building-a-house-in-nj

Building a House in NJ? Understanding the Various Roles of Everyone Involved with Your Design and Construction Process

building-a-house-in-nj

photography by Lisa Russman

Building your dream home in New Jersey is a fun and exciting process. It’s also stressful, long, and sometimes tedious, but when your entire family is happy with the finished product, it is definitely worth it. You may not even be aware that there is an entire team of people dedicated to making your dreams come true. 

Whether this is your first home or you are an old pro, it can be beneficial to know all of the roles and responsibilities of the various people on your team. While not every home project will include all of these roles, knowing they exist can help you determine if you need additional support on your side. 

The Architect

Your residential architect is the person who designs and creates construction plans for your home. They work with you to evaluate your site and translate what you want and need into a preliminary design. Working within your constraints for house building costs, they will help you craft your construction budget, including the overall cost of ownership, including taxes, maintenance, and upkeep. 

Once you have approved the design, the architect then translates this into schematics for your contractor and other construction professionals. This process includes hiring necessary specialists, such as engineers, consultants, and surveyors, to ensure that your design can be built safely and effectively. Your architect becomes the final authority on your home’s design before taking it before your local board for approval. 

The detailed drawings generated are then used to garner bids from construction professionals who will later construct your home. The architect then takes on the role of a project manager, overseeing the building of your home from start to finish. He will coordinate with the rest of the team to ensure completion and adherence to your budget. 

Lenders

This part of your team focuses on making sure you have the money you need, when you need it, to keep your construction project moving forward. They may help you with financing for your lot, house, or both. They can also assist you with building a house budget for now as well as once construction is complete. 

Engineers

Depending on the complexity of your build, you may have more than one type of engineer who needs to be a part of your team. Structural engineers, civil engineers, and others are your logistics gurus, making sure that everything will work and that safety is a top priority. Engineers are there to assess any limitations that might be a part of your home’s design and make sure that your finished house is structurally sound and meets local building codes. 

The Contractor

Contractors or home builders in NJ will coordinate with the architect to manage the actual building of your home. They will monitor safety, hire subcontractors, assess job completion and quality, and communicate with the rest of the team about problems, change-orders, and provide solutions or coordinate with the engineer when necessary. 

Subcontractors

These are tradespeople who specialize in various systems, materials, or processes that are needed to finish your home. These include plumbing, electrical, HVAC, landscape, and finish carpentry specialists, to name a few. They report to the contractor and architect. 

Inspectors

At various stages in your construction process, inspectors will need to ensure that your home meets local requirements. Building inspectors make visits to your site, sign off on required paperwork, and control whether you can continue building. Your contractor or architect will schedule all inspections with your town’s inspector to keep your build on schedule. 

You have a lot of people to help you during your home construction process. Be sure to ask for help whenever you need it. These people are here to help you and support you every step of the way during the construction of your house. 


Green=Building-Materials-from-NJ-Architects

Get the Latest Ideas on Sustainable and Green Building Materials from NJ Architects

Green=Building-Materials-from-NJ-Architects

photography by Lisa Russman

When you’re building your new home, you have a lot of decisions to make. Among these are the materials that you use for both the interior and exterior structures and surfaces. Architecture that includes green and sustainable materials not only reduces the carbon footprint of your project but can also save you money in both construction and upkeep. What materials are architects in NJ using to minimize waste and build more eco-friendly homes? And what does it mean for a material to be “sustainable” anyway? 

What Makes a Material “Eco-Friendly”?

There are many ways to define “green” materials, and you will need to decide which is most important to you. For example, substances that are recycled or made from existing components mean that fewer natural resources need to be used. Materials that allow your home to be more efficient and use fewer natural resources over the life of the house are also much greener. 

Products sourced locally require fewer resources to transport. And materials that last a long time and are appropriate for the climate or application could also be a consideration. That means you won’t need to replace them as often, which means lower resource consumption across the lifespan of the structure. 

The Latest Sustainable Materials Used by New Jersey Architecture Firms

So, which materials top the list for their eco-friendliness? Here are our top six picks. 

Bamboo

With fantastic durability and a high strength-to-weight ratio, bamboo is a prized construction material. And because it has a high self-regeneration rate, supplies can be replenished much more quickly than traditional wood. Bamboo makes an excellent option for many home-building applications, and it takes far fewer resources to transport than other conventional materials. It can be grown without replanting in many different climates, as well. 

Recycled Steel

When your new home design incorporates steel elements or requires beams or girders, look for recycled steel, which uses much less energy to create then new materials. In fact, recycled steel uses only 25 percent of the energy required to make new metal. And it means less junked cars and other materials in landfills and scrapyards. 

Sheep’s Wool

For a green alternative to insulate your home, try wool instead of fiberglass or spray foam. Wool lasts longer than other natural options, and it can be regenerated more quickly than other alternatives, like cotton. As more people seek out and adopt natural materials over synthetic ones, new options such as this, which was not even on architects’ radar a few years ago, will continue to enter the marketplace. 

Precast Concrete

As a natural and fully recyclable material, concrete is often high on green builders’ lists. When you opt for precast panels, which are made off-site and brought it, you also decrease waste and cost because you are benefiting from economies of scale. Concrete is strong and durable, and today’s finishes raise to a level of elegance never before seen.  

Reclaimed and Recycled Wood

When you reuse timber that has already been harvested and refined, you are saving energy costs as well as preventing further deforestation. You can use recycled wood in all aspects of home construction, from stud walls to flooring, and because it is a hardy material that lasts, you won’t have to replace wood materials quickly. 

Recycled Glass

From flooring to countertops to tiles, recycled glass can be used to create many beautiful and durable surfaces in your home. Glass is a 100% recyclable material, and several companies are now creating exquisite glass tiles and larger surfaces from industrial and residential waste. Glass makes an excellent alternative to resource-heavy materials like granite or marble. With unlimited colors from which to choose, your interior design will never suffer when you opt for this green material. 


Let’s Talk Insulation building a house in nj that will stay comfortable year round

Let’s Talk Insulation: Building A House In NJ That Will Stay Comfortable Year-Round

Let’s Talk Insulation building a house in nj that will stay comfortable year round

photography by Lisa Russman

When you are planning to design and construct a new home, you will also be building a house budget for your new lifestyle. And while you may think a lot about the various systems and finishes you invest in during your build, you should also be thinking about those materials that are going to keep your house comfortable and protected for many years to come. Most people think only about their HVAC system when it comes to keeping their home and family comfortable both during hot and cold months.

But, home builders in NJ know that the most important investment you can make is in your new home’s insulation. When calculating home building costs, you need to think not only about what materials will cost you now but how much money they may spend throughout the life of your home. Choosing the right insulation materials upfront can help keep your utility bills low and your family comfortable for years to come. 

Home Insulation Basics

Why should I care about my home’s insulation? For starters, insulation is what keeps heat from migrating through the walls and ceilings of your home. When heating and cooling your home uses up to 70% of your total energy consumption, the more of that heat that stays put (inside during the winter or outside during the summer) and keeps you comfortable, the less energy you are using. 

The other benefit of insulation is that it dampens sound, which means you won’t hear everything going on in your house at all times when walls, floors, and ceilings are adequately insulated. Insulation also helps protect your home from moisture damage by preventing condensation where extreme temperatures collide, such as on the roof or around windows and doors. 

Heat naturally moves and seeks out areas where the temperature is lower, and the more you can resist or stop this from happening, the more stable your home’s temperature will be. The effectiveness of your insulation is measured in its thermal resistance rating or R-value. The higher the value, the better your insulation resists heat flowing into or out of your home. 

Well over half the homes in existence today don’t have enough insulation. In fact, more than 800 trillion BTUs could be saved annually in the US alone if houses had proper insulation. And when you invest in the right level of insulation for your new home, you can save money as well as contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. 

The Best Options for Insulating Your NJ Home

There are many different products available to those building a house in NJ today. Some are synthetic, while others are made from natural materials. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. The most commonly used insulation materials include: 

  • Fiberglass batts and rolls- This is a traditional, synthetic material that is often installed between walls and inside roofs. It is fire resistant and inexpensive.

  • Radiant barriers- Rigid panels that have one side covered in a metallic, reflective coating. These are generally used on roofs to deflect the sun’s heat and trap warm air inside the home.

  • Blown-In Insulation- Whether made from natural or synthetic materials, blow-in insulation is a loose material that can be blown into walls or attic spaces. Typical materials include cellulose, sheep’s wool, recycled fibers, mineral wool, or fiberglass.

  • Spray foam- Made from various synthetic or natural materials, a liquid is sprayed into place, where it expands and hardens into a rigid foam structure. This is an excellent application for irregularly-shaped areas or insulating around obstructions.

  • Rigid foam board- Often used in exterior applications to provide continuous protection to the outside of a house. Rigid foam board offers a great deal of R-value for its weight and thickness. 

Talk with your New Jersey architect about which option or options make the best choice for your design and site. 


home building

An Open Letter To Our Builders & General Contractors

home buildingLooking back at 2019 and years prior, we are tremendously thankful for all of the excellent general contractors and building companies with whom we have had the honour to collaborate on projects.  Without the experience of these professionals, our projects wouldn’t become a reality for our clients; clients for whom we are agents. And our business would have a short life.

Architects know very well drawings are not crystal balls that prophesize the future perfectly. To endeavour that they do is simply unrealistic. They are called plans for a reason; they represent what our clients would like to achieve, what the architect would like to design, what building codes are applicable to the project to keep everyone safe and are meant as a graphic collection of instructions to be tested and realized during the construction process. By nature, it is not plausible to execute a set of drawings 100% to a tee, as drawn, by a builder or anyone. The process of construction translates a drawn concept to reality; there will be instances that need to be readdressed by all parties involved in the project.  If all parties involved are on board with that process a happy environment and successful project will ensue.

Great builders have a ton of experience with how buildings and houses are put together. They continually expand their knowledge with the latest building techniques and available materials. During the course of building a specific project, they can identify information that is missing and, in many cases, know an alternative way to build a certain element. This is especially the case with architect’s drawings that were expedited in production for a variety of reasons; usually, because of the need to accommodate the client’s schedule or due to the professional fees they agreed to pay, leading to more instances of abbreviated information or details; though, not compromising safety of construction.

The best builders identify any additionally needed information and know to bring it immediately to the attention of the architect to provide an answer.  The architect’s answer is provided by certified sketch, letter or combination of both, whether the subject is about structural loads, roof eave details, window units, or any of the hundreds of areas from foundation to rooftop.

The design and building process is an on-going dialogue between architect and builder.  We rely on the relationships we have with builders so that a successful project can be realized and for our mutual clients to be happy. Similarly, builders rely on architects to be the ‘first responders’, main resource and professional expert in providing supplementary information, details, and sketches, so that nothing is left to assumption or answered from an unrelated source.

Thank you to all of our great GC’s and Builders! Couldn’t do it without you!

Looking forward to a great 2020 together.

Mike


Why Newly Built, Custom Homes Can Change Your Mind on What a House Can Be

To Buy or Renovate? When Architectural Remodeling is the Smart Choice for Your Family

Why Newly Built, Custom Homes Can Change Your Mind on What a House Can Be

photography by Lisa Russman

At some point, your home may stop feeling like your home meets all your needs, or it starts to look tired and rundown. At these crucial moments, every homeowner has to make the dreaded but important decision. “Should I buy a different house or renovate the one I own?” While buying or building something new makes sense in several situations, architectural remodeling may be the best choice for your family. Here’s how you can tell. 

Do You Have Enough Space?

While a growing family is often a reason to find a bigger house, it may be that your current home is big enough, but you are not utilizing the space well. Residential architects can help you reconfigure the floorplan of your home to keep the same footprint but add another bedroom or bathroom within the existing structure. These masters of architecture design are great resources for helping you use the space you have more efficiently, which can allow you to keep your home and avoid a costly move.  

Do You Love Your Current Location?

Many people want to stay in their current home and make it work with a renovation or remodel because they are happy with the location, love their neighbors, or are content with their current commute time. Location is always a leading factor in the search for a home, and if you’ve already checked that item off your wish list where you are, remodeling the space could be the best decision. When you renovate, you can make the choices that will turn your house into your dream home, giving you the flexibility to customize and make it yours. 

Does Your Current Home Offer Something Unique You May Not Find Elsewhere?

Sometimes, the deciding factor for staying put is that your current location offers something unique that no other home really can. Maybe you adore your view, appreciate the privacy your current lot affords you, or live very close to family members. These are factors that will be hard to replicate in a new home, so staying where you are and considering architectural remodeling of your current space is the best option for retaining these benefits. 

Have You Already Made Significant Improvements?

Moving to a new home may be exciting, but it brings a lot of unknowns, including how quickly you’ll need to make significant improvements, like a new furnace or roof. If you’ve recently invested in major projects such as these in your own home, staying where you are could alleviate a lot of unknowns. If your home is structurally sound, it can be much more economical to invest a little extra in a home remodeling project than to buy a different house. 

Do You Have the Time to Wait for Renovations?

Those who opt for an architectural remodeling project over moving will need to wait for all their home improvement projects to be finished before enjoying their new home. When you factor in the time it takes to pack and prepare for a move, sell your home, unpack, and fully settle, a home renovation may not take much less time, if you plan it well. If you choose to remodel the entire home, you may need to move out if you want to speed up the process. If you have time to wait for this to be completed and patience is a virtue you have, then waiting for your dream home will be worth it. 

Do the Disadvantages Outweigh the Benefits of a New Home? 

If you want to downsize, relocate, or really hate something hard to change about your current home, then building or buying a different house may be the better choice. Taking the time to consider these questions will help you explore your options and determine what is best for you and your family. 

 


Tips for Building a House When You’ve Never Owned a Home Before

Best House Designs for 2020: What the New Traditional Home will Look Like Soon

Tips for Building a House When You’ve Never Owned a Home Before

Photography by Lisa Russman

Traditional homes remain some of the most popular among homeowners today. While the traditional design has always meant the celebration of styles and architecture from many different periods, the updated traditional home of tomorrow will provide the perfect outlet to combine modern design features with those from other aesthetics and offer some of the best house designs for the upcoming year. 

What is considered to be traditional is actually a blend of many different styles and eras and often includes pieces from many periods. Most traditional decors, though, include matching furniture, heavy window treatments, many different patterns in one space, and the strategic use of saturated colors. What’s not to love? Modern traditional homes, though, have taken the best of this and combined it with cleaner lines, more function, and even bolder mixing of periods and textures to create an updated, fun, and elegant look. The best house plans for 2020 are eclectic, giving you the paramount of many styles and the opportunity to incorporate all that you love rather than feeling confined by one look. 

The Updated Great Room

While traditional architectural designs for houses usually embrace separation of spaces for specific purposes, modern families are clamoring for great rooms that combine eating and cooking areas with functional social spaces. Why not have both? The contemporary traditional style can still include open-concept design but delineate spaces using color, texture, flooring, and other design choices. Keeping lines clean and color palettes neutral will help tie everything together, but there’s nothing that says that your great room can’t still include a beautiful hutch for your dishes, an inlaid table where everyone can eat, and decorative light fixtures and elements that lend elegance and flair to your eating space. 

Traditional Meets Minimal in the Master Suite

While traditional interior design for the master suite would typically include multitudes of colors and fabrics, why not switch it up by combining the simplicity of a minimalist look with some exciting period touches? Create a monochromatic base by choosing carpet and wall covers that are neutral and nearly identical. Then, bring in punches of color and texture using traditional fabrics, rugs, window treatments, or wall hangings. Selecting pieces with varied patterns but a common color is a way to tie it all together. 

A New Take on Traditional Furnishings

In the past, having a traditional home meant lots of heavy, dark, and possibly dated furniture. Going in the opposite direction, a modern home lacks detail and may feel cold and uncomfortable for many. The happy medium, once again, is a new traditional design. With larger, more comfortable furniture that still has excellent lines and plenty of fun details, this new take on a classic gives you plenty of character and unique touches. 

The Window Treatment Gets a Pare-Down

We all remember the heavy, often dark, overly fussy window treatments of the past several decades. These types of curtains, swags, and valences are a surefire way to make any room look dated, but the traditional design still calls for the use of color or texture on the windows to add interest to your space. Roman shades with bold designs, funky curtains with sumptuous textures, or solid shades that hang from ornate rods are sufficient to block out the sun, give you privacy, and add the right elegant touch to your updated traditional space. 

Traditional Design Brings the Best Ideas Together 

When modern families combine to form new unions, second households, or blended units, that means that there is an opportunity to bring everyone’s favorite furniture and decorative pieces together and celebrate them all. By combining the best of all your extraordinary pieces, your home becomes a reflection of your life before, now, and for the future. The best traditional interiors are those that showcase many styles, which means everyone gets to keep something that they love when households combine.


Farmhouse Architecture and Interior Design- What You Need To Know To Achieve the Look You Love

Farmhouse Architecture and Interior Design: What You Need To Know To Achieve the Look You Love

Farmhouse Architecture and Interior Design- What You Need To Know To Achieve the Look You LoveThe modern farmhouse look has become quite trendy in the past several years, and while this style of design can have many variations, there are generally some key features that distinguish this from other forms of architecture and interior design. If you are remodeling or building a new home and want to achieve this new take on a classic look, then here’s everything you need to know. 

Architectural Design for Today’s Farmhouse Look

Among the architectural elements that are most commonly associated with the modern farmhouse, the gable roof is by far the most ubiquitous component. Unlike the hip roofs of many suburban homes, the gable roof has two sloping sides, often with a steep pitch that creates a 45-degree angle where they meet. Gables give your home height and drama, and when they are covered in metal roofing materials, as many modern farmhouses are, it is a dramatic effect. 

Tall, double-hung windows allow every room to enjoy plenty of natural light while still being reminiscent of your grandmother’s old house. The most common exterior choices for farmhouse design are board and batten or lap. With modern materials, including fiber cement, vinyl, and engineered wood, your options for colors and textures means you can customize your home’s exterior and stand out among the neighbors.

No farmhouse design would be complete without a porch. Front porches, back patios, and wrap-around verandas are all worthy options to complete the exterior design of your farmhouse. Be sure to hang a porch swing and create cozy, outdoor living spaces to ensure the entire family will be able to enjoy this impressive and functional part of your home. 

Interior Architecture Options for your Farmhouse Family

The farmhouse design has risen in popularity, in part because the style is more relaxed, family-focused, and embracing the chaos of daily life, much like today’s families. Entering into a house of this design feels warm and welcoming, and living inside allows you and your loved ones to enjoy the simple moments together. 

Layouts for a modern farmhouse generally revolve around the kitchen and eating spaces, with a great room design that can be customized to fit your needs. Because you want to take advantage of the natural light and outdoor spaces, as well, cozy nooks outside and large doors that lead to the porch are also common. 

The biggest draw for both the architecture and interior design of today’s farmhouses is that they are built for practicality, and choices are made based on function and usage, not just aesthetics. Furniture is comfortable and meant to welcome visitors, not leave people wondering if it’s okay to sit. Materials are natural and durable, meaning they can withstand whatever the kids or the furry family members can dish out.

But this form of architectural design isn’t stuffy, which means furniture doesn’t all have to match, you can choose different materials to define specific spaces, and everything is created to help all who enter feel at home. You can personalize your modern farmhouse with the vibe that speaks to you, including details that recall the Great Plains, a beautiful vineyard, or your ancestral home. 

Architectural Design that Combines The Best of Both Worlds 

The attractiveness of the modern farmhouse style is a story in combining opposites in subtle but effective ways. These homes offer the chance to integrate airy and dense, old and new, light and dark, natural and man-made. Those with minimalist leanings as well as anyone with a more traditional sensibility can find a way to bring different design elements together to create something they will love.


Breaking the NJ Architecture Rules with These Design Tips to Help Your Home Stand Out From the Pack

Master Bath Design Secrets Shared by Architects in NJ

Breaking the NJ Architecture Rules with These Design Tips to Help Your Home Stand Out From the Pack

Photography by Lisa Russman

Creating an inviting master bath is something you do for yourself, not guests or visitors to your home. Your master bath is an essential space in your home, enabling you to get your day started, providing a brief refuge from the daily grind, and giving you space for taking care of yourself when your batteries need a recharge. If you are considering a master bath redesign, here are some tips from an expert Architect in NJ to help you create the space you need. 

Start Each Day with Warmth

If you are building or remodeling your master bath, why not take advantage of this opportunity to install heated flooring in your space? No one likes cold tile on their feet early in the morning, and heated floors are practical as well as comfortable. When you heat from the bottom up, your space will feel warmer, and when your feet are toasty, the rest of you will feel cozy, too. Ask your New Jersey architecture specialist how to incorporate heated floors into your master suite. 

Tile Advice from NJ Architects 

Installing floor-to-ceiling tile is one way to transform a space from blah to high end, and you can achieve the look you want by picking stone, ceramic, or glass tiles that you love. When working with stone, you can opt to focus on just one or two walls rather than the entire space while leaving the other walls neutral, to bring out the natural beauty of the stone. Subway tiles are also a great choice, but you can get creative with grout colors, accent tiles, and layout patterns, too. An architect can be a second set of eyes to help you decide.  They are trained experts in design and functionality.

Create a Retreat Using Natural Elements

One way to improve the relaxation factor of your master bath is to integrate as many natural elements as possible into your indoor space. Natural light provides warmth while also making your bathroom an excellent home for plants and flowers. Using wood accents or details helps you connect with nature, and the more natural your space, the more likely your mind will be able to rejuvenate and focus on self-care. 

Get Creative with Lighting in Your Master Bath

Wall sconces, chandeliers, and pendant lamps aren’t just for the great room anymore. Your master bath needs plenty of supplemental light to create that welcoming effect after dark, too. Adequate lighting in this space is crucial, and there’s nothing that says you have to stick with traditional, around-the-mirror fixtures. New Jersey architecture firms are installing some interesting, funky, and functional light fixtures that create a beautiful statement in the master bath. 

Dual Vanities Means Dual Style

If you share your master bathroom with someone else, why not give each of you a space to call your own? Putting multiple vanities in a master bath is nothing new, but placing them in different parts of the room and incorporating distinct styles in each ensures that you both get the personal space you love. Make his countertop higher or yours lower, use different colors and materials or add other touches to customize each area. 

The Most Important Rule is That You are Comfortable

What is more apparent today than ever before is that, when it comes to the master bath or master suite, there really are no rules anymore. Because these are personal spaces in your home that are meant to meet your most intimate and private needs, the most crucial consideration is that it makes you comfortable and has everything you require. Throw out all your preconceptions about what a bathroom “should” be and create the one that gives you what you desire. Today’s master bath is breaking all the rules, so feel free to get creative when considering options for your next remodel or new home. 


Ready for Some Kid-Approved Ideas for Room Additions We’ve Got Them!

Ready for Some Kid-Approved Ideas for Room Additions? We’ve Got Them!

Ready for Some Kid-Approved Ideas for Room Additions We’ve Got Them!Adding on to your home is a significant investment. As a homeowner, you need to consider if your home addition plans will add value to your property. But, another crucial factor to consider is if your room addition will be valuable to your family. Is your new space creating areas that everyone will love? Sure, a new bathroom would be super helpful during that early morning crunch to get everyone to the bus, but what kinds of spaces would your kids really enjoy having?

Room Addition Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Room additions can serve lots of purposes, so how about one that is specifically geared toward your growing family? For starters, you and your kids can enjoy a game room together. Having a space to play electronic games, board games, pool, or other activities is an excellent idea for young and old. Game rooms do not need anything special in terms of the construction, and you can change the contents as your family grows and interests change. Include storage for board games, an entertainment center or computer station, plus comfortable seating, and you are ready to play! If you build it like an extra bedroom, you have increased the value of your home for future buyers, too. 

Younger kids would love to have an indoor adventure space for play. Creating a playroom for your small ones gives them room to be creative that does not interfere with the rest of the family space. And a place all their own means they can decide how to express themselves through their imaginations. Include extensive built-ins to wrangle the clutter and turn your playroom into a flexible space when guests come over. A Murphy bed is perfect for this type of area, which can double as a guest room from time to time.

Are your kids into hobbies? Or do they play musical instruments? Why not give them a room for their pastimes? Some hobbies require a lot of gear or equipment that you do not want taking up space in shared areas. Musicians will appreciate a room where they can practice without disturbing the whole house and a place to store their instruments. And the rest of the family will appreciate any soundproofing you install!

Why not think outside the box (literally) and add an outdoor living area to your home for the whole family to enjoy? While technically not an addition, outdoor living spaces do add livable square footage to a house and are becoming more sought after by buyers. Give the kids something they will love, like a treehouse, playhouse, or play area, and include a fire pit and outdoor kitchen for the whole family to enjoy. 

Finally, if your kids are getting a little older, what they really want is a space to hang out with their friends, watch movies, and chill. Adding a teen space as a room addition can be as simple as finishing your existing basement, but you could also add a room over your garage or build an outdoor studio or shed in your yard. Once your kids are gone from the house, these spaces can turn into places for your personal hobbies, guest quarters, or even a room to rent to tenants or travelers. 

Do Your Home Addition Plans Meet the “Kid” Test?

Remember: room additions do not have to be dull and stodgy, so get creative when considering home addition ideas. Ask your kids what kinds of spaces would make their lives better and be willing to hear what they have to say. After all, they live there, too!


Opt for an Interior Design that Creates Flexible Home Work Space

Opt for an Interior Design that Creates Flexible Home Work Space

Opt for an Interior Design that Creates Flexible Home Work Space

Photography by Lisa Russman

While the trend toward fully remote or part-time work-from-home jobs is rising, the home office is also enjoying a revival of sorts in the design world. Interior design plans from the past several years have seen a decrease in dedicated home office space. As interior design and use of space have evolved, homeowners are looking to make better use of flexible spaces for work, play, and family activities. 

New homes increasingly have open-plan layouts that allow for flexible use of shared spaces, which can be utilized in many ways by those who work from home. And because homes are getting smaller, forgoing a dedicated office frees up valuable square footage to devote to other family priorities. 

Home Design Plans That Create Flexible Space
For many people who work away from the office, all they need is a place to sit, a reliable internet connection, and their thoughts. This can easily be accomplished in a wide variety of settings, including some away from home, like your local cafe, library, or park. Those with a more flexible workflow may decide that all they need at home is a desk to store documents and manage the clutter, or a place they can use from time to time for phone calls or video chats. 

In instances where you still want a dedicated space to work but do not necessarily need an entire room, a home office nook is becoming a popular trend. Everything from secluded corners to larger landings to space under the stairs can be enlisted to serve work needs. Or, how about repurposing the wardrobe your daughter has outgrown as a workspace? All you need is 20 square feet (or less), and voila! Instant office.

For couples that co-work as well as cohabitate, creating a shared workspace can be space-saving. And at the end of the workday, kids can also use this same space to practice music, do homework, or work on hobbies or crafts. A large island or farmhouse table, dedicated shelves or storage bins, and lots of outlets for portable electronics will suit everyone’s needs. 

When you need to be able to transition from work mode to family time quickly, hideaway or convertible furniture is a good choice. By day it is a desk, but after school, it folds away into a bookshelf or cupboard. You have the benefit of a space to call your own when needed which isn’t a permanent structure in your home.

When your home is small and bustling with noise from pets, kids, and media players, it is helpful to have a retreat that you can use from time to time to gather your thoughts, too. Some couples are embracing an office nook inside the master suite, which allows the adults to work in private while the kids have free reign of the rest of the home. This is the perfect interior design plan for when your teens and their friends seem to be everywhere all the time. 

The Future of Home Office Interior Design
As the generation of Millennials increasingly become homeowners, and the older generations reach retirement age, a different population is dictating home design trends. The rise of the gig economy, the ability to work from anywhere you have a reliable WIFI signal, and the shifting demands of “work” in general all have redefined what it means to “work” and “work from home.”  

The most important advice you can consider is to make sure that your home office space, whatever it may be, meets your needs and those of the others in your family. That’s your most important priority.