edubya

MILLENNIALS: Tell us about your home remodeling and design projects!

Emily H
October 18, 2017



According to our Houzz & Home study, Millennials are spending more than ever on home remodeling and design projects. We want to hear your thoughts on the process!


What's important to you when embarking on a home remodeling and design project and what do you look for when hiring a professional to do the job?

Comments (77)

  • adkhiker

    Millennial here. We bought our house when I was only 25. Definitely a fixer-upper - 1942, 1400 sq ft cape cod. We've done a lot of projects over the last 7 years, most of them necessary as opposed to fun (new roof, new air conditioner, new oil tank, new front and rear doors) but the biggest just happened this summer when we hired to have our only full bath gutted and remodeled. We had asbestos to contend with, and had to hire a contractor to remove that first (a ton of money) so that was a lot of fun. In looking for a pro - I ask good contractors to recommend other good contractors. They all know each other in the business. I want someone who is reasonably priced (not the cheapest, not the most expensive), communicative, and understanding. We were overwhelmed with the asbestos removal and subsequent remodel, but I heard from my contractors EVERY DAY, either by phone or text or email. Left a lockbox on the door and they let themselves in and out so we didn't have to disrupt our work schedules too much, and they could work without my husband and I getting in their way. Overall, thrilled with the final results, even if our bank account is still feeling the pain. We pay for all home improvements with cash on hand and save up for upcoming projects. No loans. House is nothing fancy, but it's got good bones and a small mortgage, and given that my husband and I don't plan to have children, it will work for us for a long time. We are just in a position where we are starting to put a little extra toward the principal every month too, to hopefully pay it off a couple years sooner. I have friends who are blessed enough to own big homes with big mortgages, but I worry about them in this economy. If my husband or I lost our job, we could still afford our home on one salary - that was important for both of us.

  • Related Discussions

    what do designers charge to design a complete interior remodel of a home?

    Q

    Comments (4)
    Wow, Phyllis, that's quite a question. When you get into a project of this scope, it's often done with a flat fee. In order to determine what that flat fee will be, a designer needs to know in a very detailed way exactly what you're expecting. That means we need to know your budget bottom line is. This isn't because we want to spend every dollar you have. It's to help us determine whether you are comfortable with say a $1,500 couch or a $2,500 couch or a $5,000 couch. Do you want a Ford or a Mercedes? Then to figure the fee, we can do this one of several ways. It can be a percentage of the job and it can vary whether we are making money on selling you furnishings and materials or whether we're being paid for design only. It can be by the square foot, and again this is determined by the level of decor. Materials that are custom designed and custom made of course need more time and attention than those which can be specified ready made from a local supplier. As you can see, this is a huge topic. The other thing to note is that as entrepreneurs we all vary the way we handle our fee structure. We have been in business for years and have experimented with different ways of charging until we are comfortable with our process. What you need to do is find a designer that you are comfortable with, someone who "gets" you and your style, someone who above all listens to you and doesn't over-talk you with their ideas before you've had a chance to talk. Once you have this comfort, then you can talk about price and get some real figures before you commit. There will likely be a charge for the designer to prepare a Scope of Work, since it requires a lot of detail outlining the entire project and what the range of costs could be. Then you would meet and discuss the Scope of Work, and narrow down individual cost ranges so the overall budget works for you. Once that's determined, the a deposit is paid, a Letter of Agreement is signed, and the designer starts work. I hope this has given you some help, but I am sorry that I can't pull a number out of a hat for you! :)
    ...See More

    Whole House Remodel v. Separate Projects

    Q

    Comments (6)
    Living through remodeling is not for the faint of heart. Doing the work in stages only prolongs the suffering. LOL It is imperative to have a fully developed scope of work before beginning so that your time out of the house is as short as possible. Select all items beforehand. Kitchen cabinets, tile, light fixtures , architectural millwork, carpeting, and even paint. It is the only way to finish efficiently and timely. Take the time up front to plan properly. Once did an add-a-level with complete renovation of the first floor in 8 weeks. Took seven months of planning beforehand. All items were purchased and warehoused before the project started. Plumbing fixtures, tile, lighting fixtures, windows doors, etc. All purchased beforehand. Anything is possible. A construction project is a partnership between you and your builder. You must be a complete team to be successful. Other thoughts to consider: I had a customer purchase a used mobile home and park it on the property and they lived in that for six months. We connected it to the house water supply and had the rent-a-John guy pump out the storage tank once a week along with the workers rented toilet. They sold it for what they paid. Had another customer purchase another home and sold it at a profit when we were done with their renovations. Of course the real estate market is not what it was then. Cant beat living for "free"
    ...See More

    Do You Have Questions About Setting A Budget For Your Project?

    Q

    Comments (0)
    We know the amount you invest in your home is a top priority. Remodeling your home historically adds substantial value to your home; and one of the most important elements when starting this remodeling project is determining a budget. The following are common home remodeling projects with descriptions from a full-service, professional remodeler. The anticipated, complete investment amounts are displayed. All Pro Skill remodeling projects are ultimately customized to accommodate the individual family, home, style, needs, wants, neighborhood, and budget. Changes in scope and/or size will impact the investment range. The following project information and price estimates were complied by our partners at Design Build Pros! The investments listed below are predicated on the following being included: Professional project management and coordination Registered and insured remodeler or general contractor Specialized trade craftspeople for specific project phases Licensed professionals for electrical and plumbing work Work performed with all the required permits in place Licensed architect used for any structure additions or alterations NJ Remodeling Project Cost EstimatesQuality Scale: BASICProject: Basement RemodelInvestment: $38,855 Finish 500 square feet of the lower level of a house to create an entertaining area; construct 48 linear feet of finished partition to enclose mechanical area and create closet storage. Walls and ceilings are painted drywall throughout; exterior walls are insulated; painted trim throughout. Include five six-panel factory-painted hardboard doors with passage locksets. Electrical wiring to code.Main room: Include 8 recessed ceiling light fixtures and Berber carpeting. Quality Scale: UPSCALEProject: Basement RemodelInvestment: $84,158 Finish 800 square feet of the lower level of a house to create an entertaining area with wet bar and a 5-by-8-foot full bathroom; construct 60 linear feet of finished partition to enclose mechanical area and create closet storage. Walls and ceilings are painted drywall throughout; exterior walls are insulated; painted trim throughout. Include five six-panel factory-painted hardboard doors with passage locksets. Electrical wiring to code.Bar area: Include 10 linear feet of raised-panel oak cabinets with stone countertops, stainless steel bar sink, single-lever bar faucet, under counter refrigerator, and ceramic floor tile.Main room: Include 15 recessed ceiling light fixtures and three surface-mounted light fixtures, column wraps, new open railing on side of stairs, and a snap-together laminate flooring system.Bathroom: Include standard white toilet with ejector pump, pedestal sink, tile flooring, tiled shower, a light/fan combination, vanity light fixture, medicine cabinet, towel and paper-holder hardware. Quality Scale: BASICProject: Kitchen RemodelInvestment: $45,199 Update an outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with a functional layout of 30 linear feet of average quality semi-custom oak cabinets, including a 3-by-5-foot island; laminate countertops; and standard double-tub stainless-steel sink with standard single-lever faucet. Include energy-efficient wall oven, cooktop, ventilation system, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and custom lighting. Standard trim package. Add new 12” x 12” ceramic tile flooring in standard pattern. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling. Quality Scale: UPSCALEProject: Kitchen RemodelInvestment: $96,441 Update outmoded 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of quality semi-custom cherry cabinets or painted cabinets with built-in sliding shelves and other interior accessories. Remove an interior wall. Include stone countertops with imported ceramic- or glass -tile backsplash; built-in refrigerator, cooktop, and 36-inch commercial grade range and vent hood, and built-in combination microwave and convection oven. Install high-end undermount sink with designer faucets. Add new general and task lighting including low-voltage under cabinet lights. Install upgraded trim package for windows, doors, and base. Add new large porcelain tile flooring in block or diagonal pattern. Finish with painted walls, trim, and ceiling. See More Projects & Budgets: http://www.proskillnj.com/content/nj-home-remodeling-costs#overlay-context=
    ...See More

    Tell us: Surprises inside the walls of your home?

    Q

    Comments (54)
    When we bought this 1946 house in 1985, my architect father redesigned it from stem to stern. The renovation contractor tore out the master bathroom wall to expand it and found a metal fishing tackle box, sealed with duct tape, that was a time capsule. It held a Louisville Courier-Journal Sunday magazine, a Time magazine, a letter from the original owner of the house, saying what he did (owned a men's store still in existence today), what the house cost, etc., along with a few coins and mementos of the era. I decided to duplicate the time capsule and bought nearly the exact metal tackle box from the neighborhood hardware store. I enclosed a note-worthy Time magazine from 1985, a Courier-Journal Sunday magazine, which ironically that summer featured an article in which my husband and I showed off our culinary skills. I also wrote a letter, similar to the one in the original time capsule, that told of my career and my husband's career, what we paid for the house and the restoration, and that it was my father's design. At the end of the letter, I wrote that it had been composed on an Apple 2E home computer (remember, this was 1985), which I noted would change the face of how we wrote personal letters for all time (did it ever!). I printed the letter on a dot matrix printer on sprocketed paper (which I did not tear off the page, so the reader could see how the page got through the printer. I sealed the whole thing with duct tape, resealed the original 1946 capsule, and buried them both in the bathroom wall for the next occupant to find. I still live in that house, and have plans to stay here, perhaps til I am carted off in a box. No plans to unseal the wall, or redo the bathroom. But my daughters know about the time capsules, so they can pass on the info to anyone who might like to tear out the walls.
    ...See More
  • mvanleusden

    I think millennials are starting to realize that we can have a good quality of life without a bunch of "stuff" to collect, clean, move around and store. We are looking for meaning and depth in a world full of consumerism. Even in our varied decor styles we're leaning to less is not just more but, preferable.

  • julieasc

    @adkhiker, you sound like us (minus the asbestos)! We are millennials who bought our 1350sqft 1940s cape cod-style house before we were 30. We don't plan on having kids, so there isn't a strong reason to move to a bigger house for space. We could live in this house on only one salary, and that's important to us. I do want to be mindful of not redesigning our house so that it would be priced beyond the neighborhood. We did some basic painting when we arrived but have since replaced our roof, added insulation on the 2nd floor, had some electrical work done, had stone steps and pavers put in, added central air, removed a tree, updated the 70-year old clay external sewer pipes that no one fixed. Still on the list is a new boiler, fully updated electrical, some new windows, updating the kitchen a bit, adding solar, etc. (Our bathroom still has the original tile.)

    It's important to have a house that's livable. I'd love to be able to do true a design project, but functionality comes first. We are buying houses that aren't new and have a choice to move out or fix the problems. I see friends doing both.

    When hiring a professional, I'm looking for someone with good recommendations who seems to price the job reasonably. I avoid extreme over-or-under chargers and people I intrinsically don't trust or get along with (the latter hasn't come up).

    Also, why are so many non-millennials responding to this question when it is aimed directly at millennials only (rhetorical question)?

  • aprilneverends

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

  • aprilneverends

    (rhetorical answer)

  • Amanda Setree

    We purchased an 1880 10,000 square foot home. It 40-50 rooms depending on how we divide or connect them. Right now I have been focusing on the electrical, drywall, and heat. It a huge task and my family is teaching me so much! Check it out at Fb.me/MestaMansion



  • Jess Virden Mallett

    I'm a millennial, I guess (31) and am on my second home. My first home I bought at 25 and did a lot of cosmetic updates myself (including installing nice laminate where 1970s carpet used to be). I've just started planning a full kitchen remodel and have taken my mom's advice. I picked out my appliances to see if a remodel was in my budget. I thought a lot about the layout I wanted and am waiting for a kitchen designer to draw up the plans. I've used the Houzz website as an idea board to pick out what I like and don't like. So, I'm in the early stages but I'm hiring pros this time around!

  • champcamp

    I am technically an older millennial (born in the first half of the 80s). My husband and I are on our third home. Our first was a town home in Southern California purchased at the height of the real estate market (2006) that we bought because our apartment rent was exhorbitant for what we got and for less than $500 more a month we could get a modest town home. We DIYed a lot of things there like painting interior and exterior, learning to lay floating bamboo floors, and hired pros to put in granite and tile after we saved up for it. Our next house in a different state required lots of plumbing and electrical work, plus we did the usual painting the golden oak trim and replacing wall to wall carpet with solid floor and we considered doing an addition there when we were expecting our 3rd child, but the city wouldn't let us because we were on a lake so we moved to a different home in the same town on a different suburban lake. Many of my millennial friends who have "settled down" either want swank condos in downtown or new builds in the suburbs. Since we want to live on a lake we have to choose from older homes, but in some ways I think that is more fun than having something turnkey where everything is done for you.

    I have googled stuff on GardenWeb for at least a decade now although I never actively posted on there. I found it was a great way to get good "real life" ideas beyond HGTV (which I don't watch anymore) and design magazines. I started using photos on Houzz about 4 years ago to get ideas and then discovered Design Dilemma was an awesome resource to see houses and problems within them that looked like places I have lived. When we were seriously considering an addition to our last house before the city became unreasonable, Houzz idea books were a helpful way for me to make sure we understood what the design build companies we were consulting with were talking about.

  • DST

    Millennial here! Although we don't have a million dollars to spend on a house like in the above photo with the original question :-P
    My husband and I bought an 8 bedroom foreclosure when I was 27. Part of our motivation was the investment concept BUT we also wanted to learn how to do major DIY which most of our age group is too stuck on computers and theory to learn how to do. My husband is also a Civil Engineer so that helps but he's not a designer. Houzz helps with good design and the big picture instead of just seeing what Lowes has on sale. Our most recent update was our dangerous sloped walkway, most of which I got from Houzz pictures. I would never have thought of a hog wire fence without Houzz. Before and After below. We've also used Benjamin Vogt's articles to turn most of our 6 acres back to native species and prairie which I'd love to see more millennials doing.


  • Holly Chambers

    My Husband and I purchased a house built in 1979 in order to snag a large lot within the city. He needed a shop for his business and we found the perfect place .. a 1200sq ft shop AND a 1200 sq ft bungalow on a bay. The catch was that the interior of the house needed a complete overhaul. We did 75% of the work ourselves and finished with the perfect property that completely meets our needs. Instead of a two-storey on a tiny lot with a double garage we each have a garage and a modern house to live in. Purchased the property for $420000, spent $90000 and counting. We love it! (I have been using houzz ideas for years and this is my first post!)

    Just a few! There is also the kitchen, ensuite, entrance and hallway and bedrooms. My millennial husband and I love it :)



  • Sarah Brown
    Southern California "Oregon Trail" millennial :) - Bought our first home last August 2016 and been renovating the interior ever since. It's been nothing short of a nightmare. We also have a surprise baby on the way, so our perfect fit home for our family of four is now too small for a soon to be family of 5. Wished we had waited another year to buy something in a better neighborhood and more turn key. Plan is to sell in a year or two and get the heck out of Cali for more affordable, and larger options.

    projects completed:
    New drywall and paint throughout (had plaster popcorn ceilings)
    New interior doors throughout
    New floors throughout (commercial grade because kids and dog)
    Upgrade electrical panel
    New HVAC
    New front door
    New door casings new baseboards
    Added recessed lighting
    replaced all switches and electrical outlets

    Projects underway:
    currently 8 weeks in and over it. everything was gutted
    New master bathroom - relocated and added double sink, custom shower, new cabinets

    New kitchen everything including double pane vinyl windows, recessed LED lighting, took down a load bearing wall for penninsula that opens to new dining room, relocated refrigerator, added wine fridge/beverage station.

    New laundry room - stackable W/D to add a small folding and hang dry station.

    At least I'll have a dishwasher for the first time in my life!
  • Sarah Brown
    forgot to answer the authors questions!

    What was important to us was functionality and durability (again, because kids). it was also important to have materials and decor that we liked and wanted, not materials that we settled in simply because it would be less expensive.

    When looking for a professional, of course price was important, but more importantly was their attitude toward us and how they acted in our home. So, much like one "pro" comment in this thread, if my $80k isn't green enough for you because of our age, it will be for someone else.

    Some "professionals" wouldn't even meet with us if both of us were not present. None of those people were given the opportunity to bid on our project. Some pros also wanted to take shortcuts and over charge us for their services. My husband is super handy, did a lot of work himself, and has extensive knowledge and experience on how to do things the right way and what they should cost. He just didn't have the time to do everything as he also runs his own business. It's always been a struggle finding the right pros who we'd trust with our project.
  • PRO
    Sativa McGee Designs

    Millennial Here! Having grown up seeing my mother and friends families struggle through the recession I focused on finding a manageable home that we could own, so that my future family doesn't have to move every year.

    With that said I bought my first house with my now husband when I was 20. We spent a year looking for something in our budget (our agent quit because we wouldn't increase budget). We finally found a home that a couple built in 1960 who was more interested in the home raising another family then how much they could make off of it, we got so lucky.

    We have since replaced all doors/windows with better efficient options. We built a back deck and installed a cedar fence. I have also spent endless hours reviving the yard, I think i have another year of slave labor to fix this.

    In February we are remodeling the kitchen, removing our only "dining" space. The dining space is 10x7 with a sliding patio door, so having a large island is a much better use of the space. For me it is all about quality and function, I never want to put another dime into that space. We are installing Cherry Cabinets, Granite counter tops, subway tile backsplash and porcelain slate flooring. Being in the industry I luckily have connections for all of this, and my bosses son who is a contractor is doing all the labor. Without the connections i could never afford this.

    We plan to save up for another year and install the same quality in the first floor bathroom. In order to get a functional space we have to invest in moving all plumbing fixture locations.

    As a designer, i have plans drawn up for a future addition that would turn the 1.5 story house into a 2 story. At this point I would get a real formal dining room.


    Long story summed up... I moved 1-2 times a year growing up. I insist on staying in this home for life, therefore investing in quality materials that will last is my number 1 priory.

  • Molly Jones

    My husband and I (29 & 27) are newly married and we just bought our first home. We live in Southern California so owning a home at our age at at this stage of life is nearly unheard of. Most of our peers, both married and unmarried are all renters.

    Our house is a real fixer-upper though. We gutted the whole kitchen as the cabinets were falling apart and most of the appliances no longer worked. We also got rid of the acoustic ceiling and old carpet.

    We are doing most of the work ourselves. Hiring a contractor to do everything was way outside our budget. For us, the most important things were the kitchen, new flooring, and a fresh coat of paint. We are still in the process of getting all the walls ready to be painted. We still have a ways to go! It is truly a labor of love, but we are enjoying the process and look forward to having our home move-in ready!

    Below are a few before and after photos. If anyone is interested in following our progress, they can check us out on Instagram at @fixingupwiththejoneses

  • Janie Gibbs-BRING SOPHIE BACK

    @julieasc,

    Hello!

    I am not a millennial, but I was intrigued by the very first post on this thread, in answer to your question.

    We are interested in your response, and want to keep this thread in a forward direction.

    You may be buying our properties in the near future, threads like this give us a heads up ;)

  • Anna Speaker

    Millenial here. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is absurdly expensive, so we saved up to buy a house in a less desirable part and split it with our best friend. He's lived with us for years, so it's pretty harmonious. It's unconventional, but it works for us, and our mortgage payments are much cheaper than rent. We're paying for repairs as we do them, and doing most of the work ourselves.

  • Karianne Nink

    older millenial here--We tend to be very distrustful and DIY everything, as we have been led astray dozens of times financially by this point in our lives. We have basically reacted the same way that our depression-era grandparents or great-grandparents did: make as much as you can, don't go into consumer debt, and hoard as much as you can. Due to the economic cards we were dealt, we tend to deal with this in 1 of 3 ways, most of which make the subcontractor question irrelevant:

    1) become long-term renters to keep our payments consistent, negate the need for house maintenance savings, and keep our lives flexible. In this case, we want to "nest" but are limited by the apartment policies. for this reason it's nice to have ideas on how to spruce up your space without knocking down walls or doing anything more permanent. alternate storage ideas, diys, would be helpful.

    2) buy homes well below our buying potential with the intention to keep the fixed payments low, put up a full 20% down payment, and fix them up as we are able. Large renovations (>$3-5,000) won't be in our price point for probably at least a decade, but we still want to have pretty, welcoming spaces, so we come on these sites for ideas of what we can spruce up with an extra couple hundred dollars. Therefore, hiring contractors is not in our immediate vision.

    3) become full-on house flippers. This is the only group that might be worried about hiring subcontractors that would be worth noting (except for the few millenials I know who are building new). HGTV has increased the appetite and vision of people with an eye for design, and the current housing market has caused it to be more reasonable to make money in that business, given the right locale. But in actuality, most want to become trained and able to do it themselves in most cases except maybe the more specialized and dangerous fields (electrical, etc). but the best flipping "squads" tend to have even one of those in house. Many in our generation (not all, but more than popular belief would consider) are tired of the "bigger and newer is better" philosophy, and have an appreciation for history. Old houses are a breathing piece of history and quality renovations are attractive to many first time millenial home buyers. For this reason, I enjoy articles that focus on retaining a bit of the history of the home.

    All of this is with the exception of true, non-design hazards in our homes needing updating. Personallys ince buying my 1200sqft 1964 ranch in May, we have replaced every inch of wiring, re-sealed the driveway and re-painted. In the near future we will need to replace the garage doors completely (they have to be raised and lowered manually--not the end of the world but definitely a short-term priority when financially feasible), replace the roof, switch our out bathroom vanity, move some cabinets around, and if we ever have a chance within the next 2-3 years, we want to move a few walls around for better utilization of the space. We have friends in the business who can help us with most of that and will probably not need to hire additional subcontractors. If we did, we would only trust those referred by our friends.

  • amelia155

    I'm at the upper end of the "millennial" age bracket, but here's my story:

    Being a millennial, when I bought my house, I had horrible student loans. The majority of the renovations and upgrades that I did, I did myself. My house is an 8 year labor of love. I did luck out that I have family who can mentor me, and I used a lot of skills I learned growing up and/or talking with them over holidays to improve the house. I'm also a huge fan of hopping on YouTube and watching videos that explain how to do things.

    My contractor experience has been a mixed bag. Some have been horrible. Some have been incredible. My roof leaked, and my roofing contractor was amazing. He told me what it would cost and was true to his word. He answered all my questions. He found a solution that fit the problem - instead of trying to sell me to a new roof, he told me to replace the bad shingles. He even let me come up on the roof and explained what had happened and how it needed to be fixed. The electrical, plumbing, and HVAC contractors who have fixed things in the house have also been really great. Had a bad experience with a patio contractor and a meh experience with a flooring contractor. What I'm looking for is someone who will be nice to me, answer my questions (nicely!), do a decent job, and be honest about costs/pricing.

  • Tirtza K
    I’m an older Millenial. I just squeak into the age bracket- born in the early 80s.
    It’s taken us many years to buy as we wanted to be sure we could afford the purchase. We are now building new construction.
    Our priorities are quality, practicality, and beauty.
    In finding contractors we looked for experienced and reliable people. People who can get the job done while we spend time with our four kids and keep working at our respective jobs.
  • J P

    My husband and I (29) bought our home two years ago and have waffled on whether our choice was worth it. We bought at 1912 heritage home in need of updates. Esthetically it's beautiful and in our city we got in just before an already overpriced market got absolutely ridiculous, but many things have yet to be upgraded. As it has gone so far, we update in a style of crisis management. For example, last year we had an unusually cold winter which caused many of our pipes to freeze and the bathroom leaked. While not the first choice in our reno list it suddenly became the number one priority, and I think it will continue that way unless we throw in the towel and decide to sell. Because of the surge in the market, it's hard to find contractors who will take on small jobs, especially on such an old home, when they could work on new builds. Also, for us our mortgage is more than enough to keep us strapped, never mind adding trying to make your home a dream home. I would like to think this also the case for many millennials in cities with high housing markets as well.

  • jmbrinker
    My husband and I (29 and 31) were married in 2014, and bought our first home after 6 months. Within the first year there we gutted and replaced the original 50s kitchen, doing much of the work ourselves. Although we had to move temporarily for work, when we return in a year we plan to remodel an original bathroom, and then update the basement, mainly cosmetic work, but maybe more. We have longer term plans to, hopefully, add a master suite, turn the cement laundry room into a finished laundry space, add built-in in the living room, and more.
  • Mary Townsend

    I'm expecting a certain number of "Millennials" to respond. However, I'm not sure if it will deeply resinate with the large swath of younger folks that don't even perceive things in the same frame as their elders. Perhaps practicing general curiosity about whether they themselves even consider themselves Millennials (my step-daughter and her group tend to prefer being called "Mosaics") and what their vision is for their abode. For many in that generation, the interest is not in "things" but in experiences. Perhaps the journey through remodeling might offer some fodder for future articles. A more target rich environment might be more along the lines of what experiences do you want your abode to give to those who pass through it. I'm not saying fixing T-day dinner is the target of this. These are folks who are having to rediscover how to cook in some cases, much like the young ones of the 1920's and such that launched Home Ec classes.


  • caligirl5

    That's an interesting point. I'm all about experiences rather than things. I don't think remodeling contradicts that. I'm frugal about spending in a lot of ways like cars, clothes, eating out...but I really like being in my home and feeling wonderful there. So remodeling/design supports that experience, not fancy stuff.

  • Becky Harris

    This has been an enlightening thread for me. I hope you mils continue to chime in because I'm learning a lot. I'm especially impressed with millennial attitudes toward money and the environment (mostly as seen through eschewing the accumulation of stuff in favor of experiences).

  • Mrs Pete

    I'm very interested to see the response - are there many Millennials
    that hang here? Of the Millennials I know (my sons and their friends
    are that generation) many are struggling to even get a foothold in the
    housing market and see themselves as long term renters or are finding
    alternatives to traditional housing - e..g. DS1 and my DIL just built
    and are living in a tiny house.

    My daughter and son-in-law are 23 years old, making them Ms. They're out of college, no debt, just purchased a first house ... but they're just happy to have a builder-basic house of their own; they're not making changes, not really renovating or decorating ... unless you count buying an Ikea sofa.

    Doesn't anyone paint a wall any other color than gray?

    My above-mentioned daughter is all about gray, a color I find cold and uninviting.

    She argues that most her age would rather have a computer make driving choices rather than tired, fatigued, texting humans.

    She predicts that within a generation or 2, most people will not have
    cars, garages, driveways, and that will hugely impact the design and
    sales of homes.

    I can see that as a want ... but is technology able to provide it? And, even so, isn't public transportation more practical than highly-technical individual cars?

    As for the predictions, This could be true, but I don't think it'll happen in my lifetime ... and, even if we no longer have cars, garage space can always be turned in to living space, a rental room, whatever. Driveways can be torn up for lawns.

    She said that as many her age prefer to Airbnb as opposed to hotels,
    that having some type of separate living quarters on one's property is a
    huge asset.

    Yeah, my mom has an apartment on the side of her house, and it is tremendously useful. It can be closed off when no one's using it, it could be rented. Having a separate unit and separate utilities is useful.

    However, I'm not sure if it will deeply resinate with the large swath of
    younger folks that don't even perceive things in the same frame as
    their elders.

    I don't know if this is a generation gap ... or a phase of life. When I was younger and in my first house, I was in "make do" phase. We had hand-me-down furniture from family and Good Will, and LOTS of things about our house were less-than-ideal. At that point in our lives, our mindset was "live cheaply so we can save" -- a good choice, by the way -- and "this is just our first house; it doesn't have to be perfect". As today's Ms grow older and accumulate more money, I suspect they'll be more like my generation than dislike.



  • Elizabeth B

    My husband and I are defiantly into experiences rather then things. We were so grateful to have the chance to live in Europe for 3 years and even though I am very frugal hence the 20% down on the house and cash flowing all updates to it we traveled. We went to 8 European countries and man am I grateful it was amazing even with a baby and a toddler lol. I would like to add I've been a stay at home mom for over 3 years and my husband is enlisted in the military we make it fine. We make it because we don't have student loan debt, credit card debt, or car loans. Our only debt is our house....my perspective on the fancy things in life has changed. I use to think if someone drove a luxury car they had money now I think they are probably broke. It's fascinating what people choose to spend their money on it really is...

  • PRO
    Ferris Zoe Design

    @amanda setree wow you really have a project. I grew up in Pennsylvania and was overwhelmed when I saw your home. now that's a PROJECT.

  • Jess

    I can relate to many of my fellow millennials commenting!

    My husband and I bought our run-down 1900 shotgun house at age 26, completely gutted it, and did nearly all of the work ourselves. It needed new everything: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, you name it. We learned how to do all of this via library books, YouTube videos, and trusted family and friends. (Not to mention my husband has been building things his whole life and is currently in school for engineering.) Four years later we are pretty much finished and loving our sweet little house.

    To answer the questions the most important thing for us was affordability. We chose to do the work ourselves to keep costs low (and honestly it was the only way we could afford to buy a house). We saw it as an investment that in a few years we plan to sell and will most certainly make a decent profit in our up-and-coming neighborhood. As far as design goes the most important thing was a good use of space. Our home is 1200 sq. ft. and we have no wasted space. It's highly functional and I absolutely love the floor plan we came up with. For the jobs we did hire someone to do (roof, drywall, foam insulation) we went with companies that were professional and affordable. The ones we did not go were people who gave us a bad first impression, were not friendly, professional, etc.

    We've all seen in the news that millennials are still living with their parents, they're too burdened with student loan debt, and they will never be able to buy a home. There is some definite grains of truth to these headlines, but in my experience all of my friends in the late 20s/early 30s are buying homes. I live in the midwest/sort of south, and this is the norm. I think there is a big difference in my generation between people who live in urban areas and west coast, to people who live in the rest of our huge country. A trend I see for myself and my friends is buying smaller and buying in an area with things to do. I think we care more about our quality of life than the size of our home and the stuff we fill it with.

    By the way, my home is very bright and white, filled with plants and eclectic furniture, art, and photos. My style is a bit of IKEA with vintage hand-me-downs and things from traveling. I got so many ideas from Houzz for the inside and out. And I have to say, the only wall color besides white is my bedroom painted SW Popular Gray. It's a very warm gray though! :-)

  • Matt Man
    Ummm, my parents did all the work and I don't want to pay for anything.
  • Kara Findley

    I've adored Houzz since 2010 or so, but it's just this past May that my husband and I became homeowners at age 34 and 29, respectively. It's half a duplex (yes, we bought, not renting), built in 1989 in a historic neighborhood close to downtown Indianapolis. Overall, we chose this location since several friends live close by (actually, LITERALLY on this street!) and also we love the walkability to things we need - grocery store, CVS, restaurants, hair salon... We were happy to pay a bit of a premium for this urban lifestyle.

    The house is 2,180 square feet (2 floors + basement), which feels pretty spacious to us. We're pretty into minimalism, so we don't even use all the rooms/closets/cabinets yet! We are dying though to expand the tight kitchen. I love cooking, and we love having friends over, and people always gather around the kitchen. Rather than a bump-out, we'd move the nearby stacked laundry upstairs (stealing 18 sq. ft. from our future kid's room!), take out two pantries/closets just off the kitchen (where the washer/dryed used to be will be the new pantry), take out a pointless wall in the kitchen to open it up more, and turn the counters into a true island rather than dead-end. And we plan on getting ourselves some granite countertops, which is very exciting! We got a renovation quote from a contractor we found on Nextdoor and really liked - really honest, down-to-earth guy - as well as a quote to help us with a bunch of odd jobs related to addressing some minor things that came up in our inspection report. It's not that we're not handy (okay, we aren't), but we just know contractors can get things done better, faster. Unfortunately, our chosen contractor struggled with some health problems and can no longer work with us, so now I plan to try some other recommendations.

    We hope to get the laundry move + kitchen reno done this winter, and then down the road, a sliding "barn" door and walk-in shower + tub for our master bathroom, kind of like this.

  • HouseofGodsmith

    My husband and I are older Millennials from the early 80s. We bought our house a couple years ago. It was a custom home built in the late 90s and we've been working on a lot of DIYs ever since, from ripping out the "Tuscan" backsplash, painting the yellowed-out honey oak staircase and fireplace, ripping out the garbage carpet, and painting the doors (not to mention repainting the interior completely). Plane for the next year include new flooring top to bottom and new kitchen appliances. What's most important to us is improving the value of the home without overshooting the neighborhood. We planned to live here for 7-10 years when we originally purchased it, but it's looking more and more like we'll be moving to a different state shortly. We're in a seller's market right now and we want to keep our house on the same level as the new builds as much as we can without putting in too much money.

    We've had one contractor come out to give an estimate on some wiring work. We haven't hired the job out yet, but we know who we're going with- the one who called us back and showed up for the estimate. We also plan on having someone else put in the floors, and that will depend on the value of the work and quality of product we go with, I'm guessing. We haven't made it that far in planning yet.

  • amb389
    So interesting to read different experiences! My husband and I were born in 1989, but I dislike being called a millennial because I think it has such a negative connotation. As someone mentioned above, we grew up without cell phones, barely Internet and then dial up, and just being that in-between group in terms of technology. I personally do not like much technology in our house-we barely even use the Amazon echo we were gifted.
    We bought our house after a year and a half of being married. My husband lived at home for 3 years after college while I lived with a family friend during nursing school (change of career plans-oops does that make me sound like a millennial?!), which definitely saved us money. We live in a Midwest suburb which I know is extremely different than living around a big city, especially out west. I have friends who live outside Chicago, Vegas, and Denver, and their homes are very different than ours in terms of size and price.
    As for projects, our house was move in ready, but we definitely have aesthetic updates we are slowly working on. We want to do quality updates over time rather than rush to do it all at once. We have things that we are doing ourselves and others we are having professionals do. As for design style, we like a clean, casual aesthetic but I am still adamant about having our dining room be fancier - a dining room/sitting room with a bar. We have quite a few styles that we are combining that sounds confusing when I try to write it out! I do love white (but I always have) because I like adding different seasonal accents and I like having white to work off of. However, I want to do our bedroom a dark green with our cherry furniture.
    I think that every generation has trends that they follow but that is an overall assumption
  • sardino
    30 y/o here. We gutted the main bathroom from the original 1940's design to make it bigger and more practical (before and after below). Our next project is going to be hardscaping for the backyard as that's where we'd like to do more entertaining, plus Irma did a substantial amount of damage that left big gaps in our fence. My kitchen is exactly as original 40's as the "before" picture of the bathroom, but I don't actually want people hanging out in there, so I have no immediate plans to renovate.
  • Elizabeth B

    amb your bathroom looks so much more functional! and all that storage too!

  • mom2sulu

    Cool thread and some neat homes.

    Here is a breakdown of the generations.

    http://socialmarketing.org/archives/generations-xy-z-and-the-others/


    Gen Z. I am raising two of those and the technology/social media influence is almost inescapable. It concerns me.


  • PRO
    Ferris Zoe Design

    And there are some of us who straddle all the Gens.

  • Elizabeth B

    I can imagine gen Z stuck to technology I have a kid born in 2012 and at the end of generation Z according to that article. I try to limit technology. Deffinetly zero tv and tablets in the car that's just a pet peeve of mine. Do kids really need technology in their face that much that we stick it in their face everytime the car turns on. They do watch tv at home probably too much of it.

  • Erika
    I'm a millennial. I'm 29 and my husband's 30. We bought our first home about 2 years ago and have thus far not put a lot of money into the house, but that's soon about to change.

    Our house was built in 1925 and hasn't had much work done since the 70's. So far we've installed a radon mitigation system and hired an electrician to rewire the house and add outlets. We still had knob and tube and only about 2 outlets per floor when we first moved in.

    Our next projects involve rebuilding a structurally unsound porch, replacing the 25+ year old roof, and swapping out the old oil boiler for something more efficient and reliable.

    We are starting with more important structural and functional projects and will move on to cosmetic work later. We bought our house because much of it is original. We love the 1920's vibes, and original stained wood work. Our goal is to restore the home to it's former glory, while throwing in only a few modern updates where necessary.

    Remodeling has been and will continue to be a slow process for us due to financial constraints. We have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt tying up a large portion of our income.

    On top of that, we don't have a lot of free time to invest in the home. Believe it or not, our time isn't spent indoors glued to a screen as many stereotypes accuse us of. I have two horses that I board self-care on my grandfather's farm. In order to offset the cost of having horses and get ahead on our student debt, we both work full time plus overtime, with many additional hours spent helping my grandfather on his farm. We don't spend a lot of time at home right now, but it's okay because our house isn't the most serene place. It's full of mismatched free furniture and flea market finds. It will be a few years until we have the time and the money to really make it what we want.

    Until then I love browsing Houzz for ideas. This place helps me dream.

    I've attached a few random photos of our house.
  • morgan_manfredi

    My husband and I are both 25. We closed on our first home May 31st, 2017 and in the last 5 months, we have completely remodeled the entire interior. Most of this work, I do have to brag (only because we can't even believe we were this crazy), was done by ourselves (including family and very good friends). Many new skills were learned along the way, having never done this before. We did hire a contractor to assist with installing new floors throughout the home, new baseboards, new subfloor in the living room, and a door replacement (due to rot). The house is a ranch, just under 1,700 square ft. on the main floor (approx. 2,100 with the finished bonus rooms in the basement) with 3 beds, and 2 baths.

    The house was a disaster when we bought it... Looking back, I cannot believe I was able to talk my husband into it, but it had good bones! We scored the house for $15,000 less than asking price and put approximately that much back into it fixing it up. Structurally, aside from the rotted exterior door, it was in sound condition. However, needed just about all of the bleach available at the local store, and 33 gallons of paint to make it livable. The house was covered in filth - ceilings had to be painted in every room, along with all of the walls. We also installed new counter tops, bathroom vanities, toilets, sinks, crown molding, finished some sheet-rocking, and added a kitchen island. Mind you - much of this was done with a LOT of research because we were total newbies. I wish I could say that we had a nice chunk of change set aside for this too, but truthfully, every spare hour and cent we had we put toward the house, scraping by most of the summer, and we utilized yard sales and coupons anywhere we could.

    Houzz.com provided a LOT of insight and was great for getting some inspirational ideas for the home. Happy to have found it! While the process does require a whole lot of patience, it also requires drive to get it done fast. I would say it is worth it, as our home has significantly increased its value since completing the work. We now have a place we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

    Here are some Before pictures I have handy:

    As you can tell, lots of color.... lots of artistry going on before...

    Kitchen Before & After:

    Bathroom Before, During, & After:

    Bathroom Before & After:

    Bedroom example Before & After (blue):

    Another Completed Bedroom:

    Living Room Before (wall to ceiling lilac purple... purple carpet, and purple walls leading up a cathedral ceiling...) & After (taupe):

    Another After Kitchen Shot:

  • HouseofGodsmith

    @Erika - Your home looks adorable! Congrats! I'm with you on the anti-millennial stereotype. Not all of us are glued to our phones making memes 24/7 - in fact, most of us older milllennials are handling a lot and trying to do it all well. My husband and I are attorneys and we have two horses. We do full board right now, but it's still a lot of work, and we're planning on relocating to the Midwest in a couple years to own a farm, so even more work, plus we are likely going to be managing a firm at the same time. Like most people on Houzz, I'm here for inspiration and resources in making our home the best it can be with our budget and time restraints.

  • luluj99

    Also an older "millennial". 1st home was a fully remodeled modern condo in city. 2nd home purchase is a 1953 ranch with nice yard in city neighborhood. When we first moved in we retextured all the orange peel walls and painted everything from shades of baby poo brown to its current gray walls, white trim. We redid all light fixtures, switches and sockets, knocked down a wall dividing the kitchen and dining room, and remodeled a bathroom, adding a shower. We did all this ourselves, with some help from an electrician and plumber. Then after a year of living there and a year of planning (I did the plans and design and selected all finishes and fixtures- thank you Houzz- then hired a GC to execute), we did an addition which included a full kitchen gut and reconfiguration and a full remodel and expansion of the other bathroom plus laundry room add. The new addition includes floor to ceiling windows and siding doors along the back and a modern kitchen with massive U-shaped island. Kitchen has large appliance garage (behind horizontal bamboo doors), induction cooktop, double oven, massive granite composite sink, quartz tops, and bar and counter seating for 6-8. We kept original oak flooring in front of house and tore up tile in back (had to mitigate for asbestos mastic) to extend oak floors throughout the back of the house and kitchen. Back part of house is now open floor plan dining/kitchen/family room. House is less than 2k sq feet but we wanted city neighborhood over burbs. Pix below:

  • Rachel

    I like that name "Oregon Trail Millennial" — my age is of that in between era of firmly Millennial or Gen-X. I think my experience with homes and remodeling has straddled the generations equally. I used to watch home improvement shows on PBS, before there were cable channels dedicated to the topic, and I was a regular on the original GardenWeb site, before Houzz was even around. I've seen so many building and design trends and ideas come and go, but I've certainly embraced the trends that would likely be considered new school by older generations. Ideas such as green building/sustainability, quality over quantity, a love of throwback/time-proven designs (Mid-century, Craftsman, Scandinavian, etc.), reuse/recycling, DIY — all seem to be pretty important to Millennials. It's all new spins on old-school traditions and, at their core, ideas that can be practiced both frugally and safely (e.g. You may tire of a chair, but it's been in style for 100 years so it's unlikely to become dated).

    My experience diverges though in that I'm on my third home, and the second one that I will have remodeled. I learned my lessons from the first remodel, after using all that easy money the banks were throwing at us to make improvements. Sure it was a nice house when it was done, and I severely miss my kitchen — but I couldn't pay for it on my own, even with a roommate, so it had to be sold at an overall loss when my ex and I divorced.

    My current project, where barring any major life changes I intend to own until I'm old and gray, is a 1929 Craftsman that had most of the upgrades I was shopping for (new electric cause I didn't want to deal with that again!) but still needs a lot of TLC. In perhaps true Millennial style, I purchased this property for well, well under what the banks said I was approved to spend. I made a choice to forgo all the bells and whistles and spend no more than what could be covered by slinging coffee at a Starbucks. And, unless I add on square footage (or build an apartment for my mother that lives with me) I plan to continue paying cash for my upgrades. The DIY progress is slower, but damn if it isn't financially prudent. And yeah, not being house rich and cash poor means I get to do things like travel or pursue other hobbies that make me as equally happy as having a really nice house.

    To get to the actual question, projects in the mix include finishing up adding insulation to the walls, cause you know they couldn't be bothered to add that in 1929, hand oiling the wood floors, rehabbing windows and planning for bigger jobs — like the exterior painting and roofing that I'll not foolishly DIY. Hiring pros to do work, as someone with enough knowledge to be dangerous, means bringing in vendors that have a client-centric process, good communication skills, and because it's happened, aren't sexist/ageist/generally crummy people. At the end of the day, I have to like the people that are working on my house, because we're going to likely be seeing a lot of each other if it's a bigger project.

  • Katie Milette
    depending who defines a millennial, i sometimes qualify. born in '83. husband and i purchased a well kept house that was built in the 80's. lived in it for a year or 2 and didnt do ANYTHING. not a single picture or paint brush on the wall. then we decided to revamp the whole main floor. walls down... open concept...moved the kitchen where the dinning room was and made a little dinning nook where the kitchen was.
  • Ciara Stone
    I’m unsure if my “residence”-what I’m calling it due to it’s in between stage of construction ♀️-is a fixer upper or Reno since I’m converting an abandoned 3 story riverside cotton mill; well technically my boyfriend is a contractor & his crew as well as construction team are doing the stuff that is outta my league. They are even building a fourth story-meaning all the 3rd and 4th stories are for me and me alone! I’m basically in a penthouse I plan on renting the lower two floors, with each floor having 6 converted apartments with nice amenities.
    DESCRIPTION:
    Open concept from kitchen to living room to the dining room with the kitchen countertops made of either black soapstone, or light or black granite. A wall behind the dining table is made of various colors of wood-ranging from weathered gray, to white, to light, sun bleached powdery blue, and light and dark wood with heavy grain throughout. It’s used as an accent wall. There is also a stunning wall of windows facing the river and on another wall, a fireplace with a blazing fire in the hearth. It’s has been refaced with beautiful stone and has a grouping of huge and comfortable overstuffed leather couches, love seats, and chairs with foot ottomans. A live edge wooden coffee table sits in between the furniture and serves as a centerpiece in addition to an ordinary place to place drinks. My bedroom is shaded in calming blues, grays, and whites, as well as touches of light green, tan, and small amounts of light brown with white accents.
  • Angela Smith

    My husband and are are 1981 "Oregon trail" 36-year-old 'millennials'. We bought our first house at 23, a 1981 tri-level. We gutted and remodeled the kitchen (with a GC), as well as both bathrooms (DIY). We sold that house last year and are just about to close on on a house we just finished building, a 3 br, 2.5 bath, 2000 sq. ft. ranch. Open concept kitchen to living room and grey walls - and I love it all! It has been, by far, our biggest undertaking to date. It's a semi-custom home that we designed to be Prairie-inspired with lots of down lighting and clean lines. We also both work full-time and have two young kids.



  • PRO
    Soltech Solutions

    Here's a picture of my living room in our tiny little downtown apartment. Not too shabby for 3 buddies in their mid 20s. It's hard when limited to a very small space, but design is all about working with what you've got, right?

  • mrseee
    My husband and I, born in '83 just bought a traditional 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home just south of Los Angeles. This is our first single family we previously bought a condo(now a rental). I love HGTV and Real Estate. He's in Sales. We just spent this past weekend going to IKEA and Home Depot instead of the malls for Black Friday sales. Our home was built in '41. We have a 3 phase plan for upgrades. Right now we are enjoying it and waiting for the pitter patter of little feet of the human variety, we have a six year old fur baby. One of our first projects will be safely modernizing the chimney and fireplace surround.
  • mrseee
    @janmoyer Millennials are the largest generation since the baby boomers. While I don't love Joanna Gaines design aesthetic. I love Joanna and Chip together. They seem to be honest, happy, and listen to their clients. Unless retirement is in you're near future you have to adapt to stay relevant. Texting, the contractor I use, we text back and forth all the time. We share pictures, ideas, and set appointments. Texting is a time saver, you should embrace it, IMO (in my opinion).
  • Kara Meredith

    We have owned our home since October 2016. We're still working on improvements, because as is the case with many millennials (we're both '89 babies), we have to space things out because of lack of huge savings. We've already repainted everything a much lighter and more soothing color; done a lot of re-landscaping; built several pieces of our own furniture (my husband is handy!) such as our TV cabinet, dining table, built-in bookshelf, and a wall bed/desk combo; and re-finished a couple of hand-me-down freebie pieces of furniture. We're setting our sights on new exterior doors, new flooring, and remodeling our kitchen in the next couple of years. While we do a LOT ourselves, we did hire a professional painter (we don't have a whole lot of patience) and will likely hire a professional to do our exterior doors, flooring, and kitchen.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268