Archive | August 2012

Home Renovation Style Guide

There are home remodeling projects and then there are Home Remodeling Projects.  Notice the difference there?  It doesn’t have to be a huge difference, something more subtle than bold to really make your Northern Virginia home remodeling project stick out among the others.  Here are some nifty, subtle ways to your home remodeling project the envy of the whole neighborhood.

Light it Up

Everybody hangs this on the walls, whether they’re pictures, posters or paintings.  An artful way to illuminate framed paintings and prints is to use a wall mounted lamp shining specifically on your framed wall-candy.  Go get a good idea about what I’m talking about, check out this Ralph Lauren Home’s picture lamp from their Anette line, and recalls classic library lighting. The lamp measures 2″ high x 16″ wide and extends up to 12″ off the wall.   It comes in natural brass (seen in this picture) bronze and polished-nickel finishes.

Carpet from a Box, Not a Barrel

Made from recycled nylon fiber, Flor’s Roadside Attraction carpet squares have the look of sisal or sea grass, with the advantage of being soft under your feet. The 20″-sq. tiles can be arranged so that the weave forms a variety of geometric patterns. Frost, shown, is one of five neutral colors. Each tile is $16; custom sizing is available.

Is it Junk or Is it Art?

Who says you need to find the world’s greatest Picasso or Rembrandt painting to hang in your formal living room?  Go to your local flea market, starving artist festival or antique shop to find a painting that has the same color tones as your walls or your furniture and it will fit right in.  Your guests don’t care who painted it, just so long as it fits with the room.

Border Wars

The Caumont architrave, left, is made from jesmonite and adds a playful frame to a window, door, or wall. The plaster Linear Structure architrave, middle, and crown, right, have an elegant pattern of crisscrossing angles. Both collections can be used outdoors and may be custom sized. Prices range from $45 to $60 per linear sq. ft.

And there you have it.  Keep these useful tips handy on your next home remodeling project and you will be sure to find that these little improvements will make the biggest difference.

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On the Road to Housing Recovery

Pieces are in place for the housing industry to continue on its road to recovery.  However, there are plenty of uncertainties that can derail the market, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

Yun told more than 800 attendees at the CRE Finance Council annual conference in Washington, D.C. last month that for the last four years home sales have been essentially flat, at roughly 4.2 million homes.  Good news though, NAR is forecasting a solid increase by the end of 2012 to about 4.6 million sales.

The reason: affordability remains at an all-time high, interest rates remain low, foreign buyers and investors remain interested in residential real estate, and the U.S. economy is strengthening, albeit modestly.

At the same time, corporations continue to sit on strong profits, the stock market is still heading up, and inflation remains relatively subdued.  Even more encouraging for the housing market is that rental rates are rising.  Home prices nationally have appeared to stabilize and all major home price trackers show prices going up in many areas, a trend that should help boost confidence among buyers and sellers.

The improvement in the U.S. economy remains modest at best, job gains still have a long way to go before the U.S. makes up for the 8 million jobs lost during the recession, home mortgage lending remains tight, and the federal budget deficit continues to weigh down on the country’s prospects.

The other area of uncertainty is what Washington will do.  Until the real estate industry gets clarity on the rules and legislation coming down the pike in the next year, lenders are unlikely to restore their underwriting standards to something more normal.

For example, the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule: will regulators publish a rule next year with a minimum down payment requirement on “safe” loans?  Will other provisions implementing the massive Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law from two years ago chill lenders’ willingness to lend?  What tax law changes, if any, will Congress talk about over the next year?

The bottom line: Despite all the favorable pieces in place for a meaningful housing recovery, the economy continues to be beset by uncertainty, and that’s leaving it an open question how much the housing market can recover in the next year.

Project of the Month

Every month, Elite Home Remodeling will highlight a past project to showcase some of the best home remodeling practices in the Northern Virginia area.  This month, Elite will be highlighting some major renovations to a laundry/mud room in Oakton.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

The picture above shows the renovations done to the laundry/mud room.  The goal of this project was to create as much storage space as possible while creating a beautiful and designer space.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

One of the best parts of the project was the new granite counter tops and backsplash added to the new cabinets.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

These fantastic floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinets actually sit up on an 8″ riser.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

Look at all of these cabinets and drawers!

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

The counter top actually extends beyond the cabinets.  To support the counter top, a metal support bar had to be installed to hold up the counter top.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

A laundry room wouldn’t be complete without a sink.

Oakton Laundry/Mud Room Renovations

A few wall cabinets attached to a box-out steel column make use of all nooks and crannies.

Be sure to come back in September to check out the next project of the month!

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