Archive | September 2016

4 Reasons to Conduct a House Inspection Before Building Additions

When planning home additions, it is important to conduct a home inspection before the project starts. Here are four reasons why.

To ensure that an addition would follow local building standards

Homeowners sometimes think that they can build anything anywhere within their property lines. The reality is building and zoning standards dictate that structures in a lot should only rise or extend within a certain area, effectively putting a cap on the size of the addition.

Certified inspectors can confirm whether homeowners indeed have space to build extensions and if their planned addition and their current residence are up to code.

To identify and resolve potential structural problems

Typically, additions entail “building out” from the house – that is, building a new area out from an existing wall. Other additions entail “building up”, or constructing a new room on top of an existing one.

Are the walls, ceilings, and foundation strong enough to bolster an addition built “up”? Would breaking down one wall to accommodate an addition weaken the rest of the walls? Can the overall home structure support an addition? Questions like these are answered through an inspection.

To ensure HVAC and electrical systems are up to date

Some homeowners envision additions to be media, entertainment, or music rooms. Whenever a project entails increasing a household’s power use, an inspection of electricals is necessary to ensure safety on the property.

An inspection of the HVAC system will also be important, especially if the new room would be linked to it.

To identify materials and fixtures needed for the addition

Inspecting a home allows for an inventory of the materials and fixtures used to build it. Knowing these would enable homeowners to determine which compatible materials they need for their new project.

Note that compatibility goes beyond appearance. If one type of wood was used for the original, that might mean that wood was best suited for the local climate – and would be the reasonable option for any additions.


Home Inspection Checklist. Home Inspector’s Directory.

Building Regulations for Home Additions. Better Homes and Gardens.


Three Space Design Tips to Get an Ideal Amount of Light into Sunrooms

Obtaining the most value from a sunroom hinges on the amount of light and warmth that the room gets. Achieving the right mix of brightness and temperature depends on a variety of factors, encompassing a property’s general location and climate, construction materials, and additional features like window treatments.

All these factors depend on one primary consideration: a sunroom’s positioning. Here are three basic design rules homeowners can follow to build the ideal sunroom.

South or 30: The magic angles

Industry experts agree that the best sunrooms face directly south. This allows sunrooms to make the most out of passive solar heat as the sun crosses from east to west. Passive solar heat is the energy that warms or cools a building. South-facing sunrooms particularly maximize it when the sun appears at a low angle during winter.

If south-facing construction isn’t an option, building sunrooms slanted 30 degrees southeast or southwest is the next best step. Positioning the room this way still lets rooms take advantage of the sun’s trajectory, while enabling it to avoid direct and overexposure to the sun in mornings and afternoons.

A minimum for a maximum

It’s also recommended that sunrooms get at least four hours of direct exposure to sunlight every day. This might be best done during the mid-mornings or mid-to-late afternoons, when the sun is typically milder. These time frames can also ease the chill left over from the early mornings, or invite enough heat to keep well-insulated sunrooms warm into the evening.

East beats west

Whichever way a sunroom finally faces, its windows are better off installed on the east walls. Windows that open to the east allow homeowners to avoid much of the harsher rays that come at noon and the afternoon, as west-facing windows would. This design is also particularly useful in avoiding too much heat during summer.



 Sunrooms and Sunspaces.

Let the Sun Shine In! Home Designer Software.

Kitchen Remodelers Make Dark Colors Work in a Contemporary Kitchen

Many find it difficult to make designs with dark colors work for their kitchens. With help from a talented kitchen remodeler, using deep, rich hues such as medium brown to black can be easy and can create an incredible, stunning effect. Some think that dark colors are difficult to work with, but when used creatively, they can give your kitchen character and show its glamorous features. To make it easier to use dark hues in the kitchen, remodelers use the following design principles.

Avoiding Cold Colors to Create a Cozy Space

Dark colors such as navy or gray are often associated with giving your kitchen a cold feeling. It’s best to stay away from these “cold” colors and use warmer darks instead, such as purple. Dark colors with a hint of red give off a warmer feel compared to dark colors that veer more toward blue. For purple to effectively give your kitchen a sense of warmth, you can combine it with a wooden sideboard or a copper backsplash.

Combining Bold and Dark Colors for a Fresh Feel

Splashes of bright colors in a kitchen design that utilizes dark colors can give off a fresh and breezy feel. A large, bold print, some bar stools in vibrant hues, and colorful accessories are just some of the ways designers successfully combine dark and bold colors. One great way of using bold and dark colors together is adding dark, elegant cabinets into an almost all-white kitchen. The trick to making this combination work is to have ample natural and artificial lighting.

Creating Balance Using Contrasting Hues

To avoid making the space look and feel heavy as you use dark colors, your remodeler can use contrasting hues. When you have a single wall and a floor that are in a rich, dark color, the most ideal way to balance the design is to have the ceiling and the other walls in white. If you decide on dark cabinets, you can balance the design by having lightened countertop, flooring, and wall color and a light backsplash.

Using Dark Colors, Warm Metals, and Luxury Finishes

Your kitchen can have a sophisticated look by using warm metals and luxury finishes such as parquet flooring and marble. When you have dark cabinets, a dark base for the island, and dark seats, warm metals for the backsplashes, and copper or brass fittings can make your kitchen look glamorous.


10 Ways to Go Dark in a Contemporary Kitchen,

Bathroom Remodeler Lists 4 Things You Need in an Asian-Style Bathroom

When a bathroom is described as “Asian-style,” the words Zen, serene, and tranquil come to mind. Although the Far Eastern aesthetic has become a fusion of styles over the years, there are some key elements that you would only see in this design. These are the unique touches and decor that help create that balanced, soothing quality that Asian-style bathrooms are known for:

A Calming Color Palette

Serene tones like ivory white, warm neutrals, and breezy blues or greens are always seen in these sanctuary-like spaces, exuding a welcoming feel. These attractive hues are complemented with a minimalist approach to decorations for an uncluttered, visually pleasing look. Furnishings with clean lines and solid colors, such as plain vanities, tiled floors, or boxed shelves for storage, with a few accents like moody pendant lights are ordinarily used. Colors like black and dark brown can also be used to add drama and harmonize with dominantly white porcelain fixtures and floors.

Nature-Themed Wallpapers

One simple way that a professional bathroom remodeler can add visual interest to Asian-themed bathrooms is by designing with interesting wallpapers. The patterns vary from tropical leaves, oriental flowers like cherry blossoms or orchids, and bamboo shoots to elaborate Japanese characters and koi, which represent love, friendship, and wealth, among other things. The prints can either be in subtle pastel hues or striking metallic shades to give the walls some flair.

A Large Mirror

No matter how big or small the bathroom is, a large mirror is a must for Asian-style baths. It can be positioned where it reflects the patterns on your wall or shower screens. Round mirrors with intricate frames make a great statement piece—and it’s also worth mentioning that circles are commonly seen in Japanese interiors, since the shape represents enlightenment and elegance. Alternatively, if you’ve settled on a plain, broad mirror, you can install other elements like a customized shower screen, which you can digitally print with an East Asian motif.


20 Ways to Design an Asian-Style Bathroom, Houzz, January 14, 2015

9 Elements of Asian Style, Houzz, March 27, 2011