Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

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.