6 Ways to Convert Your Garage Into More Living Space - Guest Post by Houzz on RealBird

In a recent Ideabook we addressed the need for some of us to accommodate our "boomerang" children and aging parents. In that piece we addressed converting attics and basements into more living space in a home. There are, however, some houses that don't have basements (for example, homes in Florida) or where the attic can't be converted to living space for a variety of reasons (the roof pitch may be too shallow to allow for adequate head room). But there are many houses with either attached or detached garages, and these garages can be turned to very nice living areas. In fact, there are 1940s and 1950s-era houses with single-car garages that beckon to be transformed into something livable. Whether you'd like an extra bedroom, home office, music room, craft room, playroom or some other living space, these garages can be ideal candidates. As with any such project, you'll want to make sure that the converted garage will have enough light and space, comply with local ordinances and building codes as well as be warm in winter and cool in summer. As always, consult with a qualified professional before undertaking such a project. Related: Find an Award-Winning Architect Near You

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1. The floor. A converted garage is made into a bright and spacious living space. The new concrete floor is raised above street level to keep water out of the interior.

More often than not, the existing garage floor concrete slab is sloped, cracked and quite a bit lower than the house floor. So converting a garage to living space usually requires installing a new floor structure. There are several options for doing this. One is to build up a wood framed floor that aligns with the floor in the main house. Another is to install a wood framed or concrete floor that is a step or two down from the main house (as in the sketch above). An advantage to installing a concrete “topping slab” over the existing floor is that a radiant heating system can be installed within the concrete.

2. The opening. When converting a garage to livable space, there's always the issue of what to do with the garage door opening. Because this opening and the garage doors have such a large impact on the overall look of the house, it makes sense to fill the opening with a large-scale element. For example, a good solution is to keep a garage door in the opening while making sure the door is weather tight. This is the approach taken in the next photo.

Standard carriage-style garage doors are also good options, as they can be a featured element on the interior while maintaining the original garage look on the exterior.

Another approach is to have large windows or doors fill the opening. Something like these large folding glass doors can be a good option provided there’s a fit with the overall aesthetics of the exterior. Related: When and Why to Use Pocket Doors

3. Windows. Additional windows will more than likely have to be installed, as garages typically have few, if any, windows. It's important to check and comply with any local building codes and ordinances when sizing and locating these new windows.

4. Additional plumbing. Adding a kitchen or bathroom to a garage conversion can be difficult because tying into the existing plumbing lines is problematic. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be done as, say, an additional bathroom is always a nice amenity to have. So investigating ways (such as building up the floor to provide a space for plumbing pipes) to overcome the technical difficulties is well worth doing.

Some reworking of the exterior walls with full-height glass windows and doors leaves no trace of the original garage space in this conversion.

This master suite with a new bathroom occupies what was once a large garage. The addition of a the gas fireplace certainly makes the room special. And having the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom makes for a nice master or guest suite.

5. Ceiling height. Though the type of framing used at the garage roof will dictate what can be done economically, increasing the height of the ceiling is a possibility if the garage is free standing or has no second floor above it. A vaulted ceiling, as in the next photo, will certainly add to the room's overall spaciousness.

A converted garage keeps the vaulted ceiling for spaciousness while various architectural elements such as the ridge beam increase the room's character.

6. Temperature control. And don't forget that the new living area will need to be heated and cooled. Depending on the size of the area and its location, you may not be able to use the existing "central" heating and cooling system. Mini split systems can be good options if this is the case. This post was written by Bud Dietrich AIA, Houzz and posted by RealBird with permission.


House-Hunting Help: Which Home Style Is Right for You? - Guest Post By Houzz

When you are shopping for a house to buy or rent, how much does house style play into your decision-making process? Knowing the features (and drawbacks) of a handful of main house styles can help you search smarter, and help you find a home that works not only for your style but for your life.

What is available on the market depends on what region you live in, as well as whether you are focusing on an urban, a suburban or a rural community. Even specific neighborhoods within a town can be more heavily concentrated with a certain house style — just think of the "painted lady" Victorians in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco.

Once you have a house style in mind, take a drive around your area to see if there is a neighborhood you should focus your search on. Learn more here about eight common house styles in the United States to see if one of them is right for you.

White Colonial House

Colonial. This traditional East Coast U.S. style tends to have a symmetrical facade, two stories and a formal entrance front and center. Is it for you? Colonial homes have classic curb appeal in spades and a nice separation between public rooms (living room, dining room, kitchen) on the first floor and bedrooms upstairs. Small, separate first-floor rooms can feel quite formal and sometimes dark — the polar opposite of an open floor plan.

Craftsman bungalow. Influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, American Craftsman houses are known for their solid, quality construction, low-slung profile and use of natural materials like stone and shingles made of wood. Most common in California, Craftsman homes can also be found across the country. Similar in style, Prairie homes dominate in the Midwest. Related: What Defines a Craftsman Style House?

Is it for you? With an open floor plan and plenty of built-in details like desks, china cabinets and shelves, Craftsman homes make excellent use of a compact space. Repairing and replacing period details can be costly.

Home Renovation and Addition in Decatur

Cape Cod. A popular East Coast U.S. style, the Cape Cod house is a small, usually shingled cottage with a pitched roof and dormers.

Is it for you? With its petite footprint and charming cottage style, Cape Cod style is great for smaller households. It's also a natural choice for vacation homes and can be found across the country. As with many older house styles, Cape Cods tend to have little storage space.

Traditional Exterior

Victorian. Fancy gingerbread trim, towers and wraparound porches are hallmarks of this unmistakable style. Inside you will find lots of cozy, private rooms and nooks.

Is it for you? The warren of small rooms can be either a help or a hindrance, depending on your lifestyle. If having a separate library, den, music room and office appeals more than one large space, the layout of a Victorian home could be a great fit. Historic Victorians can be costly to repair and maintain.

Colombatto Oceano

Spanish style. Especially popular in warmer regions of the country, Spanish revival–style homes tend to feature arches, tile work and white stucco. Some may have balconies or a central courtyard.

Is it for you? Thick stucco walls and tile floors are naturally cool, which is ideal for warm climates. The charming gardens, courtyards and balconies are perfect for outdoor entertaining. In older Spanish revival homes, bedrooms and closets tend to be small.

Chimney Corners

Ranch. These sprawling, single-level homes can be found all across the country. Key features include open floor plans, patios and an attached garage. Related: Thousands of Design Ideas and Inspiration for Your Patio

Is it for you? With big yards, open floor plans and plenty of storage, ranch homes are a natural choice for families. With their single-story layout and low maintenance requirements, smaller ranches are ideal for retirees and empty-nesters as well.

Brooklyn Heights Addition

Row house. This urban housing style takes on a different look depending on the city, from the brownstones of New York to the Victorian row houses of San Francisco. All feature long, narrow floor plans and can be either divided into flats or kept as single-family homes.

Is it for you? Newly constructed lofts and townhouses have more spacious floor plans, but a classic old row house has character to spare and may feature hand-crafted built-in details.

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Modern. While "modern" covers pretty wide ground, you can count on modern homes to feature large expanses of glass, crisp architectural lines and open plans. Related: Fill a Modern Home With Contemporary Furniture

Is it for you? Lovers of modern design will surely gravitate toward this home style. The wide-open spaces also make modern homes ideal for entertaining.

This post was written by Laura Gaskill, Houzz and posted by RealBird with permission.


How to Sell Your Home Faster to a Younger Buyer - Guest Post By Houzz

Educating my clients about the audience they will be marketing to is one of the most important things a home stager can do. When you put your home on the market to sell, you should know that the next owner will likely be younger than you are. That's why you should stop thinking about what you like or want in a home and start thinking about what your most likely buyer will want.
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1. Stick with warm, neutral walls. If your target demographic is "young professional" or "young family," try using a warm gray as a neutral wall color. The gold or pinky-beige wall color you chose 10 years ago is going to seem outdated to this new group of home buyers. On-trend neutrals like grays allow potential homeowners to envision bringing in complementary colors and clean-lined furnishings to make it their own.
Various Work
2. Invest in white cabinetry. Many home buyers younger than 40 prefer white or off-white kitchen cabinetry. They don't want to see their momma's dark kitchen cabinetry in their new home! Consider a kitchen facelift if you have dark kitchen cabinetry with orange or red undertones. Benjamin Moore's Advance is a great paint to consider. It's a hybrid of latex and oil, and it requires very little prep work.
Teri Turan
3. Update your appliances. Many younger home buyers cannot fathom buying a home without stainless steel appliances. You'll need to update your almond ones with stainless replacements before putting it on the market.
Impala Black
4. Look for simple stone countertops. Granite and stone countertops are a must-have for most young home buyers — it will make the difference between whether they choose your home or your neighbor's home. But don't make the mistake of installing busy or taste-specific granite that may not appeal to everyone. If you plan to be in your home for a long time, go for it — but not if you plan to sell within the next few years. Instead, choose a granite that is almost black or something with a minimum of colors and veining. Anything more might be a turnoff to those picky younger buyers.
Summer Home
5. Open up your shower space. Young professionals love large, open glass showers. The garden-variety tub isn't where it's at anymore.
Cow Hollow Historic Home
6. Keep it simple for families with children. People with young kids are less likely to want a fixer-upper. If your target demographic is "young family with small children," it's important that your property be ready for them to move right in. Make sure the home has no unfinished projects or red flags for young families. 7. Consider selling your home as a fixer-upper. If your neighborhood is becoming a mecca for young professionals, there may be some appeal to the fixer-upper if the price is right. These younger adults without children may have the time, energy and imagination for making over an older home. Even so, the price will have to be lower than if it were picture perfect.

7 Personalized Spaces: The Joy of the Calculated Risk - Guest Post by Houzz

We've all heard the expression, "the greater the risk, the greater the return." The risk/return tradeoff is generally discussed regarding a financial investment, but does the same apply when investing in your home's decor? REALTORS® around the world would vehemently discourage the risks in this ideabook because highly customized homes often yield a lower return when the home goes on the market. But let's focus more on the satisfaction the homeowner receives from realizing their personal vision. For someone who desires to break out of cookie-cutter decor, the risk definitely outweighs any expert opinion.

Kohi House

The lady who grew up envying the doll who had everything can now live the dream in a pink kitchen of her own. Sleek cabinetry in a sweet, high-gloss pink is balanced by white lower cabinets and hardwood floors. This delicate balance keep the space contemporary and less confectionery. Related: Inspired? Here’s How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro

Diamond and Baratta design

For a colorful family with an appreciation of the arts comes a two-story foyer from Diamond Baratta Design with flair and personality to match. There is so much to love about this space, from its saturated hues to the shiny tiled floors, captivating mural, artsy stair runner and the Murano glass chandelier. The black door, trim and railing add polished accents to this enchanting space.

Dining Rooms

Purple isn't just for royalty. Enjoy vivid colors in custom drapery and even in your chandeliers. Both can carry a high price tag, but when it's something you love, it's okay to splurge. Many clients request that their decor be unique —something they won't see in anyone else's home. This room and any room you can dream up will fit the bill.

Alki Cottage

Surprise is the spice of life, isn't it? Or is that variety? Enjoy both with a BlueStar Range that offers a splash of color in a pristine white kitchen. Little kitschy elements like this make even mundane chores more enjoyable.

Glam Pop Art

Count on a wise owl to let you know who left the toilet seat up. Be open to ideas on where to place your uncommon finds and leave your guest with something to really talk about.

Handrail

When the saints go marching in, it's not enough to memorialize their presence even with a baby grand piano. Why not make a grander statement with life-size, two-dimensional musicians marching in a row? Taking a stand with an artistic statement never leaves guests to question your family's favorite pastime.

Creazioni Alice Armchair

Try a less permanent statement when exploring life outside the box. Humorous art that captures moments like the one in this painting would make any parent cringe with embarrassment. The irony lies in the fact that it becomes funny when on display and it's not your kid.

 

 


The 4 Basic Types of Home Photographers to Know - Guest Post by Houzz

The Houzz community has a wide range of services and service providers, many united in the need for quality photography showcasing their built projects. There are many ways to photograph a home and many photographers to work with. And many factors come into play in commissioning a photographer. Knowing what kind of photographer you may hire or can afford will help you as you look at the pricing and the fees photographers charge. Here is a discussion of some of the types of photographers an architect, designer or homeowner might hire and what to expect from their background and experience.

St Helena Retreat

1. Architectural or Interior Photographers What they do: A professional architectural or interior photographer often has years of specialized experience photographing architectural interiors and exteriors. He or she knows how to show a space and the circulation within the space. Architects also like the photographer to show the relationship of inside to outside. These photographers own a vast assortment of equipment that they can deploy depending on the assignment and shooting needs. Commonly they do extensive postproduction work, like with Photoshop, to deliver very high-resolution photos that are often intended for publication. What they don't usually do: Architectural or interior photographers aren't necessarily prepared for portraits or casual shots. The gear they use is often big and on a tripod — shooting people or loose compositions is not what they most often do. The process is more exacting, not spontaneous.

Portfolio

2. Real Estate Photographers What they do: A subset of the architectural and interior photography field, real estate photography is often characterized by a photographer working quickly, making few adjustments to the composition or to the arrangement with the room. Real estate photographers may bring a stylized look to the photos with photo editing software such as Photoshop. What they don't usually do: Typically a real estate photographer and the commissioning party do not expect to use the photos for long. The photographer's fee could be considered a sunk cost as soon as the property is sold. As a result, style and the overall design story aren't usually the focus in these photos.

Wedding Ceremony

3. Portrait or Wedding Photographers What they do: Capturing the moment, telling a story and knowing the light are some of the best skills a portrait or wedding photographer can bring to their subjects. These are working professionals who also offer enhancing Photoshop services to make the finished photo better. What they don't usually do: These photos tend to be less controlled than standard home photos. They're less about composition than about capturing the perfect moment. This is quite different from architectural photographers, who now often composite a number of photos in Photoshop to create a single, perfect shot.

High-end home interior

4. Commercial Photographers What they do: A skilled commercial photographer takes photos for use in advertising, merchandising or other types of marketing material. These photographers are very well versed in the mechanics of photography; composing, exposing and delivering high-resolution files for commercial use is standard practice. What they don't usually do: Since they have a specific client and audience in mind, many commercial photographers won't focus on trends in styling or art directing for portfolio and magazine shots.

Richardson, TX: Morgan and Monica Campbell

If You Want to Do It Yourself Of course, if you have an interest in photography, you may want to go the DIY route. Today the camera and equipment needed to make high-resolution photos is in a cost range accessible by many serious amateurs and the designers themselves. A keen eye and patience can go a long way to get some good photos. Practice makes perfect, though! Do your research. Look at inspiring examples and try to implement their style. Discuss your photos with peers, take a class and then practice some more.

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