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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

Industrial Decor for the Industrious Soul

In an interior ‘world’ full of shabby-chic trends, an industrial based style core can stand out using the simple concept of ‘less is more’. Seated in an era known for progress and breaking boundaries in science and engineering, it’s no wonder that less frill is the ‘go-to’ theme for this interior style. Who has time for crocheted lamp shades and hand-sewn toilet seat covers when you’re trying to improve upon society’s mechanical shortcomings?
As striking and bold as this design can be, it can easily swallow a small space in a gloomy mood not intended by the designer. This can be prevented by providing a light, neutral base for background such as whitewashed walls. This can be done on top of a wooden ‘planked’ wall, a brick wall, or even stucco. If a lighter color is not to be desired, keep the background neutral. Earthy colors always pair better with this type of design. Think grays, light browns, beige. To be sure, the important elements in this type of décor are the accents.
To accent with industrial type features, re-purposing is the name of the game. Galvanized pipe can be used along with additional wooden planks to create shelving systems, either high or low to the ground. Creative lighting fixtures can be made from items that never would have been used for that purpose, such as early twentieth century birdcages or colanders.
An underlying presence of mixed metals is traditionally incorporated into this type of décor and they can vary from corrugated tin to iron fixtures. Aluminum, steel, pewter… all of these finishes offer unique qualities in their design to be used in anything such as wall fixtures, accent pieces, and fans or clocks.
Another important quality in which this style is known for is its attention to functionality and the ever present fascination of ‘how does it work’? This certainly must have been a burning question in many an innovator/ inventor’s mind as they pieced together or pulled apart the object(s) of their obsession. A good example of this would be the intricate gears you can see in many industrial design themes.
Do all these hard edge materials mean the space can’t be comfortable or inviting? Certainly not! I would suggest, however, any soft materials such as rugs, pillows, or throws be kept neutral as well. If color is incorporated, I would definitely research color palettes from the early twentieth century. This can keep the space authentic and continuous.
When it comes to creative interior design, hopefully, these helpful tips will bring out the innovator in you!

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!