Comfort

Is Your Living Room/Family Room Your “Happy Place”?

In 2014, Houzz surveyed more than 6,000 homeowners and found that 87 percent of them said that home design directly impacts their happiness, and that 74 percent of those who took on a remodeling project are happier at home than they were before.

And which room has the highest “happiness quotient”? The living room/family room scored highest (42 percent). How is the happiness level in your living room/family room?

Keys to Creating an Inviting Family Room

Family rooms are all about
comfort, fun, and being together as a family. So, what are the key elements to creating an inviting and attractive family room? Here are three essentials to consider.

         1. Size Makes a Difference: Your family room doesn’t have to be enormous, but if it’s too cramped, it won’t feel comfortable. Can you borrow space from other areas to give yourself more room to relax? Even visual space is important. So if you can eliminate a wall somewhere (i.e. between your living/family room and your kitchen) you can create the appearance of more space and it will feel less crowded.

          2. Design it to Fit Your Lifestyle: If your family enjoys playing board games together, make sure the space you create allows that to happen. If you host book groups, or enjoy family discussions make sure you have an area that allows for conversation areas. If you enjoy movies or TV or gaming (but don’t want the TV to dominate the room), talk to us about ways to “hide” the TV when it’s not in use – without impacting your viewing pleasure when you want to watch.

          3. Plan Your Lighting: It’s easy to overlook lighting—even though it plays a significant role in setting the tone for your room. Work with us to build in both functional lighting (for reading or playing games) and ambient lighting to set a mood.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime with your remodeling project questions – we’re here to help!

Is it time?

One Big Reason You May Want to Remodel Your Bathroom

Why bother remodeling your bathroom? Well, consider how much time you actually spend there.

  • Over a lifetime, women spend 14,000 hours (that’s one and a half years!) in the bathroom brushing, washing, blow-drying, straightening, and curling their hair.
  • Reader’s Digest survey showed that men spend 3000 hours (about four months of their lives) shaving.

Since you’re going to spend time there why not make it a place you enjoy?

3 Reasons a Walk-In Shower May Make Sense

 

If it’s time to remodel your master bathroom you may want to consider installing a walk-in shower instead of a conventional shower with a base. Here are three reasons that may make sense:

1. You Can Save Space
If you’re remodeling a somewhat smaller bathroom you may not have the option of extending the size of the room. A walk-in shower can save space. If you install a walk-in shower with a “wet-room-style” floor you have more flexibility because you’re not constrained by the size of the base. Plus, a walk-in shower can create the visual impression of more space. That can make the room feel bigger and brighter.

2. Ease of Use Now and Down the Road
Walk-ins are easy to use. There’s no lip to step over – or trip on. That’s a big plus for those who plan to age gracefully in their own home.

3. Easy Maintenance
It’s easy to keep a walk-in shower sparkling clean. You won’t have to scrub soap scum off of door handles or hinges. And since most glass panels come with easy-to-clean tempered glass, they’re easy to spray down. The tiled shower floor can be cleaned the same way you clean the rest of your bathroom floor.

4. BONUS BENEFIT: Step in showers just look great and add a sense of flair!

4-Ways to Add More Light to Your Bathroom

Getting enough natural light into your bathroom can be a challenge. Here are four ways you can solve that problem:

1. Install a larger window with frosted/pebbled glass
2. Put in a wide, but short window high on the wall to let in light but preserve privacy
3. Use glass blocks to allow natural light in and keep things private
4. Add a skylight (either full or cylinder) to let in lots of light from above

Reach out anytime! We’re here to help you with your remodeling needs. Hope you’re having a great week!

Make sense for you?

Why Universal Design May Make Sense for You

It might be tempting to dismiss Universal Design as just another fad. The fact is that it’s a trend that’s grown out of homeowners’ changing needs. Here are three things that drive this design movement.

1. Adult Children Staying Home LongerRather than getting saddled with debt while they are establishing their careers, more adult children are temporarily moving back home, but need some privacy and autonomy.

2. Aging Parents Moving In: Many older citizens are choosing to stay with their kids rather than move to retirement homes. That means homes need to accommodate their special needs.

3. More Homeowners Want to Remain in Their Homes: A lot of homeowners are planning for their own futures and want homes they’ll be comfortable in for years to come.

Universal Design isn’t just about installing ramps or guardrails. It’s about making design changes that look good in your home while also accommodate changing needs. As an example, a walk-in shower not only looks great, but it also makes showering safer and more convenient because there is no need to step over a barrier to enter or exit.

In a similar way, kitchens can be modified to eliminate the need for stooping or reaching high shelves—without compromising appealing design features.

It doesn’t happen without some planning, however. That’s why it’s good to sit down with us and think through what your needs may be down the road so that you can come up with a plan that works for all of your family members.

Reach out anytime! We’re here to help.

It’s both

5 Reasons Homeowners Remodel

If you’re considering remodeling your home, you may be wondering if you’re doing it for the “right” reason. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) did some research into that topic. Here is what they found in a recent Remodeling Market Index report in which remodelers across the country rated the reasons their customers said they wanted to remodel. Here are the top five reasons given:

1.      Desire for better/newer amenities
2.      Need to repair/replace old components
3.      Desire/need for more space
4.      Want to avoid moving/buying another home
5.      Desire to be able to age in place

If any of those reasons match your thoughts about remodeling – you’re in good company!

Form or Function?

The concept of “form follows function” in design was coined by architect Louis Sullivan and popularized by the great Frank Lloyd Wright. When it comes to remodeling your home, the basic thrust of the thinking is that no matter how good a design looks, it needs to function in a way that provides comfort and convenience.

What does that mean for you if you’re planning to remodel your kitchen? Does it mean that it doesn’t matter how your kitchen looks? Not at all! But it is a guideline for planning. Instead of starting the remodeling process with ideas about which countertops, flooring, cabinets, or appliances you want, begin by thinking about how you use your kitchen. Do you cook a lot? Is it a place you entertain? How much space do you need for those activities comfortably? What’s the best configuration? What frustrates you about your current kitchen layout?

Then sit down with us and tell us about those things. We may have ideas you haven’t thought about for getting the most out of the space you have available. Once we get the layout or design mapped out, you’ll still have plenty of time to think about the finishes that will make your kitchen look great. And by the way, the same principles hold true for other rooms in your home.

It’s really not a matter of form or function—it’s both. What you want is great functionality that also looks beautiful.

Keeping It Clean with Nate’s Custom Renovations

Nate’s Custom Renovations uses BuildClean dust control systems to keep your living space clean and livable. The BuildClean contains and eliminates up to 90% of airborne dust—to keep things comfortable for you and your family.

During your remodeling project, dust can get everywhere- on the floor, furniture, glassware, dishes, even your toothbrush. But dust is more than an inconvenience—it poses a serious threat to your family’s health, your pets and your belongings.

That’s where BuildClean comes in:

  • Keeps dust from settling where it shouldn’t—and from lingering in your home long after the work is complete
  • Provides healthier conditions for family and pets
  • Safeguards against particles and irritants like crystalline silica and lead
  • Protects sensitive electronics like computers and TVs

Nate’s Custom Renovations follows BuildClean best practices on how to contain and control dust during an interior remodeling project.

  • What to Expect – Dust is constant during a remodeling project. We will take action to control dust, however there will be some dust.
  • Isolate the Work Area – Close doors, create temporary walls, designate a main entryway to the work area, use poly sheeting to isolate the work area and minimize the migration of remodeling nuisance dust.
  • Seal Vents and the Heating/Cooling System – Ductwork for furnaces or central air systems are main pathways for remodeling nuisance dust. No matter if the heating or cooling system is running or not, registers and air returns in the work area have to be closed and sealed. This action will keep the ductwork, furnace and cooling system free from dust and will help to minimize the spread of dust. During and after construction, heating/cooling system air filters should be changed.
  • Remove or Cover Property – When possible remove all property out of the workspace; if not possible cover the property with drop cloths or poly sheeting.
  • Protect Walls and Flooring – Use runners, fiber board, rosin paper or other surface protection materials to protect walls and floors from dust or damage.
  • Control Building Airflow – Practice a closed door and window policy to contain dust to the work area. Work to establish a negative air pressure environment, maintain good ventilation, circulate clean outdoor air in during and right after the work is completed.
  • Capture Airborne Dust – Incorporate the use of HEPA air scrubbers or negative air machines during the construction process. When using an air scrubber, replace the pre-filter often to protect and extend the life of the HEPA filter.
  • Vacuum Don’t Sweep – Sweeping construction debris lifts dust into the air; vacuum this material. Vacuums should use either a HEPA or fine particulate filter. If sweeping, use a dust control sweeping compound.
  • Collect Dust at the Point of Generation – We do our best to control and collect dust at the source of generation with vacuum equipped tools and mistting before or during cutting.
  • Cut Material Outside – We try our best to cut wood, drywall, plastic, metal and all other materials that we may use in your remodeling project outside.
  • Clean As We Go – Clean up major messes as they are created. Cleaning doesn’t allow dust to migrate through the air to areas away from the work site and to be tracked through the home on the soles shoes.

These are efforts we make to keep dust to an absolute minimum while working on a project in your home. BuildClean is one of the tools we use to help us keep our 9 Point Promise to you and our family. Nate’s Custom Renovations is dedicated to providing you with the best remodeling experience.

How long?

Talk About a Long Construction Project!

The Cologne Cathedral in Germany is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. The towers for the church’s two huge spires give the cathedral the largest facade of any church in the world.

The construction of the cathedral began in 1248 – 244 years before Columbus discovered America – and it took 632 years to complete! Interestingly, relatively few people have ever seen the cathedral without scaffolding, because by the time it was complete, repairs were required on what had been constructed.

How Long Will Your Home Remodel Project Take?

One of the questions we hear frequently is, “How long will this take?” It’s a fair enough question, but the answer, of course, will depend on the scope and complexity of your specific remodeling project. That’s something we can work out and discuss before your project begins.

We’ve all heard horror stories about remodeling projects that drag on and on. Sometimes slight delays can happen when unforeseen difficulties pop up or severe weather delays construction or causes materials to be late. There are some things, however, that you can do as a homeowner to ensure that things stay on schedule.

Timely Selection of Finishes: Once you’ve decided on the plan for your remodeling project, make sure that you make your decisions on all of the finishes for the project. For instance, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, make sure you have the cabinets (including the color and the hardware) picked out. The same goes for the material you’re using for your backsplash, fixtures, and for your flooring. It’s key that we have all of the selections made before we start the project to stay on schedule.

Avoiding Unnecessary Changes: Small changes are simply part of the remodeling process. What you want to avoid, however, are changes that have an impact on the completion of your project. “Can you move that wall just 3 inches?” may not seem like a huge request (after all, it’s “just” 3 inches). But if a wall has already been built, what you’re asking for can significantly delay the process. It’s not wrong. It may ultimately be the right decision, but it will affect your schedule and your budget.

Being Available for Consultation: Sometimes we will run into an unforeseen situation that means we can’t proceed as planned. That means that we will have to talk about what needs to change. Being available to us – and being able to make a timely decision can mean we’ll still finish on schedule.

3 Ways to Get the Most Out of St. Patrick’s Day

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Here are three ways to make the most of your celebration:

1. Wear green and listen to Irish music (singing optional).
2. Go to an Irish pub and drink a green beer.
3. Finish taking down your Christmas decorations!

Fall in love with your home again

 

It’s February – the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you need help falling in love with your home again, let’s talk! Reach out anytime – we’re here to help.

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There’s More to a Great Family Room Than Just a Big-Screen TV.

The Family Room remains one of the most popular places to watch TV, movies, or play games. But there’s more to creating a great Family Room than simply installing a wide-screen TV.

If you want to get the most out of your Family Room, you’ll probably want to rethink the basic design of the room so that it accommodates all of your needs—not just TV viewing.

You may want some space for quiet conversation. Or you may want to have a nook for reading. It could be that in your home’s current configuration the Family Room is totally cut off from the kitchen. Perhaps you’d prefer an open, “Great Room” concept where your kitchen, dining area, and Family Room all flow together (and nobody has to get stuck alone in the kitchen).

If you’re having trouble envisioning that kind of a change, that’s where we can help! We’re trained to look at space a little differently. Often we can “see” solutions that may not seem obvious (or even possible) to you. Give us a call and we can help you design and create a Family Room that meets all of your needs – and is still a great place to watch whatever you want on television.

Where Should You Place Your TV?

It’s easy to get preoccupied with the size and features of a new big-screen TV. But once you get it home you have to figure out where it’s going to go! Viewing distance is a big deal if you want to enjoy that new TV.

If you purchase a 65-inch 4K TV, for instance, you’ll want to sit about 6-feet from the screen for the best experience. If you chose a set with 1080p resolution, you’d need to sit about 8 1/2-feet away at the same 65-inch screen size. CNET has a helpful article that will help you choose the right size TV for your Family Room.

3 Things That Can Help

 

Happy New Years to you and yours! We hope you have enjoyed (and are still enjoying!) a wonderful holiday season.

Check out the article below for a New Year’s resolution you might actually enjoy making (and achieving) in 2017!

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Making Real Changes for the New Year
(3 Things That Can Help)

If you really want to make a significant change this year, consider what changes you might make to your home to make it more comfortable and enjoyable. But keep in mind that home remodeling ideas can be a little bit like New Year’s resolutions: They need to be realistic and specific, and you need to be prepared to follow through.

Here are three things to think about to ensure you get the most out of your home remodel this year:

  1. Think About Function: It’s fun and inspiring to look at images of fantastic homes on Houzz.com or BHG.com. You’ll see gorgeous rooms and improvements. But before getting wrapped up in the visuals, think about how you want your home to function. What would make your kitchen more useable? What would help to create a family room that’s more comfortable and inviting? Think about function first and then consider the visual appeal.
  1. Think About Budget: What are you really willing to spend in order to make the improvements you want?  Be realistic about your budget. You don’t want to get in over your head with an outrageous project. But the flip side is equally bad. Trying to do something too cheaply can leave you frustrated because you won’t get the results you want.
  1. Think About Timeline: A good remodeling project isn’t an overnight affair. Allow enough time to plan, shop, and review. And when you talk to us about remodeling – let’s be sure to talk about a realistic schedule for completion. If you’re remodeling for an event (a birthday, anniversary, wedding, etc,) allow yourself (and us) enough time to complete the project and have some time left over for finishing touches and decoration. It can really take the stress out of the process for you.

Does It Make You Happy?

For years Remodeling Magazine has conducted a study on which projects homeowners are happiest with. One of the criteria is the years of pleasure owners enjoy after a project is finished, which they call the “Joy Score”. The top four projects are:

  • Adding a New Bathroom
  • New Fiber-Cement Siding
  • A Complete Kitchen Renovation
  • A Kitchen Upgrade

Reach out anytime! We are here to help.

Thinking Ahead

 

It is easy to get lost in the flurry of activity during the holiday season. May you get time to take in the beauty and true meaning of the season and have a Merry Christmas!

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What’s For Dinner Over the Holidays?

Let’s face it: Cooking and eating are a big part of our holiday celebrations. But what’s for dinner across America? That depends.

Ham, turkey, and roast beef are somewhat traditional favorites, but there are also regional favorites. Oysters, ham pie and biscuits are popular in Virginia (reflecting their English roots).

The Midwest often shows it’s Scandinavian heritage with offerings of lutefisk and mashed rutabaga or turnips. Gulf Coast areas often offer up shrimp and other seafood as appetizers.

In more rural areas (or in areas where hunting is popular) you might find fare such as elk or quail on the table. Family heritage and traditions often influence the culinary choices. What’s for dinner at your house?

Make Your Kitchen A Place You Love to Be

Regardless of what you’re serving for dinner at your house, having a comfortable place to enjoy your meal is an essential. We often have much larger groups over during the holidays. How can you make your home a place family and friends want to be?

Three rooms in particular play an important role for holiday entertaining: Your kitchen, dining area, and family room. Are those three rooms in your home optimized to allow guests to eat and interact comfortably? One way to tackle those three key areas at one fell swoop is to consider a remodeling project that transforms your home with an open design plan.

By eliminating some walls (make sure you have a professional – like us – working on this to ensure you’re not taking out a load-bearing wall) you’ll open the space up dramatically. The space in those three rooms will actually feel bigger (even if you don’t add square footage). Plus, family and friends can easily move from one space to another—and nobody gets stuck alone in the kitchen.

It may be too late to make this kind of change for this holiday season, but it’s the perfect time to start thinking and planning. And with January 1 coming up—you’ll have a New Year’s resolution that you’ll really want to keep!

Tips For Holiday Entertaining in a Smaller Space

What can you do if you’re entertaining in a smaller space and don’t have time to remodel before your guests arrive? Here are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your smaller space.

  • Flexible Table: Consider purchasing a table that can be expanded with leaves. It’s small for everyday use and can be expanded for larger groups.
  • Buffet Style Serving: If you don’t have enough room for a big spread use a buffet or folding table to hold the food and serve it buffet style.
  • Think Vertical: Create centerpieces that are tall and dramatic (but thin) that won’t take up valuable table space. Keep things uncluttered. It accents the space you do have.
  • Decorate For a Small Space: Use plenty of light and reflective surfaces (mirrors and metallic surfaces) to make the space you have feel more expansive.

The Old Saying

 

Unwatched Pots Can Be a Holiday Fire Danger

As we approach the holidays – be careful! Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day account for more home fires than any other days of the year. 83% of those experiencing fires in their homes admitted to activities such as: disabling the smoke alarm, and leaving cooking items unattended to watch TV, talk on the phone, text, or check email.

You may have heard the old saying that a watched pot never boils, but an unwatched pot can be much more dangerous. Be careful as we celebrate with family and friends!

Make Your Kitchen A Place You Love to Be

Maybe the reason so many people leave their kitchens to do other things is that they simply don’t like being in their kitchens. But you don’t have to live with a kitchen you don’t love! How can you turn an uncomfortable kitchen into a place you love to be?

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, there are two main things to think about: Your kitchen’s appearance and its functionality.

Many homeowners tend to think about appearance first. It’s easy to envision new countertops and cabinets and flooring. Those things are important, but what really makes your kitchen a comfortable and enjoyable place to be is if it functions the way you want it to – if it’s convenient to prepare meals and have guests gather there.

It can be tough, however to envision the structural changes you’ll need to get the results you want. That’s when it’s helpful to enlist the help and expertise of a professional remodeler (us!) We’re trained to see, not just what’s already there in your kitchen, but how the space can be better utilized. And we know how to get it done in a way that you’ll be thrilled with the result.

So before you begin selecting countertops and cabinets, talk to us about a plan (a design) to make your kitchen the welcoming place you want it to be!