Home Remodeling Tip: Where to Put the TV

When Paul and Karen Morse remodeled the first floor of their own home, they were faced with a common dilemma: where should they put the TV?  They enjoyed having friends over to watch movies or slide shows from recent travels, but they did not want the TV to be a focal point. Our solution was to mount a flat screen TV on a recessed wall mounting bracket that extends and swivels for optimal viewing positions, yet rests flat against the wall when not in use.  A DVD player, cable box and other attachments remotely connect to the TV from a storage location in the kitchen desk area.



As TVs get bigger and bigger, the old solution of hiding them in a wall unit or armoire is often not feasible. At the same time, many homeowners don't want their TV to be the first thing visitors notice when they walk into a room. Fortunately, there are many creative solutions to this design challenge, ranging from sliding panels that may be tucked unobtrusively into a wall, to stashing the TV in the ceiling. This slideshow from Houzz.com offers great inspiration (just click the arrows at the bottom to scroll through the slideshow or anywhere on the sliders to read the full article).



If you are considering a home remodeling project, please call us at 617-666-4460  or contact us online to find out how we can help you enhance your home.

Tags: storage, remodeling, houzz.com

Key Features of Multi-Generational Homes

In 2012, Paul wrote a guest post for Boston.com's Boston Real Estate Now blog. The post was on renovating homes for multi-generational living as a tough job market encouraged many adult children to move back home. You can read the post here: Catch the Multi-Generational Housing Wave.

Fast forward three years later, and multi-generational housing is still generating a lot of buzz.

According to the 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report:

"Thirteen percent of all buyers purchased a multi-generational home, one in which the home consists of adult children over the age of 18, and/or grandparents residing in the home. This is most prevalent among Younger Boomers aged 50 to 59 at 21 percent. The most common reason for this living arrangement among Younger Boomers was children over 18 moving back into the house (37percent), followed by health/caretaking of aging parents (21percent)."

The report went on to say that cost savings were behind 24 percent of the decisions to make a multi-generational home purchase. In a high-priced real estate market such as Boston, multi-generational living has particular appeal as a cost-savings measure.

As Paul pointed out in his 2012 blog post, homes that are best suited for multi-generational living offer:

Privacy with Proximity
Successful multi-generational living requires a fine balance between private and communal spaces. Separate entrances, morning bars or kitchenettes in bedroom suites, and sitting rooms provide much-needed privacy. A large, open kitchen/eating/living area is ideal when the family comes together.

Flexible Spaces
Flexible spaces can be easily transformed to function for different purposes and ages. For example, an underused living room and sunroom may transition into a home office, then an in-law suite, then a space for an adult child who moves home, then an entertainment area.

Universal Design
Universal design works hand-in-hand with flexible spaces to create environments that are usable by all people. Hallways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheel chair and zero entry thresholds are classic examples of universal design features.

Of course, the big question once you have crafted (or bought) the perfect home, is how multi-generational living will work. We were delighted that Houzz recently devoted an article on the topic. We've shared the article as a slide show below. Just click any of the images to read the full article on Houzz.

 If you are considering remodeling a Boston area home for multi-generational living, please give us a call at 617-666-4460 or contact us by using our online form. We'd love to share our insights to help you create a home that works well for various lifestyles!


Tags: home renovation, remodeling, boston.com, multi-generational homes

The Ins and Outs of Attic Remodeling


Do you want to add space without adding on? Your attic may offer the perfect solution. Attics have been converted into wonderful master bedroom suites, playrooms, home offices, reading nooks, guest bedrooms, teen hideaways, and the list goes on.Could you be making better use of your attic?

Here is a checklist of construction considerations when evaluating the feasibility of an attic remodel:

Building Code Requirements
Building codes may vary according to municipality, but all Massachusetts towns require minimum ceiling heights and egress windows.

Dormers are a great way to open up space that would otherwise be unuseable because of the slope of the rafters. There are several types of dormers, but classic doghouse-style or shed dormers are the most common in attic conversions. Not sure the difference? Here’s a quick overview article on Houzz.

Dormers are a cost-efficient way to meet building codes for ceiling height and add windows for light, ventilation and egress in case of fire. However, the style of your roof will dictate whether or not dormers are a viable option. A well-conceived dormer should enhance the exterior of your home and add architectural interest.

Most existing attic stairs do not meet code for living spaces. Existing steep or narrow stairs may need to be rebuilt or relocated depending on ceiling height at the top. When considering the footprint of a stairway, a spiral staircase requires the least square footage, followed by a straight run and a staircase with a landing and two runs. Many homeowners find the room for the staircase by sacrificing a closet on the floor below the attic and tucking storage space under the newly constructed stairs.

Floor Joists
The floors of many attics are not built to current code requirements. If they do not meet code, they may be reinforced by sistering additional joists to existing ones or replacing them with larger joists.

Skylights and Windows
If you are adding dormers, windows are sure to be part of your plan. If not, you may want to add windows, skylights or both to provide maximum light and ventilation.  If you plan to use the new room as a bedroom, code requires at least one window to provide egress in case of fire. If you don’t have wall space for several windows, skylights are a great way to let in light and air while picking up a few inches of headroom in a slanted ceiling. As with dormers, carefully consider window and skylight placement to enhance the exterior aesthetics of your home.  

Every home has what is called the “main stack”, which is the large pipe that carries wastewater to your sewer or septic tank and provides ventilation for proper drainage.  If you are installing a bathroom in your converted attic, consider placing the new bathroom directly over existing plumbing in the floors below to minimize costs.

Heating and Cooling
Hot air rises, so your attic room is going to be warmer than the rest of your home during the summer. Spray-in-place foam insulation will help keep your new space cooler in the summer and hold the heat in the winter.  If your existing system has the capacity to heat and cool your attic room, consider creating a special zone for optimal climate control.  Other options for heating and cooling are a mini-split heat exchange system or a small traditional style furnace/air conditioner.

Slanted attic ceilings can pose a furniture placement challenge. We like to minimize the need for freestanding furniture by building in storage whenever possible. For example, knee wall space (the area where the rafters slant down to connect to the outer wall) is far too low to be comfortable for living, but is ideal for built-in drawers and shelving. Smart use of built-ins will maximize your use of space.

Is your home right for an attic renovation? Please contact us to get more information to help plan and create your new attic space. Just look how one recent client added a master suite in their attic in these in-progress photos!

                                 Attic_renovation_in_Boston_area-507064-edited               Bathroom_in_renovated_attic-283391-edited

Tags: remodeling, renovation ideas, small space

Creative Storage Space in Bedrooms

We recently wrote about how to find storage space in an older home and illustrated the article with a photo of a Cambridge bedroom with walls of built-in storage. When Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill wrote an article on creative storage in guest rooms, she shared our photo as a perfect example!

Here's the photo:

bedroom storage Cambridge, MA

And here is what Laura wrote about it:

If you have a window in your guest room, consider working a window seat with hidden storage into the plan. Think through what you need to store before deciding on a layout for your cabinetry — tall cabinets for wardrobe items, drawers for sweaters, shelves for bedding or books.

Here is a slideshow of the entire Houzz article. Simply click on any of the images to go to the full article on Houzz.com.

Since Laura's article ran, hundreds of people have added our project photo to their Houzz Ideabooks for inspiration for their own projects.

If you are thinking of renovating to make your home or a room work more effectively for you, please contact us! We welcome the opportunity to listen to your needs and discuss beautiful, creative ways to enhance your home.

Tags: small space design, storage, bedroom storage, remodeling, renovation