Design Build Firms

Find out how design build firms impact your building project.

There is a popular idiom – what you don’t know can’t hurt you. While in some scenarios it can be applicable (like when your dog licks your face…better not to know what else that tongue has licked!), but most of the time it is the exact opposite. When it comes to designing and building houses this advice is far from true. There are many variables and issues to consider when building or adding on to your home, so the more knowledge you have the better.

Design Build FirmsThat’s why it’s important to get professional advice, someone who knows the ins and outs of the industry and can give you solid information and a clear path forward. Here is where design build firms come in handy; they can give advice and help generate ideas.

However, there is a lot that people don’t know about design firms that will impact how the building project will be completed.

4 Things You Don’t Know About Design Build Firms (and why it will affect your building project)

  1. Cohesiveness. Any home design professional will emphasize the importance of the cohesive home and give tips to help you achieve this. A design build firm is no different. However, what you may not know is that design build firms can offer cohesion in their business style as well. Rather than hiring separate architects and builders, you can work with one firm that will provide you with everything you need, meaning your home won’t look pieced together.
  1. Experts. While on the topic of architects and builders, another thing you might not know about the design build approach is that they can provide expert services in both design and building. The firm you choose will guarantee the same quality of both the design and building of your home or addition. This means you can be sure that the project will come out the way you imagined it.
  1. Time. No one wants to wait years for a home to be finished. This is a fringe benefit that is often unknown about working with a firm that provides both design consultation and construction. Because of the cohesion of providing multiple services under one firm, the timeline of the project can go faster and holdups can be resolved more quickly.
  1. Participation. What’s great about design build firms is that you get to decide what you want. While professional architects and builders are there to guide you, it is ultimately you, the homeowner, who makes the decisions. This ensures that the end result of the building project is exactly what you dreamed it would be.

The design build approach is continuing to grow in popularity among homeowners, and that is because design build firms offer extensive benefits from cohesive design to homeowner participation. And by knowing about the process the better able you will be to make good decisions about your home improvements. Want to learn more about the design build approach? Contact How Building Services for more information about choosing a home contractor.


Related Tags: Design Build Firms | Design Build Firm

Mud Room Addition

Ideas for creating a space to corral the clutter and keep your home clean.

At first thought, a mud room addition might seem like a nonessential part of your home renovation project. However, if you incorporate the right function and design elements, a new mud room may just become your new favorite room in your home.

Mud Room AdditionIf you have children who drag their stinky, dirty athletic gear in and out of the house between practices and games, you might need a mud room.

If your home has a pool where kids in wet bathing suits with wet towels are trekking in and out for snacks and drinks, you might need a mud room.

If you have a family pet who likes to run and play outside, and drags dirt back into your house, you might need a mud room.

If you feel like you can never truly get a handle on your family’s laundry and are feeling swamped and in disarray, you might need a mud room.

If you’re tired of finding random shoes laying all around the house, and your kids are always asking you “Where’s my backpack? Where’s my coat? Where’s my other shoe?” you might need a mud room.

If stepping in a small puddle of melted snow in the middle of winter in a new pair of clean, warm socks is one of your pet peeves, you might need a mud room.

If you feel like you need more indoor storage and organization to keep your home neat and tidy and under control, you definitely need to add a mud room.

Building The Perfect Mud Room Addition

Before you build a mudroom addition, carefully consider all of the details you will incorporate into the design. In addition to general flooring, seating, and storage, and functioning as a transition area between the outdoors and indoors, our friends at This Old House have these suggestions for creative elements to include in the perfect mud room addition:

  • A Hose-Down Area – Get rid of the dirt on boots, feet or paws by spraying it down a small shower ground drain and sprayer mounted on the wall before it makes its way into the house. A boot tray for drying rinsed items can also come in handy.
  • Potting Sink – Larger and more attractive than a simple utility sink, a potting sink comes in handy for the homeowner who enjoys gardening. Especially when the weather is colder outside, pots and tools can be rinsed in the sink and storage can even be built in.
  • Sports Lockers – Families with multiple children can find the “sport locker” style storage extremely helpful. Each family member has their own designated cubby space for storing shoes, coats, hats, bags and equipment. This is a popular feature in many mud rooms; there are many options for both open and closed storage.
  • Laundry Area or Chute – Get a handle on the laundry by combining your laundry room and mud room into one. If that’s not an option, adding a laundry chute to the basement so dirty laundry doesn’t make it past the mud room entrance will be a game-changer.
  • Trash/Recycling Center – Especially helpful for families with a detached garage, a trash and recycling center can sort and store trash and recycling until trash pickup day rolls around.
  • Litter Box Hideaway – Keep unsightly litter boxes unseen by company by storing them in your mud room. While you’re at it, you can also incorporate storage for other pet-related gear such as food, leashes and toys.

Whatever your busy lifestyle entails, the addition of a mud room is one you will find practical and functional. You will wonder what you ever did before you had one in your home!

Contact How Building Services today for a free estimate and let us build you a mud room that will have you feeling more organized, with design solutions that will meet your family’s needs.


Related Tags: Mud Room Addition | Creative Ideas For Your Mudroom


This summer, welcome your friends in style.

What does the best of summer mean to you? It could be any (or all!) of the following:

  • Backyard-Entertainment-DesignTaking in the sun in a lounge chair next to a clear blue pool with an iced coffee in hand.
  • Telling ghost stories, accompanied only by the sounds of crickets and the crackle of your fire.
  • Relaxing in quiet, air conditioned bliss, while children scamper gleefully about your backyard, their shouts and laughs muffled pleasantly by well-insulated windows.
  • Laughing with friends, enjoying the delightful sizzle of meat and brats grilling on your barbecue, a chilled craft beer in your hand.

If that sounds about right, then check out our list of ways to spice up your summer and kick up your backyard entertaining potential with these awesome backyard entertainment designs. (And if you’re an introvert, then you can take these backyard design ideas and just use them to make your backyard getaway even better.)

Backyard Entertainment: Designs That Kick It Up A Notch

The Barbecue:

If you’re looking for cool or unique ways to spice up your BBQ game, there is no shortage of options.

  1. The Hipster: Want to go out of the ordinary? How about a grill that looks like a pig? Or a ceramic Kamado grill? Or pretty much any grill/smoker designed by David Klose: baby carriages, airplanes, beer bottles. You name it, Klose made it into a grill.
  2. The Practical: Built-in or fold-up grills might tempt you: both options are great if you love to grill but you don’t love the space grills take up in your backyard entertainment design.
  3. The Deluxe: Do you want more than a barbecue? How about a barbecue/refrigerator/warming drawer/stovetop/storage/cocktail pro all in one? With Talos’ Outdoor Cooking Suite or Lynx professional grills, you’ll get all the luxury you’ve ever dreamed of in the comfort of your backyard.
  4. The Pizzaiolo: If you make it, they will come; nothing draws a crowd like homemade pizza straight out of the pizza oven! Whether wood-fired, gas, or electric, pizza ovens will help you channel your inner pizzaiolo, and make this the most delicious summer yet!

The Pool:

Need more options for pool-side fun, or maybe you’re just sick of pool clutter keeping you down? We’ve got great backyard designs with pool-side fun in mind!

  • Build A House. Most “pool houses” are rarely houses and barely sheds. However, How Building Services specializes in building pool houses that are both functional and beautiful, including custom features such as kitchenettes, changing rooms, covered patios, speaker systems and –most importantly– wifi capabilities!
  • Think outside the (pool) box. If you’re installing a pool for the first time this summer, feel free to try these jaw-dropping backyard design ideas and to get away from the traditional rectangular pool with different pool shapes, lazy rivers, water slides, etc.. Just keep in mind ease of cleaning if you’ll be doing that yourself.

Itching to put some of these ideas into practice? Give How Building Services a call @(484) 483-1690, and get started on implementing your great designs for backyard entertainment.


Related Tags: Backyard Entertainment Designs | Backyard Entertainment Design


Luxury design elements for your in-home fitness center.

With only one out of every three adults in the United States getting the recommended amount of physical activity needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle each week, the value of an in-home fitness center for the overall health and well-being of your family is immeasurable.

Home-Gym-DesignWhen most people think of a home gym, what comes to mind is probably a treadmill or elliptical and some sort of weight lifting system tucked somewhere out of the way in a sterile room. But with these design ideas for your home gym, you’ll not only spruce up the space where you will soon be sweating it out, losing weight, and toning your muscles, but add overall value to your home.

Home Gym Design Ideas For Your Space

These home fitness design ideas will take your home gym from boring to beautiful, and create a custom space where you can relieve stress and relax, knowing you are improving your personal health.

  1. Windows or Glass Doors – Bring the outside into your gym, especially if you have a fantastic view. Instead of feeling like you’re working out or doing yoga in a small, enclosed space, add large windows or sliding glass doors that open onto a patio. You can also bring the outdoors into your home gym with a fresh air intake system, which will boost oxygen in the air you breathe, with many added benefits for your overall health.
  2. Lighting – If you don’t have the option of incorporating windows or doors because of your gym’s location in your home – such as in a basement, for example – plan to add plenty of lighting to brighten the space and create the perfect ambiance. No one wants to feel like they have been banished to the dungeon to complete their workout routine every day!
  3. Sound System – Motivated during your workout by your favorite jams? Want to play soothing nature sounds as you center yourself during your daily stretching or yoga? Have a surround sound system installed as part of your home gym design.
  4. Flat Screen Television – If you have trouble finding the time to fit physical activity into your daily schedule, you can kill two birds with one stone by watching the news, your favorite prime time television show, or the big game while you exercise.
  5. Flooring – Easy to clean flooring that looks fantastic, such as hardwood, luxury vinyl tile, or bamboo, is a smart addition to your home fitness center. Not only will it look great, but it will last for years to come.
  6. Focal Wall – Add visual interest to your home gym with a focal wall. Depending on the look and feel you’re going for, you could add tile, brick or even wood shiplap as a way to create a unique space.
  7. Juice Bar and Refrigerator – Keep plenty of cold water or fitness beverages stocked up in a fridge right in your home gym and save time trekking to the kitchen for a drink. For an added bonus, design a juice bar with a small sink and you can make your favorite blended protein drinks or juices as a post-workout refresher.
  8. Indoor Pool or Hot Tub – With an indoor pool or lap pool incorporated into your home gym design, you can add aquatic exercise into your workout routine to keep it varied. A hot tub provides joint and muscle relaxation, as well as a place to de-stress after a long day at the office.
  9. Sauna or Steam Room – Increase your blood flow and gain added health benefits by adding a sauna or steam room into the design plans for your home fitness center. Eliminate toxins, cleanse your skin, relieve some of the discomforts associated with asthma, allergies and arthritis, and so much more!
  10. Bathroom with Shower – Leave your sweat at the gym by building a bathroom with a shower into your design. Adding another bathroom will also add value to your home, so it’s a wise investment in the long run.

Planning a Layout Design For Your Home Gym

For even more inspiration, you can visit the following websites, where you can find large photo galleries with different home gym design layout ideas and more:

  • 70 Home Gym Design Ideas (Decoist)
  • Home Gym Ideas and Designs (HGTV)
  • 58 Awesome Ideas for Your Home Gym (Architectural Design)
  • 917 Modern Home Gym Design Photos (Houzz)

To get a free estimate from How Building Services for your custom in-home gym, call us today at (484) 483-1690. We look forward to working with you to create the space of your dreams!


Related Tags: Home Gym Design | Luxury Design Elements For Home Fitness Center


Christmas decorations have started going up in October, in some stores. Christmas-In-July sales give us opportunities to do our shopping ahead of time, for the extra-organized ones. There’s even an all-year Christmas radio, for when the heat starts to get to you and you crave some carols crooned by the greats.

Generally, there are two kinds of people: people who can’t wait for the holidays to get here, and people who mourn the
perfect-kitchen-designs passing summer, looking gloomily at the ever-shortening number of vacation days, and the rapidly-approaching school year.

If you’re in the first group, don’t wait another second! Now is the time to start designing the perfect kitchen for your holiday entertainment season.

If you’re the second kind of person–now is the best time to make your life so much easier with the perfectly-designed kitchen! Why? Because if you get your kitchen designed now, you can get it installed/renovated during the summer. You’ll have the freedom to cook outdoors, and if you plan it during your vacation–you don’t even have to worry about it! Any mess or clean-up will be done when you get back, and you can just be free to enjoy your kitchen, and have one more reason to look forward to the holidays.

But what does the perfect kitchen design look like? Well, each person’s style is different, so we won’t give you a list of perfect kitchen colors, and this isn’t a blog intended for designing small kitchens. Rather, here are some basics that Style At Home recommends implementing to make your kitchen cleaner, more practical, and more beautiful.

7 Items To Include In Your Perfect Kitchen Design

  1. Range Hood — A quality range hood is a must if you entertain, and even for everyday use! Second-rate hoods are noisy and ineffective, so a little investment in a great range hood goes a long way towards having a quiet, smoke-free kitchen.
  2. Functional Islands — provide useful storage space to keep your kitchen uncluttered, extra counter/work space, as well as a gathering and seating area.
  3. A Stand-out backsplash — will be visually unique, and will make cleaning-up a snap!
  4. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards — are an extremely efficient use of valuable kitchen space. They are the perfect way to keep all your supplies neat and on-hand.
  5. Built-in appliances — like wall ovens, are great for hosting because you can have multiple dishes going at the same time. You could also consider a warming tray–another built-in feature that never goes unused.
  6. Pot-filler — enable you to fill pots and spray-clean dishes from different angles with ease.
  7. Marble countertops  instantly class up any kitchen, and also have the advantage of being heat-resistant, eliminating the need to constantly have hot-pads on hand any time you want to remove something from the stove or stove-top.

Now is the time to begin working on the perfect kitchen design. Warmer weather gives you the opportunity to do most of your cooking and entertaining outdoors, so any renovations won’t get in the way.

Don’t wait! Call How Building Services today @ (484) 483-1690!


Dream Home Designs: It’s All In The Plan

So many of the homes being built in 21st century America are completely devoid of personality. An increasing number of homebuilders are sacrificing quality, craftsmanship, and style for a cookie-cutter model that can be cranked out effortlessly. It’s the easy way out–and it sells. But this model of home construction is utterly lacking in integrity.

You can’t crank out integrity.



You also can’t crank out dream home designs. Quality and craftsmanship distinguish the specialty home building offered by How Building Services from the cookie-cutter assembly line home builders, but it’s the flexible and customizable floor plans that make How homes personalized dream homes.

Planning The Plan For Dream Home Designs

The first stage of creating dream home designs is, naturally, the planning stage. Since the most important custom feature of your home is the floor plan, you might call this the plan planning stage.

The first question to ask during the planning stage is what type of construction will actually make your dream home a reality. The answer to this question will largely be dependent on the following factors: Number of potential residents (and type; i.e. adults, children, disabled residents, etc.), desired room types and layouts, desired special features, furnishings, windows, and satisfaction with your current home and location.

If you’re unsatisfied with your location or the overall effect of your current home, the best option is most likely going to be a new construction project, which allows you to start from scratch and form dream home designs that truly reflect the vision you want to create.

If the number of potential residents is a central issue–namely, if the number or type of residents is changing–then planning an addition will likely be the best option for you. How Building Services specializes in custom additions, including family room additions, sunrooms, master suites, conservatories, guest suites, and kitchens. In other circumstances–such as an elderly parent moving in, or the start of a new home business–planning a new detached building may be desirable. Whichever route you choose–addition or new detached building–this construction will not only expand your square footage, but also significantly raise your property value.

If, when pouring over plans, the most important changes you want to see concern special features, furnishings, windows, or desired room types and layouts, your dream home designs just might be compatible with your present home. Working with How Building Services to plan a remodeling of your current home means that you will finally get to enjoy the custom features or specialized plan you’ve been wanting without any of the stress or anxiety of moving.

Whether you’re looking for new construction, a custom addition, or remodeling of your present home, How Building Services can work with you to make your dream home designs a reality. Afterall, it’s all in the plan!


What Custom Builder Magazines Look For

Have you ever flipped through the pages of a custom builder magazine and thought, “Wow, those homes are amazing!” Even if you haven’t picked up a magazine since the last time you were at the dentist’s office, you’ve probably seen programs on T.V. following custom builders and the amazing homes they construct or renovate. Whether it’s “Builder Magazine’s Top 100 Green Homes” or HGTV’s “17 Perfect Vacation Villas,” they’re sure to leave you spellbound. Arched entryways and expansive gardens might make you salivate over the idea of building a turn-of-the-century French-style maison. Custom builder magazines and TV programs give you the crème de la crème of luxury homes.

In direct contrast, you’ve probably also had personal experience with glorious flops. Undoubtedly you know someone or at least saw a 60 Minutes exposé on a custom builder either delivering a sub-par product or walking out and disappearing altogether. It’s this kind of common occurrence that can instill a deep mistrust of home building magazines, custom builders, and people in general.

It doesn’t have to be that bad. In fact, a great way to vett a prospective luxury home builder is to follow the same guidelines that custom builder magazines use to determine who gets showcased in the magazine and who gets sentenced to anonymity.

One Custom Builder Magazine’s Guidelines

Southern Living, a directory/magazine for custom home builders in the South of the U.S.A., states that it “carefully selects custom home builders that transcend the pages of the magazine into a dream home. Members are chosen for their extensive experience and knowledge, reputation in the marketplace, and focus on the discriminating customer who is looking to build a custom home.”

If you want a custom home builder with all of the following:

  • Extensive Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Reputation
  • Customer-Focused

Look no further than How Building Services. How Building Services fulfills all the requirements, and is committed to providing the best custom build experience! Exceeding the most strenuous guidelines is our daily goal.

Backyard Entertaining Designs

A compilation of resources and photo galleries to inspire you.

Summer is quickly approaching. Friends and family have celebrated Memorial Day, welcoming the unofficial start of the summer season. Nothing says summer more than backyard barbecues, relaxing around the pool, and making s’mores around the fire pit at night. With an amazing outdoor entertaining space, all this can be possible. This list of backyard entertainment designs will have you longing for a space to call your own.

Backyard Entertaining Designs To Inspire You

Backyard Entertaining DesignsThese backyard entertaining ideas are sure to inspire and delight you, and get your wheels turning on how to incorporate them into your backyard entertaining areas:

House Beautiful | 21 Unique Backyard Ideas to Steal for Your House

From luxurious patio spaces to rustic fire pits, House Beautiful has compiled this photo gallery of backyard entertaining areas from around the country that are sure to have you drooling.

HGTV | Backyard Transformations

This gallery of 15 before-and-afters of backyard spaces will help you see that any style can be incorporated into designs for backyard entertaining spaces. Your backyard is a blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a fabulous living area that is truly a part of your home.

Backyard Landscaping | Backyard Landscaping Ideas

With a large gallery of photos and ideas for various components of backyard entertaining design, from patios & pergolas to outdoor fireplaces to fencing, decking & retaining walls, this resource will assist you in exploring the wide variety of options available.

Fresh Home | Outdoor Deck Ideas

If you’re thinking about adding a deck as part of your outdoor entertaining space, check out these modern and luxurious decks that will bring the inside comfort to your backyard.

Architectural Digest | 15 Creative Outdoor Seating Ideas

A fundamental element for entertaining design in your backyard, seating is a must. Consider these unique ideas to keep your guests comfortable.

Real Simple | 22 Outdoor Decor Ideas

From choosing a color palette to defining your outdoor space’s design aesthetic, this guide will help you to focus your ideas and tie together all the finishing details that will make your space spectacular.

Decoist | Backyard Paradise

Looking to integrate your pool area and entertaining space? These 25 idea images will have you longing to spend all summer outside, poolside – and your friends & family too!  Add in some tropical landscaping, and you’ll be in paradise without leaving home.

How Building Services is a remodeling and building company that specializes in luxurious, high-quality builds with custom design in mind. Contact HOW today to begin planning your upcoming project with a free estimate.


Related Tags: Backyard Entertaining Designs | Backyard Entertaining Design

What do you need to do to get ready?

You might have seen that classic film, Father Of The Bride 2. There’s that whole bit where Martin Short plays the eccentric wedding planner/designer ‘Franck’, and in response to a request to plan a baby shower, he proceeds to add on an entire nursery suite to the house. Granted, the logic behind the decision-making was a little shaky there, since the family lives in a rather large home to begin with. But it does address a problem that most people will face at some point in their life: growing families require more space.

room addition contractor

Even if you have enough actual rooms, the usage of space can get all out of sync. It’s easy to theorize about converting the office or playroom into another bedroom. Sure, it might be small, but that’s okay. We can talk ourselves into taking the obvious, quicker, less expensive solution, and not see all the potential resulting problems.

On the other hand, sometimes you don’t want to jump to call a room addition contractor. Sometimes you want to just do a remodel. HGTV addresses that issue at length, pointing out that even a home addition contractor needs to approach the home addition as a remodel.

With all that in mind, here are a few scenarios, followed by the optimal solutions:

Should You Call A Home Addition Contractor?

Scenario 1) You don’t have enough space to put everything. You’re reasonably organized, but there is just not enough closet/cupboard room to store everyone’s clothing, cleaning is futile, because other toys/books/important papers get pulled out and have no place to go back to, and you’re at the end of your rope.

Solution: Call the room addition contractors! You can get plenty of space-savers, but that won’t change anything if you just severely lack square footage.

Scenario 2) You’ve got plenty of space, but a shortage of rooms. Perhaps you have a large attic or furnished basement, but just a couple large bedrooms.

Solution: Divide it up! If there’s no need to add on more square footage, save time and money on home addition costs by remodeling and reworking the existing floor plan.

Scenario 3) Like scenario 2, only you have multiple smaller rooms; small kitchen, small living room, small dining room, small office, small laundry room, small bedrooms.

Solution: There are two options: you can follow solution 2, and rearrange the existing floor plan to end up with fewer, more open rooms. If, however, that means eliminating crucial elements, then it might be time to draw up room addition floor plans.

Is your family expanding, and your living space shrinking? Consult the experience and excellence of How Building Services to determine what step to take next.

americas best home builders

Discover how implementing the design build process can save you time.

The design and building process can often seem overwhelming to homeowners who have never gone through the process of new construction before. If you have decided you want to build your custom dream home, but are still in the beginning phases of planning, you may be struggling to identify the best plan of attack. Hiring a solid design and building team will get you started on the path to creating the luxury home you’ve always dreamed about.

Understanding the differences between the traditional building process and the more efficient design build process is essential knowledge to have before hiring a designer, architect and builder to complete your project.

Traditional Building Process

Design And Build ProcessAlso referred to in the construction industry as the Design-Bid-Build process, the traditional building process is the one you are probably most familiar with. In this approach, homeowners choose a designer/architect that works with them to plan out the layout of the home and drafts the blueprints for construction of the design based on the homeowner’s preferences and design aesthetic.

The design is then put out for a bid to various construction companies, and the homeowner selects a general contractor to hire to complete the building phase of the project. In this approach, the homeowner can select both a superb designer/architect and a reliable general contractor whose work is highly respected in the industry.

Design Build Process

Construction in the design build process starts when one entity – the design build team – is contracted by the homeowner to complete both the design and construction phases of the custom build project. A more unified and consistent flow of work generally shortens the time of the construction phase of both the design and the building processes due to increased efficiency.

In both approaches, the homeowner has ultimate control of the project. In the design build approach, however, managing communication between the designer and the general contractor is not necessary for the homeowner like it would be in the traditional building process, and this is a plus for many homeowners. This collaborative approach between the homeowner and the design and construction team from the outset of the project results in a more successful and productive project, with a more enjoyable experience for the homeowner.

If the design build process seems like it would be a good fit for you, there are building companies such as How Building Services that value the collaborative approach between the designer/architect and homeowner from the very beginning of the project. The value of this approach should not be underestimated, as you’ll see the same results in effectiveness and productivity, and be living in your dream home before you know it.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us today by calling us at 484-483-1690. We look forward to working with you!


Related Tags: Design And Build Process | Design Build Process