A Play Area – How To Activate Your Home

January 6th, 2017 | Comments Off on A Play Area – How To Activate Your Home |

How many times have you said to your kids, “Go outside and play!”?

The simple fact is that its becoming less common for our kids to go outside and play any more.  We all remember coming home from school and running outside to play, only to return when our name echoed through the sunset. But with all of the team sports, recitals, after school clubs and such, there doesn’t seem to be as much time. Also, why would you go out and play when you can watch a video on an IPad, or play XBox, or talk on a group chat? It’s very easy to occupy yourself on the couch.

Another major change in our lives is the home, itself.  Unless the weather is great there is nowhere to play!  Today most of our homes are completely finished, without that empty, basementy zone where nothing is in danger of breaking. No longer can you go to the basement and throw a tennis ball, ride a tricycle or hit a baseball into a net.

My clients have been asking more and more about this dilemma.  How can we activate our home, what can we do to make some of the less used rooms a great play area?  How can we bring the outdoors inside for cold, rainy, windy days or for days that its just too hot and buggy to go outside?  There are just so many excuses as to why kids don’t go outside any more.

A great solution is to add a multi-use, sound proofed space where you can hit a baseball, kick a soccer ball, jump, run, and have fun.  The space in the photographs above was designed so it’s both sound proofed and 99% indestructible.   Its set up now for sports but could be a great room for a high school band, home gym (host P90x, Insanity, yoga or Zumba classes), to play with remote control cars, to play dodgeball, or just go and hang out as kids (or adults!).

We’re a huge fan of an “Active” multi use space that can grow and evolve with you and your family.

If you’re interested in learning about how your home can evolve with you, give me a call at 703-307-7860.

Vincent D’Avena

Owner, Intellectual Homes

A Better Screen Porch Solution

January 4th, 2017 | Comments Off on A Better Screen Porch Solution |

Do you have a screen porch?  Does your friend have a screen porch you love and wish you had? Or, do you have a screen porch you love… when the pollen count is low, the wind isn’t blowing and it’s somewhere between 68 and 79 degrees outside?  We have a solution that allows you to use your screen porch year round! You can treat it like another family room and find a way to spend some quality time outdoors again.

Over the past two years we’ve perfected the installation of a screen solution that keeps the dust and rain outside while allowing in as much fresh air as you’d like. You can install a fireplace inside to keep it warm in the winter, or AC for the summer.

This is the best of both worlds.

Outdoors, Yet Clean

“A truly ground breaking change to your outdoor living space!”



An Ounce of Prevention…or Caulk

January 2nd, 2017 | Comments Off on An Ounce of Prevention…or Caulk |

Would you want your family to fly on an airplane that didn’t get serviced regularly? Of course not! Well, don’t let your family live in an unserviced home, either.  We’d all rather not spend hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars on maintenance.  Wouldn’t you rather go on a vacation than hire a painter to caulk what you can’t see from your yard?

I almost didn’t write this blog as it sounds a LOT like an upsell.  Its not, though; it’s preventative maintenance and it can save lots of money and headaches.  I’ve renovated many homes simply because our clients were forced to either fix the rotten wood or repair and update their home at the same time.

Paint is a great protector of wood but most people don’t realize that it can work against you, too. Wood can be rotting behind paint and you would never know it!  In fact, once even the smallest amount of water gets behind paint, it WILL damage your drywall and/or wood.  If you have a water issue on the inside of your house, you typically see a water stain.  However, since exterior paint is designed to repel water, most water stains don’t show through.  The water, like it or not, will certainly do damage to your house.

So what do you need to do?  Every 2 years you should caulk above and around all of your exterior windows, doors and exterior joints.  During this process they may find some rotten wood. If they do, then you’re not caulking and painting enough. You can either paint and caulk more or replace the wood with a product that can’t rot.

Water WILL find a way, it always does…   Don’t forget, a little caulking will go a long way and will extend the life of your paint job a few years.

Contact us today about how we can help you at 703-307-7860 or email vincent@intellectualhomes.com.

An Ounce of Prevention…Flood Leak Devices

January 1st, 2017 | Comments Off on An Ounce of Prevention…Flood Leak Devices |

Everyone has a friend of a friend that had an ice maker, or washing machine, or dishwasher fail and we all know what happens next.  Anybody that has had this happen wishes that they could go back and buy a one-time $300 insurance policy to prevent their flood.  Would you buy the policy, or would you rather have a remediation company in your house drying out carpets, replacing drywall, replacing floors, and painting what was a perfectly nice family room and basement? 

Unfortunately, there isn’t an insurance policy that will prevent a flood, yet there is a fairly inexpensive device that you can install that will do the same thing.  Most people can do it themselves. When we talk about “sustainability” we like to think about preventing major issues; this device will automatically shut off water pipes if you have a leak from a laundry unit, ice maker, washing machine or toilet. 

These devices can be installed most of the time without the help of a plumber, all you do is follow the instructions.  Some of these devices even have the ability to send you an email now!

The links keep changing, but if you go to www.smarthome.com and search for “water valve shutoff” you’ll be able to read more about the technology.

Contact us today about how we can help you at 703-307-7860 or email mailto:Vincent@intellectualhomes.com.

What Is Dust Protection?

January 1st, 2017 | Comments Off on What Is Dust Protection? |

What is Dust Protection?

To Intellectual Homes, dust protection is a critical step to separate the space between the client’s living area and the construction project. We have never met a client that wanted drywall dust in their curtains, on their bed, in their cereal, or on their china.

When developing our dust protection plan for a new project, we consider elements that go beyond dust control to include important factors such as child safety, overall site security, heating and AC zones, weather protection, pet safety, worker safety and accessibility to the project area.

We believe that taping up some sheets of plastic is simply not enough. We start by looking at access and asking questions like, “Can we simply avoid ever going into certain spaces?” Can we temporarily separate work space from living space. Plastic is almost never enough. Our typical approach includes the installation of “Pressure Fit” framed walls (no screws nails go into floor/walls/ceilings).  We have even installed external stairs so the workers aren’t forced to use the client’s main entry way or back door.

Don’t worry about this being more expensive, this is FAR less expensive to everyone!  What would you rather do, pay for a company to clean your house daily, or have them build a temporary wall once,  in less than a day and keep your house clean for the entire project?

In the pictures below you will see:

  1. Temporary walls framed with the seams taped
  2. Interior doors installed into existing openings and taped to allow access when necessary but 100% dust free
  3. Floor protection/rail protection/house security

To find out more, contact Vincent D’Avena at 703-307-7860.

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