At Loveless Porter Architects, while much of our architectural and construction management work is commercial, serving a diverse set of business, church, and government clients in a variety of settings — from bustling urban centers to rustic rural areas across the Mid-Atlantic — we have also had the pleasure of helping homeowners with new construction builds and renovations. We have put together some of our pro tips from both sets of experience that you can use to make your next home project go more smoothly.
- Choose classic — and what speaks to you — over trendy. Which design elements will resonate with you, for the long term?
- Define zones in an open floor plan via varied ceiling heights, half-walls, islands, skylights, and other architectural elements.
- Invest in quality flooring. Add value through durability, not through the cheapest product. Read reviews and consider household needs: Does the floor need to withstand pets? A damp basement? Etc.
- “Go green” to save more than the environment: For instance, heat pump water heaters and occupancy sensor lights can each use up to 50% less energy than their traditional counterparts. If adding windows, consider placing them east-facing to maximize sunlight. For new construction, Loveless Porter can even design your home to be solar passive. (Find out what our LEED certification means for clients).
- Work with local building officials from the start. It may be tempting to skip permits, but they protect you. Would you know if your contractor failed to ground a GCFI outlet? An inspector will. Also, it is better to do everything right the first time rather than have to retrofit or, worse yet, dismantle completed work that doesn’t meet code.
- Plan for power: Give thought to lighting needs and device and appliance usage to get the right outlets and electrical loads where you will need them.
- Ask to see a contractor’s license and proof of insurance before hiring. These sign of professionalism that also provides you with protections should a problem arise. Here are links to check licenses in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.
- Plan for contingencies. You never know what will be hiding behind the walls or when a coveted material will be on backorder. Add 25% to the timeline and set aside some extra money so you are prepared for whatever your renovation project throws your way.
- Remember; it is your house. Even in the hands of talented architects, designers, and builders, there will be times that what is best for you may be different than what is proposed. Don’t feel like because they are the experts, your opinion isn’t valuable. The right vendors will take the time to listen to your questions and concerns and work to find the best solution for your unique vision.
We hope that these design and construction management tips are helpful in your next remodeling adventure. A bonus pro tip: Call in pros as needed. To learn how Loveless Porter could be of service during your next new construction or home renovation project, give us a call at 703-368-1600 or use contact us online. We can help with anything from architectural design and building plans, to navigating permitting and zoning, to serving as your advocate throughout the entire construction project.