2015 Coty Award Winner – C.L. Shade Drafting

Residential Addition – 2015, Grand Winner: C.L. Shade Drafting

C.L. Shade Drafting - DesignThe Goal: To create a two story addition with stylish domestic amenities on the first floor to accommodate guests and a simple office space on the second floor creating an enjoyable and comfortable place for the owner to work away from the hustle and bustle of the main home.

The Work: With only 480 sq. ft. downstairs the emphasis was on functionality to provide a living, bath and sleeping place. The office was designed with a built in book case and desk. All light fixtures utilize LED bulbs which are a combination of warm light for general lighting and cool light for task lighting. The cupola provides passive ventilation through remote operable awnings. The spiral staircase provided for space saving functionality while serving a valuable role of intriguing design. Mini HVAC ceiling cassettes downstairs and a wall unit upstairs ensure maximum comfort and a beautiful outdoor fireplace bridging the gap between the house and the addition all come together to result in a stunning and wining addition.

Awarded a Green Project Recognition




Green Building Three

3. WINDOWS AND DOORS – Opening in the exterior envelope are the big holes that need to be addressed thru the use of well made quality fillers. Most upper end window manufacturers have made great strides in providing a standardized system by which to judge windows and how they will perform under different conditions. The National Fenestration Rating Council was born of this desire to quantify windows and doors and has been instrumental in bringing the industry up across the board. These fillers work with the sealing of the Building Envelope to create that energy efficient bubble that we are trying to achieve.

4. HVAC – Heat, Ventilation, and Cooling. Which of these is the most important? In a well designed and executed home design they are all equally important. Ventilation may carry the most weight but is often the most neglected. As a home efficiency expert once told me he likes to be able to point to a vent and be able to know that his home leaks right there! By leak he means he knows where unconditioned air enters and/or leaves the home. Because he knows where that is he can condition it by either heating or cooling it as it enters the building envelope. This is generally achieved by using a heat or air-to-air exchanger which draws warm moist air from the bathroom and kitchen areas, thus helping to control latent moisture in the home and depositing this conditioned air into the supply side of the air conditioning system. This in turn allows your air conditioning system to work more efficiently because the air it is conditioning is already partly conditioned. And to continue on that theme, having the air handler in a conditioned space such as the crawl space or a mechanical room inside the home moves this equipment into the building envelope and helps the system work easier and better for its lifetime.

Builders who practice these several items will have HVAC contractors and other Trade Contractors who have bought into the practice of creating an energy efficient home. We built homes that the second floor required that a ½ ton air handler was all that was required to heat and cool the space. Of course a one ton unit was used because we could not get one that small! This is where the real payoff began. The cost of 2-3 tones of heat and air equipment was moved into the sealing of the building envelope which generally created a minimal if any cost at all to the homeowner. Instant payback! Whereas the windows may be a big cost up front these help the building envelope and therefore the energy efficiency and ultimately the cost to heat and cool your home on a monthly basis. There are many documented cases of 3000 square foot homes costing as little as $35 to heat and cool without resorting to drastic building techniques.

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Placing an addition on your home can be a daunting task.  What spaces do I need to create?  Are my existing spaces not suitable for today’s styles?  Would a future buyer be more likely to purchase this home if we added this…?  Can we even put the rooms we want off this area of our home?

Start Here…

Design your own home…

Have a plan that works for your family and life…

Why use someone else’s idea of how you live…?

Your needs are unique and considerate…

What do you need?

Play Space?

Storage space?

Utility space?

Family entry?

Home office?

Home theater?


Great views?

What do you think?

Let’s start with your ideas and build a house that your family makes a home.

Having a builder move into your home for several months is the number one consideration when doing a remodel or addition to your home.  I believe that this item is even greater than the price of the addition.  You will be living with this person and their trade contractors for a long time.  If you are comfortable with them and their style then the process will be much smoother and easier.  Everyone though, does reach the breaking point where they just want it all done.  But you need to look at it like a long car ride, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” and when you get to the end you say, “Well that wasn’t so bad!”  Enjoy the journey because it will make for a more comfortable home that fits your needs in the end and enhances your quality of life.  Isn’t this why we started this process anyway?

As far as the spaces to create and the areas to remodel you are making choices based on homes you have seen that have been built recently. Some of the ideas that are incorporated into new construction are spaces that you would like to create and enjoy.  You have not thought of adding on a Pool room for nothing more than a Pool table but rather looked at the rooms you have and thought that there is a way to expand upon this and not recreate the home.  Many people are adding on specifically because of where they live and the outrageous costs associated with moving to a new home with these amenities.  Most recently in Richmond and I’m sure other markets the cost of land his risen so dramatically that the costs of the house is out of whack with the space you would gain by adding onto your home.  I have heard many times that the cost associated with my addition would not get me anywhere near the some square footage I will have if I went and bought new.

Taking the time to get you where you are comfortable with an addition and filling your needs are all part of this process.  Very few people ask to have an addition designed and have answered every question or thought every thought when we first sit down.  Many thoughts and ideas will come up during the process and your builder will even have a hand in this process.

Having some professional advice about how the spaces are to be added and available yard for this addition are the first two items that need to be addressed before we can move forward with completing the design for a new addition to your home.  C. L. Shade Drafting strives to guide you in the best possible use of the space you want to create and make sure that this can be added to your home.

Thanks for reading.

I look forward to hearing from you…

Green Building Two

I have had two clients recently, two in the last 10 years to ask for Green or Energy Efficient qualities incorporated into their home design. This started me thinking about when I became involved in GreenBuilding. A builder that I worked for started me on this path in 1998 when this movement was in its infancy in Virginia. We had a client who worked for Virginia Power who was looking for Energy Efficient design that Virginia Power was pushing. At the time Virginia Power was looking for ways to increase the use of heat pumps and therefore power but underneath that they were creating better more sustainable homes. From my involvement then and through continued involvement over the past decade I have come to believe that there are a few simple things that can be done to provide superior energy efficiency that will pay for itself in a limited time frame:

1. CONDITIONED CRAWL SPACE – Conditioning the crawl space does several things that are beneficial to the home. Moisture control is probably the top item. Homes are starting to be built tighter but controlling moisture is not generally considered in the building code or by the builder. As humans we create and transport quite a lot of latent moisture into our homes. We need to be able to control this and having a conditioned crawl helps in that the moisture from external sources has one less path to enter the home.

2. BUILDING ENVELOPE – The crawl space is a part of this but equally important is how the walls perform. There are methods to create a wall of windows that is more energy efficient that a solid wall but very few of us live in glass houses. Air-sealing the building envelop thru the use of caulks, foams, and/or blown in batt (cellulose) or icynene (expanding foam) insulation will help to stop air infiltration thru the thousand of cracks that are in the framing. Building wraps, such as Tyvek, do much the same thing but should be viewed as a supplement to these other suggestions not as the cure. The building code now requires a building wrap to be placed under the exterior cladding and in my area 15# tar paper is just as effective as the Tyvek or other high end building wrap. The environment in my locality does not support the literature for the use of high end building wraps because we do not get too warm or too cold for too long.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you…

Remodelers and Homeowners weigh in on new EPA regulations

Survey reveals negative small business impact; new exposure to those at risk
A nationwide survey of remodeling contractors by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) reveals a significant increase in the cost of a remodeling project due to current federal regulation.  Regulation that according to survey results, is unwelcome to homeowners who do not have small children living in their home.  And regulation that is certain to negatively impact scores of small remodeling businesses.

Many contractors and homeowners indicated in the recent surveys that the additional cost of EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) rule as it currently stands deters homeowners’ use of lead-safe certified contractors.  And yet, EPA is poised to add more layers to the existing regulation, which is only a year old.

The new regulation will add “lead clearance testing” to renovations in homes built prior to 1978. The testing will add even more costs to a project for homeowners, already resentful of the regulations and extra costs they carry. The new regulation is certain to impact the regulation-compliant small contracting business owners who are unable to stay within already tight remodeling budgets.

“Lead clearance testing only applies to contractors, not to homeowners,” said David Merrick, MCR, UDCR, President of Merrick Design and Build Inc. in Kensington, Maryland.  “Once homeowners discover this loophole, they often choose to do the demolition or project work themselves to save on costs.  Ultimately they risk lead exposure because homeowners are not trained in lead-safe work practices.”

NARI agrees that children and pregnant women must be protected from the dangers of lead poisoning. As an organization it has educated its members on lead safety long before regulation was enacted.  However this latest information points to an alarming trend that 1) could cause more harm to vulnerable populations of children and pregnant women and 2) severely impede the economic recovery of small businesses in the remodeling sector.

The remodeling industry, the bright spot in the housing economy, is one made up predominantly of small businesses.  Modest growth is predicted in years ahead, but the industry faces a new threat to that growth in looming regulations.

In an already delicate economy with consumer confidence and the U.S. economy in flux, homeowners may approach the scenario in several different ways, in order to save money:

  1. Hire a non-compliant, less-skilled handyman or contractor to do the project
  2. Do parts or all of the project themselves (turn DIY)
  3. Reject doing the project altogether

Two of the three scenarios above would put children and pregnant women at risk for lead poisoning, and all three put the industry itself at risk, because the rising cost of hiring lead-certified remodelers is too high for homeowners. The consequence of any of these scenarios would be another downturn for an industry of predominantly small businesses still recovering from the last recession.

The most recent government census reports there are more than 652,000 remodeling businesses in the United States and nearly 85 percent (or 552,191) of those businesses are not registered as a certified firm with the EPA. Additionally, the 99,809 firms that are listed as certified renovator firms will have to go through re-training of the new compliance practices.

America’s housing, which continues to age, is in need of renovation and repair work as homeowners choose to stay put rather than move in an uncertain real estate market.

“Low incomes, unemployment, tight credit, costlier home remodeling, and larger liabilities in the industry are a recipe for disaster,” says Merrick. “We will have hazardous renovation work undertaken by under-skilled workers or homeowners because of regulations that should be reviewed and re-established with reasonable solutions.” – See more at: http://www.nari.org/members/news/article.asp?SECTION_ID=2&ARTICLE_ID=1282&#sthash.slAnotf4.dpuf

Remodelers continue to see increase in business

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) second-quarter Remodeling Business Pulse (RBP) data of current and future remodeling business conditions continues to soar, as quarter-over-quarter increases are seen nearly all sub-components measuring remodeling activity.

Deep into the “remodeling season,” so to speak, remodelers are reporting the highest overall rating on overall business conditions at 6.31, up from 5.97 reported during the first quarter. This rating has steadily increased in the six quarters NARI has been tracking thus far.

“This summer, many companies entered the summer with a backlog of jobs, which is something most haven’t seen in the past few years,” says Tom O’Grady, CR, CKBR, chairman of NARI’s Strategic Planning & Research Committee and president of O’Grady Builders, based in Drexel Hill, Pa. “What’s also positive is that the inquiries and bid requests are still steady, which provides some more market stability for remodelers.”

Growth indicators in the second quarter of 2013 are as follows:
•    Current business conditions up 5.7 percent since last quarter
•    Number of inquiries up 4.7 percent since last quarter
•    Requests for bids up 3.3 percent since last quarter
•    Conversion of bids to jobs up 4.6 percent since last quarter
•    Value of jobs sold is up 5.9 percent since last quarter

This trend is expected to continue, as remodelers predict that three months out, their sales will be as strong as they are now. The No. 1 and 2 reasons for growth continues to be postponement of projects (up 5 percent at 87 percent) and improvement of home prices (up 6 percent to 65 percent), but economic growth has moved into the No. 3 reason for growth, at 49 percent (up 7 percent).

“As consumer confidence has increased, so has the confidence of the remodeling community,” O’Grady says. “It appears that everyone has finally settled into this ‘new normal’ economic picture, and more bids are turning into remodeling projects, and at higher price points.”

Remodelers, although optimistic, remain cautious about the future, with the outlook from three months from now going down 1.3 percent from last quarter.

Other significant contributors to overall activity:
•    Certainty about the future was reported by 47 percent of respondents
•    Low interest rates was reported by 35 percent of respondents (its lowest rating in three quarters)
•    Growth in stock market was reported by 37 percent of respondents

“One of the things we saw from the comments of the second-quarter RBP is that many homes were impacted by disasters in the past three months—from the storms along the East Coast, tornadoes in Oklahoma and the explosion in Texas,” O’Grady says. “Remodelers in those areas are involved in the clean-up, and that’s impacting their businesses.”

To review the research in its entirety, please send your request to marketing@nari.org.

NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor. Members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics with high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

Top 10 steps to prepare for a remodel

In honor of National Home Improvement Month this May, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the 10 most important steps to take before the remodeling project starts.

“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” says NARI National President Art Donnelly, MCR, CKBR, Legacy Builders & Remodelers Corp., based in Mount Sinai, N.Y. “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they protect themselves.”

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

  1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and NARI.org will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.
  2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.
  3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.
  4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.
  5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.
  6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s jobsite. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.
  7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.
  8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.
  9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.
  10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

The first step to hiring a professional is through NARI, whose members are vetted and approved by industry peers to ensure they live up to the professional standards that NARI sets. “NARI members are proud of their affiliation and commitment to professionalism, and it’s a reputation they work hard to protect,” Donnelly says.

Consumers may visit www.NARI.org to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI or call NARI National at (847) 298-9200 and request a free copy of NARI’s brochure, “How to Select a Remodeling Professional.”

Universal design is smart design

Remodeling trends may come and go, but one trend has evolved into an improved design movement focused on increasing accessibility for everyone in the home. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) recognizes universal design projects as proven design solutions for not only aging-in-place, but for families with special needs or anyone who wishes to move about his or her home freely, without barriers.

Russell Long, president of Aloha Home Builders based in Eugene, Ore., is a pioneer of universal design, remodeling his home to fit the accessibility needs of his 16-year-old son who was born with cerebral palsy.

Though Long’s accessibility needs may be greater than others, he always communicates the benefit of universal design to all of his clients. “Most people don’t think about universal design until it’s too late,” he says. “A healthy person can be injured or need to care for a loved one who is aging, and suddenly, your needs have changed,” he says.

Long believes many of the design elements incorporated into his project, which won a 2012 Northwest Regional CotY Award in the Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 category with Universal Design Project Recognition, are convenient and luxurious, as well as functional and wheelchair accessible. For example, the universal design features from his project include:

  • Zero barriers, which mean there are no steps in the home, especially for entryways. All living quarters are on the first floor, with the exception of an upstairs area that was converted into an apartment with the purpose of housing a caregiver at some point.
  • Wide hallways, open living spaces and dual entries in all rooms are common design elements used in wheelchair accessibility. Long’s hallways are more than 5 feet wide, and living spaces are expanded so wheelchairs can move around furniture easily. Also, two entryways in all rooms—including the living room, dining room and kitchen—allows for ample traffic flow throughout the house.
  • Microwaves drawer and/or refrigeration drawers are also common in universal design, but Long says it is also a stylistic feature for those who prefer to showcase beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops rather than the eye-sore of a microwave taking up counter space.
  • Hardwood flooring is superior over carpeting for wheelchair accessibility. Long removed all carpeting on the first floor and installed engineered hardwood flooring throughout the entire floor, only covering certain areas with rugs. The new flooring also allowed for a five zone, energy-efficient radiant heating system throughout the house, which couldn’t have been accomplished with carpeting.
  • Ramped pool entrance is a unique design feature developed by Long to make it easier for his son to be transferred in and out of the pool safely. However, once installed, the ramped entrance doubles as a convenient bench for guests to sit on while they enjoy the pool. 

The key to universal design, according to Long, is to come up with design solutions that address current needs and future needs down the road. “We tried to think of solutions that could easily be added or taken out if we needed them or decided to sell our home one day,” Long says.

He also adds a big misconception of universal design is that it looks institutional. “We research products and designs that blend functionality with beautiful aesthetics of a home, so that it never compromises a client’s style,” Long says.

NARI is the source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor because members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics and observe high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility.

Visit the NARI.org site to get tips on how to hire a remodeling professional and to search for NARI members in your area.

Garages Two

Overhead door sizes and the building code drive the width of your garage. The space required on either side of the door to meet the braced wall panel requirements of the Residential Building Code can drive the overall width of the Garage. It may not be as easy as having a 24’ square garage with two nine foot wide doors; it may need to be wider to accommodate the intent of the code.

There are several ways to meet the intent of the building code and each has their advantages and disadvantages. A particularly tall garage may have to have an engineer provide for the wall bracing. A tall foundation may need to be shortened to make the proscriptive method work thus resulting in a frame wall that is too tall and needs to be reviewed by an engineer. On the other end of this there are ways to work within the building code that can be implemented easily in the field and these are spelled out ad infinitum in the building code but these methods may limit how the Garage can be built. The builder and framing contractor should be aware and follow these methods but if more information or knowledge is needed then the designer should be able to answer the questions or these choices should already have been made during design.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you…

R.Home Nov/Dec 2012 Issue

Page 46 of the Nov/Dec issue of R.Home magazine features the award winning whole house remodel design of C. L. Shade Drafting with Davidson Builders. Check out the photos and the rest of the winners of NARI Central VA’s 2012 CotY Awards.