Mixing Contemporary and Country Architecture

When designing a home, many people fall prey to the idea that they have to choose just one narrow style or design. You can actually create a more interesting and unique home by combining two styles. At TAB Associates, two styles that we love to blend together are contemporary and country. By blending architectural elements of both styles, we create homes that feel both relaxing and updated.

country and contemporary
Source: TAB Associates

Contemporary trends actually are quite easy to blend with country classics. Right now, the minimalist look is in style, so using plain brick or rustic wood siding looks both country-chic and fashionable.

Another way to approach blending these two styles is by building more modern homes in settings that would usually call for dwellings. Recently, we built a modern mountain chalet from rustic materials. It looks soothing and relaxing in the mountain setting, but the inside is spacious and open for modern appeal.

Sometimes it really is all about the materials. We have used board and batten siding, concrete floors, and natural wooden tubs in the past to blend country into the modern trends.

Contact TAB Associates if you’re interested in building a unique home that crosses the lines between two styles.


How to Design Around the Natural Landscape

The ideal home appears to be integrated into the surrounding landscape, rather than disrupting it. To achieve this look, the architect and home owner must work together to choose the proper site for the home and to work the home around the landscape. There are a couple of different ways to achieve this:

Anchored Look

This look can be achieved by building the home on a slightly sloped surface rather than leveling out the ground before building. A stone foundation reinforces the appearance.

The Gliding Home

Some homes appear to sit lightly on the ground rather than delving into it. To achieve this look, plan on bringing the lawn right up to the edge of the building and avoiding the classic foundation plantings.

Platform Homes

This is probably the most creative way to integrate your home with nature. A dramatic platform allows you to live higher up in the trees and really feel connected with the landscape. A lower one may put you closer to a water source or other interesting natural feature.

For more custom home design tips, contact TAB Associates and discuss your building plans with one of our qualified staff members.

Let Us Work On Your Interiors: Kitchen Trends for 2014

If you’re a fan of warm tones or interesting colors in kitchens, then you’ll love this year’s trends. All-white designs are out and natural materials with bold designs are in.

2014 Kitchen Trends
Source: TAB Associates

Here are a few of the hottest kitchen trends for 2014:

  • Blue: This color might seem like an odd choice for a kitchen, but it’s becoming a popular one. Homeowners are choosing all different shades of blue, ranging from soft sky blues to bright turquoise and sophisticated navy tones. Blue is mainly making an appearance in tiles and cupboards, as well as decor items.
  • Eye-catching backsplashes: These areas above the stove or sink are really standing out, thanks to brightly colored splashbacks with bold patterns. These work well with kitchens that are mostly done in white or neutral colors since they create contrast.
  • Natural materials: Wood, stone, brick and other natural materials are giving kitchens some rustic appeal and creating a warm and welcoming environment. This trend also involves exposing older beams and structures, as well as adding new features.

Want to see examples of kitchen trends for 2014? Contact TAB Associates for more information or check out our online portfolio today.

How to Build Your Home to Display Art

When you have an impressive art collection, it’s important to make sure that your home gives you a good way to display it. Instead of having all the pieces in one room, you can spread them around if you have the right home design.



Use the following tips to create a home that serves as the ideal setting for your art collection:

  • Let in light. Natural sunlight can highlight your artwork and help draw the eye toward it. Having several clerestory windows installed on the upper part of your home helps let in as much sun as possible. Using as much glass as possible on the walls also helps let in more natural light.
  • Connect the pieces. Your home can be set up similar to a museum, with certain pieces displayed in each room, based on a theme. To make things more coherent, include a way to connect these pieces, such as a central courtyard, surrounded by a gallery area for more art walls.
  • Create good display areas. Add shelving in strategically placed areas to display your artwork. This can work in any room in your home.

Ready to discuss your home’s design with the experts? Contact us at TAB Associates, and stop by our Facebook page.

How Your Home’s Wood Can Tell Its Story

Wood can add a warm and natural touch to any home. When designing a home with wood, it’s important to think about how this material can reflect on a home and share its story.

Use wood to soften a living space
Source: TAB Associates

Keep these tips in mind when using wood in a home’s design:

  • Create contrast. Combining wood with a starker material, like concrete or stone, can highlight a home’s past. For example, a home built from a former industrial building can use wood to add some warmth, while leaving structural elements, like concrete columns, beams, and floors intact.
  • Keep an original element or two. Leaving a structural wood element in place, while adding new ones, can help you blend the old with the new. Elements such as a wooden ladder in a renovated barn serve as a reminder of the building’s former use. The newer wood can create a more inviting appearance.
  • Blend old and new woods. Using more than one type of wood can create some interesting visual appeal in almost any home. The original wood can remain faded as a reminder of the past, while the newer one can add a sharp modern contrast.

Need professional help designing a home with wood? Call TAB Associates, and follow us on Facebook.

Ideas for Opening Up Your Home to Nature

Most homeowners settle on using more plants and fresh flowers to incorporate nature in their home. But what if you could open up your home to nature through your building design? Work with your architectural designer to incorporate the following nature-friendly components into your home.

incorporate nature into home design
  • Winter-friendly Porch. Even in snowy climates, you can extend the porch’s lifetime well beyond the chilly fall and spring months. Employ the use of a wood burning stove or fireplace, plush seating and warm throws to entice your guests with an enclosed porch. Floor to ceiling windows give the illusion you are outdoors, and do so without the chill.
  • Entry-way. Recreate the entry way to your home and emphasize the natural beauty of your surroundings. Emphasize architectural elements of the home that resemble a natural setting, such as wood, stone, water and other elements.
  • Ample windows. Using ample windows in your home opens up the interior to different natural views on the property. Work with your building design professionals to create window space around the scenic views on your property. Enjoy year-round natural views from the comfort of your home.
  • Sliding Glass Doors. Using large sliding glass doors that pocket into a wall provide a large opening in a wall to bring the outside inside.  This can open to a deck or a patio, covered or not.

Are you interested in a building design that emphasizes nature and sustainability? Contact us at TAB Associates.



How to Build Your Home to Control the Sun

Balancing your need for protection from the sun with its appeal is important in sunny climates. Instead of blasting your air conditioner over the summer, explore the suggestions below for incorporating sun control into your building design.

Build your home to control the sun
Source: TAB Associates

  • Stone walls. Stone walls are a fascinating building material because they store and release the warmth of the day in the evenings when homes are cooler. Stone walls on the patio with slotted openings block out the sun while allowing light and wind to illuminate and provide a much needed breeze on the patio.
  • Solar Paneling. For a unique and sustainable option, employ the use of solar panels that will re-purpose heat as useful energy in the home. Make use of the natural shade this “solar panel canopy” provides by designing a rooftop seating area under the panels.
  • Extended walls. Extend the roofs for proper overhangs and walls of your home beyond the windows to elongate your indoor space while simultaneously enjoying shade from the sun’s heat. You may want to build these extensions into your home’s structure or incorporate a retractable awning into your building design.


If you would like to discuss controlling the sun in your home’s building design, contact us at TAB Associates.

Building a Home? Consider Adding an Interior Courtyard

A key benefit of designing your home is the ability to incorporate distinctive features not available in most track homes. The transition between interior and exterior space is a common design trend,  which has led to use of interior courtyards in the home.

benefits of an interior courtyard

With a large front and backyard, you are likely wondering why you should consider an interior courtyard. Reflect on a few of the benefits of an interior courtyard below:

  • Natural Light: Interior courtyards are highly sought after because of the natural light that they bring into the home. At midday, a second story interior courtyard can illuminate the entire second floor.
  • Open Space: An interior courtyard opens the space, and an accessible design will add another passageway through the home. Sliding glass doors are a popular option.
  • View: Second-floor courtyards can serve as windows to a landscape view of the surrounding area.  And just to grab some sky can be a real treat to a space.
  • Air Movement / Breezes: An interior courtyard can bring air movement to interior home spaces thereby increasing thermal comfort.
  • Added Security: An interior courtyard can provide an exterior experience and all its added value while still being part of the inside of the home from a security standpoint.

Interior courtyards can take on various forms. The courtyard doesn’t always need to be accessible or feature lush green landscapes. Xeriscaping with sand, pebbles, bamboo or other natural materials is an equally common option.  The goal is to have visual access to daylight and the sky.  Being attached to the exterior is always a pleasant experience.

If you are designing a home, contact our architectural team at TAB Associates for personalized assistance in creating your ideal property.

Unique Features to Incorporate Into Your Home

To create a home that truly embodies you, architects incorporate unique features that make your home specially suited to your lifestyle.

unique home design elements

Check out some distinctive architectural features below that  add character to home design:

  • Layering. In larger spaces architects use the layering technique to bring the scale down to the space. Floating walls and columns divide large empty rooms into zoned ends and beginnings.
  • Rotations. Rotating squares and rectangles by 45 to 90 degrees creates a distinguished exterior visual that adds emphasis to your home’s architectural design.
  • Bridges. You don’t need a giant properties for a bridge. A bridge could connect dry land across a water body, such as a pool, backyard pond or front yard water feature. In addition to serving as a physical connector, a bridge is a forceful visual transition from two exterior areas or two interior areas.
  • Solar Panels. A growing class of super-efficient homes rely either completely or partially on natural resources for heating and cooling. Solar panels are not a highly-attractive element of home design, but can be a unique design feature as well as providing energy to the home.
  • Natural light. Capturing natural light adds warmth to the home and energizes the space.

Would you like to find out which unique architectural elements are well-suited to your home design? Contact us at TAB Associates.

Understanding Balanced Geometry in Architecture

Architecture is much more than slapping on a roof, doors and windows. Visualizing the shapes and forms that go into a home, and keeping those shapes balanced, is an important aspect: balanced geometry, the act of combining various shapes into a collected whole, adds character to the home.

geometry and architecture.
Source: TAB Associates’ Website (Octagon, Gary Residence)
  • Octagons and Rectangles. The 8-sided octagon is the most common shape for a home. In the Gary Residence project, our architects placed a octagonal shape for the Breakfast Nook and Exercise below. For added emphasis, the different shapes also displayed differing patterns, stucco and stone respectively.

    geometry and architecture
    Source: TAB Associates’ Website (Rectangles, Lot 112)
  • Rectangles and squares. Lot 112 features a variety of shapes put together, but the shapes are tempered by the rectangles and squares. The floor-to-ceiling rectangular windows are divided into square panels which enhance the look and feel of the home.

    geometry and architecture
    Source: TAB Associates’ Website (Cylinders, Lot 5)
  • Cylinders, Rectangles and Squares. The Bonidy Residence adds a layer of complexity to the rectangles and squares model by introducing cylindrical shapes on the side and back of the house. The tangentially incorporated circles add interest but don’t overpower the overall design.  This is also exemplified in the Brady Residence.

If you are designing a home and would like to reinforce the building blocks of your home, contact us at TAB Associates, Inc. to discuss your ideal geometric palette.