The High Price of Home Design

All too often I speak with friends, family, and home owners who know that they need to do something with their house — but they don’t know where to start. Maybe they are bored with their same old vinyl exterior, tired of the lack of green space or gardens out front, or envious of their neighbors custom patio and deck. We all know that feeling – but acting on improving your house is a whole different matter!

I have to admit, my family members are big fans of that addicting web site and App called Houzz. We scrolled through their iPad app for weeks on end looking for cool ideas that may have worked for us – when we decided to do a big home reno. But ideas are one thing – albeit a fantastic starting point – committing to a reno without actually seeing what YOUR house would look like is pretty darn scary!

That’s when we decided to hire a professional house designer to draw up some sketches of “what could be”. Unfortunately we must have forgot to have her also draw up a more concrete list of what her deliverables “would be” along with a firm price quote. *sigh*. But, she was a friend of a friend and we were anxious to get moving. Lesson Learned.

After nearly $1,000 in “designer fee’s,” we ended up with a couple pages of loose leaf paper that had some new design concepts sketched of our homes exterior – plus introductions to some of her contractor friends who would give us a “great deal” on the work. Needless to say – we declined.

We wanted to do something to our house – but in our haste we learned just how expensive professional designer fee’s can be. We didn’t want architectural drawings, schematics, plans for city approval… we wanted some basic ideas, colors, and concepts that we can could quickly say we either like or dislike. We didn’t want any pretentious expert to have sit down meetings with us about our motivations, desires, likes and dislikes… heck we just wanted someone to make our real estate look great! This simple and quick approach is something that professional designers often have a hard time doing – and fair enough. They want to display their best talents, best ideas, and best abilities to you – a potential client. And their time is worth money. Lot’s of money depending on who you hire!

But sometimes we just want to get it done. Make it quick – make it affordable – make it great.

So here are the top three tips to get you started… and remember, you should always start out with the basics. Play around with your own ideas surrounding colors, materials, and landscaping before ever hiring someone to spend thousand of dollars designing your dream… because you may just find that all you really wanted was a little help spurring your own imagination and giving you that quick glimpse into “what could be”.

1) Outsiders Opinion

This is so important – talk to friends, family, colleagues and see what they would suggest for your home. But don’t forget they can be a little nice. The real home run opinion is that of your neighbors… you know… the ones with the perfect lawn, seasonal flowers, and freshly painted window trims. They have a vested interest in you doing the right reno’s as it only helps their curb appeal!

2) Online Ideas

Visit apps and websites for home design and home improvement. Don’t spend hours – spend seconds scanning photos & videos. Find something that looks like your house and quickly note what you like and what you hate. Can you recreate that archway with your roofline? Would that outdoor rock work be suitable for your climate? Take note of the improvements or designs that stand out the most to you as being “difference makers” then try to think about whether they would work on your property.

3) Affordable Designer Options

The web has an abundance of highly talented and highly motivated individuals and companies. You can hire a professional design Company half way across the world who may be hungry for work, or an independent contractor from Croatia who has just the skills you need. Search for “freelancers” or “online contractors” and then find the perfect worker for your needs.

So before shelling out thousands of dollars for exterior and landscape designs – start of with the basics. New ideas don’t necessarily have to mean big bucks, and who knows – maybe you’ll discover your own inner designer!

Free Home Business Ideas for Creative Moms

Are you a stay at home mom who is looking to start some home-based business to increase your household income? If so then read on as this article is exclusively written for you. There are many business opportunities available for stay at home moms, online as well as offline. But most of you might not be looking to invest anything and might only be interested in finding some free home business ideas. Fortunately, there are many creative home business ideas that don’t require you to spend anything to start, and you will start earning a handsome amount of cash from the very first month of starting your business.

Logo Design Services:

I am sure most of you must be familiar with logos and you must have seen them on websites, business cards and other business related material. Although it takes time and efforts, and of course, requires experience to design professional-looking logos, but not everyone require that much expertise. There are many websites and small business owners who have limited budgets and they couldn’t hire a seasoned logo designer so they will be happy to give you a chance if you can exhibit some basic skills. The best software to use for logo designing are CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator but there are also some very good free alternatives available over the internet; just use Google and search with some related keywords and you will find many of them.

Website Designer:

Do you have some basic understandings of html and CSS? If so then I would recommend you to start your home-based web designing business. It’s really an enjoyable and creative home business idea especially for stay at home moms. Even if you don’t have any knowledge of html, you can learn it easily; it’s really not much difficult. There are many good free tutorials available online that can help you to learn web design skills step by step. You can start will designing simple websites at lower prices and once you got experience and expertise you can expand your business by moving on to more creative and complex designs.

These are really the most creative and enjoyable free home business ideas that every mom can think of implementing. Now most of you might be thinking where to find clients for your logo or website design business. Well, no need to worry about finding clients. The vast world of internet is the solution of almost every problem now. I would recommend you to use online forums and freelance sites for this purpose as this is the best way to find new clients from all over the world.

Learn the Top 25 home business ideas for stay at home moms, — get the FREE ebook at http://richmombusiness.com/top-25-home-business-ideas-for-stay-at-home-moms-ebook

Effective Modern Interior Design Ideas

Using modern interior design ideas can give you the best decor for your home, office, or workplace, and you will find that it can give your space a fresh, trendy feel. Many people wonder what they can do to improve the feel of their house, and you may find that using a modern interior design can breathe a fresh breath of life into your house.

Many people who look into modern interior decorating have no idea how they can do so effectively, and they simply find any furniture and decorations that look as modern and trendy as possible. However, they end up living in a cold, uncomfortable home with items that look good but serve little or no function in a home or office.

Real design is all about finding the right balance between function and design, and you need to remember that when shopping for your modern decorations. Finding furniture and decorations that blend both function and form is the best way to decorate your house using modern design, and the majority of the interior design ideas that you find online will reinforce the importance of the fusion of the two aspects.

Here are some modern interior design ideas that you can use to make your house look trendy, modern and fashionable:

– When choosing the color scheme for your home, you need to use colors that are ‘cool’; to achieve the right interior decor. White may not be the perfect choice for every home, but you should choose a color scheme that matches the style of your furniture’s sleek, stylish appearance. Use colors that are toned down and ‘cool’; to create the right effect of a modern, stylish decor.

– The texture that you use for your furniture and items around the house is vital. Too much comfort simply ruins the modern look, and you should choose colors and fabrics that are neutral and blend easily into the background. To add comfort and softness to your room, you can use fabric drapes, but you need to keep the entire feel of the room simplistic by keeping the elegance of the fabric minimal.

– Don’t use lavish, colorful decorations and accessories that simply demand that you eye focus on them. Rather, use items that are metallic and glass to create an atmosphere that will allow them to blend into the background of your overall decor. Don’t overuse decorations and accessories, as the modern feel is accompanied by a minimalistic decor. Use a small number of items that emphasize clean lines and order in your home, and keep them from attracting attention.

Many people tend to confuse modern and contemporary interior design. While the two are fairly similar, there is a slight difference. Contemporary design is made to be as modern and trendy as possible, and there are a number of aspects that contemporary design has in common with modern design. However, all modern interior design ideas will tell you that minimalistic design is the most important part of the modern interior decor, and contemporary interior design doesn’t consider that minimalistic design to be an integral part of the overall decor.

The modern interior design ideas given above can help you get started creating the perfect modern, trendy atmosphere for your house or office. You may find that some of the modern interior design ideas above are perfect for you, while others simply won’t work in your space. Use all or some of the ideas above to help you create your perfect space, and you may find that a modern interior design is exactly what your house or office needed.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might be interested in Office Interior Design Ideas [http://whatisinteriordesign.com/a-few-office-interior-design-ideas/]. Be sure to visit my blog for more interesting articles regarding Interior Design: What Is Interior Design [http://whatisinteriordesign.com/].

Professional Home Design Software

With computers getting increasingly more powerful and more accessible to wider home markets than ever before, software publishers have started putting the power of professional desktop software solutions once the exclusive domain of industrial users into homebound applications and marketed accordingly.

In the area of 3D rendering and drawing focused on home designs, you have professional home design software that are both powerful and user-friendly enough to be used by homeowners. About the only distinguishing quality is the price and networking ability to share common files that corporate users demand. Then there’s the after sales technical support that is more responsive for corporate professional software editions. Otherwise, there’s really little to distinguish between the two, except AutoCAD.

AutoCAD: The Standard Home Design Software for Professionals

It can be an uphill battle overcoming a standard that has long dominated industries for the last 25 years. The AutoCAD 2D drawing and 3D rending tool has lorded it over industries ranging from toy makers all the way to space shuttle builders and remains supreme as the design tool of choice among professionals.

Just about all commercial products have been designed from it. It is not specially optimized for home design, but it has all the features and functions that home design software application products have, from simple 2D floor plans to sophisticated 3D models with simulated light and shadow interplay as well as walk-through animation.

There are a lot of commercial copycats to the AutoCAD software from Autodesk, all wanting a piece of the industrial and professional market with some pricing themselves low and successfully getting some market share. Admittedly, AutoCad is not for everyone, as it is quite expensive, costing $3,500 for a single user license. But it’s comforting to note that professional and amateur home design solutions are CAD based, borrowing many of the 2D and 3D drawing features from AutoCAD.

Chief Architect

Specifically designed and marketed to residential and commercial designers and architects, Chief Architect home design solutions come from a company bearing the same name that has been in the home designing business since the early 90s. Chief Architect Pro is the professional architect and builder’s choice application. It is essentially a suite of drawing tools that encompass all aspect of home building designs such as house architectural designing, remodeling, interior design, garden design and landscaping, deck and patio design and floor planning, all in 3D and realistic light and shadow application and animated walk-throughs.

Chief Architect Home Designer Pro

In addition to Chief Architect, the brand has formed a business partnership with Better Homes and Gardens to carry the next generation Home Designer software products under the Chief Architect name. Hence, after Better Homes and Garden Home Designer 8.0, the 9th iteration is marketed as Chief Architect Home Designer Pro 9.0 with sub-derivatives for the home markets.

Targeted to both novice and professionals, corporate and home markets, the Chief Architect Home Designer Pro 9.0 can be considered your-upscale top-of-the line home design solution costing about $400 in the open market. It is a derivative of the Chief Architect Pro. Chief Architect also markets Interior Designer Pro 9.0 which is taken from the same suite, with a more detailed focus on, as the name implies, interior designing.

Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Software

The magazine staff and editors of Better Homes and Gardens have come with a design solution for the intrepid homeowner wanting to realize his/her dream house. The Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 8.0 is the latest edition of that effort that started years back and has become popular among American novice designers and even professional architects and home builders.

Getting to see your dream house with uncanny 3D realism on your PC has never been as easy with a software application tool that can make just about anyone a home designer. You just need to make sure your desktop or laptop PC is powerful enough to render 3D modeling. Not to worry, the software package comes with the recommended PC configuration you need.

Indulge your Imagination

The Better Homes and Gardens Home Designer Suite 8.0 gives reign to your innate design skills the better for you to visualize your dream home on the PC. But even people without artistic talent can to it.

Automatic Designing Tools. The Suite has 5,000 competent and easy to use building blocks and tools to simplify getting your design looking real. For starters, you design your lot and backyard terrain with the Automatic Build Terrain and Terrain Perimeter tool that can be aided with a GPS terrain elevation data. Add pools and other landscaping details like fences and driveways from its landscaping library. Generate house roofs, ceiling beams, floor patterns, dormers, stairs, framing and house foundation automatically.
Design Templates. There are over 1,500 sample house floor plans as well as a Design Inspiration Gallery with photos by house designs categorized by type that can inspire you with your own unique design ideas. It has a library of home-style templates you can start with or create own customized house designs. There’s also the House Wizard that can automatically generate a house design for you based on information you supply.
Design Libraries. There are over 6000 design elements like furniture and electric fixtures, windows and doors, wall paper and floor designs and appliance, just to mention some, in its built-in library that you can just drag and drop on your design work area, or you can design your own. There’s even a Plant Encyclopedia on the side containing 1,500 popular plant species you can learn about that’s suitable in your country as indoor plant ornament in your design.
Online Advice. You can get free online design expertise from the Design Planning Center of Better Homes and Gardens as well as download additional design elements from the Home Designer website.
3D Rendering and Virtual Tours. Once you’re done with hour house and interior designing, remodeling, landscaping, and floor planning, go into 3D simulation of light and shadows and a virtual walk-through of your dream house.
Project Cost Estimating. Once you’re happy with the look of your new house complete with interiors and landscaping, the Suite will estimate the cost of making your design happen, generating a spreadsheet where you also get material estimates on how much lumber and concrete is needed which creates the basis for the costing.

Elements of Modern Home Design

Updating a home involves many elements of change, which involves anything from modern furniture and artwork to room designs. A home can be transformed into a contemporary dwelling with features and accents that have a 21st century edge and style. Modern home design elements can add a touch of style and design to any home.

Modern homes can mean many things to many people, but all of them point to non-traditional style and features. Contemporary home furnishing outlets have home furnishings available, including things like glass panel kitchen cabinets and island kitchens with bar stool seating. These attractive furnishings can really serve as an attractive centerpiece for contemporary kitchen design.

Homeowners can also add updated features to their bathrooms as well to make them look neater and more spacious. Wall mounted cabinets are a great way to store bathroom items as well as give the room a decorative look. Some people choose to remodel their bathrooms with stylish vanity sets that are functional and attractive fixtures for bathing and pampering as they prepare for their day. These attractive bathroom accents add a touch of style and grace to a bathroom space.

Living room areas also lend themselves well to modern design features that can incorporate amazing colors, geometric shapes and contemporary furniture pieces. People can buy furniture coverings with vibrant colors and design patterns to enhance the modern color scheme and design. The living room will stand out and people can enjoy the contemporary feel when they entertain and relax in the room.

Room design and furnishings are not the only ways to modernize a home, however. Many homeowners are choosing to add additions to their homes to accommodate relatives or borders in addition to extra rooms, such as laundry rooms off of the kitchen or entertainment rooms the whole family can enjoy. Environmentally friendly features are also popular that help to brighten the home, save money and improve the environment. Solar paneled windows and energy efficient doors can really help to insulate a home and make it cost effective.

Modern home design elements can enhance a home and make it look more attractive and inviting. Additions can help to modernize a home and expand the possibilities of contemporary styles and design. Even small changes, such as updated furniture, color schemes and room design can bring a modern touch to one’s living space. After all, a home is not truly yours until you add some aspect of yourself into its design.

Home Design Plans – 3 Tips for Choosing Plans and Designers

Home design plans are what you make of them. Or, in the event that you hire a professional house building construction company, they are what you have made of them. Either way, you can easily create your own custom home design with the help of architects and builders, or choose from an array of existing designs for your new home. It is up to you to determine which designs are best and which designers you want to work with, and here are some tips to help you along the way.

1. This is your dream home. A huge part of planning new house construction is picturing what your ideal home should look like and then going about creating it. If you are choosing from existing home design plans, find the one that best matches your desires and ideas. Ask designers and your building company if these plans can be altered to suit any particular preferences you have. Ask architects about examples of work they have done and ask building companies if they have show homes you can visit. Nothing quite compares with walking through a show home to get a feel for the living space and general design style.

2. Make sure that your designer or builder knows what they are doing. Choosing reputable companies isn’t difficult as long as you are willing to invest the effort to look. You need to be absolutely certain that your builder is going to be there for you and provide you with not only great home plans, but also with great service and support throughout the building process. If you find a builder who claims to be a Registered Master Builder, for example, make sure you ask for their registration number so that you can confirm this is so, the guarantees covered by the Master Builder program won’t mean much to you if you encounter problems during your house construction only to find your builder isn’t actually a Registered Master Builder after all. Don’t fall susceptible to the heartache and frustration many people suffer as a result of not running credential checks.

3. Choose plans and builders that match your budget and design style. This might seem obvious, but it is really easy to get swept away by a house design that costs twice what you can afford, or alternatively, choose a builder recommended by a friend whose building and design style isn’t quite what you require. No matter how you justify it, you can’t pay more than you can afford, nor have a new house construction that you are only reasonably happy with. Try to find home design plans within your price range, that also match your design style, to avoid the let down of not getting a better home due to your budget constraints and/or wrong choice of builder.

These tips may seem like basic common sense, for the most part, but they can’t be emphasised enough. People often get overzealous and forget to stop and do the simple things when they are designing a home. It is important to take things one step at a time and fully understand what you are getting involved with. This will make finding the right home design plans and builder much easier and less stressful. Everyone wants their dream home realised, and now is your chance to do that. Just keep these tips in mind to help you along the way.

Generation Homes – Custom Home Plans is a multi-award winning home building company with locations across New Zealand.

Generation Homes devised a construction programme that allows customers to be given a guaranteed move-in date the day their unconditional contract is signed. These systems have enabled Generation Homes to build over 1500 homes and deliver 99.7% exactly on the due date. This guaranteed delivery date, a fixed price contract and a complete turnkey house and land package takes the stress out of home building for customers. By combining all of these features Generation Homes is able to fulfill its business purpose to -Make Building Easy-

This innovative construction system unifies the Generation building process for every aspect of the business because it allows us to plan methodically and is supported by a number of exceptional systems and processes to deliver top results.

3 Tips To Use When Meeting With Your New Home Designer

Meeting your new home designer is the first step you can take in your journey of building a custom designed home. It’s exciting – are you excited? You should be! This is your chance to relay all of the exciting ideas you have about your dream home. This meeting is all about you you you. So how can you have a really successful meeting and give yourself the best opportunity for your home design to be as close to what you wanted, the first time round.

Tip 1 – Be Yourself

I know some of you are thinking, “who else would I be”? But you would be surprised at how many people sit in their design meeting acting like they’re attending a funeral instead of taking one of the most exciting steps life has to offer. Relax. Great home designers know what it’s like to bring your dreams to the table, they are tasked with the responsibility of delivering it.

If this is the first time you’ll be building a million dollar home, don’t think you have to act like a millionaire (or what you think millionaires might be like – some people will be surprised to find out they’re often very common). If you are yourself the home designer will get to know you, and more about what you’re like which will give them the best opportunity to putting your personality into your new house.

Tip 2 – Be Brutally Honest

If you like sex in the hallway, then tell us and we’ll make sure that hallway is the best damned hallway to have sex in. You need to be brutally honest with your lifestyle and what is most important to you. Communicating your lifestyle is the biggest challenge for most people as they may not want to draw attention to aspects of their life or perhaps they think something may just be common sense. Don’t assume that the person sitting across the table thinks like you, walks like you, talks like you or has the same values. If you love teddy bears and need additional room in the bedroom for your 101 teddies, then say it. If you’re sporty and want a gym with mirrors on the walls, then say it. If you’re an enthusiast photographer and will use one of the bedrooms as a dark room then say it.

All of the above are examples that I’ve come across during my time as a custom home builder. What’s more, the items that were being discussed had to be coaxed out of the home buyers over time. More importantly, we modified the design to suit which gave them a far better outcome than they would have got had they not told us. We changed window heights in the hallway (in fact, we did a lot of adjustments through the entire house!). We created teddy niches in the bedroom, we removed skirting boards in the gym and added a TV and power outlet point in one corner at 2.0m high and we switched the window in the dark room to the south side of the house to avoid the sun but still give enough ventilation.

Tip 3 – Enjoy The Process

Remember this is your time, relax and enjoy yourself. Make jokes and get to know the people sitting opposite you on the table. You’ll find the more comfortable you feel with your designer, the more information will flow during your design brief and the better your home will be.

If you’re using a custom home builder and are looking to ensure you have the best home design suited to your needs you should follow these three tips. Your new home designer will appreciate how much easier you made the meeting and love the fact that they’ll have the best opportunity to make you happy first time around.

Benefits of a Universal Home Design

A universal home design is a growing concept in house planning and construction that provides for changes that can occur in living such as disability issues, aging and general accessibility for everyone. Many homes today are built with the idea that no matter who the occupant is, the living spaces within as well as outside the home, should be readily used by just about anyone. A growing number of home designers, builders and contractors are embracing this concept as the baby boomer population ages and a new wave of disabled or elderly home occupants emerge.

Here are some of the best benefits of a universal home design:

Home values

If you decide to use a universal home design to build your new home, you can expect your house to be worth more at the outset than another home of similar square footage and amenities, but that is not built from a universal design. The reason is that a universally designed house is more appealing to all segments of the population because of its practicality and usability for everyone. Universally designed homes are easier to sell and acrue in value more readily.

Good planning for the future

For those who plan on living in their homes until they die, this type of house design is excellent because it will accommodate occupants in any change of life. If an occupant becomes suddenly disabled or eventually must have certain handicap amenities in areas like the bathroom due to aging issues, this design allows for changes in life that are bound to occur.

Important design elements

There are many elements of design that go into a universal home, but several of the most important are constructed into the bathroom area, kitchen, hallways and the construction level of the home. The bathroom is perhaps one of the most important areas of the home, as it is designed to be accessible by combining within the design some handicap requirements. Wider doorways for wheelchair accessiblity, nonslip flooring, wet room style spaciousness and open shower areas are just some of the common features for a handicap bath area that can be enjoyed by all.

Other important aspects include choosing a design that keeps the house on one ground level and that does not include stairs or other common obstacles to those who are less mobile. If you are interested in the useful aspects of a universal home design, there are more and more designers and contractors available who are experienced at creating houses that are accessible for everyone.

Visit the Disabled Bathrooms Shop for more info about design elements and disability equipment for the home such as electric mobility scooters and residential elevators.

Exploring Slow Home Design

What is slow home design? Basically, it is the principle of slowing down to design homes and spaces that are sustainable, practical and functional.

The slow home movement began in 2006 when John Brown, Matthew North, and Carina van Olm wanted to create a “critical response to the poor design practices that pervade the mass housing industry. Our intent is to advocate for a more thoughtful approach to residential design that improves the quality of our daily lives and reduces our impact on the environment”. Slow home design strives for a more “considered, calm and intuitive” approach to residential design. The concept is to use well-considered design principles to create smaller homes that will be both environmentally sustainable and literally so, in the sense of being built to endure. The practice also includes remodels of existing, appropriately sized older homes that need updating.

Brown says in an interview with The Chicago Tribune that a slow home is “reasonably sized and carefully designed to support its occupants. It might have an entry where family members can easily take off their boots, stash their keys and store their backpacks, for example. It might have a living space that encourages people to talk or read, not just watch television or surf the Internet. It’s energy efficient, filled with natural light and designed for easy flow among rooms and access to the outside.”

North, in this interview with The Calgary Herald says, “I think the boom of the big-house era is coming to an end. So those houses will be less desirable and valuable as time goes on. Expect a shift to smaller, more energy-efficient homes, North says, and a move away from homes on the fringes of cities. A decade ago, a 5,000-sq.-ft. home sounded like a dream to some. These days, that much square footage sounds like a noose around your neck. There’s uncertainty about the energy cost to heat your house.”

Slowing down to design a space that is functional, long-lasting, meets the needs of the family now and later, and is, of course, stylish and comfortable – that’s the aim of the slow home movement.

But even if you are not starting from scratch, you can still join in living a slow home lifestyle. Re-work your rooms to make sure that they are functional for your family’s everyday living. Instead of purchasing a new piece of furniture, look for family hand-me-downs or thrift store finds to re-purpose. Organize your kitchen, bathroom, closets and office using bins, jars, boxes and dishes that you already own but rarely use. Make the stuff in your home work for you and create a stylish and comfortable space that you will be happy with every day and for years to come.

Slow home is a philosophy that has grown in the design and construction trades, and one that is only going to continue growing into the mainstream home owner market.