Milwaukee/NARI Members Expand Entertaining Possibilities Through Home Remodeling

Aug. 6, 2013

You can expand your entertaining possibilities through remodeling, according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 52 years. Members offer advice to help reimagine living spaces in your home to improve social interactions.

Perry Szpek, CKBR, jdj builders, inc. in Greenfield, says many customers who are interested in remodeling for entertainment purposes are interested in creating an open space concept that allows you to work in the kitchen and keep communicating with your guests in the living room. “I always ask customers before planning a remodel about how a space will be used day-to-day and how often they plan to entertain,” said Szpek. “Another way to help a client understand the different things that can be done with a space is to have them review magazines, the Internet, and social media for photos of homes they like,” he added.

“Every project is different, tailored to a clients wants and needs. You need to know how often they will have gatherings, the number of people, and if it is a formal or casual space,” according to Szpek. “When redesigning a kitchen, we inquire if a client wants to create a kitchenette or a butlers pantry, would they like storage for wine or a small refrigerator under the counter,” he added.

For some clients who like to entertain often, creating a wine cellar is an option to consider. “Before beginning a project like this, you need to find out how many bottles will be stored and if they require climate control. If we create a large wine cellar, a larger cooling unit would be needed, which is about the size of a small furnace,” said Szpek. “We would also want to know if the wine storage was for display purposes, and in that case what style of presentation the client prefers. They could choose from rustic, traditional, or a modern sleek look,” he added.

“Entertainment factors into every project I work on,” said Matthew Jahns, CR, Refined Renovations in Wauwatosa. “Kitchens and even modern bathrooms can include built in TVs and sound systems tailored to a room’s specific dimensions. Of course, every job begins with standard questions that you need to ask a customer, such as what the basic need for the space is and how will it function," he added.

When looking at a space centered on entertaining, there are several options to consider. “Clients may want TVs installed overhead in the kitchen so that a movie or sports can play in the background, but still allow for conversation as they eat,” said Jahns. “Others may want a dry bar area to mix drinks for guests. When designing a bar area for them, you may need to dedicate a certain amount of space for display purposes and an area to mix drinks for guests. In some cases, the dry bar area may take up one third of the kitchen,” he added.

Jahns finds that poker nights are really popular among his clients and he has designed areas in the lower level of homes to accommodate poker or gaming tables. “Overall, the trend however is to design a multipurpose space that can be used by the entire family,” said Jahns. “Proper sound systems can be installed to create white noise for adult parties and for dance music for other activities,” he added.

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 740 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

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