How to Cover Every Detail in Your Virginia Bathroom Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Every Virginia bathroom remodeling project involves various aspects. From toilets and sinks, to lighting, flooring and wall treatments, your bathroom design contains countless features to ponder and choose. How will you cover the windows, create storage, heat the room? All of these details need to be considered in your bathroom design, ensuring a comfortable and attractive finished product.

Working From the Ground Up

Start at the bottom of the room and work up when designing. This allows you to capture every detail, in detail. Typical flooring choices include tiling, vinyl or high end engineered hardwood. Consider other types of eco friendly flooring, like cork or natural stone. Be sure the underlayment is waterproof and provides some warmth.

Radiant under-floor heating is gaining popularity in bathroom renovations. Stepping out of the bath or shower onto a heated floor makes life more relaxing, but this upgrade takes careful planning and a decent budget. Be sure you will appreciate this feature before investing in it, and always hire an experienced contractor to handle the installation.

Major Fixtures and Features

Spend some time browsing your local plumbing supply store for ideas and inspiration on fixtures. You would be surprised what manufacturers come up with, and modern designs have changed the look of toilets, sinks and bathtubs. Whether you prefer a traditional look or want a contemporary feel, shop around until you’ve found exactly what will suit your home.

Imagine how those fixtures will look with other major features in the bathroom. Vanities often take center stage, especially in a master ensuite, and storage of any kind should with the style of your new bathroom fixtures. Consider the ideal cabinetry color and texture, as well as door style and hardware. These tiny details give you a chance to dress up the bathroom – think about jeweled handles and draw pulls for a feminine touch or sleek chrome hardware for that modern appeal.

Faucets, Mirrors and Lighting

Faucets and taps provide more opportunities to make a statement. Look online and ask for catalogs at your local plumbing supply store. Most often the most striking taps and faucets are special order and cannot be found on the shelves. Save a few dollars on another area of your Virginia bathroom remodeling project and splurge on a gorgeous bathroom faucet. The range of designs is nearly overwhelming, but with patience and time you’re sure to find the ideal product.

Add sparkle to the walls with wonderfully shaped mirrors in well suited frames. Large mirrors can make a small space expand, while heavily framed mirrors can anchor the design of a large bathroom and draw attention to the finer details you’ve worked hard to include.

Light fixtures also do double duty – providing illumination while adding a special twinkle to the room. Mix and match bright task lighting with muted mood lighting to allow for a flexible atmosphere. Always remember to choose light fixtures that can take moisture (avoid paper shades near the shower or sink) and stick with the theme of your reno for consistency and flow.

Window Treatments and Wall Coverings

The final set of details in your bathroom remodeling involves windows and walls. Install window coverings that allow for privacy without blocking natural light, or put up privacy glass windows and hang drapes or blinds purely for ascetics.

If wallpaper is in the plan be sure to invest in a heavy brand that will withstand condensation. Purchase top quality paint as well, and give the walls plenty of coats to ensure a durable, easy to clean finish. The color scheme depends on your preference, but don’t be afraid to splash in some bold hues or stick with stark white. Bathrooms provide a place to experiment with paint.

Talk to your contractor about covering all of the details in your Virginia bathroom remodeling project. Small things chosen with care come together to make a gorgeous, comfortable and well designed room that will add value to your living space.

Are Bump Outs More Affordable than Traditional Virginia Additions?

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Thoughts of starting a home addition project rise when your living space becomes cramped and crowded. But are traditional Virginia additions the most affordable option? Or would a bump-out be the best choice for your family? Consider the differences between these home improvement projects before deciding which investment to make.


What Is a Bump-Out?

Bump outs are generally constructed on the ground floor. Instead of building an entirely new section of the house, or raising the roof for a second or third floor addition, bump outs simply extend the footprint of your home by a few feet in one direction.

Limited work is done to the existing roof line, and most often bump outs do not require a concrete footing. The existing foundation offers support for the new flooring, thanks to a cantilever design, or smaller concrete piers/pads are poured to provide the adequate support.

Advantages of Planning for a Bump-Out

If the current layout and design of your home works, bump-outs offer an ideal, affordable solution to extend your living space. Because demolition and renovation work are limited in this type of design, the overall cost and time spent on the project are significantly less.

Bump-outs still allow you to add more windows for natural light or redesign your kitchen. Bump one wall of your first floor out by only three or four feet and you’ll gain sixty to eighty square feet, providing plenty of flexibility for your home renovation design.

Limitations of Bump-Outs

Virginia additions often include new plumbing and mechanical fixtures, allowing you to add a bathroom or completely redesign the kitchen. Bump-out designs tend to avoid plumbing and HVAC, concentrating more on simply extending the floor space and adding windows and doors.

Bump-outs won’t work for second story additions either, unless the house design provides the necessary support underneath the area to be “bumped out.” In most cases a contractor will recommend traditional additions on the second story or above the garage. But for smaller main floor addition plans, bump-outs can provide the space and adaptability you’re looking for.

Consider your lot lines when planning to build a bump-out. Your house may be designed to maximize area, and any extensions to the footprint may encroach on lot lines. Your contractor will help with the building permit application, and any lot line discrepancies will be dealt with at that time. But be aware of the allowable building space beforehand to ensure you avoid disappointment and additional costs.

You’re also limited in size when planning a bump-out. Think about how much additional space your family actually needs before deciding which type of home addition to invest in. Bump-outs may be cheaper to build, but if this design doesn’t provide the living space required, you’ll end up wasting your money.

Talk to an experienced Virginia contractor about the best design for your home addition project. Bump-outs provide many benefits, cost less to build and can be completed in a shorter period of time. But many families need the space and features offered by traditional Virginia additions, making them a smarter investment in the long run.

How to Add Storage in your Northern Virginia Basement Remodeling Project

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Designing your new basement presents plenty of opportunities for expanding storage. From specially designed closets to built in shelving and off-season storage, your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project can improve your living space and bring order to chaos.

Consider all aspects of basement storage, such as dealing with moisture and security, while you’re in the design stage. Careful planning allows you to realize the greatest value for your renovation dollar.

Incorporate Closets Around the Area

Whether your basement includes a bedroom, bathroom or just a gigantic rec room, closets can be incorporated for efficient storage. Closets hold everything from clothing to toys, linens and boxes. Neater than open shelving, closets also allow for greater security with door locks.

Installing extra closet space is simple, as long as you have the room. Consider borrowing a few square feet from the main area of your finished basement for a long, shallow closet with sliding doors. Or build a walk-in closet to allow for optimum flexibility.

Any awkward corners or dead space can be made into a closet with an extra wall or two and a door. Under the stairs, beside the three-piece bath or within an oddly shaped corner, closets provide extra storage for just about any item.

Use Built In Shelving

Framing and drywall play a major role in most Northern Virginia basement remodeling projects. And finishing the walls presents an opportunity to incorporate built in shelving of any shape and size.

Are you looking for a tidy place to store your entertainment system, movies and video games? Think about building a wall unit right into the framing. Books and any other collections can be easily stored in built in bookshelves, and a newly finished basement allows you to customize the bookshelf system to suit your collection. Include doors, alcoves and random shapes to make your built in shelving unique.

Consider the Moisture

Think about what you store in your basement, and consider the best method of storage. Because this living space is located below grade the risk of flood is greater. Consistent moisture can damage organic materials (like books, paper, and certain types of clothing), and result in mold and mildew. Store any sensitive or susceptible items in leak-proof bags or plastic totes, and be sure that all electronics are placed on shelves to avoid damage during minor flooding.

Be sure to include windows in your basement remodeling design, both for natural light and proper airflow. Install fresh air vents in the closets to keep the air moving and open the windows on a regular basis to air out the space.

Finishing the basement expands your living space, and also provides more storage. Design the area carefully, incorporating closets and built in shelving to make the best use of your new living space. With the help of a professional contractor, your Northern Virginia basement remodeling project will help to improve the value of your home and make day-to-day living more enjoyable.

Top Four Northern Virginia Deck Designs for Unique Properties

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Not all backyards are alike. In fact most present a few unique challenges when designing the ideal outdoor living space. Check out these top four Northern Virginia deck designs to see if any of them can be adapted to suit your unique property. From extreme grades to swampy soil and waterfront lots, these deck plans make the most of the situation.

Deck Designs for Extreme Grades (Down)

With the help of a professional contractor decks can be built on nearly any property, even if your house is built into a steep hill, or the grade drops off naturally towards the rear of your property. In many cases a well-built deck allows for better use of the yard, creating a flat space for patio furniture, BBQs and other backyard living features.

Footings are the most important aspect of decks built on extreme grades. These concrete piers need to firmly support the deck frame. Be sure your contractor digs a deep hole that’s wide enough to allow for a stable footing. Think about the effects of erosion and consult your municipal building department to ensure that your footings meet local building codes for safety and stability.

Railings are another essential element, protecting those on the deck from falls and injuries. All railing posts should be spaced fairly close together (around 4 feet apart is a good measure) and made from materials that have been tested for strength and durability.

Deck Designs for Extreme Grades (Up)

When your home sits at the base of a steep hill the design challenges are vastly different from other situations. You don’t need to worry as much about footings, but may have to design your deck to suit the natural layout of the hill. Plan for curved edges and smaller platforms incorporated together into a large deck design.

Excavation is another option when your yard grades up to the rear. Move the soil away to create a flat space and install heavy-duty retaining walls around your deck or patio area. This creates a private oasis, often quiet and shady. But those retaining walls must be built correctly or the natural power of gravity will have that space looking run down in just a few seasons.

Deck Designs for Swampy Yards

Perhaps you live in a low-lying area, or have experienced several issues with drainage. Assess the water problems before installing your Northern Virginia deck, to be sure those concrete footings will not heave or sink. In swampy or wet areas, the concrete footings need to be installed deep into the ground, providing solid support. Building codes may have standards regarding minimum footing depth on swampy lots.

Be sure to use treated lumber for this deck design as well, since moisture takes a toll on cedar and other wood species in a short period of time. Even treated lumber will rot over the years, but you can opt for composite or vinyl deck boards to reduce maintenance and increase longevity.

Deck Designs for Waterfront Properties

Waterfront homes generally provide fantastic views and direct sun. That means your deck design needs to incorporate shade without blocking the views and creating a fishbowl effect void of privacy. Deck designs for waterfront cottages and homes often hug the side of the building, stretching around the corners for a wrap-around look. Overhang a roof for easy shade or build a gazebo into the corner for seclusion and shade.

Railings need to be sturdy and safe, unless the deck is close to the ground. In that case, consider incorporating wrap-around stairs as well, allowing traffic to flow off of the deck at any point and adding impromptu seating for larger gatherings.

These Northern Virginia deck designs address the specific problems of unique properties. Call your local deck contractor to discuss your own needs and keep dreaming of that ideal outdoor living space.