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A Comprehensive Guide to upgrading your new home from builder grade to fully custom



beautiful white kitchen remodel by Girka Design Build

Congratulations on your new Venice, Florida home! While builder-grade finishes are a cost-effective and standard option, they might not fully reflect your personal style or provide the level of quality and customization you desire. The good news is that there are numerous ways to upgrade these finishes, turning your new house into a personalized and stylish home. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various strategies and ideas for upgrading builder-grade finishes, from the floors to the ceilings, to help you achieve the home of your dreams.


1. Flooring Upgrades

Builder-grade homes often come with basic flooring options that may not align with your aesthetic preferences or lifestyle. Consider these flooring upgrades to add character and durability to your space:


custom flooring by Girka Design Build

Engineered Wood: If budget constraints or environmental considerations are a concern, engineered wood offers a cost-effective alternative that still provides the appearance of hardwood.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tile: Upgrade your kitchen and bathroom floors with porcelain or ceramic tiles. These options are not only durable but also offer a wide range of styles and designs.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP): The number one flooring upgrade option for Venice homes is definitely LVP.

For a budget-friendly option that mimics the look of hardwood, LVP is a durable and water-resistant choice, making it ideal for high-traffic areas and moisture-prone spaces.


2. Custom Cabinetry in the Kitchen

Builder-grade kitchens often feature standard cabinets that lack personality and functionality. Upgrade your kitchen with custom cabinetry to enhance both style and storage:

Custom Wood Cabinets: Choose high-quality wood cabinets that can be customized in terms of color, style, and configuration. This allows you to tailor the design to suit your taste and specific storage needs. Expanding the footprint of the builder installed island is always a fantastic cost-efficient upgrade for your new Venice, Florida home.

Open Shelving: Consider replacing some upper cabinets with open shelving for a modern and airy feel. This not only adds a decorative element but also provides easy access to frequently used items.

Upgraded Hardware: Even if you are not replacing the cabinets themselves, upgrading the hardware can make a significant difference. Choose stylish handles, knobs, and pulls that complement your kitchens aesthetic.

Built-In Appliances: For a seamless and high-end look, consider built-in appliances such as a wall oven or a built-in refrigerator. This not only enhances the overall appearance but also maximizes space efficiency.




custom backsplash

3. Stylish Backsplash in the Kitchen and Bathroom

Builder-grade homes often feature basic and standard backsplash options, or maybe none at all. Upgrade this focal point in your kitchen and bathrooms to add personality and visual interest. We always encourage our clients to splurge a little with your backsplash selection:

Subway Tile: While subway tile is a classic choice, consider unique patterns or colors to make it your own. Herringbone or chevron patterns can add a modern twist.

Patterned or Textured Tiles: Experiment with patterned or textured tiles to create a bold statement. Moroccan or geometric patterns can add a touch of personality to your space. Take the opportunity to bring that local Venice, Florida beach vibe inside your home.

Natural Stone: Opt for natural stone, such as marble or granite, for a luxurious and timeless look. Natural stone adds a sense of sophistication to any kitchen or bathroom.


4. Bathroom Vanity and Fixtures

Upgrade your builder-grade bathroom by focusing on the vanity and fixtures, turning it into a spa-like retreat:

Semi-Custom Vanity: Invest in a custom-designed vanity to match your bathroom's style and your storage needs. This allows you to choose the material, finish, and configuration that best suits your taste. Floating vanities can be a stylish upgrade to that builder grade bathroom.

Upgraded Faucets and Hardware: Swap out basic faucets and hardware for more stylish and high-quality options. Matte black, brushed nickel, or brass finishes can add a touch of luxury.

Freestanding Tub: If space allows, consider upgrading your bathtub to a freestanding tub. This not only adds elegance but also creates a focal point in your bathroom.

Frameless Shower Enclosure: Upgrade your shower with a frameless glass enclosure for a modern and open feel. This not only enhances the aesthetics but also makes the space appear larger.



Beautiful shower and tub by Girka Design Build

Tub to Shower Conversion: Without a doubt one of the biggest bangs for your buck is swapping out that builder grade tub and shower curtain with a stand-up shower. This is certainly a larger investment but one that will set your new Venice home apart from your neighbors.


5. Lighting Fixtures Throughout the Home

Builder-grade lighting fixtures are often generic and lack the visual impact that customized fixtures can provide. Upgrade your lighting to transform the ambiance of your home:

Statement Chandeliers: Install statement chandeliers in key areas, such as the entryway or dining room, to add drama and a focal point to the space.

Pendant Lights: Swap out standard pendant lights in the kitchen for more unique and eye-catching designs. This can instantly elevate the style of your kitchen.

Recessed Lighting: Upgrade to recessed lighting for a modern and clean look. This type of lighting provides a bright and even illumination throughout the room.

Smart Lighting Systems: Consider integrating smart lighting systems that allow you to control the ambiance and brightness of your lights with a smartphone or voice commands. If you are part time to your new Venice, Florida home, being able to control your lighting remotely is a excellent way to provide a sense of security when you are away.


6. Crown Molding and Trim

Upgrade the architectural details of your home by focusing on crown molding and trim:

Crown Molding: Add crown molding to the ceilings for an elegant and finished look. Crown molding can instantly elevate the visual appeal of a room and create a cohesive design.

Baseboards and Window Trim: Upgrade standard baseboards and window trim for more substantial and decorative options. This simple change can make a significant difference in the overall aesthetics of your space.

Wainscoting or Beadboard: Consider adding wainscoting or beadboard to walls for a classic and sophisticated touch. This works particularly well in dining rooms, entryways, or bathrooms.

Custom Built-Ins: Incorporate custom-built shelving and cabinetry with decorative trim details. This not only enhances the functionality of your space but also adds a personalized touch.

Feature Walls: Adding decorative trim to your new Venice, Florida home to create a feature wall is a truly custome way to make your new home your own. This would also be a perfect spot for a new fireplace.


beautiful feature wall with fireplace

7. Upgraded Interior Doors

Builder-grade homes typically come with standard interior doors that may not contribute to the overall design. Consider upgrading your interior doors for a more cohesive and stylish look:

Panel Doors: Choose doors with raised panels for a classic and timeless look. This style works well in various home designs, from traditional to transitional.

Barn Doors: Introduce barn doors for a trendy and space-saving alternative. Barn doors can add a rustic or modern touch, depending on the design and finish.

French Doors: Upgrade to French doors for a sophisticated and light-filled transition between rooms. This option works well for spaces like home offices, dens, or formal dining rooms.

Custom Paint or Stain: Even if you don't replace the doors, consider painting or staining them in a custom color to match your overall design scheme.


8. Window Treatments

Upgrading your window treatments can add both style and functionality to your space:

Custom Drapery: Invest in custom drapery that complements your interior design style. This allows you to choose fabrics, patterns, and lengths that perfectly suit your taste.

Roman Shades or Blinds: Consider Roman shades or blinds for a clean and tailored look. These options provide privacy and light control while adding a touch of sophistication.

Layered Window Treatments: Combine different window treatments, such as sheer curtains with blackout blinds, for a layered and versatile approach. This allows you to control both light and privacy levels.

Motorized Window Treatments: For added convenience, consider motorized window treatments that can be controlled with a remote or a smart home system. This is such a great system to consider to control the light and heat coming into your home on those hot Venice, Florida summer days.


9. Exterior Upgrades

Don't forget to enhance the curb appeal of your home with these exterior upgrades:

Upgraded Front Door: Upgrade your front door to a solid wood or custom-designed option. The front door is a focal point and sets the tone for the entire home.

Landscaping: Invest in professional landscaping to enhance the overall appearance of your exterior. Well-maintained lawns, flower beds, and trees can significantly improve curb appeal. For Venice, Florida it is important to select drought tolerant plants that can withstand the hot summer days.

Outdoor Lighting: Upgrade exterior lighting fixtures for a warm and welcoming entry. Consider adding pathway lights or accent lighting to highlight architectural features.



outdoor kitchen with pool

Outdoor kitchens: There is nothing better than enjoying that outdoor lanai and grilling your family some burgers after a swim. Outdoor kitchens can be used year round in Venice, Florida and expand your living space.

Custom Garage Door: If your home has a visible garage, consider upgrading the garage door for a cohesive and stylish exterior. This can be particularly impactful for homes with front-facing garages.


Upgrading builder-grade finishes in your new Venice, Florida home is an exciting and transformative process that allows you to infuse your personal style into every corner. Whether you focus on flooring, cabinetry, lighting, or architectural details, each upgrade contributes to creating a space that feels uniquely yours. Take the time to plan and prioritize based on your preferences and budget, and enjoy the journey of turning your new house into a customized and stylish home. Remember, the joy is in the details, and these upgrades will not only enhance your living experience but also add long-term value to

your investment.

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