Cooler temperatures have arrived and with that, fireplace use will be kicking into high gear once again. Those people with fireplaces can enjoy a cozy atmosphere, have warmth when electricity is interrupted, cut energy costs and be eco-friendly. Those with wood-burning fireplaces can even heat their coffee or soup on the woodstove! Sixty percent of new homes now have some type of fireplace and that number is rising. If you don’t currently have one, you may want to weigh the benefits and decide if a fireplace is a good fit for your home.
There are many different options to consider when installing a fireplace in your home – whether it’s a new build or an existing home. There are gas units, wood-burning units, blower options, remote options, decorative liners, and many different sizes and applications (see-through, three-sided, outdoor, etc.) Aside from the unit itself, there are also various options for what surrounds the fireplace. Many times this is what dictates the look and feel the fireplace will have in your home, more so than the unit itself. A quick run-down on the “anatomy” of a fireplace surround will help you when selecting a style and finish for your fireplace.
Starting from the bottom up, the HEARTH is essentially the “floor” of the fireplace and extends beyond the firebox and into the room. It can be flush with the floor or raised up off the floor. Slate, flagstone and brick are some favorite materials for a hearth.
The SURROUND is the area outside the fireplace unit itself on the wall. Popular materials for a surround are formed stone, brick, tile, granite and slate. The materials for the surround can extend the height of the mantle or be installed floor to ceiling for a more dramatic look.
The MANTLE is the shelf above the fireplace unit. The mantle can have “legs” or be a free-standing shelf. A simply painted mantle with legs provides clean lines that will accompany most any style. A more rustic look can be achieved by using a piece of reclaimed lumber or old barn beam as a shelf mantle.
Check out the pictures of some of our favorite fireplace surrounds from a few completed projects.
Finished basements are a great way of increasing living space to your home without building an addition. Basement renovation projects give you your best value per square foot and add to the value of your home. A basement is a blank slate before renovating – you can do whatever you like regarding design, color, style – and it doesn’t need to match the rest of the house. Let your imagination run wild! You can create a game room, entertaining space for parties, a theater room, kids’ playroom, a “man cave” – truly, the possibilities are endless. Take a look at these basements we’ve completed recently and let us help you get started thinking about the potential your basement has to offer.
People remodel their bathrooms for different reasons. These include making the space more functional, adding style, enhancing safety and incorporating luxury features. Depending on the changes you intend to make, the process may involve small upgrades or a complete makeover. However, your mission should be to transform your bathroom into a space you will love. But how will you know it is time to upgrade your bathroom?
Here are some signs to look out for.
Lack of Storage Space
Storage is an important feature in any bathroom design. As the number of people and items in your house increases, the available storage space may not meet your changing needs. If you lack adequate storage, you can consider remodeling the room to fit your storage needs.
The right storage solutions will provide clever ways to store bathroom necessities. This will help you prevent clutter, effectively keeping your bathroom organized and tidy. Proper storage will also ensure that everything is within easy reach.
Your bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your home. If you have been using the room for years, there is a good chance problems will start to arise. Some signs of obvious damage are leaks; persistent odor; mold; worn-out décor; and cracked, chipped or missing tiles. Some of these issues may be indications of more serious underlying problems.
Once you notice any of these problems, you should take action immediately. A remodeling project will provide an opportunity to make the necessary repairs. This will prevent the problem from getting worse, and keep your bathroom safe and sanitary.
An Outdated Design
Bathroom design trends are constantly evolving. Choosing the right design and products will go a long way in ensuring your space is practical and functional. When your bathroom design is outdated or no longer matches your taste, this is a sign that a remodel is overdue. Signs your bathroom is old-fashioned include outdated color schemes, old fixtures and a dysfunctional layout.
Undertaking a remodeling project is a great way to make your bathroom look modern. This way, the space will reflect your personal taste.
In past years, lighting was generally an afterthought when it came to bathroom design. However, lighting has a huge impact on the functionality and ambiance of your bathroom. If the lighting is either too bright or too dim, it may be time for a remodel.
To ensure your bathroom is well-lit, you should consider adding a vanity mirror, installing extra lighting fixtures or having more windows. The good news is that you can customize your bathroom lighting to fit your unique needs.
Your needs are bound to change with time. You may outgrow the space if a spouse moves in, you have your first child or an aged parent moves in with you. When the number of people in your home increases, your bathroom may feel cramped. This will make it difficult to use the available space efficiently.
A bathroom remodel can involve choosing a more functional design or moving walls to expand the space. This will allow you to carry out various tasks more easily.
High Utility Bills
A bathroom remodel can save you a significant amount of money in terms of electricity and water bills. If your utility bills have been increasing over time, it is probably time to upgrade your bathroom. You can lower utility costs by choosing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly materials. Replacing inefficient pipes and fixtures will also help you reduce your electricity and water usage.
A bathroom remodel can be an expensive and complex process. This is why you should want to make sure that the job is done right the first time around. Hiring a professional remodeling company, like us, will help you avoid costly mistakes, enjoy a seamless process and achieve satisfactory results.
Contact us so we can learn more about your specific needs and make a plan together.
It’s summertime, and it is hot outside! That means that you must stay cool at home. Here are 5 ways to do just that:
Close the Blinds
Use shades or blinds on windows facing south or west. Keeping these areas shaded will reduce solar heating.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat can be a great way to save money and conserve energy. You can program it to adjust the temperature up a few degrees when you are away from the home and have it set to return to a cooler, comfortable temperature before you come home.
Install Ceiling Fans
Air that circulates makes you feel cooler. Ceiling fans help to move air throughout the room and keep you feeling comfortable. In the summer months, run your fans counterclockwise to draw the cooler air upwards, and in the winter months, reversing the fans will push the warmer air down.
When the thermometer soars outside, turn your oven off and take your meal cooking outside. There are plenty of fun ways to prepare a meal outside using your grill, and if you need inspiration, check out Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out on the Food Network.
Keep Interior Doors Open
This last tip usually sounds opposite to what most would think, but you allow air to circulate freely by keeping your interior doors open. This will keep your home cooler.
Since Daryn and Meg married 20 years ago, they always had the dream of someday building a home that would be a gathering place for family and friends. They had plenty of time to envision and plan for the dream that would eventually become a reality. They are delighted to finally be in their new home and are enjoying the open spaciousness their home provides.
Daryn and Meg already had a connection to Metzler Home Builders prior to building their home. Daryn’s great-grandfather was Abe Metzler, the founder of Metzler Home Builders. The business is now led by the third and fourth generations, Dan and Janet Metzler, and Jordan Metzler. “Even if they weren’t family,” stated Daryn and Meg, “the reputation of Metzler Home Builders precedes them and they would have been our top choice.”
Special features of this 3,690 square foot beauty include a gorgeous stamped concrete front porch, engineered hardwood flooring on the entire first floor, and a screened-in porch for comfortable outdoor living. Beautiful cabinetry is found throughout the home – abundant custom kitchen cabinetry with a separate buffet cabinet, lots of laundry cabinets for storage, built-in bookshelves on either side of the gas fireplace, and a bench with cubbies in the mudroom.
The homeowners especially love their kitchen – it’s a welcoming space to host get-togethers with family and friends. Other favorite features of their home are
the screened-in porch, the great room with gas fireplace and the master suite with the soaking tub.
“The entire Metzler team was a pleasure to work with,” said Daryn and Meg. “Jordan and Janet really helped us bring our ideas to life, and were always available when we had questions or needed advice. As stressful as building a house can be, we felt like they made it as easy as possible!”
The things you put inside your home can greatly affect your health. Building materials, stains and paints, flooring, furniture, fabrics, and glues can all impact your home’s indoor air quality (IAQ). These pollutants are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They can cause respiratory irritation, headaches or other health problems. However, with the proper information and using the expert guidance of your remodeling professional, you can reduce indoor pollutants in your home.
Items in the kitchen can have VOCs being emitted into the air, degrading the indoor air quality. These compounds can be emitted from the countertops, cabinets and flooring.
Not to worry, though. If this is a concern for you, there are ways to improve the indoor air quality in your kitchen simply by making smart material choices.
Countertops can contain additives that can break down and re-release themselves into the environment. For that reason, keep these points in mind during discussions with your professional remodeling firm on how countertops can be less intrusive to your home environment.
- Countertops that are made of natural stone (i.e., granite, slate, marble) or wood are the most sustainable and low-emitting options.
- Look for finishes that demonstrate the use of low chemical or particle emissions. Additionally, select a finish that is water-based and low-VOC rated as opposed to a petroleum distillate.
- Ask your contractor to use an adhesive that is low-VOC rated to install the countertops. Or, instead of adhesives, they may consider mechanical fasteners instead.
There are many articles online about how kitchen cabinets contain formaldehyde, which is used in the adhesives to bind composite wood. This is true, but it’s not something to be scared of once you fully understand the context. According to the Kitchen Cabinets Manufacturers Association (KCMA):
“All wood species, and therefore all wood products, contain and emit small amounts of formaldehyde. An oak tree, for example, emits 9 parts per billion (ppb) of formaldehyde … Formaldehyde also is found in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, seafood, meats and coffee.”
All cabinetmakers use composite wood in the construction of cabinets, but they are not the only ones to use composite wood in construction. It is a vital material for the industry as a whole, but it is especially essential with cabinetmakers who build cabinets. Urea-formaldehyde adhesives are used to bind these materials together, which allow them to stand up to the durability and performance that homeowners expect while providing an appealing aesthetic.
Although you usually cannot avoid composite wood totally, this industry is regulated. Since 2013, all pressed wood sold in the United States must be California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliant, made with ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) or no-added formaldehyde (NAF). These standards are the lowest in the world!
Keep in mind that although we are discussing kitchen cabinets, formaldehyde can be emitted from many other products you bring into the home. Here are some actions you can take to minimize exposure to formaldehyde:
- Ventilation is key when introducing any new products into the home. Open windows to bring in the fresh air and use fans to circulate the air. Keep in mind that the best-ventilated rooms in the home are already the kitchen and bath.
- Wood holds up best when heat and humidity are consistent. Monitor humidity levels in the winter and summer, which tend to be extremes of dry and humid, respectively.
Here are some things to consider when you are choosing flooring options for your home.
- Polished concrete or tile are great choices for zero-VOC, as they are inert and do not emit anything toxic.
- Most brands of engineered wood are eco-friendly with low-VOC. Look for a plywood or solid slat core, and a stain/varnish that is zero-VOC.
- Natural linoleum is made of all-natural products and is one of the greenest flooring options available today.
- For other parts of the home, natural wood floors are a great low-VOC choice, although it isn’t always the best option for the kitchen and bathrooms because of wet conditions.
- If you choose to lay down rugs on the hardwood or ceramic tile flooring, avoid synthetic or vinyl rugs. These emit higher amounts of VOCs.
Thoughtful selection choices during the renovation process can greatly improve your home’s indoor air quality. We can help you make selections based on wellness, durability and aesthetic appeal.
Contact us so we can learn more about your specific needs and make a plan together.
Although VOCs are found in building products, you’d be surprised by the other sources that can impact the indoor air quality of your home.
Acetone is found in nail polish remover and furniture polish. Choose acetone-free nail polish remover (which is also healthier for your nails) and use furniture polish that is water-based.
Benzene is found in tobacco smoke, stored fuels (like gasoline) and paint supplies. There are many benzene-free paints on the market today.
Butanal is created from the emissions of barbeques, burning candles, stoves and cigarettes. Always use barbeques and butanal-burning stoves outside and choose beeswax or soy-based candles.
Ethanol is found in glass cleaners and washer and dishwasher detergents. Look for products that don’t contain ethanol, or after use, open a few windows so you can filtrate the air.
In addition to building products, formaldehyde can also be found in some drapes, fabrics and molded plastics.
Terpenes are often found in fragrant products like perfumes and soap. Today, there are many natural-based options that still smell wonderful!
Toluene is found in paint, but there are many low-VOC options from which to choose.
Plumbing & Faucet Selections
When building your home or starting an addition/renovation project with Metzler Home Builders, your plumbing and faucet selections will be one of the first interior decisions that you’ll need to make, as plumbing rough-ins generally happen immediately after the house is framed.
There are many different options to consider when making your faucet selections, such as style, finish and handle spread. By the time to you get to this step, you may have a style and finish in mind, or you may not have given it much thought yet.
One way we can help you is by suggesting you visit our plumbing supplier’s showroom. There, you can touch the faucets to see how they look and function. While at the showroom, you will have the opportunity to pick out your toilet, bathtub and shower selections, as well.
Not the same as big-box stores.
What is interesting to note is that while the big box stores, such as Lowes and Home Depot, do sell some of the same brands that we supply, the faucets they carry are generally not of the same quality. Even though they look identical, they are made with lesser internal components.
If you choose to purchase your fixtures through one of these chain stores, we’ll gladly install them, but keep in mind that we are not able to warranty the installation of these the same as we do the faucets from our own supplier.
No matter where you purchase your plumbing fixtures and faucets, however, we want you to get the look and function that you want. This is why we’ll assist you as best as we can in making wise interior choices for your home.
Read other articles in this series:
When was the last time you thought about how your garage looks and how well it compliments your home? Garage doors can often be overlooked when people think about the exterior of their homes and how they can be improved. Doors have come a long way in terms of styles, colors and materials used to make them. Homeowners today have quite the selection to choose from when considering a new garage door. Garage doors generally come in three styles – traditional, contemporary and carriage house. They can be made from aluminum, steel, wood or a combination of materials. They can be insulated and there is a vast variety of panel sizes to choose from. Some people prefer windows in their doors, while others prefer doors without windows. If you are considering a new garage door, take time to research all the options out there and decide what works best with the type of home you have. These photos show the variety of doors our homeowners have chosen recently.
One of the most important rooms in our homes is the kitchen. It’s a room where we can spend hours cooking and baking, entertaining friends and family, or just relaxing with a cup of coffee while reading or watching television. Having an attractive, functional kitchen that also accommodates aging-in-place needs will be sure to provide you with many years of enjoyment.
Today’s Americans are forward-thinkers and are renovating their homes with aging-in-place in mind—both for themselves and for houseguests, like a parent or older relative. There are many innovative yet simple ways you can revolutionize your kitchen design to gain safety and maneuverability without sacrificing style.
Choosing the Right Flooring
With aging comes the increased risk of injuries and tripping. When reviewing your flooring options, keep these factors in mind:
- Select kitchen flooring that’s non-glare, as they are less visually-distracting than shiny ones that could cause someone to trip.
- Choose flooring materials that offer maximum grip. Vinyl and porcelain are two popular slip-resistant flooring options, as is luxury vinyl flooring (LVF). LVF is known to be more slip-resistant and comes in an array of designs and hues.
- Kitchens typically have a lot of traffic. Therefore, make sure your desired flooring is easy to clean and maintain.
- Avoid accessorizing your flooring with products that pose a trip hazard, like throw rugs and padded carpets.
Incorporate Proper Lighting
To ensure safety when executing tasks in your kitchen, your kitchen needs to be well-lit. When possible, always opt for more lighting than less. Lighting should not be an after-thought. It should be designed, just like the rest of the kitchen.
Opt for accessible and easy-to-use light switches and position them near the kitchen entrance within arm’s reach. The placement should also ensure users can switch on the light without bumping into sharp edges and appliances. You may consider installing automatic or rocker-type light switches. Windows will allow natural light to stream into your kitchen. If privacy is a concern, you can install blinds that still allow in soft natural light without compromising privacy.
Make Cabinets More Accessible
Cabinets should be easy to reach by all, and today, there are many cabinet storage options that aid in accessibility—no matter the age of the user. There is no need to get down on your hands and knees or stretch on your tippy-toes to reach.
For tall upper cabinets, a pullout step can be added. This step is installed on the underside of the base cabinets and eliminates the need to pull out the stepstool from the pantry. Additionally, pull-down shelves are a great design feature that give those upper cabinets enhanced maneuverability and accessibility.
Pull-out organizers designed for base cabinets offer a variety of storage options. Blind corner optimizers, like the one pictured, maximize the corner cabinet storage space and provide easy accessibility.
In aging-in-place kitchen design, we often avoid installing cabinets right above the stove. Leaning over a hot surface increases the risk of injury.
Choosing the Right Handles
As we age, the functionality of our hands deteriorates. When it comes to cabinet pulls and handles, choose D-shaped ones that provide a better grip. Same with selecting appliances. The handles on your oven and dishwasher should also be designed specifically for those who may not be able to firmly grasp with their hands.
Consider Your Countertop Options
For aging-in-place, it is much more than simply choosing a countertop. The design of the kitchen layout for conducting kitchen tasks safely, as well as the height of the countertops, are also a consideration.
One way to increase accessibility in your kitchen is by designing it with varying counter heights. This allows family members who may need to sit, such as the elderly or pregnant, to easily prepare meals while also giving young children a place to stand and “help” at your side. The variety of height also adds depth and aesthetic appeal to the room. In order for these counters to be easy-to-clean, they should be made from solid surface material.
Kitchens are the heart of the home, but often more in the sense that they’re a central gathering space. While it’s important to think about your kitchen design now, renovations should also consider what you’ll need for years to come. That way, no matter how much time passes and what changes occur in your life, you can still cook with ease and love every minute of it.
Contact us so we can learn more about your specific needs and make a plan together.