April 26th, 2013
When man first sought shelter from the elements, the idea of a dwelling, a home, was born. Since that time, the idea of what a home should be and how it is used has certainly changed just as the way our lives have changed. In our present state, it seems that technology has its grip on how we live, and with technology changing at an accelerating pace, we have learned to adapt our lives at a similarly changing pace. As we discard our cellphones before we even learn how to use each feature in order to get the next “hot” phone, we should stop and think about how this same phenomenon relates to the way we live.
Quite often, what we find desirable for our current situations may not work as well for our lifestyle in the future, and in some instances that future is not too distant. This leads me to the discussion of what we have found to be an increasingly common factor in designing new homes and home renovations for our clients. Flexibility.
Life is full of phases and changes; families grow, kids grow up, kids move out, or sometimes back in, among many other things. So when the time comes to work with an architect to design your new home or renovation/addition to your existing home, there are a few important questions to ask yourself that you may, or may not be thinking about: Read the rest of this entry »
April 10th, 2012
Click Here for additional photos of the finished home and construction photos
When a family outgrows their current home, tough decisions have to be made. In the case of this Downers Grove family, the decision was simple. Their home is located on a prime corner lot in a great community, close to transportation, a downtown full of amenities and within a great school district. So when the home began to feel a little cramped for space, the homeowners knew it was time to explore the idea of adding on to their existing home.
The owners contacted SWA Architects to prepare plans for an addition which includes a revised rear entry, second floor master bedroom suite, family room, and a basement entertainment room.
The original home was just over 1,600 square feet, and comprised of a first floor with several small walled off rooms. The kitchen, although updated, was a small galley style kitchen that lacked space and was walled off from the rest of the first floor. The second floor consisted of three bedrooms with very limited closet space and one full hall bath.
SWA Architects sat down with the homeowners to discuss what was lacking in their current home and what they hoped to have in their updated home. Read the rest of this entry »
July 8th, 2011
SWA Architects recently verified a remodeling project by Weiss Building and Development to the Emerald level of the NAHB National Green Building Program. Brandon Weiss achieved a reduction in energy use of approximately 57% by using a combination of upgrades to the existing older home which included new exterior foam insulation under new siding, proper air seal to control infiltration, new windows, and new furnace with sealed ductwork.
Water savings are estimated to achieve a 55% reduction in water consumption, by replacing existing plumbing fixtures with low flow toilets and faucets. Landscape watering was also minimized by landscaping with plants requiring minimal watering needs and creating a rain garden and using rain barrels.
The remodel of this home is a great example of how older housing stock can be upgraded to meet today’s new home standards. In today’s current economy, many people may be holding off on the idea of building a new home, but that doesn’t mean that your current home can’t remodeled to perform like a new home. You may look at your home and think it can’t be done, but most likely, the “bones” of your home are still in good shape, and with some interior and exterior upgrades, your home can get an entire make-over that makes it work like new.
Those poorly insulated walls and ceilings are not only leaking warm air out in the winter, they are draining your wallet with your monthly heating bills. A remodel such as this can cut your energy and water bills significantly, which will not only save you on that monthly hit to your checkbook, but also make your house a more comfortable place to live.
Contact SWA Architects to discuss how your home can be revived with green upgrades that will make it feel like new, and to get the do-it-yourselfer in you started, check out SWA’s list of Simple Ideas to Green your Home.
November 3rd, 2009
I have been contacted by several potential clients during the last six months who are interested in updating the exterior of their homes. In most of these cases the homeowners are satisfied with the size, functionality and location of their homes but have become dissatisfied with or tired of the exterior style.
In 2008 we worked with Legacy Design and Construction to complete a facelift to a home in Naperville. The owners of the home needed to replace the windows in their 25 year old home so they decided to take advantage of the federal government’s energy credit, reduce their federal income taxes and update the style of their home at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »