Design Tips for Pop Up Northern Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Pop up additions provide more room than this trailer pop up!

Whether you live in a rambler, bungalow or split-level house, pop up Northern Virginia additions provide much needed, comfortable living space for small lots. What if you need an additional bedroom or family room, but can’t add out due to property limitations? Many Northern Virginia homeowners face this problem and contractors turn to pop up additions for the ideal solution.

Tip # 1 – Redesign the Entire House

You may be tempted to focus your design skills on the new area, and avoid spending money on your existing main floor. This approach results in choppy design and often leaves homeowners unsatisfied with their home addition investment.

Focus instead on the overall flow and feel of your new, larger floor plan. Think about paint colors, traffic areas, flooring and symmetry. Work hard on the design to create balance between the main floor and the pop up, from the larger scope of design to the smallest details. Although this approach increases the cost of your renovation project, it’s money well spent.

Tip # 2 – Decide Which Rooms to Relocate

A typical rambler or bungalow floor plan includes bedrooms on the main floor with limited space for the kitchen and living space. Many pop up Northern Virginia additions move the bedrooms to the new second floor, providing greater areas for the family room, dining and kitchen spaces. Other designs move only the master bedroom, allowing for a spacious master bedroom with an ensuite bath and walk-in closet.

Your home addition contractor will assess the options and ask about your priorities. Are you looking for a larger master bedroom, more bedrooms in total, an additional bathroom or a more spacious kitchen? The final design depends on which rooms are relocated to the new upper floor, and how much area is freed up on the main floor by those changes.

Tip # 3 – Consider Stairway Location

Building a new staircase from the main floor to the pop up requires a substantial amount of room. Be prepared to use an existing small room, hallway or closet space for the stairway, and remember that this vital aspect will also eat up some of the new area upstairs.

If your home currently includes a set of stairs to the basement, this area may be the best location. But renovations on the first floor may require those stairs to move, allowing for a completely new set up for both sets of stairs.

Think about traffic flow. Many two-storey home designs place stairs near the front entrance, but this may not be the optimum location for your family. An addition also allows homeowners to include a second staircase to the second floor, providing direct access from a rear entrance or kitchen. Use your imagination and plan to build the staircase in a prime location that suits your family’s lifestyle.

Tip # 4 – Remember the Exterior Finish

Exterior finishes on your new pop up home addition should either match or complement the existing finish. Siding presents the most economical option for exterior; be sure to choose a color and profile that matches your home’s styling and any existing stonework.

Some homeowners take this opportunity to replace the existing finish, allowing for a more uniform appearance. Upgrade to low maintenance siding and replace all existing trim to match. This work adds to the overall budget, but results in a new home from the inside out.

Pop up Northern Virginia additions provide much needed living space and allow for modern upgrades to suit your family. Consider all of these design tips and speak to your contractor about the best floor plan for your property.

Design and Installation Tips for Virginia Basement Fireplaces

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Smart homeowners know that adding Virginia basement fireplaces to their below-grade living space increases property value and boosts comfort. Choosing the ideal fireplace and planning for proper installation are essential steps. Find out the right way to include a fireplace in your basement renovation plans.

The Best Type of Fireplace for the Basement

Although a traditional wood burning hearth creates an undeniable amount of comfort and romance, it isn’t the ideal choice for a basement fireplace. Pre-fabricated fireplaces operate cleanly and require much less space in terms of chimneys and ventilation. Many Virginia homeowners are updating their existing wood burning fireplaces upstairs and down, opting instead for an efficient, safe pre-fabricated model.

Direct vent natural gas fireplaces are the ideal choice for most homes. Not only do these fireplaces install with minimal hassle and expense, but they also create fewer emissions and require very little maintenance. Natural gas costs the same or less than other fuel options, such as wood pellets.

Stay away from vent-free models, as this type of fireplace may release harmful emissions into your home. Direct vent models require only a small amount of interior space for the pipes and present a non-intrusive vent cover outside.

Location, Location, Location

Consider the best location for your Virginia basement fireplace. A well built natural gas fireplace can effectively heat your entire basement, and since heat rises, this appliance also provides warmth to the rooms above. Look for a location that maximizes this situation.

A central spot in the main downstairs living area makes sense. Think about air flow and traffic; you want the heat to spread evenly throughout your living space. Fireplace fans and ceiling fans may also help to avoid pockets of heat in your finished basement, as well as moving the warm air upstairs.

Remember to think about visual impact when considering the location. Fireplaces make wonderful focal points when placed in the right spot, so be careful to avoid tucking your new fireplace into a far-off corner. Two-sided fireplaces allow for double the impact and corner units make good use of a potentially awkward area.

What About Mantles and Built Ins?

Mantles contribute to the overall look of your basement fireplace. Are you hoping for an old world feel? Use fieldstone veneer or slate tiles to mimic a hearth. Want something more contemporary and slick? Consider tempered glass shelving or mount a floating mantle above the fireplace for that clean appearance. Use recycled barn beams to create a rustic look or painted wood mantles for romantic appeal.

Imagination is important, and the web provides countless images of beautiful fireplace mantels that can be easily adapted for use in your finished basement.

Built ins provide storage and also help to finish off this space with style. Talk to your basement renovation contractor about incorporating built in shelving or cabinets around your new fireplace. Many people mount their flatscreen TV over the fireplace as well, with custom made storage units providing plenty of room for audio equipment.

Complete your Virginia basement renovation with the ideal fireplace in the smartest location and finished with a beautiful mantle and built in storage. This addition creates a timeless focal point that warms up the living space.

Top Three Virginia Deck Design Tips for Small Yards

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Many suburban homes come with limited yard space, but this doesn’t mean homeowners need to forget about their dreams of enjoying a beautiful Virginia deck. With some creativity and these deck design tips, even the smallest yard can be transformed into functional outdoor living space for the whole family.

Tip # 1 – Avoid Stairs Where Possible

Stairs require a significant amount of space. Look over your yard with a sharp eye and consider how you can build a deck without stairs for access. Measure the distance from the ground to your back door sill. Anything less than 24” allows for a basic platform deck just one step down from the door. Simply build up a garden around the deck and you can walk off onto the grass comfortably and safely. If your back door sill sits higher than 24” off the ground, consider limiting the access from your deck to the yard.

Where stairs become necessary, design to maximize space. Run long staircases beside the deck or along the front, butting against the deck. Avoid using landings, as these take up more space than a long run of stairs.

Tip # 2 – Choose Glass Railing or Skip the Railing

Certain types of railing block the view from your deck and can make the area feel cramped and closed in. Tempered glass railing works well to optimize the view and allow natural light to permeate this space. Ask your Virginia deck builder about the different options available using tempered glass panels, including wood frames, aluminum and vinyl framework.

Skip the railing altogether on ground level decks and use landscaping to draw the eye out into your limited yard. Tall posts and decorative beams provide overhead interest and places to hang flower baskets or outdoor décor, but skipping the railing where possible makes for a striking deck design.

Tip # 3 – Make the Most of Simple Patterns

Although busy patterns and multiple colors can look fantastic on larger decks, small deck areas look best with simple design. Consider using a monochromatic scheme on the deck surface. Enlarge the look of your yard by working in the same color tones—choose a natural wood stain or composite decking color to help blend the deck into your yard. If you need to add color, choose areas at or above eye level, such as hanging wall art, mounting flower baskets or installing decorative deck lights.

Avoid installing deck boards in a herringbone pattern or using borders. Instead, opt for simple patterns. Run the deck boards parallel to your house for a traditional look or install deck boards perpendicular to the house to provide visual stretch.

Use deck lighting sparingly or hide the deck lights to avoid breaking up your deck surface. A continuous visual, kept neat and tidy where possible, makes a small deck appear much larger and allows you to optimize your small yard.

Your Virginia deck builder has plenty of experience in dealing with properties of all sizes. Ask them to help you create the ideal deck design for your small yard, utilizing the tips above to realize that outdoor living you’ve always dreamed of.

Top Five Problems With DIY Virginia Bathroom Renovations

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Many homeowners aim to achieve the best looking Virginia bathroom renovation at the lowest price, and just as many assume that DIY bathroom renos are the best way to go. While the DIY route makes sense in some areas of home improvement, you may quickly encounter expensive and complicated problems when opting for a DIY bathroom project.

Find out the top five problems and consider how to deal with them.

# 1 – Not Investing in a Licensed Plumber

As with any specialty or skilled trade, plumbing work requires the knowledge and experience of a licensed professional. Although you may be able to change out a faucet or install a showerhead, the extensive plumbing work required in a bathroom renovation goes well beyond the average person’s skill set. And hiring a licensed plumber also provides greater peace of mind in terms of warranty and durability.

# 2 – Missing Valuable Elements of Bathroom Design

You know what you want the bathroom remodel to look like and you understand the basics of bathroom design, but most homeowners miss at least one important bathroom element when tackling this room with DIY enthusiasm. Consider safety elements like floor drains or septic pumps in basement bathrooms. Remember to include adequately sized exhaust fans and a diverter valve.

# 3 – Skipping Underlayment on the Floor

Whether your Virginia bathroom renovation is located on the main floor, second floor, loft or basement, installing waterproof underlayment makes sense. Protect the structure of your home, including subfloor and floor joists, from expensive moisture damage. You may hesitate at the added investment, especially if you’re planning to install ceramic tiles, but this wise bathroom addition provides an unmatched level of assurance and years of reliability.

# 4 – Extending the Project Length Far Beyond the Norm

Renovating the bathroom upsets your daily life and can cause major inconveniences. DIY projects tend to require a longer period of upheaval before the finished product comes through. Some families never see the room completely finished. Not only do contractors finish the project in a shorter period of time, but they generally attend to service issues within a reasonable timeframe.

# 5 – Extending Tile Too Far

Tiles work in the bathroom and are fairly easy to install, making them a popular option with DIY fans. But extended tiled areas create bigger problems than many people anticipate. Installing shower tiles up to the ceiling often exposes uneven ceiling lines and requires a wet tile saw and a sharp eye. Bringing floor tiles up the wall creates difficult seams and corners, and some DIY renovators use inexpensive caulking in an effort to finish the job. Instead, design your bathroom to include limited areas of tile and be sure to plan out the project very well to avoid awkward installations.

Saving money on your Virginia bathroom renovation is possible by hiring an experienced contractor. DIY may be the ideal route for you, but remember to consider these common problems and work hard to create a comfortable, attractive living space.