• 2016, MARCH 29

    Creating a Home Remodeling Firm in Northern Virginia

    Commonwealth Home Design has served residents of Northern Virginia for 30 years. Hear what inspired architect Susan Pierce, co-founder and co-owner of Commonwealth, to create a design/build and home remodeling firm in Vienna, Virginia.

  • 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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  • 2015, JUNE 9

    4 Ways to Gain More Space in Your Home

    Feeling like you’ve outgrown your current house? The experienced architects at Commonwealth Home Design can show you how to creatively and efficiently gain more space in your home.

    With housing prices back on the rise in Northern Virginia, you may want to consider a renovation or addition project before seeking a new home.

    Look up, look down, look around—you may find you have more room for rooms than you think!

    1. Tear Down

    Aging homes are often filled with tiny, unused rooms that cramp modern lifestyles. This can be addressed by removing interior walls and expanding important rooms like the kitchen or creating new family gathering spaces, like a great room. Before you remove any wall, you must determine if the wall is load-bearing. The experts at Commonwealth Home Design have nearly 30 years experience transforming cramped rooms into spacious, open floor plans.

    16

    Great Falls, VA – An open, spacious floor plan with voluminous ceilings was created through a comprehensive interior gut and remodeling project. Walls and ceiling were removed and replaced with new wood beams and brackets. A new, expansive kitchen and great room were created.

    2. Build Up

    Attics can be transformed into a variety of spaces beyond your grandparent’s treasure trove. Home offices, in-law and au-pair suites, recreational rooms and even master bedrooms can be creatively situated in a redesigned attic. Reclaiming existing space under your roof also avoids many zoning and easement concerns common to the Northern Virginia area. There are several considerations when converting attics into new spaces, including building codes; support structures; electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems; and access. Commonwealth’s experienced, solutions-oriented architects can help determine if your attic is ready for a life-changing transformation.

    Attic master suite addition with sitting area, large bright; windows and sloped ceilings.

    Great Falls, VA – Attic conversion into a Cape Cod-style master suite with sitting area, large bright windows and sloped ceilings.

    3. Add On

    In many cases, you can gain more space from your existing home through an addition project. There are numerous ways to add onto a home. Adding onto and renovating the first floor may allow for an expansive new kitchen; and you know that everyone tends to gravitate towards the kitchen! A sunroom addition can function in many ways. It can be a light and airy, relaxation space with lots of glass and outdoor views, or a great place to mix, mingle and entertain. Second story additions are increasingly popular. Rather than using limited ground area and building a foundation, adding a second floor addition to a ranch house is a great and cost effective way to gain extra space. Master suites are common second story additions, providing more privacy and task-oriented spaces. Second floor laundry rooms are also popular in comprehensive addition projects. Many second story additions are designed above garages. Building over the garage is an efficient way to add space for everything from a master bedroom suite to an office or “bonus room”.

    Arlington, Virginia - Second story addition with new master suite and multiple bedrooms; bathrooms; and a two-story staircase.

    Arlington, Virginia – Second story addition with new master suite and multiple bedrooms; bathrooms; and a two-story staircase.

    4. Reconfigure

    Take a look around your home. How many rooms do you really use on a daily basis? Do you have unused sheds or small buildings on your lot? Your family may benefit greatly from a whole house reconfiguration. Unused sitting rooms, mudrooms, extra dining spaces, even under staircase storage areas and small outdoor buildings can be repurposed for today’s lifestyle and possessions. Additional storage can be found in the most creative of locations. Removing walls can increase the natural light into rooms by allowing light to flow through the center of the house from the sunny to the shady side. Sometimes a modest bump-out combined with an interior reconfiguration can work miracles. Older homes in Northern Virginia no longer meet the needs of modern families. But many people like you aren’t ready to pick up and move. Your love your neighborhood and value your investments!

    linearkitchen

    Great Falls, VA – Linear design with natural light; contemporary kitchen and family room reconfiguration.

     

    livetag
    Let the design/build professionals at Commonwealth transform your aging house into a luxurious modern residence rivaling today’s new homes!

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