Upgrades Take a Cookie-Cutter Home off the Beaten Tract

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving will be here next week. It makes the two of us reminisce about great turkey dinners shared with friends and family in our homes. We often give thanks for the food, our health and our loved ones, but sometimes we forget to be grateful for that wonderful roof over our heads.

Just as Thanksgiving is a classic American holiday, owning a home is the quintessential American dream. An affordable way many of us get into our homes, or acquire more square-footage bang for the buck, is to buy a tract home or what some refer to as cookie-cutter or production housing. These houses are mass-produced and built quickly, using similar if not identical floor plans and builder-grade materials to keep the costs down.

One downside to tract housing is that your home might resemble several on the block. We know a friend of a friend who after going to a barbecue down the street walked back home and through a front door he was convinced was his. The neighbor’s dog quickly showed him the error of his ways. Thankfully nobody was hurt.

We’re not saying production housing is full of pitfalls and pit bulls, but it often doesn’t reflect our personality. As remodelers, an even bigger issue we see with these homes is the premature aging of builder-grade materials and the need for some serious repairs, replacements and updating within the first five to 10 years after construction.

If you don’t need major repairs but you want to get off the beaten tract (pun intended), then consider some interior upgrades or small-scale remodeling to make your mass-produced home stand out from similar models. Replace dated brass door knobs with brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze finishes. Update your light fixtures, upgrade cabinet door hardware, replace faucets, enhance your curb appeal, add a simple deck or pergola in the backyard or give your home a fresh coat of interior paint, using colors other than beige or white.

If your home needs major repairs or remodeling, you may need to hire a professional to help you with some custom solutions. Upgrade to solid core paneled doors and replace carpet or install hardwood floors. Update countertops and backsplashes in your kitchen and bath and install decorative trim like wainscoting or crown molding.

Customize your home to better serve your lifestyle by adding a mud room or built-in desk and book shelves. Remodel a room or finish your basement to provide more livable square footage. Paint the exterior of your home, add a covered porch or build an addition to completely change the exterior profile and personality of your house.

If you like your production home’s layout but you want to change its interior personality and exterior profile, then dare to be unique and start the demolition, because that’s the only way the old cookie crumbles.

Click Here to be directed to our column in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.