Are you noticing things about your house that you never noticed before?

Maybe it’s the unfinished basement that has so much potential or the spare bedroom that no one ever uses.

Now that we’re quarantined at home, we have time to think about how we’re using our space – and how we could use it even better. It may be time for a home renovation that could turn those spaces into true home upgrades.

Why do home renovations now?

Home renovations:

– Create a personalized living space for your family

– Give you maximum enjoyment of precious time with family and friends

– Increase the resale value of your home

“Renovations are particularly relevant now as families are spending more time at home due to COVID-19,” explains Touchstone owner, Ben Srigley.

As we’re all spending more time at home, why not make it as comfortable and personal as possible? And remodeling now, during COVID-19, can save you time and money on your project.

Here are some ideas for high-end renovations that could be used to lavishly update a spare bedroom, a basement, or any other under-used area. They can take your at-home experience from run-of-the-mill to remarkable.

1) Wet Bar

A wet bar is a counter area to serve (alcoholic!) drinks, with a sink and running water. Without running water, it’s a dry bar.

If you’re entertaining out of your kitchen, say hosting a party in a finished basement, a wet bar is super useful. You don’t have to run upstairs to rinse off a glass or get more water for a pitcher. You can install a wet bar on a patio or deck, too, for outdoor events. And even if, like now, you’re not entertaining, a wet bar near a game room or home theater is convenient for everyone.

Figure 2- Figure 1- Wet bar integrated with a game room in this Touchstone remodel.

And there’s more good news about wet bars: it’s exactly the kind of “bell and whistle” that potential homebuyers go crazy over.

Ideally, look for a spot near existing plumbing, like a bathroom or laundry room. Given the running water, a wet bar needs to be installed by a professional contractor.

And we’ve seen that these extra touches will take your wet bar to a whole new level:

– Built-in microwave to warm up drinks or snacks

– Wine refrigerator to cool drinks and mixers

– Freezer for ice

As an added plus, having a fridge or freezer in your wet bar will free up space in your kitchen fridge. In general, a wet bar creates another entertaining space, relieving the crush in the kitchen where people congregate.

Be sure to keep the design classy and simple — if you’re just installing a second-hand kitchen, people will definitely notice, especially when you go to sell the home.

Pro tip:

Richard Loosle from KUBE Architecture shared a clever tip for adding a wet bar to your kitchen. He suggested expanding the length of your kitchen cabinets to include a wine fridge or ice maker. You can also add open shelving to upper cabinets for storing wine glasses.

2) Home Gym

There’s a reason we’re calling this a pound-emic! Without our usual movement, we’re all putting on a few extra pounds. What better way to shed them than with a home gym?

And even when we can get out again, a home gym is a great investment. With gym memberships averaging $700 a year, a home gym will more than pay for itself within a few years. And consider that most people never find the time to get out to a fitness center.

67 percent of gym members never use their membership!

Exercise equipment in your bedroom can quickly become a clothing rack. But a beautifully renovated, dedicated space blocks distractions and inspires you to work out

A home remodeling contractor can advise you on the elements that will make your gym both functional and appealing. We advise our clients to consider these:

– Mirrors make a room feel larger and help you keep proper form

– Sound insulation protects the rest of the house from noisy equipment or jumping

– Proper flooring is comfortable for exercising but won’t get moldy from sweat or crack from weights

– Dedicated HVAC system keeps you cool

– Sound system pumps out a motivating exercise beat

Figure 3- Now is the perfect time to invest in a home gym.

Pro tip:

The lowest floor of the house is the best place for a home gym. It’s usually the coolest in temperature and prevents trickle-down noise transmission from the equipment.

3) Wine Cellar

Do we need to explain why you want a wine cellar? It’s a growing trend, with more consumers than ever choosing to enjoy a drink at home instead of going out.

47% of millennials and 61% of Gen X and Boomers would rather drink wine at home than at social gatherings, restaurants, or wineries.

Business Insider

Professional construction of a wine cellar is a MUST to age your wines properly. You want to create an environment where you can completely control the temperature, humidity, and lighting. In fact, a wine cellar should be airtight to consistently maintain 55°-58°F and 55-75% humidity.

The success of your wine cellar is in the details. We focus on:

– Choosing the right flooring (carpet or wood will rot in the high humidity)

– Installing insulation and a vapor barrier

– Hermetically sealing the space and checking for air leaks

– Guiding you on the right lighting (absolutely no UV lights or sunlight which degrade the wines)

Figure 4 A wine cellar needs to be dim and airtight.

Pro tip:

Stability is the most important factor in caring for your wines. Protect your wine cellar against temperature spikes, lighting fluctuations, and even vibrations.

4) Card/Game Room

What comes to mind when you hear the word “game?” Video games? VR gaming? A pool table? Board games? Poker? Whatever you chose (or if you chose ‘em all), a dedicated game room gives you a place to escape and unwind. And with the family at home, that’s more important than ever.

Unlike a wine cellar or home gym, anything goes with a game room. The challenge is creating a dedicated space that’s functional and FUN!

A remodeler will find the right space to build your game room and incorporate it seamlessly into your home. Here are our favorite ideas that can take your game room over the top:

– Decorate your room with a theme, such as sports, retro, or your favorite show

– Add permanent shelving to store DVDs, video games, and board games

– Combine the space with a home theater or wet bar for one-stop recreation and re-fueling

– Keep adequate open space for VR gaming

– Go all out and set it up as an escape room

– Consider soundproofing, so no one wakes up from late-night games of pool, ping-pong, or air hockey

– And don’t forget cozy seating and rugs

Figure 5 – The built-in shelving keeps this playroom organized. The hardwood steps integrate the room with the house while the level down creates a dedicated space. Photo by permission of KUBE Architecture.

Pro tip:

Loosle also shared some design tips for integrating a game room into your existing home design through creative integration. For example, changing or dropping the flooring can “distinguish the room from current areas while at the same time keeping the new use space as part of a larger room or function.”

5) Home theaters

When was the last time you went out to a movie? When’s the next time you’ll step foot in a theater? No worries – with a home theater, you can experience theater-quality visuals and sound without stepping outside. Imagine watching Super Bowl LV with surround sound!

Figure 1- Modern home theater with acoustic panels and soundbar. Photo by permission of KUBE Architecture.

The most basic elements of a home theater are a large screen tv, DVD or Blu-ray player, amplifier, receiver, speakers, and subwoofer for bass sounds. You can set those up in your current den, and you’ll essentially have a high-quality television system.

To create a true theater experience, though, we recommend elements that go way beyond DIY:

– Dimmable lighting

– Projector

– Theater seating

– “Room in a room” construction to isolate sound

– In-wall speakers

– Surround sound

Not all home theaters are created equal. The better the design and components of your theater, the more likely it will increase the value of your home.

New York Times

Professional home remodelers will help you plan the type, number, and location of the speakers for optimal sound. They can also hide wires and cables for a smooth, polished look to your room.


You know how theaters and recording studios have foam or fabric panels on the walls? They’re called acoustic panels, and they deaden echoes and control the way sound moves around the room. They are just as important (or more!) as high-quality speakers.

Whether you’re going for gold with a state-of-the-art home theater, or installing a simple wet bar, Touchstone is here to handle your project from conception to completion.

Are you ready to get started with a home remodeling project?

Don’t defer your dreams! Contact us so we can get started planning your beautiful renovation.