Days are still warm but the nights grow steadily colder, bringing to mind the winter to come and the need to prepare our homes for severe weather. Many homes in this area carry strong references to New England’s architectural history, from the simple cottage style of Capes and saltboxes built by early settlers to the elaborate Georgian-inspired structures that began to appear in the early 18th century. Homes built in the Cape style are typically trimmed with simplicity, reflecting the colonists’ need for shelter that could be constructed quickly and expanded easily as families grew. Later dwellings mirror the region’s growing wealth and preoccupation with status, and have trim details that reflect an interest in English fashions and architecture.Regardless of the style of your home, trim is an important detail, and can be the first area of your home to show signs of wear and susceptibility to our harsh climate. Ornamental lintels over doors and windows, fascias that cover rafters and support gutters, soffits that join roof surfaces and walls, and frames that surround windows not only complete the appearance of a home, they also seal out moisture and wind. Traditionally wood has been used for this trim, but new composites offer easier maintenance and can reduce the effort and expense of upkeep. Here at the Wiese Company we often use PVC trim when and where the budget allows starting with the areas most susceptible to water damage. The beauty of this material is that it doesn’t rot like wood but can be painted and looks just like wood trim once painted. Two products we use, from manufacturers Fyphon and Azek, feature a cellular construction that is strong and similar in density to the white pine often used for trim. These materials resist rot, damp and insects, are easily cut and installed, have excellent insulating properties and are available in a wide variety of styles to complement the architecture of your home. Trim is more than a decorative accent; for New England homes, it is an essential component of a building’s insulation. The next time you look at your cracking soffits and sagging wood window frames, consider upgrading to composite trim materials. With soaring oil prices and predictions of a harsh winter to come, ensuring your trim is tight and weatherproof is a solid investment in your home’s value.
Top 5 trends in deck materials are changing the landscape- literally.
- Tropically deep tones for the materials on the floor, gaining popularity on interior floors, this trend is moving its way outside. Mahogany is still a favorite in our area and staining this is popular to maintain that deep chocolate finish as well as protect the wood from the environment.
- Plastic Decking is taking market share from some of the composites. This is primarily due to the fact that it does not stain, scratch or develop mold spotting according to the manufacturer.
- Railings are changing as well, from fantastic maintenance free systems that have the same beauty of a finely crafted painted rail, to cables and metal balusters that improve the view to the back yard.
- Hidden fasteners are becoming more common, both because homeowners are willing to spend more for this improved aesthetic and the increase in manufacturers that have improved the quality as well as reduced the price and labor requirement.
- What products are green? If you want a green decking material, choose a product that uses recycled materials and does not require annual staining.
When you add a deck or patio to your home it will be important to think about how you will use the space and how it correlates to the floor plan, architecture and grounds. Outdoor spaces are also an important “transition” from inside to out and should blend in a way that makes it difficult to see the exact beginning and end of each space. This will create a proper flow aesthetically and emotionally. Things to consider:
- Will there be a garden to incorporate now or later? Wide steps or stepping stones can be used in lieu of additional plantings to blend the yard to the space.
- What is the solar direction? Be sure to check the angle of the sun. Having an awning or trellis over windows can shade out the high summer solar gain in the summer and allow the lower angle of the winter sun to enter. Using the correct height and depth will make this work to improve energy ills as well as add comfort and a great look.
- Should a trellis or pergola be added for privacy or shade? A pergola overhead will do more than provide shade. This will also help create the effect of having an outdoor room. Cover overhead, even one that will not stop the rain has a calming- protective feeling. Adding a higher rail with some form of lattice will also provide a sense of security, privacy and coziness. You will notice this design element in restaurants where just a cloth separates diners and a lowered ceiling is strategically place over the bar area. Voila! An instant change to the environment.
- What is the style of the home? This is your opportunity to add bold classic lines to a form that may need a boost or sleek slender lines to carry what may be a contemporary home style. Take the current architectural form into consideration first, and then you will be able to decide on the direction of your vision.
Splendid details meet a dash of green in this spec house located in Wellesley’s Cliff Estates.
When we decided to take on the challenge of revitalizing this 1920’s property, our team wanted to exercise their creative side and incorporate features not found in many spec homes today. Ray decided on the Craftsman style and the team went to work selecting materials that would call to mind an era cherished in architecture, and evoke an appreciation for the skills required of the carpenters who would construct it.
Green remodeling concepts were also integrated. What’s Green? Closed cell foam insulation will increase the insulation value of this home; mostly due to the lack of air fenestration found with common fiberglass. Foam insulation is costly now, but will provide years of added comfort and lowered energy costs. The air filtration is enhanced with the heating and air-conditioning system to reduce allergens and a separate fresh air system was added to further the indoor air quality, especially for those winter months when the home is closed up. On the outside, old-world stucco and generous overhangs reduce exterior maintenance while looking fantastic. In addition, we were able to save a large portion of the original home and avoid sending another four containers of waste to the landfill.
Due to be complete in early 2008, this home will offer 4800 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 4 ½ baths and a master suite with marble bath and barrel-vaulted bedroom and dressing room. The kitchen will provide both the space and amenities fit for a professional chef, the consummate host, or anyone just looking to entertain without leaving your guests.
The result of integrating the principals of quality construction and Green remodeling, is the best of old-school practices and forward-looking innovation. We are all very proud of the project, and anxious to demonstrate how brand new style meets time-honored skill in this whole house remodel.
Today’s family knows rooms customized to their lifestyle make sense. That’s where specialty rooms come in. Consider adding one to your home to make the most of your family time.
Wine Cellars- A room dedicated to your wine collection can be both an entertaining spot and a practical storage space. Make the most of the room by incorporating beautiful cabinetry and a small place to sit and taste your collection.
Media Rooms- With a large video display and powerful sound system, the media room is ideal for watching movies. A multitasking space, the room is perfect for video gaming, entertaining, and surfing the Internet too. With family-friendly furniture, the room is styled more like a traditional family room than a home theater.
Laundry Rooms- The ultimate utilitarian space, laundry rooms are getting appealing makeovers. Moving out of basements into convenient spaces, with countertops that match the kitchen, laundry rooms are adding comfortable work surfaces for folding and ironing. Hardwood or tile flooring and crown molding also add appeal.
Garage Spaces- Remodeling trends indicate larger garages are a necessity for today’s family. Garage organization is flourishing with storage systems and efficient use of space. Make space to store the kids’ big toys, cars, tools, and lawn mowers.
When adding a specialty room, focus on the details that will make the space both more practical for your own family and more appealing on the resale market.