The Definition of Remodeling: Holmes vs. Webster

Webster’s Dictionary defines remodel very simply as “to alter the structure of”. Having spent a considerable number of years in the remodeling or home improvement industry I am astounded that the definition is that brief and simplistic. Remodeling is a much more complex endeavor. I felt a little better when

I looked up improvement as the terms home improvement and remodeling are used interchangeably. Improvement was defined as “1: the act or process of improving, 2a: the state of being improved; esp: enhance value or excellence.”

This got me to thinking how I would define remodeling. I have the luxury of defining only one word so I didn’t feel the need to be as brief as Webster. Remodeling is both an art and a science. Remodeling restores and renovates, it brings back the beauty of a gentler more gracious era. Less romantically phrased, remodeling also converts some pretty poor designs, updates some ugly outdated color schemes, maintains and repairs structures, and makes living space more functional and attractive.

The growing home improvement industry encompasses projects as basic and inexpensive as replacing a door knob while also including projects such as addition which can be larger than the original house. This has grown into a pretty big industry. Back in the 1990’s remodeling surpassed the new home building industry in terms of dollars. However, with the current slowdown in the economy both new home building and remodeling will be affected. While the remodeling industry faces leaner times, it will not be stopped, simply because it is such a broad based business.

Remodeling is much more than major alterations, it also includes the all important home maintenance category. You might decide not to do that full kitchen remodel this year, but if your roof is leaking you will need to have it repaired or replaced. If you absolutely cannot stand your entry way any longer, you may not do a major remodel and reconfigure the layout, but you might still invest in new floor tile and a fresh coat of paint. Very few homeowners can walk through their homes and not come up with a project or two that they would love to have done. Take it from someone in the industry, who can do these projects himself, and who just spent the past week obsessing over needing to get a few closets organized. I decided to write this article and I’ll get to those closets later this week.

Bringing order to my closets won’t alter the structure of my home, but it will make the space more functional. That meets one of my definitions of remodeling. Sorry Webster.