Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

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