Tips on Finishing Wood With Stain

wood headboardVail Valley architects love to include natural wood in their designs. Whether you’re finishing a new project or bringing life to an old piece, wood stain is the perfect way to get a smooth finish that enhances the natural character of the wood.

Prepare the Surface

Start by sanding the entire piece with 100-grit sandpaper, paying close attention to blemishes and rough spots to achieve a smooth surface. If you have large, flat areas to sand, a random orbital sander can speed up the task. Then, make sure all floors and nearby surfaces are cleaned as stirred up dust will land on your finish and stick. Once the area is clean, wipe down the wood with a tack cloth to be sure it’s spotless.

Apply Stain

Stir the stain well, but avoid shaking as that may cause bubbles. Use a natural-bristle brush to apply stain with the grain, making sure to use plenty of product so it can soak into the wood for a few seconds. Then, using a cotton rag, wipe off excess stain in the order you applied it. Use plenty of rags for even removal.

Seal and Finish

Once the stain is dry, apply a sanding sealer with a natural-bristle brush in the direction of the grain. When you reach an edge, quickly brush back lightly across the piece to eliminate brush marks. Once dry, lightly sand with a 280-grit sanding pad until all surfaces are smooth. Lastly, apply an oil-based varnish using the same technique.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re new to staining wood, try a practice run on a scrap piece to get a feel for the products and brushes. That way, you’ll be more confident and get better results when you do the final piece.

Want to incorporate wood into the look and feel of your home? Call TAB Associates to learn how we can integrate plenty of natural wood into your next home design.

How a Fireplace Benefits Your Home

The thought of sitting in front of a warm, crackling fireplace in your own home is something many buyers take into consideration when searching for the perfect place. TAB Associates, an architectural firm in Vail Valley, Colorado, understands how a fireplace brings structural integrity and value to any home. More than just a creature comfort, having a fireplace can bring many other benefits. Here is just a small sampling:

Cozy Environment

There’s just something about having a warm fire going, any time of the year, that brings a sense of comfort throughout the house. Gathering around an open hearth brings its own unique sense of ambiance and coziness, which is even better when it’s shared with friends and loved ones in your home.

Atmosphere

Dimming the lights and sitting in front of a bright, warm fire is a dream setting. Enjoying dinners and movie nights by firelight is truly second to none. As the sun sets, fire up your own fireplace to ensure you have a comfortable, relaxed evening at home.

Eco-Friendly Heating

Today’s wood-burning appliances have become incredibly efficient, and leave a zero-carbon footprint. Some of the higher-end wood-burning units qualify as smokeless heat sources because they produce such a small amount of emissions.

Cut Energy Costs

Electricity costs can become a source of stress as they continue to grow. Because of this, fireplaces are becoming a popular source of prime heating within the home. Some of the newer models have the possibility of distributing heat from the appliance through the existing ductwork to warm the entire home.

With the many benefits they offer, having a fireplace that is a sound and safe structure is also very important. Call the office today and learn how TAB Associates can design a fireplace for any home that is both safe and stylish!

5 Benefits of Designing With Wood

The Vail Valley architects at TAB Associates have been at the helm of many incredible wood designs. If you are thinking of designing or upgrading your next property with wood elements, take a look at 5 of the top benefits of designing with wood, here:

Infrastructure

Materials that are supposedly stronger than wood actually have a disadvantageous effect to heat. Wood actually dries when heated (not to a burning temperature, of course) and strengthens the infrastructure of your home.

Insulation

If you are building with glass, marble, aluminum or steel, you are working with materials that conduct heat exponentially faster than wood. Conducting heat means more energy leakage and more money spent on heating your home. Wood actually helps you save money in this regard—quite a lot of money over the life of a home.

A Quicker Build

Using wood is cheaper than alternative materials, and the job gets done more quickly as well. Master home manufacturers can erect a 1,000 square foot wooden home in 7 days. If you are looking to save money on labor costs while maintaining the quality of the building, use wood wherever you can.

Wood is Green

For every cubic meter of wood that you use in your construction, you save 0.8 tons of carbon emissions to the environment. Basically, every piece of wood that you are using in your home is helping to save the environment, no matter how small the construction.  Also, it is a renewable resource.  Just plant more forest.

Easily Modified

The different types of wood allow for a great deal of variety in design decisions—you currently have around 5,000 different types to choose from. Wood is also one of the easiest materials to modify once it has been set as the infrastructure of a piece of real estate.

For an architectural firm in Vail Valley that can help perfect your wood designs, call the dedicated experts at TAB Associates. We look forward to helping you create the residence of your dreams!

Why Should You Hire an Architect?

TAB Associates Finished HouseVail Valley, Colorado is one of the most spectacular areas of the country, and residents take pride in their beautiful, impeccably designed houses. What’s their secret? They all worked with talented and experienced architects to create the home of their dreams. What are the benefits of hiring an architectural firm in Vail Valley?

Architects can guide you through every stage of the building process, from early planning all the way through until your home is ready to be moved into. Keep reading to take a look at what an architect can offer and help you with.

Why You Need An Architect

  • Explore design options to achieve the look that you want.
  • Take full advantage of your site.  From figuring out the driveway to siting the home
  • Capturing all the views and blocking undesirable ones.
  • Exploring the possibility of water features to add to your outside enjoyment.
  • Optimize plans for eco-friendly features such as efficient heating, solar power, and smart water management.
  • Help you find creative ways to maximize your budget.

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is deciding on the interior design for your new home. A skilled architect can help you translate your vision into a stylish and functional living space. This may include locating stunning, one-of-a-kind artistic features and sourcing furniture, countertops, and flooring from locally produced materials.

An architect is also an invaluable resource for navigating the legal aspects of home construction. He can assist you with:

  • Vetting and supervising contractors at each stage of the process.
  • Navigating Home Owner Association and municipal building codes.
  • Ensuring compliance with local zoning laws.
  • On-site problem solving when surprises come up during construction.

As you can see, hiring an expert architect will save you a lot of time, money and frustration. TAB Associates is one of central Colorado’s leading architectural balance experts. We have been assisting clients with their home construction or renovation projects for over three decades and would be happy to lend our expertise to you.

Do you have any questions? Call our offices at TAB Associates and one of our friendly team members will be happy to discuss the project with you.

10 Important Questions to Ask an Architect in Vail Valley

Holzworth ResidenceSelecting an architectural firm in Vail Valley will impact your life not only during the construction of your dream project but for many additional years to come. Preparing a list of important questions can help you determine which firm will best meet your needs. Since every person is unique, it is important to rank the following questions in order of importance to you and compare the answers you receive accordingly.

Ten Questions to Ask an Architect

  1. What is unique about your philosophy of design that sets you apart from your competitors?
  2. Who will be designing my project and will this be the same person I will be communicating with throughout the project?
  3. What type of timeframe will you need to complete this project? Will your firm be able to prioritize the work or are you highly occupied at this time?
  4. Do you foresee any particular challenges and if so, are your architects experienced in dealing with similar situations?
  5. Will you utilize computer animation, drawings or other materials as visual aids while answering any questions I have?
  6. Will I need to directly communicate with the general contractor who oversees construction of my project?
  7. Is your firm well versed in sustainable or “green” building designs which will save significant amounts of money and energy?
  8. What are the estimated costs of your services for this project and how are your fees determined?
  9. What types of situations typically generate additional expenses?
  10. What percentage of your projects are completed within the initial budget or estimate you provide?

Choose Your Firm With Care

Regardless of whether you are planning construction for a single family home or a multi-million dollar retreat facility, working with the architectural firm which best meets your needs will significantly affect your overall satisfaction. Give our Vail Valley architects at TAB Associates a call when you are ready to discuss the details of your plan with qualified professionals.

Architecture Trends for 2017

Tab Associates Living RoomArchitecture is a constantly evolving art, changing each year to meet the desires of society and to match the technology that is ever-changing as well. In 2017, there are a number of architecture trends for us to look forward to. Outlined below are a few of the ones we’re most excited about:

Mixing Metal and Plaster

The industrial look of stainless steel has become incredibly popular in recent years, and it’s a trend we can expect to see continue. In 2017, though, look for the industrial, metal look to be softened slightly with the addition of plaster. Coating metal fixtures in white plaster is a great way to lighten them up and add some elegance to the design while keeping the modern appeal that metal brings.

Black is the New Black

Kitchens used to be gleaming white in their design. Now, in 2017, matte black is the hottest color for a kitchen design. Black walls and counters combined with chrome fixtures and appliances makes for striking look, and thanks to LED light fixtures and large windows letting in sunlight, there is still plenty of soft, white light to keep the room balanced.

Natural Elements Remain Popular

Stone, wood and greenery will remain as incredibly popular design elements in 2017–the more exotic the better. Look for materials such as bamboo, stripped hardwoods and natural stone to be used with increasing frequency this year, especially in bathrooms where the organic, natural feel of these materials makes for a very relaxing space.

Designing the Future: Keeping up With the Architecture Trends of Coming Years

If you are looking for an architecture firm in Vail Valley  that is committed to designing homes and rooms that incorporate both architectural classics and modern trends, feel free to contact us today. At TAB Associates, our industry-leading architects would love to help you design the home of your dreams.

How To Prepare For A Remodeling Project

BlueprintThere are many reasons to remodel a home. You may want to remodel your home to add value to it, because you want to rearrange the space due to family changes or because you want to grab a higher market price if you are selling. Architects in Vail Valley, such as TAB Associates, will help you plan your remodeling project. However, you still need to do some pre-planning for yourself.

Scheduling

Pick a time that will be the least “destructive” to your lifestyle. For example, if you have children, you might want to schedule the remodel while the kids are in school and not on summer vacation. And, if you have family events or a vacation scheduled, you will most likely want to be nearby without interruptions – so schedule the remodel around your family time.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is going to have to change during the remodel, especially if you are remodeling a kitchen. Prepare for the following:

  • You won’t be able to use the stove; and the fridge will be moved to another room if you are remodeling the kitchen. Choose a time where it’s convenient to use an outside grill to cook, or you’ll be relegated to using the microwave or eating out.
  • Make sure pets are safe. Either crate them or relocate them while the team is at your house to reduce chances of escape. Remember that tools will make the pets curious and they could get hurt. Smaller pets are harder to see and may be stepped on if they get under foot.
  • Remodeling is a dusty job. Although crews sheet off the areas they are working, dust will still get in other rooms. Cover furniture with sheets and remove pictures from the walls. Clean out any cabinets that are not part of the remodel. And, make sure you have a clear path to other parts of the house including the bathroom and basement.

Contact TAB Associates

Once you have picked the best time to have a remodel completed, contact a Vail Valley architect such as TAB Associates to discuss your design ideas.

5 Simple Ways To Bring Nature Indoors

water-feature-from-bridge

Bringing the outdoors into your home design is an ideal way to show off your love for nature. Outdoor-themed home elements are particularly appealing during those long winter months when you’re stuck indoors. Here are five simple ways to work alongside your Vail Valley architects on using nature as design inspiration.

Go Overboard with the Greenery

Keep it real with live plants and trees found within your home. There is not a single room within a home that can’t benefit from a potted plant or fresh flowers in a vase. If you have enough open space, take this idea to the next level and use oversized planters to grow a tree or two within your home.

Get Inspired with Natural Materials

Shop organic when it comes to choosing textiles for your furniture and décor pieces. Think wicker baskets, linen couches, hemp area rugs and flax lampshades. For a bolder natural look, choose a talking piece like a stone basin in the bathroom.

Use Light to Your Advantage

Adding plenty of natural light to your home can make you feel as if you’re outdoors even when you’re in the comfort of your own home. When designing your rooms select floor to ceiling windows, bay windows and skylights for the most natural light.

Natural Flooring

Natural materials are becoming increasingly popular when outfitting homes. Choices include wood, bamboo and cork. Many of the materials are minimally treated to maintain their natural beauty.

White and Ivory Décor for the Beach side home

Whites are often found in nature-inspired décor items. Ivory cabinetry and furniture are popular choices for those looking to have a beach-themed space. White décor items such as shells, starfish and coral can be added to enhance the aesthetic. Green and blue splashes of color create a contrast with the decor.

Schedule a consultation today to find out more about how Vail Valley architects are able to help you reach your design goals.

What’s Trending In Residential Architecture?

int-kitchen2

When developing ideas and models that embrace new concepts in residential architecture, there are a number of things to consider. Trends make a tremendous impact when attempting to achieve architectural balance. Following these trends, while being true to timeless design is key. Here are a few that make a difference in design, following what the modern homebuyer may look for.

New Trends to Achieve Architectural Balance

  • Kitchens

While kitchens have always been a centerpiece of the home, today’s kitchens are more expansive and offer many more amenities that cater to making this a place of cooking, gathering and comfort. Smart appliances and spaces that offer high-tech convenience, such as hidden charging stations and alerts when refrigerated items are low, are becoming everyday staples.  Also, adding a sitting area just off the Kitchen is advisable if it is not already part of the Living Room creating a Great Room.  We typically put a fireplace in this ancillary room to the Kitchen creating a “Hearth” room.

int-hearth2

  • Open concept

Having one big space that serves as a canvas is truly a designer’s delight. These spaces allow the removal of walls, blending multiple living spaces together. This helps create functionality on how the homeowner envisions their place to be. This also helps with modern and minimalistic designs.

  • Sustainable design

Building your home with green products or implementing a standard where the building’s functions and fixtures all give back to the environment continues to be a growing trend.

  • Spa facilities

Today’s bathroom is nothing like the past. They are equipped to be fully functional spa retreats, complete with outside showers (in certain environments, although we have done one here in Colorado), steam rooms, whirlpools and more. Heated flooring, soak tubs and sustainable materials that bring the outside in for a more relaxed appeal are all high on the priority list in trendy modern design.

Modern Vail Valley architects will take these trends into account while designing a home, implementing timeless features that accommodate any interior design needs. Utilizing the expertise of full-service architects can make all the difference in look, feel and functionality.

For more information on great design in Vail Valley, contact TAB Associates for a consultation on designing the home of your dreams today!

Making the Most of Indoor Natural Light

Most interior environments look better during the daytime if abundant natural light is part of the picture. No one likes to spend time in dreary, gloomy places. Following are strategies used by an architectural firm in Vail Valley, CO, designed to optimize natural lighting in the home.

Let the Sunshine In

The most obvious way to ensure large amounts of daylight is to use lots of glass. However, it’s not quite as simple as just placing as many windows as possible in the structure. Aesthetics such as architectural balance has to come into play as well as the home’s energy needs.

For instance, filling up a wall with large, north-facing windows probably isn’t a good strategy in locations that receive significantly cold winters, and the same principle exists with southern exposures in hot climate areas. A skilled designer will take local atmospheric conditions into consideration to ensure that the interior of the home has proper balance.

Advances in window-glass technology also offers options not available in the past. For example, southern facing windows in hot desert regions can be tinted to ensure that they don’t cause annoying glare.

The Importance of Balance

One of the most important aspects about designing for the optimal use of natural light is to pay attention to balance. Homes where the majority of sunlight is coming in through windows situated on the same wall experience uneven light, and even worse, shadows. Windows, as well as skylights, must be properly located to avoid glaring conditions on the side of the home where the windows are located, and gloom and shadows on the side with no windows.

Another important strategy used by architectural design firms is to place windows as high up as possible because the higher the light source, the deeper the light penetrates, which help keeps interior spaces bright.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about maximizing natural light in the home.