Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bedrooms & Hobby Rooms: Possible Additions to Split-Level Family Homes

A “split-level” refers to a house layout popular from the 1950s to 1970s. It allows for many staggered levels inside a house, so that a residence that looks as if it has only two stories actually has more than that. Split-levels were typical for suburban homes and fit for the mid-20th century family.

These days, split-level designs may appear outdated, and some may have been even outgrown by modern family sizes and needs. As such, additions to split-levels are sometimes necessary.

Extra sleeping space

Building a street-level extension can open up an extra bedroom or two for a growing family. The new bedroom might be a good fit for a teenager who needs more personal space away from younger siblings. It can also be created as guest quarters. 

Given the layout of split-levels, any extensions might need to come with connecting stairs, so the additional sleeping areas are best reserved for grown-up family members rather than young children.

A party and entertainment level

Due to their layout, split-levels can keep living spaces neatly delineated. For example, a study can be situated on another floor and clearly separated from the kitchen or dining room, keeping quiet workspaces a bit more insulated from busier areas.

Additions can follow the same principle, which is why media, recreation, and party rooms are a great idea for split-level extensions. Homeowners just need to be careful in planning how to get platters of food up or down, to and from the kitchen.

Soundproofed hobby room

If isolated rooms are the great gift of split-level housing, then a hobby room is an equally great idea for an addition. The hobby room can be set apart from the rest of the house and be soundproofed. It can be an even better place to use as a gaming area, with clattering billiard balls or noisy video consoles, or as a music room where instruments can be played to the heart’s content.


Popular Split-Level Home Additions. Simply Additions.

Split-Level Homes: Outdated or Underrated? Realtor Mag, September 2008.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Controlling the Temperature in Sunrooms Without Heating or AC Systems

Temperature control can be a bit tricky when it comes to sunrooms because of the amount of glass used to build the structure. Many choose to install a new air conditioning and heating system so that the sunroom is comfortably warm in winter and refreshingly cool in summer. Instead of installing a new heating and AC system, there are other ways to ensure that your sunroom always has the ideal temperature in both colder and warmer months.

Use Low U-Value Windows

To minimize heat gain and heat loss in your sunroom, your remodeler can use low U-value windows. U-value measures how a window system conducts heat. A window system's U-value is determined by its assembly, including the effect of the glass, seals, frame, and any spacers. Using a system with a lower U-value means you have windows with greater resistance to heat flow and better insulation.

Use Window Treatments or Privacy Shades

Placing window treatments and shades on windows and on floor-to-ceiling walls made of glass serve several purposes, such as preventing too much heat and light from coming in, enhancing the decor, and providing much-needed privacy. Window treatments are the ideal elements to control how bright or dark your sunroom is during daytime. Depending on your preferences and your sunroom design, you can choose among options like sheer shades, solar or sunscreen shades, vertical and cellular blinds, and curtains.

Install Electrical Heating or Use Space Heaters

When you don't want to add another furnace in the sunroom but still want it to be perfectly toasty during winter, you can use space heaters or install electrical heating. A space heater is a portable device that heats up its immediate surroundings. You can just store the heater away during summer. Electric radiant heating, on the other hand, can be installed in the floor, high on the wall, or in the ceiling as radiant panels. Electric mats that are installed below the surface or electric cables in the floor can keep a room warm for hours.

Use Ceiling Fans for Proper Ventilation

During summer, you can use ceiling fans and box fans to make sure that the sunroom has proper ventilation. You can also open doors to the adjoining room that has air conditioning to create cross-ventilation. Using a portable air conditioning unit is also a good way to avoid having a stuffy sunroom.

How to Heat and Cool a Sunroom,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Adding Living Room Comforts in the Kitchen with a Kitchen Remodeler

The kitchen can be a versatile space. Because you and your family spend a lot of time in the kitchen, making the area as comfortable as possible is a worthy investment. Cozy seating and a collection of personal photographs on display can make your kitchen a very pleasant and relaxing area, much like your living room.

To create this kind of space, your kitchen remodeler can take inspiration from your living room design. Taking elements from your living room and incorporating them in your kitchen will also make the transition from one space to the other seamless.

Comfy Sofas and Built-in Seating

Making space for a comfortable sofa in your kitchen is a good idea especially when you're used to hosting dinner parties that often end up in the kitchen anyway. Instead of placing a bulky sofa in your kitchen, you can have built-in banquettes or island seating instead. Meals are going to be more intimate with a banquette, and it can even double as your desk when you need to work while you prepare a meal.

Island seating, on the other hand, are very portable. You can tuck them underneath the kitchen island and simply pull them out when you have company.

Rugs and Other Fabrics

Placing a vintage rug on the kitchen floor or using kitchen-friendly fabrics can add visual interest in a space that's usually occupied by appliances and hard surfaces. A rug that's worn with time can also give the room a feeling of warmth, much like how it does when placed in the living room.

Personal Mementos and Beautiful Accessories

To make the kitchen feel as cozy as your living room, having built-in cabinets that also contain personal mementos like old photographs, some trinkets from your travels, and your favorite books is a refreshing idea. 

This kitchen trend — homey comfort — takes its cue from the living room, Los Angeles Times

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Bathroom Remodeler Shares Some Interesting Trends and Revelations

If you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom for a much-needed upgrade, the latest U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study reveals that thousands of homeowners share your sentiments. Homeowners want stylish spaces with luxurious features, which can be achieved with a professional bathroom remodeler through any of the following means.

Replacing Major Bathroom Features

The same Houzz study reveals that more than four in five homeowners replace major features in their bathroom, such as the floors, countertops, and sinks. The showers are usually upgraded, too, in favor of replacing tubs or tub-shower combos. Most homeowners opt for materials like ceramic or porcelain tiles, marble or travertine tiles, and stone slabs made of granite or slate for a beautiful finish.

Increasing Shower Size

According to the renovators surveyed in the study, 75% of homeowners retained the size of the bathroom, and 68% of those remodeling their shower are increasing its space. Some would even make room for trendy items like large rainfall showerheads and request a 50% increase in the size of their showers. This would make it necessary to adjust or modify the rest of the bathroom features, so the overall look of the space is chic.

Installing High-Tech Accessories

Many homeowners are also keen on improving their bathroom through high-tech features like “smart” or automated showers, mood lighting, and self-cleaning toilets. These accessories help make showers more enjoyable to use, more relaxing, and easier to maintain. They turn the bathroom from a simple, utilitarian private space into a truly posh and luxurious asset of the home.

What’s important to note is that almost all of the homeowners surveyed by Houzz—90% to be exact—fulfilled the remodel with a professional. The master bathroom renovation is considered a major project, so enlisting a skilled remodeler is a must for the project to be smoothly and successfully carried out.

How People Upgrade Their Main Bathrooms, and How Much They Spend, Houzz, August 10, 2016
Houzz Bathroom Report Sees Size and Style as Major Remodeling Drivers, Remodeling, August 10, 2016