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

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

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

Photography by Lisa Russman

So, you are a first-time homebuyer, AND you want to build your own home? When you are sure that you are ready to become a homeowner, building your perfect home may be the best choice for you. While the process of building can be a bit different than buying a pre-owned home, it does not have to be scary. Knowing the most important things to consider when designing a house will help, which is why we have compiled this concise list of tips for building a house as a new homeowner.

Home Building Tips for First Time Homeowners

1. Do Your Research
If you have never owned a home before, you may not know what options are available or which type of design elements suit you. Start by looking at lots of houses. While online research is a great starting point, it is often much more beneficial to walk through homes, to feel what it is like to be in these spaces. Visit open houses and ask friends whose homes you admire to poke around a bit. Look for layouts you like, design ideas that catch your eye, and details that interest you. Take photos and keep a detailed list of your thoughts. The clearer you are about what you are looking for in each room of your new home, the easier it is for your residential architect to help you create a design that works for you.

2. Consider Your Needs Now — and For Later
The home you are building will last for decades, so you don’t only want to think about what you might want right now. Are you planning to start a family, or will your family someday get larger? Do you have lots of out-of-town guests, do you entertain a lot, or will you eventually need to care for an aging parent? All of these are factors that you can plan for when you initially envision your home. The list of things to consider when designing a house includes much more than your current lifestyle and needs, which is why creating a home with flexible spaces or the option to add on later could be necessary for some people. 

3. Hire the Right Pros
Building your first home is not the time to go it alone or figure it out along the way. Hiring a residential architect and, later, a contractor will be two important decisions you make when building your first home. These experts will be able to guide the process and give you the best advice on building a new home. Building a house is an immense undertaking, so you must have the best guidance possible. 

4. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
The most successful home builds and satisfied homeowners are the result of careful planning before construction even begins. Your architect will work with you to plan for the layout of your home on your lot, where the windows and doors will be, and how many square feet you will have. But these are just the basics. Get out your big list of design ideas (see Step 1) and start planning for all the details of your new home. Lighting, flooring, outlets, switches, flow, storage… everything needs to be concretely decided. Your contractor (and your budget) will thank you when you do not need to make changes after construction has started. 

Building a home is an exciting time that gives you many choices and allows you to create a house that meets your needs. And as first-timers, you have a lot to be excited about! Enjoy the process and be willing to listen to the advice of others, and you will end up with a home you adore!


Why the Open Kitchen Design is Here to Stay

Why the Open Kitchen Design is Here to Stay

Why the Open Kitchen Design is Here to Stay

Photography by Lisa Russman

There are always design trends that come and go, but some seem destined to remain a part of the design landscape. The open kitchen is one design trend that has a long history and is not going anywhere any time soon. Why is this design so popular? And what are the best new open kitchen design ideas being used? And what do we mean, exactly, by “open kitchen” anyway? 

What is an Open Kitchen Layout?
In general, open-concept spaces, whether they be a kitchen or another room, are defined by their elimination of barriers that separate them from other functional areas of the home. In most houses, the open kitchen combines with a dining area, a living room, the outdoors, or some other configuration of space that allows the family to be together whether they are eating, meal prepping, cleaning, or doing other activities. Today’s open kitchen design is often the heart of the “great room,” which usually is some mash-up of a family/living room, eating area, kitchen, and possible other multi-purpose spaces. 

Why this Design Trend Has Lasted
One of the reasons the open kitchen evolved is because the notion of formal dining spaces has been replaced by less-formal, more family-friendly and social-friendly rooms. Families today want comfortable cooking spaces that allow them to interact with others, and the open kitchen is perfect for keeping an eye on homework while preparing lunches or for chatting with your little ones while you clean up after dinner. 

The open floor plan is also favored by those who like to entertain, providing a casual but connected feeling that invites people to enjoy your home and feel at ease. As home footprints are decreasing in size, the open kitchen layout and great room model makes even more sense, as rooms serve many different functions throughout a given day. 

The Latest in Open Kitchen Design Ideas
One of the problems with having an open-concept kitchen is the need to keep it clean and tidy, especially when you are entertaining. When you can see the kitchen from every part of the great room, it becomes a necessity to have space for messes, food prep, and other tasks you do not necessarily want the world to see. Walk-in pantries, butler’s pantries, and other “behind the scenes” areas are perfect for maintaining the open-concept feel while keeping clutter or prep work out of sight as well as out of reach of little fingers.

Many modern open kitchens are also doing away with upper cabinets, which allows you to have more windows, decorative design pieces, or open shelving. With innovations in lower cabinetry, including much more practical use of drawers and shelves that maximize every inch of space, and as more people are learning to live with less, the added storage is not as necessary as it once was. Sometimes called an “unkitchen,” which is characterized by a lack of upper cabinets, your open kitchen may have no built-in cabinets at all, and a feeling much more akin to a living room than a standard kitchen.

Instead of linking your open kitchen to the family room, why not consider opening it up to the backyard, a wall of windows, or a sunroom? If you live in a climate where your outdoor space can be used a good portion of the year, why not make it part of your living and cooking area? And a sure way to get more use from your yard is to link it directly with your kitchen. You will get the benefit of more natural light as well as an open kitchen that changes with the seasons. 

What’s next in open kitchen design ideas? The sky seems to be the limit, but one thing remains clear. The open kitchen layout is here to stay.


We Uncover The Best Room Additions to Add Value and Livability to Your Home

Wonder No More! We Uncover The Best Room Additions to Add Value and Livability to Your Home

We Uncover The Best Room Additions to Add Value and Livability to Your Home

Photography by Lisa Russman

Our lives are always changing, and sometimes, our homes need to change with us to make them more livable. So, which room additions are going to give you the most bang for your buck? And what home addition ideas can increase your home’s value while also giving you the square footage you need? While you have many options when choosing home addition plans, not all will be a good investment for your family. Here are the best room additions to add value and livability to your home. 

Add a Bathroom
In terms of livability and value, adding a bathroom is often your best choice. If you don’t have enough bathrooms in your home, it can significantly influence your resale value, and no one likes to be the one standing on the other side of a locked bathroom door. 

You can sometimes find the space you need for an additional bathroom by “stealing” from other parts of the home, but adding a new room or bumping out an existing one to gain square footage is also an option. A full-size bathroom with a tub can add at least 35 square feet to your home, but imagine the peace and comfort that space will bring to you and your family!

Adding a bathroom will vary widely in costs depending on your materials, the size, whether you need to pour any additional foundation, and a number of other factors, but you can expect to recoup the majority of these in the increased value of your home later one. Talk with your residential architect about your options for adding one to your home. 

Expand the Master Suite
If your home is older or does not include a master suite, then adding on to this part of your home could not only increase your home’s value but also allow you to create the serene getaway you crave. Master suites were not standard in previous decades, but new home buyers expect large closets, ensuite facilities, and plenty of room in their primary bedroom. 

If you are just adding to the bedroom, a master suite expansion can be relatively inexpensive. If you start adding or moving a bathroom, prices can start to rise. But often, just bumping out one wall a few feet and rearranging the space inside is enough to give you the luxurious master suite you long for. 

Extend Your Kitchen
When it comes to your return on investment, it’s hard to go wrong with a kitchen expansion. As the hub of any family home, the kitchen is used daily and becomes the gathering spot for everyone, even the family pet. When your kitchen is small or lacks sufficient storage or counter space, it affects the livability of your home every day. By extending your kitchen, you not only increase your enjoyment and the usability of this room, but future buyers will appreciate it as well. 

Depending on the state of your current kitchen and the size of the expansion, costs for a kitchen upgrade can vary widely. Costs for building a 200 square foot addition that is to be all kitchen  can range from $100,000 to $200,000+, but the good news is that investment will also increase your home’s value significantly if you make smart choices. Gutting an existing kitchen and renovating the space into a new kitchen is a great way to increase home value. It also responds to the way families live today; what was a space meant for one person a hundred years ago is now meant for multiple cooks and their family and friends to hang out. The cost to renovate a kitchen in its current footprint is usually around 10% of what the house would list at in the market. Working with a residential architect will help you make the best choices for your family as well as for the lasting value of your home. 

Make the Right Choice for You
Understanding which room additions can improve your home’s resale value is essential, but if you plan to stay in your home for some time, it is more vital that you make decisions based on your family’s needs, because livability has value, as well. A residential architect can advise you on all your options for home addition plans that give you the square footage you need while also protecting your investment.


6 Tips for Building a House When You Have Young Kids

6 Tips for Building a House When You Have Young Kids

6 Tips for Building a House When You Have Young Kids

Photography by Lisa Russman

Your home is where your family will create lasting memories, including the everyday moments your children will cherish for the rest of their lives. Advice on building a new home is full of tips about budgets, timelines, and management, but what are some of the things to consider when designing a house for your new, growing family? What works for your young ones now may not be the best choice in a few years, when teenagers are ruling the roost. Designing your home with a few basic principles in mind can ensure your home continues to meet your needs for many years. Here are six tips for building a house for anyone considering designing a new home for a growing family.

1. Focus on Staying Connected
We are all juggling many responsibilities all at once, and this is also true when we are at home. Focus on open-concept spaces that help you keep an eye on your kids while preparing meals, allow the whole family to use a space for different needs, and provides space for everyone to cohabitate comfortably. Open-concept is a design principle that is here to stay because it allows you to create flexible spaces that can shift over the years, as your needs change.

2. Remember Privacy and Security
Keeping your family safe and protecting your privacy from others is an essential function of home design. Can you see your kids playing outside while you are inside working or doing chores? How far into your home can someone see when you open the front door? How quickly could you reach young ones in the middle of a late-night emergency? Creating paths, sightlines, and access points for safety are vital with little ones, but as they get bigger, being able to monitor their comings and goings will also be necessary.

3. Make Every Inch Count
Smart designs make use of every square foot in your home. Storage should be incorporated in every room in your home, including making use of wasted spaces and underutilized areas. Use the corners and edges of rooms to create small nooks and more intimate spaces that can change as your kids grow up and out. Don’t limit one room to a single purpose, either.

4. Bedrooms Should Stand the Test of Time
Your kids are big a lot longer than they are little, so while tiny bedrooms may work for a while, they aren’t the best option down the road. Plan bedrooms to accommodate at least a double bed to ensure that the room serves many purposes later on. If you want to create an office, craft space, or multi-purpose room in the future, it’s easier to work with a larger area. Even if your kids stay in twin beds the whole time they live with you, larger bedrooms will help you sell your house later, too.

5. Flow is Just as Important as Space
While having enough room is essential, so is how the space works together. You can have a huge house that doesn’t feel comfortable or work for your family if the rooms do not work together to create a cohesive space. The space of the shape matters and a residential architect can help you make the most of whatever space you have.

6. Choose Materials that Will Last
When you have small kids, you want materials that are easy-to-clean and rugged. As they get older, you still want your home to look beautiful and stand up to years of use. Invest in materials that are built to last and will require less of the kind of maintenance that will force you away from enjoying time with your family.

If you have any questions, would like to know more about working with an NJ architect or want to discover more tips for building a house, please reach out to our team today.


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

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

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

Photography by Lisa Russman

If you are building a new home, you want your house to meet your family’s needs, but does it also have to look like every other house on the block? New Jersey architects have lots of great ideas for creating a home for you that is functional as well as fun and shows off your style. While many NJ architecture professionals like following design rules, perhaps you are in the market for someone that enjoys breaking a few, too?

Design trends and rules are great for guiding and inspiring you, but who says inspiration must come from other houses? Or that you can’t be a leader in design instead of always a follower? When choosing from the many architectural firms in New Jersey to design your home, consider looking for one that will give you a design that stands out from the crowd. 

Experiment with Interesting Angles
Some of the most exciting and forward-thinking designs for homes today include a focus on geometry and the use of interesting angles never before seen in residential architecture. Who says a house should be a rectangle or square? Using curved or angled walls allows you to take advantage of the natural surroundings, exploit natural light, and provide privacy to different areas of your home. Plus, funky angles make for exciting indoor spaces that delight kids and adults alike. 

Embrace Bold Colors
Color can transform the look and feel of your home dramatically, but most people shy away from using bold colors on the exterior of their home. Using bold colors, though, doesn’t have to be a risky move if done well. Small houses, for example, can take a bright or vibrant color without becoming overwhelming. Using vivid tints on the trim or to accent a particular architectural design is also a great option. Paint doesn’t have to be scary, and your house does not have to resemble a crayon box for it to stand out. Color can be used to add drama and sophistication for any home’s exterior. 

Use Recycled Materials
Homebuilding has expanded a great deal when it comes to materials as well, as more people are interested in sustainability and choosing local materials whenever possible. Using recycled materials allows you to build a new home with a smaller carbon footprint, and when you reuse construction materials, you can create interesting design elements that catch people’s attention. From reusing timbers to repurposing doors and windows to using new materials made from recycled plastics, rubber, or concrete, you have a wide variety of options from which to choose, and NJ architecture pros can help you make the best choices. 

Create a Healthier, More Efficient Home
When you are considering home designs, the health and welfare of your family should be  priority number one. Things like air quality, the safety of various materials in your home, and the use of chemicals in its construction should not be an afterthought. More homeowners are considering green building options, more natural materials, and water and air filtration needs and including these as part of their home designs. 

Energy efficiency is also more critical than ever before, as fuel costs rise and greenhouse emissions continue to damage the planet. Home designs that take advantage of larger windows to capture more natural warmth can create a bold statement while reducing heating bills. Homes with living roofs are also starting to pop up, providing insulation as well as design interest. Including solar panels and other forms of energy production also helps your home become less dependent on the electrical grid. 

If you are interested in designing a home that combines health, style, function, and flair, you have many NJ architecture professionals from which to choose. Unconventional design doesn’t have to be just for the uber-rich, and your next home could become the inspiration for your block.


Need More Space? Home Addition Plans That Work Now and For Decades to Come

Need More Space? Home Addition Plans That Work Now and For Decades to Come

Need More Space? Home Addition Plans That Work Now and For Decades to Come

Photography by Lisa Russman

Deciding to add on to your home is a big decision; it can even be a little scary. After all, with how much some house additions cost, wouldn’t it be better just to buy a different house? But adding more space to your home doesn’t have to be daunting, and with the right advice and support, your home addition plans can add value and comfort to your home both now and well into the future. 

Depending on your needs and budget, several home addition plans could help your house become your dream home, one that will allow you to stay where you are. Home additions enable your kids to remain in their schools, your family to stay close to friends and neighbors, and for you to realize the full potential of your current home. Adding on to your home can be the perfect solution in tight markets or when relocation is not an option. So which type of house expansion project will work best for those looking to hang on to their home for many years to come? Here are a few options. 

Add a Second Floor
Arguably the most ambitious of home addition plans, creating a second story on your home is a perfect choice for some families. This type of addition can cost anywhere from $125,000 to $250,000 for a full, mid-grade design. As another option, adding dormers to an attic level can convert an unoccupied space into more habitable space and the cost is closer to $15,000  to $25,000 per dormer. Prices will all depend on the size of your home, your location, and your design choices, but a second story addition can add tremendous square footage to your living area while greatly increasing the resale value of your home.

Working with a residential architect will help you design a second floor that blends seamlessly with the other parts of your home, reimagine current spaces, and dream of what you could do with a house that nearly doubles in size. If you have the budget, adding upwards is the house expansion plan that will most significantly improve your current home while increasing its value. 

Finish That Basement
If you have a basement, finishing it can, like adding a second story, add significant square footage to the livable area of your home. You can use a finished basement as a small apartment for aging parents, older children, or even tenants. It can also become the living room/home theater/game room for your growing family. The right architect can transform your basement from the dingy, dark space we all love to hate into the livable area you need. 

A basement project, depending on size and scope, can be much more affordable than second story additions. The average cost of finishing a basement starts around $20,000 and goes up from there depending on if you need to add plumbing, electrical or other major components. If you plan to have a bedroom in the basement, remember to include a walkout or emergency windows for safety. Your architect and contractor can help you ensure you are meeting all local codes, as well.

Turn Your Porch into a Sunroom
If you enjoy spending time on your porch or patio, then transforming it into a sunroom can provide you with year-round access as well as supplemental living space that could be just what your family needs. A sunroom is an excellent alternative to a conventional home addition as it is more budget-friendly. And this space can be used for many purposes over the years. While your kids are young, this room could be used for homework or as a place to practice hobbies. As your family’s needs change, the sunroom can become a library, a reading room, or a hangout space for your older children.

Sunrooms are not meant to be used as permanent bedrooms nor do they usually include plumbing, so their building requirements differ from more traditional room additions. Talk with your residential architect about the benefits of adding a sunroom to your home, as well as the potential resale value in your area. 

Adding more space doesn’t have to be daunting. These home addition ideas will give you the space you need and provide the dream home you’ve always wanted.


How Residential Interior Design Choices Can Give You the Family-Friendly Yet Stylish Home You Crave

How Residential Interior Design Choices Can Give You the Family-Friendly Yet Stylish Home You Crave

How Residential Interior Design Choices Can Give You the Family-Friendly Yet Stylish Home You Crave

Photography by Lisa Russman

Designing a home that meets the needs of your family does not mean that you have to sacrifice style or flair. The right residential interior designer can help create a custom home that combines family-friendly architecture with kid-friendly home design. If you want to create a space that can change directions and meet the evolving needs of your family, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for function. You can have both. 

Thoughtful Design Brings Families Together
Choosing your interior design style should include creating spaces that are meant to foster togetherness and connectivity, not divide your family. Today’s residential architects can help you design a custom home that allows one parent to be helping with homework while the other prepares a meal nearby. Separate rooms are a thing of the past as modern families want to spend more time together. The right layout and interior design will help ensure that you don’t miss out on essential moments together as a family, and communal spaces and open-plan areas are perfect for achieving this goal. 

Design with Noise in Mind
Home design isn’t just about how things look. Sound is an important consideration, too. How will your home function when kids want to play video games, listen to music, talk with their friends, or watch tv? Are there flex spaces, where louder activities can occur, which can still be used for other purposes by the rest of the family? Can the home office during the day serve as a game room after hours? Is there space for a playroom that transitions to a hangout space when the kids get older? Keeping these things in mind will ensure that everyone has room to do their thing while others can still enjoy quiet moments. 

Always Include Storage
Kids have a lot of stuff. And if you don’t want your home to look like a war zone constantly, then you should adopt residential interior design styles that include places to store all those gadgets, games, books, and toys that come with having a family. Building storage into the room’s structure, in the beginning, means everything will have a place, which keeps your house looking great no matter the occasion. 

Pick Durable Materials
Some of the best, kid-friendly materials are also the most beautiful ones. For example, hardwood floors are the easiest to keep clean and maintain, plus they stand up to just about anything your kids can dish out. While carpet may be great when they are learning to crawl, that is only a short window in the long life of your house, so choose materials that are built to last and will look great even after four kids and three dogs have had their way with them. 

Pick design elements that are not fussy and are easy to clean. Leather furniture is easy to clean and rugged but also adds warmth to your space. Cordless blinds are simple, stand up to abuse, and are safe around little ones. Wood, solid surface counters, and tile are excellent design choices that add beauty as well as longevity to your home. Your interior designer can help you select the best options that will be made to last. 

Don’t Neglect the Outdoor Spaces
Kids love playing outdoors. Including outdoor living spaces in your home improves its family-friendliness. Give your family a natural, safe environment to enjoy the outdoors while spending time together. Patios, porches, rooftop gardens, and decks are just a few ways you can include the outdoors as a part of your home, and planning ahead for this will ensure you still have the functional spaces, like driveways, garages, and tool sheds, that you need.


Custom Homes 101: Everything You Need to Know About Building Your New Home on Schedule

Custom Homes 101: Everything You Need to Know About Building Your New Home on Schedule

Custom Homes 101: Everything You Need to Know About Building Your New Home on Schedule

Photography by Lisa Russman

You’ve decided to build a custom home. Great! That is exciting, and of course, you want your new home finished as quickly as possible so that you can start enjoying your house, right? Like you, custom home builders want your house to be completed on time and on budget, so what can you do to help ensure this happens? Here are some tips to help keep the construction of your new home on schedule.

Agree on Your Design Before You Start Construction
Some of the most significant delays that happen during the construction of beautiful custom homes are when the homeowner decides to make changes to the plans after construction has begun. What may seem like a simple change on paper can have huge consequences when it comes to implementing them. It is not as simple as moving a line on a piece of paper — all changes will delay the outcome. Make sure that you and your residential architect have finalized your custom home plans before you break ground, and if you choose to change them later, realize that this will affect your timeline. 

Review Your Master Schedule and Understand It Completely
The job of the architect as a project manager is to create the master schedule before construction begins, then ensure that all contractors and sub-contractors follow this timeline. Talk with your architect about any questions you have about this schedule, including how firm various goals and milestones are. Sometimes, these are hard and fast targets, and other times, they are estimates based on many variables. Find out how you can play an active role in making sure things are completed on time and follow through with any tasks that are your responsibility. 

Understand the Contingency Plans
Even the best-laid schedules can get off track due to weather, supply problems, or unforeseen circumstances. Custom home builders are adept at identifying potential risks in your schedule while crafting backup plans for those most likely to impact your completion date. Discuss how these contingency plans could influence your overall budget and make sure they understand your hard limits when it comes to overages in time or costs. 

Communicate Regularly
Most construction projects get delayed because of a series of minor hiccups rather than one big problem. The best way to avoid these is to keep track of the daily progress and identify these types of issues quickly so that they can be resolved. You must have an open and honest relationship with your residential architect so that you create an effective team that works together on this project. 

Work the Problem
Projects such as the construction of beautiful custom homes get behind for several reasons. Many homeowners panic at the first sign of trouble and start looking for easy or quick solutions instead of figuring out what the problem is first. Before you can fix a problem, you need to know what is wrong. Talk with your architect about the source of the delay and make sure you have all the information necessary before deciding how to resolve the scheduling problem. This will save you money and time in the end. 

Be Flexible
Even the best architects and the most well-thought-out custom home plans and schedules can’t ensure that your new home will be ready on the exact date you want. Things happen, and delays should be a part of your expectations. In the grand scheme, does one extra week influence your lifetime of enjoyment of your great, new space? Probably not. When possible, be flexible and appreciate that your architect is doing everything possible to get your house finished as quickly as possible.


Family Rooms We Love: How Interior Design Services Can Transform Your Great Room into the Best Room of Your House

Family Rooms We Love: How Interior Design Services Can Transform Your Great Room into the Best Room of Your House

Family Rooms We Love: How Interior Design Services Can Transform Your Great Room into the Best Room of Your House

Photography by Lisa Russman

While great rooms and open-concept design are not new in the world of residential architecture, interior architecture and design are embracing this part of the home like never before. Open-plan spaces are perfect for creating interaction and embracing connectivity, and interior design services are perfect for helping you transform yours from good to great. 

In modern custom homes, the great room is getting more attention and square footage than other parts of the house. Many homeowners are opting for smaller bedrooms, favoring the communal spaces that main rooms offer. Great rooms add warmth, versatility, and connectedness to your home in ways that individual living and dining rooms can’t.

Get Expert Advice
Interior services, like those offered by residential architects, can assist you and your family in creating the great room you have always wanted. Come together with friends and loved ones for family dinners, movie nights, homework sessions, and much more with multipurpose rooms that embrace the complexity and connectedness of your family’s lives. 

Using a residential architect to plan for your great room remodel will help you create a space that allows you to keep an eye on the little ones while you make dinner, and will transform into space your teens still want to hang out in as your family ages and grows. 

Think a Little Differently
Just a few decades ago, you wouldn’t dream of building a house without a dining room, but today, that notion no longer appeals to as many. When it comes to the perfect great room, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how to use space and what the room is capable of doing. A kitchen island doesn’t just have to be for food prep anymore. It can serve as a home office, breakfast bar, and craft area. Furniture that folds up or collapses down makes it easy to switch up how you use a particular part of your space, too. 

Strive for Multipurpose Pieces
When selecting furniture, opt for pieces that can serve more than one purpose or work in different parts of the room. Nesting tables can serve as homework stations after school and snack trays during family movie night. Wheeled oversized ottomans become extra seating or a coffee table, depending on the day.

Add in Cozy Bits
The danger with open-plan spaces is that they can feel too stark and unwelcoming if you are not careful. Here’s where interior design services really help! Your designer can help you carve out distinct areas within the larger space that can be used for specific purposes. Spots with lots of natural light would be perfect for some greenery, a cozy couch, and shelving for books. Voila! You have a library/study space that can also be used for storage or quiet time with one of your little ones. Finding ways to add comfort and purpose to your large, open space will give your great room usability and warmth. 

Keep it Unified with Design Elements
Using locally available residential design services, create a look that ties your great rooms many functions together. Ask your designer about how to use color, texture, flooring, lighting, and other design details to link the many different areas of your great room into a cohesive space. Because your family will be spending the most time in this part of your home, you want to make choices that will last, will transition well with you as you grow and change, and that match your family’s aesthetic. You can use consistent colors or materials, or you can choose accents that are present throughout the space that tie it all together.


New Jersey Architect Shares Tips on How to Integrate Clever Storage into Your Home’s Design

New Jersey Architect Shares Tips on How to Integrate Clever Storage into Your Home’s Design

New Jersey Architect Shares Tips on How to Integrate Clever Storage into Your Home’s Design

Photography by Lisa Russman

No matter the size of your home, finding creative and helpful ways to add storage to your space is always a top priority. New Jersey architects are getting more creative with their storage solutions, as finding new areas to stash your stuff is no longer left to the interior decor stage of home finishing. 

Built-in storage, multi-functional shelving, storage walls, and platforms are just a few of the many ways residential architects in NJ are building more space for homeowners to store just about anything. Below, we have gathered tips on how to work with your architect to include interesting and usable storage solutions into your new home or remodel’s designs and plans. 

 

#1. Use the Space Under Your Stairs
While we wouldn’t recommend turning it into a bedroom (sorry, Harry), creating a cupboard or other storage area under your stairs helps you reclaim valuable room in your home. New Jersey architecture firms are including drawers, cabinets, and built-in shelves in many different configurations to store office supplies, art materials, toys, books, and much more. Don’t have stairs? Well, you can create some in an ultra-small space to build a loft or platform, which also adds additional storage. 

#2. Build Up
Platforms, raised beds, lofts, and other built-up areas are perfect for defining an area as well as creating more storage. By building up, you gain space underneath, which can be used to store those pesky items no one can ever find a place to put, like camping gear, board games, and hobby or craft supplies. Residential architects in NJ can help you design spaces that provide the right type of storage for your home and needs while also creating funky and functional spaces for you and your family.  

#3. Use the Whole Wall
Storage walls are more popular than ever before and for a good reason. Taking advantage of an entire wall and building shelving that stretches floor to ceiling makes maximum use of your space and gives you lots of area for storage. New Jersey architecture firms are using storage walls in offices, kids’ rooms, basements, and great rooms that include open and closed shelving options as well as drawers, cubbies, and much more. Storage walls can even be free-standing and used to divide a large space into more defined, distinct areas. 

#4. Build Furniture that is Also Storage
The banquette is undoubtedly not a new idea, and this classic is a wonderful way to add storage to your space. Turn any corner into an eating area, office, or study room by adding a bench and table. The under-seating storage also gives you space to tuck away items from view and to max out the space’s storage capacity. Ottomans, window seats, and even couches can also be constructed to include under-seating storage. 

#5. Rethink Kitchen Storage
Your kitchen probably has the most storage needs of any space in your home, and it also gets used the most. Architects in NJ are finding new and creative solutions for kitchen storage that make workflow more accessible and give your family the gathering space they want. Shelving, cabinets, and drawers are not the only players in town anymore. Talk with your residential architect about how to use tilt-out trays, the space at the toe kick, roll-out trays, lazy Susans, and pegboards to make the most of your kitchen storage space. 

#6. Look Up
Your ceiling is an underutilized space that could help you add more storage to your home. Consider hanging storage bins for off-season clothing in your mudroom or storing workout gear on hooks in the basement or office ceiling. Your architect can help design ceiling storage that is stylish as well as functional to make use of this space that is often overlooked. 

If you’re looking for a New Jersey architect to work on your new home design or renovation project, please reach out to our team today.