Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

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!

Brighten the Basement with a New Look

Basements aren’t known for an abundance of natural light. But that is the nature of basements. They are largely below ground so windows are limited, if they are there at all. As far as renovations go, this means you should make the electrical, especially lighting, a top priority.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before doing anything, we first have to know what we want our basement for. What is the purpose of the renovation?

For some, it is about creating a small apartment – sometimes for a relative, a child going to school, or even as a rental space for additional income. In this case, you are probably looking at a full-scale renovation.

For others, however, it is about simply creating another area of the house as a bedroom, or media or games room. You may not be renovating the entire basement, just one area.

Whatever the case is, you’re back to lighting. That will need to be on your list of considerations.

Plumbing is also an area to make a priority. You’ll likely want a small bathroom, at least, and if considering an apartment you’ll want to think about a kitchen or kitchenette and, depending on how extensive you want to go, even additional laundry facilities for your future apartment dweller.

Does your basement have a history of flooding problems? If so, you will need to address that.

There are flooring options to make decisions about. Some, if not all the basement flooring, may need to be raised for insulation and dryness. It may also be dependent on the kind of flooring you will want.

And there will be the walls, as well. Along with how they look, you’ll need to consider heating and insulation (warmth and dryness). You need to keep three elements in mind: insulation, water-proofing and the look. Fortunately, there are many options and you can accomplish all three with a thoughtful decision.

If a basement remodeling is on your “to do” list and you’re unsure where to start, the consultants at Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes are there to help with expertise and ideas. Just call us at (703) 641-9800.

You may find yourself with a basement you never want to leave!