Right Level of Upgrades for Your Neighborhood Chester County Contractor
House Renovation

The Right Level of Upgrades for Your Neighborhood

Deciding on the Right Level of Upgrades for Your Neighborhood

When renovating your home, it’s important to strike a balance between creating a space you love and making smart financial investments. One key factor to consider is the level of upgrades you choose, relative to other homes in your neighborhood. Over-improving can make it harder to recoup your costs when it’s time to sell, while under-improving may leave you feeling dissatisfied with your space. Here’s how to decide on the right level of upgrades for your specific neighborhood and situation.

Right Level of Upgrades for Your Neighborhood Chester County ContractorAssess Your Goals

Before making any renovation decisions, clarify your goals for the project. Are you primarily focused on creating your forever home, or do you plan to sell within the next few years? If you’re staying put for the long haul, you may have more flexibility to personalize your space and splurge on upgrades that bring you joy, even if they don’t have the highest resale value. On the other hand, if you’re renovating with an eye toward selling soon, it’s crucial to consider what potential buyers in your area are looking for and what they’re willing to pay.

Research Your Neighborhood

To gauge the right level of upgrades for your home, do some research on your neighborhood’s real estate market. Look at recent sale prices of homes similar to yours, and pay attention to how renovated spaces compare to original ones. If homes with high-end finishes and extensive remodels are selling for significantly more than those with more modest updates, it could be a sign that upscale renovations are valued in your area.

When driving around your neighborhood take note. Are most houses well-maintained with updated exteriors, or are many in need of obvious repairs? Do you see a lot of on-trend design features, or do most homes have a more traditional look? Understanding the standards of your specific neighborhood will help you make informed decisions about your own upgrades.

Consider Your Home’s Age and Value

The age and current value of your home should also factor into your renovation choices. In general, older homes may require more extensive upgrades to meet modern standards of functionality and aesthetics. However, if your home is one of the oldest or least valuable in the neighborhood, it may not make sense to invest in top-of-the-line finishes, as you’re less likely to see a strong return on investment.

On the flip side, if you own a newer, higher-end home in an established neighborhood, you may need to choose more upscale renovations to match the quality buyers expect in your price range. A good rule of thumb is to aim for upgrades that align with or slightly exceed the average level in your neighborhood without going overboard.

Prioritize High-Impact Upgrades

When deciding where to allocate your renovation budget, focus on upgrades that have the biggest impact on your home’s functionality, aesthetics, and resale value. Kitchens and bathrooms are always a smart place to invest, as these spaces are highly valued by homeowners and buyers alike. Upgrading essentials like flooring, countertops, cabinets, and appliances can go a long way in giving your home a fresh, modern feel.

Other high-impact upgrades to consider include:

  • Boosting curb appeal with updated landscaping, exterior paint, or a new front door
  • Creating an open floor plan by removing walls between main living spaces
  • Adding square footage through a home addition or finished basement
  • Improving energy efficiency with new windows, insulation, or HVAC systems
  • Installing smart home technology for convenience and security

Work with a Professional

Navigating the complex world of home renovations can be challenging, especially when trying to decide on the right level of upgrades for your neighborhood. Consulting with a professional contractor or designer can provide valuable guidance and help you make informed decisions.

A skilled contractor will have a deep understanding of local real estate trends, as well as the costs and returns associated with various upgrades. They can assess your home’s current condition, discuss your goals and budget, and recommend renovations that will enhance your space while being appropriate for your neighborhood.

Ultimately, the key to a successful renovation is striking a balance between creating a home you love and making wise financial choices. By doing your research, prioritizing high-impact upgrades, and working with trusted professionals, you can find the sweet spot for your neighborhood and enjoy a beautifully updated space that meets your needs and budget.


Best Splurges for Boosting Your Homes Energy Efficiency Southern PA Contractor
Energy Efficiency

Best Splurges for Boosting Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

The Best Splurges for Boosting Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Investing in your home’s energy efficiency is a smart choice for many reasons. By prioritizing energy efficiency, you can enjoy substantial savings on your energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint, and enhance the overall comfort of your home in all seasons. If you’re planning a renovation and want to prioritize energy efficiency, consider splurging on these high-impact upgrades.

Best Splurges for Boosting Your Homes Energy Efficiency Southern PA ContractorEnergy-Efficient Windows

Replacing old, drafty windows is one of the best ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. If your budget allows, opt for high-quality, energy-efficient windows with features like:

  • Double or triple panes: Multiple panes of glass create an insulating barrier that reduces heat transfer and outside noise.
  • Low-E coatings: Thin, invisible coatings on the glass reflect heat back into your home in the winter and block solar heat gain in the summer.
  • Argon gas fill: Non-toxic argon gas between the panes provides an extra layer of insulation.

While energy-efficient windows come with a higher price tag than basic options, they offer significant long-term savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing single-pane windows with high-performance ones can save you up to $465 a year on heating and cooling costs.

Upgraded Insulation

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable, energy-efficient home. If your insulation is outdated or inadequate, it’s worth investing in an upgrade. The attic is the best place to start, as it’s a common source of heat loss. Splurge on high-quality insulation with a high R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) to maximize energy savings.

Other areas to focus on include exterior walls, basements, and crawl spaces. If you’re undergoing a major renovation, consider using spray foam insulation, which expands to fill gaps and creates an airtight seal. While more expensive than traditional fiberglass batts, spray foam offers superior energy efficiency and can also improve indoor air quality by reducing drafts and moisture intrusion.

High-Efficiency HVAC System

Heating and cooling account for a significant portion of your home’s energy use, so investing in a high-efficiency HVAC system can lead to substantial savings. Look for systems with high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings for air conditioners and high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings for furnaces.

Consider splurging on features like:

  • Variable-speed blowers that adjust output based on your home’s needs
  • Programmable thermostats that automatically adjust temperatures when you’re away or asleep
  • Zoned systems that allow you to heat and cool specific areas of your home

While a high-efficiency HVAC system may have a higher upfront cost, it can pay for itself over time through reduced energy bills and longer equipment life.

Energy Star Appliances

If you’re replacing appliances as part of your renovation, opt for Energy Star-certified models. These appliances meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and can use up to 50% less energy than standard models.

Some of the best Energy Star appliances to splurge on include:

  • Refrigerators with advanced insulation and efficient compressors
  • Front-loading washing machines that use less water and energy
  • Dishwashers with soil sensors and efficient jet technology
  • Heating water can account for a significant portion of your home’s energy use, so consider investing in an energy-efficient water heater. Options like tankless or heat pump water heaters can lead to significant savings over traditional models.

Solar Panels 

For the ultimate in energy efficiency, consider splurging on solar panels for your home. While the upfront cost takes a bit to plan for, solar panels can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills.

Schedule a consult with a contractor or roofer to assess your home’s suitability before moving forward with solar panels. You’ll need a sturdy roof with enough unobstructed space to accommodate the panels, as well as a sunny location with minimal shade. It’s also important to research local incentives and regulations, as some states and utilities offer rebates or tax credits for solar installations.

Professional Energy Audit 

If you’re not sure where to start with energy efficiency upgrades, consider spending on a professional energy audit. A certified auditor will assess your home from top to bottom, identifying areas of inefficiency and recommending improvements.

An energy audit typically includes a blower door test to detect air leaks, thermographic imaging to reveal insulation gaps, and a comprehensive report with prioritized recommendations. Yes, it will likely cost a few hundred dollars, but in the end it will hopefully provide good and valuable insights that can guide your renovation decisions.

By prioritizing high-impact changes that make the most sense for your specific home, you’ll enjoy a space that’s not only beautiful but also easy on your wallet and the planet.

Select the Perfect Cabinet Style for Your Kitchen Renovation Chester Co Kitchen Remodeling
Kitchen Remodel

Select the Perfect Cabinet Style for Your Kitchen Renovation

How to Select the Perfect Cabinet Style for Your Kitchen Renovation

When planning a kitchen renovation, one of the most important design decisions you’ll make is choosing the right cabinet style. Your cabinets set the tone for the entire kitchen aesthetic and are a significant portion of your budget. With so many options available, it can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry – we’re here to guide you through the process of selecting the ideal cabinets to bring your dream kitchen to life.

Select the Perfect Cabinet Style for Your Kitchen Renovation Chester Co Kitchen Remodeling

Consider Your Overall Kitchen Style

Before diving into specific cabinet styles, take a step back and envision the overall look you want for your new kitchen. Are you drawn to sleek, modern designs or do you prefer a more traditional, cozy feel? Do you picture a rustic farmhouse vibe or an elegant, luxurious ambiance? Having a clear idea of your desired kitchen style will help narrow down your cabinet options.

Here are some popular kitchen styles to consider:

  • Modern: Characterized by clean lines, minimalism, and a lack of ornamentation. Flat-panel or slab cabinet doors are a hallmark of modern design.
  • Traditional: Timeless and classic, often featuring raised-panel doors, corbels, and furniture-like details. Think Shaker or Colonial styles.
  • Transitional: A happy medium between modern and traditional, transitional style combines simplicity with subtle embellishments. Shaker-style cabinets are a popular transitional choice.
  • Farmhouse: Warm, inviting, and a bit rustic. Beadboard or Shaker-style doors painted in soft, neutral hues are right at home in a farmhouse kitchen.

Assess Your Budget

Cabinet prices vary widely based on the materials, construction methods, and customization options. Before getting your heart set on a particular cabinet style, determine how much you can realistically afford to spend.

Here’s a general breakdown of cabinet price points:

  • Stock Cabinets: The most affordable option, stock cabinets come in standard sizes and limited finishes. They’re ready-to-assemble and can be a cost-effective choice for tight budgets.
  • Semi-Custom Cabinets: A step up from stock, semi-custom cabinets offer more flexibility in sizes, materials, and finishes. They strike a balance between affordability and customization.
  • Custom Cabinets: Built to your exact specifications, custom cabinets provide endless design possibilities but come with a higher price tag. If you have a unique kitchen layout or specific requirements, custom cabinets may be worth the investment.

Evaluate Your Needs and Lifestyle

Your cabinets aren’t just about looks – they need to function well for your daily life. Consider how you use your kitchen and what storage features would make your life easier. Do you need pull-out organizers for pots and pans? Lazy Susans for corner cabinets? Spice racks or utensil drawers? Make a list of your must-have cabinet features to guide your selection process.

Also, think about your household’s lifestyle. If you have young children, you may want to avoid delicate materials or intricate designs that are harder to clean. If you entertain often, consider cabinets with glass doors to showcase your serveware or built-in wine storage.

Explore Door Styles and Materials

Now for the fun part: diving into the myriad of cabinet door styles and materials.

Here are some popular options:

  • Shaker: Clean, simple, and versatile, Shaker-style doors feature a recessed panel and work well with many kitchen styles.
  • Flat-Panel: Minimalist and modern, flat-panel doors have no frame or embellishments, creating a sleek, streamlined look.
  • Raised-Panel: Traditional and timeless, raised-panel doors have a center panel that is slightly raised from the frame. They offer classic charm.
  • Glass-Front: Great for displaying dishware or adding visual interest, glass-front doors can be used alone or in combination with solid doors.
  • Wood: The most common material, wood cabinets come in a variety of species (maple, oak, cherry, etc.) and can be stained or painted.
  • Laminate: Budget-friendly and low-maintenance, laminate cabinets mimic the look of wood or paint and are available in many colors and patterns.
  • Stainless Steel: Sleek, modern, and easy to clean, stainless steel cabinets are a bold choice for contemporary kitchens.

Get Professional Guidance

With so many factors to consider, it’s helpful to consult with a professional kitchen designer or contractor. They can assess your space, discuss your preferences and needs, and recommend cabinet styles that will work best for your kitchen and budget.

Seeing cabinet samples in person and touring showrooms can also give you a better sense of what you like. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles or customize to make your cabinets uniquely yours.

Choosing kitchen cabinets is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. By considering your overall kitchen style, evaluating your needs, setting a realistic budget, and working with a trusted professional, you can find the perfect cabinets to create the kitchen of your dreams.

Energy Saving Windows A Smart Investment Bel Air MD Energy Star Home Improvements
Energy Efficiency

Energy Saving Windows: A Smart Investment

Energy Saving Windows: A Smart Investment

If you’re thinking about remodeling or building a new home in southern Chester County or northern Maryland, going with energy efficient windows is one of the smartest moves you can make.

With energy costs constantly rising and more focus on living sustainably, installing high performance windows benefits both your wallet and the environment. Let’s take a closer look at why they’re such a sensible option.

Energy Saving Windows A Smart Investment Bel Air MD Energy Star Home Improvements

Slash Energy Bills

One major benefit is lower utility bills. Today’s windows seal in conditioned air far better than old drafty ones thanks to improved insulation, reflective coatings, and advanced framing. This prevents costly air leaks so your energy dollars stop going out the window, so to speak. ENERGY STAR rated windows can cut your bills by 7-15%, saving you hundreds per year.

Feel More Comfortable

In addition to saving cash on utilities, modern windows also keep your home’s temperature pleasant year-round. Their airtight construction and insulated glass helps regulate indoor temps so you stay cozy in winter and cool during summer. No more freezing by the window when it’s chilly or sweating next to hot glass in the heat. Energy efficient windows maintain moderate, comfortable temps in every season.

Tune Out Noise

Got noisy neighbors or live near busy roads? Today’s high-end windows also dampen sounds from outside. Beefed up glazing and sturdy framing blocks more noise pollution from sources like traffic, construction, and loud music. If you’re in an urban area, noise reduction windows can really make a difference.

Built to Last

From strong framing to rugged weatherstripping, these windows are made to handle the elements. They resist wear and tear far longer than standard windows, giving you enhanced durability. With proper care, quality energy efficient windows will serve your home reliably for decades before needing replacement. Going green doesn’t mean flimsy.

Protect Furnishings

Modern window materials also safeguard your curtains, carpets, and furniture from sun damage. Low-E coatings on double or triple panes filter over 75% of harsh UV rays that cause fading. This keeps your interiors looking their best longer, saving you money.

Increase Curb Appeal

Today’s energy efficient windows also come in very appealing styles that can update any home’s look. Selling soon? New windows make your home more valuable to buyers looking for energy efficiency and modern aesthetics. Their sleek looks improve curb appeal and can help you maximize sale price.

Do Your Part

For many homeowners, energy efficient windows also fit with a green, eco-friendly lifestyle. Their manufacturing and disposal has less environmental impact, reducing your carbon footprint. If living sustainably matters to you, efficient windows help you walk the walk.

Get Tax Credits

Some efficient window upgrades qualify for government tax credits up to $500 currently. While you should check with your accountant or tax preparer, you’ll likely just have to submit documentation like NFRC certifications along with your return to claim savings. This subsidizes costs now and the investment pays off later with lower utility bills.

Secure Your Home

Better security often comes with energy efficient window replacement. Compared to old single panes, new impact-resistant windows strongly deter break-ins. Heavy-duty construction and multi-layered glazing makes entering by force extremely difficult. Security features like laminated glass prevent shattered window panes from falling inward. Peace of mind is priceless.

As you can see, the case for installing energy saving windows is compelling on many fronts – from increased comfort to eco-friendliness. Contact JFR Contracting to explore your window upgrade options in the West Chester, PA and Bel Air, MD regions. With over 25 years helping homeowners boost efficiency and sustainability, we’re ready to make your ideal energy efficient windows a reality.

Why Design Build Delivers the Ideal Kitchen Remodel Bel Air Maryland Contractor
Kitchen Remodel

Why Design-Build Delivers the Ideal Kitchen Remodel

Why Design-Build Delivers the Ideal Kitchen Remodel

It’s finally time to overhaul that outdated kitchen and create a gorgeous, efficient space for cooking and gathering. But the prospect of a major renovation can be downright scary – picking designers, contractors, products and finishes while trying to avoid cost overruns and delays. The solution? Go with a design-build firm to streamline the entire process.

Design-build provides a single point of contact and closely aligned team dedicated to bringing your dream kitchen to life. Here’s an in-depth look at why design-build is the smart choice for your upcoming kitchen remodel.

Why Design Build Delivers the Ideal Kitchen Remodel Bel Air Maryland Contractor
Unified Process for Cohesive Results

With traditional remodeling projects, you must find and coordinate an architect, general contractor, subcontractors and suppliers separately. This fragmented approach often leads to miscommunication and scheduling issues as the baton gets passed from one party to the next. Who is ultimately accountable?

Design-build firms have cohesive teams with the designer and builder working hand-in-hand from concept to completion. There is no inefficient back and forth. Just clear collaboration toward a shared goal – a stunning kitchen tailored to your specific needs and preferences. You simply work with a designated project manager to make it all happen seamlessly.

Budgets Set in Stone for No Nasty Shocks

Nothing derails a remodeling project faster than an exploding budget. Traditional projects often go over budget because the architect designs without input on pricing from the builder and subcontractors. By the time the contractor provides their estimate, it’s back to the drawing board to redesign aspects that are over budget.

Design-build firms are meticulous about establishing clear project costs upfront based on your budget. The designer and builder work together to suggest layouts, features and materials that make the most of your available dollars. There are no budgetary surprises down the road that leave you unable to afford that marble backsplash or commercial stove.

Scheduling Bliss for Uninterrupted Kitchen Function

Let’s face it, living through a major kitchen renovation is no fun. From demolition dust to weeks without a functional cooktop, traditional remodels can disrupt your household’s normalcy for months on end. But design-build firms have processes to minimize the headaches.

Design-build projects can typically be completed much faster thanks to close coordination at each step. There is also better staging of work in phases. For example, your sink may stay operational while cabinetry gets updated on the other side of the kitchen. You may even have access to a temporary cooking area during parts of the remodel.

Laser Focus on Kitchen Design for Optimal Results

General contractors handle all types of remodeling projects from bathrooms to basements. But with design-build, you work with experts who focus exclusively on kitchen design. These niche specialists will ask the right questions upfront about how your family uses the space. Key details make all the difference – like the number of typical cooks and if kids do homework at the kitchen table.

You’ll get a highly functional floorplan tailored to your unique prep, cooking, clean-up and dining needs. The designers understand optimal lighting, storage, work triangles and traffic flow. And the builders are adept at installing the latest kitchen innovations you’ve been dreaming about like induction cooktops, under-cabinet lighting and concealed waste receptacles.

Tips for a Smooth and Seamless Kitchen Remodel

Follow these tips when working with a design-build firm to ensure your kitchen remodel goes as smoothly as possible:

Provide plenty of detail about your current kitchen during initial consultations – what works, what doesn’t, and what your ideal kitchen looks like.
Have a clear decision maker or hierarchy for product selections to prevent delays if there are differing opinions between family members.
Set a deadline for making all design selections like cabinetry, countertops and backsplashes to keep the project timeline on track.
Declutter your kitchen and dining areas several weeks before work begins so the demolition and installation crews can access all spaces.
Photograph your kitchen prior to demolition from multiple angles to better appreciate the transformation later.
Ask your project manager for recommendations about where to set up a temporary cooking area with key appliances, prep space and storage during the remodel.
Frequently check in on the progress and address any concerns immediately to prevent small issues from ballooning into bigger problems.
Schedule a walk-through of the finished kitchen with your project manager to identify any punch list items that need correction before final payment.
With design-build guiding your kitchen remodel, you can look forward to an efficient process, expert results and a gorgeous new heart of your home tailored to exactly how your family lives.

Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Space Deck Builder Delaware County
Home Additions

Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Space

Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Space

An outdoor kitchen is a great addition to any deck or patio, allowing you to cook, entertain and dine outdoors. When planning an outdoor kitchen, consider the layout carefully, ensuring adequate countertop space for food prep and cooking, as well as storage for utensils, dishes, and pantry items. Think about traffic flow – you don’t want people crowding the grill master. Allow 3-4 feet clearance around grills and appliances.

Planning the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Space Deck Builder Delaware County
Choose materials that can withstand the elements like stone, tile, stainless steel and weather-resistant woods like teak. Opt for surfaces that won’t get too hot in sunlight. Include some covered areas for shade and protection from rain.

Incorporate features like a sink, mini-fridge, grill, side burners, pizza oven, ice maker or kegerator based on how you’ll use the space. Pick durable, commercial-grade appliances designed for outdoor use.

Ensure proper ventilation, lighting and electrical outlets to support the kitchen’s functions. Use overhead string lights to illuminate counters and add ambiance.

If designing a built-in masonry outdoor kitchen, get help planning the layout from a landscape designer or contractor. Obtain all necessary permits and ensure proper gas and electric hookups if needed.

No matter the size, create zones for different tasks – a grill station, sink area, prep zone, dining space. Have a cleaning area with storage for supplies. Decide if counter space is better extended in an L-shape or U-shape based on the footprint.

If a deck is part of your outdoor kitchen plan, you’ll have a few extra considerations to throw into the mix.

  • Weather – It’s best to build a deck during the warmer months when there is less chance of rain, snow or extreme cold. This allows the wood to properly cure and lets the workers avoid slippery or freezing conditions. Late spring through early fall is generally the ideal timeframe.
  • Builder Availability – Deck builders tend to get booked up during peak construction season in summer. To ensure you can get on their schedule, try booking a few months in advance for a spring, summer or early fall build.
  • Cost – Prices on lumber and contractor labor may be higher during peak season. Building in the spring or fall can provide some cost savings.
  • Use – If you want to enjoy the deck all summer long, schedule the build in early spring. If you mainly want it for fall, a late summer or early fall build could work.
  • Curing Time – Freshly treated lumber needs several weeks to cure before sealing or staining. Keep this in mind so your deck is ready when you want to use it.
  • Permits – Check how long permit approval takes in your area. You don’t want this to cause delays in your builders schedule.

By planning all the details and features in advance, you can create the ultimate outdoor cooking and dining space perfect for your home and entertaining needs. Let me know if you need any other tips as you design your outdoor kitchen oasis!

A Planners Guide to Scheduling a Deck Addition Contractor Bel Air MD
Deck Additions

A Planner’s Guide to Scheduling a Deck Addition

A Planner’s Guide to Scheduling a Deck Addition

There are several factors that determine when the best time to undertake a deck construction project may be, and it is smart to weigh all these considerations thoroughly when settling on timing. Many homeowners’ instinct is to build the deck during the warm summer months so they can immediately start enjoying the new outdoor living space.

A Planners Guide to Scheduling a Deck Addition Contractor Bel Air MD

However, building in the peak of summer is often not the best option. Building in extreme heat can also be taxing on the construction crew. And summer is the most popular time for outdoor construction across all home improvement projects, so material costs are often higher due to increased demand. For these reasons, it is usually better to plan the deck build during the spring or fall instead. So what should you do then? Contact your contractor now and get on their schedule for fall or spring! Otherwise – they may very well be booked up.

Build your Deck in Spring

Late winter through early spring is an ideal window to begin planning the project and scheduling the contractor, as their calendars tend to book up once spring sets in. Building the deck in the spring when temperatures are mild provides plenty of comfortable working days for the build team.

Importantly, spring construction allows the wood to properly cure over several weeks before the hot summer sun potentially causes damage. Precipitation levels are also lower in spring compared to fall, minimizing delays. And planning the timing around spring can save money, as material costs are lower compared to peak summer. The key trade-off is that planning for a spring deck does require the homeowners wait several months before fully enjoying the new space, compared to building in late summer.

But if the priority is ensuring quality construction without delays, along with maximizing long-term durability, then undertaking the deck build in spring or early summer is likely the optimal choice. Taking the time to carefully consider all these factors will help homeowners determine the ideal timeframe to initiate their deck construction project.

Basement Renovations

Moving Forward With a Basement Finish Out Remodel

Moving Forward With a Basement Finish Out Remodel

When finishing out a basement space, homeowners should take different approaches depending on whether the home already contains 1 or 2 stories.

For single floor homes, transforming the basement presents an opportunity to gain significant additional living space within the existing house footprint. The unused space below the main level can be turned into extra bedrooms, a home office, bathroom, spacious family room, recreational area, or any other type of expanded living quarters to meet the needs of a growing family. Without existing rooms on a 2nd floor, the basement becomes prime real estate for increasing usable square footage in a limited capacity 1 story home.

Moving Forward With a Basement Finish Out Remodel | West Grove Contractor

On the other hand, homes with 2 floors already contain living spaces on the upper levels, so the basement does not necessarily have to follow suit by adding more bedrooms or family areas. Rather, a 2 story home’s basement is better utilized by taking on flexible roles based on the homeowners’ lifestyle needs and preferences. For example, it could transform into a large rec room for teens, a private home theater, an equipped home gym, storage for equipment and sentimental keepsakes, or a rental suite for visiting family and guests.

Since 2 story homes already have established living quarters, finishing the basement should focus on enhancing the existing rooms rather than over-expanding the home’s footprint. Owners will need to consider noise transfer when adding amenities like theaters below main living spaces. The layout and flow should complement the upper floors with stairwells connecting new additions. Existing plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems will guide placement of walls and additions more heavily than a 1 story blank canvas. Fire and safety codes will also come into play for frequently occupied rooms.

Generally, a 1 story home can utilize its full basement to gain livable square footage, while a 2 story home should focus on selectively improving lifestyle amenities within infrastructure confines. The goals differ between maximizing space versus enhancing current spaces. Keeping these guiding principles in mind will lead to successfully tailored basement projects.

Here are some other important considerations when finishing a basement:

  • Moisture Control – Basements are prone to moisture so install a dehumidifier, seal cracks, use water-resistant materials, and slope the floor to a drain for water runoff. Proper insulation also helps control condensation.
  • Code Requirements – Review building codes for requirements like ceiling height, emergency egress, electrical circuits, and fire separation between units if dividing into apartments. Get proper permits.
  • Ventilation – Musty air can be an issue so have adequate ventilation. Install exhaust fans, extend HVAC ductwork, and add egress windows even if not required by code.
  • Lighting – Don’t forget lighting in closets, hallways, and corners. Use plenty of recessed ceiling fixtures for an even spread of light throughout the basement.
  • Accessibility – Think about ease of getting large items downstairs like furniture or appliances. Widen stairs, create access panels to route wiring, and install blocking to mount TVs on walls easily.
  • Valorize – Finishing a basement properly can add value to your home. But improper or DIY finishing can deter buyers. Focus on quality finishes like real drywall, trim, and hardwired electrical.
  • Future Planning – Even if you plan to use the space differently later, ensure you frame rooms properly and oversize things like the electrical panel. Makes changes easier down the road.

I hope these additional tips help guide you to the best decision for your basement remodeling project! Still need some more questions answered? Feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to chat or to set an in-home appointment.

What Type of Deck Should I Add to my Home West Chester Deck Contractor
Deck Additions

What Type of Deck Should I Add to My Home?

Decks, the ultimate outdoor sanctuaries, offer an expansive canvas for unleashing your creativity. Picture this: a magnificent space adorned with an outdoor kitchen, a bubbling hot tub, plush lounge furniture, or even a crackling fire pit. The possibilities are boundless! Yet, decks offer far more than a mere haven for outdoor enjoyment. They bestow upon your property a trifecta of desirability: heightened value, irresistible aesthetic appeal, and practical storage capacity. As an added perk, decks curtail the expanse of landscaping that demands constant upkeep.

What Type of Deck Should I Add to my Home West Chester Deck Contractor

Decking Material Choices

There are multiple choices available for your new deck. Depending on your home design, backyard and landscaping, one or more of these may be the right fit:

  • Pressure-Treated Wood
  • Cedar
  • Exotic or Hardwood
  • Fiberglass
  • Composite

Pool Deck

Elevating your poolside experience, wood decking emerges as a top selection. Its remarkable slip-resistance ensures safety for barefoot guests, while its comforting texture adds a touch of luxury. Unlike other materials, wood doesn’t retain excessive heat, maintaining a pleasant surface even on scorching days. However, be mindful of a minor consideration—wood requires treatment with a finishing sealer to prevent potential splinters. With this precaution in place, embrace the allure of wood decking and indulge in a poolside oasis like no other.

Alternatives to wood decking include:

  • Flagstone
  • Concrete
  • Travertine
  • Pavers
  • Acrylic
  • Brick
  • Composite

What Type of Deck Should I Add to my Home West Chester PA Decking ContractorStyle & Placement

Deck styles possess a remarkable ability to harmonize with homes, aligning in size, shape, and aesthetic grace. Each deck style exudes versatility, adapting effortlessly to various architectural wonders. However, certain deck styles possess a profound symbiosis with specific home types, weaving an intricate tapestry of design unity. The synergy between decks and homes becomes an art form, where the perfect pairing elevates both structures to breathtaking levels of beauty and coherence.

Low Square: Creates a seamless transition from your home to backyard, much like a patio. The perfect backyard extension in some situations.

Second Story: Perfect for the home with gorgeous trees and extensive natural surrounds to take in.

Custom Shapes: Large rectangle or square decks get a huge ‘flare’ bonus by adding an angled corner or two. Adding just that simple adjustment softens the lines and creates a bit of personality to your deck design. The same goes for curved designs, built in benches, wraparounds, and built in pergolas within a portion of your deck!

Multi-story: Usually these decks are an extension of your indoor space that flow outdoors and extend down to the ground floor, sometimes to a pool area. Fabulous for the hosting type property.

Regardless of the type of deck you choose, remember that it should be one that fits your life style and your home’s design. Make it one that your family will enjoy and you’ll never look back.




Picking a Vanity When Updating a Half Bathroom Malvern Bathroom Contractor
Bathroom Remodel

Picking a Vanity When Updating a Half Bathroom

When remodeling a hall bathroom or half bath, the vanity is a crucial element to consider. The size and shape of the bathroom needs to be assessed to ensure optimal use of the space, as well as the overall dimensions. The vanity should be able to fit comfortably without overwhelming the room while the placement of other fixtures, faucets, hardware, and lighting should complete the look and style of the project. Countertops and sinks should complement the aesthetic of the room and each other and you’ll want them to be durable and resistant to water, stains, and heat.  Since they may require maintenance overtime, so you might want to consider factors like budget when picking out your next countertop or sink. By focusing on these aspects, you can select a vanity that combines functionality, style, and storage while transforming your hall bathroom into a beautiful and functional space.

Picking a Vanity When Updating a Half Bathroom Malvern Bathroom Contractor

  1. Size and Space: Assess the available space in your bathroom to determine the appropriate vanity size. Consider the dimensions of the room, the placement of other fixtures, and the overall layout. Aim for a vanity that fits comfortably without overwhelming the space.
  2. Style and Aesthetics: Choose a vanity style that complements the overall design theme of your bathroom. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, rustic, or contemporary look, select a vanity that harmonizes with the desired ambiance. Pay attention to details such as the finish, hardware, and decorative elements.
  3. Storage: Evaluate your storage needs and select a vanity that provides adequate space to keep bathroom essentials organized. Look for vanities with drawers, cabinets, or shelves, depending on your preferences. Consider the number of users and the items that need to be stored, such as toiletries, towels, or cleaning supplies.
  4. Countertop Material: The material of the vanity countertop should be durable and resistant to water, heat, and stains. Popular choices include quartz, granite, marble, and solid surface materials. Each option has its own pros and cons, so consider factors like maintenance requirements and budget when making your selection.
  5. Sink Type: Determine the type of sink that best suits your needs and complements the vanity design. Common options include undermount, vessel, drop-in, or integrated sinks. Consider the available counter space, ease of cleaning, and aesthetic preferences when choosing a sink style.
  6. Faucet and Hardware: Select faucets and hardware that match the style of the vanity and overall bathroom design. Pay attention to finishes and ensure they coordinate with other fixtures in the room. Popular options include chrome, brushed nickel, and aged bronze, although more recently popular choices are also brushed gold and matte black.
  7. Lighting: Consider the placement and design of lighting fixtures around the vanity area. Proper lighting is essential for functional tasks like grooming and applying makeup. Incorporate adequate lighting above or around the mirror to ensure sufficient illumination.
  8. Budget: Determine your budget for the bathroom remodel and allocate a portion for the vanity. Prices can vary significantly depending on the materials, size, and additional features. Consider the value you’re getting for the price and choose a vanity that meets your requirements within your budget range.

You can ensure functionality, style, and the right fit for your space while transforming your hall bathroom into a beautiful and functional room by focusing on these elements. Don’t let yourself get caught up on just one of these items, rather, remember that they will all come together to form a cohesive design. If you find that you are ready to start your bathroom remodel, or are thinking about it, give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to chat with you about your project.