Posts

modern kitchen open concept view from living room mullica hill nj

Getting Started on Home Interior Renovations: Form Follows Function

Residential interior design is so much more than wall paintings, vases, and area rugs (i.e. interior decorating) — it’s a philosophy. Specifically, it seeks to question how our indoor living spaces work for us, how they make us feel

Consider your day-to-day life and the rooms where you spend most of your time — are they laid out in a fashion that frustrates, or in a way that facilitates? That should always be the starting point when contemplating home interior renovations. The finer details of colors, styles, and textures are the icing on the cake!

Floor plan designs

One of the core tenets of residential interior design is the floor plan. Do your home’s rooms flow together in a way that makes sense? Are its shared spaces accessible from more than one direction? Are rooms with similar functions adjacent to one another (kitchen and dining room, for instance)? How easy is it to get to the nearest bathroom? 

While it’s important to ask yourself these things prior to buying a house, deficiencies aren’t always apparent from the outset. But before you change your floor plan, think about how you might make better use of the existing layout. For example, you might shuffle the kids’ bedrooms around or finally get around to finishing that basement

Knocking down and/or reconfiguring walls can get complicated quickly, and might become more than you bargained for if structural engineers, plumbers, or electricians need to get involved. If your home’s layout just isn’t working for your or your family’s lifestyle at all, you may be better off looking for a new house altogether.  

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj full detail

Functional living spaces

In residential interior design, form always follows function. Having a beautiful space is secondary to having a usable space, although it’s certainly desirable to have both! 

Open and inviting kitchens

Consider the example of a kitchen. Of course, a kitchen’s most important function is the preparation and cooking of food. If there are obstructions between the sink and fridge and oven (the work triangle), that’s a problem. If there is inadequate counter space to prepare food, that’s another problem. If it’s a struggle to store or locate food, utensils, appliances, or cookware, you’re going to be tempted to order out more frequently than dine in. 

But for most people, kitchens serve another essential purpose — gathering, socializing, and entertaining. That is why open concept kitchens are among homebuyers’ most coveted items. Without walls between the kitchen and dining area (and possibly living room), communication is free and easy. People are pleased to be in one another’s presence as opposed to in one another’s way. 

modern kitchen with island mullica hill nj

Rounding home interiors into form

Once you’ve arrived at a floor plan design you’re pleased with, then you can turn your attention to surrounding yourself with the features, fixtures, and decor that reinforce or support a room’s intended function. For instance, you might choose kitchen lighting that helps illuminate workstations and a color palette that is warm and inviting.

Secluded and peaceful home offices

Now consider something like a home office — focus and privacy now become paramount. You’ll want it located in an area of the house that is more isolated or removed from the action. You might tab a socially distanced corner of your upper story (with a nice view of the backyard or nature) or the basement so you can focus on work and not get distracted by play. You might invest in soundproofing to muffle foot traffic and commotion overhead (basement) or a skylight to add more natural light (upper story). 

home office south jersey

Find the heart and soul of your home’s interior

Residential interior design has too much impact on daily mood and quality of life to ignore. Whether you’re shopping for your dream home or mulling over home interior renovations, it’s important to honestly assess how each part functions — both independently and in relation to others. Find a floor plan that fits your lifestyle, then maximize its potential. 

Don’t know where to start? Ayars Complete Home Improvements has been helping South Jersey homeowners through this process for decades. 

large home addition south jersey

Interior Remodel or Home Addition? Ideas for Consideration

Home addition ideas are highly sought-after every calendar year, but 2020 has people seeking them out more than most. With offices closed, events canceled, venues shut down, and vacations postponed, we’ve had plenty of time to get brutally acquainted with our homes’ flaws, especially lack of space. How tantalizing it is to think about what you could do with all that extra square footage…

Here’s the thing, though — you might already have it. There are some instances when an interior remodel can be just as effective as a home addition to open up the extra space you’re craving. As always, it’s a function of your home’s architecture, your property, and what you can afford.

Open concept floor plans

kitchen renovation gibbstown nj

Is it just you, or is it the floor plan?  In interior design, it is the perception of space that matters most. We may not be able to physically create more space, but we can create the feeling of more space. This is why “open concept” will forever remain a buzzword for homeowners both current and prospective — by breaking down walls and combining spaces (most traditionally the kitchen, dining room, and living room), you allow for freer movement, easier communication, and a better passage of light and airflow from end to end.

Before you (or more advisably a professional contractor) go to town with a sledgehammer,  there are a few very important things to keep in mind.

  1. Is the wall you’re removing load-bearing? If so, you’ll need something to replace that supporting structure, such as a partial wall, column, or flush beam.
  2. Does the wall contain any wiring, plumbing, or ductwork? If so, that will need to be rerouted.
  3. Is your house one story or two? Knocking out a load-bearing wall becomes trickier if it is also supporting an upper level.

Other things you can do to enhance your sense of space might include alterations to the room’s lighting (such as recessed), storage and organization system, or simply rearranging the furniture and applying a fresh coat of paint. 

Finished basements

South Jersey Basement Remodel

Is your basement an afterthought to other home addition ideas? Perhaps it shouldn’t be. That graveyard for the misfit and miscellaneous items of your life could potentially be a home theater, studio, family room, man cave, or even at-home sports bar. There is so much you can do with a finished basement that it’d be a shame if you did not explore that option. It has the functionality of a home addition at a much lesser cost, and it’s right beneath your feet.

Ideas for building up

 

Finally, there’s the option of constructing something entirely new to expand your living space. There are two ways we can go about this — building up (a second story addition) or building out (ground floor addition). Adding a second story is usually the more economical of the two, because you do not have to factor in the costs of excavation and pouring a foundation. It’s also less likely to be a hassle in terms of zoning requirements, as your contractor will be working with your existing footprint.

Be aware, however, that structural elements may need to be retrofitted to support the weight of addition and that most municipalities set limits on how high a residential home can stand. Caveats aside, there are again limitless possibilities for that extra space. 

Second floor laundry room

The second floor laundry room has become a popular commodity in recent years, and for good reason. It may not reduce the amount of laundry, but it can make each load seem a little lighter by reducing the distance it has to travel, putting the washer and dryer on the same level as bedrooms and bedroom closets. The possibility of a skylight or window could lighten your mood, too, making the task seem less like a chore — remember context is everything!

Studio over a garage

Practice your craft, whether it be sculpting, painting, or music in a distinct and discreet space, where you will neither disturb nor be distrubed by your home’s cohabitants. 

Guest suite

Family and friends visit often from out of state? A dedicated guest floor with its own bathroom can prevent home dwellers and home visitors from stepping on one another’s toes, especially during hectic times like the holidays.

Ideas for building out

second story home addition framing

If you have the kind of budget and the property to properly accommodate a ground floor home addition, your creativity can truly take flight. Ideally, it should integrate seamlessly into the existing layout as if it were a natural extension of the home rather than something tacked on. Of course, if you’re thinking of adding a mother-in-law suite for an aging parent or relative, remember to account for their/your privacy as well. 

Here are a few more ideas to get your inspiration flowing. 

Home office

Giving a home office or study its own separate wing of the house is a great way to enhance focus and productivity, whether you’re working from home by choice or by necessity. 

Mudroom

For the active family, a mudroom is a great place to stow away recreational and sporting gear between outings or between seasons in order to keep your main living area as clean and tidy as possible. Before designating part of a home addition for this purpose, consider whether you can utilize the garage for your mudroom instead.

Hobby room

Are you a passionate hobbyist or collector? Incorporating a hobby room into your home addition gives you a prime location to proudly showcase your rare items and memorabilia without cluttering the main living space.

Plan ahead on your addition with Ayars

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as home addition ideas go! Tell us what you’re after and we’ll tell you if we’re a good match.