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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.

Water Efficient Home Remodeling

Everyone talks about water efficiency and rebates, but not many home owners property managers realize the huge savings and environmental benefits associated with upgrading to more water efficient fixtures.  Anyone can easily cash in on cutting water usage while helping their community become more environmentally friendly.

If you’re hesitant about the upfront cost of retrofitting, don’t fret!  There are plenty of government rebates that allow you to receive financial assistance to implement water-efficient systems.  Here are some of the best ideas available for even the biggest water hogs:

Toilets.  Replace your old toilets with a dual flush or low-flow toilets.  These dual flush toilets can reduce the typical 1.60 gallons per flush to a reduced 1.28 gpf.  If you replace your toilet, you are eligible for a $75-$100 rebate.  Just this simple fix will save you $1,000 in water and sewer charged over 10 years.

Elite Home Remodeling - Dual Flush Toilet

Laundry.  Apartment communities can save 330% more water, or 8,216 gallons of water, per year per unit by using a common-area laundry room instead of an in-unit washing machine.  Giving tenants the responsibility of using community laundry facilities make the tenants use the machines smarter and more efficiently.

Irrigation.  Rain water is free, why not utilize it as much as possible?  Install smart controllers that will turn off when its raining and only turn on when the grounds really need watering.  Plus, be sure to install drip sprinkler heads to reduce the overall cost of irrigation.

Showers and Faucets.  According to a recent study, approximately 73% of water used in a typical shower is hot water.  Low flow shower heads and faucet aerators can reduce water consumption.  Reducing water consumption not only reduces the amount of water used, which saves overall water usage, but it also reduces hot water usage.  The hot water usage is especially important as this is the most costly water.  Installing high-efficiency shower heads will save about 7,800 gallons of water per year in an average household!  That is an absolutely amazing number.

Elite Home Remodeling - Low Flow Shower Head

Kitchens. Energy Star dishwasher models save both water and energy. There are cash incentives up to $3,000 for replacing inefficient kitchen equipment with water-efficient equipment.

Be sure to give Elite Home Remodeling a call today to find out how we can help you with your new renovations and remodeling projects as well as how we can help you save the environment while saving money!


8 Ideas for a Unique Basement

You know that dark and spooky area under your home that you never like to go to?  For most home owners, the basement is relegated to a lifetime of emptiness and clutter.  Well now is the best time to make good use of your basement!  Consider some of these great options for turning your unused space into a space that is perfect just for you.

  1. Home Office.  More and more people are working from home these days, whether they set up their small businesses or just need a place to do the bills.  Unfortunately, the dining room table just isn’t the right place to conduct business.  Consider fitting out your basement with an office that uses built-in shelves and has plenty of room for a true office desk.
  2. Guest Quarters.  Do you like having visitors over every weekend but always have to kick them out at the end of the evening?  Make your home even more accommodating by adding an additional bedroom and bathroom in your basement to make sure your guests feel nice and welcomed.
  3. Play Area.  If your main levels are dedicated for the adults of the home, make sure the basement is an excellent place for all the little kiddies to hang out.  Offer a place for your kids to play with their friends while staying out of your hair.  Add lots of little niches, crawling spaces, climbing walls and lots of colors!  Don’t forget to use eggshell paint, its easiest to clean.
  4. Hobby Room.  Maybe you are the little kid in the house with all of your model cars and trains scattered all over the living room.  Or maybe the laundry room has been taken over by all of your fabric and sewing materials.  Makeover your basement to add a room dedicated to your hobbies with plenty of organization strategies to keep all of the hobbies in order.
  5. Wine Cellar.  Now here’s a great idea for the vino in all of us.  Line the entire basement with open wine racks, add a small refrigerator for incidentals, and don’t forget a cabinet for the wine glasses.  For those with a little more passion for the grapes, add an enclosed wine room for some extra flare.  Then, add a sitting area with comfortable lounge sofas that invite guests to relax.
  6. Relaxation Station.  Why bother to go to the spa when you have one in your very own home?  Turn your basement into a steam room or sauna.  Include all the elements of peaceful meditation and create a beautiful retreat that is just a few steps away (literally!)
  7. Theatre.  The ultimate addition to any man cave has to be a large projection screen with a full 7.1 surround sound system.  Don’t forget to add plenty of sound-proofing insulation in the walls to leave the rest of the house in peace and quiet when you decide to turn the volume all the way up.
  8. Arcade.  For kids of all ages, make your basement the true neighborhood hang out spot by including a pool table, pinball machines, ping pong tables, air hockey tables and other fun games to excite the competitive nature in all of us.

With some basements reaching upwards of 2,000 square feet, don’t let that ample space go to waste!  Make sure to give Elite Home Remodeling a call today to find out how we can remodel and finish the basement of your dreams.

The Benefits of a Sustainable Home

Sustainability.  Green.  Environmentally friendly.  Energy Star.  LEED.  These are all terms used to describe construction and remodeling practices and materials that allow us to provide a better world for future generations.  Sound too mushy-mushy for you?  Well, look at it this way, the more you know about these practices the more money you could be saving (and even making!)

LEED for Homes

The multifamily sector could save almost $3.4 billion annually, nationwide, on energy costs with a full expansion of efficient upgrades, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.–based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Chicago-based think tank CNT Energy.  The report details how energy expenditures increased by 10.6% from 2005 to 2009 but many property managers have been able to reduce their energy bills by 20% or more by implementing energy-saving measures.

In case you didn’t get that last paragraph, let me sum it up for you: using sustainable practices allowed for home owners and property managers to use more energy while spending less money.  Yes, you should be buying into sustainable practices right now.

Both older and new homes can benefit from sustainable features.  In fact, the older your house, the more you will benefit from update your fixtures and materials to sustainable ones.  Some easy fixes on energy efficient include installing energy-efficient light bulbs, reducing hot-water consumption, replacing old refrigerator models and adding extra insulation to attics and basements to prevent energy loss.

Compact Flourescent Light Bulb

Still think updating your fixtures and materials to sustainable ones isn’t worth your while?  Think again.  Local utility companies will actually pay you if your home produces more energy than it takes in.  Yes, you read that correctly.  You can effectively turn your monthly electric bill into a monthly electric income stream.

The great part about sustainability and energy efficiency is that everyone wins.  The environment wins because you need to use less natural resources to perform the same tasks you normally would.  Your children and grandchildren win because they will be able to live in a world that isn’t depleted of its natural resources.  And mostly importantly, your wallet will win because you will be saving – and possibly even making – money in the long term.

Make sure to give Elite Home Remodeling a call today to find out how you can update your home into a better, more sustainable home.

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