Written by Mina Lucks, Synergy Design & Construction

The 2023 Reston Home Tour recently sparked our imagination with its theme “A Style All Their Own,” which beautifully encapsulates the essence of home renovation. For anyone who attended the tour, there were noticeably different energies as you entered each unique space, which is what makes each year’s tour such a highlight of the fall season. From the perspective of someone who sees a lot of clients chasing the latest design trends, the emphasis on the importance of building upon a homeowner’s personal sense of style when transforming a house into a home made this tour particularly special. 

So how do you achieve the balance of form, function and personality? In this month’s article, we’ll delve into the significance of embracing your unique sense of style when tackling a renovation project to ensure the final product is truly “you”!

Create(ing) a Home with Personality

After living overseas for over 18 years, these Reston homeowners needed a complete overhaul of their 1968 colonial prior to their landing back state-side. Bringing home with them a blue upholstered sofa, a sound system with vintage record player, and a particular beloved rainbow rug, they were looking for more than a basic refresh.

Allowing their acquired contemporary European tastes to shine by fusing the warmth of walnut base cabinetry with contemporary white upper cabinets, they were able to create a modern yet eclectic aesthetic in their new Kitchen. Adding the vibrant teal handmade Fireclay tile — vertically stacked for a bolder statement — truly brings their whole space together in one cohesive statement that is uniquely “them.”

See more of this kitchen’s personality remodel here.

Achieve a Functional Fit for Your Lifestyle 

Renovations aren’t just about making a home look good; they should also enhance its functionality. Aligning renovation choices with lifestyle preferences ensures a home serves its family in a way that is tailored to their individual needs.

This hockey-loving family with two teenagers wanted to create a space where they could not only spend time together as a family, but their kids could also have a fun and entertaining place to hang out with friends. The final result was an amazing new multi-layered space with a custom bar and cozy TV area and an adjacent space for games, creating a fun and functional space for friends and family of all ages. 

See more of this basement’s functionality renovation here.

Design Harmonious Spaces

Embracing style in a renovation doesn’t mean every room has to be drastically different from the next. It’s about finding a common thread or theme that ties everything together while still allowing for personal expression in each space. By incorporating a consistent color palette, texture, or design element throughout a home, one can achieve a sense of cohesion while still allowing each room to have its own unique charm.

This Reston homeowner took down an onerous wall in the middle of the home between their kitchen and dining room and brought the spaces together visually through complimentary cabinetry colors, warm wood elements and unique lighting features.

Check out this versatile main floor remodel here.

Whether your preferences are bold and contemporary or calm and casual, your home is an extension of you and should suit your character and taste. Even if you’re not exactly sure what your style is in the beginning, as you embark on a renovation journey you’ll begin to discover not only your personal sense of style, but ways your home can serve as a canvas for your individuality to shine through.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us today to take the first step in designing a home that is unapologetically a “style of your own.”

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Written by Mina Lucks, Synergy Design & Construction

It may be the smallest room in the house, but that doesn’t mean your powder room has to be boring! Actually, it’s the easiest space to get creative, making it a great conversation starter for visiting friends and family, so don’t be afraid to make a big design statement!

Here are 5 ways to have some fun, show off your personality and give your little powder room  the attention it deserves:

 1. Go Bold With Wallpaper

Wallpaper got a bad reputation when flowery borders were all the rage in the 80s and 90s but it came back in a big way a few years ago. The reason for this explosion in popularity is the wide array of fantastic new designs that allow you to stretch your design muscle without breaking the bank.

In this first example, we used space in the hallway of this Reston home to add a much-needed powder room on the main level (guests previously had to use the kids’ hall bathroom). This Hygge & West “Petal Pusher” wallpaper was the perfect choice for this new space! Using black and white finishes that complement, not compete with, the wallpaper keeps the look fuss-free.

See more of this home remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

Still nervous about committing to wallpaper? Try using removable wallpaper and give yourself the flexibility to make changes without the hassle of removing traditional wallpaper.

 2. Have Fun With Floor Tile

Tile is another way to make a statement in a Powder Room and there are many reasonably-priced options available so that you don’t have to compromise on style while still achieving a designer look.

That being said, if you did want to splurge on some handmade or super-unique tile, what better place to do it than in the powder room where the square footage is smaller compared to a primary bathroom or guest bathroom?

In this townhome remodel, our clients opted for this gorgeous SomerTile “Majestic” encaustic-look floor tile in the pattern “Tiena Blue” from Mosaic Tile Company.  The blue “Mason” vanity by Design Element picks up the blue tones in the floor and brings the look together.

See more of this townhome remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

 3. Don’t Forget About Storage

It might be a small space, but don’t feel you have to go with a pedestal sink to make it feel larger than it is. There are tons of smaller, stylish vanities that still give you the room you need while providing a space to store extra supplies like bath tissue and guest towels if you prefer to have these items out of sight.

In this example, the “Danneberg” vanity in “Russet Brown” not only looks great, it provides plenty of storage. Note also the “Dunham” floor tile by Emser Tile. This is another great example of making a bold design statement with floor tile.

See more of this home remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

 4. Use Wood Details for A Classic, Finished Look

Sometimes, it takes just a few simple updates to completely transform a powder room and an inexpensive way to do that is by using wood trim in various ways. Whether it be shiplap (applied horizontally or vertically), chair rail or shadow boxing, these details may lean more classic and traditional, but they’ve been around a long time for a reason.

In this McLean home remodel, our clients had powder rooms on both the main and basement levels. In the basement, we kept their existing vanity but added shiplap wainscoting to the lower half of the walls which was painted with Benjamin Moore “Chantilly Lace” paint in a matte finish. We used Benjamin Moore “Kendall Charcoal” paint (also matte) on the upper half of the walls. These simple changes took this powder room to a whole new level.

See more of this basement remodel in McLean here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

 5. Make a Statement With Wall Tile

We’ve already talked about utilizing fun or unique tile on the floor, but splurging for wall tile is another way to take your little Powder Room to the next level of sophistication. Bright and bold, or subtle with calming hues, wall tile in the powder room just screams “wow!” as your guests enter the space! It’s also a great way to add personality while providing the opportunity to visually tie-in to other spaces in your home (i.e. complimenting a nearby kitchen backsplash or fireplace surround).

The homeowners in this Oakton home leaned towards a more transitional design. We used “Maiolica” tile in “White Crackle” by Roca Group in the kitchen as well as the powder room. It provides a cohesive feel across spaces but looks completely different when paired with natural marble “Arabescato Honed” hexagon floor tile from Mosaic Tile Company in the powder room.

See more of this Oakton home remodel here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

The best part of remodeling a Powder Room is a little goes a long way. Choose just one of these 5 design ideas and you’ll be on your way to creating a fun little space that lets your personality shine through.

Thinking of a home remodel but not sure where to start? Get in touch! We’re always happy to help homeowners get on the right path to creating their dream space.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Mina Fies, Founder & CEO, Synergy Design & Construction. Photo Courtesy Benjamin Burgess

This month, we’re doing things a little differently because we’ve got reason to celebrate: Synergy Design & Construction is turning 15! We’d like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of our past and current clients and to the Greater Reston community for their ongoing support and trust in our business.

One of the reasons we’ve kept our office in Reston (right near Reston Town Center on Bowman Green Drive) is the sense of community this area provides. It’s an important part of who we are to be part of that community. We are your neighbors. We get it. We’re also big believers in giving back. That’s why you’ll often see us around and about at local events, sponsoring local youth arts and sports programs or lending a helping hand to local non-profits.

We also know it takes a lot to invite strangers into your home and that’s why we couldn’t do what we do without an amazing team of inhouse professionals. From project managers to interior designers to carpenters, we partner with our clients so they have as stress-free a home remodeling experience as possible. You can find out more about our team of home remodeling professionals here. We want homeowners to feel empowered and knowledgeable when it comes time to remodel their home, so we’ve also got a freebie for you. Read our tips for a stress-free home remodel in our FREE download here.

Get inspired by what’s possible and download your FREE stress-free home remodel guide here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

As a local kitchen and bathroom remodeler, we’ve seen it all in Northern Virginian homes, from the quirks of the original mid-century homes in Reston to newer colonial style homes that are ready for an upgrade from contractor-grade finishes. There is no cookie-cutter approach to our work. Every project we work on is tailored to our client’s specific needs, design aesthetic and lifestyle. Our commitment is to creating dream spaces that are perfect for you and your family. No fads, no one-size-fits all approach, just beautiful on-time, on-budget home remodels. Whatever your home remodeling challenge, we’ve got your back.

Ready to start your renovation journey with one of the best local home remodelers? Find out more about us here or get in touch here. Just window shopping? No problem! Check out some of our projects here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all been there: there’s something ‘off’ about a room in your home that you just can’t put your finger on and don’t know how to fix. Or, maybe you’re just looking for some ideas for how to update your space with a fresh, modern look. This month, we’ve got seven ‘dos and don’ts’ to help give your home some interior design pep.

As a full service home remodeling company, Synergy Design & Construction doesn’t offer interior design as a standalone service. However, we not only help our clients with material selections for all of their remodeling finishes (think cabinets, tile, countertops, appliances and fixtures, etc.), we also offer the option of soft goods selection services for clients who would like professional interior design help to finish their space. It’s all part of helping homeowners have a holistic experience so they renovate happy!

1. DON’T Push All of Your Furniture Up Against the Wall

This is a BIG one. All of the furniture pushed up against the walls just doesn’t do a room justice. Don’t despair! If your family room is crying, “Help me!”, it’s an easy fix. If you don’t have room to pull your couch away from the wall, think about adding or moving accent chairs to update the look. Couches and chairs do not need to be part of a set; you can mix and match for more of a designer feel. If your couch moves too much for your liking if it’s pulled away from the wall, add a credenza or heavy console table behind it to help keep it from shifting. It not only looks great, there’s now another place to put drinks and snacks when you’re watching TV or entertaining.

In the example below from a recent home remodel in Reston, none of the furniture sits against a wall. The L-shaped sofa provides a relaxing place to sit facing both the media center and the fireplace. Two armchairs on either side provide additional seating that can be turned towards the fire on a chilly winter evening for a cozy feeling or towards the TV on family movie night.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this project here.

2. DO Curate Display Shelves

Shelves bursting at the seams with knick-knacks, books and piles of ‘stuff’ your kids left there and never put away? Take some time to clear them off and curate them for a more organized look. We’re not saying you can’t have your treasures and books displayed on shelves for a homey feel and personalized touch, but the key is placement of things together for a designer look. Think of grouping items in odd numbers, like threes and fives. Personally, I don’t like the look of books turned spine inwards — what’s the point in that — but if you have tons of books, thin them out, or put a couple of coffee table books together with a modern objet d’art on top as a more design-thoughtful touch.

In this home remodel in Fairfax, our clients opted for our interior design help with the furniture selection and placement in addition to a total main level home remodel. This is a great example of beautifully curated bookshelves flanking either side of the fireplace. Layered lighting and thoughtful furniture placement (note — nothing is pushed up against the walls other than the console table) make this a stand-out Great Room.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this project here.

3. DON’T be Afraid of Colorful Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinets

What can we say, we LOVE gorgeous cabinets. Gone are the days when everything has to be white in the kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with an all-white kitchen for a classic look, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with color. If you aren’t ready to go all-in on colorful cabinets, adding a contrasting island color or floating shelves is a great way to go.

In this kitchen remodel in Reston, we loved our clients’ choice of this “Dakota Shadow” cabinet color. Contrasting maple cabinets and floating shelves were stained in a ‘honey’ color which plays off the existing window and door frame color and provides warmth to the space.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

4. DO Embrace Black/Dark Colored Doors/Window Trim and ‘Moody’ Paint Colors 

You may have noticed many new-builds in the area have black/dark colored exterior window frames. It’s a ‘trend’ that is here for the long-haul and it extends to the interior of homes, too. From black window trim to black interior doors to ‘moody’ painted cabinets and wall color, it’s time to embrace the darker hues. Worried it’s going to make your space too dark? The trick is to lighten things up with contrasting brighter, neutral colors paired with wood tones to keep your space from feeling cold.

In this basement remodel in Reston, our clients wanted to create modern spaces throughout and weren’t afraid to change things up with black interior doors, ‘moody’ colored bar cabinets and paint colors in the home theater and gym — to stunning effect.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this basement remodel here.

5. DON’T Overdo it on Throw Pillows

This is a hard one because lots of throw pillows just make me happy, but it’s time to put a few of them away. This applies not only to the family room, but also to bedrooms as well. For an updated, chic look, less is definitely more. Too many pillows can make a room feel cluttered (plus, how long does it take to remove them all from the bed every night?!) and also distracts from other design elements in the room.

This family room from a main level remodel in Reston is a great example of this. The eye is not drawn to the throw pillows, it’s drawn to the gorgeous sloping roof and statement light fixture instead.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

6. DON’T Protrude if You ‘Recess In’

Stick with us on this one and let me explain what we mean! If you can recess a cabinet (closet, linen cabinet, etc.) then go for it. Not only does it save space, it gives a more streamlined and flush finish.

In this primary bathroom remodel in Herndon, the linen closet at the far end was recessed in. It not only keeps it out of the way, it also allows the gorgeous walnut vanities and soaking tub to take center stage.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

7. DO Go Bold With Wallpaper in Small Spaces

We get it, this seems counterintuitive, but you don’t have to think small in small spaces when it comes to wallpaper! We LOVE wallpaper in any room, but we especially love it when clients take a risk in the powder room. Bold wallpaper can actually make a space look bigger (when it’s done right). The powder room is the perfect place to have some fun and show your personality!

In this main level remodel in Reston, our clients picked the perfect wallpaper in the powder room. It makes a contemporary statement, but is paired with natural finishes (like the rattan light fixture) to perfection.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

Ready to work with a local home remodeling company who can help you with every aspect to create your dream space? Find out more about us here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve said it for a while, but gone are the days when having a bathtub is a must-have in the primary bathroom of a home. Although having a tub in a guest or kids bathroom is still something many prospective home buyers are looking for when it comes to resale, it’s not essential in the main bathroom. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have room for both, a beautiful freestanding tub is still a great design choice. But, if you don’t use your tub now and are thinking about going tub-free, here are some examples to show you how it’s done in five local homes where homeowners decided to ditch the tub.

1. Double “Wow” Shower With Tons of Luxe

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

Although this bathroom was a great size, the oversized chocolate brown tub dominated the space and the shower cubicle (seen in the middle along the back wall) was squeezed into a small space. We created a gorgeous double shower with marble tile and champagne bronze fixtures instead — and even had room for a built-in linen closet.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this bathroom and the rest of this home remodel in Reston here.

2. Universally Designed Curbless Beauty

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This Reston house was built in the 80s and although the bathroom was large with natural light cascading into the space from existing skylights, the large tiled tub was overpowering the space and the existing shower was cramped into a small nook. Planning to age-in-place, our clients were ready to not only modernize the entire space, they also wanted to make it more functional for their needs by replacing the tub with a curbless shower. The new shower is a stunning design feature in itself, but universal design ensures it is now easy to enter without any trip hazards.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

Thinking of a curbless shower? Then read this. You can also see more of this beautiful bathroom here.

3. Large Glass Shower Enclosure That Fits Even the Tallest of Homeowners!

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

In this remodel, the primary bathroom was reconfigured and designed to more comfortably accommodate the tall homeowner and take advantage of the high cathedral ceilings. It is barely recognizable in it’s finished state. The existing shower was crunched into one end behind a partition wall — right beside the toilet. We created a large frameless shower enclosure with a built-in bench instead. Removing the tub at the other end of the bathroom and relocating the toilet to that location created the feeling of a much larger space as well as providing an open, airy feeling.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

We didn’t stop at the bathroom remodel in this home. See the before and afters of the rest of this townhome remodel in Reston here.

4. A Transitional Stunner Paired With a Natural White Oak Vanity

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

The floorplan of this bathroom was also completely reconfigured. A natural oak double vanity now sits where once was the oversized tub and a stunning double shower is now in the location where a small shower enclosure and toilet were previously located. We moved the location of the toilet and created privacy with a separate toilet room with a space-saving pocket door.

The bathroom is now a luxurious spa-like retreat with lots of modern finishes and packed with design detail.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more before and afters of this bathroom remodel in Reston here.

5. Totally Reconfigured Bathroom With a Double Shower

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This 1960s home in Reston underwent a total transformation from top to bottom across all four levels. The bedroom/closet/bathroom was completely reconfigured to include a large primary bath with a double vanity, shower for two and a walk-in closet.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See this bathroom remodel and the results of the rest of this home remodel here.

As a local home remodeling company, we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. We partner with homeowners to design perfect spaces that suit individual needs. Our in-house team of project managers, interior designers and carpenters work with clients every step of the way all the way through construction. Ready to discuss what’s possible in your home? Get in touch!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Many homes in the local area were built in the 1980s, and with that comes some tell-tale design that can really date a home back to the days of big hair, leg warmers and home phones with really long cords. Admittedly, for some of us, it really doesn’t feel that long ago and since I still believe some of the best music came from that decade, there’s no judgment here! However, although fashion and phones have changed, as one year slips into the next, day-to-day life sometimes leaves little time (or energy for that matter) to focus on changing the spaces around us. So, this month, we’re providing some tips and ideas to update your 1980s home with transitional finishes.

Transitional design is a great way to blend more traditional design with modern finishes for an updated, fresh look. Not sure what transitional design is? Read our blog for more information about what transitional kitchen design means. Below, we also provide some examples from a recent home remodel in Reston. By their own admission, the owners of this local Reston home said it had become “lost” in the 1980s and they were ready to make some major changes.

1. Light brown/honey-colored cabinets

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This color/style of cabinet is very common in this area in homes built in the 1980s. Many of our clients want a more updated look using lighter color finishes for cabinets. However, transitional design doesn’t mean white cabinets are the only option. In this example, our clients went with cabinets painted in a gray “Argent” color. Although wood cabinets and/or kitchen islands started making a comeback in popularity a few years ago (and score BIG design points when done right), the wood tones used now are very different to this color of cabinet. See examples here.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

2. Fake bulkheads

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

In this photo, note the bulkhead running above the cabinets and window. Although there are sometimes AC ducts, pipes or electrical wiring running through bulkheads like this, many were added when homes were built as a way to lower the ceiling instead of installing ceiling height cabinets. Always seek professional help to determine what’s behind bulkheads or soffits, but if budget allows, a great way to create more storage and to help a kitchen feel bigger is to remove them and install taller upper cabinets instead.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

3. Wallpaper

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This one is TOUGH because, at Synergy, we LOVE wallpaper. However, the older style of wallpaper (think stripes in particular) or wallpaper borders is over. Back at our home remodel in Reston, we removed the wallpaper in the Powder Room, added a new vanity, new flooring (note the existing small, square tile) and painted the walls in this “Etched Glass” color to create a perfect transitional space!

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

4. Microwave-over-stove combos

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

There’s nothing wrong with a microwave over a stove combo. However, in many instances (but not all) the microwave recirculates air from the stove into the kitchen, rather than venting to the outside. We’re big believers in range hoods (whenever space allows) that serve one purpose of venting cooking smells outside and a separate undercounter drawer microwave. Microwave drawers are also a great addition to any kitchen from a universal design perspective: no more reaching up to lift hot food out of the microwave!

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

5. Small, square floor tile

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

Hugely popular in the 80s, this type of small, square floor tile creates an optical illusion — it actually makes a space look smaller because of all the grout lines. Getting rid of this type of tile will provide an updated, modern look to your home. Think large format tile or new hardwood that runs throughout a space for a cohesive look. If you use too many floor finishes, the eye is drawn to the start-stop points in each room which makes the overall space feel smaller. This is also a great example of how many 1980s homes just don’t have enough cabinets. With no cabinets on the right hand side, our clients had no option but to use free standing shelves for storage of their overflow everyday items and small appliances.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

6. Kitchens closed off from the rest of the home/No ‘flow’ between spaces

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

The #1 request we get from clients living in 1980s homes? Create a more open concept and/or better flow in the kitchen and main level! We all know everyone ends up in the kitchen no matter how nice your other entertaining spaces are, so it makes sense that most homeowners are “over” the closed-in kitchen that is completely separated from the rest of the home. You don’t have to go all-in on the open concept. In our case study, we added a peninsula island for casual dining which not only provided additional storage (and created room for a microwave drawer), it helps create a separation of space between the kitchen and the breakfast nook/family room without the kitchen feeling closed off. The other issue we often find in 80s homes is poor lighting. This is a great example of how the addition of recessed lighting makes a huge difference to the entire space.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

7. Red brick fireplaces

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

We love a cozy family room. Many 1980s floor plans incorporated a family room adjoining the kitchen with a large red brick fireplace at one end. The problem is dark red tile can make a room feel even darker if you have dark cabinets/dark paint/dark furniture elsewhere in the space. A quick-and-easy way to modernize the look and brighten things up is to paint the brick the same color as the walls or white/off white and replace or paint the polished brass of the fire surround (note: special high heat paint must be used). Instant update!  In our case study, the homeowners opted to do that as well as add two beautiful built-ins on either side. Love.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more before and afters of this home remodel here.

Our clients now say Synergy is the best thing that’s ever happened to their home. If you’re thinking of a home remodel but not sure where to start, find out more about our services here and read how we’ve helped other homeowners in the area renovate happy here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It may not be the most exciting decision you’ll have to make when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, but it is an essential one: the refrigerator!

At the center of home life, function is more important than form for some, but for others a new refrigerator is an opportunity to make a design statement. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to choice. It mostly comes down to personal preference, the utility you need and the look you prefer. If you’re undecided or just looking for a little design inspo, here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular options.

Pro tip: don’t forget to think about the depth of your refrigerator. Counter-depth refrigerators will sit flush with your countertops rather than jutting out. In recent years, improved design and technology means you don’t have to forego capacity for this streamlined look.

You also need to ensure the door style you choose will fully open with enough clearance for interior produce drawers to be pulled out. This can be particularly problematic when the refrigerator placement is against a wall. No one wants to buy the latest and greatest refrigerator only to find out they can’t open the drawer fully to get to the veggies!

Before we get started, it should be noted the benefit of working with a design-build company like Synergy is that our Interior Designers help you make appliance choices. We also have (and this is the case for most professional home remodeling companies) accounts with suppliers and will not only pass any trade discounts on to you, we help you with your appliance package and coordinate delivery for your project. Although not every kitchen and bathroom remodeler does this, we also register appliances for warranty purposes on behalf of clients. It’s a huge time saving convenience for them and all part of the Synergy service.

Refrigerator Styles

Don’t know the difference between a french door, a side-by-side or column refrigerator? A good place to start is reviewing the different styles out there. You’ll notice not all of the examples below have exterior ice/water makers. Many of our clients choose refrigerators and freezers that have integrated water/ice makers on the interior.

French Door Refrigerator

This refrigerator style simply means you have left and right swing doors for fresh produce storage on the top and a pull out freezer at the bottom. A classic style, this remains one of the most popular choices for many. This style of refrigerator may be for you if you tend to have more produce than frozen food, or if you have large dishware or boxed items (like birthday cake, yum) that need to be stored.

This kitchen remodel nicely shows how a french door refrigerator is equally at home in a more contemporary aesthetic just as much as in a transitional or traditional kitchen.

Image courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

French door refrigerators now come in all sorts of configuration options. This 36” Bosch 4-door refrigerator has two pullout drawers.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.


This style means the refrigerator is on one side, the freezer is on the other. There are a couple of benefits to a side-by-side vs a french door refrigerator:

  1. the freezers tend to have more capacity
  2. both fresh and frozen can be seen at eye level when the doors are opened
  3. There is less likelihood of frozen produce getting buried under other items

Some people worry there is no room for things like pizza boxes in side-by-side refrigerators. Not so! Most are designed these days with compartments that are large enough to fit this type of box.

In this home remodel in Fairfax, our clients took the side-by-side to a whole new level with this 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator and 36” freezer.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this kitchen remodel here.


Column refrigerators are built into a wall or cabinetry and refer to any full size, single-purpose fridge (or freezer or wine storage). They give a high end, designer feel to any kitchen.

Refrigerator columns are versatile because they come in a variety of designs and widths. Refrigerator widths can be mixed and matched with freezer and wine columns to suit your needs and kitchen design. They are also available in a number of finishes, including panel ready. They can either have water/ice makers on the exterior of the door or have integrated water filtration systems on the inside (always check, some do not have water systems).

In this kitchen remodel in Herndon, our clients selected a 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator column and 24” freezer column. This project is also a great example of how the refrigerator and freezer don’t always have to sit side-by-side. In this case, they flank the sink on each side.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this home remodel here.

Refrigerator Finishes

You’ve decided the style of refrigerator you want, now it’s time to decide the color/finish.

Stainless steel

An obvious place to start, stainless steel became the go-to choice a few decades ago. The lasting appeal of stainless steel is the ability to “fit” in with a lot of different design aesthetics, from ultra-contemporary to traditional.

For this transitional kitchen remodel, a stainless steel Thermador 36” inch built-in fresh food column and 24” freezer column (with water/ice dispenser on the exterior of the freezer column) are in the perfect location for hungry teenagers!

Image Courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

On the downside, many owners of stainless steel refrigerators will tell you fingerprints and water marks are a never-ending annoyance. However, many of the newer appliances now come in smudge resistant stainless.

Panel-ready refrigerators

In what may seem counterintuitive, panel ready refrigerators and freezers usually cost more (plus the cost of the matching cabinetry panel). However, if you like appliances to ‘disappear’ into the overall kitchen design, they are the perfect choice for an ultra-sleek and fuss-free look.

Refrigerator? What refrigerator? We love the contemporary finishes in this kitchen remodel.

Image Courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.


Stainless steel took over from white appliances quite some time ago as the go-to choice for appliances but, if you love white appliances, you’ll be glad to know they’re back! However, like most things in life, they’ve been given a new look with a modern twist on an old look.

In this home remodel in Reston, our clients wanted a contemporary aesthetic and this 36” GE Cafe white counter-depth refrigerator with brushed bronze hardware delivered! Note the French door style.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.


Like white appliances, the popularity of black appliances took a downturn some time ago. However, black appliances have also evolved. The new look black refrigerators are more in line with the trend of “moody” paint colors with black stainless steel becoming a popular choice. Many are finished in such a way they are now stain and scratch resistant.

We tend to lean a little more conservative in Northern Virginia when it comes to this type of bold design choice, so it’s not for everyone but, as this example shows, maybe it’s time we stepped out of our comfort zones! Love!

Image courtesy of Bosch.

A Splash of Color

I’m a big fan of making a color statement in appliances. I own a secondary red refrigerator that brings me joy every time I look at it! I also once owned a black, sparkly refrigerator when I lived in London. It was (and still is) hands down my all-time favorite fridge. One of the industry leaders in bold color appliances, SMEG, have been making stylish refrigerators in a range of colors for years. We’re seeing the return of color to add pop and personality to kitchens and pantries. Maybe it’s time to rethink yours?

Image courtesy of Williams Ridout.

If you’re thinking of a kitchen remodel, we’re here to help. We’ve been helping local homeowners renovate happy for nearly 15 years. Ready to get started? Find out more about us here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Image courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Basements always seem to be last on the list of priorities when it comes to home remodeling, yet they provide the opportunity to create multi-functional spaces that serve as the perfect place for family and friends to gather and unwind. For those who regularly have overnight guests, having a bedroom and/or bathroom on a different level also provides privacy and separation of space. Finished basements also add value from a return on investment perspective for resale.

Whether you’re looking to finish a totally unfinished basement or redesign your existing space to improve functionality or somewhere in between, here are some factors to help you kick-start your basement remodel. We’ll also take a behind the scenes look at a recent basement remodel in Vienna to show you how it’s done.

Figure out what type of contractor you need

Knowing the type of help you need is the first step. A simple project to finish a basement with drywall and add carpeting does not need a full service design-build firm. A more cost-effective way may be to use a general contractor (GC), but you will likely have to take on more responsibility for managing the project and making design choices and (sometimes) buying the materials yourself.

Synergy Design & Construction is a full service design-build firm, meaning we have an in-house team of professionals who partner with you on both the design of your space and its construction. Local home remodeling companies like Synergy tend to focus on design-thoughtful, complex basement remodels that involve reconfiguring the space, adding a bathroom, wet bar, laundry room, etc.

Still not sure what a design-build firm is? Read this article!

Let’s take a look at one of our recent basement remodels in Vienna. The space had an existing rec room and guest bedroom/bathroom, but there was also a large unfinished space that was ready to be put to better use. The design goal was to create different ‘zones’ within the basement by reimagining all of the spaces and refinishing it with modern — but family friendly — finishes. Our clients knew they needed the design expertise of a design-build company like Synergy as well as wanting to work with a deadline driven company who would project manage the remodel for them.

Create a ‘Must-Have’, ‘Nice-to-Have’ and ‘Pinch Me’ List

We recommend homeowners make this list for all home remodeling projects, not just basement remodeling. This is where you get to work putting together a list of what your needs really are — and those that you can live without. For example, creating a guest bedroom and bathroom might be a ‘must-have’, but adding a new wet bar with beautiful cabinets, a bar sink, a dishwasher and icemaker might be a ‘nice to have’. We know, we know: you want it all, but be realistic about how costs add up.

For our basement remodel in Vienna, our clients ‘must-haves’ were to transform the unfinished space into a TV/Rec Room and add a new bar, upgrade the existing rec room and turn it into a games room and add additional work space. Another must-have (and this often comes into play for below grade basements) was the need to add an egress window to the existing guest bedroom. Lastly, our clients decided that although the guest bathroom was functional, remodeling it to update in line with the rest of the basement was also on their list.

Set a Budget

Talking of costs, now it’s time to set a budget. Don’t be afraid to be upfront with any prospective home remodelers or contractors you talk to about what your budget is. It helps set expectations from the beginning of the relationship and any reputable company will be honest with you about your budget vs. what they deliver.

A number of factors will impact the cost of your basement remodel. The most obvious is the total square footage of the space, but that’s not the only item. Other things to consider are if the basement is completely or partially refinished and if existing plumbing lines or rough-ins are in place for bathrooms, washing machines and bar sinks/dishwashers, etc.

If you’re thinking of taking down walls or creating a different floor plan, then load-bearing walls, columns or other structures need to be taken into account. This will add cost to your remodel. Advice for tell tale signs if a column or beam is load-bearing can be found here. This also applies to ductwork. Ductwork that needs to be added, changed/removed or concealed will also add cost. Looking for ideas on how to hide ductwork? Read our blog “How to Hide the Awful Ductwork“.

The other big ticket item is the level of finish you expect. Adding things like a beautiful new built-in TV/Media center or wet bar with cabinets and all the bells and whistles will, of course, increase your cost.

Back to our case study. As with every home remodeling project we work on, we discussed the budget upfront so we could partner with our clients to create a design that met their investment goals. During the Preliminary Design phase, our Interior Designers worked with the homeowners to create the perfect floor plan and layout for their specific needs.

As the project progressed, we provided 3-D images to give our clients a realistic idea of what the finished space would look like. Our Interior Designers also worked with them on all the material selections, finishes and even paint color.

Although using a home remodeling company like Synergy might seem more expensive at the outset than a general contractor, most of our clients want the peace of mind of working with a company that does all the heavy lifting, manages the budget and timeline and sees the whole project through from start to finish.

Ask Your Chosen Contractor for a Timeline or Project Plan

You’ve done your research, made your list and decided on your contractor. Before anyone comes near your home and starts swinging hammers, ask for a timeline of how the project is going to unfold. No one wants to be in a position where the basement has been demolished and the contractor disappears for three months to work on other projects. Every company or general contractor works differently, but they should, at the very least, be able to provide you with a start and projected end date.

Read “Five Things to Do Before You Start a Home Remodel” for more guidance.

Before we started on this basement remodel, a customized project plan was provided so our clients knew exactly when we’d start the project, what was happening when and how long the project would take to complete. We always assign a Lead Carpenter to each project, so our clients had a day-to-day contact on site to oversee their project. A weekly status meeting was held to discuss upcoming work and a finish schedule (which details the cost of all the finishes like tile, fixtures, cabinets, etc.) was also provided so there was transparency in the budget.

Budget and timeline driven home remodeling is what we’re all about, and this project was no exception! See more before and afters of this basement remodel here.

Are you ready to start a conversation about your basement? Our consultations are free and we’re always happy to help local homeowners start their renovation journey. Find out more about us here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

As a full service design-build home remodeling company, our focus isn’t limited to the finishes in the space we’re remodeling, we often work with clients who want to make changes on an entire level or throughout their home as part of their renovation plans. One (often overlooked) change that can have a big impact on the look and feel of a home? Interior doors!

Six panel doors are one of the most commonly used interior door styles in houses in this area, but there are other options. If you’re ready for a change, we’re here to help with some design ideas (most are from homes in the local area) so you can get inspired about what’s possible in your space.

A 6-panel door looks great, but it’s not the only style available. Read on for more design ideas! Image credit Jeld-Wen.


For a more contemporary look, many homeowners are opting for 1-panel doors. They are sleek looking, fuss-free and, the best bit, versatile as they work in many different styles of home. They look stunning with chrome or black hardware.

In this contemporary townhome remodel in Reston, we reconfigured the layout of the entrance hall as part of an entire main level renovation. The 6-panel doors on the coat closet did not blend with the contemporary finishes of the rest of the renovated main level. We moved the location of the coat closet to unutilized space behind the front door and used double 1-panel doors (also used on the powder room door — not shown) for an updated look.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

This next example shows how double 1-panel doors with frosted glass and square chrome door hardware add a feeling of spa-like luxe to this primary bathroom.

Image courtesy of Monarch Construction.

Horizontal Panel Doors

An equally modern choice is doors with two or more (usually) horizontal panels.The neat thing about interior doors nowadays is they now come in all sorts of finishes and differing number of panels, so you have plenty of styles to pick from.

In this basement remodel in Reston, our clients replaced their doors with 3-panel interior doors which were painted in a “Tricorn Black” color. The double doors to the media room are also 3-panel but with glass panels instead of solid for a contemporary look.

See more of this remodel above here.

In this next home remodel in Reston, the homeowners replaced all the interior doors in their mid century home (including replacing bifold closet doors which are commonly found in many bedrooms and hallways) and totally transformed this house. This is a great example of how door styles/colors can be mixed and matched in different rooms but still feel cohesive and blend together.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Pocket Doors

Personally, I love pocket doors. They are the ultimate space saver and you can get really creative with the design and hardware. If you don’t have room for a barn door with a track (or don’t like the look), it might be time to give pocket doors a chance. From frosted glass to solid doors, they are more versatile than you might think. For added design detail, paint them any color you like for a pop of color and design interest.

In this home remodel, a slab pocket door separates the kitchen from the pantry that can be easily pulled across for separation of space.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Pocket doors are not reserved for pantries and laundries/mudrooms. The photo on the left (below) shows how glass pocket doors look equally stunning in an office (this is a design choice I made in my own home). The availability of modern hardware for pocket doors by companies such as Cavilock (as seen on the right) means even the latch can make a design statement!

Left image courtesy of Decoholic. Right image courtesy of Cavilock.

The downside? It might be difficult to retrofit pocket doors to an existing space depending on the size and width of the walls on either side of the door(s) and what’s behind the walls in terms of electrical wiring or pipes. Placement of electrical light switches will also be impacted as switches cannot be installed on the wall close to the doors because the pocket doors take up the cavity space.

Barn Doors

Replacing existing doors with barn doors takes things up a design notch in your space, especially when paired with a statement door track. Barn doors are most at home in transitional or traditional spaces and add visual interest to the room, but can also fit into a more modern aesthetic if the design is kept simple and paired with a modern track system. Like pocket doors, they are good space savers — especially for pantries. Having too many doors that open in a kitchen can make it feel cramped and hard to navigate, so barn doors are a perfect solution to this problem.

In the example below, our clients removed a closet pantry with a door that opened into the main kitchen, making this a tight corner. The reimagined pantry not only improves storage, the addition of the barn door is much easier for the busy family to use.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

The gorgeous door in this home remodel in Reston not only looks stunning, it can be pulled across to give a cozier feel to the family room in the evenings.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

This last example shows a modern glass barn door in an office that is a thing of beauty in itself!

Image courtesy of Monarch Construction.

Saloon Doors

Yes, we’re putting saloon doors on the list because we think they are a great way to add a playful, yet sophisticated, element to any space. But, these aren’t your Grandma’s saloon doors. In this home remodel in Reston, the existing pantry was a nice space but by adding wooden saloon doors, it gives the whole kitchen a brand new look and feel.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Before we go — a note on hardware

When it comes to hardware, just like kitchen and bathroom cabinet handles, there has been a general move away from all polished brass for door handles and hinges. Satin nickel, chrome and black are now the colors of choice. A simple hardware change isn’t hard to do. In the example below, our clients decided to update their door hardware to black. They liked the look of the existing style, so they didn’t switch that out, but the new black handles fit better with their newly remodeled space.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

If you’re ready to rethink your home, we’re here to help! We’ve been leading the way in home remodeling in Reston since 2008. Ready to get started? Find out more about us here.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Our design-build approach ensures your project is delivered on-time and on-budget. See more of this remodel here.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

I was taking part in a non-work related meeting recently where acronyms and new terms were flying around at a dizzying pace. No matter what industry you work in, it’s often easy to forget the words you use as part of your everyday vernacular mean little to others and can cause confusion and, ultimately, frustration. 

It got me thinking about how that translates to the home remodeling world. There is no one-approach-fits-all when it comes time to update your home. It can be bewildering trying to figure out exactly what type of contractor or home remodeler you need for the project you are thinking about. So, this month, we’re here to explain one of the ways to remodel by taking a deeper dive into the world of ‘design-build’.

First things first, what does design-build mean? In its simplest form, it means a company ‘designs everything it builds and builds everything it designs’. It’s a one-stop-shop experience so you contract with one company as opposed to hiring an interior designer (and/or architect, if needed) for designs and then having to find a separate construction company (and, in many cases, a project manager who can bridge the two). 

The biggest advantage of a design-build approach is the company does all the heavy lifting and brings a team of people to the table to work on your home.

Most design-build home remodeling companies like Synergy Design & Construction have an in-house team of experts who partner with you from the design of your dream space all the way through to the end of construction — usually all professionally project managed along the way. In most cases, design-build companies have Interior Designers, Carpenters and Project Managers as full time employees. Others may even have in-house mechanical, electrical, plumbing and paint/drywall experts on their team. However, most (Synergy included) outsource speciality work to preferred and trusted trade partners as they are only needed at certain points in the overall project. 

The other advantage in having one company who is responsible for your project from start to finish is that you have a much more realistic idea of cost/budget and timeline earlier in the process because the designers/architects and construction teams work hand-in-hand. Having a fantastic project designed on paper by an architect or interior designer with all the bells and whistles is no use to you if the construction company comes back with a quote that is triple your budget. 

Lastly, working with one company means you have one point of accountability, but it also lets you get to know your team. Here’s one of our in-house carpenters at a recent home remodel in Reston. All of our carpenters are highly skilled, passionate about the work they do and develop relationships with the family they are working with. They take great pride in their work and clients have actually told us they miss having the crew around once the project is done!

We assign a Lead Carpenter to every project we work on who knows all the ins and outs and details of your project. They focus on top notch work and deadline driven projects. Carpenters and construction crews will be in your life for a while during a home remodel, so we think it’s important to know who’s in your home — find out why here

Find out more about our team here.

That all sounds great, but what are the downsides? Well, the scope for most design-build firms tends to be larger, complex, design-thoughtful remodels. To give you an example, at Synergy, we do not work on powder room or pantry remodels as a standalone service, but we do include these as part of larger projects such as remodeling all of the bathrooms in a home, or a kitchen plus pantry remodel. In the same way you don’t need an accountant to balance your checkbook, you don’t need a design-build firm for a simple bathroom update. Thinking of a smaller remodel or refresh that doesn’t need a design-build approach but don’t know where to start? Then read this.

This Pantry/Mudroom remodel in Vienna was completed as part of a larger main level remodel. See more of this remodel here.

The other factor is you may pay more (but not always) for the all-inclusive service. In our experience, however, although design-build may sound more expensive at the outset, the time saved (not to mention the stress relief) of not having to find different experts and companies to work with and knowing your chosen company understands your scope and budget at the outset is money well spent (and dollars saved in the long run).

Ready to take the next step on your home remodeling project? Get in touch! We’re always happy to help homeowners in the area figure out if we’re the right fit for their needs.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

See more of this home remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Home remodel on your New Year’s resolution list? A home remodel is a big financial investment and no one wants to make any changes to their home that won’t stand the test of time when it comes to design choices. We’re here to help! This month, we’re sharing what made our team’s list of trends and things we think we’ll be seeing more of in 2023 when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodeling and interior design.

Fireplaces in Kitchens

The role of the kitchen has changed in the last few decades. They’ve become multi-functional spaces that serve gathering and entertaining needs as well as their day-to-day cooking/prep function. There is now a move taking this one step further by creating kitchens that are ‘cozy’. We like to think we’re trail blazers on this one, but fireplaces in kitchens are regaining popularity as a way to achieve a more intimate and ‘lived in’ feeling.

A Touchstone recessed electric fireplace was integrated into the island in this home remodel in Reston. See more of this home here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.
Photo Courtesy Jamie Padgett.
Pet-Friendly Laundry/Mudrooms

This has been a growing trend in recent years, but adding a pet cleaning station to a mudroom or laundry is now a BIG ticket item. With many of us adding a furry friend to the family during the pandemic, it’s now become a ‘must-have’ for many homeowners when they are building a new home or remodeling an existing one. Nicola, our Director of Marketing, did this in her own home and created not only a dog shower (that also doubles for muddy boot cleaning and other heavy duty cleaning) but also added a built-in dog crate, too.

Photo courtesy Nicola Shelley.

Butler’s Pantries as an Extension of Kitchens

In the same way the role of the kitchen has changed, our use of ancillary spaces on the main level has also changed. Historically, Butler’s Pantries were reserved for staff as a primary “landing point” for meal service/clean up as they were located between the kitchen and dining room. These days, Butler’s Pantries are an extension of the kitchen, usually with similar cabinetry or design elements (although not always) for a cohesive feel but with a multifunctional purpose. Not everyone has room for a separate Butler’s Pantry, so mixed-use spaces that combine the Butler’s Pantry/Pantry/Laundry/Mudroom are now high on homeowner’s wishlists.

In this home remodel in Oakton, a room previously used as a playroom was turned into this gorgeous Butler’s Pantry. You can see more of this remodel here. Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.
In this townhome remodel in Reston, an underutilized room off the kitchen was transformed into this pantry with tons of storage. You can see more of this remodel here. Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

Ready to give your Butler’s Pantry or Pantry some pep? Then read this!

The Un-Bathroom

Emily, one of Synergy’s Interior Designers, has had her eye on this one for a while! But what exactly is an “un-bathroom”? The true un-bathroom has to have more than a fancy vanity and fabric; think an eclectic mix of art on the walls and pieces of furniture that usually don’t go in bathrooms, such as chairs, dressers, fireplaces and, yes, even rugs.

Left photo courtesy TradChap. Right photo courtesy Corrigan Chateau. We’d like to be transported to this un-bathroom right now!

Reeded/Fluted Cabinetry (especially in Bathrooms) and Chunky Countertops

Not ready for the un-bathroom but interested in trying something different? Camille (also one of Synergy’s Interior Designers), is calling reeded/ fluted cabinetry as one of the new looks we’ll be seeing more of in the next few years. Paired with ‘chunky’ countertops, they are a chic addition to any bathroom.

This bathroom (left) features a honey colored vanity with brass knobs and honed white marble. Photo courtesy of Dana Wolter Interiors. Right photo courtesy Bria Hammel Interiors.

Bringing the Outside In

This one isn’t a new trend, but the importance of bringing the outdoors in is making a repeat appearance on our list this year. As Mina, Synergy’s CEO & Founder says, “our connection to nature is one of the most important aspects of living in our home.” You don’t have to go big (like switching out your windows to have a better view outside), simple changes like adding botanicals, accessories and wooden elements are a simple way to help you feel more grounded and relaxed.

If you are bringing plants into your space, large plants are perfectly able to hold their own in a room. However, grouping smaller plants is the key to achieving a design-thoughtful look. Mina likes odd numbered groupings (think threes and fives). The example below shows how use of similar hues of plant pot colors on a simple white shelf provides a stunning visual. I feel calm just looking at it!

Photo courtesy Garden Trading.

New Twists on Traditional Elements

It started with brass, then wallpaper and then, most recently, oak cabinets. There has been a resurgence of more traditional elements BUT with a totally new twist. Polished brass everything is definitely a thing of the past, but brass has reclaimed its position as a design element that has longevity when done right or used as part of mixed metal fixtures.

See more of this home remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

Talking of traditional elements, many of us have furniture or other items handed down by family members that we just don’t know what to do with if the design in the home leans more transitional or contemporary. Barbara, Synergy’s Project Coordinator, thinks vintage pieces mixed in with more modern elements is gaining more attention and, when done right, it’s a great way to integrate heirlooms without making a space feel dated.

Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Missed our posts about design elements that might be dating your home? We had a few! Read Part One here and Part Two here!

Dark, Moody Colors

“Moody” paint color made our list last year, and it’s a trend that grew in popularity over the last twelve months and continues to soar in usage. From walls to trim to ceilings, dark colors continue to pop up everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Studio Magee.
Photo courtesy Max Humphrey (Design)/Christopher Dibble (photography). 

Looking for more paint inspiration? Read 2023 Paint Trends and Color Inspiration.


OK, we admit it. This one isn’t new, but the ever-changing choices and finishes in tile lights us up so it’s on our list again this year. We called the move toward geometric tile some time ago, and that’s a lasting design element that will be around for years to come. Subway tile is also still a highly popular choice, but the rules have changed when it comes to size and finish. What we love about tile these days is that you don’t have to splurge to get a modern, high-end look.

Geometric tile makes a design statement in this bathroom remodel in Reston. LOVE! See more of this remodel here. Photo courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.
A new twist on subway tile. “Retro” collection subway tile in the color “Leno Gloss” was used on the backsplash in this kitchen remodel in Reston. See more of this home remodel here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.
“Adriatic Sea” artisan backsplash tile from Fireclay Tile was used in this home remodel in Reston. See more of this remodel here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

Great interior design should have longevity that lasts for decades and not fall out of fashion by next year. At Synergy, we’re here to help you sort the lasting design trends from the short-lived fads. If you’re ready to work with one of the best home remodeling companies in the area, get in touch and find out what’s possible in your space!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Vining Ivy. Photo courtesy Glidden

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It seems like no time at all since we took a leisurely stroll admiring the calming and soothing colors of last year’s color trends! This year, the biggest names in the paint industry are ready to move things forward and are looking optimistically to the future with new colors that are lush, gorgeous and versatile.

As a full service home remodeling company that focuses on design-thoughtful interior remodels, Synergy doesn’t provide painting as a standalone service. However, we believe painting should be included as part of every home remodel and our Interior Designers will even help you pick out the perfect palette for your space! Not every home remodeler or general contractor includes painting in their scope of services, so be sure to ask the question before you sign a home remodeling contract.

With that said, time to get inspired and take a look at the top color picks by some of the biggest names in the painting industry.

Benjamin Moore  

Benjamin Moore is our go-to paint company when it comes to our home remodels. This year, they’ve named Raspberry Blush (2008-30) as their color of the year. Providing “Joie de Vivre”, it is described as “a vivacious shade of color tinged with pink, this electric hue is the definition of charismatic color.”

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients is how to best use color without overdoing it and overpowering the space. This depends on a lot of factors (including your personal design aesthetic when it comes to use of color), but it is possible to paint a room all in the same color, or simply use it as an accent. Benjamin Moore provides some helpful suggestions for using this paint color to maximum effect in different ways:

  • Bring a blushed update to the deep red dining room with Raspberry Blush walls and Onyx furnishings.
  • Create a lively living room with walls and wainscoting. 
  • Add a pop of color to your home with a powder room or ensuite painted in this rich coral.

Farrow & Ball

Based in England, Farrow & Ball have long held a reputation for quality paint and interesting colors (or should we say, ‘colours’) and they are also high on our list of favorites when it comes to paint names! 

This year, they introduced 11 new colors to their collection of high-performance, low-VOC, water based paints. According to Farrow & Ball they are, “inspired by moments of joy, comfort and refreshment to bring delight to your decorating. The first additions to our much-loved colour card in four years, these versatile new shades range from a lively, flame red to a delicate pink. With our signature richness, depth and extraordinary response to light, each one is unmistakably Farrow & Ball.”

This is a big deal for Farrow & Ball who haven’t introduced any new colors for four years. They are retiring 11 of their older colors to make way for these new ones, so if you’ve used their paint in your home in recent years, it might be a good time to look into which colors are being discontinued in case you need a touch up.

“Our relationship with our home has changed so much over the last few years, it felt like the perfect time to introduce these new colours,” said Joa Studholme, color curator for Farrow & Ball, in a press release. “We all feel ready to show off our spaces and personal style.”

Say hello to the new Farrow & Ball colors:

  • Stirabout
  • Eddy
  • Tailor Tack
  • Templeton Pink
  • Bamboozle
  • Hopper Head
  • Selvedge
  • Kittiwake
  • Wine Dark
  • Whirlybird
  • Beverly


“Minimal”, “calming” and “intriguing”, Sherwin-Williams has chosen Redend Point (SW 9081) as their color of the year. Inspired by connection and care, it is described as a color of “warmth” by the company which, “embraces a spirit of connection with the world around us with this soulful-yet-subtle hue.” Well, I’m sold!

Redend Point (SW 9081). Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

Redend Point (SW 9081). Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams


Fans of a more neutral color palette rejoice! BEHR® has selected Blank Canvas (DC-003) as their color of the year. According to BEHR® it, “sets the tone for relaxation” and allows homeowners to “renew every room of your home.” Erika Woelfel, Behr’s vice president of color and creative services, said, “White is the perfect color for starting fresh. It’s restorative.” 

It is a modern and bright take on an off-white with undertones of brown and gray that make it a true neutral shade. It doesn’t contain yellow so it can easily be paired with other neutrals without looking ‘tired’. This is also a completely new shade from BEHR® as part of a brand new Designer Collection. 


Glidden describes their top pick Vining Ivy as a “bluish-greenish-something-in-betweenish” color that “serves up versatile vibes, making it an on-trend addition to any room. No matter if you think it looks more blue or more green, either way, it’s a vibe.” The perfect color for people who can’t decide between blue or green, this one might end up solving a lot of problems when deciding which color to get in the paint aisle!

This color is also another one that puts emphasis on the restorative side of life. According to Ashley McCollum, Glidden color expert, “The overarching theme for 2023 is about reflection on what matters most to us, our relationship with the planet, and how we want to engage with others. Its versatility takes the guesswork out of design, leaving consumers with more time to indulge in the things that matter most to them.”

The color also works well on an accent wall, a front door and can even work in small spaces. Per McCollum, “even the most modest spaces can benefit from the teal treatment. For those short on square footage but big on style, we recommend using this rich hue as a bold contrast to a neutral palette, making a petite room feel plush.”

Vining Ivy. Photo courtesy Glidden

Not ready for a larger scale home remodel but thinking it’s time to freshen up your home with some new paint? Download our free Guide to Paint Finishes to get you started here!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Faceframe cabinets with white shaker cabinet doors are warmed up with the birch island in this transitional kitchen in Herndon. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

I was recently talking to an out-of-town friend who is considering a home remodel. Although her home was built in the early 1970s, her personal aesthetic leans contemporary and she was thinking of a modern makeover for her kitchen.

We were discussing kitchen design and I off-handedly asked, “What style of cabinet doors are you thinking about?” It wasn’t a trick question but, as it turns out, it wasn’t something she’d given much thought. I realized after polling others this is a topic many people don’t really think about or pay much attention to until it comes time to pick them out — often well into the remodeling process when it’s either too overwhelming to research and/or the remodeler they are working with has limited cabinet options.

Depending on the home remodeling company or general contractor you use for your kitchen remodel, your choice of cabinetry may be very broad — or very narrow! At Synergy, we have a number of different cabinetry companies we work with and our preferred partners provide different lines of cabinets at different price points and infinite choices of color and style! We were once even able to match a kitchen cabinet color to a client’s favorite purse. With other general contractors or smaller companies, you might be limited to only three or four door styles and limited color choices. It’s worth asking the question before you sign on the dotted line to ensure you understand what your options are and if it’s the right fit for you.

As kitchen cabinetry will be one of the biggest line items in your renovation budget and can have a big impact on the design appeal of your home, it’s important you get what you want. With that said, here’s a quick guide of kitchen cabinets so you can make the perfect choice for your kitchen remodel.

Don’t know the difference between a home remodeling design build company and a general contractor? Then read this!

Frameless vs. Faceframe Cabinets

Let’s start with the basics: frameless or faceframe cabinets. With frameless cabinets, there is no frame around the cabinet box and the cabinet doors attach directly to the inside of the box. Although there are benefits such as ease of access and storage space, the main appeal is the seamless and more modern look frameless cabinets provide, due to their tiny ‘reveals’ (the space showing around the cabinet doors and drawer heads).

Faceframe cabinets have a frame that covers the edge of the cabinet box and the door hinges attach to the frame itself. Faceframe cabinets tend to be more adaptable to all overlay types (i.e. the way the cabinet frame shows around the doors and drawer heads) and sometimes have the added benefit of being more budget-friendly. However, this is highly dependent on the type of overlay you select (read more below).

There is no right or wrong choice and it’s all down to personal preference. The drawing below shows the difference between frameless and faceframe cabinets.

Frameless cabinets and a contemporary design. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Frameless cabinets and a contemporary design. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

There are three different types of cabinet overlays: partial overlay, full overlay and inset. With more traditional partial overlay faceframe cabinets, you see a lot of the frame of the cabinet box. However, newer and more modern faceframe cabinets often have ‘full overlay’ doors. With new finishes and production methods, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between frameless and faceframe cabinets once installed, as seen in the examples below. Full overlay faceframe cabinets, however, are not the same as frameless cabinets. Full overlay cabinets still show approximately a ¼ inch reveal of the frame around the doors and drawers, while frameless cabinets show almost zero frame reveal.

This is an example of a more traditional American faceframe cabinet style. Note, since these are partial overlay cabinets, you can see the ‘frame’ of the cabinet box around the doors. Photo courtesy of Bright MLS.
Faceframe cabinets with white shaker cabinet doors are warmed up with the birch island in this transitional kitchen in Herndon. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Full overlay cabinet doors set the tone for this transitional home remodel in Vienna. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Next comes inset doors. With inset cabinetry, the doors are not sitting in front of the faceframe of the cabinet, but rather they are sitting right inside (‘flush’ with) the frame — the entire frame of the cabinet between all the doors and drawers is exposed for a classic, artisan look. To add further detail and uniqueness to inset cabinets, they are sometimes available with decorative exposed hinges in different finishes. As a general rule of thumb, inset doors will be more expensive.

In this example, inset doors were used on the walls and full-overlay doors for bases and tall cabinets. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Now that you’ve made your decision on frameless or faceframe cabinets, let’s take a look at the most popular door styles.

The go-to Shaker

Shaker cabinet doors are still the go-to choice for many. Their clean lines and fuss-free look mean they are still a popular choice that stands the test of design time. Shaker cabinets fit beautifully with a more transitional design — i.e. design that blends traditional and modern design. Lately, there is a general move away from all white shaker kitchen cabinets. It started with lightly color contrasted islands, but now blue, green and wood elements are all equally at home.

Not sure what “transitional kitchen design” means? Read this!

Faceframe cabinets with white shaker doors and a gorgeous contrasting cobalt blue island! Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Slab fronted cabinets

When it comes to a more contemporary look, slab-fronted cabinets are the way to go. Cabinets with slab doors are usually frameless for an ultra-sleek look. They are versatile and can be handle/pull free for an extra modern look but also work with handles and pulls. As with shaker door cabinets, slab-fronted cabinet colors can also be mixed to give contrast.

Frameless cabinets with slab doors in contrasting walnut and white lacquer make this a standout kitchen in this Reston home. Photo Courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Frameless cabinets with slab doors and tons of European flair! Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of the remodel here.

Mix n’ match

There is no rule about having to use one cabinet door style in your kitchen design. If you like the look of shaker but want a modern twist, it is possible to mix and match with slab-fronts. The key is to do all cabinet doors in one style and all drawers in another. In the examples below, a shaker style was used for cabinet doors, but with slab drawers for a more contemporary look.

Full overlay framed cabinets with slab drawers. Photo Courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Frameless cabinets with shaker doors and slab drawers. Photo Courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Frameless cabinets with shaker doors and slab drawers. Photo Courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
The clients in this home remodel in Reston took a slightly different approach. They used slabs for all of the base cabinets (both drawers AND doors) and shaker for all of the upper cabinets. Photo Courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

Ready to work with a local home remodeling company who provides a customized kitchen design and interior designers who help you with all the decisions? Our consultations are FREE and there is never any obligation. Learn more about us!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Before & After. (Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction)

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Well, last month’s “Design Elements That Are Dating Your Home” column clearly struck a chord with many local homeowners! We heard from lots of people who shared other items they think are ready for a new, fresh twist. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some other dated items homeowners want to switch up when it comes time for their next home remodel or refresh!

Kitchen Desks

We’ve lost count of how many of these we’ve pulled out of homes in recent years! The kitchen desk seemed like such a great addition when it became ‘in’. However, many homeowners just never used them and they became a dumping zone rather than a work zone. When the COVID pandemic and lockdown happened, most people didn’t want to work at a desk in a small space facing a wall, so the home office/dining room got more attention as a work zone and the kitchen desk was abandoned. If you’re thinking of a kitchen remodel, we say replace the kitchen desk if you don’t use it. Put that square footage to better use!

Closet Pantry

There was a time when homes in this area weren’t built without a closet pantry. Although they are useful, they take up A LOT of square footage and because of their layout (not to mention an added door in a small space), things tend to disappear into the back of them, never to see the light of day again. Closet pantries are now being replaced with pull-out pantry cabinets instead. Got room for a separate pantry? Lucky you! The pantry has become a curated space in its own right and we LOVE it!

Platform Tubs in the Primary Bathroom

We’ve been saying this for a while, but the days of oversized platform tubs are gone. Taking their place are free-standing soaking tubs — or no tub at all! If you love a good soak, then the new style of tub is a great addition to your primary bathroom, but it’s no longer a ‘must-have’. Many homeowners are foregoing the tub altogether and creating large, glass shower enclosures instead. If you simply must have a tub, the trend of having a glass enclosure that has both the shower and the tub in one ‘wet’ zone has also been showing up everywhere in recent years.

When it comes to resale, many prospective buyers may want a tub somewhere in the home for kids (and yes, sometimes, pets!), but it is no longer a requirement to have a tub in the primary bathroom.

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Kitchen lighting done right! See the Before photo of this kitchen below. (Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction)

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Nobody likes to hear their home is starting to date and look its age, or that a “must have it” design choice they made may have seen its day. But, it’s a fact of life that, as time goes on, interior design trends and aesthetics evolve and what was “in” twenty or thirty years ago is now ready for a refresh. So, let’s take a look at some common design elements that are dating your home — and some ideas for how you can update your space.

Like all things design, if you have any of these things in your home and you LOVE them, let them be. It’s your home; if it makes you happy, enjoy them. But we bet it’s more than likely some of these things will resonate with you and you might even have been thinking about switching them out for a while!

Honey Oak/Orange Toned Stair Banister & Railings

Oh, boy. This is a controversial one as we see this all over Northern Virginia because so many of the homes in the area were built around the same time. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it’s time to put a fresh spin on your honey oak staircase and get your paint out!

Replacing the entire floor is one thing, but updating your staircase is a weekend job that will totally transform your space. Don’t believe us? See the examples below!

1980s Ceiling Fans

This one always creates fond memories of flowery wallpaper borders and chintz sofas. For us, it’s all about the details and nothing sticks out more in an updated space than a dated ceiling fan. Even worse? If you haven’t gotten around to replacing that bulb that went out or the chain has broken and is no longer serving a purpose.

There are SO many options available now at really reasonable prices from big box stores and online. But with so many options, how do you know which one to choose? You don’t have to have contemporary tastes to get one you like. A general rule of thumb is the less it has going on, the better. We think this one is an easy fix that you need to put on your list NOW!

Glass Blocks

Guilty! This was SUCH a popular look for such a long time (especially in bathrooms) that it’s hard to let them go. However, it’s time to move on! These days, large clear glass shower enclosures and fuss-free streamlined modern finishes are the way to go.

Removing glass blocks may not be an easy change. If budget allows and it’s an exterior window, it’s money well spent to replace it. If that’s not within your budget, hang a sheer drape in front the glass block window to filter the light and soften the look.  If you have a glass block shower or accent wall and you want to take it down, you’ll likely need professional help. Put it on your wishlist for when it’s time to remodel!

Before & After (Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction)

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