Details and Materials

What Is Quality Construction?

A friend of mine put me on the spot when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she was looking to purchase.  “I’m not sure what I should be looking for” she asked. “What is quality construction?”

For the price, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

What’s The Best Kind of Stone To Use On Your House?

My clients and I talk a lot about the materials we’ll use on the outside of their homes, especially windows, siding, roofing, brick, and exterior stone veneer.

Stone in particular is a frequent topic, because while everyone knows what stone looks like, they aren’t often aware of the wide variety of stone types and colors, and don’t always know “real” stone from “cultured” stone – something that can impact the design of a home from the very beginning.

How To Safely Store A Valuable Car When There’s No More Room In The Garage

I bought my first car when I was fifteen years old.  My dad had it dragged back to our garage, and I spent the next year – until I was old enough to drive – taking the car apart, fixing it, and eventually putting it back together again. But since the garage attached to our suburban home held only two cars (and we didn’t have a car storage lift), that meant someone’s car had to stay outside.

That arrangement probably won’t work at your house, but if you’ve got more cars than garages, what can you do?

craftsman custom home bedroom

Why Every Bedroom Must Have an Egress Window

Do you know what a bedroom egress window is?  If you’re building or remodeling a home, you should.

Houses can be dangerous places.  They’re usually built of wood and other flammable materials, they’re full of electrical wires, and the people that live in them sometimes forget to turn off the stove.

Which mean every now and then, they catch fire.

colonial home office attic remodel

5 Ideas for Built-ins for Your Home Office

A big home office used to be a fairly common room in the homes I’ve designed, back when “working from home” required a separate, private room. It had doors to close it off from the rest of the house and lots of home office built ins.

That’s not the norm these days – with laptops, tablets, and home networking in most houses, Mom and Dad can get work done from almost any room.

But the home office hasn’t disappeared completely…it’s just taking up a lot less space.  Sometimes it’s a much smaller room, and sometimes it’s a wall of custom built-in cabinets and shelves, like the ones in these RTA projects:

Great Ideas for Custom Built-in Bookshelves

I clearly remember everyone talking about a “paperless society” a few decades ago.  It was the dawn of the “digital era”, and all the buzz was about how email and digital documents would soon almost completely replace printing anything on paper. Digital documents have certainly become a preferred method of data transfer for many of us (how many emails do you send and receive every day?) but there’s still plenty of paper around – so we still need built in bookshelf ideas.  Some things, it seems, just don’t work quite right in a digital format.

prairie ranch family room

8 Great Built-In Seating Areas

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house – a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench – maybe it’s a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it’s worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home – a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.

6 Custom Built-in Ideas That Might Fit Into Your Home Design Plans

Most of the homes and most of the remodeling projects we design include some sort of “built-in” somewhere in the house.

Built-ins are custom-designed, made-from-scratch parts of the house that are designed for very specific purposes. Sometimes they’re bookshelves; sometimes they’re built as seating, and sometimes they hold wine bottles – built-ins can be designed to do whatever you need them to do.