Take A Seat On These Comfy Home Built-Ins

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house - a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench - maybe it's a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it's worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home - a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.



Here's a room full of built-ins - the thick walls create space for wine bottles, and the banquette seating on three walls is topped with a shelf that extends into the window sills. A perfect place for - you guessed it - wine tasting.

9 Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Home

Conventional wisdom, as it relates to houses, is often too much convention and not enough wisdom.

Every year, somebody publishes a list of which conventional home improvements will give you the best (or the worst) return on your remodeling investment.

Remodel a bathroom. Replace your siding. Don’t build a swimming pool. Paint everything neutral colors.

Sit up straight. Get a haircut. Call your mother.

If “return on investment” (ROI) is why you bought a home, or why you’re remodeling one, you can stop reading now. Because the rest of this article isn’t for you.


Three, two, one…still here?

You invest in your home to improve livability first, not value. If you get more value in the process, consider it a bonus, but don’t make ROI your prime directive.

Otherwise you’ll end up like the potential client that came into my office a few years ago with a three-page single-spaced typewritten (as in made with a “typewriter”) list of things he wanted in his house.

His list included this line: “A large dining room, near the kitchen. Although we don’t need or want a dining room.” Why would he want to build a room he didn't need?

Because he's thinking of things to make the house valuable, instead of things to make it livable.

So let me rephrase the remodeling-ROI question this way: what are some cost-effective ways to improve the livability of your house?

6 Custom Built-in Ideas That Might Fit Into Your 2015 Home Design Plans

Most of the homes and most of the remodeling projects we design include some sort of “built-in” somewhere in the house.

Built-ins are custom-designed, made-from-scratch parts of the house that are designed for very specific purposes. Sometimes they’re bookshelves; sometimes they’re built as seating, and sometimes they hold wine bottles – built-ins can be designed to do whatever you need them to do.

A built-in is almost always a much better use of space than furniture you might buy to do the same thing because it can be tucked into a wall, or under a stair, or between two rooms.

With matching trim, paint, and other architectural detailing, a well-designed built-in is as much a part of the house as doors, windows, and cabinets.


Here’s a selection of built-ins from projects of ours – do you have something similar in your home?


The built-ins in the remodeled home in the photo above are behind the custom-made cabinet doors to the left and right - and hold the homeowners' keys, mail, cell phones, etc.

The 3 Big Things You Must Know to Control Your Home Construction Budget

Bedroom - low cost per square foot
I don't like being the one to tell people their house dreams and construction budgets aren't going to agree.

But we take frequent calls from nice folks like you who've been given bad information about what new homes cost to build.

Often that information is based on a very simple (and way too low) "square foot cost", and sometimes that info gets you way, way off track.

Figuring out how much you should spent to build your new home before you design it can make you feel like you're in a maze - you don't know what to budget until you have a design, but you don't know what to design until you have a budget.

Hang on, there's a way out.

When Is It Too Cold To Build A House?

Years ago, before I'd thought of Architecture as a career, I worked a bit as a construction laborer and framing carpenter.

Some days, working outside was great fun for an 18-year old (read:summertime).

I learned a lot about construction those two years, including the fact that construction doesn't only happen on sunny, warm, summer days.

They expected me to work in the winter, too.  Outside. In the cold.

Fortunately here in central Ohio, winter doesn't really kick in hard until after the first of the year. That's when we sometimes get long periods of below-freezing temperatures.

The harsh weather often makes it difficult to build - but when does it become impossible?