• home remodeling northern virginia

    2013, Mar 21

    Design-Build vs Competitive Bids

    What you need to know about the design-build and competitive bid processes before starting your home renovation or new build project.

    Is the competitive bid process a better approach than design-build for home remodeling?

    True / False: A homeowner’s best way of getting what they want from a remodeler is to get competitive bids.

    Answer: False
    A negotiated price with trusted remodelers is the best way to get what you truly want in a remodeling project.

    Here’s Why Design-Build Makes More Sense:

    There’s a widespread misconception as to what makes a competitive bid. Many people assume that simply describing a project to several different remodelers will produce prices from each that can be compared one against another. The truth is, not even design drawings, let alone a description of the project, are enough for comparing prices.

    Gathering “bids” in this manner will produce three different things:

    1. some accurate pricing
    2. some of what is commonly known in the trade as “lowball” pricing
    3. and occasionally, some high pricing.

    Lowball Pricing

    Lowball pricing carries the most potential for disappointment while being terribly enticing to the Owner. Remodelers who engage in lowball pricing must somehow make up for lost revenue. They do this by sacrificing materials or craftsmanship, by shortchanging the design, or by submitting change orders for extra work that was “not included” in the bid. The length of the project often slips weeks or months out of control, as the contractor leaves the lowball project to work on more profitable projects. The actual dollar cost to the owner may then be even higher than is fair, and the emotional and convenience cost is far greater.

    A True Bid Package

    A true bid package is a comprehensive set of documents produced by an architect for a substantial fee of 8 to 16% of the projected costs of construction. A bid package can take many months and thousands of dollars to produce. Unfortunately, after this cumbersome phase is completed, the bids are often far higher than expected; architects love to design, but are not always realistically in touch with costs. Re-engineering of the plans must take place at yet more time and expense. Or the design is abandoned and it never gets built.

    Design-Build Negotiated Price

    NEGOTIATED PRICE with a trusted design-build firm marries the construction costs with the design in the planning stages and gives the Owner control over where the construction costs will go.

    Here’s How Design-Build Works:

    The design-build firm interviews the Owner and together they accurately ballpark a low to high range of construction costs. The Owner chooses both the level of design and detail, and the quality of materials to keep the project within their chosen cost range. If the Owner chooses to change or add elements to the design, the firm can give immediate feedback on the added costs.

    The Home Owner’s objectives are:

    • …to get the financial planning and design synchronized at the earliest possible stage
    • …to produce the most pleasing design possible for the budget
    • …and to expedite scheduling of the project.

    The design-build firm’s objectives are:

    • …to product the most pleasing design (which will make for a happy client, and increase referral business from the client)
    • …for an achievable budget (which will encourage the Owner to come back to the remodeler for more work in the future)
    • …and to expedite the scheduling of the project.

    This is a true win-win relationship!

  • New Sunroom Addition with Walls of Windows Fairfax VA

    2014, Jan 9

    5 Home Remodeling Ideas To Increase Your Home’s Value

    Need some home remodeling ideas? Get more life out of your home and increase its value with these five trending home improvement projects.

    Home Remodeling Idea #1: Curb Appeal Improvements

    Everything you’ve heard about curb appeal is true; the exterior of your house makes a first impression. The majority of today’s residential renovation projects include basic to elaborate curb appeal improvements. Because they have such a commanding presence, upgrading a garage door with a vibrant color, engaging design or unexpected material such as glass, can dramatically improve the way your home looks. New outdoor architecture design, porches and decks, sunroom additions, porte-cochères and entryway construction, can turn a tired home into a neighborhood masterpiece.

    Home Remodeling Idea: New Glass Garage Door and Natural Wood RailingsNew Glass Garage Door and Natural Wood Railings

    Home Remodeling Idea #2: Baby-Boomer Suites

    Middle-aged couples used to build new or purchase homes with in-law suites to care for parents in their elderly years. Today’s trend is somewhat reversed. Aging baby boomers, with newer and nicer houses than previous generations, are creating smaller attached or detached living spaces for themselves and turning over the rest of the home to their children. Today, on-site cottages, renovated garages and basements, and third-story additions are becoming living spaces for aging parents wanting to downsize, yet keep their family home.

    Home Remodeling Idea #3: Nature-rich Living Spaces

    As demand for land increases and availability decreases, homeowners are seeking creative ways to be one-step closer to the great outdoors. Sunrooms, screen porch additions and walls of windows present expansive blue skies, lavish green foliage, and blooming florals, bringing the feeling of being outdoors, inside.

    Home Remodeling Idea: Fireplace built within wall of windows to give outdoor viewFireplace Built within Wall of Windows

    Home Remodeling Idea #4: Upscale Garages

    In recent years, the demand for bigger garages has intensified with the increasing size of cars and SUVs, as well as the need for more storage space. The garage has turned into the oversized master bedroom closet—once you have it, you’re continually reorganizing and filling it. Many homeowners, however, are moving cars out altogether and turning them into attractive, functional spaces. Garages are being converted into recreation rooms, party areas, stylized storage spaces, family rooms, computer rooms and additional bedrooms. Nowadays, garages are serving well beyond a resting place for your car and becoming the focal point of a home’s exterior.

    Home Remodeling Idea #5: Entertainment Spaces

    State-of-the-art home theaters, game rooms, custom bars, and sitting rooms are must-have spaces in today’s modern home. The experience of a well-designed home entertainment space is an improvement in lifestyle the whole family can enjoy. Homeowners are extending great rooms, renovating basements, and converting attics into valuable bonus rooms.

  • home remodeling northern virginia

    2014, Feb 5

    Commonwealth Home Design | VBA Happy Hour Mixer in Vienna

    Commonwealth Home Design cordially invites you to mix and mingle with us at the Vienna Business Association Happy Hour Mixer.

    Pierce Residence
    8830 Old Courthouse Road
    Vienna, VA 22180

    Date: February 18, 2014
    Time: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

    Get to know your neighbors and find out what the VBA can do for your business and our community!

    Meet Susan and see scenes from this recent Vienna Business Association Mixer at the Pierce residence (designed/built by Commonwealth Home Design).

    home remodelers northern virginia