Five Tips on Building a Bar in Your Virginia Basement

Filed Under: Basement    by: Steve Kayhill

Your Virginia basement living space will play host to countless gatherings and also offers a private space to relax. Perfect for both families and couples, building a bar in your basement renovation provides a focal point for these events. But what kind of bar designs work for this area of your home, and how can you fit this element into your overall floor plan?

Tip # 1 – Factor in Your Surrounding

Consider the feel of your new basement living space and estimate the space available for a custom bar. These two elements of your basement renovation have the greatest influence on bar design. For instance, you don’t want to install a traditional bar with dark stained wood in a bright, modern basement living space. Also, a tiny corner bar may get lost in a vast space and a large home bar design could become overwhelming in a smaller area.

Tip # 2 – Choose a Good Spot

Location remains an important aspect to consider. Home bars often include plumbing, and placing your new bar near the bathroom or laundry allows for efficient plumbing design. Your contractor needs to include a water supply and drain, as well as a water line to your fridge, if applicable.

Think about where your family and friends will gather, and place the bar accordingly. You don’t need to stick the bar in a far off corner either—why not place it in the middle of your room and leave space for the crowd on both sides? Get creative and have fun with location.

Tip # 3 – Light It Up

Lighting plays an important role in any living space, but the proper lighting design can make or break your home bar. Remember to illuminate the area with fixtures designed for functionality (mixing drinks can be hard work) and mood. Nothing too bright, but ensure the bulbs provide enough coverage for the prep and seating areas.

Choose lighting that accents the shape of your home bar and complements the balance of your Virginia basement. This may be the ideal place for a bold, stand-out fixture, or perhaps you’ll choose lighting that blends in well and let your bar be the star. Work with the feel and décor of the room, but remember to invest in functional, top quality lighting.

Tip # 4 – Pay Attention to Your Feet

Flooring around a home bar should be durable, comfortable and easily cleaned. Spills happen, and you’ll be tired of washing the carpet within a short period of time. Popular options for flooring in this area include:

  • Tiling – ceramic, porcelain or natural stone work well
  • Engineered Wood – good quality products designed for below-grade installation create a beautiful setting for your bar
  • Laminate – be sure to look for attractive patterns with this inexpensive option

Tip # 5 – Include Plenty of Storage

Allow for a fully stocked bar by including storage in a big way. Wall cabinets and under-counter drawers and cabinetry provide closed storage for many different items, while open shelving above or behind the bar offers a good space for bottles and other attractive bar items. Think about other creative ways you can create storage designed for your style and stock.

A well designed home bar completes your Virginia basement renovation. Think about the size and shape, location, lighting, flooring and storage options to ensure your custom bar suits your lifestyle.

Tips on Designing a Northern Virginia Deck for Entertaining

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Warm weather provides countless opportunities for outdoor entertaining. From backyard barbecues to a sunny Sunday afternoon brunch and any event in between, avid entertainers love to throw parties on their Virginia decks. But good design and a thoughtful layout are essential to creating the perfect outdoor party, and the advice of your Virginia contractor goes a long way toward achieving this.

Tip # 1 – Go Big

Who knows how many people will show up for your backyard bash, and it’s much better to have plenty of room for everyone. Design an oversized deck to maximize the opportunities. Standard deck sizes run from 12ft. x 12ft. (just enough to hold an average patio set) to expansive decks wrapping around the back of large homes. Entertainers need to aim for the larger size, and should consider building a multilevel deck for better traffic flow.

Find out how large you can build your deck, taking into account the local building code and any underground wires or pipes. You cannot build your deck over a septic bed, although an experienced contractor can figure out a way to install a larger deck over asphalt, gravel, turf or garden.
Whatever size you decide on, ensure your deck is well supported and built to recent codes regarding structural limitations.

Tip # 2 – Think Barefoot Comfort

Homeowners have several choices of finish for Virginia decks. You can opt for treated wood and stain or paint the product to achieve the look you want. Cedar wood can also be stained or painted, but presents fewer splinters, cracks and splits than treated wood. This type of wood provides a smoother, more comfortable surface for walking and ensures lower risks of injury for your younger guests.

Composite wood provides another option. This product combines plastics and wood byproducts, and creates a comfy surface. It can be manufactured in a wide range of colors that never require staining. Your best bet for barefoot travel on the deck, composite costs at least twice as much as treated wood.

Choose your deck board wisely and consider how the products ages. If your deck is exposed to full sun, drying and cracking present a threat. Decks that rest in the shade for more than a few hours tend to grow mold, mildew and other organics, which can create a slippery deck surface. Consider your comfort level, exposure and budget when choosing the deck board.

Tip # 3 – Include Kitchen Essentials

Outdoor kitchens transform your backyard into a functional space. Think about incorporating a grill, sink and refrigerator into the deck design, providing the perfect space for food prep and serving. Be sure the area is equipped with power and water, as well as natural gas, if applicable.

Build the kitchen in a strategic location, near both the entrance to your home and the outdoor seating. Keep the traffic path free of obstacles and avoid steps or ramps. Create multiple levels to make this design safer and more functional, or consider building the main deck area higher up.

Tip # 4 – Built In Seating Means Less Furniture

Adequate seating makes your deck party more comfortable for everyone. Think about incorporating built in seating by replacing railings with high-back benches or building low, wide-lipped planter boxes that double as seats. These insignificant features make a major difference when you have guests, and leave the balance of your deck open for patio furniture.

Get creative when designing Virginia decks for entertainers. Think about size, comfort, food prep and seating to ensure your outdoor space provides the ideal area for entertaining a crowd.

Three Questions to Ask Before Renovating Virginia Bathrooms

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

Virginia bathrooms come in a wide range of sizes, styles and layouts. If you’re planning to renovate the bathroom, be sure to go over these three important questions and achieve the size, style and layout that perfectly suit your lifestyle.

1 – What Do You Appreciate About the Existing Bathroom?

Take a long look at the current state of your bathroom, and make a list of the positives. Maybe you appreciate the size or how the windows bring in plenty of natural light. Perhaps you like the flooring or can’t imagine a bathroom without your existing shower. Note all of the features that fulfill your needs and wants right now, and ignore everything that you would like to change.

This type of list helps your bathroom renovation contractor to envision the ideal design. Some of these elements may need to be changed over the course of your remodeling project, but noting each positive allows you to move toward an improved space.

Be as specific as you can, and think about each element of the room, including:

  • Layout
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Lighting
  • Countertops and Vanities
  • Storage
  • Paint colors
  • Flooring
  • Location in your home
  • Trim and architectural details
  • Tiling

2 – Who Will Use the New Bathroom?

Once you’ve thought about the features and made note of all the existing positives, it’s time to think about function. Consider who will use this space, and when. Is it a powder room reserved mainly for guests and quick bathroom breaks? Or are you planning to renovate the master ensuite, used mainly by a couple? Perhaps you’re renovating the family bathroom, used by anyone and everyone in the immediate vicinity.

Determining who will use this space allows your Virginia bathroom contractor to design for adequate space and function. A busy bathroom needs plenty of floor space and features made for a crowd, such as double sinks, extra large closets and a walk in shower. Virginia bathrooms with limited use or aimed for a more intimate experience should be designed with that function in mind.

You may also need to consider accessibility, depending on who will be using the new space. Flooring, door width, vanity height and shower and toilet design can be altered to create enhanced accessibility and a more comfortable experience for all those using the room.

3 – Where Will You Store Bathroom Essentials?

Most people spend plenty of time deciding on the plumbing fixtures, flooring and décor during a bathroom remodeling project. Storage remains the most overlooked element of modern bathrooms. Think about where you’ll keep bathroom linens, toiletries and cleaning products. What else does your family regularly store in the bathroom? And does the new layout accommodate?

Plan for more storage than you need, as this area can easily be used for overflow. And consider creative storage solutions to take advantage of unusable space. Narrow cabinets, open shelving and other types of storage help to make the most of your remodeling, and provide valuable storage for today and into the future.

These three questions help homeowners to plan better Virginia bathrooms, taking into account their tastes, function and storage needs. Talk to your contractor about each answer and expand from there.

How to Match Your Existing Space When Building Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Creating a seamless living space requires careful planning and an expert eye. Virginia additions should complement your existing home, not stick out like a sore thumb. But details like paint, flooring, exterior finishes and lighting present challenges to many homeowners looking to blend their new living area with existing space. Check out these tips and consider how you can make it all happen.

Tip # 1 – Keep Good Records

Did you keep the paint can from your last redecorating project? Do you have a record of the flooring brand and lot installed in your home? Can you find the receipt or packing list for light fixtures and other features currently illuminating your space? Although it may be too late to take advantage of this practice, remember to do so for the next renovation.

Check out your personal household records and see what you can find on the paint, flooring and fixtures. This information allows you to carefully match the same features in your home addition. Visit a local paint retailer to obtain a color match and talk to flooring and lighting stores about sourcing out similar products.

Tip # 2 – Go For Contrast

Sometimes matching the existing décor is nearly impossible. Why not aim for contrast instead? This provides a more realistic target and creates a fair amount of design freedom for your contractor.

You’ll still need to do some legwork and shop for complementary products, but eliminating the need to match opens your project up to various possibilities. Consider installing a lighter hardwood flooring in contrast to the dark stain on your existing space. Or opt for contrasting colors on the walls, while incorporating the existing wall tone into décor accessories and furniture.

Stick with the same theme or style for a cohesive feel, unless you’re aiming for an eclectic look.

Tip # 3 – Consider What’s Behind the Walls

Some Virginia additions place a major load on the existing electrical and plumbing systems. Ask your Virginia contractor to assess the current state and find out whether you’ll need to upgrade wiring, drains or any other mechanical element in your home.

This type of work eats into the home addition budget, but also creates a safe and comfortable living area for today and into the future. Find out about local building codes as well, and be sure your contractor schedules all relevant inspections and applies for permits. Overhauls and upgrades provide the wisest course of action when your new addition puts a strain on existing systems. Patches and mismatched systems only result in hassles.

Tip # 4 – Price Out Replacements

Assess the condition of your existing walls, flooring and lighting. Is it time to redecorate or update the look and finish of your home? Home addition projects offer an opportunity to spruce up the balance of your living space, as long as time and budget allow.

Talk to your contractor about pricing for replacements in the existing space. Consider DIY or stretching out the project. But remember that this investment in your home will create valuable returns for your lifestyle and property value.

Whether you opt to match, contrast or redecorate the existing living space features, Virginia additions transform your home in a good way.