With many families tightening their budgets, opting for “staycations” instead of tropical vacations has become a common tradeoff. A staycation is a vacation from work for relaxation and leisure activities at home. At any price point, a wide range of upgrades, additions, and remodeling projects can be done to create the ideal atmosphere for vacationing at home. Members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 51 years, discussed different ways to turn a home into the ultimate staycation destination.
IN ALL WEATHER
Sunroom owners enjoy the beauty of the outdoors inside the comfort of their own home. Even during storms, buggy nights, and bad temperatures, sunrooms provide a space to enjoy the ambience of the seasons, no matter the weather. “Sunrooms make every day a vacation,” said Scott Bear of Bear Builders in Mequon. “Many people choose to build sunrooms to enjoy their hobbies and favorite recreational activities inside, and are surprised when it quickly becomes the most used room in the house.”
There are many options to choose from when considering adding a sunroom to the house. Screen rooms allow homeowners to enjoy the crisp fall air, breezy spring winds, and warm summer nights, all while eluding insects in a comfortable atmosphere. All season rooms enable the warmth of the sun to shine through fully insulated walls and winter ready windows, creating a connection with the outdoors even in the dead of winter. Three-season rooms are also an excellent choice for those looking to use the room only during prime staycation weather, Bear said. They’re built with the same quality durable materials and same potential for bringing the best of the outdoors and indoors together.
Patio Covers and Glass Enclosures
Patio covers can increase the functionality of an outdoor space without closing it off completely. They provide shade and shelter while adding to the beauty of the patio or deck. Glass enclosures are perfect to house pools and spas since they do not absorb any moisture, making them a good space for a staycation-ready private cabana.
Home Technology and Lower Levels
Convenient access to technology has become a crucial aspect of what homeowners find entertaining and fun, and can be a necessary part of a successful staycation. Having a plethora of entertainment in the home’s lower level can keep everyone occupied no matter the weather. With home theaters wavering in popularity, many homeowners are opting to incorporate multiple activities and sections into their lower level, rather than having a one purpose only room.
“Many of our clients have multiple game consoles, golf simulators, and other games to keep kids and their company busy, as well as large televisions with surround sound systems and access to online movie libraries, fully stocked bar areas with appliances, areas where things like ping pong or pool tables can be put in, and plenty of comfy chairs to crash in,” said Susan Keel of Advanced Communications Specialists in Waukesha.
Incorporating music that’s pumping out of quality sound systems, in any room of the house, is more of a reality than ever. “Placing music speakers in every imaginable space—from the garage to the shower, and all throughout outdoor living spaces—is extremely popular,” said Keel. With universal controls equipped to queue up most of a home’s technology, it’s easy for homeowners to enjoy their music library anywhere inside the house or even the backyard.
Building a themed lower level is a unique way to create a fun retreat for those in the home and to awe guests while highlighting a family’s personality. “A themed recreation area where you can invite the people you love to spend time is a solid idea. It can remind you of your favorite place. An Irish pub, sports bar, or something very metro and chic, a far off destination, a fun outer space or western themed area for kids, are just a few of the many possibilities,” offered Bob Sebastian of Burback Builders in Muskego.
Guest Room Upgrade
Shaking up the décor and furnishings in a guest room could transform a bland spare space into a staycation quality hotel suite. “If you have a spare bedroom, create a themed guest room; a Cape Cod, Fiji, Paris, are all great destinations to start a theme with. Decorate B&B, luxury hotel, or private tropical hut style. Magic castle or pirate ship themes for the kids are great ideas,” Sebastian said. “These are easy to accomplish with some simple accessories, paint, and some creative ideas for furniture. Now you have a virtual hotel suite you can escape to just down the hall from your own room,” he added.
Spa Quality Bathrooms
Vacations are all about relaxing and letting stress melt away. Spas are a great place to forget troubles and truly indulge, so creating a spa-like atmosphere in a master bathroom is another way to upgrade for staycationing. “Adding a spa tub or steam shower would create a great spa grade bathroom. The spa experience is all about relaxation and pampering, so having plenty of room for a lounge chair or chaise would also be ideal,” suggests Sebastian.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 750 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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