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The Ins and Outs of Selecting Lattice

Lattice before renovation

BEFORE

lattice after renovation

AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lattice is a great solution for screening around the base of a cottage or under a deck or porch. The open weave provides a light, casual look and lets air circulate freely. However, all lattice is not created equal. Lattice should be carefully selected because the scale, material and construction can make the difference between a polished look that enhances the exterior of your home versus a look that is more chaotic.

Like so many things in life these days, there are LOTS of choices! Here is what you should consider when selecting  lattice:

Shape

porch lattice

SQUARE LATTICE

Look at your home’s exterior. If a lot is already going on, I suggest you go with a square pattern. I use this style most often (vs. a diamond pattern). Squares give a cleaner look and add a bit more style.

Material
When budgets allow, I go with cedar lattice and then spray it with a stain. Cedar lattice holds up and looks great up close. If the low-maintenance of vinyl is appealing, there are some nice options that come in both squares and diamonds. Vinyl lattice typically comes in white and dark green (the two most frequently used colors), but many companies also make a line that can be painted. If you decide to go with vinyl, just make sure the lattice strips are not too thick or it won’t look good!

Size of Openings:
“Privacy” lattice has a tighter grid pattern; “classic” has larger openings. The right choice depends upon your preference. I use the “privacy” most often because I think it gives a nicer finished look.

Framed panels:
For a more finished look, lattice panels surrounded by a frame will feel neater and more styled.

Foundation color:
You can often see the gray concrete of the foundation through lattice. I like painting the foundation to camouflage the foundation and create a cleaner look. This is particularly important if the lattice is going in a location that you frequently see, such as under a front porch.

There’s a lot to think about! If you need some inspiration, take a look at lattice pictures on Houzz.com or give me a call!

How to Choose Windows for Your Renovation

living room windows

Window selection is one of the most important decisions in a renovation. While all choices matter, windows have a huge impact on both the interior and exterior appearance of the entire house. They are also a big ticket item so you don’t want to make a mistake!

How do you choose the best windows for your renovation? Start by considering four things:

  1. Price: Almost every manufacturer has now developed a line of windows to meet a wide range of price points. Compare prices and warranties to begin to narrow down choices.
  2. Style: When you see a construction job that has windows you like, ask for the name of the manufacturer (You may also be able to get the name from the big stickers that stay on the windows until the job is done. Smart marketing on the window manufacturers part!). There are lots and lots of  style choices that will need to be made. Double hung or casement windows? Grids or not? And what grid configuration? Color of hardware? Color of stylized exterior clad?
  3. Material: What material do you want on the exterior? Metal clad? Vinyl clad? Wood? And what about the inside? If you are going with wood on the interior, do you want it unfinished, primed or pre-painted/stained?
  4. Regulations: What are the egress and building code requirements that will affect your window decisions?

 

Window selection can be overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

lake house windows1. Go big! Factor in the scale of the house, but every home can benefit from additional light and improved sight lines!

2. Be careful where you locate awning or casement windows. Both of these window styles swing out, so you want to avoid placing them close to walkways or on a deck when they will be in a traffic lane. If you have the space, I love awning windows because you can leave them open without worrying that rain will come in if it starts to sprinkle on a summer day. The water hits the window instead of the frame and is less likely to come into the house.

3. Go for quality if you must have grids instead of true divided lights. I know that grids set between the two pieces of glass make it much easier to wash windows. Just remember that there is an aesthetic trade-off. When light is on these windows, you see a single smooth pane of glass, rather than separate panes as in divided lights. If your windows have applied grids — meaning that they are attached to the outside of the glass — check the look of the filler spaces between the grids. If there are not spacers, it can look strange as you see light and space between the inside and exterior grids.

4. Match the windows to the style of your home. Make sure you are staying true to the house and not just following the trend of the moment. Remember half-round windows added above windows in spaces with cathedral ceilings? They started as a good detail, but then were overdone (and often used in the wrong application on the wrong house!). In the wrong setting, you can now point and say “hhhmmm…. 1980’s…”

Of course, budget is going to have a big impact on your choices. Often something has to give, but I try to encourage my clients to go with the right windows for the house, even if it means that we scrimp on something else. Windows are not a selection to “re-do later” and they can make or break the look of the home.  Try to go with the right windows from the start!

cottage windows

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Our Wolfeboro Home Renovation Begins!

My husband and I didn’t plan on adding on to our historic home in Wolfeboro so soon, but you know what they say about best laid plans! If you missed my first blog post about our renovation, check it out for a full explanation about how we got ourselves involved in an addition so soon after we completed a major renovation. Here’s the post: Wolfeboro Historic Home Renovation Round 2

Wolfeboro NH historic home renovation

And so it begins! The site work guys have arrived and excavation began this week.

To a homeowner, excavation seems like one of the less interesting parts of construction. It’s hard to visualize your dream home or addition emerging from a hole in the ground and most of us are just eager to move on to more exciting things, such as framing. Hopefully, the pros working on your project are a little more patient because the foundation is one of the most important pieces of every project. The height of the concrete floors, the exact location of the walls, and the right dimensions are all essential, particularly with additions. If measurements are off in any way, chances are good that you will be chasing problems the rest of the way through the construction.

Old houses offer their own unique challenges. None of the existing measurements are exact, framing varies and — in our house —  175 years of settling has affected things as well.

detail quote

We spent last Friday painstakingly measuring grades and floor heights. We needed to check and double check that measurements were correct to accommodate staircases and ceiling heights. Most of all, we needed to make sure we will be at the same floor height from the existing structure to the new addition when we connect the two sections.

Attention to detail is crucial. For example, we decided to shift the entire structure to the right by 8 inches. Seems like 8 inches wouldn’t matter, right? But I knew we needed to have a 30 inch finished interior wall in order to have built-ins fit right in the connection piece between the original home and the addition. Knowing this was one of our key dimensions, I had this on our checklist and lo and behold, we were off by 6 inches. As a result, we decided to do the shift to 8 inches… just in case!

Excavation should finish this week and looks like the foundation will be sometime the following week. I’ll keep you updated as the project progresses! (I promise the photos will get more interesting as rooms start to take shape).

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My New Favorite Exterior Railing

Are you giving your exterior railings the attention they deserve? Exterior railings are often viewed as a building code requirement rather than an important design element, but the right railing can be the perfect finishing touch.

Here are a few general considerations:

• Style and Design: The style of the railings should be in keeping with the style and design of your entire home. Be careful not to go too contemporary (wire or Plexiglas panels) if this does not fit the house. If your railing has balusters, pay attention to the scale (especially the posts — nothing looks worse that posts that are too skinny!)
• Materials: What are your priorities? Low maintenance? The look? Be sure to pick a material that meets your needs.
• Cost: The cost runs the gamut!! Determine the “feel” and style you are looking for and then price out a few different alternatives.

If your railing is going on a deck or porch that offers great views, you have a whole set of additional considerations. Here in New Hampshire, building codes call for an exterior railing height of 42″, which can really interfere with sight lines! To make the most of a gorgeous view, select railing materials to keep the view open.

One of my very favorite railings is this one from a recent project in Wolfeboro.

Wentworth Style favorite exterior railing

We added a wonderful deck that runs the full length of the house and a large screened porch so the owners could enjoy their spectacular lakefront views. Whether sitting outside or looking out the (many!) windows from inside, we wanted to keep the view open.

The home has a “cottagey” look. Typical balusters would match the style of the house, but the long deck might have felt a bit like a playpen with all those balusters! Fortunately, this client has a great sense of funky style and was willing to be a bit creative.

The end result was a railing designed using cedar and galvanized metal architectural mesh. Working with the local building supplier, the builder on the job found me the perfect scale of mesh (and met my challenge of wanting squares- not rectangles – as the grid pattern!). The cedar is low maintenance and will gray to become just the right color. Staying with code, a 4” space was added below the top rail and off of the deck – reducing the visual mass of the panels. Of course, we sized the top rail so it is the perfect landing place for a glass of iced tea!

We ended up loving this design so much, I carried it through to the interior railing detail. Instead of cedar, we will be wrapping the posts in pine and painting them white to match the other trim and woodwork finishes inside of the house.

What do you think? Do you like this railing or have other great railings to share? Feel free to comment!

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