4 Tips To Help Maintain Beautiful Hardwood Flooring

game roomHardwood floors bring a warm glow and elegance to any space. Whether you enjoy the luster of sturdy 18th Century flooring or contemporary hardwoods, it’s important to take a few precautions to protect their natural beauty from scratches and scuff marks. Our Vail Valley architectural firm understands the importance of vibrant living and work spaces. Consider these simple preventative measures to help maintain your floor’s long-lasting glow.

Pad Furniture Legs

One the most common ways that wood floors get scratched is from moving furniture across them. By fixing felt or other soft pads on the bottoms of chair legs, coffee tables and heavy pieces of furniture, wood-to-wood contact can be avoided.

Rugs and Carpets

Strategic use of floor coverings adds ambiance and mitigates impact on high traffic areas. A beautiful wood floor looks a little less so when some areas appear more worn out than others. Entryways, hallways and sinks can benefit from a little colorful foot traffic padding.

Shoe Check

Creating a place and policy that shoes come off and remain in mud rooms or by the door helps keep your space clean and avoids tracking grit across polished flooring. Obviously, foot traffic creates the most floor contact and wear. Think about all the potential scratches rolling through that door, from kids’ sports cleats to work boots to high heels. A solid shoes-off program will reduce the potential need for refinishing work.

Regular Maintenance

Hardwood floors enjoy tremendous strength, but the lovely sheen that gives them the warm glow may be subject to wear from everyday dirt, liquids and harsh cleaners. Sweep floors regularly and don’t allow spills to settle for very long. Everyday wear and tear may not cause permanent damage, but it will make your floors look unnecessarily dull. Select only cleaners designed to interact with wood floors.

We hope these suggestion prove valuable. If you are interested in professional services, contact our Vail Valley architects today!

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!

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.

Tips For Mixing Different Wood Finishes In Your Home

You may be under the impression that mixing a variety of wood furniture in a single room will clash. On the contrary, if all your wood surfaces match, nothing stands out and your room can look flat and boring. While you don’t want to go overboard mixing different wood finishes, there are various techniques to help them blend nicely for a layered, more eclectic look that feels natural and balanced.

Contrast Different Tones

Mixing individual pieces of wood furniture in a room with a similarly toned wood floor causes your furnishings to blend with the floor and not stand out. You’ll make a stronger impact when you purposely contrast and break up these tones. Do this by pairing dark stained floors with lighter toned furniture or light stained floors with darker cherry or mahogany furnishings. If your still in the process of building your home and using an architectural firm in Vail Valley, ask them which wood flooring complements your furniture best.

Use a Buffer

When contrasting isn’t an option, place a buffer between the floor and your furniture by using an area rug. This option also works when the contrast is too different and incongruous to complement each other. Rugs can create a nice transition and soften the overall effect.

Tie the Room Together

Mismatched wood finishes can quickly get out of hand. You can create continuity by tying all the pieces together with matching accent colors. Curtains, lamp shades and throw pillows in the same color work well to make individual pieces blend harmoniously and flow together.

The more you understand your wood’s unique characteristics, the better you can achieve a complementary blend in your décor. Some of the most interesting rooms include varied wood tones that add character to your home and Vail Valley architects understand the importance of balancing various wood finishes. We can help you find  your balance. Call us at 970-766-1470 to start designing the home of your dreams.

Is An Open Floor Plan Right For You?

Open floor plans are one of the biggest trends being requested at Vail Valley architects today. Just as the name would imply, an open floor plan is one that makes several small rooms into one large one. Most commonly, people request that their architects create an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining room and family room all being combined into a single large area. There is no doubt that open floor plans are all the rage today — but is this type of floor plan right for your next home? Ask yourself these questions to find out.

Does Much of the Socializing Happens in the Kitchen?

Many families say that the majority of their family time and general socialization time is done in the kitchen.  This often happens because the people who do the cooking want to be involved in the conversations, and everyone tends to gravitate towards wherever the cook in preparing a meal.  If this happens in your family, an open floor plan may be perfect for you. You can wash the dishes, cook dinner and clean the kitchen all while chatting with the family and keeping an eye on the kids.  The kitchen is considered the heart of the home.

Do You Enjoy Entertaining?

If you love to entertain, there is no better option than an open floor plan. Rather than having small segments of people scattered all over the home, in an open floor plan people can mill around freely. As a host, you can keep up with all the guests every easily this way, too. Everybody is within your view at all times, and nobody will feel isolated.

Looking to create a new home with an architectural balance unique to your needs? Whether you want an open floor plan or an entirely different concept, TAB Associates can help. Give us a call to start planning your next home today!

How Balance Ties Into Architecture

What is great architecture? Several designers in Colorado believe that it is a rich interaction between various critical elements. However, there are so many elements that make up a building that it can often create confusion regarding which elements are the most crucial.

Typically, all architecture is aimed at achieving some kind of balance with respect to the design, whether symmetrical or asymmetrical. While designing, certain theories and laws need to be taken into consideration.

If architecture has to have some balance, designers need to think about synchronizing elements so that each of them relates to the other. Ultimately, the aim is to build some sort of system. Balance is not just about the physical building being structurally and aesthetically sound. Architectural balance is achieved when a designer manages to design for all human senses.

Importance of Symmetry and Asymmetry in Architectural Design

Symmetry is one way to achieve architectural balance. This means having a mirror image around a pivotal or primary axis. This is quite common in architecture, especially classical architecture. The symmetry could be radial as well.

Designers can also aim for approximate symmetry. This does not involve a mirror image. However, the elements built on one of the sides of the central axis get roughly imitated on the other.

Lastly, balance in architecture could be asymmetrical as well. Designers might find this more challenging to achieve. This could present a more intriguing view but if not done correctly, it can make all the individual parts look fine, the system as a whole could appear awkward. Asymmetrical architectural balance is usually considered as casual while symmetrical balance seems more formal.

In either case, form should follow function so manipulating the function to achieve symmetry is sometimes not true to the architecture.

10 Tips to Effectively Communicate with your Architect

Your new home will be an important part of your family’s life, so you chose to hire a reputed Architect to design a beautiful home for you. Yet, if you and your Architect are not able to communicate properly, you may end up with a product that is not built to your liking. The following tips will point out how you can effectively communicate with your Architect.

  • Do a bit of research- Before you begin to design your home, it is best to look around and expose yourself to interior design and existing architectural trends to decide what you want.
  • Preferred mode of communication- Once you hire your Architect, establish the most efficient form of communication between you both. The frequency and speed of response will be based upon whether you choose emails, text messages, voice calls and so on.
  • Make a schedule- Once the preferred mode of communication is established, make a weekly schedule so that you and your Architect can plan the meetings accordingly.
  • Take it one step at a time- It is not conducive to go into the details of what you need from a home right at the beginning. Start with a solid idea and then build up from there.
  • Ask for 3D views- Architects are experts at seeing 3D even when they are looking at 2D images. Ask for a 3D version so that your visions are aligned.
  • Make sure that you understand everything- Although architects will try their best to make themselves understood, they may use some terminology that you’re unfamiliar with. Get clarity on any confusion, no matter how small.
  • Get cost estimates for each design- A design may look great but before you set your heart to it, check how much money it will take to build it.  this may require a builder being involved in the early stages to acquire solid budgets.
  • Show your architect a lot of pictures- Most of the time, your ideas cannot be communicated through words as you do not know the terminology. Show your Architect plenty of pictures of designs so that he or she knows exactly what you want.  It is important to also show your Architect pictures of what you do not like.  In this way, they can get in your head and understand your desires.
  • Write everything down- Taking notes at the end of a meeting will ensure that you and your architect are on the same page at all times.
  • Collaborate with your Architect and builder- At every design stage, try to collaborate between the builder and the Architect so that the designs can be feasible and beautiful at the same time.

With a little bit of effort from your side, you should be able to use the talent of your Architect to build your dream home!

Architect Ego Vs. Ability

As in many professions, there’s a whole world of architecture that most people don’t know about until they’re on the other side of things. Within this world, there is a common struggle among architects to keep their professional ability and their personal ego separate in their work.  We believe that an architect’s worst enemy is his ego and his best ally is his ability to combine artistic expression, construction technology, and the client’s needs.

The practice of being an architect involves creativity and design among other important skills. Architects are honored and rewarded all the time for their masterpiece creations; for some, this is the greatest goal of their career. It’s never frowned upon to aim to reach your highest potential in your career, but as an architect, it is important to remember why you do what you do.

Architects are the professionals with all of the knowledge, and their customers hold the vision of the final product. In this scenario, it’s very important that the two of these people are on the same page. There are a few key qualities to look out for when choosing the right architect.

  1. Knowledge- If it was easy, we’d all do it. Architecture is an adept skill that pulls the strings of many areas of the brain including capabilities in engineering, social communication, legal matters, business and design. Be sure that your architect understands how to apply all of these skills to make your vision come to life.
  2. Confidence- A certain level of confidence is required to be an architect. Their personal belief in their abilities helps the customer to feel comfortable in their decision. It’s important that your architect can reassure you of their abilities but not get off track.
  3. Balance- This is the most important quality to look for. Balance is achieved when the architect has an even ability to exert both knowledge and confidence in his or her work. At the end of the day, the goal of the architect is to fulfill their client’s needs and create the masterpiece they’ve always wanted. This establishes true success and talent in the architect.

While it may seem obvious to look for knowledge and confidence in an architect, it’s finding a quality of balance that is truly significant. Then, you will know you’re in good hands.