renovation

Unifying the Interior and Exterior of Your Home

Unifying the Interior and Exterior of Your Home

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is Home.” ~ Gary Snyder

With Spring just around the corner, the promise of the return of green leaves to the trees and flowers to flower beds fuels the desire to get outside and play. No matter the time of year, there is a growing trend among homeowners and home buyers to infuse elements in their homes that create an undeniable connectivity between the great indoors and the Great Outdoors. Premier Atlanta builder and renovation company, Highlight Homes, is pleased to present a list of ways you can do just that in the design of your custom-built home or the renovation of your current home.

“Time to Spare” Room

Why merely add a new room to your home or integrate a flex space to the design of your custom home when you COULD create a space that’s all about relaxation, reflection and reverence of the space beyond the walls of your home. From a screened porch that allows for three-season enjoyment to a sunroom that provides a space to enjoy the outdoors all year round. This is a space where you can drink your morning coffee while watching the birds play in the birdbath or enjoy a nightcap while counting the stars.

Windows of Opportunity

Windows aren’t merely intended to let the light shine into your home or be opened to let the fresh air in. They can be reimagined as veritable works of art where the world beyond your windows serves as the palette. If you have a private backyard that serves as a particularly pleasing backdrop, you can open the frame a bit by creating a wall of windows – blurring the line between where the inside ends and the outside begins.

Feathering Your Nest

Another way to bring the outdoors in is to infuse elements of the natural world throughout your interior design. Use lots of interesting houseplants throughout at a variety of levels. Incorporate wood in your flooring, timber beams, accent walls and interesting furniture pieces. Include stone in your countertops and fireplace surround. Then enhance the sense of nature by adding wall art, throw pillows, rugs and décor that fit your color and design themes, but are inspired by the natural world. These might include birds, butterflies, dragonflies, horses, flowers, the ocean and so much more. Choose something personal to you as your central theme so it has real staying power and holds meaning.

Outside Looking In

Of course, the BEST way to extend your living spaces outdoors is to ADD an outdoor living space that could very well become your favorite “room” of the home. This might include a covered patio or deck with an outdoor hearth, pool with a cabana, outdoor kitchen with inviting seating, an old-fashioned playhouse with swing set, and so much more! Just imagine creating a space where you feel comfortable telling the kids to go outside and play, but “be home by dark” (‘cause they’re already home)! The memories you can make together in this space are virtually limitless, so whatever you create, make sure it’s the right fit for your family.

Highlight Homes welcomes the chance to help you incorporate one or all of these outdoor-focused enhancements in your new custom home or luxury renovation. To learn more about Highlight Homes and our signature design-build method, please visit www.highlighthomesga.com. Once you’re ready to get started, contact us at 678-874-9234 or info@highlighthomesga.com.

What Makes a Great Room Great?

What Makes a Great Room Great?

There is no better time than the holiday season to really explore all of the elements that make a Great Room truly GREAT. Also known in many circles as the “Family Room”, it’s a room of the home where countless everyday moments happen AND where major milestones are marked. As the backdrop to all of these special occasions, special care should be given to the design and realization of this living space that sees an awful lot of living. Whether creating this space as part of a major renovation of your current home or placing an emphasis on this space in the design of your new custom home, Highlight Homes has some opinions on the matter of taking a Great Room to the Greatest Room you’ll ever know (and love!)…

The Hearth of the Home:  From the materials used to create the surround to the mantle itself, the fireplace in your Great Room should be a focal point – a veritable work of art. It should reflect your personality and sense of style, as well as complement the rest of your home. From stacked stone with a rough-hewn timber mantle to a marble surround with intricate woodwork, you can go as casual or as formal as you wish to set the tone for the rest of the room.

Raise the Roof: One component many builders use to make a Great Room feel GRAND is an open second story – opening the space up immeasurably. At Christmastime, just imagine how TALL your Christmas tree could be! If a two-story Great Room isn’t in the cards, there may still be a way to raise the ceilings to 10 feet for more of a sense of spaciousness.

The World Outside: Windows are an important element of your Great Room. If you have a particularly beautiful and PRIVATE backyard, a wall of windows may serve to make the room seem more expansive – connecting it to the world outside. If that is not the case, the addition of just a few windows to let the light shine in might be a better way to go – helping to keep the focus inside the room itself.

All the Trimmings: Woodwork can serve as the frame to the Great Room of your dreams. For a more rustic, cozy feel, you might elect to go with timber rafters. For a more traditional, formal feel, you might incorporate a coffered ceiling, crown molding and built-in bookcases.

Go with the Flow: If you always dreamed of having one of those enormous overstuffed sectionals where you and the entire family can lounge around eating popcorn and watching a Christmas movie marathon, it’s important to communicate this to your builder. The layout of the room should be designed in such a way to accommodate your vision – from the placement of the sectional to the location of the TV.

The Ground Beneath Your Feet: Choice of flooring can serve to enhance this space, as well. If you elect to go with hardwoods or tile, you’ll want to invest in throw rugs to soften the space and make it more inviting. The addition of carpet will make it more welcoming to bare feet, but be aware that spills in this popular space are a very real possibility – making the investment in stain-resistant carpet a wise one.

A Little Light on the Subject: Lighting is an oft overlooked design element that – when wielded properly – can result in a stunning transformation of any space. If your Great Room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, you’ll want to pay attention to the placement of your lighting. For a truly dramatic effect, invest in one showstopper fixture in the center of the room.

Color Me Happy: The choice of paint colors in this space can serve to open up the space further AND set the mood. You might want to keep it neutral and let your décor do the talking, or you may want to choose a paint and trim color that will enhance the ambiance. Gray is all the rage in home design. You might elect to paint the walls a pale gray and the trim a slightly darker gray. Gray exudes a sense of balance, formality and sophistication. Other emotions/sensations tied to color include: beige = calm, white = clean, black = edgy, brown = earthy and rustic, pink = innocent, red = passionate, yellow = happy, green = natural, blue = serene and inviting.

The team at Atlanta-based Highlight Homes welcomes the opportunity to help you transform the look of your current family room, add a Great Room onto your existing home or design a custom home on your behalf that includes the Great Room of your dreams. Getting started is easy! Simply call us at 678-873-9234 or email us at info@highlighthomesga.com to schedule your no obligation consultation. You can also elect to complete our convenient online contact form.

From all of us here at Highlight Homes, we wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season and all the very best in the New Year!

Dinner Theater: Spotlight on the Dining Room

Dinner Theater: Spotlight on the Dining Room

What better time to shine the spotlight on the subject of the dining room than the holidays? It’s a time when many of us flex our entertaining muscle and put the flow between our kitchen and dining room to the test. One of the MANY benefits of building a custom home or undergoing a luxury home renovation is that YOU get to call the shots where the design of your layout is concerned – often based on a blend of your wants, needs and tastes. Highlight Homes – a custom home builder and master renovator – has compiled the following list of considerations when designing the dining room of your dreams…

Occasions Take Shape: If you like to host a large group for the holidays or more intimate affairs any time of the year, the shape of your dining room is a major factor. A larger, rectangular room to accommodate a long dining room table with room enough for up to 10 to 12 guests may be on one end of the spectrum while a square space to accommodate a round table for up to 6 to 8 guests is on the other. This is your stage, so decide what shape and size works best for you and your family.

Table Setting: The dining room will serve as the backdrop to a treasure trove of occasions – from gatherings with neighbors to memorable family events to countless holiday celebrations. The décor of your dining room will set the tone. Your woodwork and lighting choices can add a sense of comfort or air of elegance. A stately chandelier and coffered ceiling paired with traditional chair rail, wainscoting and crown molding serve to make the room feel more formal while shiplap walls and industrial or farmhouse-themed lighting may make the space seem more casual and inviting.

Go with the Flow: You could have the most beautiful dining room in the world, but the MEAL and the company who shares it will always be central to any occasion.  Just as you would in any successful restaurant, to aid in making each meal a success, you want a seamless flow between your kitchen and the dining space. If entertaining is one of your favorite pastimes, you’ll want to place a major emphasis on flow with your architect or designer when creating your custom home or undergoing a renovation. You might want to consider the incorporation of a butler’s pantry between the kitchen and dining room to shorten the length of travel when refreshing drinks during the meal or for guests who demand seconds.

Location, Location, Location: The placement of your dining room within the home is also key. If you crave privacy, you may want to place it towards the rear of the home, overlooking your private backyard. This placement will also prove most helpful if you are a grill master and need to have easy access to your outdoor living space.  If you want to advertise to your neighbors what an AWESOME entertainer you are, you may want to place your dining room towards the front of the home – with a large picture or bay window to frame the scene inside.

Whether an element of your custom home design or part of your luxury renovation, Highlight Homes welcomes the chance to help you realize the dining room you’ve always dreamed of having. Getting started is easy! Simply call us at 678-873-9234 or email us at info@highlighthomesga.com to schedule your no obligation consultation. You can also elect to complete our convenient online contact form.

From all of us here at Highlight Homes, we wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

To Renovate or Not to Renovate – That’s Not the Only Question

To Renovate or Not to Renovate – That’s Not the Only Question

To Renovate or Not to Renovate?  It’s a question countless homeowners have asked themselves over the years. Another question they ask themselves… WHICH space(s) should I renovate? In terms of older homes, all of the living spaces can begin to seem really outdated right around the same time. So, depending on your motivation to renovate – such as an upcoming move or a desire to add more space for a growing family – there are ways to determine the best renovations to pursue to fit your family’s needs and budget.

 

In May 2018, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released figures for Improvements to Owner-Occupied Homes 2018 estimates by state – also known as renovations. In the state of Georgia alone, out of 2,370,584 owner-occupied homes, more than 680K were estimated to undergo improvements. That’s more than a quarter of all owner-occupied homes in the Peach State. The average cost was estimated to be $8,007/improvement. The total amount spent on renovations in the state of Georgia for 2018 was estimated to be 5,456,000,000. So, what do all of these numbers mean…? It means that home renovations are still a very viable way to increase the value and personal enjoyment of one’s home.

 

If renovating for personal enjoyment, you must weigh your options, determine a budget and decide the best changes to incorporate to fit the collective needs, tastes and personality of your family. If renovating to prep a home for resale, it’s wise to select those updates based on return-on-investment. According to the 2018 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report for Atlanta, Georgia (www.costvsvalue.com), the top five performing projects with regard to costs recouped are:

  1. Garage Door Replacement – Cost recouped 110%
  2. Manufactured Stone Veneer – Cost recouped 109.8%
  3. Minor Kitchen Remodel (average job cost $21,230) – Cost recouped 91.6%
  4. Wood Deck Addition – Cost recouped 87.7%
  5. Siding Replacement – Cost recouped 87.2 %

Following closely behind are Upscale Grand Entrance, Composite Deck Addition, Universal Design Bathroom, Vinyl Window Replacement, Roofing Replacement, Wood Window Replacement, Bathroom Remodel (midrange), Major Kitchen Remodel (upscale), Entry Door Replacement, Master Suite Addition, Bathroom Addition (upscale), Bathroom Addition (midrange) and Bathroom Remodel (upscale) – all offering anywhere from 63.1% to 80% cost recouped.

 

Another question many homeowners ask themselves is WHO should I get to help me with my home renovation project. Whether seeking the best return-on-investment from a real estate standpoint or selecting more “fun” remodeling investments – such as the incorporation of a sprawling home theater with connecting game room, outdoor living space with swimming pool and fireplace, in-law suite with kitchen above a detached garage, finished basement with a full bar and additional bedroom(s) and so much more – Highlight Homes welcomes the chance to help you make it happen. To schedule a no obligation consultation regarding your upcoming remodeling project, contact us at 678-874-9234 or info@highlighthomesga.com. You can also elect to complete our convenient online contact form. To view our work and learn more about our other capabilities (we are one of Atlanta’s premier custom home builders!), we encourage you to visit www.highlighthomes.com.

 

Sources: NAHB – Improvements to Owner-Occupied Homes 2018 estimates by state

Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report 2018 © 2018 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.

Room To Grow: Highlight Homes’ Guide to Home Additions

Room To Grow: Highlight Homes’ Guide to Home Additions

 

Modern families often face critical growth points – whether adding a baby or two, welcoming home a young adult after college graduation or inviting a parent to join the household. The option to move into a new home can be a daunting one for all involved – particularly if you love your current home, benefit from a great school system, have strong ties with your neighbors or share a fondness for the area as a whole. The great news is that many homes offer room to grow that you may not have previously considered. Through a reimagining of your current home, you could stay put while enjoying more spacious quarters in which to grow your family. Here are just a few that Highlight Homes suggests:

Finished Basement: Obviously, one of the easiest options is – in the event that your home is already equipped with a basement – to finish it to suit your needs. Adding a bedroom or two, plus a full bathroom and possibly even a full kitchen (a particularly great option for older parents) is like adding an entirely new floor to your home. Best of all, your parents or young adult child can enjoy the independence of having their own apartment with private entrance.

Room Addition: If a basement is not an option, it may be possible to add a room to your existing floor plan and potentially reconfigure some of the layout to make this addition seamless. The room addition could consist of a new secondary bedroom and full bath to accommodate an additional family member.

Floor Addition: Again, if a basement is not an option and a room addition would not provide you with enough space to accommodate the up-and-coming change to your living arrangements, all hope is not lost. Depending on an evaluation of your current home, a floor addition may be an option. This is particularly true of well-built ranch-style homes. Two story homes with an attic may offer an opportunity to finish a portion of that space to make it suitable for an additional secondary bedroom.

Separate Garage with In-Law Suite:  If you have a fair amount of land surrounding your home, you might want to consider a completely separate structure in which to house part of your growing family. An extremely viable option is to add a separate garage with an in-law suite built overhead. Not only will the garage accommodate additional cars that often come with multi-generational families, but the in-law suite can be customized to include a bedroom, storage, full bathroom and kitchen. Once again, this is an option that could provide your parents or young adult child with an ongoing sense of independence thanks to their own apartment with private entrance.

Highlight Homes welcomes the chance to explore all of the options listed above with you! We can evaluate your current home and determine which possibility might prove the best fit for both your family and your needs. To get started, simply call us at 678.873.9234, email us at info@highlighthomesga.com or fill out our convenient online contact form. To learn more about Highlight Homes and sneak a peek at some of our previous projects, please visit us at www.highlighthomesga.com.

Suite Dreams: Six Essential Elements for the Ideal Master Bedroom

Suite Dreams: Six Essential Elements for the Ideal Master Bedroom

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, it doesn’t begin and end with the ideal mattress for your back issues or the perfect pillow to combat your sleep partner’s snoring. There are certain elements that can go into making your surroundings as relaxing and tranquil as possible. The team at Highlight Homes has been in the business of designing and building master bedrooms for nearly three decades, and we’ve outlined SIX Essential Elements for Achieving the Ideal Master Bedroom:

  1. Soothing Colors: Bright colors – while beautiful and FUN – tend to invigorate the spirit… and the mind. For the bedroom, you’ll want to select cool, soothing hues such as pale blues, light yellows, delicate greens, calming lavenders, soft pinks or elegant grays. Through color psychology, all are guaranteed to help put your mind at ease so you can skip the chore of counting sheep.
  2. Lighting Set to Lull: When it comes to setting the mood for sleep, a dimmer switch can become your best friend. Bright lights tend to stimulate the mind, while low lighting encourages relaxation. You may also want to incorporate light-blocking curtains or blinds so you don’t have to wake with the sun on weekends.
  3. Room to Breathe: Air quality is an important element to a good night’s sleep. Plants – in addition to serving as beautiful natural décor – help detoxify the air by taking in carbon dioxide (CO2) and emitting oxygen. Jasmine, lavender, valerian, gardenia, gerber daisy, English ivy and peace lilies are all excellent choices for the bedroom. In addition, a well-placed ceiling fan can help circulate the air so it doesn’t become stale and stagnant, and an open window can do the same by letting in a little fresh air.
  4. Keep Your Cool: A smart thermostat that’s set to your ideal temperature right around the time that you typically head to bed is a great example of home technology at work. In an article about insomnia, WebMD suggests keeping the room between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, although the ideal temperature may be individual to the sleeper.
  5. Uncluttered Space = Uncluttered Mind: If your master bedroom is the “junk drawer” for the rest of the home because guests rarely enter within, you could be robbing yourself of precious sleep time. Clutter tends to lend itself to a restless mind. Put the laundry away and minimize the knick-knacks so the overall impression of this space is neat, orderly and inviting. The incorporation of a sitting room, where you can place a TV away from the bed so the bed itself is used primarily for rest and NOT for binge-watching, is also a great idea for uncluttering the mind before bedtime.
  6. Everything in its Place: The placement of the master bedroom is also a major component to ensuring fewer sleepless nights. If constructing a new home, you’ll want your master bedroom placed AWAY from the street, overlooking the backyard if at all possible. This will allow for a quieter environment, tucked away from revving motors and squealing children – making it seem more of an oasis. You’ll also want to make sure it’s not over the garage – which is not only noisy but will tend to rob the space of heat due to less insulation.  If you have a master-on-main, avoid placing it under a highly trafficked area such as a kids’ playroom or teens’ media space. The pitter-patter of little feet isn’t always a welcome sound.

Whether renovating your current master bedroom or building a custom home from the ground up, Highlight Homes welcomes the opportunity to help you achieve the sleep of your… well… dreams! To get started with a no-obligation consultation, contact us TODAY at 678-873-9234, info@highlighthomesga.com, or via our convenient online form.