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prairie ranch remodel

The Vertical Option – Adding Space in Mid-Century Moderns and Ranches

Single-story homes were at the height of their popularity in the middle of the 20th century. Those designed with traditional styling have always been called “ranches”; less traditional ones are now often called “mid-century Modern”.

Remodeling these middle-aged homes is becoming extremely popular to a wide range of homeowners – younger families like that they’re often in well-established suburbs with good school systems; older buyers like the one-floor living.

Some of the ranches I’ve been asked to help remodel didn’t need much more than a tasteful “facelift” and some new finishes. But frequently my clients also need to add some space, or want to do something about the low ceilings that are common in these homes.

The Right Height for a Kitchen Island Countertop/Breakfast Bar

Homeowners spend a lot of time picking out cabinets, countertops, backsplashes, appliances, and lighting for their kitchens, but sometimes, not enough time thinking through basic functions. A frequent example of that is the height of a raised countertop on a kitchen island, sometimes also called a breakfast bar.

Open floor plans expose the whole kitchen to view – cooking mess and all. A raised countertop can help hide the mess behind a short wall, and makes a nice place to sit and eat, drink, and socialize.

That’s the basic function of a breakfast bar, but there’s more to getting the design right than just hiding the mess. Choosing the right finishes will make it look good, but we want it to work right, too. Here’s what you need to know to get the height right.

Polish or Demolish? How To Decide Whether To Renovate or Tear Down a House

If you’re thinking of building a new home, you’re probably looking at empty property – a lot in a subdivision, or like many of my clients, a larger bit of land further out.

Or maybe you’re buying an existing house with the intent to renovate it and make it your home.

But what if you’re somewhere in between – you’re building a new house, but the property you’re thinking of buying already has a house on it. When does it make sense to fix it up, and when does it make sense to tear it down and start over?

What Is Quality Construction?

A friend of mine put me on the spot when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

Do You Need to Choose a Style Before You Design Your New Home?

When you begin working with your Architect to design a new home, you might think you need to start out by choosing what “style” your new house should be.

That’s not a bad place to begin if you’re dead-set on a particular architectural style: together you can discuss what you love about it, and figure out how to make that style fit your needs.

But choosing a style first isn’t always necessary. In some cases, it might actually might it more difficult to design the home you’ve been dreaming about.

Planning Ahead to Avoid Problems with Your New Home or Renovation

Two demons wait for unsuspecting homeowners, hoping for their chance to gobble up time and money on new home and remodeling projects.

The Ripple Effect lurks quietly in the background. Just like the movements on the pond surface for which it’s named, The Ripple Effect starts out small and grows, expanding until it engulfs the entire project.

How To Get an Architectural Review Board to Approve Your Home Design or Remodeling Project

If you’re planning on building a custom home in a new development or remodeling a home in an older neighborhood, you’ll likely to find your plans subject to design review.

Design review boards go by different names; ARB (Architectural Review Board), DRC (Design Review Committee), ARC (Architectural Review Committee) and others.

They’ve been called less flattering names, too, by homeowners whose proposals don’t get favorable treatment from the board.

How to Be Sure You’re Getting a Fair Price on Your New Home or Remodeling Project

Earlier this year a gentleman stopped by the house to ask if he could give me a quote on trimming the trees in my yard – a fairly frequent event on my street, which has a lot of older trees.

I’ve lived here long enough to have talked to dozens of tree trimmers. So I pretty much knew what to expect as soon as he pulled in the driveway in his spotless pickup truck. The truck with the custom graphics, the chrome wheels, and the boat hitch on the back.