Natelli Homes Blog

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.

Arguably the most important rooms in a home are the kitchen and family room.  Families tend to congregate, eat, play, laugh, argue, watch TV and use computers in these rooms.  Dining Rooms are used a couple of times a year and Living Rooms almost have no purpose at all.

altFor this property owner in Bethesda, like the vast majority in the Washington, D.C. metro area, they needed an affordable expansion of the kitchen, family room and breakfast room.  This project included a family room addition about 20 feet square that adjoined the kitchen and breakfast room.  altThe family room connects to the kitchen through an open counter-top and two cased openings as you can see in the adjacent photo.  The breakfast room is large enough to house a generous table and will include a wall-mounted TV and wireless computer connections.

altThis project is ready for the finishes.  The drywall has been installed and primed, the sub-floor has been screwed and prepped to receive the wood flooring and equally important, the home is clean and safe.  A clean project is a safe project.  The windows are ready to be trimmed with casing and stool - this project is ready to continue on its speedy schedule.  Check our posts in a week or two - I will be sure to include some photos of the completed cabinets and trim.

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 at www.natellihomes.com.  We have valuable on-line coupons for kitchens, bathrooms and windows that will not be available for much longer.

Arlington, Virginia is such a great location for anyone in the metro DC area.  Quick access to downtown Washington, great neighborhoods, interesting regional restaurants and an abundance of good schools make this one of the most desired places to live in D.C.  Unfortunately the age of the housing stock makes it more difficult for a family to find exactly the right fit for a home.

One of the many strengths of Natelli Homes is the ability to provide exceptional value without sacrificing quality.  Builders have many way to cut costs during construction, but our standards are not going to change whether we are building a custom home for millions of dollars or a home for a client with lower budget.  In fact, many of the vendors and subcontractors used on projects at both ends of the price spectrum are often the same.

altEspecially in Arlington and Bethesda, we work with clients to evaluate the potential to renovate verses the possibility of tearing down an existing home and building new.  Building new does not mean building expensive; one just has to be smart about making the right choices.

altThis home will have  engineered floor systems spaced at 16" on center, not 24" on center just to meet the minimum code requirements, clad aluminum windows with Low-E high performance glass, hot water recirculating water lines and many other features that are always included in a Natelli home.  The home even incorporates a split zone heating and air conditioning system to address the needs of particular rooms when needed, not just blast air throughout the home when the fan comes on.

We will keep you posted about the progress and features of this fine new home in future posts.  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

Next in our series of possible bathroom design options we look at adding a couple of feet to the back of the room and creating a shed dormer.  altWe want to manage costs so the expansion will be minimal but still develop the necessary space.  The sketch on the right is the same starting point we have for our other design options.  Now let's see what happens with a few extra square feet positioned in the right place.

We will incorporate a tub, full shower, two vanities and a toilet compartment in this expansion.  altThe tub is generously sized with ample room on the deck for towel storage and decorations.  The shower has a large seat and potential for multiple heads and there is room for a private area for the water closet. Having his and her vanities makes sense for many couples.  The complement of quality cabinets on either side of the room, such as the WoodMode cabinets we feature, not only allows symmetry in the space but creates a focal point to the tub and window above.  The added window could be the most valuable component.  Large amounts of natural light flowing in the bathroom through a round or elliptical transom makes the room feel more connected to the outside.  The ambient light in a room often negates the need for illuminated lights.  Finally, look at the closets.  They have more than doubled - something every family could use!

So now you have three functional options to the standard bathroom in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.  Each one has different priorities but none come at significant expense because they are designed and constructed in a logical and practical manner.  With these designs you can bring your home from the 1940's quickly into optimum design standards for your lifestyle today.

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

In our first bathroom design evaluation, we looked at the design potential of a typical bathroom in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area assuming we wanted the primary components to include a vanity, shower, toilet and tub.  altIf you look back at that post, you will see that we actually increased the usable and functional space within the confines of the existing room.  The original bathroom is shown in the image to the right.

For the current option, we are going to be honest with ourselves about the need for a tub.  Natelli Homes has installed hundreds of tubs in Master Suites over the years.  Upon reflection the vast majority of our clients admit that they might use a tub a few times a year.  So let's see what one gains if we allocate the space taken up by the tub for more vital funtions in a bathroom. 

altThe first thing that strikes me is an expansive double bowl vanity with lots of surface area and potential for ample storage below.  One can image a wood framed mirror over the vanity with attractive sconces complimented by some recessed pin lights in the ceiling.  The toilet is within a room with a door for complete privacy.  The shower is still ample allowing for a bench, multiple spray heads and a rain-shower above.

A small recess into the sloped roof area behind the vanity expands the room slightly, but this comes at a minimal cost with huge benefits.  The hallway is aligned with the entrance so the closets have expanded nearly 150% of their prior size.  All these benefits come within the boundaries of the existing space with the exception of the small expansion behind the vanities.

Good design supported by practical evaluation makes for a successul bathroom renovation.  In our next evaluation we will see how the potential grows when a small dormer is set into the rear roof. 

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Homes and designs constructed in the 50's and 60's often don't work very well for our current needs.  In particular, bathrooms were seemingly tertiary spaces, whereas they are vital and one of the primary priorities for homeowners today.  People expect more in a bathroom now, especially when it comes to the master bathroom.  The challenge comes when the client does not want to expand the room due to structural issues, the effects on other rooms or simply budget limitations.

We have done a 4 part study of design options for a typical bathroom built in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.  altThe existing bathroom is shown in a sketch on the right.  You can see a long dressing vanity, a compacted bathroom area and two modest closets.   As you can see, there is a lot of wasted space in the hallway and open area in front of the dressing vanity.

For the 1st option, below, we kept the bathroom to the same general limitations of the existing space.  We did not allow the design to expand into other rooms, except a small portion of an adjacent attic. altIn this version, we maintained a tub and a separate shower.  Clients often debate whether to incorporate a tub or not; some people use the tub, many do not - every client is different so we will show you alternatives without tubs in subsequent posts. We have one long vanity with two bowls, a compartment for the toilet and even a linen closet dedicated to the Master bath.  The closets have been expanded into the attic space.  The entrance incorporates a vestibule to delineate the privacy desired for the Master Suite.

This example shows the potential of working within the structure of the existing home.  The bathroom is vastly improved with a large shower, good counter space and expanded closets.  Next we will show you what we can do if we eliminate the tub.  After that, in Options 3 & 4, we will show you what happens when we add a window.  Stay tuned!

We appreciate your comments and questions.  Please e-mail me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com.

Kitchens can be a lot of fun if you let your imagination go beyond traditional thinking.  Families spend the majority of their time in a kitchen so why not put the emphasis in that room?  We obviously eat our meals in the kitchen; but in addition, kids do their homework on the kitchen counter-top, parties invariably end up in kitchens, computers are in most kitchens, families watch TV in the kitchen not to mention the cooking and food preparation that goes on in a kitchen.

Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in our home.  They need to be significant, functional, comfortable and engaging. 

altA properly executed kitchen renovation needs to convert a basic kitchen into a multi-functional, useful and family oriented living space.  In this example we converted an ordinary kitchen into an eye opening, light filled space with a breakfast room, large open counter-tops, an expansive island, two dishwashers, accommodations for computers and TVs and comfortable sitting areas.  It is hard to believe that these photos are the before and after of the same kitchen, but they really are, which is a testament to the power of imagination and good design.

altNote the high ceilings in the open gable window of the breakfast room.  The room fills with the warm morning sun and makes for a inviting space for families and guests.  The back yard and patio are now extensions of the kitchen and breakfast room.  There is even a fireplace in the adjacent room that can be enjoyed from the kitchen and breakfast room.

When designing a kitchen or any space for that matter, "think outside the box".  Creative design, quality construction and understanding the needs of a client should be paramount in your selection of a kitchen contractor.  Don't be limited by the walls in front of you, look to a professional designer like Natelli Homes to guide you to to the right design and premier construction services.

We enjoy hearing from our readers.  Feel free to contact me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website, www.natellihomes.com

Everyone seems to be spending lots of time at home working on their business, so more and more of our clients are looking for ways to accomplish this need.  In this case we converted a large hallway adjacent to an open 2nd floor foyer into a work area.  Working with WoodMode cabinets we created a very effective work area.

altThere is a pull out desk-top for additional work surface area, file storage, customized spaces for the hard drive, keyboard and computer display.  The pull out desk-top slides imperceptibly back into the cabinets when not in use.

The desk top is set lower to a table top height while the adjacent cabinets are slightly higher for more storage. Clever features and details make this space functional and attractive.  Note the large windows adjacent to the desk that bring ample natural light to the work areas.

We enjoy hearing from our readers so feel free to contact me ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) with questions or comments or visit our website ( www.natellihomes.com )

Good architectural design blends an addition to a home seamlessly as if the improvement had been there all along.  altIn this example, Natelli Homes designed and constructed a screened porch on the rear of an existing home and blended it perfectly with the composition of the architecture.  Compare the before and after photos - one almost has to look twice to see that we added an entire room.

altThis comfortable addition includes a stained fir ceiling with dramatic beams and brackets, which we will describe in a post in the near future.  A floor-to-ceiling field stone fireplace anchors the plush seating and eating area.   This home owner enjoys the space, which overlooks a pool and patio, almost year-round.

Good architectural design for renovations is quite a skill.  We enjoy hearing our clients tell their friends that it looks and feels as if our new work was a part of the original architecture.

I appreciate hearing from readers about our posts.  Please contact me at Bob@NatelliHomes or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com