Winter is finally over, and springtime means getting into the great outdoors and spending time working on all the home improvement and landscaping projects that need to get done around your home to keep it looking beautiful. Made possible by the longer days and the warmer weather, home improvement season is upon us!

Plan To Relax During Home Improvement Season By Taking Your Vacation

Home-Improvement-SeasonNot only is it home improvement season, but it will soon be vacation season as well. Before you know it, school will be out for the summer and it will be time to take off on summer vacation with your family to get some much needed time away. With proper planning, you can have your home improvement project completed while you are away on vacation, and come home to your dream home!

Chances are you already have your vacation planned. For home improvement, spring is the time to get started planning, so that the timing can be aligned to have construction taking place while you are away, causing less disruption in your family’s routine. It’s possible for you to make all the design choices and decisions regarding your renovation project before you leave for your vacation. And thanks to major advancements in technology and connectivity over the years, should a question or issue arise, you’ll only be a Skype call away.

Imagine relaxing on the beach, sipping on a refreshing beverage and soaking in the rays, and still being able to feel confident that your renovation is in very capable and trustworthy hands. With the team at How Building Services managing the project, we will treat your home as if it were our own, taking great care to protect the other living areas of your home and keep the construction as contained to the project area as possible. Plastic barriers will be installed between finished and un-finished areas, and your floors will be protected.

In addition to custom home additions and constructing detached building, HOW also completes custom, high-end remodeling projects. We can make the dream you have for your space a reality – and one that you will be able to fully enjoy once you return home from your summer vacation.

Everyone knows that tired feeling you get when you come back from vacation. Between travelling and managing reservations and kids in an unfamiliar place for an extended period of time, it can often feel like you need a vacation after your vacation. That rarely works out, but it could if you come home to a newly-remodeled home! You’ll be enjoying your brand new space, rather than feeling overwhelmed about upcoming projects.

Start home improvement season off on the right foot by contacting How Building Services for a free estimate by calling (484) 483-1690.

Home Improvement Season | Season For Home Improvement


You’ve probably heard it said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. In flow the groceries and the hungry mouths and out flows the food and in flows the dirty dishes. There’s traffic and energy and, just like the heart, it can function poorly. It’s a necessary room that has to be a functional space multiple times each day. Designing your dream kitchen starts with selecting a perfect kitchen layout that will function smoothly and beautifully, effortlessly serving its purpose.

Six Ideas For The Perfect Kitchen Layout

Perfect-Kitchen-LayoutEveryone has different ideas about what the perfect kitchen layout is; the layout you ultimately choose will be unique, based on the needs of you and your family and what your idea of a dream kitchen is. The six basic kitchen design layouts are as follows:

  1. One Wall or Pullman Kitchen: Probably the best small kitchen layout, the one-wall kitchen layout is utilized in tight spaces such as studios and lofts. In this design, all cabinets and appliances are built in a single line against one wall.
  2. Galley Kitchen: A galley kitchen layout features cabinetry and appliances lining two walls parallel to each other, and is an ideal layout for kitchens with one cook.
  3. L-Shaped Kitchen: An L-shaped kitchen can bring function to a space where the kitchen is located in an area with a corner, utilizing that space for cabinets, countertops and appliances. The L-shaped layout can also accommodate other functional pieces, such as an island or dining space, thereby bringing a social element into the space.
  4. Horseshoe Kitchen: A horseshoe kitchen layout can be thought of also as a U-shaped kitchen, usually with cabinets and appliances on three walls. This layout can also be configured with an L-shaped kitchen plus an island functioning as the third wall. The horseshoe style kitchen is popular for large spaces to maximize workflow and is the perfect kitchen for a large family or to accommodate multiple cooks.
  5. Island Kitchen: A kitchen layout that includes an island can be combined with any of the above kitchen layouts – one wall, galley (if the walk-through is wide enough), L-shaped, or horseshoe. An island can provide not only additional counter space and working space–even housing appliances or a sink!–but can also incorporate seating.
  6. Peninsula Kitchen: Another way to think of a peninsula kitchen is an island that is attached either to a wall or set of cabinets and countertop. With many of the same functions as an island, peninsula kitchens are a great choice for a kitchen that may not have enough space for an island in the center of the kitchen.

As you consider these sample kitchen layouts, think about which layout you currently have in your home or which layouts you’ve had in previous living spaces. What do you like or dislike about your current design layout? Is there one layout you feel more drawn to over others, and why do you think that’s the case? What are the benefits of the layouts you are considering over others in terms of both everyday family use and also as an entertaining space?

Whatever layout you choose, How Building Services is here to help you experience a hassle-free kitchen renovation through all stages of the process. Our goal is to exceed your expectations from the planning and design phases, through construction, to the end result. We want you to be living in and loving your new high-quality kitchen that adds value to your home.

HOW can make the perfect kitchen layout a reality for you and your family! Contact us today for a free estimate by calling (484) 483-1690. We would love to work with you to design and build the kitchen of your dreams!

Perfect Kitchen Layout | Perfect Kitchen Layouts


Quantity does not equal quality.

Less is more. Quantity does not equal quality. These familiar adages operate on the same principle; a principle that seems to go out the window when we start talking about getting home addition estimates. Websites, like this homeguide for sfgate.com, often counsel that you get at least 3 bids before making your decision.

Home-Addition-EstimatesDon’t get me wrong; competition is a great motivator. However, if that competition happens to be centered around “give me a number I like and I’ll hire you,” it should come as no surprise that some contractors are more than willing to under-estimate home additions, just to get the job. Why do you think it’s so common for the final project to actually cost a whole lot more than the original bid would suggest? Once a contractor has a job he’s obtained by under-bidding, there’s no doubt he’ll have no qualms about over-charging. That’s the problem with having contractors compete against each other to produce the lowest home addition estimate.

Fortunately, there’s a better way.

How To Get Accurate Home Addition Estimates On The First Try

  • Be Prepared
    This piece of advice is fitting in any context, but especially in the context of getting home addition estimates. If you bring a builder and an architect onto a project that has not been thought through, you’re going to end up wasting time as you try to make your general vision come into focus with more people in the mix. 

    Sit down in the beginning and take your time to consider what you want, the budget you’d like to set, and then your non-negotiables. If you want a teak deck, find out how much those materials cost. If you want something that looks teak but you’re willing to settle for a composite, note that down. Once you have your non-negotiables nailed down, your builder can proceed confidently.

  • Build in a 30% Cushion
    While home additions have an ROI of 60%-70%, experienced builders can tell you to build in a 30% budget cushion. That means if your budget is $30,000, then you want to actually aim for an estimate around $21,000. There’s just no way to foresee structural problems or underground foundational issues, but building your budget in this way ensures that you’ll never exceed your target number.
  • Ask Questions
    When you think of a question to ask your builder, write it down and keep it in one place. Most luxury home addition builders are more than happy to answer all of your questions. This is the crucial step to avoiding warring bidding/under-bidding. When you find a builder and present them with your visions, your budget, and your questions, it becomes easy to eliminate a poor fit and recognize a great one.

In the end, you’re not just looking for some contractor. You’re looking for a builder who cares about your home addition ideas and will apply themselves 100% to making those dreams a reality.

Home Addition Estimates | Home Addition Estimate


Cinco De Mayo means margaritas in style!

Let’s talk about designing the perfect entertainment home. If you love to entertain, you’re probably already starting to look forward to Cinco De Mayo. This year, Cinco De Mayo comes over a month after Easter–a break like that between festivals is almost unheard of. In fact, think of all the festivals we celebrate:

Home-Entertainment-DesignJanuary: New Year’s

February: Mardi Gras & Valentine’s Day

March: Saint Patrick’s Day & Easter

May: Cinco De Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day

June: Father’s Day

July: Independence Day

September: Labor Day

October: Halloween

November: Thanksgiving

December: Christmas

Almost every month has a big festival, but in that long stretch from March to May, kids are getting antsy in school, college students are so done with their classes, and the rains of April will probably start wearing on your nerves. Cinco De Mayo is perfectly timed–whether you’re hosting a glittery, balloon-filled party for your kid’s school friends, or a tasteful, chips & margherita party for your adult friends.

If you’re looking to build or remodel, now is the time to consider how to have a successful home entertainment design that gives you the freedom to celebrate and entertain for all our wonderful holidays–and more! But watch out; home entertainment design can easily go wrong!

4 Major Home Entertainment Design Mistakes to Avoid

  • The Generic Treatment
    You see it on HGTV: people call in a designer and tell them, “I love to entertain.” So the designer nods understandingly, their perfectly-dyed, over-gelled blond hair barely nodding with them. The designer then takes only 22 minutes to size up the room, sell everything, rehaul it, and then put it back together in a way that makes the homeowner walk in with a ‘Wow.’But the designer didn’t consult the homeowner, they followed their own program. Sure it’s pretty, but does it fit the homeowner’s’ needs? Does it create a space in which they will feel at home entertaining? Don’t hand over all the decisions–take charge and give thought to what fits your entertaining lifestyle, whether it be elegant cocktail parties or cozy game nights.
  • Only Size Matters
    Putting aside the age-old debate over whether or not size matters, Genevieve Lill writes the following on makeitbetter.net: “Designers advise that it’s the scale that matters more than the size. Think about cartoon dining rooms where two people are sitting, usually uncomfortably, on opposite ends of an epically long table. This is not the environment most of us want to create when hosting guests at home.”
  • Be traditional
    Kitchen. Dining Room. Living Room. The layouts of traditional homes are not very conducive to frequent entertaining. Most designers and architects opt for open floor plans, even if that means not having a set-apart dining room. Best of all, if you’re not drawing up designs for home entertainment, an open floor plan can easily be achieved with a skilled remodel.
  • 6 Chairs Max
    One disadvantage of closed-off dining rooms with a set table and 6-8 chairs perfectly arranged around it is the limited seating you then have. Lill suggests that in order to eliminate a dependency on folding chairs, it’s a good idea to build extra seating into your home entertainment design. From strategically stashing extra chairs, to sliding ottomans and benches under coffee tables, your guests will have plenty of seating options.

From floor plans to seating, you deserve the elegant home entertainment interior that you’re searching for. If you avoid these four pitfalls, you’re already on the road to a successful entertaining season. With all the use you’ll get out of them, good designs for home entertainment won’t disappoint.

Home Entertainment Design | Home Entertainment Designs

design build firms

Ensure a successful design foundation for your project with these tips!

Great design is essential for any successful remodeling or custom build project. A complete and thoughtful design can make all the difference in ensuring you get exactly what you want out of your new space. You might be considering hiring a design build firm for your upcoming project, so you’ll want to gather as much information as possible to be sure you are making the best decision possible, getting you started on the road to an enjoyable experience remodeling your current home or building a custom home. Continue reading “5 Essential Questions For Design Build Firms” »


“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”

Laurel and Hardy. Abbott and Costello. The names go together like peanut butter & jelly; you just can’t unstick them. On their own, they lack the fame and renown that they have collectively. But those partnerships didn’t just ‘happen.’ Both comedic duos were formed almost by accident; burlesque performers coming together and the audience wanting more. Agents and spouses urged on the partnerships, seeing that together they produced something worthwhile and, more importantly, worth money! Continue reading “Homebuilder Nightmares: How an Architect Knows What to Avoid in Choosing Main Line Builders” »