With a topic like "Remodeling," it's easier to break it down into the rooms inside your house and even further into projects within those rooms. There is so much content to cover! Likewise, with a topic like "Exteriors," here we will break it down into smaller areas of interest. Some people browse photos to get a sense of the numerous architectural styles and to learn how to boost curb appeal. Others read DIY articles for weatherization and siding material or roofing information. Maybe you just want some inspiration to put your green thumbs to work and finally create the garden of your dreams! Upgrading your home's exterior has many benefits, not the least of which is a nice welcome home every day. Your finished roof, your home's siding, and well-chosen architectural details add curb appeal and create a defined look. Keep reading to learn more on how Dynan Construction can help you set the tone of your property and put your home's best face forward.
From Houzz, Steven Randel writes, "One of the most common questions people have about their own home is, What style is it? This is not always an easy question to answer. "Style" is an elusive term, because it can be applied to many different things, and style is frequently an amalgamation of different features. Nevertheless, most homes have a link to an established fashion of architecture, defined by the overall form of the structure and/or its details. Also, it needs to be taken into account that many structures are created purely out of necessity with little regard to design aesthetic, and are considered to have a folk or vernacular style."
Most Florida homes fit into one of the following categories: Bungalow, Mediterranean, Mid-Century Modern, Contemporary, Cracker, or Ranch-style home. There are many more traditional architectural styles, like Colonial, Craftsman, Victorian, Cape Cod, Tudor, Prairie, and Modern. Take a look at examples of each of these different styles and determine what your house is and then decide whether you want to alter your home's style.
Take a step out into the road and take a good long look at your home. Decide if you like the look of the house and which aspects of it you would like to change. Do you like the style that you currently have, or would you like to change it entirely? It's completely possible to change up the style of your home, but to do that you'll have to make significant changes to the structure of your house, and it might include having your roof reframed. For most people this is more expense than it's worth, but it's definitely something to consider.
After you walk around your home you should have a list of all the things that you want to change. You probably don't have a list of the things that you like in your home, though. Consider putting together such a list, because it will help you decide how you want your home changed, and it will give your designer something to work off of as well. It will also help you preserve the features you do like.
After looking at the actual style of your home, deciding what you want to change, and identifying what currently works for you, you can come to us and work out a plan to enhance or fix your home and help you achieve the new look and function that you're going for.
First impressions are always important, and you can upgrade your home's exterior and establish the style by carefully selecting components that give your house a personality. Whether you freshen up your finishes, add a new garage door or redo your landscape, there are many ways to elevate your home's charm. Here are a few Houzz considerations to get you going this weekend:
- Paint Your Front Door
- Replace or Refinish Door Hardware (get a new knocker!) and House Numbers
- Get a new mailbox or spruce up your existing one with landscaping
- Create symmetry around your front entry with container gardens and wall mounted lights
- Replace exterior light fixtures and consider solar landscape lights for pathways
- Be creative with hiding trash and recycling bins or A/C units
- Get a new doormat and add whimsy with other front entry products
- Pressure wash the house and clean the windows, inside and out
- Replace or paint the garage door
So you have a yard, and that's great, but do you have landscaping? Landscaping is different from the grass in your yard, no matter how much time you have spent mowing and tending to it. Many young people move into their first home and don't have a good idea about how to manage their yard, and with new suburban homes, they don't really know how to go about getting proper landscaping for their particular home. The best thing to do is to get back to the basics and start learning it from the ground up (no pun intended). Read more here about some of the basics of landscaping.
This content is so rich, it could be a page of its own! Be sure to browse these brilliant articles from Home Advisor and Houzz to learn more about grounds maintenance, outdoor lighting, and creative inspiration for gardening with kids and using art as your garden's "bones." Also, check out one of our favorite Landscape Architects to work with here in Sarasota, John Wheeler Landscaping.
Privacy issues, lack of entertaining space, and the elements themselves often prevent families from fully enjoying their backyard areas. However, with a simple design, solid construction, and just the right materials, you can transform even the most cramped quarters into a miniature oasis. Many of these installations can be taken on as great DIY projects, but you may want to consider hiring a contractor like us. In addition to our thorough knowledge of available materials and construction experience, a good design team can help you to maximize your project's payoff, and provide a truly remarkable living space that can last for years to come.
Living in a well-designed Florida home, especially in a coastal home with breathtaking views, often means blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living spaces. Dylan Chapelle, and editor at Houzz writes, "Having a well-designed outdoor area adjacent to your main entertaining rooms is a great way to get more space when needed and to add value to your home. The indoor-outdoor concept is not a new idea, but when you combine it with an open floor plan, you can create a large entertaining area that your guests will savor." Consider creating big openings by using large pocket or accordion doors, use flooring hat is suitable for indoors and out and keep the floor level to create "floor flow" and connect the two spaces, and be sure to provide a covered entertaining area if possible.
Outdoor Kitchens Read more about these hot additions and check out our gallery for pictures (#26-29) of our favorite outdoor project in Lutz, FL.
Outdoor Showers Keep dirt and sand outside with a shower area that turns an everyday routine into an exhilarating experience. This is rarely something we've been asked to build as a stand-alone project, but most clients with pools include this addition to their outdoor space, and it has quickly become one of our favorites. Whether it is just a step outside from the master bathroom or a little private space in the back yard, there are many designs for outdoor showers and even more reasons to love them. Check out 10 reasons here on Houzz.
Pools, Patios, Porches, and Pergolas
Building or installing a new swimming pool or spa is a major addition to your property and your lifestyle. Are you ready to take the plunge? It may seem like a no-brainer—who wouldn't want a private swimming pool or spa? To get started, Lisa Taylor from The Spruce suggests writing down a list of the reasons you might want one or the other (or both!) Include all family members or co-habitants in the process and consider each person's desires and opinions. Most likely, the reasons will include one or more of the following:
Pool Type and Style: Not all pools are built alike. Lap pools, natural pools, saltwater pools, "spools" (pool and spa combined) …there's a pool design, type, shape and style for every budget, personal taste, and lot size. Another consideration: local availability of materials, who will be building or installing the pool, and codes and regulations (especially for pools near the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal residents should be aware of outdoor lighting solutions that help protect Sea Turtles from patio and pool light pollution. Learn more about certified fixtures
here). Dynan Construction has worked with great local contractors who can help you with design, type, finishes, layout and maintenance.
If thoughtfully and correctly designed, a patio will extend the living space of a home into the outdoors, or yard. Flooring materials and a similar aesthetic can be repeated outside for harmony and consistency. Locating it near a kitchen connects or enlarges the cooking and dining space. Connecting it to a den or living room gives your family more room to relax and entertain. A patio off a garage, office or studio builds upon the work and activity space, allowing you to work outdoors on nice days. But even when it is detached from the house and isn't covered, a patio still acts as an outdoor space for gatherings. Common features include paved ground, lounge furniture and outdoor seating, a fire pit or water feature, and a dining table.
Porches, on the other hand, have a more nostalgic feel and are most often associated with front entries, and designed in the New Urbanism movement to help build community ties. A small area, usually unenclosed, at the main-floor height –a porch is used to provide shade for the entrance and as a sitting area for conversation and watching the activity in the front yard and street. Think ceiling fans, rocking chairs, a swing, potted plants or an herb garden, lemonade, coffee, or cocktails and a good book. Using this space not only can improve the look of your house, but it can better the quality of your life as you spend more time with family, friends and neighbors.
Pergolas, often just for architectural detail to set the space apart, could be the missing ingredient that creates a versatile space you can use for a refuge from the Florida sun. Consider wood slats, plant coverings, bamboo shades, laser cut metal screens, retractable screens, or louvres for your pergola to cover you in style.
Creating a Private Place
Sometimes it's hard to find a place to create a refuge—somewhere to get away from the cares of the day or your household. To establish a cozy hideaway on your lot, consider adding a garden gazebo. These structures are similar to pergolas, but offer a solid covering to protect you from the sun and rain, are slightly raised off the ground, and are less oriented towards entertaining and more for quiet reflection, meditation, and admiring the beautiful surroundings of nature. Dynan Construction had the pleasure to build a custom gazebo for a client with acres of property that was all tied together with boardwalks and bridges through the Cyprus trees. The homeowner screened the lakeside gazebo to provide protection from mosquitoes and had beautiful bromeliads planted around it for gorgeous pops of color. Practical and Picturesque!
In this part, Dynan Construction will focus more on materials and methods than spaces and aesthetics. Here you can learn a little more about siding selections, weatherization, energy efficiency, windows, and roofs. Although it may not be glamourous, these details are important to know to protect your house and maximize your budget for exterior renovations.
Knowing your home's architectural style will help you address your home's "skin." From Houzz, here are a few of the most common types of siding and the style of house they are usually found on.
Horizontal Lap Siding-- can be made from wood, aluminum, vinyl or fiber cement and can be finished in an unlimited range of colors. This siding choice is a natural fit for a colonial, or traditional-style, home as it works well with simple, boxy forms and symmetrical compositions.
Shingles-- Available in vinyl (polymer), wood and fiber cement, shingles (also called shakes) are well suited for traditionally designed homes that have a shingle, Craftsman or Arts and Crafts aesthetic.
Wood Strip Siding-- Wood can also be used as a flat, horizontal siding. Sometimes installed in a tongue-and-groove configuration, the key to this type of siding is to have a continuous waterproof membrane behind it. Otherwise water that gets behind the siding will damage the interior of your home.
Fiber Cement Panels--Large sheets (often 4 feet by 8 feet) of fiber cement panels create a flat, uniform surface treatment with shadow lines at the reveals where the panels meet. The aesthetic tends to be more contemporary.
Stucco--Available in natural or synthetic form, stucco is a great choice for exteriors with large surfaces and simple geometries. Though the texture can vary from fine to coarse, stucco is best suited where surface shadows should be minimized. Stucco is an excellent siding choice for many home styles, from modern and contemporary to Arts and Crafts to Prairie, but it's most closely associated with the Southwestern Spanish colonial style. Natural stucco has the ability to "breathe" (allow air and moisture to pass through it), but synthetic stucco does not. When using synthetic stucco it's therefore important to have a good vapor barrier or drainage plane installed so that moisture doesn't build up inside the wall.
"Tabby Stucco," or shell embedded mortar, has a long history as a building material here in Florida. See pictures 1-9 in our gallery above for examples of its application. Beautiful for Coastal and Tropical Modern homes.
Brick-- Durable and requiring almost no maintenance, brick is an ideal siding material for many homes. It's also available in many sizes, textures and colors, and it can be stacked, or laid up, in a variety of patterns. Though more closely associated with traditional designs, brick can be used on houses ranging from contemporary to Prairie and just about every style in between.
Stone--Like brick, stone is durable and low maintenance. Available in a wide range of colors, textures and sizes, stone is adaptable to just about any aesthetic.
Metal--Though not a commonly considered material, metal can be an excellent choice for siding —especially if your house has a contemporary aesthetic. From corrugated steel to copper, metal sidings are durable and require little if any maintenance.
Weatherization and Energy Efficiency
"Sealing the Envelope" of our houses means to use better materials and practices that make heating and cooling easier and more efficient. Tightening up your home so energy doesn't leak out has a side effect, however: Moisture buildup and poor air quality.
Bud Dietrich, AIA, writes an article on Houzz detailing techniques that have been developed to keep moisture out and prevent mold from growing. In addition to using better insulation materials and having HVAC systems that introduce fresh air into the home, Dietrich elaborates on the installation of drainage planes and rain screens that have been developed to allow air movement between the home's skin and its structural components. "These drainage planes and rain screens can be installed with just about any type of exterior finish material and just about any style. And lessening the risks of an unhealthy environment is well worth the small extra cost that these systems will add to your project."
Replacing windows for Energy Efficiency and Storm Protection are great remodeling projects for Florida homeowners. For homes near a coastline, window choice is of the utmost importance. Open, sunny spaces for family and pets, framed by a beautiful window on the world make a home complete. But what about when bad weather threatens? Safety and security rise to the top of concerns during a storm. A little bit of homework and foresight now could add an additional layer of protection to any home when severe weather hits. Learn more about impact resistant/hurricane windows here.
Government regulations and advances in glass-making and glass-coating technologies mean that replacing your windows can instantly increase the comfort in your home and save you money. Better-insulated windows mean your home won't be fighting the outside air to maintain a comfortable temperature. This can drastically cut energy costs in your home. They can also help filter sunlight, preventing harmful rays from fading your furniture, upholstery, wood floors and art. Various factors contribute to a window's efficiency. The U-factor measures its insulation. The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) measures how much solar radiation passes through the window.
Efficient windows have another side effect: soundproofing. The thicker the glass, the more sound they'll block. This is especially good in homes near a busy road or an airport.
Mixing brands and energy efficiencies based on your house's position and the sun's path can also help you save money. Also, sometimes it makes sense to splurge on one big showpiece like a window wall and go with budget windows elsewhere. Windows are important architectural features, so you don't want to consider them lightly. Plus, there's the psychological aspect: exposure to natural light has been shown to reduce depression, boost energy levels, and provide Vitamin D.
Window Types (Basic Terms from CGI Windows)
Casement windows swing open like a car door. This type of window offers your home superb ventilation; without the hassle of cumbersome rails that other windows rely upon.
Fixed windows are just like they sound, windows that are fixed to the wall and can't pivot. This variety of window is great for living, dining, and master bedrooms. A fixed window can offer a wide open look at the brilliant scenery and allow a lot of beautiful light into your home.
A designer fixed window is simply a more upscale version of a fixed window. These pieces deliver luxurious aesthetic pleasure to any room and pair well with almost any sort of interior design.
A single hung window can open and close without taking up any unnecessary space in your home.
Horizontal rolling windows are like sliding glass doors. They feature a sliding mechanism which is a real eye-catcher. This unique design allows you to quickly access hanging plants or just let a breeze in.
The right roof material can do more than simply keep you dry and protect your home. It is the icing on the cake, and can augment, or even define, the style of your home. For remodels or re-roofing situations, there can be significant costs if your new roof material's weight is greater than the material being replaced. There are advantages and disadvantages to the various roof material options, but there is one thing they all have in common: When properly designed and installed in the right circumstance, all the common materials are up to the task and can properly do the job of protecting your home from the elements. Cost is a significant consideration, and there is wide variation among the options available. For more about Asphalt, Concrete/Clay/Slate Tile, Metal, "Green," and Solar roofs, check out Matt Clawson's article here.