What we offer

Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Design, Home planing, AdditionsHere, we offer plans, help and advice about architecture, interior design and planning. We will answer basic quesitons for free so don't hesitate to send them.Our business is architecture, planning, interior design, and construction. We have offices in Italy and Southern California.We also offer drafting and 3D renderings to professionals. We work hourly or by fixed fee. Tell us about your project. Contact us: hmarch@hotmail.com and visit our main website http://www.hm-architects.com/

People Props for VectorworksVECTORWORKS PEOPLE PROPS A collection of props for Vectorworks using pictures of real people. To use them just load the file and select the symbol to place it in your drawing. Props take up very little file space and they always face the rendered view. To purchase them click on the links below. Use just a few of them once and the savings in time over making your own pays for them and you can use them as many times as you like. See a short video here: http://youtu.be/TfbmgxU8dJ0 NOTE: It is also available for previous versions of VW, let us know which one you need. Click on the purchase link and have People Props to use in minutes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adding space to or remodeling your home.

Room additions are a very poplar way to increase the size and value one’s home in the US. Here I will discuss the reasons why they are so popular and the various possibilities and uses for the added space.

First let’s think about the value of a home. Homes are typically priced based upon their size, the quality of construction, finish materials, number of bathrooms, size of the kitchen, and often most importantly the location. But size in any location is the final determining factor. When adding on sometimes the prime consideration is the cost of the new space. An advantage in this area is that the new space can be a type of space that adds substantially to the size and therefore the value of the home while at the same time being the least expensive space to build. Let me explain, the most expensive spaces one can add are bathrooms and kitchens, any thing involving plumbing and household appliances. So it fallows that if a home already has the basics, obviously they all have kitchens and bathrooms, then the most cost effective way to add value is to add simple spaces, for example, bedrooms, offices, family rooms and play or hobby areas.

Of course there are many other factors influencing one’s desire to remodel or add space, not the least of which would be the desire to have a nicer bigger kitchen, or perhaps a beautiful master bathroom. These items when one considers value do not generally give a full payback when one sells the home, but of course they do make it much easier to sell at full market value.

What are some of the additions that people tend to make to their homes. I will talk about a few of them. As in the above example simple spaces can be added to make a home more comfortable to live in and provide space for children, guests, hobbies or just everyday family activities. These rooms might be universal, that is adaptable to various uses that might change over the years as the family composition changes. Maybe a guest room before kids are born, a child’s room later and finally a room for elderly parents. These rooms might be accompanied by the addition of a small bathroom. Or one might add a large room adjacent to the existing living room that is open to the kitchen and becomes a family room. Another idea is to add a room above an existing garage or turn attic space into useable space. A space can be added most anywhere even if not made an integral part of the existing living space. This space might serve as an office for those who work at home, an artist’s studio, an exercise studio, a home theatre room, or just a universal space adaptable to needs as they arise. One might also add an enclosed patio for semi outdoor dining and entertaining; call it an indoor outdoor space.

Finally we can talk about the idea of adding a separate or semi separate apartment. These can take many forms. Perhaps one is just anther bedroom with a space for a small kitchen unit and a bath room. It could be a space where an elderly relative can be independent but still living within the main family home. Or one can add an apartment that is totally separate, maybe above the garage or in the back yard. Of course this apartment would have a multitude of potential uses, form being a work studio, to a rental unit or an apartment for an adult child or grandparents.

In the US it is also very popular to remodel an existing home with or without adding space. The remodel itself can take many forms. I will try to cover a few of them. The main reason people do it is to make an existing home more comfortable, more livable, better looking or perhaps to decrease overall energy consumption.

To make a home more comfortable and livable one might add or increase the size of windows, change flooring materials, put new cabinets in the kitchen along with new sinks and appliances. The same might be done in bathrooms. Built in bookshelves, closets and cabinets can be added. New lighting might make it easier to cook in the kitchen.

Making a home better looking which might also increase its value can include new exterior paint, revised trim on windows and doors, new exterior railings and new landscaping. In the interior one could do the same along with new floor coverings, new cabinets, etc. In fact many of the improvements in livability might also add to a homes value and appearance.

There can also be a big overlap in the area of energy consumption. When artificial lighting is improved the light fixtures used can be those that consume less. If windows are added or increased in size they might also reduce the need for artificial light during the day and they might also contribute to passive solar gain for heating purposes. Adding shutters to the exterior of windows can reduce the energy loss through the windows if the shutters are functional and closed, particularly during the night. Replacing carpet with tile can provide an energy storage base. High density materials like tile and concrete absorb heat and radiate it back during cool periods. Windows placed in an area where sunlight can heat the tile during the day makes this work. Shading devices over windows and exterior walls that can be adjusted or operate naturally during hot months can save on cooling costs or just help in providing a cooler interior. Landscaping functions here as well. Deciduous trees provide shade in the Summer and let the sun shine in during the Winter, if placed in front of South and West facing walls. Then there is of course the option of adding insulation. It’s most easily done in attic areas but can also be added to walls.

Finally one might wonder how does one accomplish any of the above changes and who should one ask for help. The simple solution is to hire a competent architect. One might think well I don’t really need an architect to do most of the above. I could just hire a contractor who will do the work or an interior designer, or maybe just go to a cabinet company to design my new kitchen or bathroom. There are two major reasons why the architect is the best source for all of this. The first is that the architect works for the client and only has his best interest at heart, he or she is not trying to sell anything other than services to the client. Sometimes the interior designer can fill this role but here often the designer is making his money by selling stuff, furniture, flooring, etc. and therefore profits most by selling lots of stuff. The other reason for hiring an architect is that the architect is trained by schooling and experience to be the most qualified person to see the overall picture. That is what architects do. They understand, planning, traffic flow – how spaces are used and connect to each other, construction, uses and functions of materials, peoples needs and desires for their living and working spaces, and they have a general understanding of mechanics, heating cooling, electrical, appliances, lighting, solar energy, etc. In general the architect is the one who can put all the pieces together. The architect may not do all of this himself, but he or she, knows enough about to be able to know when another expert, consultant, contractor or designer is needed and can coordinate all of their efforts.