Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The deck is in the details: Let’s talk lighting

It’s the time of year when many of us are thinking of one of the most common and valued remodels, a new deck.  Adding or replacing a deck can be a tremendous enhancement to your home. It can also be a great way to express who you are through style.

There are very simple decks. There are very elaborate decks. Some have a single level; some have several levels. There are also various materials to choose from when building your deck.

However, when building a deck there is one aspect that is often overlooked … until the deck is complete and ready to use. That would be the lighting.

Lighting is an essential detail and it isn’t restricted to your deck, though the deck is a big part of it. It is part of your overall outdoor scheme.

It is also an aspect that needs to be considered from a practical aspect. You will spend time cooking and entertaining with friends and family out on your deck so how well it is illuminated is important.

Lighting falls into two general categories, functional and decorative. It isn’t always an easy balance to achieve. If you focus too much on decorative, you may find it difficult to see as well as you would like for basics like cooking on a barbecue. On the other hand, if you go overboard with functional you may create a bright place that has little ambiance. It could even be annoying if lights are beaming down on people (like a poorly angled halogen light).

The good news is that there is a wide array of lights to choose from including LED, solar, or regular halogen lights. You even have colour options, so there is much to choose from to get a good, coordinated look.

The lighting categories can be broken down in this way:

Functional lighting

There are three types here, 1) general illumination, which doesn’t have to be overly bright or shining into anyone’s eyes, 2) concentrated, which means certain areas may have a light focused on them because it is an area where activities, like barbecuing, take place and 3) safety, often low level illumination around steps and walkways.

Decorative lighting

This type of lighting relates more to mood and style. Here, too, there are three types, 1) landscape, which can mean lighting that highlights areas of a yard (like a tree or bushes) as a way to contrast or complement the deck’s look, 2) colored lighting that can be used to great effect around the deck to bring an accent to areas of the yard or flowers on the deck and, 3) festive, and these may not be up all the time because they are often strings of lights to help brighten a celebration.

Spend some time considering the lighting you want in place to illuminate and accent your new deck. Depending on what you are looking for, it may impact the decisions you make in building your deck since the type of lights you use and how you install them can affect the deck itself.
Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, Virginia

Kitchen cabinet handles and knobs

Details can truly make the difference in any project. With kitchen remodeling, one of those details that can make your kitchen truly a wonderful place is the handles and knobs on the cabinets.

With all the attention and debate we put into countertops, splashes, flooring and color schemes, it is easy to overlook how much of a difference the handles and knobs on our cabinets and drawers can make.

When designing your kitchen, be sure to take the time to look at all that is available and see how the different types and styles work with the cabinets you’ve chosen. Some can be ornate; some can be quite simple.

Sometimes you may immediately think a knob should go on the cabinet. But take the time to see how a handle may work. Knobs are simple relative to handles but they can also have decorative styles. Similarly, handles may appear to be less simple compared to knobs, but look at the designs. The styles can be very minimal or very decorative.

The material they use can also have a big impact on the look. You might choose a simple, silvery look. But does it work as well with the cabinets you’ve chosen as a brushed bronze look? As far as the look goes, the handle or knob you choose should work with the style and color of cabinet you have.

Do the handles and knobs you’ve chosen work with the cabinets you’re installing? And do they make a good fit for the style you are aiming for? And do they fit with and enhance your overall kitchen?

Finally, give some thought to the installation of the handles and knobs and how easily they can be replaced should you need to in the future.

They may seem a small element when you are doing a kitchen remodel but as with most small details the handles and knobs you choose for your cabinets and drawers can have a big impact on how your dream kitchen comes out.

Micheal Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax Virginia

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Your bathroom, now starring a vessel sink

It used to be the bathroom sink was simply something functional. Most sinks looked the same and served the same purpose. Today, however, the sink can be the eye-catching focal point of your bathroom.

There are roughly seven sink types:

·         Pedestal sink
·         Wall mounted sink
·         Vessel sink with vanity
·         Framed sink in a vanity counter top
·         Drop-in vanity sink
·         Under-mount sink
·         Cabinet vanity
Of these, the sink that is growing in popularity is the vessel sink. This is partly due to the many options available but largely due to how striking they can be.

They are available in many types of material including traditional porcelain, stone, copper and glass. It’s those last three that provide such a wide range of colors and styles.

The vessel sink sits on top of the countertop and can resemble a bowl (though they come in other shapes as well). They can be mounted to the countertop/vanity or pedestal or they can be mounted to the wall.

While they serve the standard functions of a sink, they also act as a piece of art – something that catches the eye. These sinks also don’t use standard faucets and one attractive aspect of some is that the water flows into them almost as if from a fountain.

When planning a bathroom remodel, be sure to have a look at what is available in vessel sinks. One look may just convince you that it is the way to go to complete your dream bathroom.

You may even find that you design your entire bathroom around the sink you’ve chosen because their designs and colors are so stunning.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, VA

Start planning because spring is coming our way

With spring headed our way many of us are dreaming about remodeling projects. However, for a successful remodel it’s important to do more than dream. We’ve written about it before but it can’t be stressed enough: planning is the key to success.

At Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes, we can help you with that through our consultants. They can help with what is practical, what is needed and what you can do – even providing fabulous ideas you haven’t considered!

First steps – plan and budget

The first thing is to determine what it is you want. You can begin by letting your imagination run wild and go for the moon. But jot it all down! You’ll be reviewing it again shortly.

Once you have an idea of what it is you want, it’s time to determine what is practical and the key word here is budget. If you don’t have a budget you can get into trouble – trouble that can get expensive.

With a budget in mind, return to your wishlist. If you’re like many people, you’ll find you simply can’t do all the things you’ve dreamed of, not within your budget. It is time to start pruning.

It’s at this time the dreaming ends and you determine what it is you really want. For example, you may have a list that includes a remodeled bathroom, a new deck and a skylight in the bedroom. Your budget may tell you that the skylight is a “nice to have” and will have to wait till next year. The bathroom and deck are the priorities.

Our consultants can help you when you provide a budget and wishlist. They may even find ways or options that allow you achieve all your wants within your budget, even that skylight. Remodeling is their profession and they are at the top of their field. They can help you stretch your dollars.

Also keep in mind

Try not to overwhelm yourself by taking on more than you can handle. For instance, a single person may find it easy to just step away from his or her home for a time to let the physical work get done. This may not be the case for some families.

Consult with professionals like those at Michael Nash 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.

Plan your life around the renovation. A remodeling means some degree of disruption so determine on when is best to do the remodel and how you will live during this time. Many remodels won’t involve much lifestyle change but others, such as a complete kitchen remodel, will mean some alteration to how you are living in your home.

If you plan and budget for your remodeling project, you’ll find you achieve your dream with a successful remodel.

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
Fairfax, VA

Bathroom remodels – don’t forget to furnish

Whether you are adding a new bathroom or remodeling an existing bathroom, don’t stop when the ‘construction’ part is complete. How you decorate your bathroom will complete your vision and there are many approaches to take.

In fact, if your budget is weighted to physical building and installation, you can save on how you decorate.

The most basic and effective décor change is painting. The color you choose can make or break your project. You may choose a single color for the bathroom but don’t limit yourself to one. You can choose a main color but you can also complement or contrast it by painting one wall or one area another color.

You might want to consider adding tile to one wall, or part of a wall, that would complement the colors you’ve chosen.

An approach many people take is to shop flea markets, online or simply go through their own home for items that aren’t currently being used. Putting their imaginations to work, they often find great (and inexpensive!) pieces to decorate and accessorize the bathroom. They may find materials they can use as storage – you don’t necessarily have to choose pre-made or constructed cabinets.

Mirrors are another accessory that can help give your bathroom a distinct look. They also help a smaller bathroom feel more spacious. Remember, while you need at least one mirror that is large enough and properly placed to be functional, you can also create designs with smaller, cameo sized mirrors placed in designs as décor.

The addition of pictures can give your bathroom character and they don’t have to be expensive. You might find printable images online or have photos of your own you can print. You can simply place them in inexpensive frames.

For counter accessories, low-cost votive candle holders can be a unique and attractive substitute for more costly bathroom-specific sets.

Like any room, a bathroom is not complete until it has been furnished. And doesn’t require breaking the bank to make it stunning!

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