• 2016, JUNE 21

    Best Practices in Architectural Design for Home Remodeling Projects in 2016

    Residential architect and Commonwealth Home Design co-owner, Susan Pierce, discusses the importance of considerations like curb appeal, traffic flow, balance and symmetry, and functional design in home remodeling and new design projects.

     

  • 2016, JUNE 7

    Necessities for Modern Bathroom Design in 2016

    Light, bright and open bathroom designs have become commonplace in new home and renovation projects. Learn more about Spring 2016 bathroom design trends in this interview with Susan Pierce, owner and architect, at Commonwealth Home Design.

  • 2016, MAY 3

    Built to Last: Commonwealth Home Design Celebrates 30 Years!

    Built to Last Commonwealth Home Design

    There’s Nothing Stronger than the Foundation of Family.

    Owned and operated by husband/wife team Kelvin and Susan Pierce, Commonwealth Home Design LLC has sustained and grown for 30 years, nearly eight times longer than half the small businesses in the US (according to the Department of Labor).

    Upon graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Architecture & Urban Studies and an internship at a prestigious DC firm, Susan Caughey approached her then fiancé, Kelvin Pierce, an Aerospace Engineer, with a dream of starting her own construction business. After a conversation with a relative in the construction industry and some convincing on Susan’s part, the Pierce’s co-founded Commonwealth Home Design and married in 1986.

    Susan and Kelvin’s first major project was the result of a design competition. Explains Susan, “We started doing decks for friends and then a bathroom for a neighbor. A potential client in Alexandria was doing a significant addition and they held a design competition with a modest stipend between me and another architect. It was such an important challenge and we won it!” The project was photographed and that gave Commonwealth legitimacy as an emerging home remodeling firm in Northern Virginia.

    Since that time, Commonwealth Home Design has remodeled, redesigned and built hundreds of houses across Northern Virginia. The firm has won numerous awards, including Top Remodeler by Washingtonian Magazine, Contractor of the Year from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and the Chrysalis Award presented to remodelers that reflect the professional excellence of the residential and commercial remodeling industry.

    The firm has perfected a delivery methodology that includes assigning one project manager to be on site, all day/every day managing subcontractors, monitoring the budget and ensuring expectations are met. This hands-on, client-focused approach streamlines communication and allows the firm to proactively manage setbacks and changes in project scope. Clients appreciate knowing they have one point of contact throughout the entire course of the project, from design through construction.

    Beyond their commitment to enduring client relationships, the lifelong Vienna residents have a vast history of service and giving back to the community. Susan and Kelvin are active members in the Vienna Business Association, hosting several events at their signature “red” home. Kelvin also has served in a leadership capacity, including President of the Rotary Club in Vienna.

    Ten years into their marriage, Kelvin and Susan traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia to complete the adoption of two newborn girls from the impoverished area. After witnessing first-hand the devastated economy of the Georgian people and the deteriorating orphanages, Kelvin formed The Divine Child Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to improve the physical environment and living conditions for orphaned children while supporting their health and providing educational enrichment opportunities.

    To date, Divine Child has completed several building renovation projects and continues to serve its mission to provide a safe, secure and stable environment for the children of Georgia. (DONATE TODAY)

    Within the past year, Susan founded the Northern Virginia Chapter of Day for Girls. Days for Girls is an international non-profit organization that helps women in third world countries gain access to quality sustainable feminine hygiene products allowing them to manage their monthly periods and stay in school. (GET INVOLVED)

    What’s kept this remarkable husband and wife team together for 30 years in business, marriage and service—constant challenges, a changing market landscape, the continual need to learn and grow, and a since desire to build a brighter future for families near and far.

    home remodeling northern virginia

    Pictures from Commonwealth Home Design’s 30 Year Anniversary Celebration

    Home Remodelers Northern Virginia   Home Remodelers Northern Virginia Celebrating 30 Years Home Remodelers Northern Virginia Celebrating 30 Years  Home Remodelers Northern Virginia Celebrating 30 Years Commonwealth Home Remodeling Celebrates 30 Years Northern Virginia Commonwealth Home Remodeling Celebrates 30 Years Northern Virginia 30 Year Anniversary Celebration Commonwealth Home Design Remodeling 30 Year Anniversary Celebration Commonwealth Home Design Remodeling 30 Year Anniversary Celebration Commonwealth Home Design Remodeling

    30 Year Anniversary Celebration Commonwealth Home Design Remodeling Divine Child Foundation Commonwealth Gives Back

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    Commonwealth Celebrates 30 Years Remodeling Homes

     

     

  • 2015, AUGUST 25

    Renovate or Relocate: A Common Homeowner Conundrum

    Almost all homeowners contemplate buying a new house or remodeling an existing home at some point in their lives. There’s no right or wrong choice but several potential life-changing considerations.

    Before jumping into a major home remodeling project or spending hours online searching for a new house, create a wish list outlining your needs and wants. Here are four primary considerations to include in your list:

    1. Location, Location, Location

    How much do you love your existing neighborhood? If you have a family or are thinking about starting one, how are the school systems. Would you be leaving behind neighborhood friends and playmates? What amenities are readily available that may not be easily accessible in a new town or city.

    Another incredibly important factor in Northern Virginia is a move’s impact on your commute. Will it be longer or shorter. Are you willing to spend more time in your car than enjoying your new home?

    If these factors make you want to stay, can you renovate within your current footprint? An experienced architect can help you determine if your existing home can expand to meet your needs while complying with local building codes. You may uncover areas for expansion you never realized were available. (See related: Four Ways to Gain More Space in Your Home.)

    Great Room After

    Great Room AFTER Renovation & Expansion

    Great Room Before

    Great Room BEFORE Renovation & Expansion

    2. Quality of Life

    Living through a renovation can be stressful but so can moving! Are you prepared to live through a few months of flying dust, the constant sound of power tools and a bevy of contractors walking through your home. (See related: The Remodeling Process Rollercoaster – What You Can Expect.)

    The idea of packing a lifetime’s worth of belongings may be reason enough to stay put. For some though, moving is an opportunity to purge and start anew.

    If you’re unable to line up closing dates, you may find yourself in a temporary housing situation. Can you deal with the stress of packing/unpacking and moving twice?

    Carefully consider the impact a home renovation or multiple moves may have on your quality of life before, during and after!

    3. Budget and Financing

    A new house means qualifying for a new mortgage and expenses beyond the purchase price of the home—i.e. real estate transaction fees, closing costs, moving expenses, new fixtures and furniture, etc.

    There are also numerous tax laws that affect the calculation of taxes upon the sale of one’s home and the repurchase of its replacement. Tax credits may be available, depending on when you buy the property. Seek professional advice to understand the tax implications of selling your home and buying a new one.

    A renovation can be financed through savings, home equity loans or lines or credit. Acquiring a home equity loan or line of credit depends on several factors: the equity in the home before the project, the cost of the remodel, and the expected market value once completed.

    Extensive renovations and expansions also may end up more costly than expected if your wish list changes throughout the course of the project. It’s important to plan for the unknown in any high value investment involving your home.

    4. Value

    Are you currently living in a booming neighborhood with rising home values. If so, you may want to stay put and invest in your house. A remodeling project should result in added value to your property. According to Remodeling Magazine, the most profitable renovations when putting a house on the market include kitchen remodels and room additions.

    Whether you choose to renovate or build new, it’s important to work with an experienced architect. Superior design not only increases the value of your home, but can also greatly improve your quality of life. Conversely, mediocre design may diminish resale value and lead to missed design opportunities and years of regret.

    Kitchen After Renovation and Removal of Fireplace

    Kitchen and Breakfast Area AFTER Renovation

    Kitchen and Fireplace Before Renovation

    Kitchen and Breakfast Area BEFORE Renovation

    Next Steps…

    Determining you need more space or a change of environment is easy. The quandary is how best to achieve it. Relocating and renovating each can be satisfying and effective if you weigh the options carefully. Seeking the assistance of an expert residential architect may result in upgrades and additional space you never dreamed available in your existing home.

    An informed and educated decision can minimize your aggravation and ensure your family years of good living!

    Give us a call today at 703-255-9861 and let the experienced architects at Commonwealth Home Design help you to weigh your options.

    Live the Difference

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  • 2014, APRIL 15

    Home Remodeling Projects On the Rise According to Latest LIRA Study

    The second quarter of 2013 saw an upward trend in home remodeling projects that have continued to spike throughout the first three months of 2014. Double-digit growth in the residential home remodeling industry is expected to continue into the third quarter according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), a tool developed by the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University. It is expected to stay strong but moderate to the mid-single digits in the 4th quarter.

    The rise of home prices and increasing stability in the housing market have contributed to the stimulation of remodeling efforts as home owners take on previously deferred projects.

    Now is the time to start your remodeling project. Let the award-winning team at Commonwealth Home Design realize your dreams and help improve your quality of life!

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