Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game On! Ideas for the Ultimate Game Room

If the thought of braving the madding crowd for entertainment this weekend sounds like more than you can stand, not to worry: we have some ideas for how to make your home the ultimate entertainment spot!

While a home theater is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dedicating a room solely to entertainment, we’d like to focus on something a little more social: the game room (and, no, watching sports in your home theater doesn’t count).  Depending on your budget and how much space you have to play with (pun intended), options range from “thanks for a nice evening” to “who needs a weekend in Vegas?”

Billiards, anyone? 
Personally, we couldn’t imagine a game room without a pool table.  If you just cringed because the first one that popped into your mind either looks like it belongs in a seedy bar or a Scottish castle, you’ll be happy to learn that there are many options beyond the stereotypes.   We particularly like the Brixton table from Brunswick for its clean lines and furniture-like appearance.  

Brixton, by Brunswick
Perhaps something a little more traditional (but still not reminiscent of a Scottish Castle) is more your style?  Check out the Coventry model from Spencer Marston.   

Coventry, by Spencer Marston

If space is an issue, consider opting for a pool table that moonlights as a dining table.  Or maybe it’s vice versa?  Anyway, Blatt Billiards has just such a product with their fusion tables line.  We particularly like the stainless steel and walnut version.

Fusion Table by Blatt Billiards

Friendly Game of…
We get it: not everyone desires to become a pool shark.  For those of you more interested in entertainment that doesn’t involve equipment that can be brandished (and take out a lighting fixture), consider adding a card table.   The Marin game table by California House is a beautiful piece that comes in sizes to accommodate from four to ten players.   

Marin Game Table by California House

If chess is more your style, the Ithaca Pub Table available from Howard Miller allows you to play a game and stow your fine spirits at the same time.

Ithaca Pub Table, available at Howard Miller

Let’s Talk Turkey
Residential Bowling Alley by Brunswick
For a money’s-no-object kind of game room, add your own bowling alley.  It takes a minimum of 90’ x 11’6” for a two-lane residential alley (based on information from the folks at Brunswick), so space can’t be an issue!   To get a general idea of what your own bowling alley will set you back, Fusion Bowling provides a handy pricing guide on their website, along with a gallery of the amazing projects they’ve completed. 

Game On!
Even if your game room requirements are considerably more modest, please get in touch and tell us what kind of fun you’d like us to build into your home.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Up, Not Out: Use Your Attic to Expand Your Home
Without an Addition

S-01O from Salter Spiral Stair
In the quest for additional space, it isn’t always feasible to build an addition to your home.  Whether the size of your lot, restrictions from your city planning office, or your budget preclude you from adding on to your home, you can still increase your available space by renovating your attic.

Access is Key
Some attics – even those above your garage – naturally lend themselves to being converted to useable square footage.  Unfinished “bonus rooms” are a prime example, as they were originally designed to be completed at a later date and, most likely, already have access available (think stairs).  But what if you don’t have a bonus room waiting for conversion?  Or what if no staircase was ever built to your bonus room?

If no staircase to the attic exits, it may have still been part of the original design, making it fairly easy for your builder to implement without impacting your floor plan much (if at all).  Even if an attic staircase wasn’t part of your home’s original plan, one can often be built above the staircase that connects the two floors below, maintaining as much of your existing square footage as possible.
Loft Ladders by Alaco Ladder Company

For those homes that – no matter how you arrange things – simply do not have a suitable spot to add a traditional staircase, all is not lost.  There are some unique attic/loft access stair products available, including “library ladders.”  Keep in mind that these small footprint staircases and ladders are generally not code compliant, so any extra space gained by their access will probably be called “storage” and not count towards your square footage if you go to sell your home.  Not to worry, though:  savvy buyers won’t be put-off by this and will have the vision to put the space to good use.

Designing the Space
1m2 Staircase by Eestairs
If your attic space doesn’t yield a full-height room, be creative.  Tuck built-in bookcases and storage cupboards into areas where the ceiling height is most restricted.  Create sleeping nooks or fun play areas to free-up space in family rooms or bedrooms that are overrun with toys.  Maybe you just need a quiet space to work?  Add a built-in desk and suddenly your attic could be where you come up with your next great idea.  

You’d be surprised just how much you can squeeze into a small attic space  – the possibilities are endless!

Convert Your Attic Now
If you’re ready to convert your attic to a new living area, let us know.  We can work with you to design the perfect balance of function and value. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We’d Like to Float This Idea By You: Wooden Bathtubs

When you think of unique, luxurious materials for your sinks and bathtubs, you probably don’t think of wood.  After all, wood and water just don’t mix, right?  Happily, we can dispel that myth – just don’t expect these products to be inexpensive or available at your local home improvement store.

If you’ve ever pined away for teak patio furniture, you know that teak is one wood that is inherently resistant to water, making it a natural (pun intended) choice for this gorgeous bathtub available from Box Art Shop.  The site is in Italian (and the price tag is not for the faint of heart), but even if you don’t use Google Translate, the pictures are worth a look. 
Vasca da bagno ovale in Teak - Box Art Shop

Maybe importing a teak bathtub from Italy sounds a bit too extravagant?  If so, you’ll be happy to note that WS Bath Collections is located state-side and has tubs available in various woods, with either a matte or a mirror finish.  We love the simple elegance of their Laguna Basic 02 model shown here. 

Laguna Basic 02 by WS Bath Collections

Haven’t seen EXACTLY the wooden tub of your dreams yet?  Another US-based company – Bath in Wood of Maine – offers custom-built wooden tubs that allow you to get as creative as you and your designer see fit.  Their portfolio showcases a number of beautiful tubs, but we particularly like this one that has ADA-compliant grab bars artistically integrated into the design.  “Safe” doesn’t have to be boring!

Easy Access Ofuro by Bath in Wood of Maine

Regardless of which materials you choose for your bathroom, we can help you design and build your perfect retreat.  Get in touch and let’s get started!