01 Dec / 2010
It’s supposed to be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” a time of building family traditions and sharing joy. But somehow “peace on earth” morphs into “Run to the shopping center, wrap one more present, and scream at the kids” when holiday pressures and expectations are too much. Our wish for you is to enjoy the simple pleasures of Christmas and to give the gifts of grace and patience to your family and friends, especially when it is hardest to do so.
Some extended families live together year around, and it isn’t always comfortable for everyone. Keep reading for some remodeling ideas that can help multi-generational families live happily together in the same home.
The traditional empty nest syndrome is increasingly giving way in this country to the “crowded nest syndrome.” This term refers to the stress that results when adult children unexpectedly return home — usually for economic reasons — to live with mom and dad, often bringing grandkids with them. Their homecoming may coincide with the arrival of elderly great-grandparents who need special care.
Having a home that provides privacy to the individual members of a multi-generational family is very helpful in keeping the environment harmonious. A bonus room, attic or basement can be converted into an entertainment/rec room for the younger set where their exuberance will not disturb others. Transform a garage or unused sunroom into a grandparents’ suite with a private sitting room, bath and mini-kitchen on the ground level. By staying within a home’s existing footprint, these projects are more economical than additions.
15 Nov / 2010
Check out the Hammerschmidt Construction website to view before and after photos and descriptions of two whole house remodels with additions, completed earlier this year. While the projects started out as “repairs” several years ago, they are now both completely transformed and the owners are ecstatic. Size-wise, is where they diverge.
One is a two story home in a suburban neighborhood. Built in 1963, the structure lacked architectural integrity. The original home was 2,525 sq feet and after remodeling it’s 3,939. An addition was added over the flat-roofed garage and architectural details (gabled roof, timber-framed entry, stone) created the architectural balance and symmetry the original house was lacking. Inside, the interior was configured to improve the flow and function of each space and the family’s love of nature inspired the finishes to create an elegantly comfortable home.
The second house, well, actually a cabin, was built in the 1930s as a weekend drinking shelter during prohibition. The stories it could tell. Starting out, there was 1,128 sq feet of living space, not including basement storage, and the finished project release is 1,191, but oh what a difference 63 sq ft can make. To be fair, there were other additions (up) for a clerestory and the interior was reconfigured. See more on our website.
01 Nov / 2010
Many people travel long distances this time of year to get together with their families for the holidays. One favorite spot to gather is around a glowing fireplace. Below you’ll find descriptions of today’s most popular fireplace choices. Is this the year to add the ambiance of a fireplace to your holiday festivities? Please also take a look at the descriptions of two recently completed remodels and find more information about them on our website.
Adding a fireplace has proven to increase the value of your home — while you are living in it, as well as when you are ready to sell. It can heighten your enjoyment of your home by providing a cozy focal point in your family room or master bedroom. And realtors have found that most prospective buyers are attracted to a home with a fireplace, since it creates such a welcoming atmosphere.
· A wood-burning fireplace (pictured above) provides those delightful crackling sounds that may be an essential part of the fireplace experience for you, however, due to their environmental impact they can no longer be built in California. A factory-built, self-contained zero-clearance firebox requires no foundation and simply needs a double-wall metal chimney. Since it may be installed to within 1/4″ of combustible wall materials, it offers great design possibilities. And, if you want to update an existing wood-burning fireplace, an EPA-certified fireplace insert can convert an existing fireplace to an efficient, low-polluting, heating system for your home on chilly days.
05 Oct / 2010
According to a recently-released report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans working from home, either full or part time, increased from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005.
Some are starting home-based businesses, while others are telecommuting to avoid the rush hour traffic. If you are planning to take the leap yourself-and you want to be productive and successful–it is essential to arrange your office environment carefully.
· Locate your office preferably in a room away from the central activities of your home. Enclosing a porch, or converting a seldom-used living room/den or garage works well for a home office. If your office is in a room with another use, divide the two areas with a screen, a bookcase or build a partition. If you expect clients to visit, you may need a separate entrance.
· Determine your needs and goals and make plans for how those will be achieved in your office space. Do you need space for a printer/scanner, filing cabinets, office supplies, inventory, a presentation area, a library, a work area for employees, a mini-kitchen or a half-bath?
· Make sure your personal office furnishings provide
an adequate work surface, along with sufficient space for your equipment and supplies. If you are working from a table rather than a
desk, provide file drawers close by, as well as drawers with dividers for small items such as pens, markers, paperclips, a stapler, scissors, etc. A comfortable chair is important, and you should have 39″ behind the chair for clearance. Install ample task lighting in each work zone to prevent eyestrain, as well as plenty of ambient light in the room to aid productivity.
· Design an environment that keeps work separate from family–this is important for you psychologically. Set regular office hours and post them for family members, as well as clients. Dress for work each day. Consider a separate phone/computer for business only. Make your surroundings pleasant and inviting, so you personally will feel welcome when you enter each day.
01 Oct / 2010
Welcome to the inaugural issue of HammerTimes Online, the electronic edition of Hammerschmidt Construction’s newsletter. In an effort to reduce the amount of paper mail we create, we will no longer print and mail the newsletter to you on a quarterly basis. Instead, we’ll send an electronic newsletter to you each month with current information on topics of interest to Bay Area homeowners and feature articles on remodeling trends.
The newsletters will be sent via Constant Contact and posted in our blog. To assure they are not blocked by your computer’s spam filter, please add both ccsend.com and hammerschmidtinc.com to your list of safe senders. We hope you enjoy the newsletter and will pass it on to family and friends who would like to receive it.
Lynn and John