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Remodeling

Home Design Plans – Unique Style Options and Considerations

Choosing the best home design plans is a difficult task. Because there are so many different options out there, it can be confusing to keep track of everything that you have to choose from. Figuring out the best design involves looking at the options, so here are some great ideas to help you start your search for the perfect home design plans:
Architectural: These plans are all about architectural style, providing larger floor space and more unique details that will surely catch the eye of anyone looking at your house. Lofty ceilings and open floor plans are a must-have, along with unique architectural elements that add a touch of beauty and elegance to every residence.
Classic: Classic home design plans feature an upper-market version of traditional weatherboard houses, and are available in single and two storey designs.
Modern: Freestyle houses have a monoplane roof style, perfect for the city or the beach. Having the single plane roof design is more modern and upscale, and there are many different styles and sizes of homes to choose from. Those who enjoy modern function and design will appreciate this style of house.
These are just a few different styles of home design plans that you can choose from.
More important elements of designing a new house are the interior and exterior features. Cladding, brick colour and style, roof style and material, colour steel fascia and guttering to compliment your choice of roof and cladding, garage door and aluminium joinery are just some of the exterior features that you will need to decide upon when customising your home design plans.
In terms of interior features you also have many considerations including: colour of the walls, doors, lever handles and door stops, blinds for the bathrooms, living areas and bedrooms. In the kitchen you need to select bench tops and cabinetry, in the bathroom – taps and shower mixers, and then flooring for the house. There is a wide range of pure wool carpets to choose from, or you may be more interested in wooden or concrete flooring.
Many construction companies offer house and land packages within stunning subdivisions. This offers you the chance to view other houses made by the company, which can offer valuable inspiration when it comes to designing your own house plans. Showhomes are another valuable resource. There is nothing quite like walking through a replica of what could be your future home. It is the best way to get a feel for the space you need and the aesthetics you appreciate.
By taking the time to explore your options, it will be easier for you to find the design that suits your tastes.…

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Home Maintenance

2011 Home Design Color Trends

As a Designer it’s so important to be well versed on all upcoming home design and renovation trends – from building trends to paint colors and everything in between. Benjamin Moore’s 2011 Color Forecast was released to Architects and Designers last month – and I wanted to share their findings with you.
Each year the color expert team at Benjamin Moore declares their predictions for the upcoming year by tracking the more recent social, cultural and political conditions and how they directly impact fashion and design trends. What they discovered was an overwhelming desire for a sense of balance coupled with four underlying themes: The Farm, Order, Escape and Tribe.
1. The Farm
There is a major focus on hearth and home for obvious reasons and most are anchoring themselves within a new reality. Earthy colors straight from the farm will be dominating interiors this year. Just take a look at your local Farmers Market for inspiration. From earthy browns, buttery yellows and milky whites – to tomatoes, pumpkins and greens.
Also look for handcrafted fabrics, burlaps, tea-stained materials, and all types of petrified, bleached and natural woods – which suggests a return to life’s simpler things.
2. Order
We are craving a sense of balance and order from the chaos of the past couple of years. This is interpreted by infusing red, blues, yellows and greens to juxtapose with more monochromatic variations of black, white and gray. Geometric patterns with crisp stripes, dots and spirals uplift our spirit and improve our mood. These days it’s all about making ourselves feel happy.
3. Escape
The world has been a little harsh lately so escaping into a dream world full of hope and optimism for the future- is extremely appealing at the moment. The dreamy glamour of sheer draped fabrics, metallic finishes and softened textures coupled with a more pale, frosted and opalescent color palette can be just the remedy for overcoming adversity.
4. Tribe
A focus back to our ethnic communities and much like the farm, we are aching to return to the simpler things in life yet in a more soulful way. The spicy color palette of the land such as rich berry, cinnamon, saffron and fire orange are anchored with bronzes and charcoals. There is a huge focus on patterns, stencils, hand embroidery and beading,
So how will you seek that order and balance in your life? Will you be returning to the hearth, escaping into your dreams or focusing on your community when gathering your home design inspiration for this year?…

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Home Contractors

Design Your Dream House With a Purpose

There are well over a million new housing “starts” in the United States each year, but only a small fraction of those houses are custom designed. It’s a sad thing. Your house is the largest single investment most people make in their lifetime. Your house has a major impact on you and your family. It’s not just an object, it’s your home. It’s the environment you occupy and interact with during a larger portion of your life than anywhere else. And we are all shaped and influenced by our environment.
“But I can’t afford a custom house design,” you say. Well that may be so, but even if you are selecting from standard plans or picking out a plan from a book of house designs, you can make better choices and understand what your perfect house can be by learning a little about what constitutes good design. You need to raise your level of awareness.
As an architect I am often asked, what is the most important consideration when you design a house? In my opinion, the single most important quality is that there needs to be purposefulness to the plan. In order to achieve this, your home plan should have a main theme or concept as the core of the design plan. This should lend organization, as well as flow, to your house plan.
The most direct and simple methods of organizing a plan is often the best. One that I have used as a basis of many plans is the classic “four square plan.” The main shape of the house is a square, with an axis that acts as a connector. This is the idea used in the classic “Georgian Style” house. The main rooms of the home are in each of the corner squares, with a hallway and stairwell as the center acting as a connection between rooms on the same floor. The upper floor would also have a similar pattern with bedrooms in the corners, bathroom at the end of the hall. As you walk through a home like this, the spaces feel right since they are organized in a way that makes sense.
Take a look at a typical house plan. It will probably have some of this purposeful organization as the underlying concept. Perhaps the center hall is wider in one area, such as in the foyer. The stairwell may curve, or go off to the side of the center axis. You may find larger room in the rear that still fits in with the organized plan. Try to think about how you want your rooms to fit together and make the spaces flow in an orderly way.
Other organizing concepts are more complex, and may be the right one for you. Thoughtful planning will help you arrive at a meaningful, and purposeful floor plan. No matter what, your house design requires a plan that fulfills your needs. A house may be elaborate and expensive, but without a plan with integrity and unity, it will not feel right. You want to feel settled, content and happy in your home. Design your home with a purposeful plan so that your home becomes a perfect fit for your family.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Frugal Home Design – “There’s an App For That”

So, you’re sitting in your favorite easy chair and the home decorating bug bites you. It’s time to stop procrastinating and paint that room or hang that picture.
But, as soon as the bug bites, you begin to feel its sting, because now you have to leave that cushy comfy easy chair and hit the hardware store to get the supplies you need.
Well this is your lucky day because – “There is an App for That”!
Say you want to paint the room, but you are unsure of the color. If you have a cell phone that supports Internet applications then snuggle back in and find your color through that fabulous phone!
Yes, there is an amazing App that will take you from general colors to the specific color hues, so you end up with just the right color combination for that home decorating paint project.
To get started of course you must first download the App (it’s only $1.99) and then start by creating a file for the room you want to paint. Next, you touch the screen and begin browsing through every color under the sun as they scrolls by based on the selected and related coordinated pallet collections.
Touch the colors you like and drag them to a work area to manipulate them to see how they look together. Once the choice has been made, the App will identify color names and the manufactures (from the top 6 in the industry) and you’re done.
No more hours wasted starring at the color swatch sampler wall at the home improvement store.
So, what if your home decorating inspiration is a simple wall shelf or art hanging project, but once again, you are short a ruler, level or plumb bob to get the shelf level and the display plumb. No worries because “There’s an App For That”!
This little App is super cool (also $1.99). It contains 5 handy home decorating tools: plumb bob, bubble level, steel protractor, ruler and a surface level. Inaccurate, eyeball measurements is a thing of the past. These tools are now as close as your phone and they are so fun you’ll want to dig up everything and anything to hang, just to play with this addictive little toy.
The ball moves, the plumb bobs and when you get it “just right” it will beep with smug satisfaction. These measuring tools look and feel amazingly real. It leaves you feeling like you are not using your phone at all – You gotta try it.
So, where can find these “must have” home decorating Apps? – []…

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Basement Renovations

Timeless Classics – Making Antique Furniture Work For Your Home Design

Interior design trends over the years have grown and developed. Though classic design will never go out of style, the modern and sleek look of contemporary interiors has largely dominated the industry. There is also the introduction of cross-cultural influences that widened the interior design field even more.
With the variety of styles to choose from, antique furniture sometimes looks and feels out of place in a home. Heirloom pieces, in particular, could be difficult to part with, especially if inherited from relatives and holds a particular sentimental value for the family. The dilemma is this: how do you make antique furniture a part of your overall look and design? Is there any way to make an heirloom piece blend in with your contemporary home? Before you decide to sell your antique piece or bury it in storage, consider some ways into making that one-of-a-kind and special piece a part of your home.
Some pieces do not hold any real monetary value at all, but more of a sentimental and memorable piece for the owner. If this is the case, consider giving it a refurbished look with a simple paint job to match the rest of your home’s color scheme. You could also strip down dated pieces to modernize its design. For pieces that hold an investment and historical value, you could use the design of the antique furniture and make it the centerpiece of the room. Ornate pieces can be balanced with and highlighted by keeping the rest of the room simple in order to draw attention the careful detail that went into the crafting of your antique furniture.
Another way is to use antique pieces in surprising ways. Pair an ornately carved chair with a simple wooden desk and use it in your office. Use a chandelier in your powder room to make for an interesting space for your guests. Breathe contemporary design into an old lamp with a quirky lampshade for a unique and eclectic addition to your living room. Use your grandmother’s antique china for everyday meals and make each day an elegant and special dining experience.
Aside from their value, the craftsmanship of antique furniture is without question, incomparable. Antique pieces are worthwhile investments and their seemingly unsuitable design can be creatively incorporated into your home’s design with a little creativity and imagination. Take care of your antique furniture and they will continue giving a distinct touch to your home for many years to come.…

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Bathroom Remodel

Define Your Style – Home Design Ideas

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and when it comes to interior design this can often by the best route to take if you don’t trust your own design instincts. There is a danger however, that your house will blend into every other Magnolia drenched, carbon copy home that we see cloned on every street in Britain today. Why do we practice such safe design? Is it because we suffer from a lack of imagination, or are home owners up and down the land just not brave enough to experiment? Maybe in this difficult economic climate we cannot risk straying from that safe colour palette of cream and white?
I say, why create a ‘blank canvas’ (just in case you move home), for someone else to put his or her stamp on. Look for inspiration everywhere and don’t fear your own style. There are several ways in which you can experiment without breaking the bank and below are a few ideas and tips, which could inspire you to create your own unique groove. Firstly, do a little research. Websites such as housetohome have a fantastic gallery of pictures and suppliers that can inspire you and are less likely to be found in the house next door.
Create a mood board. Collect images, colour swabs and fabric samples in order to focus your ideas and inspire you. This way you will be able to see which colours and styles go together and it will also help you commit to only buying what you need. Steer clear of the plain and create simple elegance by choosing a simple colour palette but also experimenting with different textures of paint and fabrics. B&Q have a paint colour mixing service, which can match any of your favourite items.
Add a splash of colour by adding cushions and throws or curtains. Cushions, and more surprisingly curtains, are easy to make if you have a bit of time on your hands and you can get quality designer fabrics at greatly reduced prices online. Stores such as sell designer fabrics at £10 a meter instead of the recommended retail price of £30 to £100 a meter. If you don’t fancy making curtains yourself, Digby & Willoughby can get these made up for you. Alternatively breathe life into a favourite chair with new upholstery with Fabrics from Digby & Willoughby.
Accessorise with one or two unique pieces such as a beautiful free standing mirror or a piece of artwork. To save some pennies you could visit auction houses such as lotsroad or criterionauctions. I recently found a fantastic seascape oil painting in a charity shop and a beautiful art deco bedroom suite on so keep your eyes peeled. Love the traditional? Experiment with mixing the traditional with the new to avoid being old fashioned. Choose classic wallpapers with a funky twist from companies such as Cole & Sons and Zoffany to create a feature wall. Visit reclamation yards such as wellsreclaimation or sites such as to find beautiful antique wooden furniture and natural materials to create a classic and unique vintage look.
A statement piece of furniture can be the inspiration for the design of your whole room. Cover an old chest of drawers or table with fantastic hand printed wallpaper, protected with layers of clear varnish and jazz it up with new or antique handles. Try for hand printed wallpapers. Go off piste, I recently purchase antique music scores from a local bookshop, which cost me 30p each and they make the perfect vintage wall coverings. If you religiously follow modern styles, what is the buzz from the world of interior design, what are the hot colours for 2010?
Colours from Mexico such as, burnt oranges, sunny yellows, gingers and taupe’s are on trend. Various shades of midnight blue with greying whites are in vogue and as well as being chic and ultimately classic, they would be a good long-term investment. Soft vintage colours, such as neapolitan pinks and yellows reflect the current boom in homemade crafts and reclaimed materials. Other colours in style for 2010 will be natural hues, soft beiges and nudes with green or purple accessories. There are plenty of ways to create your own unique style and to update your home. And remember, to play on the words of Jim Rohn, ‘if you don’t design your own style, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!’
Helena Searle
January 2010…

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Basement Renovations

How to Determine the Most Efficient Design For Your Home

Design efficiency is often overlooked and not discussed very often by buyers and builders alike. Over years of home design and building I have had to review countless house designs in order to economise the building to achieve a target budget. There are a few simple rules when going through this review which I have outlined below.
Economise wasted space
This is the most simple step for someone with a high level of spatial awareness. A quick overview of a floor plan will highlight areas that are larger than required or excessive. Examples may be significant lengths of passageways, odd sized areas where rooms don’t connect or flow properly or simply oversized rooms. Last year a client came to me and showed me a house plan he had designed through a so called architect that had a master bedroom 8.5m x 3.0m and the client didn’t identify the room as being odd until I pointed it out. If you’re familiar with viewing architectural plans this process is quite simple, however for most home buyers it’s very difficult to visualise space just by looking at a scaled drawing. A simpler way that I recommend to buyers is to take a blank piece of paper and cut out scaled sized furniture that they have in their current home, then position it on the home design plans where they think it will go. This will then help them to assess proportions of room sizes in relation to their furniture.
Remove excess engineering costs
When designing and building two storey homes the main factor in price efficiency is with engineering costs. Large spans of open space on the ground floor could cause the engineer to increase the depth of the suspended slab from 172mm to 257mm, which adds significant costs. Keeping enough structural walls beneath the slab in key positions will remove the need for this cost and can still mean you have a fantastic open space.
Minimising suspended slab extensions is also critical, something that an experienced architect or house designer will do automatically, but often overlooked by novice designers. This poor design feature will make a house have a concrete slab where it is underutilised, and hidden in the roof space which just means it’s a very expensive ceiling.
Reducing the need for structural columns is also a factor. Since the supply and installation of a structural column can cost $400-$500 each you want to reduce the number used in a house design. Clever use of internal walls can easily save $3,000 – again a cost that will never be seen once the home is completed.
This step by step analysis was performed recently on a cheap two storey home design that highlights changes made to the elevation and style of the home saved significant building costs.…