Archive for 'Home Designs'

Avoid Chaos!

Floor plans are our primary tool used in designing your home. While merely two dimensional line drawings, floor plans transform your ideas into built spaces you want to live in!

There are tangible benefits of eliminating chaos in a floor plan and home. When building or remodeling your home – whether it will be your “forever home” – it is best to feel comfortable in all spaces. This will ultimately increase the value of your home. Symmetrical designs are used often by Hunter Roberts Homes to guarantee your sense of peace:
  1. Symmetry
    1. Symmetry is one of our most important design tools. It provides a sense of order by aligning of doors, windows, archways or hallways. Instead of placing these openings on a whim, we carefully align these elements to create better views throughout the home.
    2. While a symmetrical facade can improve your home’s curb appeal, it also is a great tool for the interior spaces and elements. When either a front facade or room is split in half, one side will be a reflection or mirror of the other. Sometimes not being symmetrical is important; the fronts and backs of buildings, for example, are intentionally different.
    3. Our brain gains a more complete understanding of a space and creates a sense of balance. We feel more satisfied when elements are symmetrical.
    4. Symmetry appears in small things and large: Floor tiles may be laid in symmetrical patterns; the design of door paneling can be symmetrical, and so can window panes. This is the reason apps like Mirrorgram and PhotoMirror are so popular for photo editing.

The following renderings (courtesy of Art Lang) express our love of symmetry:

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Hunter Roberts Homes and Wellington Chase Homes design and build new, remodel, or renovate homes in traditional, modern and contemporary styles. We offer architectural services including interior design as well as new home floor plans and conceptual facade elevations. We manage all phases of the construction and renovation work. We build throughout Oakland County adding timeless elegance to the neighborhood in the following cities: Birmingham, Berkley, Bloomfield Village, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Franklin, Sylvan Lake, Beverly Hills, Orchard Lake, Bingham Farms, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Ferndale, and Troy. Our work can be found in neighborhoods such Quarton Lake, Poppleton Park, Midvale, Holy Name, central and downtown Birmingham, and other fine areas.


Dog House

When designing a home, it is expected your dreams, ideas, and needs will be addressed and accommodated. But what about your pets? Dogs need to feel at home too.

Here is a list of ideas to take into account if you have a pet:

  1. Doggy Door
    1. While dog doors may not be the most ideal depending on the location of your home, size of your dog, neighborhood, and backyard, an easy way in and out will benefit your dog. It is relatively easy to conceal a door in a laundry or mud room without affecting the room’s aesthetic.
  2. Dog Accessories
    1. Your dog is bound to go for a walk, traipse through the mud, or go out in the rain. Whether it is in your mud or laundry room, it is essential to have leashes and towels at the ready as well as a spot to store food and treats. If you have built-in lockers or storage, your pet would appreciate an organized space of their own including a tidy and clean area for their water and food bowl. A designated feeding station is easy to maintain and train your dog to use.
  3. Room for a Dog
    1. It may be to your advantage to place a crate or indoor electric fence to restrict your dog to a certain room. If you are introducing a pet into a house for the first time, they are guaranteed to feel nervous and overly excited. An indoor dog gate or fence is an easy means of introducing your dog one room at a time.
  4. Durable Materials
    1. If your dog is not kept in a crate or specific part of the house all the time, resilient flooring is a must if you are remodeling or building a new home. Whether your pet tends to scratch the floor or trek in mud and debris, a non-porous floor that is easy to clean is preferred. Avoid carpet where your dog enters and exits the house!
    2. Dog-proof furniture is something to consider if your pup likes to nap or jump up on the couches. Consider a designated and cozy spot that your dog can call its own. You can easily find dog beds, but a built-in especially for your pet may incorporate the room’s design.

With these tips, your new home will be ready for your dog to love!

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Winter Flowers

With Halloween come and gone, it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season. Holiday decorating can be expensive and after New Year’s those potted poinsettias, holly topiaries and Christmas cacti don’t look too appealing. It’s easy to save money by planting nontraditional holiday container gardens with plants that can be changed out from month to month. With our unseasonably warm fall, consider planting your garden before the hard frost sets in.

For hardy flowers, plant pansy, pinks, sweet alyssum, painted tongue or flowering stock. Hardy winter garden vegetables include radish, turnip, broccoli, English peas and leeks. A few plants withstand freezes that drive the thermometer to the low 20s and upper teens. These cold-weather all-stars are kale, spinach and collards, all of which grow well in a winter vegetable garden or winter container. As the holidays pass, you can replace dated-looking plants with hardier plants.

However, beware of the container you choose for your container garden. Anything that will help keep roots from freezing while not cracking during freezes will do — plastic, sturdy non-porous clay, metal, wood, or even old car tires, choose a container that will enhance your front entrance. Beware some inexpensive terra cotta clay pots, while thick enough to protect roots, can absorb water which can freeze, expand, and flake or crack. Plastic, on the other hand, which comes in many decorative styles and colors, may not crack as easily (though it most certainly can), but is not as thick as clay and may not offer the freeze protection plant roots need. Plus, as potting soil dries out, it tends to pull away from the sides of plastic pots, which can let freezing air get down around roots. The best method is to double up on pots, putting plastic pots down inside more decorative clay pots. This not only look nicer but acts as a double insulation. 

Here are some of our favorite plantings so far:


A Room for a Bath

From infant through adulthood, bathing is apart of our daily routine. Whether it is in a shower or soaking tub, it may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes. Soaps, bubbles, or mineral salts can make your experience even more relaxing.

When designing a bathroom, consider your daily habits as well as the moments you have to take a break in a soaking tub. Here are some different styles of tubs that you could choose from to enhance your bathroom design:

  1. Freestanding vintage tubs can make an elegant statement. Cast iron clawfoot tubs are classic, beautiful, and perfect for long soaks as they hold heat longer. Nowadays, they are made from lighter materials and less of a hassle to install.
  2. Slipper tubs are similar to freestanding tubs, yet are raised higher on one side for even more comfort.
  3. Pedestal tubs are the same shape as freestanding tubs, but are raised on a platform. These long lasting tubs can be made of copper, steel,  or most commonly acrylic.
  4. Japanese style tubs are much deeper and shorter in length than American-style tubs. The depth allows the water to reach our chin and making it a true soaking tub. They can be made out of wood, which can add an aromatherapy element.
  5. Roman-style tubs are the most commonly found tub style. They can be ornate with elaborate tile or column details. They are drop-in tubs with one or more steps and a deck surround toiletries.
  6. Walk-in tubs are a newer style for those with safety concerns. They can include a built-in seat as well as jets, nonskid surfaces, and even a shower head.

While most tubs use more water than your tradition shower-tub unit, you may consider a larger water tank or an infinity/in-line water heater to fill the tub with appropriately heated water. Also consider your tub-filler or faucet design as this may match your other bathroom fixtures or provide an elegant addition to your tub.

Indian Mound Spec Home

A Focal Point of the Master Bathroom

Beautiful Soaking Tub with a View

To Renovate or Not Renovate

If you renovate, “you have to understand that it may not add the value to your home that it cost you,” says Mark Ramsey, broker with The Ramsey Group at Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, North Carolina. So “be happy you did it and got to enjoy it,” he says.

Here is our list of ideal space renovations:

  1. The home office is not the most exciting space to remodel. However, if you have an unused guest room or your kids have moved out, a home office can be your retreat from the work environment. Instead of stuffing an Ikea desk in a room, consider durable commercial grade furniture, carpet, or hardwood built-ins to do the heavy lifting in your home office.
  2. If you are considering an addition, a great option is a sun room. With a 200-square-foot room with skylights, low-E windows, automatic shades and a tile floor, it’s a major project but can add value to your home. As always, research your market and neighborhood if significant cost is a concern. Anytime you add to the foundation of your home the cost increases. The sun room space can be creatively designed to bring a happy, light-filled space you will use daily.
  3. An upscale master bedroom can become a picturesque suite complete with soaking tub, shower jets, coffee bar, and sitting room. If you are considering an addition as opposed to fixture and appliance upgrades, you should seek a professional contractor and/or your local design-build firm (shameless self-promotion). Upon reselling your home, potential buyers are highly influenced by a master bedroom or suite space.

As a cautionary note, beware of over the top renovations and so called upgrades. While bringing your 80s style bathroom to current style trends is a worthwhile investment (brass finishes are making a comeback…), carefully research your neighborhood to see what potential home buyers are looking and paying for in a home. New appliances, counter tops, or finish hardware instantly updates your room, but keep in mind you may only recover about 50% of your costs for larger additions and renovations.

An elegant and oversized vanity and color palette updated a drab master bathroom.

An elegant and over-sized vanity and color palette updated a drab master bathroom.

A new fireplace surround and mantel instantly added a timeless elegance to this living space.

A new fireplace surround and mantel instantly added a timeless elegance to this living space.


Color Therapy

There are hundreds maybe even thousands of color swatches available to pick from at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, Benjamin Moore, or Sherwin-Williams store. How do you begin to pick the right color for your rooms?


  • Blues: peace and stability
  • Bright Yellows: uplifting and happy
  • Mellow yellows and orange: airy and relaxing
  • Red and Bright Pink: dramatic and energizing
  • Purples: youthful and fun
  • Greens: inspire creativity, nature, and energy
  • Greys, beiges, off-whites: a neutral favorite, classic

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Next, pick a predominant color. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Living Room and Foyer: Choose a warm color that will encourage guests to feel comfortable to gather and talk.

Kitchen: It may be best to use a color that you have fond memories of such as the color of your kitchen growing up. If you are looking to select a new color, avoid reds and oranges as they may stimulate your appetite, which is great for your dining room.

Bedrooms: Are a place you return to to relax and sleep. We already have a calming and peaceful sense from blues. However, if you have a teenager it may be best to allow them to select the color with the caveat that they repaint it white when they move out.

Bathrooms: Select a color that will flatter you. You want to look good in the mirror at all times of the day. Do you have a favorite color you wear?

Exercise Room: Red can inspire action and energy, but also make you feel hotter while working out. A bright blue or green color in your work out room or area can make you feel happier and more likely to enjoy a cardio workout.

Home Office: Your home office or study if not paneled in wood, should inspire productivity and focus. The best color should be a green tone as it is usually the best color to be surrounded by for longer periods of time.

At the end of the day, select a color you already feel comfortable with and hopefully will not bore or annoy you over time! It may be best to locate these colors in your furniture, floor coverings, or room accessories like paintings, lamps, or window coverings which will add subtle pops of color.

Movie Night

When thinking about a movie night most people imagine the smell of buttered popcorn, sticky floors, and fifteen minutes of previews. With Netflex, Hulu, and streaming services built right in to your tv, more people are staying in to watch movies and tv shows. Widely available technology is now affordable, making it easier to customize a dedicated space with HD televisions, surround sound and even an smart phone control panel.

Before beginning your theater, here are some components to consider:

  • Choosing the right room
    • Window locations, room shape, space large enough for desired furniture arrangement
  • List of all desired devices
  • Concealed wiring, receivers
  • Built-in components such as the display and speakers
  • Special theater-style seating
  • Remote controlled dimmable lighting and heating/air conditioning
  • Sound and light control
    • Wall materials: drywall is ok with the additions of drapes and room furniture
    • Additional sound absorbing wall panels 
    • Carpet instead of hard flooring
    • Darker paint color or black out curtains

The best advice we can offer is to visit your local tv and sound system supplier and listen and view the displays first hand. If it sounds and looks good, then it is the item for your home theater.

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Good Morning Sunshine

As we begin to design your home, we always start with a compass. By understanding the site orientation, we consider its relationship to the sun and sunlight. To maximize the natural light, we locate your most used rooms on south-southwest-west portions of the home.

Ideally, a room should have light from at least two sides. As expected, these rooms have the most glazing. Where light from a second side isn’t possible, we can provide light from above. Skylights, dormers, and clerestory windows are ways to sneak light in from above. These options bounce light around to dim corners creating a comfortable, bright living space.

Because our homes are built within Southeastern Michigan, it is to our advantage to make use of climate study. Not only does sunlight enhance your most used rooms, proper orientation of a new home allows you to take advantage of a powerful source of lower utility costs: passive solar energy. Orienting a building to accept the sun’s warmth in winter while avoiding excessive solar heat in summer is nothing new. Since you live in your home through Summer and Winter, we design it for the entire year. It is important to be comfortable all year long and not just for a single season.

sunpath Faux Skylight Stairwell Windows

No More Mud

Mud rooms are a secondary entryway intended as buffer zone before entering the main house. Often overlooked as a merely a storage space, a mud room serves to increase the cleanliness of the overall house. If designed correctly, a mud room can become the most organized and clean part of the house!

Instead of thinking of mudrooms as a cross between a utility room and a walk-in closet, they can become a space all their own. They are a place to stow outerwear, boots, sports gear and anything else you need before leaving home. In short, mudrooms bring order to the most used entry to your home. You can create a great mudroom even in a tight space — a well-designed corner inside a doorway can act as a “To-Go” space for keys, hats, gloves, and even reminder notes or calendar.

When we are designing a new home, we prefer to start the planning process by including a space for the mud room. The appearance, location, and layout can differ depending on whether a family of five or a couple are planning to use the space. In either case, storage “lockers” can make any mess of outerwear, backpacks, or purses appear neatly organized and allow each family member a space of their own. By tying in cabinetry or trim elements from the kitchen, the mud room will not need to be hidden behind a door, but a natural progression of your path to the garage or backyard.

To-Go counter

Mud Room “Lockers”

Mud Room built-in bench

Mud Room – arched cubbies

Space for Living

Living rooms were once a staple of residential spaces. Often defined by their formal furniture and desire to be rearranged, living rooms are a sticking point for many homeowners. Since “open floor plans” have become the norm for space planning, living rooms are no longer functional or necessary. With this space removed and reallocated, you will no longer be guilt ridden over not using your living room furniture!

When designing a new home or renovation, it is important to consider where you spend the most time in your house. Most likely this will be your kitchen and family room, guaranteed not to be your designated living room. With an open floor plan these living spaces (a dining room can also be included here) should be less defined by walls, but rather other elements. This flow of space differentiated by open arches, furniture, and/or cabinetry allows for more flexibility, further reducing the need for a separate formal living room.

In the plan below, you can see in pink “space for living” which includes in this case: morning room, kitchen, dining, and family room. This portion when combined is literally a Great Room.

Flowing light and space

View from the Kitchen into the Family Room