pet friendly home designs

What’s loud and furry, and likes to make a huge mess?

More and more people are getting pets these days. According to the national APPA pet owners survey, 65% of homes have at least one pet, up from 56% in 2011! Perhaps the expanding middle class is the reason that pet ownership has expanded so rapidly, perhaps the ASPCA is doing a great job getting more people to adopt. Whatever the reasons, pet owners make up the majority of Americans. It would be remiss of us not to talk about pet friendly home designs. After all, you have to keep all the members of your family in mind when designing a home!

6 Keys to Successful Pet Friendly Home Designs

Age determines flooring:

The age of your pet should–in large part–inform your decisions when it comes to choosing flooring. Carpet is a poor choice if you have a puppy or a kitten to train. Up until the age of about 8 months, both dogs and cats are liable to have frequent accidents. Durable flooring such as tile flooring, laminate flooring, or painted concrete are all good choices.

pet friendly home designsHowever, if your pet is older in age, they’re probably more prone to slipping on hard floors like those listed above. One solution is area rugs that can easily be replaced. Area rugs that are colorful or earth-toned are good choices, since pet hairs will show up less easily.

Think hard wood, if you want hardwood flooring. One key to pet friendly house plans is recognizing that your pets are playful, and have claws. Some hardwood flooring is too soft for the kind of wear-and-tear it would need to withstand. Oak or mahogany are both excellent choices: just be sure to have some area rugs on hand if you need to muffle noise or aid an aging pet.

Disguise with durable fabrics. Pet friendly interior design starts with choosing durable fabrics, unlike silk, that will not tear easily. As far as color goes, choose colors and patterns that will hide your pet’s hair. If you have several choices, compare them against the color of your animal’s fur, and go with the fabric that shows the least fur.

Avoid wallpaper and matte paint. Nobody has the time to clean the walls everyday. Thankfully, that can be avoided by choosing a semi-gloss-finish in rooms that see a lot of moisture and mess (kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms), and a satin or eggshell-finish in other spaces. Both are easy to clean, and aren’t tempting scratching posts for cats.

Design them their own mudroom. This is one of our biggest pet friendly home design tips. Making house plans with pet rooms might seem a little strange at first, but it’s a great way to save on time and frustration in the long room. A separate mudroom can act as a great transition-place to clean off pets coming in from outside, and it can be equipped with cabinets and hooks to store pet supplies and medicines. It’s not only practical to keep animal/human supplies separated, but it can also help keep any little tikes safe who might be curious about the special treats in the cereal cupboard.

Consider a window seat. Rather than making a cat or dog room in your house (which is possible, of course!), you can make a space that your furry friend can enjoy while still being near you! A window seat with a view is the best gift you can give them. Both cats and dogs alike enjoy watching out of windows, not to mention the delicious warmth and sunlight they can soak up! And while you’re at it, you might find that you enjoy the window seat every bit as much as they do.

If you have more questions about pet friendly home designs, contact HOW Building Services. We’re happy to help the whole family!

home addition builders

From foundation frustrations to hidden hazards, a home addition is no picnic!

If you’re looking into home addition builders, you’ve probably already looked at a home addition cost estimator. There’s a familiar progression: the cost seems absurdly high until you look at the break-down and realize that it makes sense, with all the different elements that go into it. That’s just step one, however. Step two is hiring a home addition contractor, and step 3 is realizing the automated budget is not the same as the estimate in front of you. Why not? Because there is almost always an underlying structural issue that needs addressed…issues like the following:

5 Common Obstacles Home Addition Builders Face

  1. Foundation frustrations

home addition buildersIf you want home addition builders to do a bump-out, upper story, or replacement of a garage or porch, you might run into a very specific set of problems. The foundation is all of a sudden taking on a great deal more weight, and that can cause cracking or heaving. Reinforcements are often necessary in these situations.

  1. Upper-level uh-ohs

In the same way that the foundation might be overloaded, just building up is not going to make the problem go away. If you don’t want sagging joists, Better Homes and Gardens suggests sistering joists into the existing system in your home addition floor plans, which will ensure structural soundness.

  1. Circuit Overload

Unless you’ve recently updated your electrical equipment, you’re going to need to do so now. Bringing everything up to code, however, can be more time-consuming and invasive than originally planned for in your home addition cost estimator. If you need to upgrade the lighting and appliances, you could even consider doing that before hiring a home addition builder.

  1. Hidden Hazards

Great home addition builders will be able to tell you that there could be hidden hazards in your home, and will do the legwork necessary to determine whether or not there are such hazards. If your home was built 25 years ago or more, a home addition builder is going to have to be very careful about any demolition, as there is frequently lead paint or asbestos–both of which, if inhaled, can cause permanent brain/lung damage.

  1. Temperamental Temperatures

In a room addition cost calculator, you probably won’t see extra costs for heating and cooling, since your current heating and cooling systems are sufficient for one or two extra rooms. However, any addition larger than that is probably going to mean a total upgrade to your current system, or a new, separate one.

You should be aware that some builders give estimates that exclude the five preceding scenarios. So you might hire them, only to find out later that they are taken aback by these sudden developments: sudden developments that are, in fact, easily predictable.

Yes, a home addition is much more complicated than a ground-up build, which is all the more reason to partner with experienced home addition builders: builders who know the complications and can help you to not be blindsided by them.

bathroom addition contractor

Make your dreams a reality.

In a previous blog, we talked about the American dream home, and what that has looked like over the years. And what it boils down to is that whatever you dream is the American dream. All that’s left to determine is what that dream looks like for you. From practical to pampered, this blog outlines the major steps to a successful bathroom addition.

Continue reading “How to Get Your Dream Design With A Bathroom Addition Contractor” »


Are you living the dream?

Tall non-fat soy milk caramel salted mocha macchiato. Order up for someone who made the mistake of pointing out that their name was Stephen with a “ph” and received their drink with “Phteven” scrawled across the cup. Jokes aside, some people make it seem so easy to decide. However, lots of us walk into a warm, hipster-filled coffee shop and our brains short out immediately. I once even made the mistake of ordering an Americano, because it sounded like a patriotic sort of thing to drink! Tip: it’s an espresso with hot water added. Nothing patriotic about it.

Dream-Home-Floor-PlansThe point is, decisions can be hard to make, even for small things like what kind of dressing you want with your salad. And, unlike dressings or sauces, some decisions cannot be easily modified. Some decisions stick with you for life.

When it comes to designing and modifying your dream home floor plans, you should put some considerable thought into it. You can’t take it back to the barista and get a new one. A poorly-placed half-step doesn’t just go away. A bedroom window facing the back of a Walmart can’t just be bricked over. If you agree, but you don’t know where to start, these 7 tips can help.

7 Things to Consider About Dream Home Floor Plans

  1. What about your stuff? When designing your dream home floor plans, you should also be sure to take into account furnishings you are planning on bringing with you. Is there a baby grand piano? Measure it, and make sure you have somewhere to put it that also accommodates the square footage of all of your other furniture. Be thorough! Take measurements of all your furniture. You can even create small cardboard rectangles to scale that you can physically place on the floor plan.
  2. What kind of windows? Light is incredible in any space. However, linked with the idea in the last point is this one: if you put a giant floor-to-ceiling window in your library, make sure you have enough wall space on the other three walls to accommodate all of your shelving. This applies to all rooms.
  3. How many people? Don’t just take into account you and your immediate family. Think of holidays, gatherings, etc.. If you entertain a lot and for large groups, you’re going to want an open floor plan that allows for communication and flow around a kitchen/dining room/living room space. Another example is kids: a media center that only seats 7 might not be ideal if they frequently have large groups of friends over.
  4. What about little people? Balconies. Staircases without railings. Kitchens that are too open and accessible. These are a few of the things that are beautiful but can spell disaster for a family with small children. It’s easy to fall for that gorgeous balcony with the wrought-iron hand-rail, but it’s also easy to fall off it.
  5. North? West? No, that’s not a reference to Kimye’s child; it’s a reminder to think about exactly where your dream home floor plan will be. What direction will it be facing? And where in your dream home floor plan is the main living space or master bedroom located? Does that mean your windows will be facing a busy road, or your neighbor’s windows? Nobody wants to live in a fish-bowl, but that happens all too often because of a lack of foresight in the design phase.
  6. Share the burden! Even if you follow of all this advice, chances are you’ll overlook something. Look over your dream home floor plan with a significant other, roommate, or friend. A fresh eye can help identify problems that can only be seen by someone close to your situation.
  7. Open up! Your architect wants to make your dreams a reality, as does your builder. For that to happen, a certain level of communication needs to take place–a back and forth between customer, builder, architect, and designer. Since only one of those four people knows what fits your desires and needs, you have to invest yourself in the process and open up. The finished product will be as much the gem you’ve dreamed of as the effort you’ve expended to polish it.

Above all, don’t panic. Your architect understands all these issues, and will do their level best to help you navigate them.

In the meantime, contact HOW Building Services with any other questions you need answering. HOW works closely with the architects who are the best at making your dreams a reality.

Dream Home Floor Plans | Dream Home Floor Plan


Like any purchase, you should do your research beforehand.

Market polls show that 81% of shoppers do research before actually making a purchase. 61% percent of shoppers consulted product reviews, the average consumer visiting at least 3 shops before finding what they were looking for. And yet, the Chicago Tribune recently wrote an article about the lack of thought people put into finding a new home builder. Karen Rivedal writes, quoting Tom Zimmer, a custom builder from Wisconsin: “while consumers certainly can’t be faulted for trying to get a good price on such a major purchase, it’s a mistake, Zimmer said, to rely on price alone in deciding.” Zimmer says that most customers come to him with one simple question: how much do you charge per square foot?

Continue reading “3 Warning Signs You Might Have One of the Worst New Home Builders in Pennsylvania” »

home addition contractor

A bad contractor can spell the death of any home addition project.

It’s the Primaries, and some days it seems like the world has gone topsy-turvy. People seem continually surprised by the fact that politicians are still politicians–lying, cheating, changing their opinions to fit what the public wants to hear.

One of the reasons our political system is so disorderly (to put it lightly), is the fact that it’s entirely populated by politicians! The lobbying that goes on–the trips to Hawaii, the free golf get-aways, the absurdly discounted luxury items–it all counts under the header of Goods Given To Willing Receivers In Exchange For A Kindly View on Issue X or Y or Z. Continue reading “3 Worst Character Traits of a Home Addition Contractor” »

design your own dream home

Tips and Tricks to designing a luxury home that works for your family!

We understand that being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work. From soccer practice to ballet performances, to throwing together a healthy meal for your family every night, it can seem impossible to even consider a home improvement project!

At HOW Building Services, we know how crazy home life can be, but we also know that we can help you to design your own dream home with as little stress as possible! We are all about working with you to simplify the design and building process so that you can focus on achieving the house of your dreams. Continue reading “For the Mamas: Why Your Vision is Vital to Design Your Own Dream Home” »

home remodel builders

Any good businessman could tell you that a task done inefficiently is a waste of time and resources on both ends of a transaction. In order for clients and home remodel builders to both get what they have earned and deserve, there needs to be honest, open communication. Take this blog, for example; it’s designed to help you establish good lines of communication with your builder, and keep them that way. Continue reading “3 Challenges All Home Remodel Builders Face And What They Mean For You” »

Are you looking to add an addition to your house to finally make your dream home a reality? Then you won’t want just anyone working on your home–you will want to choose an addition contractor Main Line, PA homeowners trust. Finding the right contractor for your project is one of the first steps in making your dream home possible.
Check out the video below to hear why How Building Services is an addition contractor Main Line, PA homeowners can trust. Continue reading “(Video) How to Choose an Addition Contractor Main Line, PA Homeowners Trust” »