Crews appear to have aced the overhaul of Hook Road’s tennis courts, which are once again available for use.

Reston Association finished replacing the Hook Road courts with completely new asphalt court surfaces and coloring earlier this month.

The renovation also involved installing new fencing, drainage, access improvements, and energy-efficient LED lighting, which will be operational by this coming Friday (Aug. 20), according to RA’s capital projects webpage.

After closing for construction starting in March, the four courts opened back up Friday evening (Aug. 13). By Saturday morning, community members were already taking advantage of the refurbished facilities: a game unfolded on one court, while an instructor delivered a tennis lesson on another.

“They’re beautiful, they’re flat, and they play well,” one of the players, Reston resident George Jastrzebski, said of the new courts.

The overhaul of the tennis courts on Fairway Drive ends a years-long journey.

The project was part of a larger upgrade of the Hook Road Recreational Area that RA started working on in 2016. Other projects identified there in a conceptual master plan include improvements to the baseball fields and pathways.

Crews used heavy machinery to grind up the former courts, which were built in the mid-1970s. Crews mixed in cement then laid down the new courts.

Typically for tennis court renovations, Reston Association layers gravel and asphalt on top of the existing surface, but three layers had already accumulated on the Hook Road courts, so they decided to do more extensive renovations, RA Director of Capital Projects Chris Schumaker said in a Reston Today video in late March.

“It will be a much stronger base than prior ones,” Schumaker said in the video. “It should last significantly longer than prior court renovations. We’re usually expecting about 30 or 40 years out of this.”

He also said the project has the benefit of not sending the asphalt into a landfill.

RA has 52 tennis courts, half of which are lighted and eight of which are clay courts, according to its website. A pass is required to use the private courts.

Jastrzebski has played at the Hook Road courts “on and off” but said on Saturday that he might try to use the courts more now that they’re renovated.

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Renovations at Herndon High School that have been in the works for half a decade are nearing completion.

A project to update the 54-year-old building at 700 Bennett Street is in its final stages, Fairfax County Public Spokesperson Jennifer Sellers tells Reston Now.

Most recently, construction workers completed phase three renovations that began about seven months ago. That includes work on areas for gymnastics, wrestling, the auxiliary gym, auditorium, music wing, and an extended main corridor.

The project’s third phase was finished in time to welcome students when they return to school for the new academic year on Aug. 23.

“Overall, Herndon High School will be returning to a much different space than previous,” writes Sellers.

There’s still some work to be done, though, including finishing the concessions building, an additional parking lot, tennis courts, and several instructional rooms. That should all be finished this fall, leaving a few other small items to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

In the meantime, students and staff affected by the ongoing work will be temporarily relocated into interior spaces that have already been renovated until winter break. There will still be one temporary classroom in a trailer until then as well.

Most of the work is also happening towards the back of the building, further limiting the impact on in-person learning.

The last time Herndon High School underwent renovations was 1991.

With the school remaining mostly virtual all of last year, it has allowed construction to happen without interfering with day-to-day operations. The main gym closed for renovations right after a community goodbye and right before the COVID-19 pandemic mostly shut down Fairfax County Public School buildings for more than a year.

Construction on Herndon High School started in early 2018, adding more than 138,000 square feet to the building. In total, nearly 416,000 square feet is being renovated or added, and the school will now have a capacity for about 2,500 students.

Funding for the projects came from bonds approved by county voters.

Nearly three-quarters of county voters supported a $250 million bond referendum in 2013 that partially helped fund the planning of Herndon High School’s renovations. A significant portion of the 2015 $310 million school bond went towards the high school’s renovations and additions.

Courtesy FCPS

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Crossfield Elementary School in Herndon (Photo via Fairfax County/YouTube)

Crossfield Elementary School in Herndon is in the early stages of planning a $31 million renovation and addition.

The project will include renovations of the existing building, plus library and main office additions, a Fairfax County Public School spokesperson told Reston Now in an email.

In total, the renovations and additions will encompass 101,000 square feet of space and is estimated to cost about $31 million. It’s expected to be completed late 2024 or early 2025.

The project is currently in the design phase, with this portion of the project being funded by the 2019 School Bond referendum.

It’s likely to remain in this phase for at least a while longer. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an extension of the review period for the project’s submitted 2232 application during its meeting on Tuesday (July 13).

The 2232 process is required for public facility projects to ensure they are in line with the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan.

Since the application hadn’t been approved within the 60 days of its submission, an extension was needed. This is a standard practice for a public facility project, according to a county official.

After the design phase, it will head to permitting before construction begins.

The elementary school on Fox Mill Road opened in 1988 and is named after A. Scott Crossfield, an aeronautical pioneer who lived nearby the school.

A test pilot in the years leading up to space exploration, Crossfield made history in 1953 when he became the first pilot to break Mach 2, flying twice the speed of sound.

After his retirement, he lived in Herndon and down the street from the elementary school that bore his name. Nearly every year, he attended the school’s sixth-grade graduation. In 2006, at the age of 84, Crossfield was killed when the plane he was flying crashed.

Via Fairfax County/YouTube

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Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa is getting a multi-million-dollar facelift that will include a full interior redesign and the addition of new equipment, property owner Rappaport announced this morning (Tuesday).

The renovation of the 110,000 square-foot fitness facility in Herndon’s Worldgate Centre shopping complex is currently underway, according to the club’s website.

According to Rappaport, the work is expected to be completed by October. The facility will remain open throughout the renovation process, and Worldgate will offer “special packages” to new members who join while construction is ongoing, including an $80 discount on new memberships this July.

“As the anchor of our Worldgate Centre property, this fitness facility will continue to be a hub for the community and focal point for the overall retail, entertainment, and lifestyle experience of this premier destination,” Rappaport CEO Gary D. Rappaport said in a press release.

Overseen by WTS International, which took over management of the fitness center in February, the renovation will update the interior and flooring while introducing new weight and cardio equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bicycles, an interactive rower, and a golf simulator.

Planned new facilities include a boxing studio and a recovery zone. The existing turf training space will be expanded, and the indoor track will get an upgrade.

Under the new management team, Rappaport says in its press release that the renovation will also enable the fitness center to expand its program offerings with “new classes and digital support will be offered to better serve the club members around the clock”:

Designed to complement the wide range of existing services, club members and guests will enjoy enhanced programming features such as virtual fitness solutions, including an on-demand workout library, a member app with class registration, and various virtual events. In addition, Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa will also offer wellness packages, updated spa services, signature fitness programs, and nutritional coaching to boost performance — taking a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Opened in 1988, Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa currently houses an indoor track, a 25-yard swimming pool with six lap lanes, and courts for tennis, squash, racketball, basketball, and volleyball.

“Worldgate is an amazing fitness facility that will be even more special once the renovation is complete,” WTS Senior Vice President of Fitness Chris Griebe said. “The enhancements will draw more clients but just as importantly will strengthen the greater Herndon community. With our deep experience, we are excited to help lead these exciting changes.”

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Reston Hospital Center main entrance (courtesy Reston Hospital Center)

Reston Hospital Center is spending nearly $20 million for upgrades and renovations as it prepares to enhance its robotic-assisted surgery program.

The project calls for constructing four new, larger operating rooms and modernizing other areas “to provide added capacity to Reston’s robust surgical offering which performs over 10,000 surgeries annually,” a news release said.

The design phase of the renovation, which will involve over 22,000 square feet of space, is scheduled to begin this summer.

“This infusion of capital will upgrade our surgical capability and capacity to help deliver a world-class surgical experience for our patients and surgical care teams,” John Deardorff, chief executive officer of the HCA Healthcare Northern Virginia market and Reston Hospital Center, said in the news release.

The Richmond-headquartered health care system said the changes will help serve more patients. The hospital expects surgeries to continue uninterrupted during the project, hospital spokesman Todd McGovern said in an email.

The new and upgraded operating suites will help improve patient outcomes through the adoption of emerging technologies and innovative surgical approaches to help reduce hospital stays and lessen recovery times. The added capacity will allow Reston Hospital’s care teams to treat more patients needing complex spine care, orthopedic care, and minimally invasive surgery across a range of surgical specialty areas such as bariatric (weight loss), colorectal, general, hepatobiliary, gynecologic, thoracic (lung), and urologic surgery.

The Food and Drug Administration and researchers previously shared concerns about various robotic surgeries, noting that although they’ve been taking place in the U.S. since 2000, patients should be aware of outcomes and available evidence.

Different types of surgical areas have been taking off. Based on one measure, the number of general surgery procedures conducted by U.S. hospitals rose from 10,000 in 2010 to 246,000 in 2017, according to a physicians’ estimate.

Some doctors also raised concerns about costs for rural hospitals, noting in December 2020 that despite advantages noted with the procedures, there’s still a lack of high-quality evidence in most areas.

The planned upgrades are in addition to the hospital projecting to spend $70 million on projects that include a new freestanding emergency department at 8240 Leesburg Pike in Tysons coming in 2022.

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Renovations at Reston’s Langston Hughes Middle School are expected to be mostly complete by the time students return in the fall.

Started in early 2019, the $39 million renovation project will add about 183,566 square feet to the school at 11401 Ridge Heights Road. It has remained mostly on track timing-wise with “substantial completion” tentatively set for this fall, confirms Fairfax County Public School spokesperson Lucy Caldwell.

Final closeout work is expected to be finished by the end of the calendar year.

“The schedule is tentative and while FCPS will hold the contractor to the terms of the contract, there are items such as material and supply shortages which we do not have control over and may impact a schedule,” Caldwell noted in an email to Reston Now.

The renovations and addition are being funded by bond referendums approved by Fairfax County voters in 2015 and 2017.

With school now out for the summer, crews are currently working on renovating the music department, drama department, custodian office, equipment storage, gyms, and locker rooms.

The last 18 months have seen the completion of work on the library, cafeteria and kitchen, bus loop, parking, classroom renovations, and a two-story addition on the left side of the building.

Also added is the “Hall of Nations,” a flexible space intended to serve as an auditorium, a classroom, or a breakout space.

The immense renovation and considerable additions are intended to accommodate about 1,250 students at the middle school, which had 1,011 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 academic eyar.

“The new addition and complete renovation will provide ample natural light, 21st Century technology and a welcoming learning environment for our students,” the school’s website says.

Langston Hughes Middle School opened in November 1980, but construction was still ongoing on some elements, including the kitchen, so students were served cold “Super Sack” lunches of sandwiches and fruit. The official dedication of the school took place six months later in May 1981.

It was named after poet Langston Hughes, continuing a tradition of naming county public schools after poets and authors like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Rachel Carson. Although Hughes lived mostly in Harlem, New York, a resurgence of interest in his works at the time resulted in Fairfax County naming a school after him.

Hughes was also the great-nephew of local abolitionist John Langston, who has a number of schools and streets now named after him in Arlington.

Come the fall, students are expected to return to in-person learning five days a week. While most of the renovations will be done by then, final “punch list” items and minor work will likely still need to be completed.

This may include removal of trailers and stabilization of grass and plantings, writes Caldwell. Some of this construction may be performed in the evenings and weekends for safety reasons and to avoid disruptions.

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The $3.5 million renovation of Reston Association’s Lake Thoreau pool has hit more roadblocks, this time due to lack of contractor availability and soaring material costs.

Already three months behind initial estimates, an October groundbreaking remains the official goal, but there’s a likelihood that the date will be pushed back again.

“Due to the volatility of the construction market, narrowing down the final estimate for this project is challenging,” RA spokesperson Mike Leone told Reston Now in an email. “Assuming the timeline holds, construction would start around October but there is a possibility it could be pushed into November.”

RA recently sent out requests to 10 contractors for pre-qualifying bids on the project, but the association received only two responses.

“This is a little bit disappointing, but indicative of the market that many, many contractors are very, very busy,” Chief Operating Officer Larry Butler said at RA’s Board of Directors meeting last Thursday (May 27).

Butler said the hope is to bring on a contractor when the project design and development are 80% complete, so the contractor can provide their own insight and expertise before sending it to Fairfax County for approval.

Leone says it’s expected that a contract with a general contractor will be ready for review and approval by the RA board in August or September.

Another element currently complicating the project is fast-rising material costs. Butler notes that the $3.5 million project budget was established prior to the recent spike in material costs.

“Here’s a really crazy example…There’s a lot of piping in pools. PVC costs are up 270% from March 2020 to March 2021,” Butler explained.

The hope is that prices will stabilize and drop, but “it’s an ever-moving target,” he says.

The overall cost of the renovations and the means of paying for them have been an ongoing source of conflict since the project first started in late 2019. The project is now rather lean, though at least one RA board member was asking about the potential for further cuts.

The issues with the Lake Thoreau renovations come as RA contemplates raising member assessments and, possibly, repurposing other pools  due to ongoing budgetary challenges.

Key design elements being added or modified at Lake Thoreau pool include ADA access to the main pool, re-working of the roof geometry, a zero-depth area, a repositioning of the spa away from the bathhouses, and a redesign of the overlook deck. A pollinator garden will also be added near the parking lot.

The renovations are expected to be completed about a year after construction begins, so that could be in October or November 2022. A grand reopening of Lake Thoreau pool is anticipated in May 2023.

However, Leone cautions that the timing could change.

“If the start of construction is delayed for whatever reason, then there is a chance the grand re-opening could be delayed,” he told Reston Now.

Photo via Reston Association

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Morning Notes

Power Shut Off around Reston Town Center — Dominion Energy turned off power in Reston on Saturday evening (May 8) so that first responders from Fairfax County’s police and the fire departments could address “an incident involving an individual who has climbed a power transmission line.” [Fairfax Alerts]

Hunter Woods Community Gardens Plagued by Thefts — Two community gardens at Hunter Woods Park have been repeatedly targeted by thieves, who have taken thousands of dollars in plants over the past two years, volunteers say. The thefts have persisted despite the installation of surveillance cameras, motion-sensor-triggered lights, and new fencing with a padlocked gate. [Patch]

Halley Rise Officially Signs Second Tenant — The bowling, bocce, and bar venue Pinstripes has had its sights set on the Halley Rise development for at least two years, but the move is now official. This is the second retail tenant to join the mixed-use development next to the Reston Town Center Metro station, which will be anchored by Wegmans. [H&R Retail]

South Lakes Safeway Burglarized on May 2 — “A man entered the store, damaged a secured high-end liquor cabinet and stole property. An employee confronted the man and was subsequently assaulted. The man implied he had a firearm then left with the property.” [FCPD]

Contract Awarded for Fox Mill Elementary Renovation — The Fairfax County School Board voted on Thursday (May 6) to award a nearly $20 million contract to Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. for the Fox Mill Elementary School renovation project. On-site construction work will begin this month and is expected to be completed by spring 2023. [FCPS]

Reston Wellness Center Reopens Today — The nonprofit Reston Wellness Center (1850 Cameron Glen Drive, Suite 200) is restarting in-person services on May 10 after being closed due to the pandemic. The center provides meals, employment assistance, support groups, and other services for free to people in recovery for mental health and substance use issues. [Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Mina Fies, founder and CEO of Synergy Design and Construction

By Makaila Oaks

Mina Fies, founder and CEO of Synergy Design & Construction, recently collaborated with Redfin and a number of remodeling experts from across the country to compile the most important questions to ask before you hire a home remodeling contractor.

The following is an excerpt of the top five questions we think you should ask before you sign on the dotted line.

1. Ask yourself if the project calls for a full-service remodeling contractor or if a handyman can do the job.

Using a glorified handyman to take on a complex project can be disastrous. The difference is professionalism. If your project involves more than just minor repairs or you’re doing more than just updating finishes (such as tile or paint), you want a bona-fide remodeling contractor.

Ask the company you’re considering, “What type(s) of work do you specialize in? Are you registered/licensed, and do you belong to a professional industry group like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or BBB? Show me your work, give me some references, and tell me about your processes.”

Adding these items to the list of questions to ask a contractor will help you decide if they’re a good fit for your project.

— Michael Hill, owner, CCH Design | Remodel of Meridian Idaho

Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction

2. Do you handle all phases of the project — from design to construction?

You’ll want to hire someone who can walk you through the entire process, from helping with the design and renderings, to acquiring necessary permits, to executing the work professionally. Working with the same company throughout the entire project keeps the process smooth and seamless, as opposed to hiring different people throughout every phase.

Yourson Contracting

Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction

3. How many projects do you have going on, and what is the timeline for our project?

This is an important question to ask a contractor to make sure they aren’t too busy to take on the homeowner’s project. The homeowner will also want to know when the contractor will start and complete the project, and what the project schedule will be. This way the homeowner can be prepared and plan around the construction. This will also help the homeowner be ready for any materials they are providing to be on site for when the contractor needs them, avoiding delays.

AGA Construction Inc.

Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction

4. Can you tell me about an issue you’ve dealt with recently where something went wrong on a project and how you handled it?

Interview your contractor as you would interview a prospective employee by asking open-ended questions. Hearing stories about how they’ve overcome obstacles in the past will provide valuable insight on how they would handle issues on your project. It will also open up a discussion around expectations for communication going forward.

— Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction

5. Will there be a dedicated team working on my project?

As we navigate home renovations during COVID-19, this might be one of the most important questions to cover with your contractor. When it comes to who will be on the job, consistency is key. It’s normal for contracting companies to be working on multiple projects at once, so make sure to verify that there will be a dedicated team on your project. If this is not an option, make sure the company goes over the safety precautions that have been put in place due to COVID-19.

Penn Construction & Design

Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction

Ready for a full service design-build home remodeling experience with a company right here in Reston who can help you answer these questions? Get in touch!

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Construction on a renovation project at Herndon’s Fox Mill Elementary School will begin in May, Fairfax County Public Schools tells Reston Now.

The Fairfax County School Board is scheduled to open a bidding period for contractors as new business during its meeting tonight (Thursday). FCPS will receive bids on April 14 and develop recommendations before the board awards a contract at its May 6 meeting.

According to FCPS, the existing 71,718 square-foot building will be renovated and expanded by about 19,000 square feet, bringing the school’s size up to 91,123 square feet.

The addition will include a new courtyard and secondary entrance, a new basketball court, and an expanded parking lot. New electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, and cooling systems will be installed.

Fox Mill will also get a new main entrance with “updated, more modern front elevation,” and the existing hallways will be redesigned to “simplify and provide easier navigation through the building,” FCPS said.

According to FCPS’s proposed capital improvement program for fiscal years 2022-2026, Fox Mill currently has a design capacity of 840 students and a program capacity of 683 students. The planned renovation will actually shrink the design capacity to 650 students.

Enrollment at Fox Mill dropped from 598 students in the 2019-2020 school year to 544 students in 2020-2021. The school has fluctuated between 81 and 92% capacity utilization over the past decade, peaking at 643 students in the 2014-2015 school year.

This will be the first time that Fox Mill has been renovated since its doors opened in 1979, though it did get an addition in 1980.

FCPS says the project carries a total estimated cost of $30 million, including a projected cost of $18.5 million for construction. Fairfax County voters approved school bonds in 2017 and 2019 that, respectively, included $2 million for planning and $27.5 million for construction, according to the CIP.

According to FCPS, construction will be completed in the spring of 2023.

Rendering via FCPS

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By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

One of the things we love about being a remodeling company in Reston is the diversity of the homes we get to work on! From the original townhomes of Waterview Cluster to the newest condos in Reston, every home tells a story, and we love working with clients who are ready to write theirs.

With many of the houses built in Reston’s early years now well into their fifth decade, you may be living in one and are starting to think it’s time for an update. If this sounds like you, here’s some inspiration for turning your 1970s home into a modern oasis that will stand the test of time.

1. Create a More Open Concept

There was a time when clearly defined rooms were the only way houses were designed and built. It’s very common in older homes in this area. The kitchen. The dining room. The family room. The bonus room that no one really knows what to do with. This often meant the size of the kitchen was compromised leading to odd “U” shaped or cramped galley kitchen.

Over the years, the way we use space has changed with less demand for formal dining rooms and more demand for multi-functional spaces that serve as family gathering areas with informal dining, and let’s face it — once we can safely gather again — the kitchen is THE room where guests congregate.

The kitchen has taken center stage as the place where most homeowners are willing to spend more to get more. The most obvious example of a way to give your kitchen a modern feeling is to create a more open plan concept and increase the usable square footage in your kitchen. This is usually achieved by completely removing walls between rooms. Not in your budget? You can also make a huge difference by creating larger openings between rooms to improve the flow and allow more natural light into your space.

Read our previous blog How to Tell if a Wall is Load-bearing, and ALWAYS get a professional opinion before you take down any walls!

The home below was built at the very end of the ’70s. This is a great example of how removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room enabled us to expand the size of the kitchen and add a large island with lots of room for the family. The dining room was relocated to another room at the front of the home.

In this second example, this Reston townhome had undergone a previous renovation some years ago, but this time around we opened up the kitchen to the dining room, which not only provided better flow and light, it opened up the fabulous view to Lake Thoreau.

2. Flooring, Stairs and Front Doors!

Parquet floors. Small square tiles. Carpet. Painted stair railings. If you love them, don’t change them. However, these are some of the things that really age a home. Some of them are an easy(ish!) fix.

If your hardwood floors have lost their luster, you don’t necessarily need to replace them. Spend the money to get them sanded and refinished. The popularity of hardwood is going nowhere, so if you’ve got some original 1970s wood floors, they are probably a quality product, and the quirks and imperfections acquired over the years make them even more endearing. Take care of them, and give them a chance to shine in their own right!

If you have tile in your kitchen but hardwood floors elsewhere, you may also be able to tooth new hardwood floors into the existing floors. This will require the entire floor to be refinished to avoid a patchy look, but it is possible, and the same flooring throughout provides cohesiveness between spaces.

We’d like to tell you that small square brown/white/yellow/pink/blue 1970s bathroom tile is “in” again. Alas, it’s not. Although a tile called zellige has become popular in recent years, that’s about as close as it gets to the 1970s tile we all know. It’s time to let it go. Want to know more about tile trends and how you can get an updated look? Read our latest blog!

Lastly, unless you live in a cluster neighborhood with HOA rules about what you can and cannot do on the exterior of your home, start with the front door (as long as the Reston Association is OK with that!). Nothing provides better curb appeal and an instant home update than a new front door.

The Reston home below (built in 1970) shows how a beautiful new front door, refinished floors/stairs and modern cable railing bring this home right up to date — but still look perfectly at home!

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Lake Audubon Pool, operated by Reston Association, is in the midst of renovations. The pool is undergoing re-plastering, the pump and filter are being replaced, and other plumbing is being fixed.

Work began in mid-January and is expected to be completed sometime between mid-April and early May. But weather could delay the project, cautions Mike Leone of Reston Association.

This is all part of Reston Association’s regular maintenance plan and required for compliance under Fairfax County Health Department code. Plaster coatings have about an eight-to-ten- year service life, writes Leone in an email to Reston Now.

Another Reston Association pool, Lake Thoreau, is also expected to undergo renovations but a funding hang-up has caused delays. The Lake Thoreau Pool project could cost up to $3.5 million.

Lake Audubon pool renovation project is costing roughly $120,000, according to Leone.

At this time, it remains unclear when Reston Association pools will open this summer. In 2020, four out of 15 pools opened in late June.

“RA does not have hard dates for the opening of any of our pools for the 2021 summer season,” wrote Leone. “We are planning to open as many facilities as we can this summer.”

As pool season inches closer, updates will be posted on the Reston Association website.

Photo courtesy of Reston Association

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With Herndon High School’s phase two renovations now completed, the school has moved to phase three. This includes renovations to the auditorium, music, performing, and fine arts rooms, auxiliary gym, and wrestling and gymnastics room.

All of the work should be completed this summer and be ready for students when they are back in the building full-time next school year, assistant principal Jim Hannon tells Reston Now.

The main gym was part of phase two renovations and that was finished late last year, complete with new bleachers. December, when a limited crowd was allowed to attend a basketball game, was the first time they were used.

Work has moved at a decent clip with students and full staff not in the building due to COVID-19 restrictions.

However, Hannon says it’s been “a little bit of a wash” in terms of construction moving any faster. He says that many of the areas being renovated are in isolated areas anyway and the number of construction workers are more limited to social distancing requirements.

After phase three, renovations will begin on the tennis courts, adding additional parking, stadium press box and concession stand, and the food prep area of the cafeteria. That’s the final phase of renovations that first began more than two years ago.

In all, the renovation project is adding more than 138,000 square feet to the more than five-decade old high school building, expanding it by about a third. It will have a capacity of 2,500 students.

Hannon says that all of that work should be done by summer 2022.

Photo courtesy of Jim Hannon

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By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It’s the New Year and despite the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, home remodeling services are in high demand. The low-key holidays at home and ongoing virtual nature of work and school have many of us thinking ahead to later this year when (hopefully) we’ll be able to entertain once more and/or have family come to stay.

Whether you’ve decided it’s time to remodel your kitchen, create a more open concept on your main level, finally finish that unfinished basement or just simply turn your master bathroom into a retreat, here’s our guide to helping you find the right remodeler for your project.

1. Match your project needs to the right type of remodeler

Knowing who you need is the first step in any remodel. With some many different companies out there, it’s not always easy to navigate who does what. Here’s a good place to start (and it’s one of the biggest questions we get): What’s the difference between a general contractor and a design-build home remodeling company?

A general contractor (sometimes simply referred to as a “GC”) typically focuses on small- to medium-sized interior projects. They are responsible for overseeing the construction phase of your remodel and for finding/hiring the appropriate tradespeople to complete the project if they do not have the expertise themselves or in-house. You, on the other hand, will likely have to come up with the design and, in most circumstances, pick out the materials for the project and project manage it.

GCs are perfectly suited to smaller pull-and-replace type remodels where you are not significantly changing the footprint and are replacing like-for-like in the existing footprint. The quality and price of using a GC varies greatly depending on the level of support they offer, the size of the project and the quality of the project management in keeping the remodel on-time and on-budget.

In terms of a design/build company, a full-service firm (like Synergy Design & Construction) manages all aspects of your home remodel and guides you through your project — from design all the way through construction. They do all the heavy lifting as well as project manage it along the way. Design/build firms tend to focus on medium- to large-scale residential projects: design-thoughtful whole home renovations as well as kitchens, basements and bathrooms. They may also offer services for home additions (though we do not).

Most design/build firms “design everything they build and build everything they design,” so most local firms will not bid on design-only services, and/or the design services they provide cannot be used to hand off to a general contractor. In-house design and professional project management delivers a better customer experience from an accountability and quality perspective, but on the flip side, good design and well-executed construction takes time and may cost more. At Synergy, our typical clients intend to stay in their home to enjoy their space, so we don’t offer kitchen “refreshes,” flips or simple updates like powder rooms (unless it’s part of a larger project).

Do your research and poke around various websites to see examples of the type of work and level of support a company provides. Read testimonials and Google reviews — they are a great way to get a sense of what a company is all about from real clients.

Still need more help? Read Best Remodelers in Reston and Where To Find Them.

2. Don’t play your cards too tight to your chest

It’s one of the biggest hurdles to overcome: being honest about budget. It’s important to have this conversation early in the process so the companies you talk to better understand your investment goals. Your remodeler of choice can be realistic with you in terms of how far your budget will go and how best to maximize it.

Keep in mind a pull-and-replace kitchen remodel is going to cost less than reconfiguring your kitchen to move your sink (for example) or any changes that require additional plumbing, mechanical and electrical work. The level of finish will also drive up cost. From cabinetry to countertops to tile to flooring, these costs add up. Appliance packages alone can be a huge chunk of your budget, so your home remodeler should be able to work with you to determine where to splurge and where to save without sacrificing quality and finish.

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By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Transitional design continues to reign supreme when it comes to kitchen remodels in Reston and across the county, but with so many homes in our area leaning toward more contemporary architecture, a transitional kitchen is not the only way to go. We love it when clients are ready to remodel with a more modern aesthetic that’s in keeping with the rest of their home.

When we think of “contemporary design,” it sometimes conjures up images of cold, urban, minimalist design. Not so! Contemporary design tends to get a reputation as being reserved for city dwellers with lots of exposed brick, concrete and ductwork, but today’s contemporary design bridges the gap between the extreme of the ultra-modern and the everyday “we actually live here and not in a magazine version of ourselves” look.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve a more contemporary look:

  • To avoid a space feeling ‘cold,’ don’t use all one color of cabinetry. Natural wood colors have been re-introduced into cabinetry, and it’s a trend we LOVE. Think white oak base cabinets and white upper cabinets or the incorporation of walnut into your design. We’re calling this as one of the major design trends in coming years. What else is on our list? Read “The Synergy Team Calls the 2021 Home Remodeling & Interior Design Trends.”
  • Paint trends are leaning toward more calming and natural colors. Use paint as another way to modernize your space without losing warmth. Not sure where to start? Check out these color trends of 2021.
  • It’s all about tile! Geometric or textured tile is a trend that began a few years ago and is here to stay. A great way to update your look is a simple backsplash or floor update.
  • Fixtures don’t need to be all chrome to be modern. One of our favorite trends in recent years is the use of mixed metals. (Think: honey bronze, black and rose gold.)

This month’s featured home remodel is a contemporary Reston gem. This Reston home had great bones and a lot of personality, but the finishes were dated, and a load-bearing wall between the kitchen and dining room made the spaces feel small and closed-off. This remodel was all about breathing a breath of fresh, modern air throughout the main level and opening up the floor plan. You can see more of the ‘before and afters’ of this project here.

Whatever your aesthetic, our in-house team of interior designers are ready to help you design your dream kitchen, master bathroom or basement. We don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach and each project we work on is a custom remodel. Ready to work with a company who can turn your design vision into reality? Get in touch!

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