Creating a Relaxing Environment With a Home Addition

There is more to life at home than eating, sleeping and watching TV. If you don’t have the space to do things you enjoy, it might be time for a home addition to increase your square footage. Create a special place where you can relax, have fun and actively improve your health. Relaxation and exercise can reduce tension and improve sleeping habits. These are elements that can be incorporated into the plans for your home addition for a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Games
Improve your lifestyle with a recreation room. Put in your own activity center with games and gadgets you love. From dart boards and cornhole to classic videos games, billiards and large screen TVs, this room can be a different type of entertainment center. It’s one where you like the music, the comfortable feel and the perfect floor. You don’t have to worry about damaging the walls or disturbing the neighbors. You can address those details and concepts with your design build contractor through soundproofing and protective surfaces. If you’ve got the space, add a bowling alley, a wet bar or a basketball hoop.

Fitness Center
If you don’t seem to use your membership to the local fitness center because it’s too inconvenient, move the fitness center to your basement. Furnish it with your favorite equipment and make it a place of comfort and motivation. From yoga mats and heated flooring to music and TV monitors for distraction, your fitness center can provide a personal environment where no one will judge you by what you’re wearing or how long you stay on your stationary bike. A heating and cooling system with a separate thermostat can help you stay comfortable during your workout. An adjoining bathroom can offer a quick and convenient place to clean up or to relax in a spa tub after a tough workout.

Woodworking & Crafts
Having a special place in your home to escape stress and let your creative juices flow is just as important as improving your kitchen, reinventing your bedroom or adding on a garage. A room designed for crafting or woodworking focuses on storage space, ample electrical outlets, suitable ventilation, sturdy flooring and comfortable workspaces.

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!

A Closer Look at Flooring in Home Remodeling Projects

Flooring is sometimes an afterthought when you’re thinking about a home remodeling project. Space, fixtures, function and colors are usually the first things most homeowners want to change right off the bat, but floors play a prominent part in the look and feel of your home.

Hardwood Floors
Many of the homes in Northern Virginia were built with hardwood floors. Some of them are in wonderful shape and can be refinished as part of your home remodeling project. If they no longer fit your footprint, they can be repurposed if they are still in good condition. Hardwood floors are a strong and suitable option for nearly any room in the house. From wide planks to thin strips, they add sophistication and beauty to bedrooms, hallways, staircases, hobby spaces, and living and dining rooms. For new hardwood flooring, look for modern choices in very hard varieties like mahogany, cypress and teak. Oak, maple and ash are also durable and popular. Engineered wood floors are layered wood, rather than solid planks, but still wood nonetheless. Hardwood flooring is easy to clean, but can pick up divots and scratches under high traffic and vigorous activities. Hardwood flooring is available in a wide range of colors and coordinates well with almost any room decor.

Natural Stone
Natural stone surfaces are popular choices in Northern Virginia kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations and home additions. They are featured not only in flooring, but for countertops, vanities and other purposes. Natural stone floors are durable and easy to maintain when they are sealed. The distinctive tones and patterns in travertine, granite, slate, marble and quartz add color and depth to any room. Natural stone flooring is especially fitting in the kitchen, hallways and bathrooms. If you’re looking for a sturdy flooring material for your outdoor spaces, sealed natural stone is a great place to start.

Carpeting
While soft and warm on the feet and comfortable to sit on, fewer homeowners are using wall-to-wall carpeting in home remodeling projects. It is hard to clean, tough on those with allergies and provides unique challenges for people with pets and small children. Area rugs are a popular choice for purpose-specific rooms and provide extra protection for floors in high traffic areas, especially entrances and playrooms.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile
If you’re looking for a splash of color and distinctively sophisticated patterns, the answer may lie in ceramic tile or its subset of porcelain. While durability isn’t their strong-suit for high traffic areas, porcelain is the stronger of the two and works well in the bathroom, or hallway. Save ceramics for lightly traveled areas. They are both well-suited to mosaics and patterned designs, and are a popular choice in Northern Virginia bathroom remodeling projects.

If you’re interested in seeing what different flooring choices would look like in your home, visit our Foster Remodeling Solutions Design & Selection Center in Lorton. One of our professional designers can walk you through the process with our Design CAD drawings and help you choose flooring options that are suitable in looks, quality, durability and maintenance for your Northern Virginia residential remodeling project.

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!

Staircases: Taking the Next Step in Remodeling Projects

One of the things that makes a home feel old and worn is the sound of creaks and groans as people walk through it. One of the noisiest places is usually on the stairs. This is noticeable in many homes throughout Northern Virginia, including those in Arlington. Stairs are more than just a means to travel from one floor to the next. They are a focal point for the household. Most older homes have a single main staircase located in the center of the home, although some that were built specifically with servants quarters may have a second, smaller staircase in the rear of the house as well.

Stair Replacement
If your home is more than 10 years old, the steps probably creak when you climb. It might be just one or two spots, or it might seem like every step has something to say. When considering the details of your residential remodeling project, don’t take your stairs for granted. It might be time to replace or reinforce your existing staircase as part of your home renovation. This is a good time to check their structural integrity, especially if they’re noisy. You might find loose steps or even cracks and gaps if you look underneath. Most homes in the area that have hardwood floors have matching steps. Some have been covered with carpeting. If you remove the carpeting, you might find steps that are worn hard in the middle and are barely touched on the sides. These can be replaced as part of your Arlington design build remodeling project. You can move or change the effect of the staircase by changing its direction, its color and its shape. You may want to move an attached pony wall for a different appearance altogether.

Railings and Posts
Change your railings to bring them up to code or to modernize your stairs with the rest of your home’s new look. Some homeowners prefer to use iron instead of wood; others want to close the gaps between the slats to make them more child-friendly. A post at the bottom of the stairs can take many shapes, from large to small to round to square.

New Staircase
Building a new staircase into Arlington home additions can create convenience, flair and depth in your layout. They are especially effective if you are adding a second floor over the first and when you are significantly increasing the square footage of your house. Remember, steps don’t have to be a straight line up and down. They can curve and turn to maximize your space. They can also have short flights and a landing to make traversing them easier.

Our Foster Remodeling design and build team can help you decide how to change your existing staircase or where to put a new one. At the very least, we can reinforce what you have so that your stairs don’t creak and talk to you every time you cross over them. We can incorporate this in the rest of your Arlington home remodeling project.

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!

Making An Entrance With Home Additions

Building an addition onto the front of your house can balance out other changes in a multi-faceted Northern Virginia home remodeling project. When changing the number of stories or extending the higher floors already in place, adding another dimension to the front is one way to increase square footage and have more space to call your own. An overhang or structure above the front door provides visual sophistication and protection from the weather. Add outdoor lighting along the walkway and the entrance to make your guests feel safe with a warm welcome.

Porches and Porticos
One way to make your house grander is to add an entrance to your front door. Rather than a simple doorstep and a flat front, creating another dimension to your home with a distinctive front walk that ends in a porch or portico – or both — makes a statement. Add furniture to the porch for a cool respite from the hot Northern Virginia sun and perhaps an outdoor ceiling fan for those muggy summer days when you don’t want to be cooped up inside. A wide entryway should blend in well with the front of a two-story or three-story Colonial-style home. A covered front walk over a split-level or split-foyer house is another option.

Welcome Area
Consider features like columns or a veranda along the entryway that turn a flat front door into a grand entrance that lets your guests know that they have arrived. It can give texture and character to the house where matching and coordinating colors and trim are used. The angles of the new roof can mimic the rest of the home’s roof pitch to make it fit in while standing out.

Making Connections
For a ranch-style home where you’re putting a home addition on the back, a wrap-around porch that connects the new addition and opens up near the front door is another way to add depth and grandeur to your home.

Changing your entrance and building a home additions Arlington VA should take into account the shape of your property and the current structure of your house. To learn more about the possibilities for making your home larger and more welcoming to your visitors and guests, contact our office at 703-550-1371.

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!

Incorporating Natural Lighting Into Home Additions

When planning a residential remodeling project for a Northern Virginia house, some homeowners are interested in adding as much natural light to their homes as possible. There are several ways to do this. From large sliding glass doors to bay window seating to skylights and sunrooms, the addition of natural light can brighten up a room and lessen the need for light fixtures. Also, many modern LED lighting fixtures don’t emit the warmth that incandescent light bulbs have to offer. Natural lighting can add some warmth to a room, and the type of windows and window treatments used will affect just how much.

Skylights
For rooms that have no exterior walls, skylights offer a natural lighting alternative. They also provide added value to your property. Skylights can be installed in nearly any existing room in the home or incorporated into a Northern Virginia home addition project.

Sunrooms
One of the most popular options for adding windows and natural lighting is through a sunroom, or Florida room. If you’re adding extra square footage and you want to feature a scenic area on your property or off in the distance, a sunroom is an excellent choice for a Northern Virginia home addition. This also creates the perfect place for hanging plants and greenery.

Bay Windows
Bay or bow windows add more light than standard windows. They also add extra space and make rooms feel bigger. Incorporate a bay window into your kitchen remodeling project or in a master bedroom addition. Incorporate cushioned seating and extra storage space into the area below a bay window for a cozy place to curl up or add a table in front for a pleasant view from your breakfast nook.

Glass Walls
Some windows can take up an entire wall. This is a great way to appreciate a beautiful view on a lakefront home, a wooded lot or the rolling foothills of the Shenandoah mountains off in the distance. Sliding glass doors leading onto the porch from the living room or dining room are another option.

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!

Whole Home Remodeling Meets the Changing Family Dynamic

For many Alexandria homeowners, making changes in the house is necessary to meet the needs of the changing family dynamic. For those whose older parents are joining the household, a home remodeling project means more than just converting a nursery into a comfortable bedroom. Instead, the trend is to make several changes to the existing structure and create an in-law addition as well. This allows the family to use the existing space more efficiently while building a safe, close and comfortable place for parents. At the same time, families with young children need room for them to grow. Oftentimes, they will buy a home with the intention of building out the attic or the basement into individual bedrooms when the kids are older. All of these needs of the changing family dynamic can be met through a carefully planned design build remodeling project for the Alexandria home.

Remodeling Versus Moving
There are a number of reasons why homeowners prefer to remodel instead of buying a larger home. One important point is availability. According to Trulia.com, the number of listings on the Alexandria residential housing market has steadily decreased over the past year. The options are simply not there. Rather than relocating and trying to find a larger home that meets the family’s needs, it is more practical to stay in the same neighborhood and make some changes. This is a critical reason for families who love where they live, but just feel a bit cramped with the addition of new members into the household or demand for more space as the children get older. For those new to the area, it may make more sense to buy an Alexandria home that comes close to their preferences and make necessary changes to it before moving in, rather than holding out for something that may never materialize. Changes to flooring, ceilings, lighting, wall structure and appliances can be made to suit the household, customized to the family’s needs and wants.

Home Additions
Adding an in-law suite offers parents of adult children privacy and comfort without compromising their need for independence. They can design a bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath and storage space to meet their individual needs. Mobility features can be designed into the plans for comfort and safety. For Alexandria properties that have space on either side of the present structure, home additions on the opposite side of the house from in-law suites can accommodate garages, additional bedrooms, home offices and entertaining areas. When building on to the rear, second and third stories over the existing structure can offer much-needed bedroom, bathroom and living space. Decks and hardscapes are also options.

When combining all of these projects into one, the structure and style of the home is protected. The grandchildren can have improved space, like their own bedrooms, without feeling neglected or compromised. The seniors can have their independence and privacy without overly concerning their adult children. The parents can have peace of mind.

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!

Making Your Home Accessible to Aging In Place

The oldest of the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) reached the age of 65 last year in 2011 and by 2030 the number of Americans over the age of 65 will soar to 72.1 million, 1 out of every 5 Americans!  Given those numbers there is no question why we get so many calls here at Foster Remodeling on how to remodel an existing home to make it more comfortable and accessible for the homeowners as they age.  In fact, according to a recent AARP survey, 73% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement “What I’d really like to do is stay in my current residence for as long as possible”.  Most homes, especially in Northern Virginia, weren’t designed with long-term accessibility in mind, but there are several projects that can make you and your family more at ease with you staying in your home as long as possible.

Kitchens are great way to update a home’s accessibility and a valuable remodel that many can enjoy over the years.  In the same AARP study, 75% of Boomers didn’t feel their current kitchen layout met their living needs; there are a few ways to update your kitchen.  For this generation transitioning from a 42” bar height table or overhang to a 28” or 30” height is more accessible should one need a walker or wheel chair in the future.  Also, because kitchen space is frequently used by Boomers and other generations alike a standard-height table or island for social gathering is ideal.  Creating wider walkways or paths throughout the kitchen and adjacent rooms provides easier mobility.  Storage options should be easily reachable and/or pull out, older cabinets without rollouts or few drawers can be taxing for those with back problems.  Keep hardware in mind as well, for those suffering from arthritis or hand-mobility/gripping issues small knobs can be difficult, but larger pulls can be much easier to manipulate.

Another room where updates should be provided is the bathroom.  Maneuverability should be a priority in a bathroom, providing a 60” turnaround (minimum size needed for a wheel-chair to turn) if the space allows or an acceptable T-turn space should be planned for.  Creating a shower with zero-threshold allows for easy entry and exit into and out of the shower space with no tripping hazards.  If a bathtub is a requirement, grab bars with adequate bracing behind them should be installed to ease entry and exit.  Benches are also a high-demand item which can be built-in or installed as a fold-down to accommodate those who have problems standing.  When thinking about faucets and shower valves, lever handles are much easier to manipulate and installing a separate handheld shower provides ease of use.  Toilets have come a long way, and many companies have “comfort height” or ADA approved height versions which typically have a seat height of 17”-19” above the floor, a much easier location to lower to and rise from.  Keep in mind that many of these features can be integrated into the overall design so it needn’t feel institutional or hospital-like.  Many of our clients are surprised at how gorgeous their “universally designed” bathrooms are when the project is complete.

There are several small areas around the house that one should also think about when remodeling.  With flooring, low or zero-thresholds between surfaces is important because of tripping hazards.  Typically we recommended hardwood, laminate or tile flooring since it is a smooth surface that is easy to get around on and dust is less likely to collect on hard surfaces compared to carpeting for those with respiratory problems to consider.  If you really feel more comfortable with carpet, consider a low pile height.  Hardware on doors should be levers, as knobs again, can be difficult to manipulate.  At the entry point of the home, creating a clear accessible path to a no step covered door is ideal, also providing a 36” wide opening of the door to accommodate walkers or a wheelchair.  If possible, we’ve had many clients relocate their master bedroom to the first floor or add an addition to accommodate a first floor master suite for themselves or aging parents.

As many of our clients or their parent’s age, we know what your concerns are and can help you plan for them.  In a Genworth 2010 study of Cost of Care, they found the average cost of a 1 bedroom single occupancy assisted living facility was $38,220, multiply that by 5, 10, 15 years and you are looking at a large investment.  For many families whether they are keeping parents in their own house or joining them into their own homes, we can guide you to make smart choices to keep you or your family as independent as long as possible.  We know how important your home is to you, so whether you or a loved one is looking to remodel or update to accommodate your lifestyle give us a call.

How Much Unused Space Is In Your Basement?

How Much Unused Space Is In Your Basement? Is the basement the most neglected space in your home? When it exists as one wide-open space at the bottom of a long stairway, it often serves as the catch-all place for junk and storage. It does not have nice furniture or wall decorations. Sometimes it doesn’t even have a finished ceiling. This is where the large appliances live – the washer and dryer, or maybe the extra refrigerator and freezer. It’s where you put Aunt Mary’s old couch or let the kids finger paint on a rainy day.

Is your basement a hidden gold mine of space? Imagine it with more walls. Maybe it’s time for you to do some custom remodeling. Divide the basement into two or three more rooms. There would still be plenty of room for storage and appliances, but the wide-open space can probably be used much more efficiently. Maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but never seem to get to.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Bedroom

Who needs their own bedroom? Has your family expanded since you bought the house? Maybe your children are sharing a room. Things might be a little more peaceful if they had their own rooms. Teen-agers would definitely agree with that.

Bathroom

Has someone in your home been dubbed a “bathroom hog”? This might be one way to solve the problem. Improve the one you have with a remodel to add a shower or tub. If there is no bathroom downstairs, adding one is probably easier than you think. Click here for Inspiration!

Playroom

Do the kids have a safe place to play where they can be a little noisy? Give them their own haven with soft floors and cozy furniture. Make a playroom big enough for the train set, the Barbie dolls and the Wii.

Storage Room

Are things piled up in the basement? Use shelving to make the most of all that space. Line the walls with storage units or rows of shelves to store paint cans, small appliances and sports gear. Anything that is in boxes or piled up in a corner can be neatly stowed away until it is needed.

Entertainment

Do you need a comfortable place for another TV or are you ready for a new entertainment center? Put sound proofing in the walls and move Aunt Mary’s couch in here. Add a small fridge and a bar with a sink for cold drinks and refreshments during the game or a movie. This can become a room for rest, relaxation and enjoyment.

Computer Room

Do you have a computer room? This might be a good place to put one. Maybe your office upstairs is too noisy or distracting. Move it downstairs to the basement and convert the room upstairs into something else, like a bedroom. Consider installing wireless networking to make it compatible with your laptop.