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Celebrating 55 Years of Building and Remodeling: An Interview with Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer:

Airoom is a design/build company that specializes in residential remodeling. We're the largest residential remodeler in Chicagoland with over 14,000 projects completed during our 55 year history. Our inclusive, comprehensive process brings together all of the services required to complete custom home remodeling projects -- design, pricing, funding (through our sister company, LAMB Financial), licensed architecture, permits, product & resource selections, logistics, project management, construction management, and service & warranty. We also offer one of the strongest warranties in the remodeling business, covering structural components for fifteen years and installations for ten years. Airoom is a single source for accountability and responsibility for every client we serve.

What is your position at Airoom Architects Builders & Remodelers?

President, I manage the day-to-day operations of the business.

What should I consider when choosing between a remodel or moving?

That's a great question and we've posted an article identifying 9 key considerations on that very topic at www.airoom.com/remodeling-blog/move-or-remodel. You'll also find other helpful information on our site, which is updated on a regular basis.

What are some trends that have become increasingly popular for remodeling in recent years?

With the economy showing positive signs, people are starting to improve their homes again. Some of the more popular projects we've seen over the past couple of years include small and large additions for kitchens, interior renovations, family rooms, bedrooms and master suites. We've also been working on many kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects without additions.

People who've decided to stay in their homes want to enjoy them. So we're seeing a lot of personal touches incorporated into our kitchen remodels; everything from large islands, to entertainment areas to multiple cook, prep and work areas. Our kitchen designs are focusing on making the room more functional, personal and friendly. It is no longer just the place to cook and clean up. Some of our most popular kitchen remodels are actually extensions of the first floor and family room, because that space is where family and friends spend time together.

Clients are also focusing on their home's interior functionality. Many of the houses we work on were built many years ago, and we are asked to provide a better traffic pattern, or create an openness that incorporates seamlessly into the existing home's style. We look at each custom remodeling project as a comprehensive solution to our homeowner's requests, many times identifying needs they may have not considered.

Bathrooms are also a very popular topic these days. It's probably one of the most often used rooms in any home but, in many cases, was an afterthought for a lot of builders. There are many products that 2 Airoom, LLC can make the space feel and look like a room you want to go in to, and not just because you have to. We're working with several clients who want their bathroom to feel like that special personal space where they can relax and enjoy the amenities. That's done in so many ways- soaking tubs, multi-jet shower systems, music, shower seats and benches, shelves and niches for bathing products, lighted and heated mirrors, heated floors, water that gets hot within seconds of turning on the faucet, and storage tucked neatly behind cabinets. The bathroom, especially the master, has gotten to be one of the most popular rooms in many of the homes we remodel.

Of course much of this is because people are starting to feel optimistic about their homes again. Banks are starting to lend and people are making the intelligent decision to invest in and maintain their homes.

We, at Airoom have always felt that a major component of any successful remodeling project is the budget and how the project will be funded. We created LAMB Financial many years ago for that very reason. LAMB is a licensed mortgage brokerage whose only business is to find the best method to fund our clients' projects. LAMB puts together packages with lenders who look at the potential value of someone's home after the remodel, not just its current state. Our integrated process includes a funding source along with the design, pricing and specifications that give lenders confidence in understanding the project before construction starts. And Airoom's 55 year track record in completing custom remodeling projects reinforces that confidence so lenders don't need to worry about whether the project will be successful. That's some of the peace of mind we offer.

Can you give the readers some examples of practical home additions?

I think the most practical home additions are those that consider the family's current needs while keeping their long term goals in mind. For example, we've built many second floor and bedroom additions for clients who needed space for their growing families. But it's important to consider that kids grow up fast so planning for the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms is very important. It won't be long until those toddlers become teenagers and the use and functionality of the space has to be able to adapt to those changes.

Why is it said that kitchen remodeling promises the largest return on investment?

I think kitchens have become a huge focus for homeowners and potential buyers. It's one of the first rooms that people tour when looking at a house. And it's not just the way the kitchen looks; it's also how it interacts with the rest of the house, with the outside and with the family's lifestyle.

Return on investment is something that's never guaranteed for any improvement. However, I think we can all agree that a well-designed and functional kitchen can help the emotional as well as the real value of most homes. If the finished kitchen improves how people live, and the investment level is in keeping with the house and neighborhood, it can't help but offer a good return for the client.

If we're looking strictly at values, however, one of the best considerations is the right number of bedrooms. In many cases, adding a nicely appointed bedroom and bath, which blends seamlessly with the house, can add significant value.

Another place to look at adding value is through enhancing a home's curb appeal. There are many ways to enhance the front of someone's home to make it special, both functionally as well as aesthetically. The key is to consider all the important components of a custom renovation project -- 3 Airoom, LLC budget, lifestyle, maintenance and the client's long term goals. That's the best way to help ensure that a home's value is equal to the project scope and investment.

What are some key qualities that a homeowner should expect from a quality remodeling company?

Remodeling can be very stressful. Homeowners should expect their remodeler to be trustworthy and to have their best interest at heart. They should be secure in knowing that even if things go a little awry, the company they're working with has the resources and the experience to make it right. A client should feel that they can pick up the phone or send an email and get their questions answered, before, during and after construction. That's especially important during the warranty and service period. Knowing that there is a service team available to solve warranty issues is important, because a warranty without someone to back it up, is simply a piece of paper.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

You can give us a call at (847) 268-4677 or visit our website at www.airoom.com to have a designer to come to your home for a complimentary consultation. You can also stop by one of our two home remodeling showrooms in Lincolnwood or Naperville.

Lincolnwood: 6825 North Lincoln Avenue, Lincolnwood, IL 60712
Naperville: 2764 West Aurora Avenue, Naperville IL, 60540

Our showroom hours are Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturdays 9am to 5pm, And we're open in Naperville on Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

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