Design Ideasthoughts for inspiration

Storm Damage Advice

It’s important to watch out for storm-chasing contractors, who move city to city to find storm-damaged homes and offer poor service after the sale. They usually descend on an affected like locust on a crop field, within hours or days after a storm event.
These contractors pray on a homeowner’s first instinct, which is to restore their property as quickly as possible after a devastating storm.

These contractors know that homeowners are in tough spot and will make emotional decisions that they wouldn’t normally make without doing more research.

One of the tactics that these storm-chasing contractors are using is going door to door in affected neighborhoods, promising homeowners everything under the sun in order to get them to sign a contingency form. Once you sign that form you are locked into using that contractor.

We are not saying that everyone knocking on your door, offering storm restoration assistance is always a marauder. In fact many reputable estimators will stop by if they have an estimate next door to see if they are in need of assistance as well.

Things to remember if you have storm damage:
-Always ask for local references within the last 12 months. (Even if they have local plates and a local license number) This will help you confirm if they are indeed a local contractor or not.
-Asking for identification from the company representative is a reasonable request, if they are from out of state that is a red flag.
-Do not sign anything until you have fully vetted the contractor.
-Ask to see their insurance certificates

Contractors recommended by your insurance company.
As a homeowner, you have the right to choose the contractor that performs your insurance restoration work. Some insurance companies have preferred service providers that they strongly recommend, and in some cases, they will even guarantee to back their work if it’s performed incorrectly.

This sounds great on paper until you realize that it is to that contractor’s benefit to perform minimal work as cheaply as possible so that the insurance company continues to send them work. Protect yourself by doing your own homework and not going with the first person that knocks on your door.

Contractors who offer pay your deductible.
In the state of Minnesota, it is illegal for a contractor to pay your insurance deductible. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Labor prohibits the discounting of any insurance restoration work on your home.
Kickbacks or rebates from a contractor are also not permissible. Anyone who offers to do any of this should be reported to the Better Business Bureau or your local department of labor.

In the end remember if you have storm damage, slow down and take your time choosing a contractor as you would any remodeling project. A reputable company will have no issues providing references and any other requested documentation.

Structural Design Elements

STRUCTURAL DESIGN ELEMENTS

One of the things most contractors and homeowners overlook when updating their home’s exterior is adding a portico, porch, or other minor construction.  It is easy to get caught up in selecting colors, styles, textures, and all of the other decisions that a remodeling project can entail.  The addition or alteration of existing porticos, porches, eyebrows, and gables can be a great “bang for the buck.”  When done correctly these design accents can turn a ho-hum siding job into a neighborhood favorite.

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By adding a portico with stone columns to this St. Louis Park home, these homeowners created a welcoming feel to their front entry.

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With the addition of a gable and some PermaCast fiberglass columns, these Eden Prairie homeowners added some architecture to break up their 70 foot long rambler.

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This was a fun one!  We added the gables above the upper windows, as well as the garage gable to break up this big space.  With the standing seam metal roof on the bay and porch, these homeowners are the talk of the neighborhood.  On your next project, don’t forget that a little bit of construction can turn your siding project into an exterior tranformation!

Accent ideas

Accents are important design elements to consider when designing a great exterior. They are the final details that will make your home interesting, warm and inviting.

If you can dream it, we can likely build it!

Here are a few projects where we added affordable details that made a big difference.

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James Hardie custom shutters are a great way to add some extra flare. We make many different styles and designs to choose from.

The colors used on this project are:

Shutters-Khaki brown, Siding-Woodstock, Shakes-Cobblestone

Also on this one, see how the slight staggered shakes give a unique, real cedar look to the gable.

 

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Being creative doesn’t always have to be expensive!

This non-operating decorative louver to the left was made out of the cut of leftovers from the siding installation.

Colors here are:

Trim- Navajo Beige, Siding- Timberbark, Shakes- Heathered Moss

 

 

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Here is a great example of mixing in metal roofing and shakes to accent this unique architectural feature.

These copper shingles are beautiful, and are always a great choice for bay or bow window applications. We are also seeing that standing seam steel roofing is fast becoming the accent metal roofing of choice.

 

 

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This garage gable before was plain and undefined. Our client wanted more visual appeal, so we added a window and a tasteful little decorative louver with the cedar corbels to spice it up a little. Then we finished it off with the James Hardie® straight edge shakes.

 

 

 

accimg-5This picture of soffit, fascia and copper gutters is about as complete of a package as one can do. On this South Minneapolis home we installed tongue and groove beaded soffit along with Hardie crown molding. Note the curved composite crown molding over the curved fascia on the upper gable.

 

 

 

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Gable build outs like this one are another easy way to add visual appeal to a gable. Here we used James Hardie board & batten along with the James Hardie Heritage shakes.

 

 

 

 

 

accimg-7Flower boxes come in many shapes and styles. We build them using Azek PVC trim products so they will never rot.  Another popular material is clear grade natural cedar.

New Color Trends

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They say that style will eventually go full circle, and that is definitely the case when it comes to exterior design and home colors. In the last few years we have seen a strong resurgence of the vivid colors that were so popular in 1920′s era. With today’s super sidings like James Hardie fiber cement siding it has become much easier to be adventurous when choosing colors for your home.

Then there are contemporary and modern designs that often look best in monochromatic-single color finish with bronze and deep grays’ being the most popular.  Even on monochromatic exteriors we are seeing that fiber cement siding to be the best as it is stable enough to handle the dark colors.

A good rule of thumb when choosing colors for your home is to go just a little outside of your comfort zone. Choosing the right colors for your home can be a little distressing and overwhelming sometimes. The right choice will be a combination of your own style, the neighborhood you live in and the architecture of your home.

On the average home there are three main color components.

Body color- This would generally be the siding color.

Trim color- Generally your eaves, window trim, corner trim and band trim

Accent color- Shutters, flower boxes, doors, shakes, and gable vents

 

Here are some tips that we give our clients during the color selection phase.

colorimg-21. Work with larger samples outside.

In order to have the most fun with this you will need to get larger color samples and take them outside under the natural light. As you narrow it down we can bring out whole pieces of siding to help you be confident of your choice.

2. Color to go.

One trick we often utilize is the Sherwin Williams “Color to go” quart samples. For $6 they will mix up  sample quarts of paint for you. Then you can paint the colors you are thinking next to the brick, trim or in view of the roofing color.

3. Complimenting brick and stone

Too often you see body colors that too closely match the stone color when this happens the stone and siding blur together or “wash out”. You want your stone and siding to “pop” or be striking in contrast to each other.

4. Take pictures of the homes that you like.

This can be very helpful for you and your contractor, the more the better. It provides us with valuable insight into your taste and style so we can best recommend design ideas for your home.

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5. Consider adding more detail for accent colors

It is all in the details…This is really one of the fun parts of exterior design. Some ideas our clients often consider are crown molding trim, shutters, flower boxes, custom decorative louvers, heavy posts and stained cedar.  These are all possible ideas we can help you contemplate.

6. Design software

As a professional remodeler we utilize the best exterior designer software available, Renoworks. We will take a digital photo of your home and put the colors you are considering on your house.