Renovate or build?

Clients of Classic Custom Homes & Remodeling, whether contracting for new houses or renovated homes, can take advantage of the knowledge that the owners have from five decades of experience in the building industry.

Clients of Classic Custom Homes & Remodeling, whether contracting for new houses or renovated homes, can take advantage of the knowledge that the owners have from five decades of experience in the building industry.

“I have over 30 years of experience, and my partner has more than 20 years’ experience,” said Brian Simpson, who with Brian Woods owns the year-old custom home and remodeling contractor business.

Both Woods and Simpson, who are members of the Building Industry Association of Stark and East Central Ohio and the state and national chapters of the Association of Home Builders, owned individual contracting businesses before they merged their skills.

“We found ourselves working on projects together almost every week, and we sat down and decided the best thing we could do was form a brand new joint construction company,” recalled Simpson. “My partner oversees everything in the field and does the finish carpentry. And I oversee everything on the business side of it.”

Simpson said that the company owners take a “hands-on” approach to their business, for which their primary focus is on building new custom homes. Classic Custom Homes completes building plans for most of those houses, though “we also outsource to designers at times, and we have clients bring us drawings they’ve already had done,” Simpson said.

While the website for Classic Custom Homes lists a variety of additions the company can attach to an existing home—listed are garages, all-seasons rooms, master bedroom closets, additional bedrooms, kitchen extensions and in-law suites—Simpson noted that there is a point of diminishing returns for the remodeling of homes.

“We put four additions on a house in a two-year period,” he recalled. “They kind of over-built for the area. But they thought that since the house was paid for and they had no intention of leaving, they would go ahead with the remodeling. We probably could have built them a brand new house for what they paid into the additions, but they were content to stay where they were.”

Simpson and Woods consider such purely personal reasons for deciding between building a new custom home or remodeling a client’s existing house. If a decision is made to remodel, the company makes sure the additions and changes match the rest of existing structures, the website says.

“Our remodelers,” promised the website, “can transform your room into a modern space that you’ll enjoy spending time in, day after day.”

Here are some tips on remodeling a home offered by Brian Simpson of Classic Custom Homes:

1. Find reasons to remodel. “A lot comes down to whether or not homeowners enjoy the home they’re in and just want to make a few changes (instead of building a new house). They need to determine if it’s their ‘forever home.’ ”

2. Renovate for investment. “The kitchen and bathroom are the best values for renovation, as far as return on investment.”

3. Make a plan. “Remodeling has to make sense. I generally tell clients that if it’s a major renovation they should get a house designer involved to make out a plan.”

4. Pay the price. “I definitely wouldn’t skimp on costs for the mechanical items—your plumbing supplies or your electrical work. You want things that are going to last.”

5. Where to save. “There are places to save money when remodeling. We had a client who was shopping for flooring. He found his for a decent price online.”

6. Confront the problems. “The biggest issue with remodeling, especially when it’s a major renovation, is whatever problem you uncover. And you will find a problem. It’s not if you find a problem, it’s when. You have to have the mindset to deal with things when they pop up.”

7. Trust the experts. “There definitely are projects you can do yourself, such as painting. And they have kits to upgrade countertops yourself. People can change doorknobs. And some people have the expertise to replace light fixtures. But when you get into major renovations, things that involve load-bearing walls, it’s always good to consult the people who are experts.”

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass