Reston, VA

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

The basement. One of the most underutilized spaces in many homes, basements are often used as nothing more than storage areas.

You’re not sure what’s hiding under those big bags full of toys and clothes, but you’ll get around to donating it all… one day. And those plastic containers you need to move every year to get to the holiday decorations? They’re packed full of “must-keep” items like that comforter set you didn’t want to part with (but never use) and the extra cushions for your old patio set. The suitcases from your last pre-COVID vacation are also down there. Somewhere. 

If this sounds like you, it’s time to make a change. A basement remodel can easily give you extra usable square footage, improved storage solutions and add value to your home. Even better, unfinished basements are like a blank canvas with lots of potential, and with the right creativity and vision, they can be turned into beautiful but functional spaces. 

But how much does it cost to remodel a basement? Well, like most things in life, that depends! A few factors to think about that impact cost: 

  • Is your basement currently finished or unfinished? 
  • Are there any load-bearing columns or other structures that need to be taken in account? 
  • Is there a lot of ductwork that needs to be added or concealed? 
  • Are there existing plumbing lines or rough-ins for that “must-have” guest bathroom or bar sink you want? 
  • What level of finish do you want? Flooring, drywall, bar/office cabinets, tile, bathroom fixtures, interior doors, stairs, new washer/dryer… you can see how the costs start to add up, especially if you want a spa-like guest bathroom or “wow” bar area with gorgeous high-end cabinets and a state-of-the-art wine fridge and pellet ice maker.
  • Are you willing to do some of the work and manage the project yourself using a general contractor, or do you want a professionally managed full-service type of experience? 

There are many ways you can go about your basement remodel.

Step No. 1 of a basement remodel is figuring out WHO you need — not just WHAT you need. A more cost-effective way may be to use a general contractor (GC), but you will have to take on more responsibility for managing the project and making design choices and (sometimes) buying the materials yourself.

Synergy Design & Construction is a full service design-build firm, meaning we manage the project for you, design it and build it — all using our in-house team of experts. Although using a home remodeling company like Synergy might be more expensive than a general contractor, most of our clients want the peace of mind of working with a company that does all the heavy lifting for them and who manages the whole project from start to finish.

So, what is a reasonable cost for a basement remodel?

Independent surveys often show basement remodels start at the $50,000 to $75,000 range, depending on what it is you’re trying to do. Of course, throwing up walls and laying down carpet can cost less, but many of our clients are willing to invest more to make their dream space a reality. Let’s face it: With no end in sight for a return to the pre-COVID day-to-day “normal,” we’d rather you get exactly what you want. Our promise to you is that we’ll always be realistic with you in terms of what it costs for a quality basement remodel and deliver a project that’s on time and on budget. 

Let’s take a look at one of our recent basement remodels. Our client had been dreaming of a home remodel for a long time and knew it was time to do something about the unfinished basement. As in many homes, it was only being used for storage, and they were ready to finally put it to work. So, with a ‘can-do’ attitude, they set about the task of decluttering in preparation for the remodel, which would see their basement go from storage zone to a multi-purpose family-friendly recreation room, office/guest bedroom and guest bathroom — and even have enough room for discreetly hidden HVAC and storage space. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic began just before construction started, the timing for this remodel turned out to be perfect. Trusting us to complete their home remodel safely, they knew it was now a “must have” to proceed given the extended periods of time spent at home during lockdown with virtual schooling and working from home now a necessity. The family is now ready to kick back, relax and spend quality time together in their lovely new spaces.

Ready to find out what it might take to take your basement from storage unit to multi-purpose family-friendly space? Get in touch!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor October 13, 2020 at 11:45 am 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

At Synergy Design & Construction, we’re big believers in giving homeowners insights into everything you need to know to make informed decisions about home remodeling.

As the pandemic wears on and we’re all spending so much more time at home, we know a lot of you are ready to make big changes. From kitchens to basements to bathrooms, interior remodeling services are in high demand — especially as temperatures start to plummet and our attention turns to winter and the prospect of spending even more time indoors.

Other than kitchens, one of the most frequent home remodeling requests we get is bathroom remodeling. So, to help you on your remodeling journey, here are three “don’t” tips you should know before you get started!

1. Don’t Hire the Wrong Type of Contractor for the Job

Every day you see your powder room, your heart sinks a little and you make a mental note (again) it’s time to do something about it. If your powder room needs a little pep, it’s not a big remodeling project. But, just as you don’t need a CPA to balance a checkbook, you don’t need a full service design and build firm like Synergy if you just want to update a vanity and change a light fixture. Knowing who you need is the starting point. Doing your homework and aligning your needs with the type of service a particular contractor provides is a HUGE time (and money) saver. Read more in Best Remodelers in Reston and Where to Find Them.

2. Don’t Assume You Need to Keep the Tub

We get this question a lot, “Do I need a bathtub in my Master Bathroom?”. The short answer is no. A soaking tub is aesthetically beautiful, but if you don’t use it now you won’t use it in the future. We’ve completed a number of remodels for homeowners who chose to eliminate the tub altogether and create a larger shower that packs a design “WOW!” punch instead. If you’re concerned about resale, most home buyers DO want a tub, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the Master Bathroom. As long as there’s one somewhere in the home for kids (and, yes, sometimes pets!) it isn’t a deal breaker. Of course, keeping the tub and making a design feature out of it is always an option if you have plenty of room for one.

3. Don’t Select Form Over Function

It’s really easy to select finishes based on your HGTV vision of your space, not the real life version of how you’ll actually use it. We’re all guilty of this one! For example, a pedestal sink can be a piece of artwork in itself, but it becomes a cluttered mess if you don’t have a place to put everything. Spend your budget on storage-friendly vanities. Adding one might just reduce the stress you feel every time you walk into your bathroom and see cluttered countertops. Even the most modern floating vanities now come in all sorts of styles that include storage drawers, so if you have more contemporary taste, you don’t have to sacrifice modern design.

Our featured remodel this month is a Reston townhome master bathroom remodel. This transitional bathroom is a great example of how removing the bathtub and creating room for a larger walk-in shower completely transforms the space. The result? A beautiful spa-like retreat.

Learn about the steps we take to ensure a safe home remodeling experience here. If you’re ready for a design thoughtful home remodel, our consultations are FREE and we even offer virtual meeting options. If you’re ready to chat, give us a call!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor September 14, 2020 at 11:45 am 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It’s been a busy summer here at Synergy! We’ve completed a number of beautiful home remodels in the area (while practicing COVID safety, of course) and have started a number of new projects.

Although Labor Day usually marks the end of summer, we’re hoping for a few more warm days to take advantage of outdoor activities that can be safely enjoyed in these COVID times. One of the things we love about this area is the many lakes, local parks and trails and the opportunity to be outside enjoying nature. It’s one of the reasons so many people are attracted to this area (and one of the reasons the housing market is so active right now)!

It may not surprise you to know home remodeling is also in high demand. Now well into our seventh month of the COVID pandemic, many of us are looking at ways to maximize the use and enjoyment of our existing space. Let’s face it, spending so much time at home is a surefire way to start you dreaming of that perfect kitchen or finally getting around to remodeling the basement!

In keeping with our love of the local area, this month’s featured remodel is a Reston lakefront townhome. This remodel is a great example of not only how you can create a more open concept and better flow, but also how changing the internal layout of a home makes it look and feel much bigger (without the expense of an addition). It can also help you maximize some of the best features of your home — in this case, a beautiful lake view.

The key to the remodel of this home was creating a better flow throughout the main level and better use of space. Visible as soon as you entered the home, the original footprint included a large closet pantry at the entry to the kitchen. This not only took up a lot of square footage, it blocked the view to the lake and closed off the kitchen. We removed it and changed the door location (and size) of a separate coat closet for more efficient storage.

We also removed a railing-height wall leading to the family room and replaced it with modern cable railing. This created a much more open concept that maximizes the gorgeous water views throughout the main level and brings the outside in. The space now feels bigger, brighter and more airy.

Our clients’ piano was an important feature for them, so we removed an existing butler’s pantry/bar, leaving the perfect nook for the piano. We added a “dry bar” to the other side of the room for additional storage and a buffet serving area. A large island with lots of seating now takes center stage in what used to be the dining area, and the large dining table was relocated to the step-down living area, which features an updated fireplace. The whole feel of this townhouse has been transformed.

If you’ve been thinking of a home remodel for a while, be prepared production schedules are rapidly filling up for many home remodeling companies. We’re now booking construction dates in late 2020 and early 2021, so if you’ve been thinking of a home remodel, don’t delay and start the conversation now!

Our no-obligation consultations are FREE and if you aren’t comfortable with having anyone in your home just yet, we also offer virtual consultations.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor August 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all seen the reality T.V. home remodeling shows. Half way through, there’s what we call an ‘HGTV moment’ when it happens, “We just discovered this is a load-bearing wall. That’s going to be another hit to your budget so we have to take something else out of your remodel or increase your budget to cover the cost.”

No-one wants to be in this position. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your home remodeler. The reality is any qualified and experienced home remodeler should have figured out if there is a load-bearing wall in play well before anyone comes near your home with a sledge hammer. Undoubtedly, removing a load-bearing wall adds cost to your home remodeling plans because it requires alternate suitable support, but a little careful exploration upfront should tell you at the outset of your remodel what’s really going on with that wall between your kitchen and dining room.

Be prepared, your chosen or prospective home remodeler may have to poke a few holes in your drywall at the beginning of the process to see what’s going on behind the scenes. This is normal practice — but will require patching if you decide not to proceed with your home remodel.

So, what are the telltale signs that might indicate if a wall is load-bearing or not?

Disclaimer alert! ALWAYS get an expert’s opinion before you decide to remove ANY wall in your home!

Look at the Joists

Do the joists run parallel or perpendicular to the wall you’re thinking of removing? In general, if the joists run perpendicular to the wall, it’s a sign it might be a load-bearing wall. In the example below, the red X shows what a load-bearing wall looks like behind the drywall. However, there are some instances when joists run parallel but the wall is load-bearing because the builder has aligned the wall under a single joist or the weight is being supported by blocking between two neighboring joists, so always get a professional opinion.

Photo Credit: Alexander Jenkins

Got an Unfinished Basement or Crawl Space?

If you have an unfinished basement or crawl space below your kitchen (or other first floor room you want to remodel), take a peek in the ceiling at what is going beneath the room above. If there are any type of structures (such as columns, supports, beams, etc.) that follow the same path as the wall above, it’s a sign of support needed for a load-bearing wall.

Don’t Make Assumptions About Knee-walls or Part Walls

Just because you have a partition wall, it doesn’t mean it’s not load-bearing. We’ve had this occur in quite a few home remodels over the years. A load-bearing beam or other structure may be hiding behind the drywall of a part wall or a knee-wall with a column between two rooms. If your remodeling goal is a more open concept, a load-bearing beam may be required when you remove a part or knee-wall, so due diligence up front will ensure you know exactly what you’re dealing with before construction starts.

Case Study: A Reston Townhouse Transformation

This month’s featured remodel is the first floor remodel of a lake-fronted townhouse in Reston. The existing layout and finishes made the first floor feel dark, small and closed-in. Preferring a contemporary look and a more open concept, our clients were ready to make the changes needed to make the home their own and better reflect their design aesthetic.

However, the wall separating the dining room and kitchen was load-bearing. We removed it along with a non load-bearing faux painted pillar (seen on the left of the Before photo). This is a great example of how things were not as you might expect — the column was decorative only so it was easily removed, but a load-bearing beam was required to replace the wall between the kitchen and dining room.

The result? With the wall and pillar gone, the energy of the whole first floor is now totally transformed. The spaces flow from one to the next and the entire area feels bigger. We also replaced the sliding doors to the deck and a picture window off a sunroom to make the most of the gorgeous water views from the rear of the house. It’s now a modern and tranquil space with lots of room for the couple and their family and friends to enjoy.

Ready to start your hassle-free remodel with a company who can help you figure all of this out? Get in touch for your free, no obligation consultation about your home remodeling plans!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor July 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Even with some lockdown restrictions easing in Northern Virginia, we know many homeowners are wondering if it’s safe to start a home remodel during this phase of COVID-19. As an essential business, we’ve been open throughout the pandemic and are proud of our team’s hard work to ensure we maintained exceptional standards on all of our job sites to keep our clients and our team healthy and safe but still deliver on-time, on-budget home remodels.

We also know that now is not the time to ease up on any protocols and safety standards. If you decide you are ready to move forward with your remodel, don’t be afraid to ask your chosen remodeling company or general contractor what they are doing to help ensure safety on your project. Here are some of the measures we have in place. This is not an exhaustive list, but it can be used as a starting point for a discussion with your home remodeler:

  • A 3-stage HEPA filtration air purifier to reduce viruses, germs and dust particles in the air
  • Handwashing and sanitization stations at the entrance to job sites
  • Dust barriers with zippered doors that separate the construction site from the rest of the home
  • A screened portable toilet so team members or tradespeople do not use your bathroom
  • Organized and efficiently run job sites keep things clean
  • Close partnership with trade partners to ensure job site standards are upheld
  • Thermometer checks to ensure anyone with an elevated temperature is not allowed on the job site

Our featured home remodel this month is a transitional kitchen, dining room and pantry remodel in Vienna. Every remodel tells a story but this one is particularly meaningful to us. This project was mid-way through construction when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Despite the lockdown, we were able to safely complete the remodel on budget and ahead of schedule for our client who is a healthcare professional. Creating beautiful spaces for her to come home to was an honor.

Don’t just take our word for it! Listen to our client tell you about her experience in her own words.

About this remodel: Our clients have a beautiful home, but the walled-in kitchen and little-used separate formal dining room made the spaces feel cramped and closed-in. They were ready to completely change things up by removing the walls that created a physical separation of space on the main level and create a truly open concept!

The home also has a great backyard with a pool, but an open porch off the kitchen provided little usable functional space. We enclosed the porch and refinished it to create the perfect multi-purpose pantry. It now has tons of built-in bench storage for pool equipment, a second refrigerator, cabinetry storage, shelving and, most importantly, a cosy place for beds under the countertop for their beloved dogs!

Ready to take the first step on your remodeling journey? Get in touch!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor June 22, 2020 at 11:45 am 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Ever feel unsettled in your home but not quite sure why? It has a lot to do with energy.

Often we focus our attention on pretty countertops and new flooring, but if we don’t clear the stagnant energy from our homes, we’re sometimes left feeling drained and depleted without really knowing why.

With most of us spending more time in our homes than we ever imagined, this is the perfect opportunity to find out how to shift that energy. Join us on Friday, June 26 at 1 p.m. EST as Mina Fies, CEO of Synergy Design & Construction, shares best practices on how to shift your home’s energy both before and after a remodel. Mina is a Zen Remodeler, Certified Practitioner of Interior Alignment™(Instinctive Feng Shui) and a Certified Green Professional (CGP).

The webinar is FREE. Claim your spot now!

If you can’t make the webinar but you’re ready to remodel, we can help! We’re open and employing our innovative methods that allow us to continue to deliver our same caring customer service and beautiful home remodels, while keeping our team and client safety and well being as our top priority.

See more of our projects and hear from clients who have renovated happy during the pandemic with Synergy Design & Construction here!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor May 5, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Life in Reston sure feels a lot different these days and we hope you and your families are staying healthy and safe. Construction is considered an essential business service here in Virginia, so we’re still open and employing innovative tools to continue to deliver our same excellent customer service and beautiful home remodels, while keeping our team and clients safe.

We’re proud to say the Synergy team continued to work hard on the on-time completion of the home remodeling projects that were mid-way through construction when the lockdown took effect. Fortunately, we had many of the business tools and job site safety practices already in place, so were able to quickly respond and react to the dynamic situation that was (and continues to be) life in the middle of a pandemic.

You might think it’s an odd time to think about a home remodel during a health crisis, but we have been hearing from people working from home and self-isolating who tell us they have started to focus on the things in their home that just don’t work — from the lack of a dedicated home office space to the aging kitchen that is just too cramped. Now is the perfect time to think about the design of your kitchen, even if you aren’t ready to start a remodel.

With that in mind, we got to thinking how we could help. Maybe being at home has you dreaming of a more open concept for your main level or binge watching HGTV home remodeling shows and thinking, “What if I did that in my kitchen…?” If this sounds like you, then join us as one of our resident experts, Emily Bickl, Interior Designer, shares the secrets to creating a more open concept kitchen.

The webinar is FREE. Claim your spot now!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor March 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It’s quickly become the go-to kitchen design style in recent years, with many homeowners opting for it over contemporary, traditional or farmhouse kitchens. It’s also a phrase that’s often used in design magazines and reality T.V. home remodeling shows, but what does ‘transitional kitchen’ mean?

Simply put, transitional design blends styles in a fuss-free way with clean lines and a fresh, modern flair. If you aren’t a fan of either ultra contemporary kitchens on the one hand or traditional kitchens on the other, a transitional kitchen may be the look that is right for you.

What’s great about transitional design is it balances design elements, so it can feel modern and more contemporary without going too overboard on edgy finishes as well as artfully incorporating more traditional elements. If the rest of your home is more traditional, it is a great way to update your look without making your kitchen feel out of step with the rest of your home.

Thinking of selling? Another benefit of a transitional kitchen is that it’s more likely to appeal to a broader range of potential buyers than ornate traditional or urban-vibe contemporary kitchens (for example) will in the future.

The key is to simplify the look and keep the lines clean. The #1 request we receive from homeowners is to make a kitchen feel “more open”. This usually means spaces flow into one another and open up into a family (or other) room. The design goal of a transitional kitchen is to create a light, open and airy feel that complements the rest of the first floor.

So how is this look achieved? We show you in this month’s featured remodel which is a transitional first floor remodel in Leesburg. The overall footprint on the first floor was too closed-in. With only one small window and a small doorway from the main living areas, the kitchen felt cut off from the rest of the house.

Planning to stay in her home for the longer term, our client was ready to lighten up the kitchen to create a better flow throughout the entire first floor with tons of room for entertaining. Synergy incorporated traditional elements into a transitional design that reflects our client’s French country/farmhouse design aesthetic. The result? A stunning first floor that is chic, warm and welcoming!

At Synergy Design & Construction, we provide a full design-build kitchen remodeling service. That means we partner with you to design your perfect kitchen that takes into consideration how you use your space and reflects your personal design aesthetic. There’s nothing cookie cutter about any of the projects we work on!

We work with you all the way through construction and professionally project manage your home remodel along the way so you have a turn-key home renovation experience. One point of accountability, one team. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy a hassle-free remodel! See more of our remodels here.

If you are looking for a design thoughtful kitchen remodel, first floor or whole home remodel, we’re happy to discuss your needs. Get in touch!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor February 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

They make it look so easy. The reality TV shows where they “take out a few walls” and suddenly the whole space is transformed.

It isn’t as straightforward as they make it sound, but it is incredible what opening up a floor plan can do in terms of making a home feel more spacious — without the expense of an addition to do it!

The traditional way of building homes was to have defined rooms with specific functions. The Kitchen. The Dining Room. The Family Room. The Office. This creates smaller rooms with lots of walls and doors which can result in dark corners and little used rooms. There is a lot to be said for a more open concept, but more important than this is the ‘flow’ of a home.

Spaces should feel like you easily move from one to another, and not feel ‘chopped up’ with bonus rooms or spaces that just don’t make sense and are a waste of valuable square footage. A more open flow also completely changes how you feel about your home.

It will come as no surprise then that the number one request we get from homeowners is to help ‘open up’ and improve the flow of their space, especially when it comes to the Kitchen/Living/Dining rooms. Most homes built in the last decade come with an open concept, but with very few new builds in the Reston and Herndon area, the home remodels we tend to work on span from the original homes of the Lake Anne community (shout out to our Waterview Cluster clients!) to homes built in the 90s onwards that missed the ‘open concept’ wave.

A word of caution: open plan living isn’t for everyone. There are factors such as load bearing walls (which add time and expense to any remodel) that need to be taken into consideration. There is a happy medium. In this month’s featured project, we’ll show you how we changed the configuration of the main level of a local Herndon home and opened up the floor plan without making it completely open concept.

The single family home is in a great location and has plenty of room, but the main level configuration just wasn’t working for our clients. We partnered with them to not only improve the curb appeal, but also change the flow of the entire first floor. The main level of the home now makes much more “sense” and the spaces flow seamlessly from one to another. You can see more photos of this amazing transformation here.

If you’re thinking of a home remodel but just don’t know where to start, we’re here to help you get unstuck! We’re always happy to help homeowners understand their options and get the right fit for their remodel. Ready to chat? Get in touch!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 13, 2020 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Ah, the Kitchen. The heart of the home and the place that no matter how great your main living area is, friends and family gather there on every social occasion.

It’s top of most homeowners’ wishlists when it comes to the space they’d like to remodel in their home. It’s a big investment, so whether you are planning a complete remodel or are just thinking of making a few updates, here are 5 kitchen remodeling trends worth keeping in mind.

1. Transitional Design Reigns Supreme

When it comes to design aesthetic, most of us don’t want a kitchen that is too futuristic and risks looking dated in a few short years. Transitional design is still a great go-to for many homeowners in this area who want their space to have classic elements but with modern flair. The beauty of transitional design is that it still feels warm and welcoming as well as being functional and family friendly. Want to learn more about transitional design? We’ve got you covered!

2. Cabinetry

It doesn’t have to be fully custom, but investing in a quality product when it comes to your kitchen cabinets can make or break your remodel. Many home remodeling companies in the area have relationships with cabinetry manufacturers. Each usually provides a number of cabinetry lines, so do your homework and make sure you understand what you’re getting. Semi-custom cabinetry is a great choice for a custom look without the price tag.

When it comes to cabinetry color, white is still a classic choice, but two toned kitchens are still on-trend as well as colorful pops of color like navy. We are also seeing the resurgence of wood and the introduction of more natural elements in design.

3. Pull-out Pantries

Gone are the days of the built-in pantry being a “must-have”. There’s nothing wrong with a beautiful pantry, but they take up a lot of square footage — not to mention things tend to get lost in them. Recently, a homeowner admitted to finding 25 year old cloves hidden at the back of her pantry! Pull-out cabinetry pantries are a great solution and keep your kitchen design modern and clean.

4. All about Lighting

With so many options out there now, lighting choice can be overwhelming. Pendants are still “in” and help to define a space (especially if you have an open plan kitchen and dining area), but the new pendant designs are more sculptural in look than their predecessors. The trend for lights that look jewelry-like started a while ago and that doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon.

5. Matching Backsplash and Countertops

There was a time when you’d never see the same materials used in both the countertop and backsplash, but no more! Using the same finish simplifies the design and gives a more contemporary vibe. Slab backsplashes are also increasingly popular, providing a dramatic but “fuss-free” look.

This month’s featured remodel is a Kitchen in Ashburn. This local family was ready to lighten things up in their kitchen! The result is a stunning transitional kitchen filled with design details galore and a large island with plenty of room for the family to gather.

Are you ready to kick start 2020 and finally do something about that home remodel you’ve been dreaming of? We’ve got you covered! Download our FREE guide to hassle-free remodeling to get started!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 9, 2019 at 4:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

There’s nothing like the holidays and a house full of guests to make you re-evaluate the space in your home.

And nothing brings more festive cheer than one of your teenagers having to give up their room and double up with their younger sibling so Grandma and Grandpa have a place to sleep. If you are dreaming of a separate guest bedroom, bathroom or just a place for the family to hang out during the holidays, then read on.

One of the most frequently neglected spaces in a home is the basement. The beauty of a basement (especially one that has a guest bedroom) is that it provides separation of space (and therefore privacy) for your family and your guests. But, all too often, basements feel dark, unwelcoming and become a dumping ground for everything you no longer need but just can’t bear to get rid of just yet (yes, I’m talking about that drum kit you bought 10 years ago to relive your college heydays that’s now just catching dust…)

Now’s the time to do something about it. With the New Year fast approaching, get your Marie Kondo on and start the clear out. Tackle it a little at a time: all too often it becomes too overwhelming to think about doing it all at once, so set small goals and start with one drawer, one cabinet, one closet and KEEP GOING! Schedule a pick up through Green Drop and they’ll come straight to your front door to pick everything up. No excuse now!

Basements also don’t have to be dark — or feel cold. You don’t have to undertake a large scale basement remodel if you have the right footprint already in place. Lighten up the color scheme and switch out the flooring so it becomes a more welcoming space. Dark wood will make a basement feel even darker, so think about white or neutral cabinets and paint colors to keep it feeling less, well, like a basement! Adding recessed light is another way to get a lot of bang for your buck and completely change the feeling of your basement.

If you have an unfinished basement, it’s a waste of square footage if all you are using it for is storage. Basements easily add value to your home when remodeled. Unfinished basements are like a blank canvas with lots of potential and, with the right creativity and vision, they can be turned into beautiful but functional spaces.

It might be hard to envision how an empty space can become a multi-room, multi-use level of your home, and that’s where the professionals come in. Any reputable design-build firm in the area like Synergy should be able to provide you with design options for your basement remodel and what will work in your space.

This month’s featured project is a basement remodel right here in Reston. We transformed the unfinished and under-used basement of this lovely home to provide the family of five with family-friendly spaces to enjoy time together as well as creating a private guest bedroom and bathroom when out-of-town visitors come to stay. The finishing touch? A built-in office with room for two when working from home or for the kids to use as homework/crafting space.

Looking for more inspiration? See some of our other Before & After transformations or give us a call. We’re always happy to chat about your remodeling needs.

Happy Holidays from the Synergy Team!

by Sponsor November 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Nothing brings a home remodel or simple project to freshen up your home together more than beautiful paint. However, with the ever increasing number of gorgeous colors and types of paint available, it can be daunting knowing where to begin — or even knowing what to use. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

  • Preparation is KEY. Clean your walls and repair any nail pops or other imperfections if at all possible
  • Primer helps even out the surfaces and prevents a blotchy appearance. Stain-killing primers both prime and seal surfaces
  • When it comes to the actual paint finish to use, it depends on what your project is. Our go-to is flat/matte paint. It wipes clean, tends to show less imperfections and can be more easily “touched-up” than other paint finishes

Download our FREE “Paint Finishes” Tip Sheet to help you get started on making the right choice of paint finish for your home.

Colors, Colors Everywhere…

You’ve prepped your walls and decided which paint finish you want. Now you’re standing in a local hardware store completely overwhelmed by the array of colors. How do you make a choice?

  • First, decide which tones you like. Do you like grey tones vs. brown? Green tones over blues? Even white paint comes in different tones, so if you want a warmer feeling, use white paint with a cream or brown tone rather than grey or blue.
  • Take lots of color swatches home and tape them on your walls. What looks one color in the store will look completely different depending on the lighting in your home. Narrow your choices down.
  • Got your shortlist? Then spend a few dollars on getting sample paint pots to bring home and try them on your walls. Color swatches and actual paint color are sometimes completely different, so it’s worth a little expense upfront to make the right choice rather than buying enough to paint a room and discovering it’s nothing like the sample once you put it on your walls.
  • If you like bold colors and are planning to stay in your home, we say go for it. Statement colors are visually impactful and just plain lovely to look at. Use sparingly — consider painting one or two walls or strategically use accent color. Too much bold color in a room can make it feel smaller than it really is.
  • If in doubt or you are thinking of selling your home in the near future, go with neutrals. You may love cobalt blue, but sometimes other people can’t see beyond bold colors to imagine their furniture in the space. Use throws, pillows and other accents in the room instead. These can be switched out as the mood strikes you rather than having to do another paint job.

Using a Paint or Home Remodeling Contractor

It’s important to have realistic expectations when either hiring a painting contractor or a home remodeler for a project that involves painting. For example, unless you are having new drywall or crown moulding installed, imperfections are going to show after the painting is complete. Remember that dent you put in your baseboards with the vacuum cleaner? Or that nick in the wall when you were moving a piece of furniture? Those aren’t going to magically disappear with a new paint job.

New recessed lighting or new lighting fixtures will also show up imperfections you just didn’t realize were there because brighter/better lighting will make them more obvious. Unless you point out the areas that just plain bug you beforehand, contractors can’t give you a smooth, blemish-free end result. Even with patching or repairs, it just isn’t possible to give you a “new drywall” finish. For this reason, some home remodelers no longer include paint in their scope of work. This is because it can be a hassle trying to manage expectations about the paint finish in your home.

This month’s featured remodel is a McLean Kitchen remodel. The original green and blonde wood color scheme had to go! Use of Benjamin Moore “Ballet White” in matte on the kitchen walls and refinishing the solarium structure in the same color (but in semi-gloss) keeps the look consistent and allows the rooms to flow from one to another. It also makes the space feel much larger without being cold.

At Synergy, we believe in providing a full service design/build experience. That’s why we include painting in the scope of every project we work on. We want you to have a turn-key experience, with nothing left to do after the dust settles except relax! Ready to renovate happy? Get in touch!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor October 15, 2019 at 11:45 am 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

You might be under the impression condo remodeling can be approached in the same way as any home remodel. Not so!

When it comes to remodeling, a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work. Condo remodeling brings its own unique challenges and requirements. Luckily for you, we’re here to help you navigate the road to a successful condo renovation project!

Condo Association Rules & Regulations

Remember that Condo Owner Association (COA) binder you received when you bought your place? Dust it off, because it’s going to become your new best friend. Most (if not all) COAs have an approval process in place that must be followed if you are making significant changes to your space, even though it’s just the interior. We’ve seen most approval cycles take a minimum of 45 days, so plan in advance and don’t start work until you have the seal of approval.

Hire the Right Remodeling Partner

As with any home remodel, it’s important to understand exactly who you need to do the work. If it’s just a simple pull and replace of your condo powder room, that’s a much simpler project and completely different to a total redesign and renovation of your condo’s kitchen or master bath.

If you are simply looking to update your powder room or replace your kitchen countertops, there are plenty of General Contractors who could be the perfect match for you. A full service design/build approach is a better fit for a more complex, design thoughtful condominium remodel. If you aren’t sure what you need, read Best Remodelers in Reston & How to Find Them.

Logistics Matter

There are a lot of nuances to consider and things you might find helpful to know before you meet with any remodeling contractor or company to discuss your condo remodel:

  • Elevation — Enjoying the beautiful view from the 10th floor? Gorgeous, yes, but if you don’t have a lot of storage space, the time it takes to go up and down from the ground floor with supplies and materials eats into the time the crew can work in your home so projects may take a little longer.
  • Visitor Access — Many luxury condo buildings have requirements for pre-approval of guests in the building. Your building management may require you to be the central point of contact for your contractor to ensure they can gain easy, daily access to the building.
  • Time Restrictions — Home remodelers tend to be early morning people. Most of our carpenters and crew are usually hard at work by 8 a.m. Many condo buildings, however, put time restrictions on when work can be undertaken in the building. Working around these restrictions is a necessity, but it also means your remodeling partner may have to adjust their schedule accordingly which may add extra time to your project.
  • Parking — This can be one of the biggest challenges, especially now in Reston Town Center since — dare we even mention it — paid parking! Your contractor will need approved bay(s) in your building garage to use to keep the project flowing smoothly.
  • Dumpsters — It may not be the most glamorous thing to have to think about, but if you need a dumpster for demolition items, your contractor will need approval for a place to put it on condo property.

Ask your prospective condo remodeling company if they have undertaken a remodel in a condo building before. If they have, it’s a good sign they will take all of these things into consideration with the added benefit of having developed relationships with many of the building managers in the area.

Special Considerations

Although you may think of condo remodeling in the same way as residential remodeling, it brings with it special commercial building considerations. There are some things no remodeler may be able to change for you such as sprinkler locations, limitations on what can be done with concrete ceilings or even certain structural changes.

There are also specific requirements in many condo buildings with regards to use of specific flooring to reduce noise or other building materials. The more you plan for this in advance, the smoother the process will be once you begin your condo remodel.

Luxury Condominium Remodeling Right on Your Doorstep!

This month’s featured project is a Reston MidTown Condo remodel. This is a gorgeous condo, but the bathrooms were original to the unit and the owner’s were ready to completely remodel all three of them to reflect their personal taste and design aesthetic.

With many condos in the Reston area now well into their second decade, you might be thinking it’s time to remodel yours. We can help! With over 10 years of experience and based right here in Reston, we know a thing or two when it comes to luxury condominium remodeling. We apply our same proven Renovation Roadmap™ methodology to all of our remodels to ensure you renovate happy!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor August 19, 2019 at 11:45 am 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Every project we work on has its own story, unique to each homeowner’s needs and personality. Whether it’s a family just about to have their first child or the kids are grown and getting ready to head off to college, every person’s “why” is different. This is one of the reasons we love what we do!

It’s impossible to single out just one as our favorite, so this month we decided to share some of our team’s top picks for our local remodels.

1. Liz, Office & Client Relations Manager

“This Reston kitchen and first floor remodel was one of my favorites because of how special it was for this couple to have their first permanent home given all of their military relocations. They put their trust us in even though they were not currently living in the area and we provided a beautifully finished home for them to move into to grow their family and settle down.”
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2. Matt, Lead Carpenter

“So many projects have had a real effect on me! If I had to pick one, I will go with this kitchen and family room remodel. Just seeing how much my work meant to the family and their way of embracing how Synergy did things, still resonates. The tears of joy and the hugs were amazing!”
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3. Mina, CEO

“I have too many favorites to choose from, however, I’m currently obsessed with a home we’re just finishing up here in Reston. Our clients fully embraced creating an “Intention Painting” (which is writing an “intention” on the walls in order to energetically connect with the purpose of their remodel). The thought and care they put into it and their focus on creating a positive vibe for all who enter their home really resonated with me.”
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4. Nicola, Director of Sales & Marketing

“As a past client myself, I love how Synergy focuses on how each client uses their space and how it can flow better. Every project is unique — there’s nothing cookie-cutter about any of the projects!

This kitchen remodel resonated with me because the homeowner had a beautiful contemporary design aesthetic, but, with 2 young children, the finished spaces were also family-friendly with lots of storage in a mudroom hidden away from the Kitchen.”
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5. Camille, Interior Designer

One of the projects I loved the most was this recent whole home remodel. It’s rare that you get to do an entire home remodel from major construction down to all new furnishings. It’s a designer’s dream to have a project like this! Watching the client’s vision come to life was the best part!”
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by RestonNow.com Sponsor July 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm 0

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all been there. We pin design and remodeling ideas like crazy on Pinterest, sit glued to our favorite HGTV show and watch with envy as another house is transformed into a dream home.

Or, we browse Houzz projects and wonder how such a dark, closed-in Kitchen became a light and airy space that looks twice the size, but… we are completely stuck when it comes to our own home!

There are a number of reasons why this happens:

  • Maybe you just don’t know where to start, and the different ways to remodel is making your head spin
  • The horror stories of renovation nightmares made you wary of taking on a remodeling project of your own
  • You just don’t want to deal with the disruption and stress and put up with a space even though it bothers you every time you walk into it

It doesn’t have to be like this! While remodeling can be tricky, it doesn’t need to be stressful. It is possible to have a more zen-like experience and keep your stress in check. While there are many ways to feel more in control, here’s a FREE download of the top ten: Ten Secrets to a Stress-Free Home Remodel.

This month’s featured remodel is a single family home in Reston. Our clients were ready to update the home to better reflect the contemporary architecture as well as open up the floor plan of the Main Level. As a busy and musical family of five (with their eldest child soon to be college-bound), they have A LOT going on!

It would have been easy to put it off indefinitely or wait until all the kids were in college before getting started, but the entire family were “all in” and ready to partner with us to keep stress to a minimum during their remodel. Our main goal was to create more open, light filled spaces to allow the family to gather together and enjoy their home for many years to come.

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling for a while, but just keep putting it off because it all seems too much of a hassle, now is a good time to take the first step on your stress-free remodeling journey!

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