RTA Projects

Six Tips for Better Half Bath Planning

It’s usually the smallest room in the house – maybe that’s why half bathroom design never seems to enough attention to make the room it truly functional, and not just a pretty place to powder your nose.

And while a typical half bath might be no more than 25 square feet in area, it has more parts and pieces than most of the other rooms in your house. There are at least twelve different finishes you need to choose for a half bath including a faucet, countertop, cabinet, sink, toilet, mirror, towel bars, light fixture, trim, flooring, paint…you get the idea.

Which is why, on a per-square-foot basis, it’s one of the most expensive rooms in your home.

So before you spend all that money in that tiny space, here are a few tips to help you get the planning and design right.

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. What is the right kitchen island height?

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.

colonial home office attic remodel

5 Ideas for Built-ins for Your Home Office

A big home office used to be a fairly common room in the homes I’ve designed, back when “working from home” required a separate, private room. It had doors to close it off from the rest of the house and lots of home office built ins.

That’s not the norm these days – with laptops, tablets, and home networking in most houses, Mom and Dad can get work done from almost any room.

But the home office hasn’t disappeared completely…it’s just taking up a lot less space.  Sometimes it’s a much smaller room, and sometimes it’s a wall of custom built-in cabinets and shelves, like the ones in these RTA projects:

Great Ideas for Custom Built-in Bookshelves

I clearly remember everyone talking about a “paperless society” a few decades ago.  It was the dawn of the “digital era”, and all the buzz was about how email and digital documents would soon almost completely replace printing anything on paper. Digital documents have certainly become a preferred method of data transfer for many of us (how many emails do you send and receive every day?) but there’s still plenty of paper around – so we still need built in bookshelf ideas.  Some things, it seems, just don’t work quite right in a digital format.

prairie ranch family room

8 Great Built-In Seating Areas

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house – a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench – maybe it’s a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it’s worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home – a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.

6 Custom Built-in Ideas That Might Fit Into Your Home Design Plans

Most of the homes and most of the remodeling projects we design include some sort of “built-in” somewhere in the house.

Built-ins are custom-designed, made-from-scratch parts of the house that are designed for very specific purposes. Sometimes they’re bookshelves; sometimes they’re built as seating, and sometimes they hold wine bottles – built-ins can be designed to do whatever you need them to do.

Everything’s New In This Farmhouse Makeover and Addition Project

This is a project I’ve been looking forward to sharing since the day construction began.  A family with a modest farmhouse in Muskingum County, Ohio wanted a new home with open spaces and room for visiting family and guests – and decided that rebuilding the home they’re in was the best way to achieve that.

One addition opened up the kitchen and added a bright, colorful sunroom; a second addition created a new master suite, garage, home office, and recreation room.

7 Different Foyers for 7 Different Homes

Your home probably has several entries – front door, back door, garage door – but you only use one to welcome guests into your home. The front door in most homes opens into a foyer, a word derived from French and originally referring to a small room that separated the heated rooms of the house from the outside, keeping the cold out.

Fortunately, central heating made that function obsolete. Today, a home’s foyer serves several other important functions, not the least of which is giving your guests a glimpse into the style and character of the rest of your house.