Tag Archives: home renovations

Universal Design: 7 Principles That Ensure Elements Accommodate All Ages and Functions

By applying concepts of universal design to your home renovation or construction project, you can ensure that the residence will be usable for most family members for the longest period of time. Here are seven principles of universal design that can help keep a home functional for years.
  1. Equitable: Universal design features should be usable and beneficial to all residents, not just some–older parents or grandparents, for example.
  2. Flexible: Universal design elements should be flexible to use. For example, right-handed or left-handed persons should be able to use the same feature. A home’s spaces should be usable by individuals in wheelchairs, on crutches, or with normal mobility.
  3. Simple: Universal design features should be easy to use without causing confusion or unnecessary complexity.
  4. Error-resistant: Features should have as little potential for hazards or errors as possible. The more frequently used a feature is, the safer, more accessible, and error-tolerant it should be.
  5. Physically easy to use: Universal design features should require little physical effort to use. Residents should be able to activate or use these features from a neutral, unstressed body position.
  6. Perceptible: It should be easy to tell when a task has been completed or when a universal design feature has done its job. Information about the feature should be easily identified and distinct from its surroundings.
  7. Easy to approach and use: There should be plenty of space to approach, reach, and use any universal design features. Line of sight should be clear and reach comfortable. Personal assistive devices or assistance should be accommodated.
Sage Builders LLC, a general contractor in Newton, MA, provides professional design/build services, renovation work, and residential design and construction consulting. Contact us today for more information on how incorporating universal design concepts into your home can be beneficial now and years into the future. Photo via Sage Builders LLC 

Energy Efficiency Can Factor Into Any Home Renovation Project

Many homeowners today are becoming more interested in energy efficiency, both for its environmental appeal and for the substantial savings it can provide on monthly energy expenses. Here are some ways you can combine energy efficiency and home renovation during your next renovation project.

Kitchens

  • Replace current appliances with energy-efficient models: Energy Star-certified appliances are certified by the government to be as efficient as possible. Use these types of appliances in your kitchen remodel.
  • Install low-flow fixtures: Low-flow faucets and aerators will reduce the amount of hot water used, but they still provide plenty of water for necessary tasks in the kitchen.
  • Use an induction range:  Induction ranges use significantly less energy than traditional gas or electric cooking stoves.

Bathrooms

  • Install low-flow fixtures: Again, low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets can decrease the amount of water used to save energy.
  • Use a non-standard toilet: You could also install a different type of toilet, such as a composting toilet or dual-flush model.

Whole-House

  • Increase insulation: Add more insulation to the walls, ceilings, floors, and other areas of the home. Insulation resists the flow of heat and can significantly cut energy bills.
  • Install new lighting: Put in low-energy LED lighting or replace current incandescent bulbs with CFL lighting.
  • Put in efficient windows: Install high-efficiency windows that are well-sealed and have energy-saving features such as low-e glass, double-pane construction, or internal blinds to block sunlight.
  • Improve seal: Make sure any potential air leaks in the structure of your home are well sealed with caulking or other appropriate material.
As a general contractor in Newton, MA, Sage Builders LLC helps Boston-area homeowners design, build, and renovate some of the area’s finest homes. Contact us today for more information on energy efficiency and home renovation and for ways to successfully combine them in your next residential project. Photo via Sage Builders LLC

Tips for Maximizing a Home Renovation So It’s as Green as Possible

Keeping a home renovation project as green as possible requires sticking to a few concepts and procedures that support environmental friendliness. Here are some ways to proceed with a high-quality green home renovation.
  • Use an efficient and open design: Design your renovated spaces to provide efficiency of movement through them, with ease of access to other areas of the home. An open floor plan can give you and your family the ability to use the space efficiently for years to come.
  • Work with sustainable materials: Use sustainable materials that come from reliable sources. Materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, for example, come from carefully managed forests that are well maintained for ongoing use. Materials such as cork and bamboo are beautiful, popular, and renewable.
  • Use non-toxic materials: Install non-toxic materials that contain few volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and that don’t off-gas strong fumes. Use paints, varnishes, cleaners, and similar substances that are also low VOC.
  • Install efficient lighting: Use LED lighting fixtures that consume less energy. Instead of using standard incandescent bulbs, use CFLs that provide plenty of light but at a lower cost.
  • Use recycled materials: Countertops, residential flooring, and other material recycled from other sources can save money and prevent the need to purchase new items. Make sure that these recycled items, or other items containing recycled materials, do not include components that could still be giving off gases and fumes.
  • Choose low-maintenance materials: Choose materials that are designed to last for long periods with little maintenance, such as stone patio pavers.
Sage Builders LLC is a general contractor in Newton, MA that serves residential customers with expert design/build, renovation, and consulting services. Contact us today for more information on green home renovation and how to keep your renovation project as green and environmentally friendly as possible. Photo via Sage Builders, LLC

Trends in Bathroom and Kitchen Renovation in 2015

Kitchens and bathrooms see more renovations than any other room in a home. When it’s time to embark on a change in your Boston area home, first consider the latest bathroom and kitchen renovation trends. Modern options may give you inspiration or turn out to be just the thing that offers a significant improvement to your home and your family’s specific needs. Continue reading

Bathroom Renovations Continue to Be Among the Most Popular Home Improvement Projects

Bathrooms continue to be a frequent target of renovation efforts in American households. Current trends in bathroom renovations indicate that homeowners are considering factors such as aesthetics in combination with practical issues such as remaining in the same home during one’s elder years. Here are some factors that make bathroom renovations among the more common and popular types of home improvement projects. Continue reading

How a Kitchen Renovation Can Be Both Luxurious and Energy Efficient

Often the goal of a kitchen renovation is to improve the aesthetic appeal of the area by adding space, improving functionality and installing better appliances. When planning a kitchen renovation, take steps to ensure that the space will be luxurious and pleasing while also being energy efficient.
  • wood kitchen cabinetsInvest in energy-efficient appliances: Replace existing kitchen appliances with newer and more energy-efficient models. High-efficiency refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and other standard kitchen equipment use much less electricity and hot water than older versions. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances. This designation indicates that the equipment is government tested and certified to be as energy efficient as possible. Ask your contractor about the benefits of using induction cooktops, compact dishwashers and thermal cookware.
  • Look for smaller appliances: While looking for energy-efficient appliances, consider whether you could get the same results from a smaller version. If you’re typically not using refrigerator space or dishwasher drawers to their fullest, that could be a sign that a smaller appliance would work for you.
  • Replace kitchen lighting: Wherever possible, design your kitchen renovation to take advantage of natural lighting sources. Include skylights, picture windows and dormers in your plans. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to reduce energy usage even further.
  • Install low-flow faucets: Low-flow faucets provide plenty of water for kitchen use while reducing overall water flow and waste. Replace standard faucets and aerators at your sink with low-flow models and save water in general and part of the energy it takes to produce hot water.
As a general contractor in Newton, MA, Sage Builders LLC works with residential customers on renovation projects that are both energy efficient and luxurious. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you save energy through a well-planned kitchen renovation. Image via Shutterstock.com