improve curb appeal

How can you make your home stand out?

improve curb appealWhy is curb appeal so hard to get right? Put simply, this elusive phenomenon is about far more than your house. True curb appeal comes from the way your home’s design interacts with and balances its natural surroundings–whether that’s a bright, busy street or a shady wooded lot.

The most luxurious, inviting homes are all designed on a few basic principles. Whether you’re building from scratch or making home improvements, you can use these simple tips to improve curb appeal–and maybe even make your neighbors jealous!

Follow These 4 Design Rules to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

If you’re planning new construction or a custom addition, make sure you keep these two important principles in mind:

1. Treat your whole property as “designed” space. Now, that doesn’t mean that you should tear out everything on your property and start over! Instead, make sure that the new house or addition you’re planning complements the site. The most important rule to keep in mind is balance. If you want lots of square footage on a small lot, you’ll have to get creative to keep your home’s footprint from overwhelming the space around it. Try to think of the natural features of your property, whether it’s sloped or flat, large or small, as assets, and choose a home design that can bring out the best in your lot.

2. Pay special attention to first impressions. The best way to improve curb appeal and make your home inviting is to make your front door or front porch the focal point of building. This doesn’t have to be ostentatious–after all, there’s nothing more cozy than the front door of a cheery cottage. No matter what the size of your building project, ask yourself, “What’s the first thing people will notice about my house when they drive by?” If your answer was “The roof,” or, even worse, “The garage,” you may want to simplify your design to focus on the front door. After all, that’s the first thing your guests will be looking for!

But what if you aren’t building from scratch? If you’re remodeling or making improvements to your property,  the next two rules are for you:

3. Work with what you have . . . Nothing looks lonelier–or less inviting–than a house on a bare lot. Before you start tearing up your front yard in an effort to improve its curb appeal, take stock of the unique features of your property. Remember that large shade trees take many years to grow–cutting them down to make space for a new design could be an irreplaceable loss for your property. Make a list of everything you love about your front yard or the front of your house, and plan your new garden or front walk around them.

4. . . . But don’t be afraid to update when necessary. After all, the biggest reason why a home lacks curb appeal is poor maintenance. The best way to ensure that your home will continue to look cozy and inviting for years to come is to make sure the siding, paint, roof, and windows are all up to date. You might even want to add a garage or another building to your property to keep up with your family’s needs. Another important way to improve curb appeal is to use the best, most high-quality and durable materials and to keep your home well maintained. After that, the rest is a only matter of taste!

For design inspiration for your home, check out our gallery of completed projects. And for a free consultation, contact us at 484-841-8391 or nick@howbuildingservices.com.

Meditation Space Ideas

Have it your way.

Meditation Space IdeasHere’s a sweeping generality for you: life can be hard, sometimes. We all cope in different ways. Some people do sports to blow off steam; some people use video games to distract themselves; some people would rather drown the difficulty in a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay. Science shows that one of the best ways to navigate the difficulties of life is by taking time to meditate.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have meditation space ideas for how to create one, making it difficult to come by.

That’s we’ve come up with this list of meditation space ideas that will help you clear a space in your home and get on the path to less stress right away.

4 Meditation Space Ideas To Jumpstart The Process

You might not want to make this a monumental project or, ironically enough, add stress to your life with this project, so let’s streamline and simplify the process into 4 basic steps.

  1. Choose an appropriate space. The ideal meditation space is a place that meets as many of the following requirements as possible:
    • Lots of natural light. For most people, busy schedules and long winter nights mean they’re running short on Vitamin D. Meditation is the perfect time to catch up on that light deficit.
    • Fresh air. While a quiet outdoor space is wonderful for meditation, weather and crowded neighborhoods mean that the outdoors is not always the relaxing space we would wish it to be. In that case, good ventilation is an absolute must-have.
    • Quiet. A secluded area of the house is the best place to have your meditation space in. That way, not even summer vacation or visiting relatives can interrupt your time away.
  2. Strip it down. Studies show that clutter causes stress, so the more minimalist your space is, the better to be able to calm your mind in.
  3. Bring the outdoors in. Here at HOW, we’re big on incorporating natural elements in the interior floor plan, since they’re proven to A) improve air quality and B) reduce stress. A water fountain and some plants will ground and identify your space.
  4. Find what feels good. The key to a great meditation space design is not just copying what you see in magazines. If there’s a color that speaks to you, even if it’s not noted for its ‘soothing’ or ‘calming’ properties, choose that color! The same goes for artwork. Don’t choose design elements because you think they would look good in a meditation room, choose design elements because you feel comfortable around them, because they make you feel good.

And if creating a meditation space isn’t your idea of a good time, how about a man cave or in-home fitness center? Whatever you choose, we’re here to help turn your dream into a reality.

 

Related Tags: Meditation Space Ideas | Creating A Meditation Space

outdoor-garden-projects

Many people think spring gardens, but Fall gardening projects can be just as fruitful.

outdoor garden projectsWith Fall right around the corner, the beautiful state of Pennsylvania will be dressed in its most lovely shades: vibrant reds and rustic oranges contrasted against subtle yellow hues. It’s about that time for most people’s outdoor garden projects to take a backseat as they prepare themselves for the season change. But do we really have to sit back and let our green thumb take a break? Certainly not, and here’s how.

How Building Services believes that the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. Creating a comfortable and enchanting atmosphere with gardens and landscape can go a long way towards carrying the beauty from the inside of your home to the outside.

So where do we get started?

First Decide What Your Outdoor Garden Projects Will Be

Depending upon what your main focus is for the outdoors, we’ve compiled a list of ideas of where to start. These DIY projects for the outdoors will get your creativity flowing.

  • Protect and prepare your soil and gardens for the cold that is to come. Protecting your soil with cover crops such as clovers are a great way to keep them in fertile condition for when spring comes. It’s a great time to clean up any dead foliage, burn any infested debris and reseed your lawn.
  • Nurture your winter vegetable beds. Add compost to winter veggie beds, and clean up your vegetable garden. Perhaps you’ll plant cold, hardy vegetables and leafy greens, while harvesting any late summer squash you might have lying around.
  • Bring in the beauty with practical containers. Dress any plant container with plants that survive the cold. Some great examples are grasses such as Pennisetum. Kale, branches, pumpkins and moss make great additions as well. Be sure your containers are packed tight! And don’t forget to water and fertilize them throughout the season.
  • Get warm and cozy with a DIY firepit. There are a plethora of ideas on Pinterest, but a few quick go-to’s are to utilize any unused koi ponds and transform them into amazing firepits. Perhaps you have some leftover brick or rock from other projects you have done around the house. Take a gander at using those to create a cheap and easy fun-filled firepit.
  • Don’t forget the kids. If you have children running about your house, whether it be your own, nieces and nephews, grandchildren or godchildren – enchanting them with garden projects for kids will create memories that will last forever. Let them help you in your garden by allowing them to create garden markers. You can do this by simply painting stakes and writing the vegetable at the top, or they can decorate wooden spoons with a picture of said vegetable. If you’re feeling generous, give them space to plant their own beautiful flowers and veggies.

If you would like to know more about creating an enchanting outdoor living space, or bringing your Fall outdoor garden projects to life, contact How Building Services at 484-483-1690.

 

Related Tags: Outdoor Garden Projects | Fall Outdoor Garden

perfect-kitchen-design

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

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!

renovation builders

Custom man caves just in time for Father’s Day, because he already has enough ties.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. It’s the kind of book that you read and laugh and think, “where has this been all my life?!” At one point, the author talks about the Man Cave: the place where men go to solve problems. He’s not referring to some misogynistic ideal where the man gets a room all to himself where he can smoke cigars, play poker, and drink whiskey with his buddies while his wife serves him hand and foot. This Man Cave is a place where men go to solve problems. They’re not brooding, pouting, or giving their wives the silent treatment, they’re simply finding solutions. According to John Gray, Ph.D., this time of reflection is necessary and good.

renovation buildersThe problem is that men and women are different; women tend to solve problems by talking them through.

So, men, how can you communicate to your wife/family that you need some of this time to spend deep in thought, without making them feel rejected or abandoned?

Women, how can you practically communicate to your husbands that you understand and respect their need to reflect and plan?

Words are great, but they can be too-easily misinterpreted. This renovation builder’s solution is a practical one, and I hope you won’t jump to the conclusion that I’m advocating a 50’s-style misogynistic world when I suggest (drum roll please) an actual man cave.

It’s so important to have a space that’s equipped to let you problem solve in the unique way that men solve problems. A space set apart from the noise and hubbub of everyday life. And if the purpose for this place is well communicated from the start, you can reduce occurrences of hurt feelings and frustration.

Man Cave Tips From The Renovation Contractor

Keep an open mind

Renovation builders can tell you that each project is unique, and that a customer’s level of satisfaction is often determined by the amount of time he/she are willing to invest in the planning.

The Devil is in the details

It’s easy to get focused on the things that make the man cave so unique and great–comfy furniture, giant TVs, mini-bars, tool sets, antique cars–and to forget the parts of the room that make it a functioning room. One thing that’s easy to miss out on or mess up is the lighting. Having good, adjustable lighting is a must in any space. And while we might have an image of a literal ‘cave’ in our head, skylights or large windows can contribute more enjoyable ambience to the space that any combination of unique features.

Creating a special space for him is one way to show him you love him, and to encourage the growth of your healthy relationship. How Building Services is the renovation contractor who is all about making the building renovation process a mutually beneficial one for all parties involved, and delivering a great product.

For more info on creating a wonderful man cave in an existing space, choose the renovation builder who knows how to best serve your needs. Contact HOW today.

 

Related Tags: Renovation Builders | Renovation Building

Home-Improvement-Season

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

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” »