Home Renovation Steps You Can’t Afford to Skip

By Katie Conroy kc@advicemine.com

Image via Pexels

Are you looking to update your home but aren’t sure where to start? The process of renovating can seem overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. The good news is that there are a few key elements that all homeowners should consider when tackling a renovation project. In this guide, TAB Associates, Inc. takes a look at the different types of renovations, what needs to be included in your renovation plan, and how to ensure a successful experience.

Plan It Out

The first step in any home renovation project is deciding what type of job you want done. Whether you’re looking for an addition or just updating the existing space, there are generally two types of renovations: interior and exterior. Interior renovations focus on changing up the inside of the house, such as adding new cabinets or remodeling rooms. Exterior renovations refer to changes made outside the house, like painting, landscaping, and replacing windows.

Maximize the Space

If part of your renovation plan involves creating extra space in your home, then why not add an office area that can also double as guest quarters? This way, if guests come over, they have their own room, and you’ll have an area dedicated solely to work-related tasks without having to sacrifice other parts of your home.

Additionally, the Financial Post notes that your income taxes may be reduced due to deducting expenses associated with running an office, depending on where you live. To maximize your space, purchase a sleeper sofa that can do double duty no matter who is using the room, an ottoman that can double as storage, and a full-length mirror to add perceived light.

Note Key Elements

Aside from deciding what kind of renovation you want to do, it is important to consider the elements that may need to be included in your plan. If you’re going to be making major changes, such as adding a bathroom or kitchen, then you need to make sure that everything else follows suit with new plumbing and electrical work, too. Other elements that may need consideration include flooring replacement or repair, wallpapering or painting walls, and furniture placement.

You may also want to add some smart home products when renovating your home. These devices and systems – like video doorbells and security cameras – provide convenience and security elements to your home. Before making a purchase, consult online resources for in-depth product reviews and troubleshooting tips from smart home experts.

Stay on Top of Important Paperwork

Renovations can take anywhere from days to several months, depending on how big or small the project is. That’s why it’s so important to establish realistic timelines, both for yourself and the contractors, to ensure things stay on track. Additionally, keep important documents like receipts organized by utilizing a free scanner app to digitize them (this may help). Then, you can use a variety of PDF tools to merge, split, or edit the files for easy organization.  This system is perfect for making sure everything related to renovations stays organized.

Hire the Best Contractor

Once you have an idea of what type of job you want to be done and what elements need consideration for your project, it’s time to find a reputable contractor who can get the job done right. Make sure that they have years of experience and references from past clients who were happy with their work. It also helps if they offer free estimates so that you know exactly how much money needs to be allocated for the renovation project before getting started.

Additionally, be sure to communicate clearly with your contractor about expectations, so everyone is on the same page about deadlines and budgeting for materials needed for the job.

Read Up on Home Warranties

Before beginning renovations, consider whether or not using a home warranty would be beneficial. These annual, renewable contracts provide coverage against certain damages or breakdowns, which will give you peace of mind knowing that any repairs needed down the line will likely be covered. Plus, many companies even offer discounts if more than one year’s worth of coverage is purchased upfront.

Work Towards a Low Stress Renovation

Real Homes points out that the excitement of starting a home renovation can often be tempered by the stress of managing such a large project. That’s why it’s so crucial to work with the right contractor, invest in a home warranty, and give yourself plenty of time to plan. Whether you’re adding a home office or giving your kitchen an update, these steps will prevent headaches down the road.

TAB Associates, Inc. provides architecture, planning and interior professional design services in all areas of Vail Valley in Colorado along with Western North Carolina. Contact us today to learn more! (970) 766-1470

Why Views Are So Important From a View Lot

By Brenda Stuart


If you’re going to build a home in the Colorado Rockies, you know it’s not just the skiing that brings people here. It’s also the view – the beauty of the rugged Rockies. Showing off those soaring peaks and the wild blue sky doesn’t happen by accident. A view lot means your house design features large and purposefully placed windows to display the beauty of nature year-round. It is just one part of a design philosophy that embraces the topography and marries your indoor and outdoor spaces.


The ups and downs of the Colorado Rockies make them a gorgeous place to create a building that combines the domestic with the untamed outdoors. A topographical surveyor starts by shooting desired views on site. Also, the undesired views should be shot, too.  From there, the vision of the design takes shape. The architect is first informed by the mountains and the sky, the light and the seasons, before creating a design that will become a home.

A view lot house plan should include vaulted ceilings and room for large windows. It should also have room for a wrap-around deck or patio so visitors will be able to enjoy the scenery while enjoying an evening outdoors.  Some of these decks should be covered to allow for all seasons use.

The Landscape up Close

The peaks of the Colorado Rockies are important, but so are the details surrounding the home and lot. You don’t want the largest windows facing the traffic along I-70 or the neighbor’s hot tub.  These are the undesired views.  Other buildings, trees, large rocks, or other significant features can have a tremendous influence on the view. A home with life-sized picture or large windows that faces the woods will increase the property value. The value rises even more if the surrounding woods are home to wildlife and native plants.

Once the architect designs the home for those optimal views, it’s important to create a landscape that’s pleasant to look at and practical. Surrounding the home with deer-resistant landscaping is also essential, so nature lovers don’t end up cursing the animals they enjoy watching.

A topographical surveyor brings all of this information to the architect and builders, who then create the perfect views without sacrificing privacy. Most developers also take note of the zoning laws that could affect the property value. You want to make sure the city doesn’t suddenly decide to erect a large building that could one day obstruct the view of the mountains.  This can be important because views are not protected by law.


The view is so important from a view lot, because it’s the basis of the entire design, no matter if you prefer mountain rustic, mid-century modern, or any other architectural style. Another important factor? Light and air. Colorado’s governor recently signed legislation protecting the night sky view. Homeowners can now enjoy watching the Perseid meteor showers without light pollution, but it’s up to designers to create a landscape that protects stargazers from the strong mountain winds.

The Colorado Rockies lifestyle is about blending a stylish indoor space with the incredible views of the outdoors in this corner of the world. Beginning with the daytime and nighttime views is crucial to making a design become a home truly in tune with the environment.

Watching a sunrise or sunset from the comfort of a mountain home or from a well-placed patio or deck doesn’t happen by accident. In a place filled with natural beauty and wonder like Colorado, designing a home with majestic views seems easy. However, there is much more to it than meets the eye, and that begins with deciding which fantastic views and what prominent windows will come together in the initial layout.

For more ideas on building or updating your Colorado architectural home, contact TAB Associates to discover how our architecture, planning and interior design services can create modern spaces within traditional homes.

Brenda Stuart is a freelance writer and radio news broadcaster in Denver. When she’s not traveling around Colorado, she’s writing about her latest adventures.

Home Improvement Projects: DIY or Hire an Expert?

by Katie Conroy kc@advicemine.com

Considering home improvement projects but unsure if you should hire an expert?

If so, read on for two home improvement projects you can DIY, and one home improvement that works best when you hire a contractor, and the average Return on Investment (ROI) for each of the projects listed presented by TAB Associates.

Two home improvement projects you can DIY.

A beautiful, fresh, green yard

Is there anything better than a beautiful outdoor living space? One easy way to increase the value of your home and add a nice, relaxing outdoor living space is to freshen up your lawn. Freshening up your yard is relatively easy. You can do this project by ensuring your lawn gets the proper amount of nutrients and prevents weed growth.

While you can weed often and apply fertilizer during the proper seasons, that can be time and energy-consuming. So instead, Bob Vila recommends using a weed-and-feed product to ensure your lawn is bright and weed-free.

Weed-and-feed products:

  • Help your yard receive the nutrients it needs.
  • Can speed up growth.
  • Keep turf thick and healthy.
  • Reduce the number of weeds in your yard.

Pro tip: Not all yards need the same nutrient balance, but you can determine which nutrients your yard needs by conducting a soil test. You can pick up a test and do it yourself. However, Pennington recommends bringing a lawn sample to your county Cooperative Extension System (CES)- a group of lawn and garden experts who use research-based advances to ensure a fantastic lawn or garden.

What is the ROI of freshening up your lawn?

If you apply weed-and-feed products to your yard six times per year, as recommended by the NAR, the cost is around $114. In addition, you’ll boost your home value by around $1,000- an ROI of just over 777%!

Add outdoor lighting.

Would you like to deter burglars and make your yard a magical place to relax at night? Adding motion lights or other outdoor lighting options to your yard can do the trick for $5,000 or less. This project can be done by following the directions on the lighting fixtures you choose, and you can customize the look to your preferences.

What is the ROI of adding outdoor lighting?

Even if you choose to invest $5,000, the NAR says you could see an ROI of around 50%.

One home improvement project that works best when you hire a contractor.

High-quality fencing

Do skunks or other pests sneak into your yard? If your property is in need of a fence, you’re best off connecting with a local fence company. Before meeting with a fence contractor to get a quote and discuss your needs, you can evaluate companies by reading reviews online.

High-quality fencing raises the property value and ensures you avoid costly mistakes. But, of course, there’s nothing worse than building a fence yourself, and it falls down the next time the wind blows.

The one thing you must check on is whether your Home Owners Association allows fencing at all.  Some allow a limited amount and types of fences.  You should check on this prior to making an investment in any fencing.

What is the ROI of adding a high-quality fence to a yard?

You can increase your house’s value by $1,500, on the low end, up to as much as $5,000. Of course, the home value increase is dependent on the material and type of fence. For instance, with stone or metal fences, your ROI could be as much as 70%. On the other hand, fences built with wood or other materials can still fetch an ROI of 50%. But isn’t keeping one skunk or other roaming pests out of your yard priceless? Any one of these home improvement projects will freshen up the exterior of your home while providing a sense of comfort and a cozy, homelike feel. Plus, you can add value to your home- monetary and otherwise.

Image: Pexels

A Look at 3 Popular Colorado Architectural Home Styles

When making major renovations to your home, your architect or interior designer will likely consider the architectural style of your home. Typically, the goal is to infuse a fresh, modern look into the home also to convert existing square footage into more useable space.

Here we explore 3 of the most popular architectural styles in Colorado and a few ideas for a modern home renovation.

Mountain Rustic Homes

This is a native Colorado residential style that incorporates a timber frame and stone to simulate an early Americana home. These homes typically have an idyllic landscape, large open interior spaces, cozy fireplaces, floor to ceiling windows, and wrap-around decks. Also included in this type is a log home.

To update these homes for a more modern look, consider adding a mix of materials and textures like smooth glass space dividers, stainless steel appliances, and modern light fixtures to offset the homespun interiors. This can be done in all but log homes. It is TAB’s philosophy that modernizing a log home is not appropriate.

Mid-Century Modern

This home style gained notoriety from American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and feature an open floor plan and sharp, clean lines. These minimalist interiors include many conveniences such as window seating, built-in seating and wall spaces, along with a modern kitchen.

An interior remodel that is organic will inject nature into the home and soften the crisp lines and hard surfaces. Consider an interior remodel that promotes natural shapes and materials like wood, stone, and brick. Then, contrast with bright color palettes and cozy furnishings, plenty of open views, along with water features and greenery.

Raised Ranch

Built for families and space efficiency, raised ranch homes with a lower story that is slightly below grade are found all across Colorado. These homes feature a low-pitched roofline, an open concept floor plan, and are typically rectangular, “U”, or “L”-shaped.

Update these boxy and sometimes small interiors by adding charm and detail. Interior crown molding, a re-worked front entry, wood flooring, lighting coves, and a full kitchen and bath update can bring these 1950s and 1960s into the new millennium.

For more ideas on updating your Colorado architectural home, contact TAB Associates to discover how our architecture, planning and interior design services can create modern spaces within traditional homes.

Tips for Buying and Managing Your First Investment Property

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by Katie Conroy kc@advicemine.com

Investing in real estate can be a great way to ensure your long-term financial security. However, it’s not as simple as signing on the dotted line. You’ll need to make sure that you make a sound investment, maximize your return, and find (and keep) the best tenants possible.

TAB Associates invite you to read on for tips to buy and manage your first investment property successfully.

Assess your liability

Though the potential rewards are high, buying a rental property also involves potential risks – such as delinquent tenants, expensive maintenance, or a declining market. However, you can protect yourself and your assets from these and other risks. One way to do this is by establishing a limited liability company (LLC) for your new business in real estate investment. While lawyers can help you with this, it’s often easier and less expensive to work with an online formation service.

Choose your location wisely

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a location for a profitable rental property. Look for signs that a neighborhood is stable, growing, and not in decline. Talk to local residents to get their impression and check to see if there are any revitalization projects in the works. This could indicate that the area has potential.

You’ll also need to determine whether a property is safe from natural disasters. One way to do this is to request a geotechnical report, which analyzes a property’s risk of landslide, flooding, or earthquake damage. Fire risk is another factor on many people’s minds, so be sure to research the level of fire danger in the summer months.

If the property is low-risk, next determine whether the neighborhood is a desirable place to live. Look for whether your property is close to amenities (such as parks, gyms, restaurants, shops, and cinemas). Access to hiking trails, public transportation, and a good school district are also great signs.

Market your property like a pro

Once you’ve purchased your first investment property, the next step is to market it to potential tenants. Some ways to do this are through websites with direct listings, on-site signage, working with local realtors, and advertising in local publications. Be sure to emphasize your property’s most attractive features, such as a stunning view, easy access to amenities, or great indoor-outdoor flow.

Another way to ensure that you attract potential tenants is to improve your property’s curb appeal – its ability to make a positive first impression from the sidewalk. You can easily do this with quality landscaping, general tidiness, a fresh coat of paint, and fun touches like flowers or attractive outdoor seating. Next, consider hiring a professional photographer to take a stunning curbside photo.

Embrace your role as a landlord

Once you own a rental property, you are your tenants’ main point of contact if any issues arise with the property. Although you can always hire a property manager, this could eat into your profits early on. It may be time to familiarize yourself with the tools of the landlord trade and brush up on your DIY home repair skills. Once you’re more established, you can always put together a team of reliable handypeople, cleaners, and contractors.

Although real estate investment is often referred to as passive income, initially you will need to be anything but passive. You’ll be in charge of managing the tenants, the property itself, and the finances. Once you have good systems in place and things are running smoothly, you can take a step back and enjoy the extra income that the property provides.

Are you unsure about the next steps for your investment property? For information about architecture, planning, construction, and professional interior design, contact TAB Associates today.

3 Interior Upgrades That Make a Big Impression

Now that you’re spending more time at home, it makes sense to make your home as beautiful as possible. It’s also just nice to make areas of your home “pop” with freshness. No matter what the reason, here are some interior upgrade ideas from your friends at TAB Associates that will make the rooms in your home feel special and new.

1. Create an Accent Wall

An accent wall is just one wall in a room that is unique from the other three walls. You make an accent wall by decorating it in a different style. You can accomplish this by painting it a different color, applying wallpaper or by doing things like hanging a collection of wall art or an assortment of small, decorative shelving. Just a small touch like this is easy to accomplish in one day but makes a big impression.

2. Frame a Fireplace

Your fireplace is probably a central location for your family, where everyone gathers for conversation and entertainment. Why not make it a hub for fun by framing it with matching shelving on each side? Your shelves could reach from the floor to the mantle or all the way to the ceiling. To hide clutter, consider installing shelving that has cupboards on the bottom half. This is where you could store board games and other toys for youngsters. Display attractive books and framed pictures on upper shelves.

3. Install Custom Cabinetry

At TAB Associates, we’re always excited to help with your interior design projects. Whether it’s designing and installing custom cabinetry or revamping the cabinetry you already have. Custom cabinetry ensures that you are able to get the most storage space out of every inch of your home. Custom cabinetry can fit any area of your home where you need it, including beneath stairs, over washer and dryer units, etc.

When you’re ready to add interior upgrades or incorporate new ideas into your home, contact TAB Associates for inspiration and help.

What Is Architectural Balance?

The architecture of a building shows a lot about both its planning as well as its construction. When a building is architecturally balanced, it is not only pleasing to the eye but also structurally solid. If you plan on having a home or Commercial building built, you will want to choose an architecture firm that has a reputation for designing buildings that are properly balanced in many different ways.

What Is Architectural Balance?

Architectural balance means that a building was designed so that all of its components are equally balanced. In most cases, that may mean its mass, it can also include other factors such as lighting, windows, and other important aspects. Symmetry can be essential when planning a building. Whether it has a mirrored look or an the mass is adjusted to maintain balance on either side, balance is a necessity. Sometimes asymmetry is the desired look, but even that should have balance.

Why Is Balance so Important?

As humans, we thrive on balance. We require balance to stand upright and function in various capacities. Because of our need for physical balance, we look for balance in the world around us as well. When architects plan a building and start the design process, one of the first things they do is strive to achieve the perfect balance. When it comes to construction, balance is often a stabilizer making the house or building more structurally sound.

Choosing the Right Architectural Firm in Vail Valley, Colorado or western North Carolina

We provide

– Balance in design,

– Balance between design and program,

– Balance between design and construction,

– Balance between construction cost and budget.

If you are looking for a reputable Vail Valley or western North Carolina architect, TAB Associates are well-known throughout the Vail Valley Colorado area. If you want a firm that prides itself on architectural balance, the staff of TAB Associates have the skills you are looking for. Take a few minutes and get the answers you need to make an informed decision. When you want balance, go to the professionals who are available to make it happen!

Custom Built-Ins Make the Most of Your Space

No matter what size your home is, storage space is always at a premium. As your family grows, storage becomes even more important. At TAB Associates, we leverage the functionality of built-ins to optimize the storage potential of every part of your home.

Seating Area Built-ins

Imagine an inviting built-in seating area in front of one of the coziest places in your home; the picture window. A lounging and seating area on top of a bench-style built-in that not only opens up on top with a piano hinge, but also has two or three shallow drawers to hold your favorite blanket. And how about flanking the window with a set of shelves to hold your favorite reading materials.

Bedding Built-ins

Platform beds can be improved with deep drawers built in beneath the platform to hold blankets and extra sheets and pillows.

Dividing Wall Built-ins

Dividing walls can do more than define living areas. They are also full of storage potential. Consider a dividing wall with two columns on either side of a cabinet-level divider. The columns themselves could consist of three or four drawers on the bottom half, with lighted, glass door-encased shelving on the top half to showcase family heirlooms or rare collectibles. The middle divider can act as a buffet, with drawers and cabinets on one side, such as facing into the dining room. You could even customize the drawers with dividers and felt lining to nestle your family’s best silverware.

Awkward Space Built-ins

Even the best homes have awkward spaces where you’re not sure what to do with them. These are ideal for custom built-ins. Do you have a small nook with a slanted ceiling in the bathroom? A custom built-in converts it into the perfect spot to store bath towels. Is there unused space on one side of your fireplace? Why not design for a built-in bookcase to house a book collection or to display family photos?

Hallway Built-ins

Does your entry way lack a coat closet? Instead of placing a piece of furniture such as a coat tree and bench, you can easily remedy the situation by installing a custom built-in deep enough to accommodate coat hooks, umbrellas and boots.

Custom built-ins ensure that every square inch of your home is put to good use. To get more built-in inspiration, please contact TAB Associates today.

How Architectural Floor Plans Can Reinforce Feng Shui Principles

You may not realize it, but your Colorado home may already embody some key principles of Feng Shui that are found in architecture. Feng Shui is a Chinese concept that translates into “wind-water” in English. This ancient belief system is built on the foundation that harmony between spiritual forces can be attained by the positioning of structures or objects in our environment.

And these principles of Chi are not so far off from how architects build environments that have positive effects on its occupants. This is done by architectural design and can be as simple as the placement of a door, the positioning of windows, or the square footage allotted for areas of work versus areas of rest and contemplation.

Feng Shui Principles of Architecture

Physical Symmetry

Architectural balance is highly stressed in Feng shui architecture. A natural symmetry is found when the left side is a mirror image of the right side, with the entrance closely set at a center point. But sometimes that symmetry can be found in the interior spaces where the rooms on one side of the home are a mirror image of those on the other side. Of course, some homes are purposely designed to be asymmetrical. That is, the house will have different visual images on either side of the design.

Natural Ventilation and Daylighting

Comfort is key in a Feng Shui styled home. Large windows or window collections supply an abundance of natural lighting and the option for outdoor air to flow freely throughout the home. Less emphasis is placed on using air conditioning, and more emphasis is placed on designing the home to catch a maximum breeze throughout the day.

Orderly Spaces Without Clutter

The best foundation for a home that embodies Feng Shui principles is one with lots of storage space. Neat and orderly spaces add to the positive vibrations of the home. This can be accomplished with large closets and plenty of hidden storage space or by using secondary storage solutions such as baskets, shelving, and under-the-bed bins. The goal is to have a place for everything so the home can appear clutter free.

South-east Facing Beds

To harmonize the process of sleeping and waking, your bed should be faced in the right direction. Facing southward as much as possible is said to attract opposite poles while you sleep. This principle is thought to be mostly anecdotal because in China the climate enjoys warm winds from the south. Better principles from Feng Shui for sleeping include not sleeping near a door or with your head near a window.

For the best in architectural and interior design services, contact TAB Associates Vail Valley and Western North Carolina Architects to learn how great design leads to good living.