Reston Home Remodeling: Your Questions Answered!

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

You’ve started to think about a home remodel and it’s suddenly taking up a LOT of your time and is quickly becoming overwhelming. We get it. This isn’t (and shouldn’t be) your full time job!

So this month, we’re providing answers to some of the most commonly asked questions and concerns we hear from homeowners just like you.

Where do I start? 

Figuring out the different approaches to home remodeling is key to helping you understand what type of contractor you need. Added bonus? If you’ve already started getting estimates it’ll give you insights into why they may be all over the place. A general rule of thumb:

  • A general contractor (GC) will usually focus on the install and execution of your vision, meaning you take on more of the legwork in making design and materials decisions, ordering/buying materials and managing the project yourself.
  • A design-build approach means you are guided through your remodel all the way from design to construction with project management along the way. Design-build firms do the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. They do, however, tend to focus on medium to large scale home remodels.

What is the cost per square foot for a home remodel?

This is a great question! Like most things in life, there is no simple answer. It depends on the level of service you are being provided (for example, full service design-build vs. general contractor), the level of finishes you want (from cabinetry to countertops to fixtures and everything in between) and the complexity and size of the space or spaces you want to remodel (is that a “load bearing wall” I hear you say?).

Read more in Square Foot Pricing for a Home Remodel: What You Should Know.

How long does a home remodel take?

Ah, yes, queue HGTV. Three weeks and a few thousand dollars, right? Not so fast! If someone tells you a few weeks, run! Designing thoughtful remodels take time. The design phase comes first, then construction. Most of our remodels take somewhere between 8 to 14 weeks depending on the size and scope (and that’s just the construction phase)!

Having realistic expectations about how long your home will be under construction will set you up for success and avoid those “renovation nightmares” you hear so much about. Don’t let anyone start your remodel until you’ve finalized the design and selected all your materials (materials should be waiting on construction and not the other way around). Once everything is ordered and/or delivered and ready to go, then, and only then, can the sledge hammers start swinging!

Do I need a permit for my home remodel?

Permits are like insurance policies; if you don’t have them and something goes wrong, you’ve got no coverage and no recourse. Some remodeling companies or general contractors will tell you that you don’t need a permit. It saves them time and money and allows them to skirt around limitations set by the state as to the size of projects they’re authorized to do.

Bottom line: Don’t let others put the responsibility on you to pull your own permits (again, not a good idea), so ask your prospective remodeling partner this question at the outset.

In Reston, if you are part of Reston Association you will also need approval from the Design Review Board (DRB) for any exterior changes to your home. You do not need approval for interior changes.

What red flags should I look out for?

There are a few:

  • The contractor hasn’t worked on a project of similar size and scope to your project before
  • They tell you they can get started on construction right away
  • They don’t have a well-rounded website with project examples and client testimonials (and/or won’t give you any references to talk to)
  • They outsource all of their work to subcontractors and have no in-house team for any aspect of your remodel. Read more in Life Under Construction: Who’s in Your Home?
  • The contractor isn’t licensed and insured

Read more frequently asked questions and get the answers you’re looking for! Still not sure what you need? Here are resources to help you figure out what type of approach is right for your remodel and how to find the best remodelers in Reston.

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As School Year Begins, First Phase of Herndon High School Renovation is Nearly Complete

Students who poured through the halls of Herndon High School on the first day of school yesterday were the first to take advantage of the school’s newest renovation features.

So far, phase one of the major renovation project is nearly complete. Improvements include a new entrance that requires entrances to pass through security and the main office, 65 classrooms, a new gourmet foods room, new science labs and additional classroom spaces.

The new library, which is part of phase one, is behind construction and is expected to open in the coming weeks. For now, students will use the old library, but services will be limited.

Phase two will include new locker rooms, art rooms, an expanded main gym, and a renovated auxiliary gym. Phase three will include a new wrestling and gymnastic rooms, renovated musics rooms and an auditorium, and upgraded baseball and softball structures. The final phase will feature updates to the cafeteria, a new food court design, and updates to the tennis courts and stadium press box.

More than 60 outdoor trailers are expected to remain until next year. School officials said only one trailer was removed over the summer in order to allow construction to take place. Because trailers are in place, a parking lottery will continue, with seniors given priority. The school is working with Herndon United Methodist Church to expand student parking opportunities.

The school’s special education office is now in the new wing of the building. A temporary boys locker room and school clinic is also in place as construction continues.

Photos via Herndon High School

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Reno of the Month: Our Team’s Favorite Local Home Remodels!

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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6. Mark, COO

“Within weeks of finishing the remodel of their master bathroom and kitchen, tragedy stuck when our client’s outdoor grill caught the house on fire. With the interior a total loss from fire and water damage, it gave us the opportunity to take a terrible situation and make it the home they always wanted — from gutting all three levels, to moving the kitchen from one side of the house to the other, to new decks off the kitchen and master suite — we gave them a completely new home.

In the end, we also gained two great friends with a standing annual celebratory dinner in sharing birthdays with husband, Terry.”
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7. Emily, Interior Designer

“This particular project resonated with me because it was probably the closest to the style I would have for my dream home! The house and property were beautiful and I loved the classic/Colonial style. Also, I love custom cabinetry, and we did a LOT of cabinetry in the kitchen and basement.

There were also so many special touches, like the sleeping nook in the basement game room, coffered ceiling in the kitchen, wainscoting in the powder room and the finishing touch: a cat cut-out in the laundry to conceal the litter box!”
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8. Tom, Architect

“A current home we are working on is one of my favorites because the clients are just such great people to work with! There are also lots of moving pieces in their extensive remodel, and I relish the challenge of making their space perfect for them.”
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9. Lisa, Director of Production

“Besides a major kitchen & living room transformation, the whole house look, feel and style was altered by opening up the stairs and creating a more modern look with the railings. I really enjoyed working with this local family from beginning to end!”
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We couldn’t fit in all of our favorites, so if you’d like to see a few more of our projects, read more about our team or learn about our approach, we’re always happy to help!

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Design Review Board Flags Green Paint and “Tacky” Elements in Proposed Hotel Renovation

Reston Association’s Design Review Board deferred a decision on the proposed renovation of Sheraton Reston Hotel last night (Tuesday).

Board members said that some proposed renovations to the 298-room hotel (11810 Sunrise Valley Drive) were tacky and departed significantly from conceptual plans that the DRB approved in mid-October.

As the direction of the project changed, hotel representatives said they dropped several natural wood tone elements and wood-printed screens on the facade of the building in favor of green paint on the fins. Darker gray tones to the building were also proposed.

The green paint is intended to bring in tones from the landscape into the building, according to project representatives. In October, the design had more wood-based elements and lacked a vertical strip of repeated chevron patterns where the sign of the hotel is currently situated.

W. Neal Roseberry, the DRB’s vice chair, said he had a “visceral reaction” to the proposed green color, which he said does a disservice to one of Reston’s most iconic buildings and departs significantly from the previously proposed wood elements that were “a wow.”

“I think its not what Reston needs to be doing to its older iconic buildings,” Roseberry said.

He also noted that the blue colors of the EXO apartment building — which is not within the DRB’s purview — often produces criticism from the community. If approved, the green paint would likely do the same.

Richard Newlon, the DRB’s chairman, also noted that the broader issue was very different from the original conceptual plan and could stand-alone as an entirely new project.

Wurzak Hotel Group, a Philadelphia-based company and DoveHill Capital Management acquired the property in March 2018. The DRB preliminary approved a conceptual renovation plan in October 2018

Photos via handout/Reston Association

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Reno of the Month: The Art of a Hassle-Free Home Remodel

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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Reno of the Month: Open Concept Living — Is It Right For Your Home?

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Unless you live in a new or recently built house, chances are your home was designed with distinctly defined rooms like the kitchen, dining and family room that are closed off from one another.

In some cases, this can be a blessing. If you are using the formal dining room as an office or playroom, it’s a simple step to close the door on the mess (or the noise) when you have visitors!

However, top of the wish list for most of the homeowners we work with is to make their main level feel “more open.”

Most homeowners are ‘over’ walls that block views between rooms or to the outside of the home, the labyrinth of doors that mean one has to be shut before another can be opened, or the dark, closed-in feeling of the kitchen.

Whatever the scenario, creating a more open feel for a space usually starts with removing doors and taking down walls. Although the overall square footage of a space doesn’t necessarily increase, the visual it provides makes it feel like a much bigger space. It’s also a much better way to use space.

With most homeowners rarely using a formal dining room even when they have one, and preferring to be able to see into the eating area or family room when they are in the kitchen, an open floor plan provides better flow between spaces and allows for flexibility in how it’s used. An open concept also allows for more natural light to flow throughout the entire area.

But wait! Before you get too carried away, a few things to consider:

  • A more open concept may not be for everyone. Noise travels, heating and cooling costs may change, flooring may need to be replaced throughout, wall space for artwork is reduced and having a line of sight throughout a space means any messes will instantly be on display. Take time to think about how you use your space before determining if an open floor plan is right for you.
  • Removing load bearing walls can be complicated and costly. Always check with a professional remodeler or structural engineer first to find out if the wall or column you want to remove is load bearing or houses electrical, mechanical or plumbing lines.
  • You don’t have to remove an entire wall to make a space feel more open. Removing a door and taking down part of a wall to create a larger framed entrance between 2 rooms can also make a space feel completely different.
  • Similarly, if square footage is at a premium and you want to retain storage or countertop space, removing the upper half of a wall but retaining the lower half and adding an island countertop (with or without cabinets below) is also a great use of space.

This month, our project highlight features a Lake Townhome in South Reston. It’s hard to beat lake living in Reston!

This townhome has a gorgeous view and a great location, but our clients were ready to update the entire first floor of their home including the kitchen, family room and powder room.

We opened up the space between the kitchen and dining room to maximize the beautiful water view but retained usable storage space by adding under-counter cabinets. The kitchen is now lighter and brighter with an all-season view of the lake.

Our client loves a black and white color scheme, but the backsplash accent tile in the kitchen makes a statement and provides a pop of glorious color.

Ready for your home transformation? We’re always happy to discuss what works in your space!

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Reno of the Month: What Not To Do In Your Remodel

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

At Synergy Design & Construction, we are firm believers in helping homeowners become more informed by providing insights and advice on all things home remodeling.

There are many factors that can result in a ‘renovation nightmare,’ so here are our top 3 things not to do to help you avoid the common pitfalls!

1. Hire the Wrong Type of Contractor

Just figuring out where to get started often leads to many homeowners feeling quickly overwhelmed and giving up at the first hurdle. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you don’t know the difference between a General Contractor and a Design-Build firm, that’s a great place to begin! Knowing who you need from the start is a huge time — and cost — saver.

2. Have Unrealistic Budget Expectations

Having a clear investment goal and communicating it to your contractor at the outset is essential. With so many TV shows setting unrealistic expectations about the time and cost involved in a home remodel, it’s difficult to know if you are being realistic or not. The annual Cost vs. Value Report is a great place to start.

3. Move Forward Without a Clearly Defined Scope of Work and Timeline

Assume nothing! A detailed scope of work ensures you and your contractor are on the same page when it comes to your project. If you are provided with material allowances, do your homework to ensure they are realistic with the level of finish you are expecting. An allowance for low-grade granite when what you really want is gorgeous Carrara marble isn’t going to cut it.

Your chosen contractor should also have a timeline or project plan prepared that clearly shows when they are going to begin and when they’ll be finished with construction. The last thing you want is to be ringing in the New Year with a partially completed kitchen when they said work would be complete by Thanksgiving.

Looking for more insights on “what not to do?” Read 5 Things Not To Do in Your Kitchen Remodel and 5 Things Not To Do in Your Bathroom Remodel.

This month, our featured remodel is a kitchen remodel in Vienna. After almost 10 years in their home and with 2 college-aged kids, our clients were ready to make their space their own. They wanted to create a more open feeling with better flow on the main level with the priority focused on creating a larger kitchen. By expanding into the existing dining room, we were able to do just that.

Although drawn to a casual, warm look and soft textures, they were not afraid of bold color on the island with matching tile accents and other design elements to really make this kitchen shine!

May is National Remodeling month, so if you’ve been thinking about a remodel for a while, now’s the time to finally get around to doing something about it!

We’re always happy to chat!

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Reno of the Month: Community Matters

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” This inspirational quote from Helen Keller has been a guiding principle at Synergy Design & Construction since the company was founded over 10 years ago.

It has been important from the very beginning to grow our impact within our local community — especially to those in need — just as much as growing the Company. That’s why it is such an honor to be recognized for this commitment as a 2019 Best of Reston Honoree!

Best of Reston recognizes the contributions of individuals, businesses, civic and community institutions and organizations who demonstrate significant contributions to the greater Reston/Herndon area through their philanthropy and volunteerism. So, this month, rather than feature one of our remodels, we are celebrating our Community and our Team.

Beyond the sticks and bricks of beautiful remodels, there is an underlying dedication at Synergy to give back to others.

Our team members show their commitment every day from working on housing repairs at Cornerstones transitional housing, helping make the holidays special at the Embry Rucker Community Center, mentoring and participating in the Special Olympics Virginia, donating to ReStore, leading Girl Scout Troops, running an arts program at a local elementary school to our recent participation in Walk MS Reston… and much, much more!

Inspired to volunteer? Here are more ways to get involved in our community:

  • Cornerstones offers year round volunteer opportunities
  • Reston Community Center has a number of needs throughout the year
  • You don’t need Marie Kondo to have a clear out. Green Drop will pick donations up right from your front door
  • Volunteer Reston offers teen volunteer youth/family groups opportunities for middle and high schoolers
  • All about the arts? Greater Reston Arts Center needs volunteers of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in May
  • Help make someone’s day brighter at Reston Hospital Center by delivering flowers, helping at the Information Desk or visiting with patients
  • Give nature a helping hand from bird box monitoring to wildlife counts to Earth Day projects at the Walker Nature Center

Read more about our Best of Reston Honor and how we try to make a difference everyday in our local community. If you see us out and about, come and say “Hello!”

Ready to remodel with a company who cares? Get in touch!

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Photos: RCC’s Aquatics Center Nears Halfway Point for Renovation

The Reston Community Center is now in its fourth month of a nine-month renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center.

Demolition of the existing pool and surrounding deck, which started in late January, finished in March, according to an update from RCC. The demolition resulted in more than eight tons of steel from the ductwork and ceiling that will get recycled. Several tons of concrete, rebar, stainless steel drains and other materials were salvaged.

“In addition, the excavation revealed that the years-long water infiltration problems RCC experienced probably resulted from a combination of poor drainage and water leaking from the pool shell,” the April 1 update said, adding that the project will include corrective measures for the drainage issues and ensure the new pools have water impermeable shells.

The 40-year-old aquatics center is getting a makeover that will add two pools — a 25-yard lap pool with zero-depth entry and a warm-water therapeutic pool — along with a new roof. The facility is slated to reopen in October.

Photos via Reston Community Center

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Reno of the Month: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Ahh! The perennial question when it comes to making a decision to remodel or move.

For many Homeowners, the weight of making these decisions can be overwhelming, so they go the third route: do nothing! If you are ready for a change, but are having a hard time making a choice, consider these factors:

Moving

  • You can’t remodel a location, so if you want to move to a different school district or for a lake view, you can’t renovate your way to that.
  • Moving means not living in a construction zone. If you can’t stand the thought of living through a remodel but are ready for the work needed to move, maybe it’s time for a new home.
  • On the flip side, moving is more costly than you might think. From realtor fees, closing costs, pre-sale repairs, new home makeovers, higher utility bills, homeowners dues to movers, it all adds up. Make sure you fully understand your numbers.
  • Even in a new home, you probably won’t get everything you want. Unless you are building your own home, you’ll likely have to compromise on something on your wishlist — and may end up remodeling anyway.
  • Moving can be stressful and time-consuming. If timelines don’t align, you might even find yourself renting before moving into your new place.

Remodeling

  • Don’t expect to get the ROI you want on a remodel, especially in the short term. Although most remodels are a cost effective way to make your place your own, none guarantee 100% returns.
  • Extensive remodels like Kitchens or Master Bathrooms don’t take a matter of weeks and a few thousand dollars (sorry, no TV personalities included either!). The 2019 Cost vs Value report is a great place to start to figure out realistic costs in this area.
  • You can, however, remodel to your own needs and design tastes. Go for it and enjoy it.
  • Lived in your home a while? If you don’t have cash on hand for a remodel, look into getting a home equity loan to pay for it.
  • If you love your neighborhood, stay. Nothing makes up for your community — or a short commute.
  • Remodeling doesn’t have to be stressful. Any professional design/build firm will do the heavy lifting for you and plan it out well in advance so you know exactly how long it will take, who will be in your home and make it as stress-free as possible.

So who is a typical client for a design/build firm like Synergy Design & Construction? Our clients usually intend to stay in their homes for the medium to long-term, or are living in their “forever home” and want to enjoy their beautifully remodeled space themselves.

They are looking for a full-service experience that prioritizes thoughtful design and quality construction by a firm who will manage the whole process for them from conception to completion.

Looking for a quick fix for resale purposes? There are other options that might be a better fit for your needs. Read Best Remodelers in Reston and How to Find Them for more information.

Our reno of the month features a Kitchen, Pantry and Mudroom remodel for a family who perfectly fit our client description. They love their neighborhood and their local school and didn’t want to move, so Synergy was the perfect match!

They were ready for an updated Kitchen with a better layout, more light, beautiful design features and lots of space for the regular events they host. With two elementary aged children to think about, additional storage was also a must which we provided in a newly created Mudroom for shoes, backpacks and sports equipment, all out of sight of the Kitchen.

Want to learn more about what we do and how we can help you? Read our frequently asked questions or get in touch. We’re always happy to help in any way we can.

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Reno of the Month: Free Estimates — What Every Reston Homeowner Should Know

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

With so many approaches to remodeling, it can be confusing for homeowners to know not only where to start but also what to expect in the process.

Sometimes, we receive calls asking for “free estimates” straight away. There are a number of reasons why the contractors you speak to may not offer free estimates for an extensive remodel, and here’s why:

  • It’s impossible for any contractor to know how much your final project is going to cost without seeing your space, knowing the level of finishes you want and doing due diligence up front. Many initial “free estimates” are merely top-of-the-head thinking based on standard finishes without knowing what’s going on behind your walls or under your floor. This can lead to sticker shock down the line when what you really wanted and the number your contractor initially gave you don’t match up.
  • Great design takes time and money. Measuring, conceptual plans, elevations, design options and revisions all add up. Just as you wouldn’t expect free website design or free consulting services, remodelers provide professional Architectural and Interior Design services that cost money.
  • Going through a detailed design process first allows you to get to a more realistic budget/cost which will save you money in the long run. No-one wants to be continuously change ordered once the Kitchen has been demolished and you have no choice but to pay more to get the project done. A detailed design process up front stops those “wasn’t expecting that” moments and blown budgets once demolition starts.

This month’s renovation features the transformation of the Main level of a contemporary lakefront home right here in Reston. As with all of our clients, we partnered together to go through a detailed design process at the beginning of the project to come up with a design that perfectly matched the homeowner’s wish list.

In addition to the kitchen, butler’s pantry and family room, we remodeled the laundry room and mudroom into functional spaces for a busy sports-enthused family and created a much more modern feel to the entire main level more in keeping with the contemporary architecture of this beautiful home.

Learn more about our approach and listen to our clients tell you in their own words Why Us. Ready to take the next step in your remodel? We’re always happy to hear from you and discuss your project. Get in touch!

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Reno of the Month: New Year, New… Kitchen?

by Mina Fies, Synergy Design & Construction

I love the start of a New Year! There’s nothing like that feeling you get after you’ve had time to put away the holiday decorations and put your home back together again after the flurry of family, friends, cookies, presents and cleaned up the trail of gift wrap and empty boxes all over the family room floor.

I often find that once I take the last bauble down, my place looks bigger. But, despite my dislike of the chaos the holidays bring, it also feels a little “flat” (kind of like that leftover New Year’s Eve champagne).

Which is why the New Year is the perfect time to start thinking about putting a little pep back into your space before the next round of hosting begins! If you found yourself thinking about how your kitchen just isn’t working for you anymore, or that your master bath wasn’t the sanctuary from the in-laws you needed, listen to that inner voice and decide this is the year you’ll make a change.

Whether you’re trying to figure out how much a remodel really costs, or you just don’t know what you need, we’ve got answers and we’re here to help! Check out our Free Getting Started checklist and to get a jump-start on your remodeling plans.

To get the creative juices flowing, this month, we’re sharing a beautiful lakefront home remodel in Reston. The first floor of this gorgeous home was completely transformed into a contemporary family-oriented space that now feels bright, fresh and 2019 ready!

You can see more photos of the home on Houzz.

If you’ve done your research already and are ready to discuss your remodel, give us a call to talk about your home and make this the year to make your space your own.

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Herndon High School on Track with Renovations Set for Fall Debut

The Herndon High School is on track with its renovations as the school works to have new additions open by the time the 2019-2020 school year kicks off.

Assistant Principal Jim Hannon told Reston Now that the school plans on having the north addition ready for students and staff for the start of the new school year in the fall.

The 74,000-sqaure-foot addition will house the science and world languages departments, along with new classroom space for the mathematics, computer science, career and technical education and English as a second language (ESOL) programs.

Meanwhile the front addition will have the main office and Student Services Office on the main level with a new 18,000-square-foot library on the second floor, he said. That addition is also slated to be ready for the start of the 2019 school year.

“We are very excited about the pace of work, the progress and the coordination between Fairfax County Public Schools Design and Construction, Hughes Group Architects and the general contractor — Grunley Corp.,”  Hannon wrote in an email.

The rest of the project includes renovating locker rooms, art rooms, the gym, music rooms, the cafeteria, the stadium press box and tennis courts. 

This is the school’s first renovation since 1991.

By the 2022-2023 school year, more than 100,000 square feet of space will have been added to the school.

Photos via Jim Hannon

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Langston Hughes Middle School Begins Renovations, Expansion

(Updated at 5:12 p.m.) While kids were off from school during winter break, Langston Hughes Middle School (11401 Ridge Heights Road) kicked off 2019 with renovations as a part of its planned expansion.

The first move of the school’s renovation took place during winter break, Principal Aimée Monticchio wrote in an email to the school community today (Jan. 4).

“We look forward to a new, modern and larger building after the renovation,” she wrote.

Originally constructed in 1979, the expanded school is set to be 189,000 square feet and serve 1,250 students, according to Hughes Group Architects.

The $39 million improvement program will be done in phases with the occupied construction project spanning five phases across three years.

The project includes a central court called the “Hall of Nations” — a collaborative and flexible space meant to serve as an auditorium, a classroom or a breakout space.

The project also includes renovating the cafeteria and adding a new dining courtyard.

With work already underway, seventh grade core classes, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Spanish classes are now housed in “Panther Town” — modular trailers on the field adjacent to Ridge Heights, Monticchio wrote.

Construction is estimated to be completed in 2021.

Images via Hughes Group Architects and Fairfax County Government

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Take One Last Splash Before Work Begins on Reston Community Center’s Aquatics Center

Take one last splash in the pool at Reston Community Center’s Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center before it closes for renovations.

Built in 1979, the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center will undergo a more than $5 million renovation starting on Jan. 2.

The pool area is expected to reopen in October, featuring an expanded lap pool with a zero-depth entry and water play area and another pool for warm-water therapy, exercise and teaching.

During the construction period, Reston patrons can receive discounted rates, which are offered through RCCs’ partnership with the YMCA Fairfax County Reston, Reston Association and Herndon Community Center. Patrons can pick up a “Construction Pass” at RCC’s Customer Service desks to take to the partner locations and get special rates.

“The Last Splash Aquatics Renovation Party” is set for Friday (Dec. 28) from noon to 9:00 p.m. Admission is $1. The pool party will include open swimming with games and races, music, a farewell gift and a graffiti wall for locals to pen their pool goodbyes.

Rendering via Reston Community Center

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