Create Your Perfect Basement

Underground, cold, concrete, storage space… although these may be words used to describe your current basement, the lowest floor of your home probably has loads of potential. If you’re dreaming of some extra space, finishing your basement might make it the most popular room in the house—for a lot less cash than adding on.

When planning your basement finishing, consider your space. If you have a large basement, you can probably divide the space into separate rooms. If the basement is small, that might not be ideal. Keep in mind that most potential buyers will prefer an open concept design to small, choppy rooms.

Give some thought to finishes. Do you want carpeting or wood floors? Track lighting or recessed lights? What about decorative touches like crown molding?  Sometimes picking out the finishing touches can be the most fun and it will personalize the room to your liking.

While deciding what to have done, consider where in the basement you should be putting designated areas…

  • The main socializing area should be in a spot that gets the best natural light.

  • If you are adding a bedroom in the basement, you need an egress window, so it should be located at the perimeter of the room.
  • A TV area can be in a darker area, to reduce glare and create a home-theater feel.

 

Once you have a plan for the layout, you can look forward to the many benefits of a finished basement.

  • Increases livable space – Finishing your basements creates a lot more livable space. Transform unused space into an extra living room, a guest room, a home theater or playroom for the kids.
  • Extra Bathroom – Whether you turn your basement into a play area for kids or a place for guests to sleep, a bathroom can make things run more smoothly. Kids won’t be constantly going up and down the stairs and your guests will feel more comfortable with their own bathroom.
  • Increases resale value – Finishing your basement can significantly increase the resale value of your home. This is particularly true if many other homes in your neighborhood have unfinished basements.
  • Creates a private space – A finished basement can be a getaway from the noise and chaos of the rest of the house. Create a quiet, comfortable space for watching TV, or create an exercise space right in your own home.

 

 

If you’ve been thinking about finishing your basement, call one of our experienced consultants to get started!

Book Your Island Get-A-Way

Geib, Ron & Merle Lee Kitchen (7)These days, kitchen islands are as common as the kitchen sink.  In addition to being a focal point, they also increase functionality and efficiency.

 

They offer extra storage, seating, and more work space. What type of island is best suited for you and your kitchen?

 

 

L-Shaped

Pros: L-shaped islands tend to be large with lots of storage. The amount of counter space prevents an overcrowded work space, which allows for more than one cook in the kitchen.  You won’t have an issue finding room for bar-style seating.Gleim (2)

 

Cons:  L-shaped islands can chop up your kitchen design, which can hamper efficiency during meal prep. The shape doesn’t always maximize storage space since corners tend to decrease accessibility.

 

 

 

U-Shaped

Pros:  U-shaped islands are highly functional. They provide extra storage space, more workspace, enough room for seating, and they can house more than one appliance if they’re big enough. You may not have to leave your island when you’re prepping food.

Cons:  They can be bulky and can close off your kitchen from the rest of your home. The double corners will limit accessible storage space unless they incorporate a Lazy Susan or swing-out door.

 

GalleyHoover, Kitchen (4)

Pros:   Galley islands provide a space with flow and efficiency with their sleek design. They maximize storage space because there aren’t any corners or curves. Appliances and stored items are always accessible. The design also supports guest seating.

Cons:  Sometimes they’re too small to comfortably fit an appliance, which can create problems with your layout.

 

 

Curved

Pros: Curved islands add an interesting aesthetic to kitchens. There’s more than enough room for meal prep, and they can incorporate expansive seating areas that leave enough room for guests to comfortably eat and socialize.  _DSC5627_ web

 

Cons:  Your counter is spread out and curved, which can limit the way you cook.   Storage space can be wasted unless your cabinets are customized to include creative options.

 

 

Rolling

Pros: Rolling islands are versatile, and a blessing for smaller kitchens that lack prep space.  They can function as a worktop or a spare surface for your ingredients.

Cons:  They can be a hassle to roll out during meals or to store, and bigger designs may be hard to move. They offer little to no storage.

Furniture-Style

Pros:  It can be custom-built, an antique or store-bought — a furniture piece adds character to your kitchen with its detail and decorative design.  They usually aren’t bulky and fit nicely in your kitchen.

Cons: Furniture pieces weren’t built with kitchen storage in mind, so you may not fit all of your cookware comfortably.  There’s also the issue of durability with daily use in a kitchen.

Below Your Feet

When you walk into a kitchen, what catches your eye?  Cabinets?  Counter tops?  What about the floor?

Bunte - General picture

If you’re considering updating your kitchen, the kitchen flooring you select is a major decision.  You want your kitchen floor to be low maintenance and one that can stand up to a wide range of spills like water, food and even dropped dishes.

 

 

 

 

Bamboo

If you like eco-friendly products, bamboo is a great kitchen flooring material.  Bamboo is one of the strongest of the natural materials on the market.

Ross-Cali bamboo

The Positive: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly.
The Drawbacks: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse, and if you add padding beneath, you have a soft, ergonomic floor.

Dodszuweitz, Kitchen, Various small projects

The Positive: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options.
The Drawbacks:  May be slippery, noisy, cannot refinish.

Stone

Because of the variations in pattern and color, stone gives your kitchen flooring a unique, earthy look.  Stone flooring is naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter zones.

The Positive: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.
The Drawbacks: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.

Tile 
Tile is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy to clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen.

Hagar - ceramic tile

The Positive: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.
The Drawbacks: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.

Vinyl

Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options.

Hoover - Vinyl

The Positive:  Water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.
The Drawbacks:  requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.

Wood
Wood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique according to grain and age. But wood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture.

Buckwalter - oak

The Positive: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.
The Drawbacks: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.

Whatever the material you decide to use, we can help.  Call us for a free consultation with one of our professionals.

From Storage Space to Living Space: Attic Conversions

If you’re looking to expand your living area, look up.  An attic conversion can give you a master bedroom, a private office, or TV room.  But before you determine if converting your attic is right for you, or even doable, there may be obstacles. _DSC0088

Building Codes

Because local codes vary, a building inspector can provide a list of codes and required inspections for your new attic conversion.  Inspectors will take into consideration ceiling codes, joist codes, if rafters can support drywall, lighting, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC system components.  They also examine egress codes.   Regular bedroom egress codes typically require at least two exits — a doorway and usually a window. An attic bedroom requires both a window and a staircase to the level beneath.

Support Systems

The structural framing under your roof will determine if you can add an attic room.  Rafters, internal beams extending from the peak of the roof to its eaves, provide a center open space that you can easily remodel.  Trusses, W-shaped framing that supports the roof, make it harder to achieve room you want.  You might have to cut through, shore up, and alter the very structures that are holding your roof up.  If you have trusses, you’ll be better off looking for other areas in your house to expand.

Extending Systems to Your Attic Conversion

Electrical: You will need to determine if your electric panel has room for additional breakers and can handle the increased load of an attic conversion.

Plumbing:   If you are planning a master suite with a bathroom, it’s a good idea to locate the new bathroom close to the main stack. This reduces the length of pipe you’ll run between sink-shower-toilet drains and the stack, which will cut costs.

HVAC:   Will your forced air blower move enough air to both heat and cool your attic conversion? If it doesn’t, electric baseboard heating and a window air conditioner may suffice. This is information that the electrician will need to know to determine the total electrical requirements.

Gaining Access

An attic conversion requires a standard staircase to meet code.  Adding a staircase will take up space in a room below the attic, so consider converting a closet. You may be able to regain that storage space by using space under the new staircase.

Insulation

How does a space that reaches sweltering heat in the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter transform to your new living space? Insulation!!!  The cost of insulating will also need to be figured into your attic conversion.

If you can overcome these obstacles, attic conversions hold tremendous appeal for homeowners seeking more living space under their own roof.

A Great Finish

You want to give your house a makeover but can’t decide whether you want to hire a professional painter or do the job yourself? Taking on the job yourself could save you money but there is no guarantee you’ll be satisfied with your painting job. So… should you hire a professional?

Quality Work 

_DSC2347 web

There’s a vast difference in appearance and durability between a do-it-yourself painting and one applied by a pro. Professional painting will produce lasting, picture-perfect results that make your home pop.

 

 

 

Detailed to Perfection                                                                       

Professionals spend unbelievable amounts of time prepping surfaces.  They follow a multi-step process that includes sanding, masking, caulking and filling, then priming, sanding, and caulking and filling again.   High powered lights are used from all angles before they apply finish coats. The final appearance has as much to do with prep work as it does with paint.  _DSC2466_ web

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing What to Use

Pros stick with paints that have proven themselves over years, and they have the experience to know which ones work best where. They understand the differences in sheen and coverage between different products, as well as what kind of surface each covers best and in what conditions. They know how to make crisp lines at edges and intersections, and how to create even looks over multiple surfaces.  finished job

 

 

 

 

 

The Right Tools

It’s no surprise that pros also invest in high-quality tools. There are an overwhelming number of choices in rollers and brushes and it takes experience to learn which ones will provide the exact look our Clients want, whether that’s a traditional brushed finish or one with a glass-like sheen.

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The payoff is a finish that looks great and stands the test of time. Careful preparation, the right materials, and a finish applied by a skilled painter will last much longer before it needs painting again, which of course lowers the long-term cost, and frees you up to do the things you love.

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