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Spring into Action

by John Anthony
Experts say there’s no sense in waiting for the season to change to start thinking about home improvements.

When it comes to home remodeling, Rick Van Osten is unequivocal in which two rooms stick out in terms of popularity: the kitchen and the bathroom. “Probably because they get the most use in the house,” theorizes Van Osten, the executive vice president of the Builders League of South Jersey.

With the worst of winter still potentially lurking, February may seem like an odd month to start thinking about spring home improvements, but it’s actually an ideal time to start mapping out a plan to capitalize on the latest trends in the marketplace with the annual South Jersey Home Show on tap for early March at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. The show is a great resource for residents to pick the brains of suppliers, sub-contractors and the like.

Van Osten also recommends scouring newsstands for home improvement publications, but says nothing can replace consumer feedback. “Your neighbors … the consumer is the best person to give advice, pro or con,” he says.

As homeowners gear up for some “spring cleaning,” the BLSJ offers several tips on their website, while also working with various community groups in the area to help educate the consumer on what to look for when hiring a remodeler. In addition, we spoke with several local industry leaders about the five hot trends for 2012 and walked away with some expert advice on what you can do differently to improve the look and feel of your home.

Trend: Kitchen and bathrooms getting a facelift

“A lot of high-end granite countertops and lighting will be installed into homes,” says Gary Campbell of Signature Home Solutions in Mount Laurel. “Homeowners are doing more refinancing and less moving,” meaning this trend is likely to stick for some time.

Like Campbell and Van Osten, Lisa Davis of Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery sees lots of kitchen and bathroom remodeling in 2012, partly due to the many advancements made available. “We are seeing technology take center stage for a lot of kitchen and bath products you regularly use,” she says. For example, digital controls allowing you to store your favorite shower temperature or one-touch oven presets. “Even some toilets are going high-tech with LED-touch screens and automated open and close lids.”

Trend: Technology for your pool

“The latest trends in the pool and spa industry are innovation and ease,” Gary Cop, general manager of Jersey Pools, says. These days, that means controlling aspects of your pool like temperature from application-based controls on your iPad or smart phone. “Just imagine driving home from work and, on your way, you decide you want to relax and enjoy your spa. Instead of getting home and waiting for it to heat up, you simply pull up the control app on your phone, turn up the heat, turn up the lights, set the music level, and it’s all waiting for you when you arrive,” Cop says.

Trend: Installing window film

With colder temperatures outside, sunlight can bring added warmth to your home. It can also contribute to the fading of furnishings and flooring. UV inhibitors can help remedy the situation. “What it does is reflect UV light back out before it’s allowed into the house. It actually becomes a clean light that’s coming through the windows,” says Brian Ashcraft, a partner at Eastern Solar Glass in West Berlin. While the window film reflects heat back into the room, it will not add more insulation. Within two weeks of accepting a proposal, the job is completed with an average home price running $1,500 to $2,000. “In most cases, you don’t even know the film is there, unless they select a decorative [popular in the bathroom] or privacy tint,” Ashcraft says.

Trend: Greening the entire house

In recent years, many homeowners have seen the benefits of making their living quarters more environmentally friendly. Jay Cipriani of Cipriani Remodeling Solutions has seen this trend go from a buzzword to a legitimate movement, with more experienced consumers opting to green the whole house. “Green is more than just using recycled materials. Green building practices make a home safer with products that prevent mold from growing; healthier thanks to products that have no VOCs; more comfortable, more durable and more energy efficient, thus helping you save money,” Cipriani summarizes. And if that wasn’t enough, “Oh, by the way, it’s good for the planet, too.”

Trend: Developing landscape maintenance programs

Comprehensive tree and shrub care is important, just ask Mark DelPrato, a landscape designer with Young’s Landscape Management. Doing so helps “provide protection against harmful insects, fungus and other environmental conditions,” he says. Yet, despite this, many homeowners are hesitant to consider this type of horticultural program. “They fear chemicals will be ‘dumped’ throughout the landscape. This is avoided with integrated pest management, a process in which the necessary treatment is applied only to impacted trees and shrubs,” DelPrato says.

…Special Advertising Section from the pages of South Jersey Magazine…

Home Improvement
When it comes to remodeling and renovation, turn to these area experts.

Cipriani Remodeling Solutions
For 30 years, Cipriani has put its customers first, delivering high-quality renovation with an efficient and friendly experience. Our philosophy is to “do what we say and make our customers our priority.” With Cipriani, you get the experts you want, the craftsmen you need, and the partner you expect.
Serving all of South Jersey |?(856) 853-8398

Eastern Solar Glass
Your home is one of your most valuable assets. You’ve purchased or upgraded it to make it your own. Protect everything inside of it with a window film tailored to your home’s specific needs. Window film reduces fading, heat and glare while keeping the view and the light.
Serving all of South Jersey |?(856) 767-3442

Eddie B. Plumbing
For more than 24 years, we have been a South Jersey premier plumbing contractor servicing plumbing, heating and air conditioning installation and repairs. We also do customer bathroom remodeling. Call today.
Serving all of South Jersey | (856) 273-0099

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery
Your home is like a grand symphony composed around who you are and what you like. Whether you’re renovating a kitchen or bathroom or creating your dream home, we offer an unparalleled selection of products from today’s top manufacturers. Let us orchestrate your dreams.
Cherry Hill |?(856) 489-5620
Egg Harbor |?(609) 485-2266

Jersey Pools and Spas
Jersey Pools and Spas is a family-owned business that designs, builds, renovates, services and maintains pools so our clients can be worry free. As your “Home Vacation Station,” we offer everything you will need for your pool or spa, all in one convenient location.
Medford |?(609) 654-4886

Matteo Family Kitchens & Flooring
Matteo proudly helps you realize your dream of a beautifully designed kitchen and bath.
Serving the Delaware Valley | (856) 769-2490

Peter S. Tocco Building & Remodeling
With 35 years of experience, Peter S. Tocco “Brings Quality Home to You.” They build and remodel with the finest materials and craftsmanship and give you the unique architectural details and intriguing floor plans.
Serving Southern New Jersey |?(856) 914-1820

Signature Home Solutions
Signature Home Solutions is a full-service, family-owned home improvement company that is proud to serve the South Jersey market. They provide high-quality roofing, siding, windows and more to help fix or prevent problems with your home.
Serving Southern New Jersey |?(856) 552-0496

South Jersey Window Tinting
Block the sun … not the view. Window tinting for your home, office or auto.
Serving Southern New Jersey |?(856) 840-0900

Swim-Mor Pools and Spas
Swim-Mor has always approached each swimming pool design with the same purpose: building affordable, quality, custom in-ground pools and spas to meet the unique needs, backyards, personal styles and dreams of each homeowner. Their focus is to make the whole process as care-free and painless as possible.
Serving New Jersey |?(800) SWIM-MOR

The Cabinet Gallery
New Jersey’s largest volume dealer in 2011 of WoodMode/Brookhaven Cabinetry. Voted Best of Home & Garden by South Jersey Magazine readers’ in 2011.
Serving all of South Jersey |?(609) 654-7555

Under Construction Builders LLC
Late winter and early spring are great times to dive into home improvements for your home or shore home. Contractors are more readily available after the holidays than just about any other time of year.
Cherry Hill |?(856) 354-0831

Young’s Landscape Management
Spring is time to refresh and rejuvenate a home’s exterior—assessing winter damage, pruning, mulching and weeding. It is also ideal for enhancing the landscape with additional shrub beds, garden areas and shade trees. Some may also choose to create a full-scale outdoor living environment complete with tiered patio, outdoor kitchen and artistic LED lighting. Young’s professional design team helps homeowners create unique landscapes and comfortable living spaces just in time for summer.
Serving Delaware Valley to the Jersey Shore
(609) 654-5441

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 11 (February, 2012).
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