• 2016, DECEMBER 1

    Experienced Residential Architects Deliver On Details

    Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a pioneer of modernist architecture, is often associated with the adages, “less is more” and “God is in the details”, concisely expressing that purposeful design elements transform good buildings into extraordinary ones. When remodeling or designing a new home, seamlessly blending form and function with attention to detail creates a lasting impression.

    Interior Design Elements

    Simple elements, like columns, baseboards, moldings, trims, hand railings and banisters, can have a dramatic impact on the design of your home.

    Columns are a great way to separate rooms without using walls to achieve an open floor plan. They can be used as load-bearing elements or just visual additions. Similarly, pilasters may be used to separate rooms that share common walls or to add vertical separation between two areas of a home. Pilasters can be used decoratively around fireplaces or in lieu of normal casings, to create a grand entrance for any formal room or doorway. Both columns and pilasters can enrich the ambience of your home.

    Baseboards are a defining feature serving as a visual link that travels into every room in your home. As part of a remodeling project, replacing or enhancing baseboards can go a long way. If baseboards have stature, a room becomes regal; when they’re skimpy, that same space can look unfinished. Modern homes have a minimalist approach to baseboards. An experienced residential architect ensures a home’s baseboards are in harmony with its overarching design.

    Door and window trims add a completely different look to your home with very little work. Adding details to windows and doors brings a certain elegance to any home and often creates a first and last impression.

    Other fine details, such as moldings, give rooms a sense of depth. They can be used on ceilings to mimic architectural details in a room, run along hallways or stacked in layers to create the illusion of length and height.

    Ceiling Architectural Design Detail


    Thoughtful lighting design can transform a house into a home allowing the personality of the owner to shine through. Without good lighting, no other design elements have an impact. Experienced home designers create spaces that maximize natural light year-round using a combination of floor-to-ceiling windows, clerestory windows, above-counter windows, corner windows, skylights and glass doors.

    Other fine elements, such as lighting fixtures that are distinct and look like works of art, can add emphasis and creativity to ordinary rooms.

    Lighting coves are a great way to indirectly create a warm space. With this detail, light can shine up if the ceiling is vaulted, or down if there’s a painting or other feature on a wall to highlight. These are great places to add lighting while at the same time, creating an architectural detail within your home.

    Contemporary Great Room Design


    While the focus on interior details is often thought of when considering a home remodeling or new design project, the exterior of a home is just as important. The facade of every home needs balance and symmetry in order to appear properly designed and pleasing to the eye. A professional architect manages the complicated process of balancing detailed color choices, materials, shapes, and lines with functionality and durability.

    Most modern exterior detailing is free from heavy ornamentation of classical building design and replaced with simple linear forms. Rooflines may have distinct cantilevers or large overhangs. Unique features such as seemingly flat rooflines constructed with materials from the exterior can blend harmoniously with nature around your home.

    Windows serve as the eyes into a home; they should not only reflect the character of your house but also need to be durable and functional. Modern homes often incorporate large expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows, while traditional homes tend to look best with symmetrically placed, white-paned, rectangular windows. Other factors to consider include: UV ratings, privacy, proper ventilation, ease of cleaning and views beyond.

    home remodeling northern virginia

    Thinking Ahead

    According to renowned designer Frank Lloyd Wright, “The architect must be a prophet… a prophet in the true sense of the term…if he can’t see at least ten years ahead don’t call him an architect.” Wright designed buildings in harmony with their environment and according to his vision of what the future would be, not what the world was. He saw the need for homes to be more fluid, more open, more livable, and less restrained.

    A professional architect continually improves upon his/her craft, understands current trends, is attentive to detailed distinctions, and designs with an eye for the future.

    If you’re considering a home remodeling project, contact us today (703-255-9861) and we’ll help turn your dreams into reality!

    Live the Difference with an Experienced Residential Architect

  • 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.

  • 2015, MARCH 20

    6 Considerations for Creating a Versatile Outdoor Kitchen

    The close of winter and promise of spring are making us Northern Virginians anxious for some outdoor living! Now is the time to maximize your yard and create a dining and entertaining space that compliments your indoor kitchen.

    With an outdoor kitchen you can prepare meals and be around your guests with minimal time spent running inside for forgotten items. Here are some considerations when developing your new outdoor kitchen.

    1. Site Selection & Space Planning

    Choosing the optimal location for your outdoor kitchen can have a major impact on your budget. Ideally, the site should easily connect to home utility sources and be accessible to your indoor kitchen. Your outdoor kitchen will also need shelter from wind, rain and extreme sun.

    Consider your workflow and how your indoor and outdoor spaces will be used together. Design your space according to functional zones, including preparation, cooking, serving, entertaining and cleanup. For example, it’s important to separate beverage serving areas from food prep and cooking to minimize disruption while meals are being prepared. You know what they say about too many cooks!

    Outdoor Kitchen Stainless Steel

    2. Appliances

    A luxury outdoor kitchen may contain just as many appliances as an indoor gourmet kitchen. Grills, smokers, pizza ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, ice makers, recessed blender stations, sinks, and wine and keg reserves are commonplace in outdoor kitchens. Determining the frequency of use and types of meals to be served in advance of your project will inform your appliance selections. Appliances should come from companies specializing in outdoor kitchen supplies.

    Outdoor Kitchen Grill Sink and Brick

    3. Materials

    The look and feel of your outdoor kitchen should be in harmony with the design of your home. Use compatible materials and incorporate subtle architectural details to create a space that’s a natural extension of your house.

    Durability is key when choosing materials and finishes for your outdoor kitchen. Everything has to be waterproofed. Selecting low maintenance materials and equipment that withstand the impact of outdoor elements is critical. High-quality stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that’s easily cleaned and corrosion-resistant.

    Counters and patio or decking material should be resistant to grease stains and able to withstand high temperatures. For flooring, avoid materials that may become slick when wet, such as tile or marble. Natural stone blocks with low porosity, such as granite, sealed pavers or concrete work best for outdoor flooring.

    Outdoor Kitchen Stone Fireplace

    4. Storage

    Determining how many supplies you need on-hand, such as utensils, pots and pans, serving ware, etc., will determine your need for storage. Planning ahead will eliminate the need to go in and out of the house for supplies.

    Like everything else, storage cabinets must be waterproof and resistant to rot. High quality stainless steel that matches a grill is a good option for cabinets.

    5. Lighting

    Much like indoor kitchens, lighting is an essential element of your outdoor space. Adequate task lighting for food prep and cooking, as well as ambient lighting for after-dark dining and entertaining, are important.

    Outdoor Kitchen Lighting6. Dining Spaces

    There are endless options for dining spaces within your new outdoor kitchen. Do you regularly entertain large groups of guests or only need accommodations for a small family?

    Consider creating a bar counter connected to your countertop so guests may sit on stools and chat while you’re working. A bar also can be conveniently used for serving and setup.

    Durable outdoor tables and chairs can look and function as well as any formal dining room set. Consider the placement of seating spaces to eliminate smoke and splatters from prep and cooking areas.

    Spring is just around the corner, now is the time to plan and build your versatile outdoor kitchen. Give us a call at 703-255-9861 today to get started.

    Live the Difference

    Craving more tips? Check out this infographic from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

    Tips for Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

    Tips for Designing an Outdoor Kitchen

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