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County Completes $14 Million Renovation Project of Reston-Herndon Bus Garage Facility

Ahead of the completion of phase two of the Silver Line project, a nearly $14 million renovation project of the Reston-Herndon bus garage facility on 268 Spring Street is complete.

County officials said the facility will help support Fairfax Connector bus operation in Reston and Herndon as the Silver Line project brings more demand to the area.

The project was funded through revenue from the commercial and industrial tax and general obligation bonds. A ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new facility was held today (September 19).

Staff now have a working environment that is safer, more efficient, and more comfortable than before,” county officials wrote in a statement.

The renovation project includes the following:

  • An existing bay was closed to create a new drive-through bus wash
  • Addition construction for exterior tire storage
  • Upgrades to vehicle lifts and service equipment
  • Creation of automated parts storage system
  • Modernization of drivers lounge and administration areas
  • Addition of new fueling station
  • Replacement of bus parking lot surface with heavy-duty concrete
  • New parking lot for staff

Photo via Fairfax County Government

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Reno of the Month: Reston Homes with Organizational Must-Haves

by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

School is back in session but many of us are still in recovery mode from all the first day prep work!

Multiple trips to different stores to buy everything from dinosaur pencils to glitter glue to never-ending supplies of hand sanitizers and wipes. Forbes reports the average family spends around $500 per child on back-to-school items.

Now it’s the inevitable collection of backpack contents and “no, you can’t throw it away! I made it for you!” items that start piling up on your kitchen counter. Don’t know where to put stuff? Constantly asked by your family, “Where did you put my… ?”. You are not alone! Consider this:

  • Americans spend 9 million hours looking for things (organizedworld.com)
  • On average, people spend 6 minutes a day looking for their keys, cell phones and wallets/purses
  • According to napo.net, getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework

Given the money spent and time wasted in a cluttered home, this month we’re highlighting how organization can be beautifully accomplished as part of your home remodel. Perhaps some of these features should move to your “must-have” list!

Joys of a well-designed Mud Room

High traffic areas like mud rooms can become nightmarish drop zones. Mud room design should make much more efficient use of space with lots of cubbies, thoughtful storage and built-in cabinetry with ample space for coats, bags and backpacks.

One of our clients even asked us to incorporate a wet-zone to help ease post-swim meet chaos! Having a well-thought out mud room means the whole family has dedicated storage as they enter/exit the house.

Double Duty Laundry

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that laundry rooms are no longer just about function either — nothing beats a beautiful, put-together laundry that makes you feel good!

One of our clients wanted a contemporary laundry that served double duty as a craft space. With a young family, having somewhere to put all their “stuff” was also high on the wishlist. We were able to provide this with TONS of storage hidden behind oversized sliding doors.

It’s hard to know exactly what you want if you can’t visualize the space. Whoever you pick as your remodeling partner, ask them if they provide 3D renderings to show how much bang for your remodeling buck you can get with more organization.

Renderings allow you to see conceptually what the space will look like and if the design will work for you and your family.

Purposeful use for every nook and cranny

Most of us have unused areas in our home that are, quite literally, a waste of space. Good design maximizes the use of every square inch of a home. The basement of a recent Leesburg whole home remodel shows two instances of smart use of space for added organization.

In the game room, a void space was used to create storage for a table tennis top and pool cues. The space is accessed by a hidden, flush door that blends into with the wall. The remodel also opened up the space under the basement stairs to create a mini-refuge in the new niche. With built-in drawers and a twin mattress along with a bookshelf, extendable sconce and a nearby outlet, the house is tidy and ready for the grandkids!

Incorporate Built-In storage

Oh, the joy built-in storage can bring! Beautifully designed storage doesn’t mean it loses its functionality. Open shelves are great if you are good with staging; the key is to keep it simple and only display one or two “objets” to provide visual interest and not make a room feel too cluttered.

If open shelving isn’t for you but adding doors to cabinets is going to break the budget, there are lots of great options to hide items in boxes and containers that provide an inexpensive alternative from The Container Store to Target.

Interested in more hints and tips to master your remodel? Read our blogs or sign up to receive information directly in your inbox!

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Major Renovations Underway at Herndon High School

Students will return to Herndon High School tomorrow (August 27) as a major construction project at the school, which has not been renovated since 1991, continues.

Between now and the 2022-2023 school year, more than 100,000 square feet of space will be added to the school. Renovations were approved as part of the FCPS Fiscal Year 2017-2021 Capital Improvement Program, which includes $310 million approved by county voters in a school bond referendum.

Currently, the second half of phase one of the project is underway, which includes adding a new wing to the back of the building and an addition to the front of the building where a new library, main office and administrative and counseling offices will be located. The school’s assistant principal Jim Hannon expects this phase to be completed by next fall or the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Three other phases remain, which call for renovating locker rooms, art rooms, the gym, music rooms, the cafeteria, the stadium press box and tennis courts. 

School officials told Reston Now that parking continues to be a challenge this year. The number of spaces was slashed from 377 to 90, pushing the school to create a lottery system to accommodate student parking. Seniors who received a number between 1 and 100 in the recent lottery will receive spaces. Others must complete application forms to be entered into the lottery.

Photos via Fairfax County Public Schools

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Reno of the Month: Why Do Renovations Go Wrong?

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Have you ever wondered why renovations go wrong? Here are some of the most common complaints we hear from homeowners:

  • The contractor said the work would be completed by the end of June. It’s August and there’s STILL no end in sight.
  • The estimate they provided at the start of the project bears no resemblance to what it’s actually costing me.
  • Why am I the one driving the project and making all the design decisions?
  • There seems to be an endless stream of people in my home but I’m not sure who’s actually in charge!

Does any of this sound familiar?

Most complaints are the result of remodelers not having a clear pathway and strong synergy between the design and construction phases of a project. They’re all too eager to get started and give you a ballpark estimate with no reality around allowances for your design choices, the complexity of your remodel or they have no project plan in place to get you to your end game.

No one wants a “I wasn’t expecting that!” moment in the middle of a remodel which inevitably adds time and cost to your project.

That’s why we created the Renovation Roadmap™ as our way to help you navigate the remodeling process. Think of our proprietary system as your ticket to an exceptional remodeling experience. We take care of every step of the process from plans and designs to providing exact costs and a detailed timeline for quality construction.

Why is this important? It eliminates change orders, unexpected bills, delays, frustration and — most importantly — it allows you to have some fun along the way!

Our Reno of the Month features a kitchen remodel in Fairfax Station. Our clients had a poor experience with a previous remodeler and had been searching for another partner to work with for 4 years!

Friends and family said there was no way we could finish on time (having not had that experience with remodels themselves) and our client took great delight in walking everyone through the completed spaces ON TIME!

Why was our client so happy? Because they felt completely taken care of from start to finish.

Learn why our approach works and sign up to receive our free Renovation Roadmap™ brochure!

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Reno of the Month: Who is in Your Home?

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Many homeowners make assumptions about the general contractor or remodeling firm they pick for their remodel. You get a great first impression from the initial sales meeting, but, odds are those aren’t the same people who’ll actually be in your home doing the work every day.

Carpenters and construction crews will be in your life, around your kids and overseeing your investment each day of the project, so don’t forget to ask questions during the selection of a remodeling partner about the people actually doing the work:

  • Are your carpenters in-house employees or subcontractors?
  • Do I have a dedicated lead for my project?
  • What training or certifications do workers have?
  • What standards will the staff follow while they’re in my home?
  • Who will have access to keys while work is being completed?

So much of a home remodel depends on labor, so it’s important you’re comfortable with the field expertise of your team.

While all of our carpenters are in-house team members, and one will be assigned a specifically oversee your project’s quality, safety and security protocols, not every company operates that way.

It takes a lot of trust to invite people into your home and we don’t take that lightly. Although many of our clients live in the home while we’re remodeling, others schedule their remodel while they’re out-of-town, or even relocating from outside of the area!

Regardless of who you choose to remodel your home, the point is to go beyond the initial sales call and find out who will actually be doing the work and overseeing your project.

Our Reno of the Month features a client who was living in Massachusetts during both the design and construction phases of their project.

We took all the necessary measures to ensure we delivered a perfect renovation while respecting safety and cleanliness, leaving nothing behind but a gorgeous, transformed home. Their neighbor even commented, “Thanks again for the neighborly way the crew handled everything. It’s really like we never knew you were there!”

Want to learn more about our team? Find out Who We Are!

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Renovation Planned at Westin Reston Heights as New Owner Takes Over

Noble Investment Group, a Georgia-based investment company, has acquired Westin Reston Heights, a 191-room hotel located at 11750 Sunrise Valley Drive.

The company plans to renovate guests rooms and common areas in the hotel. Westin Reston Heights has a business room and is also the location of Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Noble principal Ben Brunt said the acquisition was motivated by substantial growth and corporate relocations planned in Reston.

“The Westin afforded Noble the opportunity to acquire a first-class physical asset that is well suited to the wide array of demand generators in the area while offering substantial upside through the reconfiguration and enhancement of the hotel public spaces and guest rooms,” Brunt wrote in a statement.

Nearby, another hotel changed hands this year. In March, Wurzak Hotel Group and DoveHil Capital Management acquired Sheraton Reston Hotel at 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive. A renovation project is planned for the 298-room hotel.

Photo by Starwood Hotels

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Reno of the Month: Busy Person’s Guide to Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

It’s summertime and the last thing on your mind is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year.

It seemed like a great idea at the time when you committed, but now you have 24 people coming, it’s already June and you need to get going on your remodel.

If you don’t have time to remember to defrost something for dinner, how are you supposed to find time to pick a contractor who suits your project, fits your family’s crazy schedule and — equally as important — your budget?

If you’re already feeling swamped and overwhelmed, understanding and then aligning your renovation needs to the type of service a particular contractor provides is a HUGE time-saver.

There are many ways to renovate, so knowing what you need is the first step. Which one of these scenarios best describes you?

  • You like a good DIY project on the weekend, but you know this one is above your level of expertise. If it doesn’t involve major design or architectural changes, it could be an easy ‘add’ for you to manage the little details of working with a handyman and coordinate with other trades for your project
  • You’ve done a lot of remodeling before and you feel pretty savvy about what it takes to project manage a remodel. You love making design and material selections and don’t mind ordering materials yourself. In this case, you may find it easiest to work with a general contractor who will focus mainly on install and execution of your vision
  • Your plate is full and you just don’t know where to start. Although you love design (HGTV is your go-to channel), you’re not confident on how to pull everything together and are afraid of making a mistake. When it comes to construction, you don’t want to be coordinating anything! In your case, a full-service design-build firm will guide you through your project from design all the way through to construction, do all the heavy lifting as well as project manage it along the way

Our featured renovation was for a client who fell into the 3rd category. They needed a whole home remodel for an active family with 2 teenagers who wanted spacious, bright, stylish but functional design that matched their busy lifestyle.

Knowing they didn’t have the design vision or time to project manage such a large remodel themselves, they quickly came to realize a design-build approach was the way to go.

The entire remodel was done while the family lived in the home.

Their new Kitchen is now the “heart of the home” and includes a stunning 9-foot plus island with rich blue cabinets and a White Himalaya polished granite countertop.

The new Mudroom/Laundry space has built-in cubbies for storage and even includes a tech-charging station.

The Master Bathroom is now a spa-like sanctuary, with a beautiful tiled shower and relaxing soaking tub. Additionally, a hall bath, guest bath and powder room were transformed into bright, modern spaces.

You can see more before and after projects on our website and learn how we help homeowners throughout Northern Virginia Renovate Happy!

Not sure which remodeling approach is right for you? download our free “Ways to Renovate” guide to help get you started!

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Reno of the Month: Testimonials Matter

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Testimonials can be quite like Facebook — everyone puts their best foot forward and selected quotes usually only highlight a company in the best possible light.

As a result, many people skip over them. However, testimonials DO matter. Before you spend your hard earned dollars on a remodel, take a few moments to review testimonials to ensure you’ve found the perfect fit for your renovation partner.

Here’s our quick guide to meaningful testimonials:

  • It might sound simple, but do the testimonials sound like they came from a real person? If they focus on the experience, and not just the end product, it’s a safe bet the client felt cared for during the process.
  • Are there photos or videos of actual people on the website? Homeowners who had a great experience are usually willing to share their experience.
  • Are before & after photos available and are they consistent with testimonials? If not, time to move on!
  • Watch video testimonials — they are a great way to hear personal stories and opinions from genuinely satisfied customers.

Our featured Reno of the Month is a recently completed Master Bath and was the second remodel we completed for this client, having remodeled their kitchen a few years ago. Our clients had long dreamed of a sleek, stylish retreat that would transport them out of the builder-grade, basic-white Master Bathroom they had for many years.

While the footprint of the new bathroom mimics the old layout, the streamlined fixtures and materials bring new energy to the space and now truly reflect our clients’ modern tastes. Luxurious touches include back-lit vanity mirrors, a heated towel rack and a custom, teak-wood shower floor mat.

We treasure the trust our clients put in our team and feel fortunate to work on multiple projects for their family as needs change. Let them tell you in their own words why us.

Synergy believes partnership is the only way to go to ensure the remodeling journey is as fun as the destination. Our testimonials reflect our commitment to customer service and why, for us, it is not just a practice, it’s the driving force behind everything we do.

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Reno of the Month: How Job Site Cleanliness Leads to a Great Remodeling Experience

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Most homeowners avoid remodeling projects because they’re afraid of the disruption (and the mess) it will create in their home.

While it’s impossible to completely avoid dust and debris during the process a great contractor will go the extra mile to keep the disruption to a minimum. A few signs to look for in a well-organized job site include:

  • Temporary plastic walls and zippered doorways to separate construction areas from the rest of the home
  • Floor protection is installed to protect walkways to and from the outside
  • HEPA Air Scrubber or other high powered vacuum is in use
  • The dumpster is frequently emptied to minimize dangerous (and unsightly) conditions
  • Garage or staging area is organized with tools in place at the end of each day
  • The spaces being renovated are broom swept daily and left in an orderly fashion

Our featured renovation this month is a Reston townhouse kitchen and first floor. The original floor plan didn’t allow the spaces to interact well. We opened it up from the entry to the kitchen and main living area.

The home is now flooded with light and the updated space is great for entertaining. “What was especially nice was that everything was clean when I came home every night. They took time to clean every day and didn’t have boards and tools lying around everywhere,” commented another happy Synergy client.

Watch the video of our team in action in the field. You can see more of our remodeling transformations and behind-the-scenes videos at RenovateHappy.com.

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Renovation Planned at Sheraton Reston Hotel After New Acquisition

In a joint venture, Wurzak Hotel Group, a Philadelphia-based company, and DoveHill Capital Management have acquired Sheraton Reston Hotel (11810 Sunrise Valley Drive).

DoveHill plans to renovate the 298-room hotel, including all guest bathrooms, the lobby, a new pub, upgrades to the meeting space and a redesign of the building’s exterior.

In a statement, Jake Wurzak, DoveHill’s founder and managing member, said the company looks forward to “redeveloping the hotel into one of the top hotels in the region.”

We are thrilled to expand into the suburban Washington D.C market. The Sheraton enjoys tremendous benefits associated with its strategic placement between Washington, DC and Washington Dulles International Airport,” he said.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Photo via Sheraton Reston Hotel

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Reno of the Month: Why Committing to (and Keeping) Project Completion Dates Matter

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

The #1 complaint I hear from homeowners is that their previous project took much longer than expected.

Working in the design and construction industry for years, I believe one of the biggest mistakes renovation companies make is not providing a clear timeline and plan to homeowners before construction begins.

Here’s a few questions to ask potential remodeling companies to ensure they’ve got the ability (and capacity) to get your project completed on-time:

  • What is a “typical” project size for your company?
  • How often do you take on projects like mine?
  • How many projects do you have going on at one time?
  • Do you provide a timeline for completion of my project?
  • How will you ensure my project will come in on time and on budget?

Our featured renovation this month is a clean-lined, modern Reston kitchen. Our clients had exacting standards and an eye for details and they chose us because we provided them a clear pathway to the finish line (which we call our Renovation Roadmap™).

We use it to help make all design selections and provide the exact costs and construction timeline and — the best bit — this eliminates unexpected costs, delays and frustration!

We love helping homeowners like you, even if you don’t pick us as your remodeling partner. Download your free Renovation Roadmap brochure and receive monthly tools and tips on everything design and renovation.

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Reno of the Month: Herndon Home Remodel

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

Like many of us, Pam and Mike have a busy family life. After living in their Herndon home for twelve years, they loved their house but knew it was time for a makeover.  Family, friends and entertaining were all high priorities which made a new kitchen, laundry, guest bathroom and updated family room move to the top of their remodeling list.

Since most homeowners fear the disruption a remodel brings, especially when it comes to the kitchen, we do our best to ease their angst by making it as smooth as possible. We always set up a temporary kitchen with the essentials homeowners need — a cooktop burner, a microwave, pots and pans — we’ll even move the fridge to make life easier!

We find it’s the things that make the biggest impact to the remodeling experience. It certainly helped Pam, Mike and their family go about their day-to-day lives while living in the home during the construction phase of their project.

Interested in learning more? Let Pam and Mike tell you in their own words Why Us!

Want to see more inspiring Reston remodeling projects?  

Learn more about Synergy Design & Construction — Reston’s own award-winning home remodeling firm focused on multi-room and whole home renovations. We provide a personal approach to home remodeling that is evident throughout the Reston community. Whether you’ve seen our work on the Reston Home Tour, through RA’s Helping Homes projects or at Cornerstones, we are dedicated to helping Reston “Renovate Happy.”  

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Reno of the Month: Lakeside Townhome near Lake Thoreau

Written by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

When Sarah purchased her Lakeside townhome near Lake Thoreau, she knew it needed a complete overhaul. In addition to updating the usual suspects (kitchen cabinets, countertops, paint, flooring, etc.) she wanted a better flow throughout the main floor.

By removing the kitchen pantry, we were able to open up the view to the dining and living rooms and let the light flow throughout the entire space. We also gave the fireplace new life with a modern, brick-like ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern and repurposed a closet area into a built-in beverage and entertaining center.

As always, going beyond just replacing old finishes was important to us. We knew a better flow could easily be attained with a simple, yet thoughtful new floorplan and eye on the overall Interior Alignment® of the space.

The result? Another happy client in a clean and modern Reston home she’d been longing for.

Want to see more inspiring Reston remodeling projects?  

Learn more about Synergy Design & Construction — Reston’s own award-winning home remodeling firm focused on multi-room and whole home renovations. We provide a personal approach to home remodeling that is evident throughout the Reston community. Whether you’ve seen our work on the Reston Home Tour, through RA’s Helping Homes projects or at Cornerstones, we are dedicated to helping Reston “Live Better. Feel Better.”  

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Upgrades to Reston’s Central Services Facility Set to Begin This Month

The renovation of Reston Association’s Central Services Facility will begin this month, according to a video posted to RA’s video channel this week.

Plans to renovate 35-year-old building on 12250 Sunset Hills Road have been suggested for nearly three years. The facility is responsible for maintenance and care of Reston’s facilities, including pavilions, community buildings, garden plots and pathways. will begin this month.

Mike McNamara, RA’s deputy director of maintenance said construction is expected to last through March of next year. Upgrades are necessary as the facility must manage workforce increases, changes in the scope of work and more staff.

McNamara also said renovations will not impact the facility’s current operations.

“There will be contractors on site but services to the members will definitely not be impacted. Every job and every service that we provide will continue throughout the renovation,” he said.

The project was put on hold in June 2016 when RA’s Board of Directors put the project on pause. In December, the board approved releasing funds to allow staff to estimate the cost of the project. In February this year, the board released an additional $200,000 to begin the architecture and engineering phase of the project.

The project will include the following upgrades:

  • bathroom in warehouse building for environmental staff
  • additional exit and ADA accessibility for warehouse office area
  • replace all windows in main building
  • add to bathroom capacity in main building to meet volume needs
  • address leaking roof
  • improve reception area for staff and RA members
  • provide HVAC system for shop area
  • install security system
  • upgrade LAN connectivity
  • provide adequate workspaces
  • provide modular training space
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