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.

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Elite Home Remodeling Has Moved

Elite Home Remodeling - Moving Sale

Elite Home Remodeling has relocated our office spaces to the wonderful city of Chantilly.  As we continue to expand and grow our business, so to do we need to expand our office space.  But don’t fret, all of our existing and new clients throughout the Northern Virginia & Metro DC area will still be able to receive the same great award-winning service.

Our new office address is

14159 Mariah Court Suite 900

Chantilly, VA 20151

To celebrate our recent move, Elite Home Remodeling is offering a 5% discount to all home owners and local businesses looking to remodel or renovate their existing spaces in the month of June!  That’s right, we’re having a moving sale!  What a great way to usher in a new chapter in the history of Elite Remodeling than by celebrating with a sale, just in time for the summer holidays.  To get this discount, just make sure to mention you read this blog post and you’ll be good to go.

 

 

Elite Named Best Home Builder by Virginia Living Magazine

Elite Home Remodeling has recently been named Best Home Builder in Northern Virginia by Virginia Living magazine!  This prestigious annual award is presented to the area’s top builder as voted on by the readers and editors of Virginia Living magazine.

Elite Home Remodeling - Virginia Living Magazine Best Of

At Elite Home Remodeling, we couldn’t be more proud to receive this award.  We make sure we bring our award-winning service and quality to every job that we do and our home owners know this and they like to tell other people about their experiences with Elite.  Our dedicated staff and crew members work hard year round on every project, big and small, to make sure that every home owner receives our first place service.

Every year, Virginia Living magazine conducts a poll to determine the best of the best in every region in Virginia.  Everything from the best winery in the Shenandoah Valley to the best cupcakes in Central Virginia.  This year, nearly 10,000 voters turned out to cast their ballots for their favorites in each category and Elite Home Remodeling was named this year’s best Home Builder in Northern Virginia.

Elite Home Remodeling Logo

Thanks again to everyone who voted for Elite Remodeling, we could not have received this award without support from clients like you!  Please visit our website for more information about this award and Elite Remodeling.

Countertops, Countertops, Countertops

Here’s a quick secret for your next remodeling project: a good countertop can make all the difference between a good looking space and a perfect looking space.  Making sure you have the right people ready to go to get your perfect countertop is crucial.  Check out these 4 tips before you select the right countertop for your project.
1. Sinks Away!  Whether you are installing a countertop in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, you are most likely going to need a sink and a faucet.  The key is to always have your sink onsite before the countertop templating process begins.  With the sink will be your sink template.  This sink template is critical because it gives a diagram on exactly where the sink is to be installed.  This template not only has an effect on your countertops, but also your cabinetry, plumbing and even framing.
Before countertop template day arrives, you should already know exactly where you want your sink to go.  That way, it’ll make the templating process much easier.  It was also make adjustments to the cabinetry and plumber much less invasive.
Countertops
Image courtesy of Houzz
If you are installing an apron-front sink, there can be several different ways to place the bowl.  Think about the spot where the front edge of the counter and the sink meet.  Some sinks have a notch into which the counter fits.  The way this detail will align with your counter overhang should be decided in advance of template day.
2. Wall Faucets.  To get this piece right, you’ll need to know a few extra details before the project even begins.  For starters, the plumbing behind your wall will need to be much different than if you were having a traditional countertop-mounted faucet.  You’ll need to know where the finished wall surface will be once the backsplash is installed.  Thay way, when it comes time to install the faucet and the sink, everything will be centered so when the water comes out of the faucet it will fall squarely on the sink drain.  Before the plumbers start roughing in pipes, every decision needs to be made or you risk ending up with elements that don’t work well together.
3. Hang 10, Dude!  If any section of your countertop will overhang the cabinets, consider how you will support this area.  Overhangs of 6 to 12 inches are possible without bracing, depending on the material.  However, anything more than a foot of overhang should have some sort of additional support.  A few ideas for support include adding an attractive bracket support against a wall.  This can not only be a structural piece but also has the potential for a nice architectural feature.  Another option would be to add a support leg uner the overhang.  This piece can almost look like a stair baluster with many intricate and delicate patterns.
Countertops
Image courtesy of Houzz
4. Counter height.  Different people and different tasks require different counter heights.  If custom cabinets are not in your budget, one way to vary the finished height of the counter is to use materials of different thicknesses set on standard cabinets.  A standard kitchen counter is 36 inches off the floor, but if you have someone tall in your family, 39 inches may be a more comfortable prep height.  Different countertop heights are especially useful in your master bathroom if you have two different vanity areas.  Making one vanity taller than the other is a perfect comprise for the busy couple on the go.
After the countertops are installed, your project is almost done.  To finally wrap things up, you’ll need to think about backsplash and paint.  Your counter sets the lower line for your tile, so even though you could install the tile before templating, you’ll get a better-looking backsplash if you wait.  Muscling a heavy counter into place is a difficult job, and some walls inevitably will get bumped or dinged.  Save your finish painting until after the install for this reason.
To find out how Elite Home Remodeling can work with you on your next home remodeling project, visit our website and give us to call to find out how we can serve you today!

Investing in Real Estate

The federal Real Estate Owned Rental Initiative took its first step on February 1st of this year when the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that investors could begin pre-qualifying for the upcoming bulk sales of real estate–owned (REO) properties belonging to Fannie Mae.

Then, a few weeks later, Freddie Mac declared that it is in the early stages of developing its first ever multifamily loan product, which could help clear single-family inventory by increasing the number of investors who qualify to purchase the bulk REO properties held by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Although this information is great news for investors looking to buy some distressed property, Freddie and Fannie have remained tight-lipped about the potential financing for transactions under the REO initiative, leaving room for speculation about the types of deals available for investors.

“Investors will be able to offer higher up-front prices for the homes if attractive financing is available, which in turn will act as a stabilizer for the market as a whole,” said Thomas Shapiro, president of GTIS Partners, in an interview with Businessweek.

A big consideration for determining where and what type of properties to buy is geographic concentration.  Areas with growing economies and attractive percentage yields are great for buying single-family property while other areas, such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, and southern Florida are better suited for multi-family investment purchases.

Concerns do exist that investing in single-family property pools that are too geographically spread out will create management problems.  Mismanaging these rentals could make an even bigger mess out of our already struggling housing sector.

Plus, a Federal Reserve white paper released on January 4th stipulates that “not all of these REO properties are good candidates for rental properties, even in geographic markets with sufficient scale.  Some properties are badly damaged, in low-demand locations, or otherwise low value.”

Although it hasn’t been officially announced, it’s rumored that Freddie Mac’s program won’t be as restrictive as Fannie’s bulk-only sale. It’s believed Freddie will allow investors to use a variety of methods to purchase specific REO single-family homes within an asset pool.  And the consensus seems to be that injecting some health back into the single-family sector will only strengthen the metro housing market in general.

The bottom line, investing in real estate right now is a great investment.  Now it is just a matter of what type of property you are looking to invest in and where you are looking to invest.

Multi-Family Executive contributed to this story.

Paint Color Psychology

Color consultants, designers and researchers have spent years studying the effect of color on mood, behavior and even productivity at work.  Fortunately, it is a lot less scientific when it comes to making decisions about color in your own homes.  Instead of conducting polls and studying charts, we can pick colors by tapping into our personal experiences and style.
To get started, let’s go over some of the basic colors and some of the emotions that can be attributed to those colors when Elite Home Remodeling paints them in your home.
  • Red: high energy, powerful, sometimes angry, it makes your heart beat faster.
  • Orange: social, joyful, extroverted, happy.
  • Yellow: optimism, clarity.
  • Green: color of nature, balance, peace.
  • Blue: restful, calm, deeply relaxing, beneficial for sleep.
  • Purple: creativity, intuition

This list is purely a generalization.  Every color means something different to everyone else but for the most part, these descriptions hold true to almost everyone.

Now that you know a little bit of the psychology behind each color, it is time to take a look at the psychology behind each one of your rooms.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper for this exercise.  First, write down every room in your home.  Then, next to each room, describe the feeling that you have in that room and then describe the feeling that you want in that room.  If the feeling that you have and the feeling that you want are the same then you are all set.  No need to paint.  However, if your emotions are different, it is time  for a fresh coat of paint.

For those rooms that gave you a different emotion than you wanted, the fix is simple.  Choose one of the colors that best matches that emotion and your room will get a major psychological makeover.  Even though the only thing in the room that changed was the paint, the paint will make a major difference.

Take a look at some of the pictures below and try to describe some of the feelings that you get when you are in that room.

Paint Colors

Paint Colors 

Paint Colors

Paint Colors

Paint Colors
Paint Colors
The look and feel of each of these rooms is completely different.  Next time you want Elite Home Remodeling to paint your home, think about the feelings you want to have in that room and then pick your paint color.

Remodeling on a Budget

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need loads of cash to remodel or renovate your house.  There are plenty of projects that Elite Home Remodeling can do for you without breaking the bank.

A great way to update a boring laundry room or mud room is to add a built-in bench, some new shelves or some beadboard paneling.  These great additions will not only provide plenty of organizational and storage space, but you will get plenty of new design elements out of a once boring room.

Elite Home Remodeling - Northern Virginia Kitchen Renovations

In the kitchen, upper cabinets are a great way to increase the amount of storage space.  Having taller upper cabinets allows you to not only store more things in your kitchen, but it will also make your room look taller which in turn gives your kitchen more value.  Another great tip for your kitchen remodeling project is to refinish or reface your existing cabinets.  This is a small fix that can make your kitchen look brand new.  Plus, doing something as simple as changing the cabinet door hardware can give your kitchen a new style.

If you are looking to do some work in your dining room, a great and less expensive way to improve the look of the room is to add some chair railing and wainscoting.  Keep the profiles of these trim features low and you will be surprised at just how affordable they really are.

Elite Home Remodeling - Renovating on a Budget - Northern Virginia

Sometimes staying flexible is the secret to renovation success.  No matter what room you are looking to remodel, always be on the lookout for discounted materials and fixtures at specialty stores.  This is a great way to keep the overall cost of your projects down.  Even ask your contractor if they have any leftover materials from previous jobs that they can use on your job.

Just because you are on a budget, does not mean you have to sacrifice style and elegance in your new renovations.  Keep searching for unique and creative solutions and you can have a great looking home.  Be sure to call Elite Home Remodeling to find out how we can serve you today!

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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