Archive for 'Renovation'

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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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?

Basics:

  • 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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Light Bright

The lowly incandescent light bulb was once a household staple illuminating lamps, chandeliers, and fixtures. For a few dollars you could buy a light bulb suitable for any application that was guaranteed to glow as expected. As incandescent bulbs and their energy wasting filaments have been phased out, a new wave of light bulb types, styles, and lingo has erupted.

  1. Halogens
    1. Halogens are the incandescent’s brighter, hotter burning cousin still used for under-cabinet and can lighting, but quickly falling out of favor due to their inefficiency and price.
  2. Fluorescents
    1. These fragile tubes recall your old basement with their cold, blueish, humming light. They are still widely used to light up large spaces like garages or basements, yet new styles in warmer hues make fluorescents a good choice.
  3. CFLs
    1. Originally praised by all as the incandescent’s replacement, the CFL or Compact Fluorescent Bulb is a highly efficient light source easily recognized by its coil. Unlike its predecessor the fluorescent, the CFL lights up quickly, available in color-correct tones, and usable where you’d put an incandescent. However, the CFL contains mercury and should be carefully taken care of if broken and recycled when burnt out.
  4. LEDs
    1. LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes are long lasting and efficient bulbs that are perfect for task lighting. While LEDs provide direct light, they can be clustered for more dispersed lighting and even equipped with dimmable options. While they are higher in cost, they may be worth it depending on their application.

These four light bulb types comprise the basics of all lighting elements. But where do Edison bulbs come into play? These warm-white hued bulbs are popping up in new restaurants and homes verging on the point of over saturation, yet this is only increasing their desirability. With a vibrant glow reminiscent of early 20th-century lighting, Edison bulbs are a modern LED designed to appear antique.

We understand light and its spatial effects inside and outside of a home. It is essential we take extra care in laying out the electrical plan and selecting lighting elements to achieve the desired feel, while still providing enough task lighting.

When designing a new home or renovation, lighting can contribute as much to a space as architecture itself! 

Elegant Edison

Elegant Edison

Exposed and glowing filaments

Exposed and glowing filaments

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

Best Practice Forward

We hold the philosophy that a firm can provide the best service and outcome by specializing in both architecture and construction. We are a design-build company which allows us to better manage the overall process.

Today I had long conversation with a client for whom we are quoting a new house. He had been meeting with his designer and architect detailing his new home every week for about three months. We had offered our office as a convenient location for them to meet, but had not been involved until this point. I presented the budget to him and noted it was significantly higher than buying our new Indian Mound house. By analyzing his specifications, I was able to present a comparison between remodeling his current home versus purchasing a new residence. To his surprise, I revealed how he could save money, several hundred thousand dollars of savings!

The client realized his focus was previously on his existing home and he would never have taken seriously the idea of buying a new home before a side by side comparison of the numbers. Unfortunately, we will have to backtrack by altering the plans, specs, and designs to fit the Indian Mound house. In the end, he wishes we would have been a part of the meetings earlier on and now insists on reviewing all the plans and specs as they are being developed.

It is best to work with a design-build firm not only to save clients from anguish in the future, but also to make the most of your time and dollar. Here are examples:

-We specialize in homes, your home, that’s all we do. Our focus on residential projects is reflected in our slogan “extraordinary traditional homes”.

-You will not have to backtrack as you are a part of the full process: design, specifications, and budget.

-You can see the cost implications as you are designing.

-Your project will get started faster

-Your project will be executed to a higher level of accuracy and quality because our team members are involved in through the entire process. We have assembled a reliable network of talented engineers, architects, interior designers, and trades who all work to gain a thorough understanding of the project and desired result, allowing you to focus on the details that matter most. No other residential architectural firm in Michigan can boast of such a seamless process from concept to construction.

This assumes you know and trust your chosen design build firm. By talking to previous clients we have worked with, building officials, material suppliers, or touring our finished homes, you can get a sense of our reputation. Please do not hesitate to ask for our references.

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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.

Built-in Convenience

Yesterday I was in my laundry putting some gift tags into the wrapping center we had built-in several years ago.  It occurred to me that the wrapping center was a microcosm of a house: a collection of ideas and miscellaneous second thoughts that could be used to improve the overall function of a house.

Where would I have stored all the wrapping papers, ribbons, tape, boxes, and gift labels if I didn’t have the wrapping center?  The most obvious answer is I would have stuffed them into a single drawer in my closet or pantry.  The built in was, thanks wife, a great idea. Instead of purchasing plastic bins or a shelving unit, we have an attractive, dedicated space for birthdays, holidays, and celebrations. How many other simple built-ins could make a family’s life more pleasant? While I understand there are other larger and pressing concerns when building a home, when it comes to your home as a sanctuary, maybe a little thought should go into these details when planning home or a renovation.  We do it all day for clients.  Here are some ideas that might help you:

  1. Window seats with hidden storage beneath the bench
  2. A library with hidden panels to conceal a bit of unorganized chaos
  3. Window desk with doors to hide paperwork
  4. Pantry door made to appear like a cabinet door
  5. Shoe shelves in the mud room allow for a dedicated place for mud and snow melt
  6. Cubbies or lockers for hats, gloves, and bulky coats
  7. Pet center to conceal cat litter, pet food, etc.

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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.