How To Add Interest To A Kitchen Or Bathroom With A Backsplash

Kitchen RemodelingIf you’re looking to add more interest to your kitchen and bathroom, then you have come to the right place. In this post, we will help you find inexpensive ways to make both your kitchen and bathroom pop. Choosing the right backsplash is the best way to highlight your personality. Speak to an experienced remodeler who can assist in finding the right backsplash for your bathroom or kitchen. Here are some tips that will help make your backsplash a focal point, without spending a fortune.

Pick the Right Material

Today, you will find tons of materials to make the perfect backsplash for your kitchen or bathroom. You can choose:

  • Stainless steel: A perfect choice for your kitchen and bathroom because it’s durable, a breeze to clean up, and, depending on your taste, you can choose different finishes.
  • Concrete: Concrete is the right material for you if you are looking for versatility and durability. Concrete backsplashes come in different colors and the best part is you can shape them in any way you wish.
  • Marble: Marble backsplashes are perfect for both kitchens and bathrooms. Marble is slightly more expensive than other materials on the market, but marble gives you class, beauty, durability, and freedom to choose any design and style.

Other materials you can use are granite, tiles, glass, and travertine.

Perfectly Balance Everything Together

A backsplash will add style to your bathroom and kitchen, but you will need a renovation expert to come up with a perfect balance between the floor, countertop and the backsplash. Renovators can install the backsplash in such a way that it doesn’t appear as a separate part of the kitchen or bathroom space.

Choose the Right Design

With the right design, a backsplash can transform your old, traditional-looking kitchen into a new and contemporary one. Ask an experienced remodeler to help you come up with a customized design that will give your kitchen and bathroom a fresh remodel. The design should be based on the material you’re using to create a perfect finish. Professional kitchen and bathroom designers will walk you through the process of designing and choosing the right materials. Don’t treat the backsplash as a Do-it-Yourself project. Consult with experts to save time and money.

If you are in the Chicago area and considering adding value to your home by adding additions to your home then contact Areté Renovators today at (773) 610-4551 to schedule a free consultation.

Real Estate and Design: 2019 Trends

Real Estate and DesignI confess: I am an interior design addict. The materials. The textures. The layout. The planning. It’s always a journey and when everything is complete, there’s no better feeling.

One of the best parts about being a real estate agent is walking into home after home and seeing how design trends evolve. You start to develop an eye for how design affects real-life living, and you also know what buyers are looking for. It’s also a good profession – aside from being an actual designer or builder – to feed that interior design fix!

With the spring real estate market running full-force in Chicago, sellers and buyers are paying close attention to the world of design. Smart sellers know that upgrades can pay off, and motivated buyers are recognizing the equity they can build with post-closing renovations.

So what is happening in the world of design these days? Let’s take a look:

The Kitchen

The heart of the home is often the focus of a renovation plan, and for good reason. It’s the heart of the home, and there are so many ways to combine innovation, personality, functionality, and beauty into one room.

Color: While white isn’t necessarily out of style, trends are changing and color is being integrated back in, especially with cabinets. Whether it’s a dramatic pop of color or a more subtle hue like stone, we are definitely seeing an emergence from all-white cabinets.

Mixing Vibes: A fresh kitchen is a hit on everyone’s list, but even with modern updates, we’re seeing eclectic combinations like sleek lines with vintage-inspired tiles. It softens the modern edge and appeals to a wider audience.

Storage: More important now than ever. We have a lot of stuff, but we don’t want to see it. Smart design incorporates concealed and clean integration in kitchen designs. And drawers. Love drawers.

Hardware: This is kitchen bling. You can be subtle or you can go for the Wow Factor. Pewter and gunmetal are the new trendsetters. Brass and gold still offer a punch of drama and warmth to a cool-toned palate, and matte black makes a bold statement.

Materials: Think wood, stone, jute. The kitchen is becoming more connected to earthy materials. And the juxtaposition of warm wood with a sleek white countertop is on point.

The Bath

Also quite the eye-catcher, an updated bath is important because it can become the home’s peaceful serenity or dramatic statement. And either design can be spectacular.

Storage: Wall-mounted ledges are where it’s at. No one wants to see all 37 products you use every day (you don’t even want to look at that every time you walk into the bathroom!).

Materials: Concrete and wood – one cold, one warm – are both being integrated into bathroom design. They complement each other and make the space feel sleek and cozy.

Tile: All the way up. Extending a tile backsplash from the counter area throughout an entire wall is a big statement. And a good one.

Hardware: Mounting a faucet on the wall means you have a sleeker sink line (especially because all of your 37 products are in the wall-mounted ledge!). If you have storage somewhere other than under the sink, you could also expose beautiful piping – like brass – for a fresh, vintage-industrial look.

Heated Floors: Because Chicago winter.

Throughout the Home

Liza Balistreri CahillPatterns: Geometric patterns aren’t necessarily a new trend, but they are becoming more commonly used, especially with tile. Keep it edited, meaning a bold pattern looks best paired with simple accents. Choose one side of the shower, the floor of the foyer, or a wall of a stair landing. Even small spaces can have a big impact.

Wall Texture: Wallpaper also isn’t new, but texture is really making a comeback. Did you have a stylish grandma and a handy grandpa who put up warm, natural grass cloth on the walls of their den? I did. And I still have to run my hands over that rich texture anytime I see it. Love it.

Basements: After kitchens and bathrooms, basements become a priority for adding value to any home. Especially in Chicago, square footage in any single-family home is maximized with a finished basement. A smart remodel will include space that can be flexible: family room/kids play space/media room and extra bedroom/office/workout area. Including a bathroom is becoming a must along with those heated floors. (Who likes cold feet? No one!)

Ultimately, whether you’re a seller preparing to list your home, a buyer ready to tackle a renovation, or an owner looking to enjoy some upgrades, knowing where to start is an important first step. Once you know what design trends speak to you, you can find the right builder who is keen on those trends, has access to design experts, and knows how to use quality materials. And of course, make sure they are also self-confessed design fanatics!

Liza Balistreri Cahill is a broker with Compass in Chicago who loves everything about real estate: scouting the market for that perfect property, being a concierge-level resource for her clients, and developing relationships with those in the industry.

What to Consider When Remodeling Your Chicago Condo

Lincoln-Park-ProjectIf you have been contemplating renovating your Chicago condo, there are many variables to take into account. Whether you are considering just a bathroom remodel or a complete gut rehab, you need to do your due diligence before getting to work to ensure the job is done right. Below we included some of the more important things you should consider when remodeling your Chicago condo:

Look at Renovating in the Winter

The basic principles of economics tell us that demand drives prices. This is also true for materials such as cement, lumber, and other materials that may be required to remodel your condo. Though your renovation plans should not solely be set around when material prices are the lowest, it could be something worth considering.

Take Time to Assemble a Winning Team

It’s very important to hire the right contractors when taking on such a large project. Looking at things such as their online reviews is a key indicator as to what time of work they do, how reliable they are, and if they are capable of taking on a job of this scale.

Find a Temporary Living Situation

When going through a major renovation of a condo, it is worth considering finding another place to stay during the project. Crews will be on site nearly everyday and if you find a temporary living situation prior to construction beginning, it will alleviate a lot of stress. This should be budgeted for and taken into account before you decide to take on a project of this scale.

Expect the Unexpected

Anytime you undertake of projects as big of a complete rehab of a condo, there will be issues that arise that are out of anyone’s control. By preparing yourself for unexpected issues that will arise, as well as budgeting for these surprises, you’ll be able to manage any increased stress that comes with renovating your space.

Talk to Your Neighbors

When you are gut rehabbing your condo, there will be contractors on-site nearly everyday. Make sure to let your neighbors know well before construction starts as this will help reduce the odds of any complaints.

If you are the owner of a condo and are considering renovating or gut-rehabbing your space, contact Areté Renovators at (773) 610-4551 today to discuss your options. We will help make your vision a reality by working with you on initial design concepts, to construction and finishes.

Helpful Kitchen Remodeling Tips for Chicago Homeowners

Chicago Kitchen Remodeling

Chicago kitchen remodelingRemodeling your kitchen may seem both thrilling and intimidating at the same time. However, if you educate yourself on the process and take the time to choose a reputable Chicago remodeler, the process can be a simpler one that comes with much less stress. Let’s check out some helpful tips that will help you plan your kitchen makeover in the best way possible.

Create a plan of attack – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This quote couldn’t be any truer when remodeling your kitchen. You must devise a comprehensive plan and determine the scope of the project which will depend heavily on your budget. If you are working with a limited budget, you may think about utilizing existing cabinets, electrical, plumbing, and layout so you can devote a greater chunk of your budget toward upgrades and finishes. By having a very specific plan of attack you’ll increase the likelihood of completing your kitchen remodel on-time and under budget.

Select a decorating style – Selecting your decorating style beforehand will help you during the planning process of your kitchen remodel. You may seek inspiration on the internet using creative websites such as, Pinterest, or several other magazines and photo galleries. A professional kitchen remodeling contractor can help you select a perfect style that suits your kitchen space and budget. The designers at Areté Renovators will take the time to understand your needs, style, and budget, and work with you to choose finishes that will work for your situation.

Choose Appliances in Advance – You might be planning to purchase a suite of appliances for your new kitchen. We always suggest selecting kitchen appliances early on to make sure that you leave the provision for them in your design. This will promote a better flow to your kitchen if you are looking for a different layout as your appliances are a big component of your new kitchen.

Keep Functionality in Mind – While the primary purpose of remodeling your kitchen may be to upgrade the look, functionality is also extremely important when coming up with a plan. Our team at Areté Renovators will help you determine the best flow to your new kitchen to ensure that it is not only beautiful but functional as well.

If you are in the Chicago area and are considering adding value to your home by remodeling your kitchen, contact Areté Renovators today at (773) 610-4551 to schedule a free consultation. Our Chicago kitchen remodelers and design team will work with you to devise a plan to ensure that you not only get to enjoy your new kitchen, but it will add value to your home.

Prep Your Home for Winter

General Contractor ChicagoWinter is upon us – here are a few pointers to make sure you and your home are ready for the colder months ahead.

1. Inspect and replace any damaged weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows. We all want to keep the warm air in and the cold air out! Be sure to also inspect all vents, plumbing, electrical and gas lines, and all other penetrations for leaks or drafts. Don’t forget to check the attic. Majority of heat loss occurs in the attic.

2. Prune any trees that are near your home. Snow and ice will weigh down the branches and could cause them to break and damage your home, roof or gutters.

3. Install a smart thermostat. We live in the age of technology! Not only is it a great convenience to be able to monitor your thermostat while away, it will also save you a good chunk of change on energy costs.

4. Switch your fan blade rotation in winter to move clockwise. This will help pull cooler air towards the ceiling and push warmer air down. This will allow you to turn your thermostat temperature down one or two degrees.

5. When your fireplace is not in use, keep the flue closed to keep the hot air in.

6. When your fireplace is not in use, keep the flue closed to keep the hot air in.

7. Replace your furnace filter and do a test run to ensure the system is running properly.

Your Basic Guide to Kitchen Cabinetry

Kitchen RemodelingCabinets are essential to every household and often where the bulk of your money is spent while remodeling. Although it’s great to have many options to choose from, all the different styles and wording can be overwhelming. We’ll try to break this down to a beginner’s guide for you.

Three Types of Cabinetry

Stock: These are cabinets you’ll see at brand-name stores that offer limited styles, designs, and finishes. They will be your cheapest option and the quickest to deliver.

Semi-Custom: Semi-Custom cabinets give you a chance to personalize your cabinets and offer more designs, colors, and features.

Custom: Gives you a chance to completely have control over your cabinets’ design so you can have the exact look and feel you imagined

Base Cabinets
Sometimes called lower cabinets, base cabinets are the ones you find under islands or your bathroom sink. They provide a sturdy base for heavy countertops and offer plenty of storage space or unique features such as pull-out trash bins.

Tall Cabinets
Otherwise known as pantry cabinets, these long, vertical storage spaces provide plenty of room for spices and large items such as mops or brooms.

Semi-Custom Kitchen cabinetsWall Cabinets
As the name describes, these cabinets are hung on the wall rather than resting on the floor.

Some Cabinetry Terms

Stile: Vertical pieces of frames, such as face frames and door frames.

Dovetail Joint: Type of interlocking corner of a cabinet drawer.

Kitchen remodeling is one of our specialties at Arete’ Renovators. Email us or call us to discuss your Chicago kitchen remodeling needs.

Three Things to Know Before Starting Your Project

What are your plans?

Home RemodelersOne of the first things to determine before you start renovating is to think to yourself –- what is my long-term goal? There is a big difference between living in your unit for one year versus five years.

If you are looking to sell within a year, you might want to consider a look and design that buyers want and will easily sell on the market. If this is somewhere you plan on living for five-plus years, then feel free to get creative!

Do your research.

Another important item to discuss amongst yourself is an idea of how you want your renovation to look. Do your research on different materials, styles, and looks that will satisfy your needs. There are different websites that are easy to navigate, such as which allows you to search all kinds of topics and see pictures for ideas. By going into your project with a solid idea for your unit, everything will go smoother.

Difference between a good contractor and a bad one.

Deciding on a contractor can be a very stressful and difficult process. Remember to look for a contractor that has experience with similar projects you are interested in. Read as many reviews as possible from multiple people. Ask for references you can personally contact. Lastly, choose a contractor that fits your ideas and style. Different contractors offer more services than others, so be sure you know what you are getting into.

Choosing the Right Countertop

choosing countertopsHere are some popular options we suggest that have either long dominated the countertop scene or have recently gained popularity. When choosing your countertop material, it’s important to remember to find the style that best fits your needs. Countertops are often the centerpiece of the room, so ensure you take the time and do your research before making a decision!


Pros: Granite has been a popular countertop choice for some time now. There are numerous reasons for its popularity, but mainly it is because the surface is strong, durable, and delivers a beautiful high-end look that can resonate throughout your kitchen.

Cons: Granite is expensive; you can expect to see countertops starting at $100 per square foot. Although it is one of the most popular household materials, granite requires considerable upkeep. It is porous and must be sealed properly to prevent stains and bacteria from settling into its pores.


Pros: Concrete can be described as extremely durable, hard, and tough. It can also withstand a high level of heat and does not scratch easily. Lastly, concrete can be stained or pigmented, creating an imitation look to natural stone.

Cons: Like many other options you’ll read here, concrete will require a significant amount of maintenance. It must be sealed after installment and resealed every 1-3 years to protect against staining.


Pros: Quartz has gained popularity in recent years due to it being low maintenance. Quartz does not require routine sealing. It is naturally durable and some slabs even mimic the look of natural stone at a fraction of the price compared to their natural stone counterparts. Quartz is also scratch and stain-resistant. With modern technology, quartz comes in a variety of options, colors, and styles.

Cons: It’s hard to find as many negatives with quartz; however, it can get pricey depending on the style and look you are trying to achieve. Pricing can range from $60-$200 per square foot. In addition, quartz is not as heat resistant compared to other countertops.

kitchen remodeling


Pros: When you’re talking wood countertops, most will say they chose this option because of its natural organic beauty. Wood countertops offer an appearance that is unrivaled by any other surface.

Cons: If wood is your countertop choice, then you should be ready for consistent and diligent upkeep. Wood surfaces must be properly sealed, protected against water damage, and over time will need to be refinished.


Pros: Depending on your needs, laminate is often chosen for its affordable prices and an array of color offerings. It remains popular for anyone on a tight budget and its easy installation process gives owners an option to self-install.

Cons: On the downside, laminate damages easily and it especially does not do well with heat. Because of the way it is manufactured, the surface can scratch and pieces will often chip away. In addition, new buyers are looking for timeless materials when buying a home. Laminate is dated material and does not provide the same return on investment as would quartz or natural stone.

Current Hot Trend

Quartz – Because of its reasonable price and low maintenance, quartz countertops seem to be everyone’s top choice. With the ability to create numerous colors and looks, it is safe to say quartz is here to stay.

Arete Renovators is a leading Chicago kitchen remodeler, give us a call today to discuss kitchen design trends and ideas at 773-610-4551

How to Navigate a Chicago Remodel

Chicago home remodelWho: Igor Jokanovic of Areté Renovators
Where: Chicago
His own words: “A lot of people want to increase the value of their property and feel good about their space or sell it. We do a lot of different projects for people.”

Known for its beautiful waterfront, picturesque parks, world-class museums, and iconic deep-dish pizza, Chicago has much to offer. “It’s a fun place to live; we have great theaters, bars and restaurants, and a beautiful lakefront for walking and biking,” says Igor Jokanovic, who co-owns Areté Renovators at 3821 West Montrose Avenue in the city. He and his team help clients in Chicago and beyond remodel their homes so they can stay in the places they love.

Building a career. Jokanovic got into the construction industry via an unusual path. He studied business management and philosophy at Rockford University and completed an MBA at Loyola University in Chicago. He spent seven years in the finance world before switching to the home remodeling industry.

A family affair. Jokanovic and his brother, Davor Jokanovic, set up Areté Renovators in 2001 to help their father use his carpentry skills. “My father has a passion for woodworking, and we wanted to help him out,” he says. “I enjoy working with my family, and going from nothing to the finished project.” The sons joined the company full-time in 2008.

Looking to remodel your home in the Windy City? Read Igor Jokanovic’s tips below.

1. Understand the Lay of the Land
Gold Coast condo remodelBuilding in the city comes with its own set of rules, so find a professional who knows them well. Property management firms often require proof of insurance, scope of work, a contract, and permits for remodels. You can apply for an Easy Permit to speed the process as long as you aren’t removing walls, Jokanovic says. He also suggests signing up for discounted monthly parking at a nearby garage if your building doesn’t offer construction parking; you’ll avoid pricey daily rates.

When remodeling the Gold Coast condo seen here, Jokanovic ordered materials four weeks in advance to stay on schedule and keep within the building’s strict construction hours. “I typically recommend ordering materials three to four weeks in advance unless you’re going with special ones [which take longer],” he says. See More of This Project

2. Build for the ClimateWeather plays a huge role when remodeling in the Chicago area. “The best time to build is April through October, especially when you’re doing outside work, like framing,” Jokanovic says. He recommends using triple-pane windows, cement siding, and spray insulation in exterior walls and between floors to lock in heat.

Lincoln Park home remodelRadiant heating in the three-story addition and garage of the historic Lincoln Park home seen here keeps things toasty. The team started work in the fall and used gas heaters to warm up the site when the snow came. “We were able to work through the winter, and did the roof early to close the space,” Jokanovic says. See More of This Project

3. Maximize Your Space
Whether you’re in a quaint historic home or a contemporary condo, having enough space is crucial. “Now people are opening up their kitchen and adding a breakfast bar or an island, which creates living space between their kitchen and living room,” Jokanovic says. You can eat at the island and replace your kitchen table with more cabinetry.

The team at Areté Renovators added a breakfast bar for clients in Albany Park. They also bumped out the small enclosed kitchen to provide more room; the result is seen here. Now the homeowners can enjoy a casual dinner at the island and have plenty of storage. See More of This Project

What’s Trending in Interior Design: Boho + Luxury

Interior Design TrendsThe Boho trend has returned to the big doors in fashion and also interior design. The combination of ethical detail and luxury is one of the greatest trends, and it is easiest to achieve the look through minimalist spaces decorated with boho details. Exploring Instagram, it becomes clear that elements of geometry are present, especially in flooring, as accents on luxurious chandeliers, shelves filled with books, and as emerald green and royal blue geometric tones. If you are thinking about rearranging your home take into account your favorite current trends when finalizing the details and purchasing décor. Continue reading below for what’s currently trending.

Interior Design Trends

Chandeliers – What’s old is new! Grab your old chandelier out of the basement, give it a new shine, and reuse it.

Shelves – No longer just a place to store books, shelves are a way to show your creativity! Fill them with small decorative objects in natural materials mixed with over-sized books.

Teal – This vibrant color is a prime example of how color can induce calming effects. Paint a whole room or use it as an accent color.

Moroccan rugs – If you have a love for all things exotic, incorporating Moroccan rugs into your design will create an eclectic style that showcases a love of traveling.

Cactus – Cacti accents are everywhere. You can find cactus accents as mini plants on shelves, patterns on decorative objects, and even the cactus color translated into paint colors.

Freestanding bathtubs – Freestanding bathtubs bring a touch of elegance and luxury into your bathroom.

Exposed Brick – Unfinished walls are having a big moment in interior design.

Colored leather – Both comfortable and contemporary, a leather couch in a bright color will be your favorite spot to relax.

Geometry – Modern tiles in simple shapes and parallel lines. Geometry is trending in markets around the world. Incorporate simple geometric patterns as modern tiles with simple shapes and parallel lines into your design.

For more ideas on interior design trends contact us to discuss what is trending in the Chicago area.