Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remodeling trends to consider for 2012

By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Every New Year has its trends and 2012 is not an exception. For remodeling, the trends are about combining practicality, functionality and beauty. They are also about remodel projects that make the home better suited to how we live today.

For example, a previously neglected area of the home is now drawing the attention of many home remodelers. It’s the mudroom.

1) It’s the mudroom. It may seem unimportant but today, with a greater focus on practicality, many are seeing a remodel of the mud room as a great way to manage and eliminate clutter. Closets, hooks, shelving and other features are great for storage and the mudroom is well-suited for this.

2) It use to be seen as the home office but now many are viewing this space as a life-style center. What does this mean?

While still functioning as a home office, many see the potential for more. With a few changes, it can be an area where children can do homework. Parents can monitor them while also managing bills and household expenses. Adding more than one computer to the room, especially when combined with a wireless home network, allows everyone to do their electronic and other work in the life-style center.

3) Steam showers are growing in popularity as many homeowners look at changes for their bathrooms. The attraction of the steam shower is its ability to conserve water as well as provide a therapeutic capability. It also can reduce water costs!

As you can see, all of these add to the value and functionality of the home while also making it more attractive.

There is yet one other trend that is building. It is radiant heating throughout the home. It combines the practical with comfort. We’ll tell you more about this trend in next month’s newsletter. It’s one we think you’ll find fascinating!

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-A Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031

Tips on updating the laundry room

By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Does anyone ever think of a remodeling project that involves the laundry room? We don’t often think of it but a remodel can accomplish a couple of things: 1) make the room an easier, more effective space to use and, 2) be an important plus to new home buyers when you’re thinking of selling your home.

Here are a few tips to consider for updating your laundry room.

1) Color. There is no reason why the laundry room has to be drab. You can make it a more cheerful, welcoming space by simply painting the walls with a color that gives it those qualities.

2) Lighting. A laundry room should be well lit because it is a work area and to do the work properly, good lighting is a must.

3) Storage. Even in a small laundry room, there is usually space above where shelves can be added so detergent and other laundry room supplies can be stored – out of the way yet easily accessed.

4) Machines. Your current washer and dryer may work well and not need updating. But if you’re thinking of selling, you might want to consider putting new machines in as this could be a key bonus to a new home buyer.

5) Space. Depending on where your laundry room is located, you may be able to do some remodeling that allows for the laundry room to be enlarged. This makes it a more welcoming area and also a more practical one if the enlarged space allows for a table for folding and organizing laundry. You can consider adding a drying rack as well for those items with gentler fabrics. With a large enough room you could also add shelves or cabinets for more storage.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-A Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800

Controlling costs on your remodel

By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

A remodeling project that isn’t well planned can often lead to unexpected costs and turn your excitement over the project into an exercise in anxiety – and no one wants that.

You can keep your enthusiasm up by keeping your project on track and controlled. Simply keep a few things in mind and avoid certain pitfalls.

1) Know your budget and be realistic about what you can accomplish with it. And stick within your budget!

2) Ensure your project is well planned. If you’re entering new territory, consultants like those at Michael Nash can help you. Discuss what you are expecting to accomplish with them so they know what it is you want from the project.

3) You can help simplify by sticking to standard sizes for such things as fasteners and fixings. Choosing materials that are relatively common helps ensure that contractors are familiar with them and can accomplish their work relatively easily. It also means that the items are easily found and, if necessary, quickly replaced.

4) Unless you are well skilled and are very familiar with certain types of work, avoid the do-it-yourself approach. The money you think you are saving can easily turn into a very costly venture when work is not done correctly. This is especially true when it comes to electrical work, plumbing, bricklaying and other highly skilled work.

5) Avoid choosing cheap materials and other products as a way to keep costs down. The old saying is true – you get what you pay for. You don’t have to choose the most expensive but for quality (such as durability) consider using at least mid-range cost materials and products. This includes such things as nails and screws. This helps avoid the problem of future costs due to cheap materials.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-A Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stairs are both practical and beautiful

Stairs are a common feature in many homes. They take us to the basement, up to a second floor and even up to an attic. They are practical. But they can be much more and are often a neglected element when we plan a remodeling.

There is more to stairs than a means of moving between floors. Stairs can also be a strong style statement and key enhancement to our home’s appearance.

Some homes are larger and some small. Many others are somewhere between the two. If you have a small to medium sized home you should consider how a stairway can actually be a space saving element in your home.

Redesigning your attic but not sure how to access it without taking up a lot of space with stairs? Consider a spiral staircase!

Standard stairs that access a second floor or the basement can be utilitarian by providing space beneath them in the form of a closet.

A large home can incorporate a grand staircase that widens at the bottom to provide a welcoming look as well as a sense of grandeur. Large homes can also consider stairs that sweep from bottom to top that and communicate elegance as well as suggest the home’s size.

Another element to stairs is the railings. What style will they be? When choosing, keep your home’s overall style in mind. Does it have a modern look? Or perhaps a cottage like feel? The amount and type of ornamentation, the choice of wood or metal, and other factors will help your railings harmonize and enhance your home’s look.

Yes, there is a great deal more to stairs than a few steps. They can even be a design focal point. So don’t neglect them in your remodeling plans!

Remodeling with disabilities in mind

If you’re planning a remodeling and you have someone with a handicap living with you or have regular visitors with handicaps, consider keeping them in mind when planning your project. Here are a few tips that can help you.

A very simple way to identify areas that can be difficult for someone with a handicap is to walk through your home with a friend that has a handicap, or walk through with a wheelchair. You should be able to quickly see potential problem areas.

How wide are your hallways? Remember, even if they are wide enough to move a wheelchair through you need to see how easy it is to turn that wheelchair around.

Going through your home with a wheelchair will also help identify areas that may be too cluttered. Removing unnecessary furnishings will help reduce that problem while also helping to enhance the sense of spaciousness your home has.

Consider installing lighting that can be accessed by remote control. This helps eliminate the issue of how to get lights on and off for many disabled people.

Of course, most of us know about entranceways and ramps. However, you may not necessarily have to alter your main door (though that is the best option). You can remodel a side door, as long as it is easily accessed. Don’t make ramps too steep, provide a railing and be sure the door is wide enough for a wheelchair to get through and the area they are entering is large enough for them to move.

For bedrooms, remember the handicapped person will likely have to access everything while in their wheelchair. For closets, the bar for hanging clothes should be lowered so it is easy to reach. From a functionality perspective, drawers are usually the easiest to use for clothes, even shirts.

These are just a few tips about remodeling with disabilities in mind. An area like a bathroom has many elements that can make it more practical for a person with a disability, but it is more involved and requires its own article.

For now, we hope this gets you thinking about how your home can be more accommodating to everyone!

Carpet and hardwood – weigh the all the factors

When deciding between carpet and hardwood for your home the first thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t have to be either/or. You can have both. You can have hardwood in some rooms, like the living room and dining room, and carpet in others, like the bedrooms.

Carpet and hardwood both have advantages and disadvantages.

You should begin your comparisons by starting with cost because budget is a huge factor in all remodeling decisions. For an accurate comparison, decide on the quality you want, be it carpet or hardwood and compare them at that same level of quality. You’ll likely find carpet appealing when cost alone is the deciding factor but there are other factors to keep in mind, and they make hardwood the choice you go with.

If you live in a colder climate, carpet has an advantage with warmth. Hardwood can be cold on bare feet. However, you can minimize this aspect by laying down some area rugs on a hardwood floor.

You’ll also find carpets have an advantage when it comes to noise. Hardwood doesn’t absorb sound.

However, hardwood may be more appealing when it comes to cleaning. Generally, you can keep hardwood clean with simple sweeping and with a damp mop. Carpet on the other hand will require regular vacuuming and shampooing. Dust and dirt can get into the rug and even create a potential health issue if it is not maintained.

Finally, well-maintained hardwood can last and last. However, the amount of traffic on the hardwood floor may mean it needs sanding and refinishing every decade or so. Carpets, on the other hand, have a lifespan of roughly 15 years. Over time, they will flatten and become difficult to clean.

Remember to think in terms of your family and lifestyle. Pets, for example, can have an impact either with hair in the carpet or scratches on the hardwood. Weigh all the factors before making a decision on carpet or hardwood and remember – you can have both!

 By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, Virginia

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Adding a new shower

One of the most basic parts of every home is the shower. You find them in elaborate master baths and you find them in secondary baths. The shower is a simple tool for a basic function: keeping us clean. And a nice hot shower feels great too!

As simple as showers are, they aren’t necessarily simple when it comes to choosing one or installing it. So here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to a shower project.

The showerhead

You may think a showerhead is a showerhead but today there are a number of options and they can provide a different experience depending on what you want. You should determine what you want your shower for ahead of time and choose your showerhead based on that.

For instance, traditionally a showerhead delivered a jet stream of water. Today, however, some showers come with multiple showerheads allowing you to direct the stream at all areas of the body at the same time. There are also rain showerheads providing an experience like rain as an option. These and multiple shower heads have become popular in recent years.

An investment

It’s a large remodel project if you are replacing a shower and tub so you should do it right the first time. Bathrooms and kitchens are good investments in your home. They’re what home buyers look at. So you should use good materials and make the finished remodel job one that is functional and beautiful at the same time.

A bit of pampering

Much depends on what your new shower is for but many home owners like to add a little something more to the shower experience by putting in a steam unit. This essentially turns your shower into a spa and it can be great for tired muscles.

Avoid problems later

If you’ve ever seen one of those home remodeling television shows, you’ll know the kinds of problems that can be created when non-professionals try their hand at plumbing and tiling. Tiles can be especially challenging because unlike a floor project, shower tiles are horizontal and vertical and can involve angles. We strongly suggest having professionals, like those with Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, do the job for you so you can avoid the expensive problems that can arise from a job done incorrectly.

Showers are a simple and fundamental element in every home. But that doesn’t mean they have to be simple or can’t be enhanced to provide an incredible experience.

 Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, Virginia 22031

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Keeping your new kitchen clear and organized

Many of us struggle with the problem of clutter, especially kitchen clutter. It quickly takes away from the look of our new kitchen and makes us feel the space is small, even when it isn’t.

It is just a problem of too much “stuff.” It’s a problem of disorganization. So here are some tips for getting your kitchen organized.

Keep it clear

Countertops should be clear. When they aren’t, it’s often because we haven’t picked a place to store items. Small appliances, for example, should be put away in a specific place when not being used. Paper, newspapers and magazines should have specific places to be stored – not on the kitchen counter or island.

Weed things out

Make a list of all the appliances, large and small. Do a list for food items as well. Go through your lists by separating items based on where in the kitchen they are used.

Now trim those lists. If something is seldom used, store it in the basement or other storage area. If it doesn’t get used, consider getting rid of it entirely. For example, if that rice cooker is only used two or three times a year, there really is no need for it to be in the kitchen.

Try reorganizing your kitchen by storing what remains on your lists (items frequently used) in the area of the kitchen they are most used.

Drawers and cupboards

Your new kitchen may have beautiful new drawers and other pull-outs but they will quickly become nightmares if you aren’t organized.

Consider avoiding this by using dividers, inserts, small caddies and even bags to separate items like silverware, dinnerware, napkins, baking supplies, spices etc. You can even consider hooks within some cupboards. Items stored in a specified, contained area are easier to keep organized, are more easily found and don’t add to a cluttered look.

 Your new kitchen will continue to look stunning if you can keep it clean and clear. And the best way to do this is through being organized.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, Virginia 22031

Quick design tips for your new kitchen

For most people, the center of the home is the kitchen. This is where people congregate and this is the room around which all the other spaces in your home will revolve. And it is where many of us spend most of our time when we’re at home.

This is why a well-designed kitchen, one crafted around you and how you live, is so important. It has to incorporate beauty but also function. How easy the kitchen is to use will be just as important as how good it looks. So here are some tips to help you achieve both.


To get the kitchen you both want and need, and to keep costs under control, a plan is essential. Working with a consultant like those at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes will be a key to doing this. With your ideas and their experience, their skills and tools, you can get a plan in place with very specific details so that once work begins, it can go smoothly and be completed so it matches your dream.


An efficient kitchen will depend on space. Will you be able to open the refrigerator door fully? The oven door? The dishwasher? Appliances need enough space around them so their doors can open and to allow comfortable space for you to move. In other words, be sure there is enough space for easy movement and easy use of appliances.


When choosing countertops, sinks and other elements, make sure you have cleaning up in mind. Some material and color choices will make for easier cleanup than others. You’ll also find it makes clean up easier if you make sure the dishwasher is placed close to the sink.


There are many choices available for lighting and yours will depend on the kind of kitchen you envision. Whatever you choose, remember that dimmer switches allow you to adjust lighting for the time of day and for what you are doing in the kitchen. Also be sure your electrician comes in before you put appliances and cabinets in place.


You may already know what kind of flooring you want for your kitchen. Still, it’s worthwhile to look at your options and consider the pros and cons of the different materials available. Some will be easier to clean than others. Some will look great but lack the durability you may need. Be realistic about how your kitchen will be used. Will it have a lot of traffic or just a little? Will your kitchen be used a great deal or just every so often? Your choice should reflect how the floor will be used while also matching your design style.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, Virginia 22031

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thinking about that attic

Not all attics are created equal so before you start dreaming of that gorgeous loft you need to determine a few things. That means going up to the attic and taking a look around. What do you see?

1) You may have potential for an attic if it has a kind of A shape. Some are designed with a W shape (this refers to the trusses that support the roof). If it is the W kind of attic, you may find that the expense of remodeling makes a project elsewhere in the house make more sense. Remember, these shapes are about the supports for the roof so you can’t take short cuts.

2) If the attic has potential, you’ll need to determine how much headroom there is. This will be guided by the pitch of the roof. There are often building codes in place that require a minimum amount of headroom so even though you can stand up easily that doesn’t mean you can go ahead.

You’ll need to measure and determine how much room there is and if it meets codes. You’ll also find headroom down the middle isn’t sufficient. There is usually a minimum area of the attic that needs to allow for the proper headroom. Keep in mind, building materials will likely take some of the current height away.

3) You’ll also need to consider how people will get up to the attic. Standard stairs will take up a considerable amount of space from the floor below. You may be able to reduce this with stairs that have a landing halfway up. Another option is spiral stairs which generally take up the least amount of space from the floor below.

4) If you’ve considered all of these and see that everything is a “Go!” then take a moment to consider the insulation for the loft’s walls and how the room will be heated and ventilated. Then … start the dreaming!

5) Lastly, remember to always check with local codes about what you can do and what requirements may be in place, such as exits. You don’t want to find yourself with a project that, when finished, can’t be used or can’t be insured. Check those codes!

And if all that seems overly daunting, take a breath and relax. With experts like those at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, you have a skilled help on your side.

Serving Northern Virginia
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-C Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800
Fax:(703) 641-5938

The new living room? – Kitchen trends 2011

The trend this year is toward seeing the kitchen as meaning more than just food. People are seeing kitchens as a living space and this is guiding a trend toward natural warmth. Key words this year are value, natural and function. And living.

Trends are toward a classic quality that means comfort along with a look that will stay fashionable a long time while incorporating some very contemporary ideas.


Personal taste always dictates color but this year you will likely want to think “natural and warm.” This can be bold and rich colors like shades of copper, burnt oranges, chocolate and coffee tones and yellows. If bold isn’t you, tone it down with subtler variations of these. In either case, consider warm palettes that are welcoming and complement natural materials.

Natural materials

From counters to cabinets to flooring, natural is the thing this year as people move from synthetic materials to woods and stone which are often more durable while providing the warmth that is defining this year’s trends.

Materials like granite and bamboo will be popular (and bamboo can be a better option from an environmental perspective). Bamboo and hardwood floors will be fashionable, as will materials like bamboo as an option for cabinetry.


Lighting isn’t just about being able to see. It’s also about feeling. This is why this year’s trends are emphasizing three aspects of kitchen lighting: natural lighting, statement lighting and accent lighting. Natural light means looking at enlarging your windows or adding more windows – even considering a skylight in your kitchen. It’s all about getting more sunlight in your kitchen.

Statement lighting will be equally popular with an emphasis on a touch of elegance through pendant lighting in bronze, iron and other styles. Even chandeliers will have appeal as both contribute to a brighter kitchen. 

Accent lighting will be big as people choose recessed and track lighting. The use of dimmer switches will also help in adapting kitchens to delivering lighting that can reflect mood and function as you adapt to the time of day and what you are doing – brighter as your working; softer as you relax.

Space and organization

With thinking of a kitchen as a living space rather than simply as a place to cook and eat, many are asking, “What else can be done here?” In answer, computers are finding their way to the kitchen so recipes can be stored and organized, quick Internet searches can be made for recipes or grocery lists prepared. Where space is available, some are even thinking of desks where kids can do homework while moms and dads prepare food. People are seeing their kitchen as a place for families to gather and interact.

Increasingly, the trend for kitchens is to think in terms of “more” and “what else” and “living.” They are no longer cooking spaces; they are living spaces that include cooking. This is helping to determine colors, lighting, materials and more as people search for ways to make the kitchen welcoming, warm, soothing and adaptable.

Remodeling tip: Stay organized and focused with folders

By: Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Remodeling projects can be big and they can be small but regardless of the size there is one general tip to keep in mind when engaging on your project. It should help you keep on track, organized and help ensure the vision you started out with is what your finished project achieves.

It comes down to one word: folders.

1) Name your project and create a folder for it – yes, a folder for paperwork. You can create a equivalent “folder” on your computer, but some items (like receipts) require a physical, old school folder.

2) Within that folder, create sub folders for the different aspects of your project. Using a remodeled room as an example, the sub folders would be such things as electrical, plumbing and paint. For each aspect of the project, try to create a few notes outlining what is being done and why so that, in later months and years, you can go back and refresh your mind about why something was done a certain way.

3) For something like paint, jot down why you chose a certain color. More importantly, write down the color you choose and keep a chip/sample of the color for future reference. (You may want to touch something up in the future and will want something to refer to.)

4) Keep receipts in their appropriate folders so they are easy to find.

While keeping a folder with sub folders helps you stay organized it is also beneficial in keeping you on course and focused on what you are doing. And believe it or not, a year or so later when you embark on another project you can forget why you chose to do something one way and not another.

The information we keep in a folder helps us to remember and stay consistent with our vision.

Serving Northern Virginia
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-C Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800
Fax:(703) 641-5938

Don’t get tangled up with wires and extension cords

A common problem with our homes today is what to do with all the wires. There was a time when people didn’t have to worry about such things. But they didn’t have cable, internet or even electricity. We do and so, when remodeling a room, it’s a good idea to think through this aspect before beginning.

When renovating a room, try to get a vision of the room nailed down in more than a general way. Try to get a picture of where your furniture will go, where the TV might be placed (if there will be TV in the room) and keep in mind where phone and internet outlets will be (unless you are strictly a cell phone user and have wireless internet).

If you don’t think these things through, you may find your room is a jungle of wires that you need to deal with.

In some cases, you may not have much choice where an outlet might be, but in most cases you do.

For example, if you have a picture of how the room will be laid out, and where furniture will be placed, you can ensure your electrical outlets are placed in convenient locations so wires and extension cords don’t have to run under and behind furniture.

If you are adding a cable outlet and you know where the TV will be, you can have the outlet placed in a location where it doesn’t require huge lengths of cable running throughout the room.

It is the same story with all electric and electronic elements that could be in the room. Knowing ahead of time where they will be can help to eliminate the problem of “all those wires.”

Keep in mind, there are few things as annoying as wires when you are trying to clean. And nothing can throw off the wonderful impression your room could make than tangled wires behind everything.

Serving Northern Virginia
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630-C Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22031
Tel:(703) 641-9800
Fax:(703) 641-5938

Monday, September 26, 2011

Award Winning Addition

Ashburn home goes from "How?" to "WOW!" in just three months' time

Homes Editor

When an Ashburn family learned of the joyous news, a newly engaged son, planning for the happy couple began which would include a celebration in this soon-to-be-renovated
home. As the homeowners planned for enough space to entertain guests, they began their home improvement wish list. On the living level, the list included a larger breakfast area, a sun room, a more functional and expanded kitchen, creating more of an open floor plan in this typical colonial home layout. With plenty of exterior backyard space to expand
the lower level, the family included changes to an older deck with Jacuzzi that did not fit their lifestyle. Updating the master bathroom also qualified for this round of renovations.
Facing a shortened time frame and the significant task of renovating for an engagement celebration, the homeowners met with and hired designer Sonny Nazemian of award
winning Michael Nash, Design, Build and Homes. A full service company, working from initial concept through architectural design, construction, interior design to finishing, Michael Nash is a single source for finest design workmanship and prides themselves on every aspect of
each project completed in-house, with no use of outside contractors. With a vision for the addition and renovations, the project quickly became reality.

outdoors in
Sonny says the main agenda of the team was to direct all interior attention toward the beautiful scenic backyard. Expanding the back of the house from the existing kitchen, the 14 by 22 foot addition replaced the old deck to accommodate the larger kitchen, breakfast area and sun
room. Built on a concrete foundation, the exterior of the addition was covered with siding to match the existing home.
Designing a more usable outdoor space for the family, the team created a new 26 by 36 foot angular stone patio leading from a side French door from the addition. The space includes a short wall surrounding the patio made from matching stone, decorative lights on the perimeter, as
well as a water feature in the round-Preparing for an engagement party, this local family took three months to build an addition to create an open floor plan with tremendous natural light.
ed corner to be enjoyed outdoors and indoors, viewable from the new sunroom and family room.
Extending the existing kitchen wall by three feet, the design team was able to include large windows at the back of the house as well as the French door leading to the patio. Designing a vaulted ceiling in the sun room brightens the once dark space, the expansion also allotting
for new side windows bringing in western sunlight for increased natural light.

Change and Arrange
Building a window bench under and added cabinetry around the side windows in the sun room gives the family more storage space which the original kitchen seemed to be lacking.
With the extension, re-arrangement of all kitchen components was made possible creating better traffic flow, more storage, accessibility and better accommodation of appliances.
By eliminating the corner pantry, the center island was enlarged and is no longer a cause for gridlock. The client chose warm cherry cabinetry with exotic stone counter tops, a limestone backsplash, upscale appliances and detailed molding throughout the kitchen and addition. Pendant, under cabinet, and recess lighting warms up the space, while matching new hardwood floors with existing floors make the open floor plan seamless.

Luxury Retreat
Last item on the renovation list included changes to the master bathroom. Living with a modest, functional bathroom, the homeowners wished to complete the master suite with a luxurious retreat. Elongating the bathroom space allowed several necessary changes the homeowners were interested in creating. A corner bathtub was removed to make room for a straight soaking tub as well as a larger glass shower stall. The other side of the bathroom includes a half wall for toilet privacy as well as extended dual vanities with custom cabinetry above and below.
Updates throughout the space give this bath a spa-like feel.

Award Winning
Is it any wonder this renovated space and addition went on to win the Contractor of the Year (CotY) award for 2010?
This award is given by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's (NARI) headquarters to members who have demonstrated outstanding work through remodeling projects. NARI's core purpose is to advance and promote the remodeling industry's professionalism, product and vital public purpose. Each year NARI contractor members are invited to compete
for this prestigious award. This home was categorized as a residential addition under $100,000 which includes but is not limited to additions, adda-levels, or attic build-outs, which increases livable . space of the existing home. The project cannot have changed the exterior footprint or elevations of the existing residential structure in more than one location. Michael Nash has won and continues to win awards throughout the industry. With this award winning
design and construction, the client's satisfaction was achieved for the special celebration while the space continues to be fully utilized and enjoyed daily.

For more information about Michael Nash Design, Build and Homes, please
visit www.michael-nash.com or call
(703) 641-9800. To learn more about

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Home & Design
Washington DC. Maryland. Virginia
Fall 2011

Intended for smaller spaces, the Hydro-Slide
Glass shower door is designed so that one
pane of glass is fixed while the other is operable.
Available in custom sizes through Case
Design/Remodeling, Inc. casedesign.com

The Ronbow Rebecca wall-mount vanity
imparts a clean-lined, modern look to the
bath, with a recessed ceramic basin and a
frosted glass drawer front. Available in cinnamon
and dark cherry (pictured) finishes
through Michael Nash Design Build &


Home & Design
Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia
Late Spring 2011


We transformed a dated, dysfunctional bathroom
into an enlarged, opulent master bath
worthy of a NYC penthouse, complete with
larger footp rint, marble and mahogany
• A Napolean, free-standing tub and

enlarged shower with bodyspray features
• Triple mirrors and high-end connecting
mahogany vanities topped with marble
• Mul ti-ti ered lighting, pocket-doors and
marb le fl oors complete the elegant look


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Foyers are the first thing your visitors see

Foyers are often the most neglected part of the house. When we think remodeling, we think kitchens, bathrooms, basements and so on. But we seldom think of the foyer.

Yet if you think about it, the foyer may be the most important area of your home. It is the very first thing a visitor sees. It’s the room that can invite and even excite a visitor about the home they are about to enter.

You can enhance and transform your foyer simply with just some paint and lighting adjustments or you can make even greater changes that truly impress your guests.

Consider the floor. A change to the flooring can create a completely new look. And because most entryways are not large, at least not compared to other rooms, the area isn’t overwhelming. This means the material costs can be kept relatively low.

For example, a straightforward linoleum floor can be replaced with a “new look” linoleum or you could choose something for greater impact like a stone or ceramic or even hardwood floor.

The foyer walls can be repainted with a fresh new color that compliments or contrasts with the color of your home’s hallways. You might want to be a bit daring and put in something like the equivalent of a backsplash, such as stone, that goes partway up the wall or wood for a wainscoting effect.

Depending on the layout of your home, you can consider putting a second door in place that, when closed, transforms the foyer into a separate room – and that door may have a window center that presents a view of the rest of the home.

Speaking of doors, a change you can make that also has an impact on your home’s exterior appearance is the front door. This could be as simple as repainting the door or sanding it and putting a new finish on. Or you may want to replace it altogether.

Doors present a tremendous number of options and it is worth considering them and how they can change the look of your entranceway. Your new door could have a center of glass with beveled edges that doesn’t simply add to the look of your front door but allows natural light into your foyer. It could be the kind of door that has a transom, a small window above the door, creating a unique look. They can come with a caming look (the thin metal that holds pieces of beveled glass in a pattern). The glass can be clear, frosted, be textured art glass or even be stained.

The options are many.

When you are thinking about possible remodeling projects for the months ahead, take a moment to look at and consider your foyer, the entryway to your home that welcomes every visitor. It is surprising the number of possibilities available and the improvements you can make. 

Creating a Den with that Extra Room

If you have an empty room in your house, consider turning it into a den. It may be that the children have moved out and there is a free bedroom. Or you may have space in your basement that you have finally turned your eye to but you haven’t decided what to do with it. Think “den.”

The word den is a nice one because it covers a lot of ground. Your den could be for anything. Generally, when we say den we think comfortable and cozy. But even those words can be defined however you like since we all have our own ideas about what is comfortable.

The first step in turning a room into a den is deciding who it is for. Put another way, who will be using it? Question number two is, what will they be using it for?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can really get started. First step, move everything that is currently in the room out. Like a painter, you want to start with an empty canvas.

Choose the room’s color keeping in mind the answers to the questions you asked earlier: who is using it and what are they using it for. When choosing colors for paint, also remember the ceiling. Think of it as a fifth wall. You may want to give it a color that matches your walls or you want to compliment or contrast with the room’s walls. You can also consider painting one of those four walls a color that compliments or contrasts with the other three.

What furniture will go in this room? Dens are often smaller rooms, so this is a very important element. Finding a balance between furnishing the room and avoiding a cluttered look isn’t always easy. If this den is to also function as an office, you’ll be thinking of things like desks and chairs. If it is a media room, you’ll be thinking of comfortable furniture like sofas, loveseats and other items.

On the other hand, if the room will function as a meditation room you may want to focus more on mats and much less furniture.

When the focus is media, you need to consider the electrical aspects. How many outlets does the room have? Are they placed conveniently? On the other hand, if you think of this den as a meditation room this won’t be as much of an issue.

For some uses, you may want to consider adding such things as a small refrigerator – even a small kitchenette if space allows and this enhances the room’s purpose. 

A den can mean many things. One thing is certain, however. Before you start on your changes you should know who it is for and how it will be used. Knowing those two things will determine everything else.

And the possibilities are endless!

7 Tips to Keep in Mind when Planning Remodeling

By: Sonny Nazemian

We’ve put together seven general tips you should always keep in mind when planning a remodeling project, no matter what kind of project it may be.

1) Don’t overwhelm yourself. Consider what you can realistically accomplish. You may be able to handle a complete home remodeling or you may be someone who can’t live with that great a disruption. If that is the case, break it into smaller projects over time.

2) Don’t neglect your budget. Like the tip #1 about not getting overwhelmed by the project size, don’t take on something you can’t realistically afford. Budgets are one of the keys to all successful remodeling projects.

3) Let your imagination loose. Initially, allow yourself to dream of everything. In this early stage, no idea is better than another; there are no bad ideas. Put it all on the table. Once you have, go back to tips 1 and 2 and start the business of narrowing the ideas down.

4) Use quality materials. Consult with professionals and get a clear idea of what you can expect from the materials you are using. Costlier materials are often more durable requiring less upkeep, repair or replacement. Don’t pick materials because they are cheap. Pick materials that work for your project. If your budget can’t accommodate the materials you really need, consider postponing the project till a time when you can.

5) Don’t create work for yourself. This relates to tip #4. Consulting with professionals, get a clear idea of what kind of upkeep may or may not be required with the materials you have chosen. For example, stainless steel is easy to clean but it also shows smudges easily. Usually, there is some kind of trade-off with a material. One may be easy to clean but need it more often. Another material may disguise dirt well but be more difficult to clean. Be sure you have a good idea of what you are getting into with your chosen materials.

6) Color is important but don’t forget lighting. Whatever colors you choose for your home, keep in mind a room’s lighting will have an impact on how it appears.

7) Know yourself. If your home doesn’t reflect who you are there is a good chance you won’t like it. Your style is a reflection of your personality. If your home doesn’t fit you who you are, you’ll feel like you are living in a stranger’s house.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer is the perfect time to plan for Fall

They’re the last things we want to think about in the summer but this is the best time to start looking ahead to fall and winter. This is especially true when remodeling is in your plans.

Planning for a fall or winter remodeling is important for many reasons, not the least of which is scheduling. Remodelers can find themselves with pretty full calendars as people book their projects. If you wait till the last minute, you may find yourself waiting even longer for a time when there is an opening in those full schedules.

Now is the time to ensure you book a time best for you.

Summer is also a perfect time to let your imagination wander and consider the many possibilities remodeling offers, as well as an opportunity to explore costs and budgets and determine what is possible for you.

It’s a time to consult with experts, like those at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes. You can get ideas, estimates and nail down a time for your remodeling project.

This is also the season for visiting. People are social and no season lends itself more to being social than summer does. People drop by to see us and we drop by on friends and family.

Visits to the homes of friends offers a wonderful opportunity to gather ideas as we see other homes and what people may have done to enhance them. They may have redone a kitchen or bathroom, added an extension or any of a number of enhancements.

Seeing a complete project in someone’s home, and seeing how it is used and what it adds, brings a reality to what is otherwise just an idea. We can also consider how we might do it, what changes we would make and also ask questions of the people in the home we are visiting about how they feel about their project now that it’s complete. Is there anything they might have done differently? What has the project added to their lives and to their home’s value?

In other words, it’s a great way to gather ideas, see some real world examples of projects and think about how we might do them.

Summer is a time to let the imagination run but it is also a time to prepare for a project for fall or winter. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by!

Remodeling tip – make insulation part of your project

We generally don’t see insulation once installed, but it’s a big part of many remodeling projects. It doesn’t add to the visual appeal of a home but it adds a great deal of value to it. Insulation is one of the big keys when it comes to energy efficiency.

Keep in mind that insulation doesn’t just protect against heat loss in the winter. In the summer months, it helps keep cool air inside and the heat outside.

So when we embark on a project and insulation is a part of it, what should we consider?

One of the first things to consider is the insulation’s rating, or R-value. This value can get pretty complicated but as a simple, general rule think of it this way: the higher the R-value, the greater its ability to insulate.

You might be inclined to get the highest R-value you can. After all, the higher the better, right?

That’s true but only to a point. Costs will be involved and two factors play into how great the insulation properties need to be. Geography is one of them. If you live in a cooler, northern climate you will likely want higher insulation properties than you would find necessary in a warmer climate, such as in southern states.

Where the insulation is going in the house is also a determining factor. An attic or cathedral ceiling will require greater insulation properties than other areas of the house, such as the basement.

When taking on a remodeling project don’t neglect the insulation aspect where it is applicable. If you’re redoing the basement, make sure insulation is part of it. Some projects are simply about getting insulation in place, and the reason is simple.

A well insulated home means lower costs in both summer and winter. It adds an environmental quality to your home by increasing its energy efficiency – an important factor should you ever put your home on the market.

And it’s important for your comfort and your wallet.

Tips and considerations for choosing flooring

The importance of the floor to the impression visitors have your home can’t be underestimated. If you’re selling, the floor can be key to making that sale.

When considering what kind of flooring to put in, many factors are involved. The types of flooring are many, such as:

  • Hardwood
  • Bamboo
  • Carpeting
  • Vinyl
  • Ceramic tile
  • Stone
  • Laminates
As you can probably tell, some flooring may be better suited for certain rooms. So one of the first things to consider is what room or rooms is the flooring going into. There are many more things to take into account, however.

If you simply want to make a good impression, such as when you are selling your home, you can’t go wrong with hardwood. Most people love to see hardwood.

But another key factor is how you use your home. We’re not all selling homes; we’re living in them. As much as we may like hardwood, we need to consider how our home is used.

For example, if you have a dog or dogs you may want to hold off on putting in flooring such as hardwood because there is a potential those animals may damage it. Similarly, small children may damage it and, more importantly, other flooring options may be better suited from a safety perspective. Hardwood or a laminate may hold the potential of being slippery. Carpeting may be safer for people with children.

Carpeting is also good as a protector of hardwood and as an additional layer of insulation. In the case of animals or children, laying down carpeting can add protection and safety. It can also be a great enhancement to the look of a room.

Other things to consider include:

  • Will the floors be used a lot, such as with large families or frequent get togethers?
  • Are there rooms below that may require the flooring to have soundproofing?
  • Maintenance – does it require a lot or a little cleaning?
  • Will health issues such as asthma be a factor? Some flooring products may work better than others.
  • Cost – will the material and installation fit your budget?
  • Is a subfloor required or, if one exists, does it need repairs first?

As you can see, quite a few things can come into play when making flooring decisions. If it seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. Consultants like those at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes can help you with all aspects from suggestions that fit your requirements to recommendations that work within your budget to estimates on costs.

Your home’s floor is important for many reasons and our consultants know it. That’s why they take care to ensure you get a floor that works for you and catches a visitor’s eye.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Skylights and a Sense of Calm

Last month we touched on the idea of a skylight when we spoke about attics and windows. Let’s have a closer look at this skylight idea.

As the name implies, a skylight brings in light from outside – specifically, from above. It is natural light, as well. But they do much more than that.

By bringing in that light, and by providing a view to the sky above, they make us feel good. They bring a feeling of space and beauty and that means they can provide a wonderful sense of calmness while also brightening our lives.

When choosing a skylight, there are a few things you’ll need to know first and we recommend a professional, such as our consultants here at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, to help you out in determining these.

First, you’ll need to know the “roof pitch.” Very generally, this is the steepness of your roof and this would be a number. It is measured by the vertical rise divided by the span. (This why a professional is best to help ensure you get this correct.)

You’ll also want to determine if your roof is constructed with trusses (pieces of framework) or rafters (a piece of wood that is part of the support structure). Again, a professional can help determine this and prevent confusion and mistakes.

The reason it is important to know these things is because they help you in determining what to choose for a skylight so your home is not just beautiful but sound and secure as well.

As with many elements in home building and remodeling, there are many options when it comes to skylights. These tend to combine elements of functionality (like shades) and design (the look of the shades).

Shades will allow you to control the amount of light that comes in. They can also do much more. The can help block excess heat from the sun or, in winter, prevent heat loss.

You’ll also find the actual glass in the skylight can resist condensation and have an insulating effect.

There are many choices and all can help beautify your home and make it a sanctuary of calmness. Not certain where to begin? Give our consultants a call at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, (703) 641-9800.

The Power of the Shower

You may think the “power of the shower” is about the water that comes from the showerhead and you would be right, as far as it goes. But the real power is in how a shower can transform itself and a bathroom with the options that are available now.

A very simple example is the shower rod. Do you feel confined in the shower? Simply replacing a straight shower rod with a curved one can suddenly make you feel there is room to breath. As for the bathroom as a whole, a new shower curtain can have an immediate impact on the look and feel.

But there is much more you can do with showers. Consider the options:

  • Cubicle
  • Panel or Curtain (over bath)
  • Wetroom (and steam shower)

Those three are the basic starting places and will depend on space, budget and your personal taste. For example, some people can’t live without a bath but others only feel the need for a shower. What you put in place will depend on this.

For smaller spaces, the cubicle may be the best bet. It can be a relatively small, walk-in shower that fits nicely in a minimal space.

For a larger shower, you can also have a cubicle style but of greater size – one that allows for more room to move.

For those who want to incorporate a bathtub (a very common approach), the shower can be part of a shower/bath combination and use either a shower rod and curtain, or a panel, such as sliding doors.

And for those who are really stylish and adventuresome, there is the wetroom, which can also incorporate a steam shower. A wetroom really lends itself to sense of space because it doesn’t require a curtain or door; it is a space in the bathroom.

Keep in mind, a wetroom requires some very specific water tight elements, such as “tanking” (waterproofing).

Once you’ve determined what kind of shower best suits your bathroom and your tastes, you’ll move on to some of the more fun, design aspects such as color, tiles (where applicable) and other options, such as curtain rod and curtain, should that be the style you’ve chosen.

Whatever type of shower you choose, and how you choose to style it, the end result will have a transforming effect on your bathroom.

One caution though – you may never want to get out of your shower!