Getting Started

Polish or Demolish? How To Decide Whether To Renovate or Tear Down a House

If you’re thinking of building a new home, you’re probably looking at empty property – a lot in a subdivision, or like many of my clients, a larger bit of land further out.

Or maybe you’re buying an existing house with the intent to renovate it and make it your home.

But what if you’re somewhere in between – you’re building a new house, but the property you’re thinking of buying already has a house on it. When does it make sense to fix it up, and when does it make sense to tear it down and start over?

Planning Ahead to Avoid Problems with Your New Home or Renovation

Two demons wait for unsuspecting homeowners, hoping for their chance to gobble up time and money on new home and remodeling projects.

The Ripple Effect lurks quietly in the background. Just like the movements on the pond surface for which it’s named, The Ripple Effect starts out small and grows, expanding until it engulfs the entire project.

4 Strategies for Getting Your New Home Past the Dream Stage

So you’ve been dreaming about your new or remodeled home for a long time now. You’ve looked at dozens – maybe hundreds – of house plans online.

You’ve built up a huge collection of photos on Houzz, or Pinterest, or both.

And yet somehow, you don’t feel any closer to your dream house. Maybe you even feel a little further away from it. You thought that by taking your time and collecting ideas and information you’d make progress, but instead, you’re stuck.

farmhouse kitchen remodel

5 Rules for Better Home Design

Recently a friend asked me to help him figure out the proper size for a family room addition he was designing. He was looking for some “rules of thumb” that would guarantee a comfortable, “architecturally-correct” space – a short cut to a good design, because lot of money was at stake and he didn’t want to do it wrong.

You might be surprised to hear (from me, anyway) that much of what you need to get good design is something you (the non-architect!) already have – the ability to do a little research; plenty of patience; knowledge of your own personal comfort; and reasonably good taste.

When Is A Design Trend Not A Trend?

A client of ours called the other day to tell us she’d just returned from the local “Street of Dreams” (also called the Street of New Homes, New Home Show, Home Parade, or something similar depending on where you are), and said she had a few new thoughts about the home design we’re working on with her.

Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad, but generally, we don’t recommend that our clients make a habit of visiting home shows for design ideas.

10 Reasons Why I Love Old Tudor-Styled Homes

I’ve always liked Tudor Revival-styled homes, but it seems I’m in the minority. In more than two decades of Residential Architecture practice, I’ve had one client express an interest in English Tudor style.

One.

I’ve mentioned it to a few other clients over the years, but the reaction I typically get is something along the lines of “yuck”, “ewww”, and “I hate Tudor”.

I hear similar sentiments from real estate agents and homebuilders, too.

That’s too bad, because once upon a time, Tudors were loved.

These 4 Keys Are Essential When Choosing A Site For Your House

Great home design always starts with the site – a truly special home is never designed first, then placed on the property. That’s because good home design responds to the site in ways that improve the quality of the home and the experience of daily living.

So it’s important to carefully evaluate possible building sites before you start designing, and a good place to start is with the four “S‘s” – Slope, Sun, Soil, and Sewer.

3 Big Differences Between Building in a Subdivision and Building on “Raw” Land

It’s tempting to look at the rural property, the remote wooded land, or the 5-acre lakeside lot when you’re planning a new home.  Raw, undeveloped land can be far more appealing than a rectangular lot in a subdivision with houses on either side.

The majority of my custom home clients build on undeveloped land, because they want the trees, the views, the freedom to build what they want, and mostly, the space.

Raw land has many advantages – but before you commit to building your home in a cornfield, be sure to consider the additional work and expenses.

Can’t get Started? 5 Ideas to Jump-Start your New Home or Remodeling Project

I think I’ve heard every imaginable reason why prospective clients are anxious about getting started on a new home project. A few of the most common are:

  • I can’t find a design that I like
  • I’m afraid of the whole process of designing and building
  • I don’t know if my ideas make sense
  • I just can’t visualize a design
  • I don’t know how to start looking for land / houses / plans / Architects / builders