endless, and it can add a whole new look to the exterior of your home. Many homeowners also use decks as places to plant herb or flower pots in order to enhance the living space while adding natural beauty to the outdoor décor. Another benefit to adding a deck to your home is that it is not extremely time-consuming. Contrary to what many people think, it is a pretty fast process. As compared to the process of building something new, which might take months to complete, a deck can be completed in just a few weeks. Overall, it is an extremely smart and useful investment in your home.

Garage Additions In Chicago

Chicago garage remodelingThe addition of a garage can provide a range of benefits for homeowners. Garages provide shelter for cars and other vehicles, not to mention added space to store tools, holiday decorations, and other household items. But adding a garage can also add to the value of your home, which can increase your equity and boost your return on investment when selling the property, very similar to how a deck would. Homeowners can see about a 75% return on their investment when adding a garage, and for many people who are looking to buy a home, not having a garage can be a deal-breaker (especially with Chicago parking).

On the other hand, if you are not planning on moving anytime soon, the true value of your garage addition is not recognized solely in the resale value of your home. For instance, garages often reduce weather-related and street damage to your vehicles. Garages also give you extra storage space, which might negate the need for you to rent or purchase a storage unit. You can also use your garage as a workspace, allowing you to take care of many household repairs or yard work without having to hire a handyman.

It can also be a great place for socializing with friends and family. Just be sure to add enough windows and seating so it does not feel too stuffy in there. Another important factor to consider when adding a garage to your home is deciding between an attached or freestanding garage, but obviously, your home layout and lot size will be a major determining factor in this decision.

On average, an attached garage is less expensive to construct because it shares a wall with your home already, however, many people prefer a freestanding garage because they keep dirt, grime, and fumes out of the main house entirely. But with the way Chicago winters are, an attached garage might be a better option, as you can then get into your car without stepping outside. All in all, it is a great investment for both those looking to sell and looking to stay.

Backyard and Patio Additions In Chicago

Home RemodelingThere are numerous home improvements that you can build inside your backyard to make it cozier and raise its market value at the same time. An especially advantageous investment is building a patio that would serve as the ideal place for relaxation, dining, and spending time outside in general. Plus, they are really easy to keep up with in comparison to having a deck or front porch. There is close to zero maintenance when it comes to having a patio, but most of the upkeep will be made of visual inspections that are fairly easy to conduct. The reason for this is that the materials the patio is built from, like stone, concrete, and brick,  are all sturdy and long-lasting building materials.

Apart from the regular sweeping of the floor of the patio, the only thing you really have to keep up with is weeding out the joints between paving stones from time to time. Another benefit to a patio is that you can provide some type of roofing or shade covering to protect you and your guests from the sun, making it a provisional social hub of the backyard. Adding a pergola here would be the perfect way to add shade, protection from the elements, and a pretty aesthetic to your backyard.

You can also add a fireplace to extend the use of your patio into the fall months or put your grill here, as well. Add a table and chairs and you are all set for any summertime gathering! An important thing to note is that whatever you decide to place on the patio, make sure it is weather-proof to a certain degree because it is still going to sit outside, regardless of the overhead protection.

Finally, just like adding a garage or deck, building a patio means that the market value of your property will go up so you will cash in on this home improvement when the selling time arrives. Just like how you and your family enjoy the outdoor living space, prospective buyers will also like this addition to your house and more importantly, they will be ready to pay extra for it. Don’t be afraid to spruce up the space around it, as well, by adding flowers, lots of greenery, or maybe even a small pond. A gorgeous backyard space could make or break someone’s decision to buy your home.

It is pretty clear to see why many homeowners are turning to the exterior of their homes when considering new renovations. It increases livable space, is extremely functional, and can bring a huge return on investment if you are looking to sell. It also serves as a great space to host safe social gatherings and gives you an excuse to spend more time outdoors this summer. In the case of exterior home renovations, your project’s success can come down to the right contractor. They will be able to help plan and oversee the entire renovation, making this a crucial role.

If you are searching for top-rated exterior home remodelers in Chicago, look no further than Areté Renovators. Our aim is to achieve excellence by providing the best remodeling services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. Spend more time outdoors this summer and get in touch with us for a consultation today!

Common Remodeling Questions Answered By Chicago Home Remodeler

What are some basic questions customers should ask themselves before calling a home remodeler?

Chicago Home RemodelerI think it is extremely helpful for the client to think about their budget first and foremost because all contractor services are not apples to apples.

There are ways to work around any budget, but this must be known upfront so the contractor can help guide the client in the right direction. Then they have to know how involved they want to be, do they want to start the project on their own by doing the demo,  and bring a contractor in for install?

Are they just doing small updates that don’t require a contractor license, that they can work with a handyman on? Do they need design help or will they be shopping for material independently?

Budget dictates a huge portion of whether they’ll end up with a handyman or contractor, and what type of contractor would be the best fit. I think those are the things that they need to know upfront before reaching out to a contractor. That’s the foundation of any type of home remodeling.

What are some of the kinds of projects Areté Renovators would work on?

This year, with the backing of a full marketing team and a tried-and-true process in place, we have finally made the move to being selective about the clients we’ll take on. Our ideal clients want to be hands-off and have us manage everything from start to finish.

After the initial walk-through with our estimator and design and material consultation with our design team, we get to work on all the details – permitting, building approval, material ordering, drawings for installation, etc.

We keep the homeowner in the loop through daily updates on progress, what’s happening, and important decisions that need to be made. It’s beneficial to the client because all communication channels are in-house, any issues are resolved quickly, and our process cuts back on the amount of time it takes to complete a project.

We fine-tune the schedule so there aren’t days on end where you don’t see any work being done. As far as the scope of projects we work on, we do everything from a whole-home repaint or floor refinishing up to new construction. Our reach is very broad.

What are some basic questions customers should have prepared to ask a home remodeler if they’re considering hiring them for the project?

First and foremost, they need to ask if there’s a cost for the walkthrough and initial estimate and if the contractor is properly licensed and insured. If their project requires architectural drawings, they should know if the contractor has connections with a preferred architect or if that’s something the client would have to source on their own.

The design and material sourcing side is important so the client knows if they need to provide design and material on their own or the contractor provides this service. Also, the timeline, how quickly the contractor can start, and what a general overview of their process would look like from start to finish.

This helps the customer determine how long a certain portion of their house may be unusable, especially if it’s a kitchen or bathroom. It gives them an idea of how to structure their life during this construction phase. The customer needs to know that.

How do permits, contracts, and payment schedules all work?

It depends first on what type of home they live in – single-family versus high rise. Different contractors operate differently. Areté will handle all of the permitting if required, which is beneficial because contractors have the connection through the city.

They typically work with a permit expediter and know the process, requirements, and which permit is needed. High rises have way more requirements when it comes to contractors who work in the building. Licensing is extremely important and needs to remain current. They want to see signed contracts, drawings, and insurance that has certain limits and additional insured.

The client should ask for a sample contract ahead of time. There is a lot of verbiage that should be reviewed during the contractor screening process. During our process, the client would typically sign the contract after they have reviewed and accepted our labor and rough material cost which is generated after the initial walk-through with our estimator.

Payment schedules are fairly consistent throughout the industry. Most companies will require a down payment upon contract signing, and then additional installments throughout the project. For us, we require 20 percent upon signing, 35 percent upon the start of demolition, 35 percent at the start of tiling, and 10 percent upon final completion.

During a remodeling project, do you consistently work with specific materials that are worth mentioning when it comes to windows, flooring, or doors?

We do have our go-to suppliers and each of our designers also has their favorites and different design styles. For windows, our go-to is Marvin. He has an amazing training center in Minnesota where he brings in suppliers from throughout the country to learn about their history, manufacturing, and what new developments are coming.

As far as cabinetry, flooring, doors, tile, and other materials, our showroom has access to so many different suppliers. It really depends on what the client is looking for and which supplier has the best options and pricing. We have trade accounts with everyone from Wayfair and West Elm to The Tile Shop and ABT Appliances. We have access to so many different suppliers that we can really do anything.

Areté Renovators use a design-build approach, meaning you’re a one-stop-shop for customers, why is this so important for the customer?

Our process is set up so the client doesn’t have to be their own project manager, which is a huge benefit of design-build. That doesn’t mean the client isn’t involved. The client is involved in all major decisions – material, design, troubleshooting, resolving any issues that arise, etc.

Once material has been selected, they can just sit back and let the work be done. With design-build, having it all in-house, you have one point of contact, so you’re not facilitating the delivery of materials, you’re not facilitating the ordering, permitting, scheduling of trades, and inspections – we handle all of it.

If the client has any questions at all, there is one point of contact instead of 15 different people to reach out to for answers. Our designers are super involved on the installation and construction side.

They are knowledgeable on material specifications and can make a selection based on a client’s vision and provide direction on what will and won’t work in their space. A design-build firm should educate their clients, execute the vision, and provide alternatives instead of saying “no.”

During a home remodel, it’s important to have a general contractor license. Why this is important and what is the significance of having a general contractor license?

Working with a general contractor has a higher fee than if you’re doing a DIY or working with a handyman. But you’re getting the knowledge and experience and education out of the person who holds that GC license. It saves you the headache down the road.

Oftentimes, we get calls where the client started their project with a handyman, or a neighbor, or friend of a friend who does construction on the side. After the demo, you have zero ideas of what could be behind the walls. We get a lot of calls, as soon as the drywall comes down and the walls are open where the client realizes it’s a larger project than your neighbor or handyman can handle.

A general contractor understands building structures and has the knowledge. There is a lot of education and testing behind that license. The city of Chicago is also very strict with construction, licensing, and permitting.

Working with a GC from the start can alleviate some headaches for the homeowner because any issue that does arise (and there is always going to be an issue on every construction project) the contractor is able to handle quickly.

Every client should also receive a Home Repair Flyer before signing with a contractor. The Home Repair Flyer details their rights as a consumer, should anything go wrong.

When it comes to the contract phase with the customer, when will a customer be signing, what’s contained in the contract and who signs it?

Because our showroom operates as a separate business, there are two stages where they’re signing a contract. After the initial walk-through, once the client receives a copy of the labor and rough material estimate, if they have no adjustments, and are happy with the cost, they would then sign the construction contract.

The contract is a form of protection. It details everything from dispute resolution, payment schedule, estimated start and completion date, and materials and warranty.

It includes information on what would happen if either party terminated the contract, and under what instances you can. We also did an update to include a COVID release that both us and our clients will let each other know if there’s any risk of exposure so that we can all protect ourselves.

We also include a marketing release form so the client is notified upfront that our marketing team will be coming and going from the project, we’ll be reaching out for photos, videos, and any of the content we collect will be used on social media, or in any of our marketing materials without releasing their physical address or names.

As far as who signs, we ask that anyone who is listed on the deed, so all homeowners, are required to sign the contract.

What kind of COVID procedures are in place for safety concerns for customers?

We have several procedures in place between our showroom and on the job site. During estimates, our estimator always wears a mask inside the home and social distances whenever possible. We always gauge the client’s comfort level and make sure to ask if they are comfortable with an in-person meeting? Do you prefer something virtual? How can we accommodate?

As far as the job site, anybody who enters that property has to have a mask on, we have hand sanitizer available on-site, all of our project managers carry a thermometer to check temperatures, and we wipe down and sanitize all high touch surfaces. Since we do a lot of work in condos, the building sets restrictions on how many people at one time can be inside of a unit.

We are very conscious and follow all those restrictions. Our showroom is sanitized regularly by an outside cleaning company. In between cleanings and client meetings, our team has been trained to wipe and sanitize all surfaces. We’ve provided all of our subs and team members with masks as well.

Ultimately there is a level of trust from all parties that you will be responsible and forthcoming if there is the possibility of having been exposed. No project is worth our or the client’s health. We have been extremely fortunate in being able to control what we can to keep our team and clients healthy.

Premiere Chicago Home Remodeler

Arete’ is a premier home remodeler in Chicago and has worked on over 60% of condos in the North Shore area. Give us a call about your home or condo remodeling project at (773) 610-4551.

9 Design Trends to Look for in 2021

Chicago Home Remodelers

2021 Chicago Design Trends

The year 2020 has made us form a new appreciation for how we live in our homes. A home is no longer just a dwelling place for most people. It is now a place where we work, play, socialize, and rest with blurred lines depicting when it is the correct time to do so. The way we renovate and design our homes has never been more important, and we are stepping into 2021 with a deeper appreciation of how the environment we live in plays a role in our daily lives.

Interior design trends are always coming in and out of style. However, it’s often been said that everything comes back into style eventually, and if you live long enough, you’ll probably see the trends of your youth cycle back into interior spaces a few times. Infusing your spaces with what’s current can be tricky. While you always want your home to look chic, staying on top of the latest trends is a burden with the ever-changing fads.

To help you make sense of it all, we spoke to our designers at Arete and created a 2021 design guide to forecast what this year’s hottest design trends are going to be. With 2021 off to a quick start, many of these trends are already being implemented into Chicago home remodels. If you are looking to freshen up your space, take a look and get some inspiration from these trends that are expected to be prominent in the year to come.


1. “Grandmillenial”

GrandmillenialOne of the newest design trends popping up in 2021 isn’t new at all. Frilly lace, floral patterns, and vintage furniture are all making a comeback this year thanks to a desire for luxury goods without the luxury prices. The old-meets-new trend can be seen through intricate wallpaper, ornamental details, and gold paint. By mixing in a few modern elements, the style is old school and comfortable without looking outdated. The key here is to not overdo it with too many elements, otherwise, the space begins to feel stuffy and overwhelming. This design gives a nostalgic feel to a modern look.


2. Earth Tones

Earth TonesExpect things to warm up a bit in 2021. The stay-at-home mandate has created a need for warmer colors to be incorporated into the spaces we spend the most time in. Warm tones are colors that influence a space to make the atmosphere feel more vivacious and intimate. Warmer neutrals like “camel” and “sage” alongside rich Earth tones like “olive” are expected to replace colder colors like gray and white. This will create a cozier space for everyone to be comfortable in and make your house feel more like home.


3. Natural Materials/Textures

Natural MaterialsThe inclination to bring the outside in really reflects this new trend of using natural materials to decorate the home. Light-toned wood, leather, ceramic, cane furniture, and live plants will continue to furnish homes in 2021 and help freshen up your space. There’s something so cozy and inviting about using natural textures throughout your home. Most people know how important color is in decorating, but not everyone appreciates the need for texture. Try layering these items to create an innate look with plenty of depth and pattern.


4. Closed Floor Plans

Closed Floor PlansIf there is one thing COVID-19 has brought to our attention, it is that we do not have enough privacy in our homes. Many people had to learn how to co-exist under one roof with each room flowing seamlessly into the next. No more! Creating a space just for work, schooling, or other activities has become a necessity, and those open floor plans just aren’t going to cut it.

Consider adding sliding French or barn doors to your space to minimize distractions while working. Not only are these types of doors aesthetically pleasing, but they are also extremely practical. Since they don’t swing open like a traditional door on hinges, you don’t need to account for opening and closing space. This makes barn doors a particularly effective choice for small bedrooms


5. Backyard Escapes

Backyard EscapesTo extend usable living space, many homeowners are looking to their backyards for solutions. Turning storage sheds into cozy cottages, adding a back deck, or erecting pergolas are all options people have chosen to create a space outside of their home. These structures add shade, lounging areas, and a great place to safely socialize without having to travel anywhere.

Having a backyard space that is perfect for hosting or relaxing also increases the value of your property. Homebuyers are much more likely to consider buying a home that already has a deck instead of going through the trouble of adding one themselves. It provides your home with more space and is perfect for those who are introvertedly extroverted, meaning you can safely host without leaving the comfort of your own home.


6. Wainscoting

WainscoatingThis design is dated all the way back to the 1300s. Wainscoting was originally used to help better insulate walls and prevent damage from accidental bumps, knocks, or brush-ups. Now, it is largely used to elevate your space for a more elegant look. Wainscoting can be made of wood, ceramic tile, or marble, and its horizontal lines make it easy to create symmetry with other wall decorations in your home.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to upgrade your space, we recommend using wood as your material and painting it to match the rest of your interior. This functional interior design trend just might help you save some money on your heating bill, as well.


7. Oversized Rectangular Tiles

Oversized Rectangular TilesMove over subway tiles, there’s a new trend in town. Oversized tiles help to visually expand a small space and give a more rustic feel to the area, but how large is oversized? Usually, oversized tiles range from 16×16 inches to 24×24 inches. When you choose an oversized tile look, this also means there will be fewer grout lines. Fewer grout lines equal less cleaning, and we think everyone has already done their fair share of disinfecting this past year and predict that oversized tiles will be a hot Chicago bathroom remodeling trend in 2021 and beyond.

These oversized tiles are still being used for classic patterns such as brick, herringbone, and stacked, but don’t be afraid to get creative with them! Single slab tiles for showers like the one shown above have also taken the design world by storm with their innovativeness. They are much easier to install, keep up with, and give a seamless look to the space.


8. Light Filled Spaces

Light Filled SpacesBeing inside for most of the year means natural lighting is a must. Adding features like skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows, and glass doors are essential in your next renovation process if you feel like you’ve been missing out on your daily dose of Vitamin D. It will make your space feel more open and also benefit your mental health.

Lighting also sells. If you are looking to remodel your home to gain some resale value, adding more windows is a great investment. Most homeowners see at least a $10,000 increase in home value when they add or upgrade their windows. Consider investing in some custom window shapes to add architectural interest and amp up the natural light. Expand that gorgeous backyard view with a bay window or add a casement-style window above your kitchen sink.


9. Children’s Playrooms

Children's PlayroomsCarving out a space that is designed just for your children can be beneficial to their creativity and even better for your sanity. However, if your home is not big enough to dedicate a whole room for playtime, that doesn’t mean your kids have to miss out on the fun.

Try adding elements like mini furniture that only they can use, chalk-painted walls for drawing that take up no extra space, and a toy chest to keep the place tidy. Providing your loved ones with a safe space to continue to grow and flourish when their social interactions have been reduced to basically zero will be SO helpful in the grand scheme of things.

As you can see, the design possibilities of 2021 are endless. Many trends like cold neutrals and subway tiles have paved the way for the newer trends to shine through. Whether you are looking to upgrade, just moved in, or wanting to sell, adding any of these design elements in your home will be sure to make your interior space feel like it is yours.

If any of these trends inspired you to want to make a change around your home this year, do not hesitate to contact Arete Renovators in order to help turn your dreams into reality.  Visit us at or call (773) 610-4551 to get a quote, today.

Why The Tile Shop Is Our Go To Tile Supplier For Chicago Home Remodels

Is The Tile In My Chicago Home Or Condo Going Out of Style?

In Chicago home remodeling and especially with kitchen and bathroom tile, it’s no secret that trends come and go faster than most people can keep up with. That is why we are constantly being asked by our clients for new tips and tricks that will help their homes withstand the test of time when doing a remodel. In order to give them the most up-to-date advice, we reached out to our friend, Elliot Marroquin from the Tile Shop, to answer some common questions about which remodeling materials you should invest in and how to properly keep up with your investment.

The Tile Shop

The Tile ShopThe Tile Shop has been a long-time supplier for many of the design and build projects we do at Areté Renovators, but we are just one of several businesses The Tile Shop has helped throughout the years. Since its opening in 1985, The Tile Shop has committed itself to inspiring and realizing home decor ideas and creating beauty both indoors and out.

Many of their associates, like Elliot, travel across the globe, exploring the latest styles and innovations available in materials such as porcelain, glass, ceramic, travertine, and other natural stones. With a network that comprises more than 100 stores, The Tile Shop offers a wide selection of high-quality tile products, exclusive designs, expert staff, and amazing customer service. We are very lucky to be able to work with such an experienced and friendly staff. They truly are your one-stop shop when it comes to anything tile-related.

If you can envision it, they can help you make it happen. The Tile Shop offers more than 4,000 quality tile and natural stone selections giving their clients virtually endless options to create new rooms or upgrade existing ones. In addition to the tiles, they also offer coordinating finishing pieces and installation materials to put the perfect final touch on any project. Their website offers a wide variety of design inspiration like online catalogs, blog posts, and our personal favorite, the tile visualizer.

The tile visualizer is an interactive tool that allows you to virtually design a variety of spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, entryways, laundry rooms, and more. Depending on the space you choose, you can mix and match backsplashes, countertops, wall patterns, flooring, and other accents from their extensive list of products. Once you are done designing, you can save your project and refer back to it later throughout the remodeling process. Elliot recommends this feature as a fun and Covid-friendly way of turning your dream home into a reality without having to go in-store to see your tile patterns come to life.

Elliot, The Tile Guy

Our relationship with Elliot started off a few years ago at Chicago’s Design Gala. He was there representing The Tile Shop and a couple of our project managers were there connecting with new vendors and clients. We exchanged contact information and have maintained a friendly alliance since. He was happy to sit down with us and go over some of the most commonly asked questions about tiles that we receive from clients. If you have a question about your upcoming or newly remodeled space, our Q&A below will be sure to give some insight.

What are some of the most popular tile sizes selling right now?

Although oversized tiles are predicted to be a popular choice in 2021, we have not seen much interest in the 18×24, 24×24, and other larger sizes we sell. Most people are purchasing tile sizes ranging from 4×8 to 12×12. When it comes to bathrooms and floors, 4×8 tiles are the best seller in our shops. It also depends on what tile shape you want for your space. If you want subway tiles, they typically come in 3×6 or 4×12. Penny tiles are measured by the square foot, and flooring tiles can be anywhere from 1×2 to 24×48. It truly does depend on the project and size of the space, and I recommend checking out our selection online with the tile visualizer to see what works best.

What patterns and designs do you recommend for backsplashes?

kitchen backsplash tileI actually prefer to keep backsplashes simple. Right now, installing intricately decorated tile surfaces behind oven hoods are prominent in many designs, and one of the most popular materials used for that is our 13×13 porcelain wall and floor tile. However, for the most part, many of our clients choose a classic design that enhances the look of their kitchen rather than just draw attention to the backsplash itself. Staggered brick and herringbone patterns are pretty common and a safe option for homeowners looking to sell. You can choose a simple tile and still create an intricate pattern if you are looking to add more interest to the space. We have eleven pattern examples on our website that customers can choose from when installing their chosen tiles.

What materials do you recommend for countertops?

Marble, marble, and more marble. Marble is my absolute favorite because it is beautiful and durable. Some people are afraid to choose marble for their countertops because they are intimidated by the upkeep, but it’s really not as bad as people think. I have a lot of marble in my own home and absolutely love the look and feel of it. It has a way of elevating any space it is placed in. However, if you are not in the market for a marble countertop, I recommend ceramic, porcelain, or quartz slabs instead. We have a wide selection of materials that you can choose from for all of your countertop needs.

What tile styles have remained popular throughout the years?

Major influencers in the industry always predict the popularity of intricately designed tiles taking over the interior design world by storm, but that is simply not the case. At least, that is not the case at The Tile Shop. Historically, our customers like to consider intricately designed tile surfaces for their flooring and backsplashes, but they almost always tend to choose the safe route with a classic gray or white subway tile. Having a solid, neutral-colored tile is best for resale value and withstands the trends that come and go.

What’s the best way to clean my countertops and backsplashes?

Keeping up with your tiles and countertops is just as important as designing them, but maintaining your space is not as difficult as some people think. An important rule to remember with these surfaces, especially marble, is to never use bleach.

Marble is made of calcium carbonate, which reacts with acidic and alkaline substances like bleach. The reaction happens in seconds and corrodes or eats away the marble essentially destroying the polished layer on the surface. Also, don’t skimp on grout. Cheap grout tends to loosen over time and can damage the materials you are working with. Good grout is always worth the investment.

As long as you are using bleach-free cleaners, quality grout, and never leaving any moisture on these surfaces for too long, your materials will last you for years. Doing something as simple as squeegeeing your tiles after a shower can make a world of difference in preserving them over time.

What are some of your personal likes and dislikes?

bathroom floor tileI am a sucker for high contrast. Any tile that is black and white I am immediately drawn to. I am also a big fan of simplistic designs. Using unique patterns to elevate a simple mute-colored tile combines both classic and modern looks for me. And we can’t forget about my love for marble. I would put it in every room of my house if I could.

As for my own dislikes, I tend to shy away from concrete tiles. It is not that I dislike them, they just require you to do more research before installing due to their heavyweight and porous material. They can stain easily and become brittle over time, but as long as you are aware of these particular issues with concrete, it shouldn’t be an issue.

In Conclusion… The Tile Shop Has Thousands Of Choices

The Tile Shop has thousands of products that can help you turn your vision into real life. They understand that choosing the right design and style to fit your needs can be overwhelming, and they are there to help you every step of the way. Whether it be the most intricate of designs or the most simplistic of tiles, Elliot and his associates have you covered. From telling you how to waterproof your shower to advising you on exactly how much tile to buy, they will work with you to make sure you get the most value out of your home investment.

And, as always, if you are searching for top-rated home remodelers in Chicago, look no further than Areté Renovators. Our aim is to achieve excellence by providing the best remodeling services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. We work with quality suppliers to make sure each and every product being installed into your home. Get in touch with us for a consultation today!

Timeless Home Remodels That Won’t Go Out of Style

home remodelingAs Chicago home renovators we know that many people are planning to do home remodels to spice up their home in the new year. A timeless home remodel could be exactly what you need. Home remodeling requires extensive investment, especially if you wish to hire top-rated remodelers in Chicago.

Top Best Evergreen Home Remodeling Ideas

The following are remodeling options that can keep your indoor décor functional and looking good for years to come without it going out of style:

1. Subway and Penny Tiles

If you are unsure as to which trends will remain in style years down the line, let history be your guide. Tile patterns have stood the test of time better than any other type. Subway tile first made an appearance first in 1904 in the New York Subway (hence the name). The trend has become a part of modern décor trends and can be seen in several kitchens and bathrooms today.

Similarly, white porcelain tiles called penny tiles are also considered timeless because they make bathrooms look clean and bright. They were first introduced in the 1900s and are circular in shape. Choose ones that have classic colors to add a little more fun to your space.

2. Choose Neutral Colors

When you are choosing permanent elements for your kitchen such as cabinets and countertops, always opt for neutral colors. These never go out of style because of their simplicity. Plus, potential homebuyers will find them more appealing since they can decorate them as they like later. If you use neutral paint colors, you won’t have to consider remodeling until way down the line as trends change drastically but the classic neutral colors always stay in trend.

3. Install White Cabinets

Dark cabinets may make a bold style statement, but they introduce a dramatic effect that not every homeowner may appreciate. If you plan on remodeling down the line, these may reduce your options. White cabinets, on the other hand, will complement the décor trend you want to opt for.

These are timeless choices for home remodels that may need to be updated as the years go by. You can simply add a spot of color by adding a decorative backsplash but make sure the color matches up with the theme you are going for.

If you are searching for top-rated home remodelers in Chicago, look no further than Arete Renovators. Our aim is to achieve excellence by providing the best remodeling services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. Get in touch with us for a consultation today!

Creative Bathroom Storage Ideas

Bathroom Storage IdeasIt was Benjamin Franklin who said, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Even if you are extremely proud of your bathroom remodeling, clutter will for sure hide that beauty. The good news is that with smart storage options, you can make the room fully functional without compromising on aesthetics.

Top Bathroom Storage Ideas

1. Recessed Shelves and Wall Niches

Whether your bathroom is compact or you don’t want to add more elements to your new one, consider wall niches or recessed shelves as storage options. Those small, out-of-the-way spaces will tuck away your small bottles and lotions so you don’t need to invest in a large shelf. Additionally, you can also use the space as display spaces for small knick-knacks such as aromatic potpourri.

2. Inbuilt Mirror Storage

No, we are not talking about those unsightly plastic units you can find in any bathroom. There are a number of aesthetically pleasing bathroom storage solutions in the market that can add rather than take away from this room’s beauty and functionality. Use them to store medication, lotions, scrubs, body butter, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other essentials you have to use every morning.

3. Baskets and Bins

A normal dustbin will not do. Invest in bins or wire baskets that add natural texture to your new bathroom. Bins that have the same color scheme as the tiles will blend in seamlessly with the décor. These come in a range of sizes so you can fit all of your essentials and even decorative soaps in there without damaging them. Buy some with lids if you don’t want to see all of those items.

4. Small Trays

Trays don’t have to remain in the kitchen. Small and stylish ones can prove to be invaluable additions to your bathroom as well. How? Well, you can keep small items such as lip balms and face serums organized and accessible when needed. Use delicate gold trays to accentuate sconces and framed mirrors to bring the décor together.

5. Vintage Storage Options

Whether you want to forego shelves because of space limitations or personal style, vintage storage options such as an armoire will always prove stylish. Traditional and timeless, these can be quirky additions to your bathroom that provide extra storage stage to boot. Pair one with printed wallpaper of the same color to make a style statement to a functional idea.

Whether you want to remodel your bathroom or need a new one constructed, choose Arete Renovators for your next project. We have home top-rated bathroom remodelers on board who have been in the industry for close to 18 years and are familiar with construction regulations. Get in touch with us for a consultation by dialing (773) 610-4551. We offer our services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village.

Home Additions and Structural Changes

Adding to and refreshing your home is always the best way for a new change without moving. If you’re thinking about making these changes, always make sure you get the right permission before diving headfirst into a big project.

What Is Considered A Structural Change?

Home AdditionsThe standard HOA clause describes a structural change as anything that can impair the ‘structural integrity’ of the building or may change it structurally.

A structural change essentially refers to condo or homeowners who want to change the original floor plan and also remove some walls in the process. If that is the case, you need to run your design plans by the HOA since they know what it takes to ensure a building remains structurally sound post renovations. You need permission before you make any structural changes to your house or condo.

You do not require a building permit for certain repair and replacement work. If you want to put in something simple like a fence, however; you do have to consider the height restrictions. In Chicago, you need one if the fence is going to be higher than five feet.

Why Hiring an Architect Is a Good Idea!

This is one of the main reasons why most homeowners hire experienced architects to design alterations on their behalf. In fact, most associations ask for those specifically. Architects know Chicago construction codes intimately and will know exactly what type of plan can pass inspections.

Architects are highly attuned to the design and layout they create including which walls are load-bearing and how certain decisions can affect HVAC efficiencies among other considerations. However, it is your responsibility as the owner of the condo to ensure any home additions they mention in the plan are implemented to the letter.

If you are in search of contractors who can make home additions and other structural changes without violating building codes, get in touch with us at Arete Renovators. Our aim is to deliver services that our clients can rely on without hesitation. With years of experience in construction, remodeling, and design, you can count on us. We offer our services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, or Roscoe Village. Contact us for a consultation today.

Masonry and Tuckpointing

Masonry RepairA gorgeous brick wall can stand the test of time and changing trends. However, the mortar that holds the joints in place can deteriorate with time even if the bricks are as pristine as ever. In order to keep the pristine and timeless look, regular masonry repair, such as tuckpointing, has to come into the picture.

What is Tuckpointing?

Tuckpointing is a masonry maintenance process that entails the removal and replacement of deteriorating mortar in brickwork. While it may seem like a simple procedure, it is far from a DIY project. That’s because most brick walls are load-bearing structures which means that they transfer and carry the load to the ground safely.

The stability ensures the solidity of the entire structure and adds a complex element that only a professional mason can maintain.

The Process

The first thing he will do is remove all debris and dust using an angle grinder rather than the traditional hammer and chisel. The former provides more accuracy which is important to ensure the bricks don’t chip.

After that, new mortar is mixed to match the exact color of the bricks and is filled into all of the joints. The experienced professional knows exactly how much and where to put the mortar for the best results. The smooth application allows the material to set flush with the bricks or indented as per your needs.

The mortar is then left to harden but the mason doesn’t stop there. He uses a special tuckpointing tool to create straight lines in the filled joints and fills those with a lime putty. The material shields the treated area against moisture and corrosion for longer lasting perfection.

How Often Is Tuckpointing Required?

Masonry maintenance jobs such as tuckpointing should be done as per the weather and the type of exposed structure you have. Some masonry repair work does not require joint repair until the structure is at least 25 years old. It is typically done to protect the bricks from moisture damage and to fix mortar joints that have deteriorated completely. It also helps bring the liveliness and beauty back to the bricks.

If you see some loose bricks in your villa’s facade or even around your fireplace, address it immediately by calling in the professionals. Arete Renovators, for instance, will do more than a simple tuckpoint. If required, they can also create a custom plan for parts of the brickwork that require relaying. Get in touch with us for a consultation by dialing (773) 610-4551 whether you live in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, or Roscoe Village.

It is More Than Just an Accent – Wallpaper Trends

Depending on who you ask, wallpaper never really went out of style. While some original prints from the ’80s and ’90s may look and feel like they should be retired, both vintage and modern wallpaper can be used to make walls stunning works of art. Here are some trends you can use to do just that.

Tapestry Design

Wallpaper TrendsWallpaper designs inspired by tapestries are all the rage. Their popularity keeps rising with homeowners as more want the seamless more permanent look. The unique print can become a focal point of any room. Boasting expansive landscapes, this wallpaper design is a great way to introduce a palette of colors to a bland space.

Geometric and Graphic Prints

Considered to be the hottest design ideas in wallpaper trends today, graphic and geometric prints add a modern and playful look to almost any space they are placed. For instance, art deco prints can add a sophisticated touch to bland surroundings and make them more elegant. Bold, white, and neutral color patterns can help you make the most of this design trend.

Metallic Prints

Considered as novelty wallpaper, metallic prints fit seamlessly into a high-tech design and can also add some much-needed aesthetics to minimalist décor. While black and graphite are ideal colors of choice, your walls can look uninspired if you choose a single color. Refresh the trend by using wallpaper with a metallic or matte finish and a rough texture.

Panorama Designs

Panorama or mural landscape designs are making a comeback and in a big way. Originally delegated to living rooms and bedrooms, the designs have now regained their popularity and can be found today in bathrooms and foyers. Atmospheric panoramas and scenery allow this wallpaper trend to offer aspiring interior decorators plenty of options to create a style statement with their home.

Check out this list for more information. Whether you adopt these trends or look for others, hire reliable general contractors to apply the wallpaper seamlessly. This is where Areté Renovators can prove invaluable. We provide contracting, renovation, paint, and other construction services in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village. We won’t just add space in your house, we will do so in a way that is beautiful and functional. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.