Mudroom Renovations that Transform Your Space

Mudrooms can be quite convenient, especially during wet weather when people enter the house to take off their boots. However, it’s likely your original vision for the mudroom, usually located off the garage or front/side door, has stood the test of time. Now, you may see more of a jumbled mess of coats, boots, backpacks and other miscellaneous items that just don’t seem to have a home. Here are some unique ways to transform your mudroom in an effort to add storage and keep it clean.mudroom-renovation

Roomy Storage Options

Even if you have a shoe rack or bins for shoes, chances are they don’t hold enough. Plus, it can be hard to find matching pairs when things are in a jumble. Instead, add large enough storage cubbies along the wall to fit two pairs of shoes together, and don’t be afraid to hang cabinetry higher up for larger items. Real Simple says door-free cabinets provide the perfect nook for bulky ski boots, while color-coded bins hide and unite by category awkwardly-shaped contents, such as flip-flops, sunscreen, and bug spray that you don’t need all year round. Shelves, while they may seem like an open-concept idea, actually encourage messes, as there’s no structure to them. You can still keep the shelving, but place brightly colored fabric bins with handles that are placed strategically so as to avoid dumping anything and everything in there. Incorporate wide wooden cubbies for each person’s stuff, such as hats and gloves, and label each one.

Colors

While you have more discretion with the mudroom than in other areas of the home and may feel more comfortable incorporating a bright cheery color, it may be best to go with a relaxing tone. Neutrals like beiges, pale grays, and light blues instantly put you at ease as you rush in the house from work, school or play. Just like you would do with a living or bedroom, go neutral on the walls and add splashes of color and patterns through photo collages on the wall and throw pillows on the benches.

Keeping Pathways Clear

Forget messy mats! To solve the shoe debate once and for all, install easy-access cabinets with drop-down doors to make it easy to place shoes in, then hide them so that traveling through the mudroom doesn’t become an obstacle course. This way, you can assign each family member his or her own cabinet and no one will lose another pair again. Hooks can also keep things off the floor and up where they need to be. There are some things that just need a hook for storage, such as jackets and backpacks, to be sure; but you also need a way to hang tiny items that tend to easily get lost, such as ear buds, and swim goggles.

Keeping it All Up

Once you get the mudroom makeover you’ve always wanted, it’s imperative you maintain it and keep it clean. That can be half the battle! Those messes will inevitably crop up again, which is why every member of the family has to be on board with keeping it neat. Display seasonal items down low in easily-accessible bins and cubbies so your kids can easily grab their snow pants and boots in the winter. However, once summer hits, place the winter stuff in bins up high and display all the flip flops and sun hats down below.

Mudroom makeovers can be as simple or complex as you want them, whether you’re looking to blow out a wall and increase the space, or maximize what you have.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Is Open Concept Design Still a Practical Design for Homes?

The open concept as it applies to the home is a widely popular one – one that has been gaining in popularity in recent decades thanks to its clean, streamlined look. The basic premise of open concept is, well, open! Without constraining walls that mark clearly-defined spaces such as living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens, the open concept has been enjoying its time in the sun as more and more architects over the years have scrambled to create a feeling of open space.

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Open Concept vs. Divided Floor Plan

It originally became popular because it made the home feel less cramped and defined, offering up more gathering space for entertaining where people could talk to one another no matter where they were in the living space. However, is the open concept still a practical one? Some say this design trend is on its way out. But why?

The New York Times reports that older buyers are starting to reject the open concept idea in favor of a divided floor plan, with the reason being that more and more people are entertaining at home with the desire to shut the kitchen out from the rest of the living space. The trend is still moving toward open living spaces, great rooms and combinations of family and dining rooms; however, older adults are gravitating toward the traditional floor plan perhaps because they’ve grown up with this type of layout.

Detractors of open concepts in homes have always stated that this type of modern layout leads to inefficient heating and cooling. Instead, they say, thermostats in each room can be adjusted to heat or cool just one small area rather than the whole house. While this can certainly be true in open concept homes with high ceilings and many hallways, today’s open concept home is designed with energy efficiency in mind. Designers strive to make the best use of space through a well-flowing floor plan that takes into consideration traffic patterns to eliminate so many hallways, utilizes several uses of space (such as doubling an office with a living room or kitchen with dining room), uses radius walls to make a space look larger, and enhances all the right angles with optimal lighting.

A Solution

What more remodelers and designers are seeing now is a blend between the two, with designated dining spaces that feature frosted glass or paneled sliding doors so homeowners can decide day to day whether to open it all up or keep it cozy. Many occupants still enjoy the open concept of the kitchen being part of the eating area. Why? The most popular gathering spot in any home is always the kitchen, so especially if you entertain a lot, you may want to keep it open so you can continue to interact with guests even though you’re popping appetizers in and out of the oven.

Bottom line is, Foster Remodeling Solutions can help you incorporate an energy-efficient, attractive and functional open concept idea in your home.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Creating Functional Living Spaces

Remodeling projects can be a great way to enhance your living space. Sure, these projects can spruce everything up, give your rooms an updated look and increase aesthetic appeal, but they can do so much more than that. Making your space functional rather than just pleasing to the eye can make all the difference in your daily life. When considering a remodel, don’t forget to factor in the usability of your space and how you will actually LIVE in it. Let’s check out some tips on how to create functional living spaces.

The Kitchen

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You could have the fanciest appliances and coolest granite countertops in the neighborhood but if the layout isn’t meeting your unique needs, you’re missing the point. Your kitchen doesn’t necessarily have to be huge; it just has to flow right. If you love to entertain, love to cook, or have a big family, planning your kitchen will take into account how you will use the space. What is your cooking style? What appliances are important to have? Do people tend to gather in your kitchen while you cook and serve? Do you want to be able to see other rooms of the house to keep an eye on pets and kids while you cook?

Traditionally, a triangle approach has been used when designing kitchens, where the stove, sink and fridge are located at the points of a triangle for most efficiency, according to HGTV. However, this works best for smaller kitchens. With today’s prevalence of more cooking, more chefs with their hands in the pot, and more entertaining within this space, the idea of the work station is taking hold. This approach provides task stations for each step of the cooking process: prep, cooking, storage, cleanup, eating, baking, etc. that make the space much more functional.

The Living Room

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Put your walls to work for you when considering a remodel of your living room space, placing shelves on one wall flanked by open cubbies on another, suggests Better Homes and Gardens. You may have purchased beautiful, expensive furniture and have plenty of sitting space, but overdoing it will make the room feel cluttered and hard to navigate. But there are ways to arrange the space to make it more functional.

Entertain a lot? Place sofas and arm chairs facing each other over a coffee table, for instance, to encourage easier conversation. While you may love your new open concept kitchen/dining/living room, it becomes necessary to define each space in some way to make them distinct and distinctly functional. To separate a dining room or kitchen area from the living room, use a sofa to mark the line between eating and relaxing.

The Dining Room

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Many people don’t even have formal dining rooms anymore. Instead, homeowners are opting for functional, multi-use space for eating and entertaining in one. The key to versatile planning lies in effective furniture placement. For instance, do away with the fancy chandelier over the table. This way, the table is not fixed to one spot forever. You can move it according to your entertainment and design needs. Instead of a traditional dining table, incorporate a high table with matching high chairs for a less formal bistro effect. Instead of carpeting marking the boundaries of your dining room from the rest of the house, use long hard wood planking to abolish this boundary and make the whole area uniform, blending into one another to encourage the look of more space.

Completing a successful remodel should have two goals: modernize your home and make it functional. Creating a functional space can be as simple as grouping furniture, and it can have a huge impact on the space.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

The Remodeling Process – How to Plan Your Home Remodel

When you are planning to remodel your home, the best way to ensure that the process will go smoothly is to plan as many details beforehand as you can. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for a remodel could spare you and your family lots of stress and wasted time. From starting the project at an optimal time to securing financing for the endeavor, a variety of factors should be considered before you begin.Screen-Shot-2014-07-30-at-4.44.02-PM

Special Considerations

When you’re organizing the details of your remodel, be sure to consider any changing circumstances or special needs related to your household. If your elderly parent may need to come live with you soon, you might include the addition of an extra room in your remodeling plans. This will prevent the need for another remodel later.

If anyone in your household suffers from asthma, be sure to discuss the issue with your contractor. A variety of materials can be installed to replace potentially irritating ones, such as wood instead of laminate for flooring. A contractor might also install custom-made cabinets and shelves to replace items that may exacerbate a chemical sensitivity.

Understanding the Timeline for a Remodel

Depending on the extent of your remodel, you may need to plan for a time frame of one or several months. If you’re simply having a guest bathroom remodeled, you might expect to allot a month or two from the time you begin planning through completion. Extensive renovations could take six months to a year or more. You’ll want to consider the time it takes to plan, consult, determine estimates, find materials, have materials delivered, get the work done, and deal with any unexpected events or complications.

Choosing the Best Time for the Project

Timing can be a critical factor in the success of your remodel. You’ll need to think about your lifestyle and circumstances. If your college-age student has just gotten engaged, you may want to start your remodel long before the wedding planning begins. If you want to have the project completed before the winter holidays, you might want to start the project in the spring. If you’re expecting a child, plan to have your remodeling completely finished well before the due date—the last thing new parents need is the added stress of living in a construction zone.

Budgeting and Financing

Once you’ve determined the improvements you wish to implement, you’ll need to estimate the overall budget for the project. If you don’t have the money to cover everything, you may need to secure financing. Financing possibilities for your remodeling project could include a personal loan, a home improvement loan, or financing via your contractor.

Preparing Your Home and Its Inhabitants

Be prepared for part of your home to become a temporary construction zone. Be sure to block off certain areas of your home with a temporary dust barrier. Keep all of your important belongings in a secure area of your home, and designate a convenient place to keep the things you use on a daily basis. You and your family should expect your home to be noisy at various times during the remodel process. If the kitchen will be under construction during your remodel, try to schedule the work so that you’ll be able to use it to store food and prepare meals for as long as possible.

A remodel involves a lot of details that must be considered. Whether you’re installing new flooring or renovating your kitchen, you’ll want the process to be as smooth as possible. With some careful thought and planning, you can implement a remodeling project efficiently and get the results you want.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

Fireplace Face-Lifts

There’s nothing like the ambiance and warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter night. A fireplace not only creates a cozy and romantic atmosphere, it is also a major architectural element. However, an outdated and unattractive fireplace surround can kill the mood and dampen any hopes of creating a stylish living space. Most Northern Virginia homeowners have either an old outdated 60’s style brick fireplace or an inexpensive builder grade gas insert and surround.

Fear not. There’s hope for the eyesore that is your current fireplace. A makeover can be easily accomplished. But, please remember, it is critical to understand the clearances required by law in relation to the fireplace opening. This is necessary in order to maintain the proper distance between the firebox and combustible materials. So, let Foster Remodeling Solutions help you get it right.

To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas that will give your tired, old fireplace a beautiful new look!

This couple in Annandale, VA was looking for a completely updated look, consider taking the brick down and replacing it with stone.  There are many great textures and shapes in cultured stone.  Cultured stone is a man-made product that looks exactly like stone.  Installing this type of material looks great when it goes all the way to the ceiling, and will make the room feel bigger.  This look can be rustic, traditional or modern, depending on the product.  Cement panels can be used as well, and it can be mixed with glass or stones for a unique look.

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If your brick façade goes wall to wall like this families home in Vienna, VA, you can put a few feet of cabinetry on each side.  Not only will you get more storage space, you will visually change the look of the room with a new texture on the wall.  Accessories on shelves will give even more texture, and glass items will reflect light.  Taking this one step further, you can add tile to the face around the fire box.  If your brick goes to the ceiling, you can drywall right over it as long as you leave a fireproof surface 12” around the firebox.  Drywall from the mantle up will be a dramatic change as well.

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Remodeling a fireplace is a common request at Foster Remodeling Solutions.  Our designers can come to your home and help you work out a design that will work with your décor and style, within your budget.

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If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!


Custom Remodeling Ideas for Growing Households

One reason people choose to put in home additions or do custom remodeling in Northern Virginia is to create more space for their growing households. Whether bursting at the seams is a side effect of merging families, new babies, aging parents or boomerang children, a home remodel can relieve the stress of a cramped house. Here are a few ways to make more room or better use of existing space for a growing household with a custom remodel.

Sinks
The latest trend in sinks for multiple users is the trough sink. It features two or more stations with spigots and handles over a sloped basin that feeds into a common drain. For the kitchen remodel, it suits the cook, who has extra helpers to wash the vegetables while they’re filling up a pan with water to cook them. In a bathroom remodeling project, a trough sink saves time, allowing various family members sink access at the same time. This is great for kids.

Garages
In households with several drivers, the standard two-hole garage isn’t enough. A three-hole garage and a circular driveway can accommodate extra vehicles, increasing safety and convenience for everyone.  Depending on the lay of the land, the garages can be attached or detached. If you’re looking for extra space but you have a spacious garage and very few drivers in your family, you could convert the existing unit into extra bedrooms or a home office.

Additions
Home additions can increase your living area dramatically. An extra wing on the back of the house offers extra bedroom space, which relieves the cramped feeling experienced by Northern Virginia homeowners in older houses. When the same exterior materials are used for additions, the home keeps its cohesion without losing its character. Changes to the existing layout can complement the addition. for example, open floor plans in the existing area create more space for large dining tables, more seating for family members by the TV and larger bedrooms.

Top Master Bedroom Remodeling Trends

Home remodeling trends in Northern Virginia reflect the changing attitudes that homeowners have about their homes. For most people, the days of remodeling for show and status are over. Improvements designed to make the most out of every square inch of space have become the new norm. Homeowners are interested in custom remodeling solutions that address their specific needs for convenience, privacy and comfort, particularly when it comes to their master bedrooms. These top four master suite design elements are among the hottest renovations trending this year.

1. Flexible Living Space
Homeowners are increasingly viewing their master bedrooms as a home within a home. With the right renovation, a master suite not only provides a space where people can retreat to enjoy some privacy and relaxation, but a place where they can work and play as well. Whether working on the next great American novel, catching up on work from the office or just enjoying the latest movie, homeowners want a living space that can adapt to a variety of uses. Bedroom remodels that include partitioned walls, niches and built-ins like cabinetry, shelves and window seats offer solutions.

2. Walk-In Closets
Banishing clutter is a key design goal of any effective master bedroom remodel, and no feature accomplishes this better than his-and-hers walk-in closets. Moving dressing and grooming tasks out of the bedroom not only helps keep the room tidy, but opens up space for other purposes as well. Expansive master bedroom closets can also increase the market value of your home. According to a survey conducted by a national real estate company, walk-in closets are listed as the second most important feature that homebuyers look for when shopping for homes. Only central air-conditioning was higher on their list of must-have features.

3. Master Bath Luxury
For many Northern Virginia homeowners, no master suite renovation is complete without adding luxury bathroom amenities that give the hard-working room the ambience of a home health spa. Choices for pampering amenities have moved beyond rainshowers and whirlpool bathtubs. The hottest trends in custom remodeling for bathrooms include steam showers, soaking tubs and radiant flooring. Heated towel bars and large, airy walk-in showers are popular options as well.

4. Outdoor Access
Master bedroom remodels providing access to the outdoors are another hot trend. Homeowners want to enjoy the serenity of the natural world from the comfort and privacy of their master suite with an adjoining balcony or deck, a skylight that offers glimpses of the night sky or a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. Outdoor spaces equipped with wet bars, fireplaces or even TVs and audio systems blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!

10 Elements to Remodel for a Family Addition

Starting a family can have a huge impact on how you view your home. When your family is expecting a baby, there’s more to a home remodeling project than converting the guest room into a nursery. Preparing your Northern  Virginia home for a new arrival can include added safety features, electrical and plumbing upgrades, comfort accents and practical changes. Here are 10 elements you should discuss with your Northern Virginia design and build contractor before deciding on the scope of your home renovations.
1. Safety
Keeping little ones safe is paramount, whether they’re infants, toddlers or even school-age children. Build safety features into your home through sturdy stair banisters, restricted access to stairwells and electrical rooms, kitchen cabinets and more.

2. Sound
Soundproofing rooms can work both ways. You may want to muffle sounds penetrating the walls of the nursery or protect other rooms in the house from loud crying. The floors and ceilings can also be soundproofed to minimize footsteps traveling to rooms below.

3. Lighting
Soft lighting with a dimmer switch can provide enough light to scare away monsters, yet be light enough to keep Mom or Dad from stubbing their toes on the crib in the dark.

4. Room to Crawl and Play
How much empty space is there in the baby’s room? While furniture is important, reducing clutter leaves plenty of room to crawl and play.

5. Home Sound System
When choosing elements for your home remodeling plans, a home sound system is another option. An intercom that connects sounds and communications to different rooms can be implemented. Some home security systems also offer similar features.

6. Generator
Adding a whole-home generator minimizes the inconvenience and health safety concerns when the power goes out. Hurricanes, ice and snow can cause downed power lines and outages for several hours or even several days. It comes on almost seamlessly when the power goes out and comes back on automatically when power is restored.

7. Visibility
An open floor plan on the ground floor increases visibility for parents and children who are in adjoining rooms. For example, a parent might be in the kitchen making up a bottle or a family meal while the baby is in the living room in the playpen or swing.

8. Flooring
Choose a surface that’s easy to clean and is resilient to stains and spills. Warm floors are an option for added cozy comfort.

9. Nursery Colors/Decor
Choose colors and decor that can adapt with age and interest. Pastels will make the room look bigger. Primary colors are attention-grabbers.

10. Room Location
When you first designated the room that is soon to become a nursery, you had a reason for putting it where you did. Whether it was the smallest room in the house or you didn’t want it near the master bedroom, now is the time to revisit the strategy of which room should become the nursery. Consider whether it’s big enough, if it’s close enough to parents and if heating and air conditioning are sufficient. Choosing a different room or planning other home renovations are other options.

Home Renovations: Taking Advantage of Your Basement Space

When you’re planning a Northern Virginia home remodeling project, the basement is always cause for thought. Often unfinished in older homes, the possibilities seem endless, from extra living space to recreational uses. While many basements in the area are enclosed, the walk-out entrance is often found on properties on a hill, adding even more options for how to use the space.

Efficiency
If you have family members moving in or college students who would love to move out but aren’t quite ready, create an efficiency unit. Putting in a kitchenette, a full bathroom, walk-in closets, a bedroom and a TV area would create a home away from home for someone who wants the privacy without the added responsibility and expenses of their own place. Their own entrance creates a feeling of privacy and independence.

Pool
The basement entrance is ideal to accompany a backyard pool. A downstairs bathroom remodel could convert a half bath to a full bathroom, providing a whirlpool or a sauna. Include a convenient place for guests to shower and change. As part of a bathroom remodeling project, an adjoining vanity or dressing room would be ideal. This eliminates guests — or even the kids — from tromping through the upper levels and getting the kitchen floors and hallways wet after a swim. Extending the basement entrance to a pool deck or patio makes a smooth transition from outdoors to indoors.

Fitness Center
The basement is an ideal place for a fitness center. It eliminates the inconvenience of going out to the gym. There are few excuses for missing a workout when all you need to do is change your clothes and walk downstairs. It also eliminates having to coordinate child care and transportation. Sturdy flooring, such as slate, decorative cement or carpeting, can support everything from stationary bikes to treadmills. Add in a media center to make the workout area more interesting. Because the fitness center is in the basement, there are few worries about the strength of the structure or the noise from exercise machines.

7 Pet-Friendly Home Remodeling Ideas

Family members come in different shapes and sizes. Some have more legs than others. When planning a home remodel, you might want to consider built-in features for your pets. Cats and dogs have a certain amount of possessiveness over their homes. They have their favorite spots to sun themselves during the daytime and their favorite places to sleep at night. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats in homes throughout the U.S. If some of them live at your house, you might want to make your home more pet-friendly while you’re planning a Northern Virginia home remodeling project for your family.

1. Fencing
If your dog likes to go outside, one of the most pet-friendly home additions you can make is a fence. Give your dog full access to the back yard or add a run that provides plenty of room to play and exercise.

2. Flooring
Hard and smooth flooring, like hardwoods and certain types of laminates, can be noisy and sometimes cause pets to slip and lose their traction or balance. Pets with nails and those who aren’t housebroken can be tough on hardwood floors. Carpet, vinyl and ceramic tile are easy to keep clean and are easy to walk on. Warm flooring is another popular feature for pets. Temperatures can range up into the mid-90s.

3. Older Animal Access
Older animals need some extra pampering. Ramps or moving platforms instead of steps can make things easier on aging joints, especially for larger dogs. A pet-sized tub in the laundry room with steps for easy access makes bath time easier for everyone.

4. Food and Water Sources
Set up a custom food and water station. Build it into your kitchen island or the laundry room. An endless fresh water fountain is one way to avoid the concern of dirty water dishes. Water-resistant flooring or a shelf covering for dog dishes is easy to clean and reduces spills and splashes.

5. Windows
Windows can provide hours of entertainment for your pets. A floor-level window with a place to roost can be the perfect place your cats or dogs to watch the birds and other activities outside while they’re safely inside. A sliding window with a screen offers a fresh breeze. Cats might also enjoy a high perch area with a view.

Cat Tunnels and Trees
Built-in tunnels and walkways are a treat for cats. Diagonal walks and cubbyholes both high and low help them to get their exercise and find a cozy place to snooze. Incorporate cat trees and litter-boxes-in-disguise into a design and build home remodeling project for your favorite felines.

Dog Houses
Create an indoor or outdoor place for your favorite canines that is all their own. Start with an indoor space complete with furniture that’s all right for them to sit or lay on without creating a fuss. Provide outdoor access that leads to an outside dog house that provides shade and comfort when they’ve had plenty of time to play.

If you want to incorporate some special features for the family pets in your Northern Virginia custom remodeling project, our Foster Remodeling design and build team can help you add some creature comforts to your house that will make everyone happy.

If you would like to talk about ideas for remodeling or renovating your home in Fairfax, Mclean, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria, Arlington, and Falls Church VA, reach out to us at Foster Remodeling. Call now for a free consultation!