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How to Increase Your Home’s Value With an Updated Fireplace Design


A unique fireplace design that fits into the general design of a home gives the home a distinctive mark which greatly increases its value. Luckily for all who are in the process of building new homes or redesigning current ones to give them a face lift, fireplace design is a wide field in which exist a lot of options that one could choose from. The fireplace design should not be done in a mundane manner using common designs but should be well thought out to give the home a look unique to itself.

The underlying principle that should guide the design of the fireplace is what kind of fuel is going to be used for the fire. To this end a designer would have to consider a wood burning fire place or a fireplace using other fuels like gas. The choice of which type of fireplace to build would of course be taken after careful consideration of the pros and cons proffered by the various fuels. The wood burning stove would for example be best for those who would be comfortable with the smell of smoke and love the old nostalgic feel that comes from the smell of burning wood whereas gas systems are more   modern  and offer a cleaner environment.

The other advantage of the traditional  designs  is that they are time-tested and so are ageless and can be used with any  modern   house   designs . Contemporary designs run the risk of being seasonal and may prove unreliable and out of place when the particular trend loses taste.

Fireplace designs range from the materials used to build them to their final location on the grand design of the home. In these categories can be found designs of stone fireplaces and brick fireplaces to corner fireplaces and outdoor fireplaces. The size of the fireplace should be taken into consideration for example an indoor fireplace should be measured just right so as not to deny space to other essential inclusions in the house. An outdoor fireplace should not be too small such that it loses its presence when considered in light of its surroundings.

Contracting the task of designing the fireplace and incorporating it into the design of the home should be given to people who have specialized in the kind of fireplace one seeks to have. In other words for one who has chosen a contemporary design for instance will be well put to get contemporary designers who will have all necessary expertise in creating the design in its best form than just giving it out to general fireplace designers who may not tie in to the overall home design.

Types of fireplace  designs  like natural stone, masonry , custom,  modern , gel fuel, art decor, backyard fireplace to name but a few may go along way to providing a home with that unique finishing touch that will set it in a class of its own. Like the cherry on top of the ice cream a fitting fireplace design will result in a comfortable home that would be the pride of any home owner.


Thoroughly Modern Living


If you like the clean lines that accompany  modern  décor, these interior  design  ideas will help you achieve the look you love. Decorating in a  modern  style is all about straight defined lines, no clutter and refined simplicity. Nary and floral pillow or Victorian print should be found in a modernly decorated house. Many people think of “cold” when they hear “ modern   design “, however, that declaration is a bit misrepresented. True, there will not be overstuffed couches around, but there will still be warmth, just in more of a structured way.

Bold colors such as black, red and white define  modern   design . A sleekly lined black leather couch accompanied by an odd shaped (albeit comfortable) chair can be put inside a room decorated with a  modern  flair. Coffee tables and end tables are often made with bent chrome and glass. A brightly colored wall in a red or bright orange along with a large monochromatic art piece on the wall can bring a  modern  room to life. If you aren’t afraid of a little color, throw one or two brightly colored pillows onto your couch or a bright rug in a simple pattern onto the floor.

Minimalism is key, although some accessories are fine, just keep in mind that they should be clean, refined and dramatic. A single silver vase in the middle of a round glass table filled with flowers is a dramatic statement while still staying simple. Structured flowers such as calla lilies, apple blossoms or willow branches can give off a dramatic look and add life and drama to a room. To add a bit of warmth, add some black and white photos to glass or silver frames. Keeping pictures in the same color scheme can keep your room from looking too busy. Adding an interesting art or travel book to your coffee table is also a way to minimally decorate.

Renowned artist Andy Warhol was the epitome of  modern   design . His bold bright works of art are total conversation pieces and can strike up debates or admiration with anyone visiting your home. Obviously, one must be a millionaire to purchase an original print from the late artist, but buying a replica, or an original piece from an artist inspired by Andy Warhol’s paintings can help you to create an incredible  modern  ambiance to your home and stay within a reasonable budget.

Decorating in a  modern  way usually means that you should steer clear of textural elements and patterns; however, if you feel that your room is lacking that punch of color, add a chair with a bright  modern  print in perhaps a geometric pattern or a solid bright piece. Perhaps adding a lamp with a colorful base or a vase in a bold print will give you just enough color.  Modern  interior  design  ideas are all around you.


How Lifestyle Affects House Design


I can still hear the crunch of the gravel driveway under the tires of Grandpa’s Dodge Fury at my grandparents’ home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I remember how well the house seemed to fit them and my great-grandmother, who lived with them, and how everything had its place in their home. In that simpler time homes were smaller and less complex, as were the lives of the people those houses sheltered. They were very comfortable in their modest ranch. It wasn’t a custom-built house, but it was unlike any of the others in their neighborhood. It was small, but spacious, and it had character. Knowing my Grandfather, I’m certain he shopped for the best bargain on the street, but he also knew construction and got himself a solid building of quality materials.

When as an Architect, I began to think seriously about home design, I wondered how that house came to be that fit them so well. I like to think that their quiet little homestead was designed and built with care and craftsmanship by someone who had a pretty good idea of the kind of family that might like to live there. Our lives are more varied and complex now, and the design of our homes should support and reflect that.

The opportunities for architectural invention in home design today are limitless – new materials, products, and construction techniques are constantly being introduced, and new technologies are having an impact. Unlike days past when historical styles ruled home design, our options today are wide open. We are free to interpret style, or to create our own to satisfy our aesthetic desires.

But all of these available design tools are too rarely used to create homes that are molded to the lives of their owners. Instead, homebuyers find themselves having to choose from among a few floor plans designed to appeal to a broad market, and then struggling to give it personality and character with just paint, carpet, and furniture. We try to make a house “ours” with features and decorating and never consider that it is the architectural design itself that brings a house to life.

We lose sight of what’s possible and end up with just another house instead of a home.

Designing and building a new home is an opportunity to create something brand new, something unique, something as individual as you. We’re working on several homes that defy any stylistic categorization because their inspiration, their “style” comes from the lives that their owners lead. These homes are built with character as the major construction material – the architecture and the “decorating” can’t be separated.

Houses like these are so much more than just the number of bedrooms and the size of the floor plan – they’re the ones that you return to look at again and again and think, “wow, there’s something about that house that I really like”. What you like about those houses is the result of the owners having taken an active role in creating the design from the very beginning. They realize that homes are made of life, of love, of memories, of wishes, and of spaces — not of living rooms, crown molding, and draperies.

Our conversations with these clients don’t begin with, “how many bedrooms do you need?” or “how big of a house do you want?”, they start with “what are your dreams and how do you want to live?”.

Those discussions, and the designs that evolve from them, are what a truly custom home is all about.

Good home design brings people together in pleasant ways. It provides for the family as a whole, and for each individual’s privacy. Good design does all of these things, and it starts by taking the time to ask clients about the details of their daily lives. What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning-head straight for the shower or down to the coffee maker? Do the kids eat breakfast at the table or do they grab a pop-tart on the way out of the door?

A recent client of mine described her family’s eating style as “hit-and-run”. That little pun tells me a great deal about the design requirements of her kitchen – much more than I’d discover poring over cabinet catalogs with her. We spend hours talking with our clients before a single line is drawn. To commit any less an effort to an examination of the personality of their family is to rob them of the benefits of custom home design.

Lifestyles change from generation to generation, and houses should change too. And yet, the majority of homes built today are little more than updated versions of 300-year old Colonial designs. Incredibly, we are still building parlors and formal dining rooms for families that never use them. A better house and a better living experience are the results when client and Architect work closely together to examine the uniqueness of the client’s lifestyle and how it informs and molds the design of the home.

My grandparents moved south to retire many years ago, leaving that old house behind for the next family.

I wonder if it fits the new owners as well as it did my grandparents, or if they’ve had to make changes to accommodate their unique lifestyle?

I hope they haven’t paved the driveway.


2012 House Plan Trends


Gone are the days of mini mansions, house plan trends of 2012 are designed in the realm of minimalism and clean lines. The labels “green living” and “going green” are no longer challenging amenities to strive for. The house plan trends of today suggest a more toned down approach to a home with dwellings that are more practical for work, living, and sometimes extended family.

Architects weigh the cost effectiveness of floor plans with green qualities and energy efficiency. Builders continue to recommend solar energy and geothermal energy options but the underlying objective is on getting the most value for the buck.

Instead of being an amenity “green” building has become a more mandatory approach for architects as they conceptualize green house plans which are more energy efficient for the future homeowners.

Along with the push for green another major building trend in 2012 is the merging of outside space with the rest of the home. Homeowners want to socialize not only in their home but also in the outdoor space around their home. They are seeking out home plans that feature designs that incorporate the idea.

Home development has also highlighted a greater emphasis on the family room as families seek out more togetherness and bonding space. At the same time many of these home plans are being designed with extra rooms quartered off from the rest of the home to create privacy and accommodate multi-generational families living under the same roof. There is a trend in adult children remaining in the home longer and aging parents moving in with their children.

Not only are some of these green trends taking off in new construction of green house plans but in pre-existing homes as well. There are a number of ways that homeowners are choosing to go green:

  • Choosing carpet made from renewable or recycled materials. Over 3 billion plastic bottles, 1 in every 4 bottles that are recycled, are turned into carpet.
  • Using paint that contains low, or no, volatile organic compound
  • When installing hardwood floors, using reclaimed wood which adds a touch of antique beauty
  • In the kitchen and bathroom using counters made from recycled glass, ceramic or even sustainable bamboo
  • Purchasing faucets with the water saver label and not only saving water but hundreds of dollars in utility costs each year
  • Using fluorescent compact lighting which uses up to 75% less electricity and lasts up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs


Contemporary and Modern Wall Decor


Interior design and home makeover is on a hype these days. The industry suddenly got a good boost when majority of contemporary interior design utilized new materials and techniques which created a positive impact to the consumer market. “Simple yet elegant” – In my opinion, this is phrase that could best describe today’s era of interior decoration. To give you more idea on what’s hot and what’s not on home decoration, here are some tips to get your new year started.

Modern Wall Decor

Nowadays, modern wall decor and modern wall artwork are fast becoming decorations of choice especially among home enthusiasts. Even normal home owners are now slowly getting themselves familiar with them. However, the idea of modern wall decor and modern wall artwork are not essentially focused on having the latest interior design fashions. Instead, most designers refer it to the “mid-century” design which means you can combine design elements of 60s or 70s with your choice of the present modern wall decor and modern wall artwork. In any instance, whether your thinking about contemporary or modern interior design here are some basic tips you should keep when you are planning an interior design or just a simple home makeover.

Music Wall Art and Music Wall Decor

Music wall art and music wall decor are two of the most of widely used home accents in the past few decades. They are old ideas but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used to create a stunning design inside the house. Music wall art and music wall decor offer a timely masterpiece for home owners who love music and everything that goes with it like instruments and music note art. Combine them with a minimalist design and they will surely transform your house into a modern museum of classic music.

Music Note Art

Music note art is a perfect example of contemporary design with a little touch of your personal interest about music. This idea can be a fascinating focal point in your media or music room. You can choose to place it in the ceiling or on the wall just above your piano. You can also add a line or two of your favorite song to further accentuate the decor.

If you have trouble formulating your own distinct interior decoration, you can ask help from a professional designer. Have fun!


The Importance of House Plans


Whenever the construction of a house is concerned, the planning is extremely important. If a house is constructed without proper planning, the chances of it being successful and staying up for a longer period of time are very slim. However, if a house is made with a properly thought of concept and an idea in a person’s head, then it is surely going to be a good place to live in for the residents as well as meet all their needs.

Now, most people who opt for house building think of designing it themselves. They do not ask for any expert advice, and if they have an empty plot, they just hire builders and construction agents and give them an outlay of their plans as to how they want their house to look like.

For those who have no idea about construction and how houses should be planned, this is an extremely poor idea. Your house is something that cannot be torn down and rebuilt based on the fact that it was ‘poorly planned’ and hence the planning of your house needs to be accurate and very good.

There are several ways by which you can get house planning ideas. One of the most prominent ways to have houses planned is by doing so online. There are various different methods that can be used in this regard. The simplest way is to open up a website of a firm that offers planning in the country where you live in, and then you can easily establish contact with that company and order your plans from them.

However, it is very important that the company you choose should be reliable and established so that you are not fooled, because you would be paying money while acquiring the services of the company.

Secondly, you must make sure that the company already has a very prominent name in the field of house planning, and you should check out the pictures in the builder directory of that website to get a clear picture as to how the   houses  are  designed  by those firms. This would give a clear picture in the user’s head so that he or she would get an idea about the type of plan that might be returned. Secondly, you also get customer support options, so if you feel the house plan is not up to the mark and requires changes, that can be done as well.


Modern Bathroom Ideas


Bathrooms are one of the most often remodeled rooms in any house. A new bathroom will immediately increase the value of a home and will also create a functional oasis for you. The  modern   design  aesthetic continues to grow in popularity and nowhere is this more evident that in the number of shows and books devoted to creating the perfect  modern  bathroom. If you are considering a renovation of your bathroom, consider choosing the monochromatic, architectural style that is a feature of  modern  bathrooms.

Before you begin a renovation of your bathroom, it is important to keep in mind the number of people who will be using it. Most  modern  vanities are available in single or double sink styles. Knowing early on which  modern  vanity you would like to install will help give you a sense of the layout of the room as well as the remaining space for other amenities. In addition to considering the ideal number of sinks that a vanity will accommodate, think about the amount of counter space that will be needed for storing cosmetics, hair products, and other personal effects. Most of the  modern  vanities that are currently being sold are available in neutral or primary colors that will complement almost any decorating scheme.

One of the classic  design  features of the  modern  bathroom is a monochromatic color scheme. Black and white is a popular choice, as are various shades within one color family. Feel free to play with this idea, however, by adding individual pieces that will stand out as accents. Whether you would like this piece to be a small piece of hanging art, or a fixture like the toilet is up to you. If you are adding an accent piece, remember that the bolder your choice the better. Choose a color like red that will really pop against the rest of the room.


Modern House Framing and the Pythagorean Theorem


The relationship between carpentry and the Pythagorean Theorem is believed to be around 4,000 years old. The modern house framing industry would not be possible without the use of this theorem. It is applied in nearly all aspects of home building. Some examples would be roof framing, squaring foundations, and walls to name just a few.

The Pythagorean Theorem is believed to have originated around 2,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians needed a way to lay out square corners for their fields. The way this was accomplished is amazingly simple yet very effective. They used three stakes arranged in a triangle and a length of rope knotted into twelve equal lengths. They would then stretch the rope around the three stakes until they had three knots between the first two stakes, four knots between the next two stakes, and five knots between the last two stakes. Thus the hypotenuse of the right triangle was formed.

A Greek philosopher and mathematician, born around 530 B.C., named Pythagoras became famous for formulating the Pythagorean Theorem. Even though the historians have given him credit, it was certainly known much earlier.

When referring to a right triangle, one angle equals 90 degrees, the hypotenuse is on the opposite side and equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. The formula for the theorem is a squared + b squared = c squared with c being the hypotenuse. When building houses, since two sides are usually known, this method is extremely accurate when squaring footings and foundation walls.

In conventional house framing, roof framing is one of the more complex issues carpenters are faced with. With the use of a framing square and a working knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem, roof framing is more accurate and efficient. The design of the framing square is based on this principal of mathematics. On the rafter tables and brace measurement portion of the square, these numbers are generated using the Pythagorean Theorem.

When the theorem is used in conjunction with computer software to generate foundation, floor, wall, and roof framing plans, it will increase quality, productivity, and decrease waste. If quality and productivity are increased and waste reduced, it can only lead to one outcome, higher quality finished homes, an increased profit margin, and higher customer satisfaction. This is a definite win win situation for the builder and homeowner alike.


Modern Furniture – Truly Modern In All Aspects


Modern furniture is made using today’s lifestyle in mind, in the sense that it meets the requirements of a modern home. It is comfortable, convenient and spacious and swish making the interiors looks great with minimum efforts on our part. Read the following article to know all about modern furniture and what makes it good for today.

What makes human beings the most advanced of all species is the fact that we invent – we create new things that meet our needs and make our life better. As time progresses and everything undergoes a change, so do our needs which are the reason for new innovations. Our tastes, preferences and styles also reflect a change from the earlier times and we use the term modern or contemporary to signify the things that are in accordance with the present times in terms of meeting our needs and suiting our styles and preferences.

The interiors of our house are a striking testimonial of the change in our thoughts, tastes and lifestyles. Contemporary or modern furniture is truly modern in this aspect. It is stylish, comfortable and convenient and suits the modern house and lifestyle. Furniture is an essential part of the interior decoration of our house, which attracts a great deal of our attention. We all look for swish interiors, however the definition of style have changed with time. Some of the differences can be attributed to change in taste and some to change in needs.

One major feature of contemporary furniture is that it is easy to maintain, which is an essential requirement of time management today. Since, we have less time on hand; we cannot afford to use furniture that needs high maintenance. Italian leather and synthetic materials are good from this perspective as they do not get dirty easily and do not require too much maintenance like expensive fabrics that need to be cleaned regularly. The designs of the furniture are very innovative- simple, yet stylish. Instead of heavy furniture with too much work, geometrical shapes like rectangles, squares, ovals and circles are in great use. The materials used and the fine finish make them look elegant.

Another feature of modern furniture is that it makes the room look more spacious. With lesser space available in houses now, heavy looking furniture is not a viable option. Modern furniture has been designed to occupy minimum space, while provide maximum facilities. Hence, there is more and more space that is usable in modern furniture and more drawers to make it convenient. Multipurpose furniture are also an interesting space saving alternative to normal furniture that can be used for more than one purpose, thus saving both space as well as money.

As far as the designing is concerned, there is scope for greater experimentation in modern furniture. Interesting patterns and colors are used creatively to make the furniture look stylish. There are vast assortments of colors that can be used. While white, black, cream, beige and brown are popular shades in sofas, when it comes to armchairs, stools and other such furniture items there is room for use of brighter colors like red, blue and unlimited shades. There is greater use of materials like glass, plastic and stainless steel, all of which require little maintenance and give a very classy look. In all, where there is need for greater comfort, lesser maintenance and convenience, at the same time the furniture should not lack in style as it is an essential component of the modern interior decor.


Basic Principles of Modern Home Decor


Modern home decor is basically the creative blend of fancy designs with maximum functionality. It is not dull rather they are pleasant designs that give comfortable feeling to your eyes and soul. It talks about decorative ideas that provide functionality and accessibility to user. For example when you talk about modern kitchen design the major emphasis of design is the available work space and accessibility to the objects need for cooking.

Following are some basic principles of Modern Home Décor.


All modern design emphasizes on simplicity and use of minimum decoration. Most often different kind of furniture is used to give modern look. The basic aim to keep your design simple is to create more space and less stress; it has been observed that heavily decorated rooms with various objects like paintings and show pieces can make things more badly.


When you talk about technology in modern designs it is specifically the use of latest entertainment system as décor item. For installing such systems it is necessary to develop area for entertainment systems. Family room is the best place for this because it will be central place for any social gathering. Televisions are the common example of use of latest technology in modern home décor. They are available with built in VCRs and DVD players. Plasma and flat screen models are also available. You can buy any one of them that best fits your space and design. These models do not need much space and can conveniently fits to your small central room. That’s how you can utilize latest technology to decorate your space.


Windows give an open and spacious look to your room. That’s why one can built house with many windows. You can also build large windows to occupy the entire wall. Whatever the size and number of windows the idea is always same that is spacious look. If your house has few windows use light color curtains for spacious look.

Create Your Own Choice

You can formulate your own designs and choices by searching magazines and internet for modern décor designs. But the thing you must keep in mind while making your choices is that modern décor designs talks about more space and less stress. Home Décor software are also available that help you in decorating your house.