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10-tips-to-help-you-save-on-building-your-custom-home-potomac-mdSo you've finally done it. You made an investment in your future, purchased a lot of your very own, and are now in the early stages of building your first custom home. A job that, and we know, is both difficult and incredibly stressful.

With that, here are 10 tips to help you get ready for the ride of a lifetime, as you build your custom home.

1. Have an emergency plan in place. Why? Because even in spite of all of your hard work and planning, bad things can still happen. So have a contingency plan in place for some peace of mind.

2. A little bit of research can carry you very far. We're talking books, home and garden TV, talking to experts, and so on. Do it all now, and you'll be prepared for anything.

3. Scout other homes for ideas on what you want. If doing it in person is not in the cards, consider using the Internet to do most of the heavy-lifting. 

4. Hire an architect that you can not only trust, but also rely on to give you what you want. Look at portfolios, and never simply hire the first one that you talk to.

5. Similarly, hire the right company to help you complete the work. A qualified professional who is well-versed in building custom homes will make the whole process run smooth and easy.

6. Speak candidly with all of those helping you. Let them know what you want, what you don't want, and things that are deal-breakers. It's important to getting the most out of the process.

7. Don't be afraid to negotiate payments and costs. It is, after all, your dream home, so pick your battles carefully and save whenever you can.

8. When furnishing or buying supplies, look online for suppliers that offer free shipping. There are many great deals to be had if you're savvy enough.

9. Take discounts and deals whenever possible; buy wholesale instead of retail. Building a custom home from the ground up is expensive. So it's OK to cut costs at first. Worry about larger items a few years down the road.

10. Don't be afraid to pitch-in when needed! The work you complete on your own is like putting money back into your pocket. It's worth it to get your hands dirty from time to time. 

Interested in learning more about how we can help you build your dream home? Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your options.

 

What's Trending in Kitchen Remodling | Potomac, MD

If you’re in the planning process of remodeling your kitchen you've probably got a million different ideas and as many questions! There are several things to consider and keep in mind before attacking your old kitchen with the wrecking ball, so to say.

First, if you plan on staying in your home a long time, a kitchen customized to your cooking needs and is a pleasure to work in is probably your first and foremost thought. Specific choices of cabinetry, appliances, flooring, countertops, tiles and colors that reflect the personality of you and your family lend a familial feeling of comfort and warmth. But what if you plan to sell and move in the next 5 years? Will your potential buyers love those blue cabinets and white tile floors as much as you do?

While we all love customized kitchens, over-customizing can be a detriment when either selling a home, or updating it in the future. According to an article in The Washington Post, Houzz, an online community all about architecture, interior design and more, recently polled users on their kitchen remodeling plans. After sifting through some 7,812 responses, the results showed that homeowners were trending more towards the following in their designs:

Flooring

Hardwood floors are the most popular surface among kitchen renovators, with 35 percent of poll respondents choosing wood. Pairing darker wood floors with white cabinets and marbled countertops is a classic look.

Islands

These workspaces also doubled with bar extension to serve for eat-in dining or a place for visitors to sit and visit the cook.

Appliance Finishes

65 percent of respondents preferred stainless steel appliances. Matching sinks, faucets, and light fixtures with stainless added a sleek, custom look.

Backsplashes

Tile was the choice of half of the respondents. Coordinating size of tiles and their color with the countertops and wood floor creates a pleasing marriage of all surfaces.

Dream Appliance

35 percent of respondents prefer a gas range. Ranges come in different sizes depending on grade. Of course commercial grade ranges are larger and need more space, and range hoods are also a must have. If you prefer a gas range, first make certain you have gas service available to your home.

Color Schemes

Three-quarters of kitchen respondents preferred the softness of neutral color schemes. White cabinets and light wood tones (or darker toned flooring) work well with stainless appliances. You can add splashes of color on walls with paint.

While planning a kitchen remodel is exciting, it can also be a bit daunting trying to determine what will work best in your space. Contacting a professional who is knowledgeable of the remodeling process and educated in products and design can help you transform your current space into a beautiful, state of the art kitchen you, or anyone else, will be proud of for years to come.

If you would like more information on kitchen remodeling, please contact us.

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In the month of September alone, the Windows for Hunger campaign by Natelli Homes raised enough for 4,200 meals through the Capital Area Food Bank. We are so encouraged by the success, Natelli is now offering 3 meals to the CAFB for every person that "likes" Natelli Homes on FaceBook.

Please support the Capital Area Food Bank by contacting Natelli Homes if you are considering new windows or exterior doors. The results of having new quality windows and doors by Natelli Homes speaks for itself, but now you can also help others in the metropolitan area who are in significant need.

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altA new custom home built by Natelli Homes for the Darvish / Fallahi family was recently featured in Bethesda Magazine. The details and character of the home fit the client perfectly. Take note of the spectacular iron railings, the tile-work in the bathroom and the enormous kitchen with stone and marble countertops and WoodMode cabinets.

www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/September-October-2011/Dar-House/

Fee free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Windows are definitely one of the "glass half full / half empty" situations (pun intended). The views, the ambient light and architectual relief windows that windows provide cannot be replaced. Windows let us experience the outside elements without sensing the heat or cold - but how do yours feel?

If your windows are 5 to 10 years old you might start looking at them. Changes in technology for windows and exterior doors have been dramatic in the past decade. There are compelling reasons to consider changing older windows in your home. Consider the following examples.

altThe photo on the left shows a window with a broken seal. Windows are made with two panes of glass and the air between the two panes acts as an insulator and is often filled with argon gas, which is effectively a super-insulating gas. When the seal fails, the insulating gas is released and air can freely flow in and out of the space between the two panes. This invading air between the panes of glass can contain varying humidity and pressure. The result is what appears to be condensation or clouding between the two panes that cannot be cleaned. The only solution is replacing the entire window.

altThe photo on the right shows a door jamb with excessive rot. Old and rotten wood parts are often the primary reason to replace windows and exterior doors. Water can easily get into the home causing mold and mildew. One might consider repairing the bottom of the door jamb with a synthetic material but one should determine if any function of the door has been compromised by the rot and water intrusion first.

The most obvious evaluation is simply to feel if there is cold air coming through your windows. Clients say they could see their curtains move on a windy day before we replaced their windows. If you feel that your home is significantly more comfortable when you pull curtains or window treatments over the windows, then you really should consider replacing your doors and windows. All this plus the evident energy savings make replacing your doors and windows an easy decision.

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"A picture is worth a thousand words"

We have seen and heard this phrase for decades, perhaps centuries, and I really doubt anyone questioned its meaning because it is so obviously true.  Whether conceived by Frederick R. Barnard in the publication, Printer's Ink, in 1921 or it truly evolved from a Chinese proverb ("a picture is worth ten thousand words") or perhaps it should be added to the many credits of Confucius, it needs no explanation.

With that in mind, tell me what you think:

altBefore & Afteralt

 Feel free to e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.natellihomes.com where valuable coupons will be available through the month of February.

The weather this January and February has been unique to say the least.  We have had the predictable snow and windy cold days, but to have near 70 degrees this past Friday makes me think of summer.  For those who planned ahead, they will be enjoying a new pool and pool house this summer to combat the intense heat of August in metro DC. 

This project in Bethesda, MD, was planned last summer so we could coordinate the permits and begin construction in the fall.  Overall winter temperatures were pretty forgiving for construction so we made good progress.  The lot has some intense topography so retaining walls anchor the ends of the pool terrace.  alt At one end, the pool house masks the fact that the project is cut into an 8' tall slope.  We used full masonry walls for the pool house to make it easy to clean and practically a maintenance-free structure.  The walls will have a stucco finish with tile and stone accents.   

altA curvilinear concrete retaining wall with field-stone veneer levels the other end of the project and creates a lawn area adjacent to the pool for recreation and casual seating. You can see the stone masons taking advantage of the warm weather in the adjacent photo.  We will excavate the pool soon which fits between the pool house and the wall in the photo on the left.  The before and after images of this project will be dramatic so I'll continue to share the progress as we get closer to completion.

Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com where you can find valuable coupons for the remainder of February.

Natelli Homes is finishing a replacement window project in Potomac, MD.  The painters are touching up the new trim and casings and the windows are being cleaned, soon ready for the installation of the window treatments.  I asked the client how things were going.  Without hesitation he said, "I immediately felt the difference".  The house is measurably warmer in every room.  The cold air whistling through the old french doors is gone and the storm windows filled with bugs and dirt are no where to be seen - the house is quieter, warmer and feels like new.

altIn this home, rather than install insert windows, we did full replacements because the existing windows were so poorly insulated around the perimeters. We filled the jamb-space with expanding insulation and then applied new trim on all the interior surfaces.  Rather than "picture frame" the windows with casing, we installed proper sills with returns and a back-band on the casing to really make the trim punch.

altOne of the aesthetic benefits is without a doubt the architectural improvement of the windows.  In the photo on the right, look at how the grilles add significance to the window.  We elected to space the lite opening of each window a bit larger than the standard sizes offered by the manufacturer.  Having larger openings enhances the view but still gives the window the detailing it needs.  The grilles have clean profiles and the arrangement resonates with tradition.  Even the shadows from the muntins add character to the room.

It's easy to justify replacing windows and doors in a home.  Just make sure you sweat the details or your investment may not reach its full potential.

Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit our website at www.natellihomes.com.  We have some on-line coupons available for the month of February.

There are many reasons to replace old windows and doors in a home, but the architectural value of windows can't be overlooked.  Window grilles in particular change and enhance the persona of a home.  Removable grilles can be provided for ease of cleaning,  grilles can be sandwiched between the panes of glass so they provide an apparent division of divided lites, but the most pronounced and historically accurate use of grilles is a permanent application on the inside and the outside of the glass.  This type of grill, also known as "Simulated Divided Lite", produces the authentic look of a traditional window with milled wood and clad components separating the pieces of glass.  Windows with Simulated Divided Lites are significant, they have appropriate mass and are recognized by any layman as quality products that enhance the character and value of the home.

altIn this home in Potomac, MD, we installed new JeldWen custom sized clad windows with true divided lites.  The existing windows in the home did not have any grille divisions in the glass.  The window openings were effectively black holes in the facade - the home needed some architectural content.alt  Including windows with grilles immediately changed the look of the home.  The window openings took on a character;  the grilles added color and visual interest to the front elevation.

altUsing replacement windows with grilles is an easy but often overlooked change to the home.  We get used to how things are sometimes and need to consider options that may not have been considered before. altThere is a lot more about the architectural potential of windows that we will cover in a future post such as the size  and layout of the window divisions, the type of grilles to use and even the color, but for now just admire the architectural transformation of this home with the simple addition of grilles in the windows.

Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.natellihomes.com, where some valuable coupons for bathrooms, kitchens and windows are available for the month of February.

Lots of people pause about renovating a home because they worry about how long it might take, interruptions to their family and perhaps the cost.  One of the easiest additions is over an existing garage.  If the existing home was constructed properly it should support the new living space.  There is a lot of foot-print to work with and the demolition is minimal.

altIn this project located in Potomac, MD, we removed the existing roof and had the new room built in a manner of a few weeks.  The Owners were concerned about disturbance during the forthcoming holidays, but good planning and project management got the job under roof well before the deadlines.

altThere is a lot of room over a garage.  A Master Suite with closets and a large bathroom will easily fit in the space.  Alternatively two bedrooms and a shared bath would work as well.  The living spaces can easily be enhanced with dormers and vaulted ceilings.  This is truly one of the most logical additions one can make if added bedroom space is a necessity.

The bottom line here is simple.  Don't overlook the obvious.  There is easy inexpensive space over a garage.  I'll talk about the inside improvements in a future post. 

Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com