Transforming Unused Closets in Gorgeous Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Adding a bathroom to your existing floor plan enhances convenience and increases property value, not to mention helping to keep the peace in a family home. But are new Virginia bathrooms out of reach when space is at a premium? Check out these tips on transforming unused closet spaces into fantastic bathrooms designed to upgrade and update your living area.

Plumbing Concerns

First find out whether connecting to the existing plumbing system will be feasible. Depending on the location of your closet, this could be a simple procedure for a licensed plumber. Do not try this on your own; a plumber needs to install a rough in, often during the renovation or gutting stage. The plumbing fixtures can be installed near the end of the project.

You also need to measure the space and ensure there is adequate room for a toilet. Research local building codes, which may dictate a specific clearance for toilets. Be sure that your closet leaves enough floor space for a toilet. Think about the ideal location, in relation to doorway and sink placement.

The room underneath your closet may need to be renovated as well with a bulkhead added for drains and plumbing. This may not be a problem when transforming a main floor closet into a bathroom, but renovating a bedroom or second-floor closet generally requires more renovations below and around.

Space Concerns

Some municipalities dictate a minimum size for powder rooms or half-baths—14 square feet is common. If your closet is a little shy, consider stealing a few feet from the adjacent rooms or reconfiguring the
layout of your hallway or room. Plan the layout to allow for 24 inches of space between the toilet and sink or vanity.

To create more space inside the actual bathroom, consider having the door swing out into the bedroom or hallway. Pocket doors offer another space-saving solution, but will require space between the wall studs and renovations to the surrounding walls. Once pocket doors are installed room function is enhanced while still allowing privacy and security.

Pedestal sinks work well in powder rooms, while wall hung vanities offer a distinct sense of style in larger Virginia bathrooms without creating a bulky feeling. Corner sinks offer another space saving solution, and one-piece toilets provide the same performance with a smaller footprint.

Finish Concerns

Small bathrooms can be made to feel brighter with the proper finishing. Choose lighter, neutral colors to reflect light and create a more open feeling. Opt for light flooring tones as well, such as neutral color ceramic tiles or vinyl.

Incorporating natural lighting through windows or skylights may be difficult when renovating a closet. Plan to spend some time choosing the optimum lights; perhaps pot lights recessed into the ceiling, or sconces coupled with a vanity strip. You’ll need to allocate a decent budget for lighting, since this important element is necessary for comfort and an attractive finish.

Add another bathroom to your house by transforming closets into gorgeous Virginia bathrooms. Renovate to create a two-piece half-bath on the main floor or a full bathroom in the bedroom closet, using the design and construction skills of your local Virginia bathroom contractor. After all, every family could use another bathroom.

Top Three Northern Virginia Additions That Work Best for Families

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Today’s families follow a busy lifestyle, often traveling between school, work and other activities at breakneck speeds. Families need a comfortable and functional place to call home, and plenty of space within that home to relax. These top three Northern Virginia additions help modern families to live better and wiser in their current homes.

Main Floor Home Addition

Expanding your main floor allows you to make the family room or kitchen larger. Upgrade your cabinets, add an island or incorporate a breakfast nook in a larger kitchen. Or stretch out the family room to include a home theater system, billiard table or an open play area. The design possibilities are seemingly endless with Northern Virginia additions on the main floor.

Costs for this type of addition can be substantial, depending on the location and scope. Ask your home addition contractor whether a foundation extension is required, and talk about how to adjust the existing roofline to help the addition blend in. Opt for less expensive exterior finishing (vinyl siding as opposed to brick veneer, for example) and avoid making alterations to major structural components.

Sunroom Addition

Sunrooms are often an extension to the main floor living space, but fit into a more limited description than the choice above. You can incorporate your kitchen or family room into this space, but the glass windows reduce privacy and virtually eliminate usable wall space for artwork and shelving.

This type of home addition provides natural light for your family room or kitchen, and offers a unique place for a home office, dining room or lounging space. Think about using your sunroom for informal dining or a quiet nook for studying and catching up on your reading. It can be a place of serenity in your bustling house, or act as a gateway to outdoor living when combined with a beautiful deck or patio.

Sunrooms offer a slightly cheaper option for additional space on the main floor, but do not always provide year-round comfort. You’ll need to invest in well-insulated glazing and high quality window frames to ensure the room remains comfortable in cold weather. Sunrooms often come in prefab kits, which limits size and layout, but can be custom-made for a price.

Loft Addition or Attic Refurbishment

When the footprint of your existing house has used up all available space on the property, look to the skies for a home addition. Many families appreciate the value of a loft addition, which can be used for additional bedrooms, an expanded family bathroom or a second- or third-floor family room. Attic refurbishments take the existing space and update or complete the finishing process, resulting in a comfortable living space above the second floor or garage.

This type of home improvement project works well for families with teenagers, providing them with private space within the safety of your walls. Consider including another bathroom in the top floor addition, installed directly above the main bath for efficient plumbing design.

Whether you decide on a main floor addition, sunroom or loft addition your family can enjoy greater relaxation with these Northern Virginia additions. Talk to an experienced contractor about the ideal option for your property and get the house your family deserves.

Tips on Using Built Ins When Finishing Your Virginia Basement

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Think of your basement as a blank slate.

Many homeowners include built ins on their wish list for a beautiful finished basement. Made from solid wood or less expensive MDF, built ins help to make your Virginia basement more functional, attractive and tidy. How can the average homeowner working with a limited budget include these gorgeous elements in their basement renovation? It may be more attainable than you think.

Decide on the Scope

Not all built ins are created equal, and what may look like a custom built cabinet or bookshelf could actually be factory-made furniture dressed up a little. Even true built ins can de done for an affordable price when designed with the proper scope.

Consider the overall design of your basement, and think about how your built in bar, bookshelf, entertainment unit, mantel or home office fits into that design. Built ins should not overshadow a space, but rather complement and enhance that area. Unless your finished basement includes massive open spaces, design your built in to be on the smaller side, fitting nicely into the room’s shape.

Decide on the Materials

Built ins can be made from solid wood, but this traditional building material can significantly boosts costs. Look at less expensive wood (pine over oak, for example) and manufactured wood products to save cash.

Many custom Virginia basement contractors use MDF for the frame and structure, installing wood trim and other solid wood elements only where necessary. When the entire piece is hand-painted for a durable, attractive finish, you aren’t likely to notice any difference.

Solid wood is better in some cases, for longevity and strength (such as with a built in bar) or stability (in a bookshelf). But your contractor should be able to recommend alternative materials that will help to reduce overall costs.

Decide on the Features

Basement built ins can include many features, including:

  • Gas Fireplaces – mantels and built in entertainment units often incorporate natural gas fireplaces and require the expertise of a gas fitter.
  • Bar Fridges – a popular addition to basement bars and kitchenettes, a bar fridge requires plumbing and electrical work.
  • TVs and Stereo Equipment – flatscreen TVs and all levels of stereo equipment can be contained in a tidy built in, designed to keep your finished basement clutter-free.

Your basement built ins may include other features more in tune with your lifestyle. The biggest advantage to built ins is a sleek appearance – so any feature needs to fit seamlessly, with all electrical and mechanical wiring, plumbing and other lines incorporated and protected.

This often requires the expertise of a trained professional. Built ins are not generally a DIY project, and require an extensive amount of finishing work. Incorporating function and features takes this project a step further, meaning you need to bring in those who can handle the job.

Including built ins throughout your new Virginia basement helps to elevate the look and feel of this space. Make your renovation dollar go further by investigating built ins. Once you’ve decided on the scope, materials and features, costing and planning for the project are simple.

Does Your Above Ground Pool Need a Virginia Deck?

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Installing an above ground pool is an affordable option for Virginia residents looking for at-home recreation and fitness. But you’ll also need to budget for a Virginia deck in order to have safe and easy access to your new pool. What kind of design considerations come along with an above ground pool, and how should homeowners approach this project?

DIY pool decks are a bad idea

Design Elements Required for Pool Decks

There are several factors to consider when designing a pool deck. Support remains the most important element, with stable deck piers, safe railings and properly built stairs included in your design. Consult the local building code regarding pier size, spacing and posts on the railing and stair design.

Design your above ground pool deck for optimum access to the water. Coping surrounds the pool, and a narrow walkway should do the same to allow for seating around and climbing in and out of the pool. A larger gathering area should be included on one end of the pool, but try to incorporate a wraparound design wherever possible.

Shade is another important factor to consider. You want to enjoy the water and heat, but also require a comfortable, shady spot to sit. Incorporate shade in the gathering area, perhaps using a pergola, awning or gazebo. Sun sails and portable canopies can be put up temporarily or used on a seasonal basis for a Virginia deck that cannot accommodate permanent shade features.

Add privacy to your deck as well, with screens and plantings. Not only will they block the neighbor’s view, but they’ll also help to block wind and provide a spot to hang pool cleaning equipment.


Well designed above ground pool decks need to act as transitions between the house and pool, or the pool and yard. This can be done with attractive shapes, furniture placement and multiple levels that efficiently direct traffic between each area.

Ensure your design lays out a visual and physical path between property locations. Use angled corners, arches and waves in the deck boards and edges to draw the eye. Privacy screens and railings can also be used to direct flow.

Consider adding outdoor lighting (solar or low voltage) to allow for extended hours of enjoyment. This also creates a welcome transition, especially when installed in the stairs or railing posts.

Connect your above ground pool deck with another deck or patio to create a seamless landscape. Stairs, planter boxes and benches can help the transition, as well as adding extra seating.

Plant gardens around the base of your above ground pool deck, and carry those flower beds through the balance of your yard. This creates an intentional pattern that ties your exterior living space together. Gardens can also be used to soften edges. Think about installing skirting on your above ground pool deck, which closes off the area underneath, keeps pests away and provides support for garden soil.

If you’re planning to install an above ground pool, carefully consider the design of your Virginia deck. Think about structural support, transitions and other important elements to be sure you make the most of your new swimming pool.