Inviting Entries – Guidelines for your homes first impression

You had me at hello!
It is scientifically proven that first impressions are lasting. A phenomenon refer to as thin-slicing demonstrates our powerful ability to make rapid decisions based on a narrow window of experience. No matter the size, the entry point is where you and your home will make a first impression. With thoughtful design guidelines, your foyer will make a stunning statement on your behalf.
Communicate Your Style
Create an “ahhh” moment at the point of transition between the great outdoors and your home interior. Ancient Feng Shui principles believe the entry is the gateway for your homes energy.   Use this idea of natural flow to heighten the anticipation for visitors with a well-curated selection that represents your style.

  • Focus on developing a mood that will set the stage for your entire home.
  • Connect to the exterior of your home by repeating an architectural element, color scheme or material.
  • Control the visual “thin-slice” with simplicity as your guide with a few well-chosen features.
  • Think of the entry as an introduction to your home with a story that will unfold room to room.
  • Hint at the level of formality to your lifestyle with the size and detailing of your space.

Consider all angles for Foyer design
Consider every angle
Your entry is experienced from several vantage points. Consider them all when making selections for this space. Start with the exterior approach to your entrance and take in 360 views while standing in the foyer. This space is often in the background of your daily activities.   Reach for an integrated design theme that can be referred to throughout your home.

  • Select an entry door that enhance the character your homes character.
  • Express your style and gain natural light by choosing from the variety of transoms, sidelights and windows.
  • Consider privacy needs during in the initial design process. Size, shape and architectural features can control exposure to the elements and unknown visitors.

Practical Matters in the Foyer and Entry
Practical matters
Comfort features will be greatly appreciated by guests and family. When the entry is reserved for visitors, a more streamline, statement focused on design is possible. However, don’t neglect these basics that are appreciated by everyone.

  • A Chair or bench for struggling with footwear
  • Closet or coat rack
  • A mirror for last minute check ups
  • A chest or console table to hold and store out-the-door items like keys and gloves.
  • Good general lighting with a task light option

Traffic flow directing traffic from foyer through home
Traffic Flow
An Architectural pivot point, the foyer often guides traffic through the home. Directional cues are helpful for guiding visitors and family to the path you would prefer they travel.

  • Increase the size of any openings that you want used more often.
  • Use the same type of flooring to encourage flow into adjacent areas.
  • Change the flooring or wall color to subtly suggest a boundary.
  • Minimize walls or hallways and use open space to establish a visual connection that will encourage everyone to move into that space.

Showcase your foyer and entry style
Showcase Your Style
The entry is an ideal location to showcase your style by displaying art or special collections. This placement allows you to share something special with visitors while the central location lets you appreciate it daily.

  • Build in shelving or niches to keep collectables out of harms way.
  • Use accent lighting to highlight your treasured pieces
  • Keep this area simple and streamline to create a gallery effect that elevates the value of art, area rugs or a statement light fixture.

Multipurpose foyer
Foyer Flexibility
Often various rooms within a home converge at the foyer or entry. The shared open space will facilitate traffic flow as well as create open space that you can transform as needed.

  • Place important pieces, like a baby grand piano, in this area to make a statement within easy view.
  • Free up family activity areas by moving large storage pieces to this transition space.
  • Expand into this space for special events with a beverage bar or dining tables.
  • Enjoy this space for music lessons, dance practice or reading corner.

Use foyer or entry to entice visitors and surprise the with style
Entice and Surprise
Complete your entry area in a way that will entice and surprise everyone including yourself. When all of the elements of this space are carefully selected, your first impression will be memorable.

How to Choose the Best Home Plan

You don’t have to settle for ordinary home plans.  Your home should be customized to fit your personal needs.  The floor plan or layout of the room is a key factor for shaping how you live in your home and how happy you are living there.  We enjoy guiding new homeowners through the process of building their dream home and want to share some of the factors that will help you create the perfect home plan.
Home Plan Floor Plan Lifestyle ConsiderationsLifestyles
This is an all encompassing category that will help you express the general attitude of your home.  It is all about who you are and what your typical day looks like.  In general, think in terms of your desire for a structured or relaxed atmosphere. Consider where you are in your life and the possibilities for the future.  Does this home need to accommodate a single or married person, youthful or mature couple, growing family or empty-nester?  These are all indicators to help you decide on the compatibility of your home to your lifestyle.
Floor plan size considerations for home plans
Size
A home of any size can be fabulous, so asking yourself how much space you use.  Take inventory of your current living conditions and plan ahead for the amount of space your will need to be comfortable in the future.
Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the space you have actually where you need it?
  • What spaces are unused and where can you use more square footage?
  • Do you need more storage or more living space?
  • Will you family be growing?
  • How long do you plan to stay in this home?
  • Is this a weekend retreat or your main residence?
  • Will you need additional living space in the future to possibly care for elderly parents or grandchildren?

Open Floor Plan Great RoomActivities
It is important to know how do you spend your day and accommodate all of your normal activities.  A family with children may have the central focus of a sunny eat-in kitchen while a retired couple may spend a good part of the day in a cozy den with a fireplace.? Questions to ask:

  • Which room is used most often during the most active hours of the day?
  • Do you live a formal or informal lifestyle?
  • Do you entertain often? Will you need space for overnight guests?
  • How many people and pets are living in a home and how active are they?
  • What are the important home activities to make space for, like cooking, working-at-home, relaxing?

staircase squareAdjacency, Traffic Flow & Versatility
This is as important as the size of the rooms. Be aware of how your day progresses, and which rooms need to be near or next to other rooms?  This is referred to as “adjacency” and having your spaces organized with convenient locations will save you time and energy in your day-to-day activities.  The idea of an open vs. closed floor plan will start to form as you decide on the best relationships for your spaces.  Entry points, traffic flow and storage spaces are all key considerations. The location of the storage space must be convenient to its use, serving pieces near the kitchen, coats near the entry, toys near the play space.
Floor Plan Home Plan consideration energy efficiencyEnergy Efficiency
As a builder we are using the most advanced materials and systems.  In addition to this, floor plan design becomes an important part of the equation.  The most active areas during the day should take advantage of natural lighting. This along with the careful placement of windows is referred to as “Daylighting”.  Generous overhangs and abundant windows are just the start to floor plan design that will work with the mechanical systems to enhance the efficiency of your home.
Floor plan Home plan considerations noise cotrolNoise Control
Open spaces are great for the flow of activity, but noise will easily bounce through the room.  If you need quiet zones, build in niche areas with walls or lower ceiling heights to help control the sound.  Add to this the careful selection of materials for sound absorption and the combined effect will give you the alternatives you need for balance.
Home Plans Private Spaces vs. Open PlanPrivate Spaces
How much privacy do you need and where do you need it?  Even an open floor plan needs areas of privacy or intimacy. Analyze your needs in terms of the amount of quiet time you would like in your day and be sure your floor plan provides the space for you to retreat, study or work-at-home.  In addition to this, be sure to consider the views into and out of each room to ensure that you have privacy from neighbors and street traffic.
Floor Plan Home Plan Indoor to OutdoorIndoor Outdoor Living
Your access to the outdoors will be determined by the convenient location of exit points to the leisure areas on you property. This is a major consideration in the placement of your home on the lot.  If you can see your property and the outdoor living spaces from indoors, you are more likely to go out and enjoy them.  Create a natural flow between indoor and outdoor spaces with plentiful doors that open wide for activities like cooking, entertaining or playtime.
Floor Plans Accessible and Aging in PlaceMulti-Generation Friendly, Aging In Place & Accessibility
Building our homes so they are accessible through the normal ups and downs of life is more important than ever.  It’s not just about aging; the occasional injury or health condition can influence your appreciation of design factors like living on one level or easy to reach cabinets and appliances.  Additionally, blended families are becoming more common and empty-nesters are not necessarily downsizing. Our longer and healthier life styles make it wise to add accessible features that will allow us to live independently in the homes we love.
Expert guidance is available to you. As a highly reputable and experienced builder, we encourage you to seek the help you need in making key floor plan decisions as you prepare to build a new home or remodel. We are available to answer any questions you may have and please visit us if you are in the Lake Geneva area!
Lowell Management
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
262 245 9030

Curb Appeal

Gibson_Evening_Front_1_HR
Curb appeal is that “wow factor” that begins with the design of every home.  One of the secrets to our success is the attention we give to details during every phase of design and construction.  We want to share some of those details we consider so you too can elevate your home to neighborhood celebrity status.
You will have them at “hello” with a stunning drive that paves the way to your entry.  The driveway material and configuration should compliment the overall character of your home.  Straight drives support formality while curved hardscaping encourages a relaxed atmosphere.  Pavers, stone and decorative concrete can all elevate an imposing necessity to captivating pathway.
Curb Appeal  Details come into focus Lowell Management Lake Geneva Wisonsing
After that initial Ahhh moment, your homes details will come into focus.  We are especially fond of interesting roof lines that engage the eye.  Doors, windows, and woodworking must all be true to a homes overall style.  While function is a priority, there is no need to ignore good principles of balance and proportion when placing architectural features.  The exterior material selections offer an opportunity to further your stunning impression with a tasteful blends of color and texture.
exerior
The walkway should also support the general style of your home.  The same formality rules apply, along with an additional opportunity to include new statement materials.  Natural stone at this point will create a gentle transition for the eye as it moves from nature to the built environment.

The planted softscaping of shrubbery, lawn and flowers will strengthen that lasting impression.  The layout should help identify the path for visitors and lead them to your entry or entertainment destinations on the property. Plantings can intrigue as they allow the view to slowly unfold or present an instant Ta-DA moment.  Hearty plants are a wise choice near driveways to withstand winter clearing activities.

Features like columns, canopies, and porches all create points of reference and more opportunity to carry through on your homes period style.  Copulas, trellis and window boxes can be added in accordance with modern or traditional architecture.  When canopies or awnings are used to cover windows and doors there can be an energy saving bonus as they buffer sun and wind.

Curb appeal is enhanced at night with the tasteful illumination of architecture and landscape features.  Defining pathways and entry points with lighting is a safe and considerate way to welcome friends.  The added security is a noteworthy benefit for the entire neighborhood.
 
Finally we saved the most adaptable feature of every home for last.  The front door is the personality point to tell the world a little bit about who you are.  It can be a sneak peek at your homes interior style or a charming landmark for neighbors out on an evening stroll.
If you have a difficult time deciding on a door color, try this fun quiz for some guidance.
http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/23794956/list/Houzz-Quiz–What-Color-Should-Your-Front-Door-Be-
 
Here at Lowell we are known for building beautiful homes that make memorable first impressions.   Our key to captivating curb appeal is a consistent vision and we are here to share that expertise with you when you are ready to build or remodel.
 

Architectural Millwork – Details Make the Difference

Details do count; they define a home and speak a subtle language that everyone understands as quality.  The most significant addition is often in the form of millwork.  Molding, casing, beams and wood paneling all play an influential role in the feel of a room.  These are the details that Lowell takes the time to craft specifically for the character and integrity of every home built.

Ceilings are an often missed opportunity to bring warmth and style to a room.  Attention to the space above will bring a room into livable proportions.  The addition of beams can be modern, rustic or refined.  This room uses natural timbers to contrast with the elegant furnishings, increasing the comfort level and working to balance the rooms spacious proportions.
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A stepped ceiling updates the classic tray and increases interest by introducing a variety of heights that can be further defined with inner moldings.  This beautiful detail can be configured to enhance the rooms shape, add a spacious feel create a centering focal point for lighting.
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The coffered ceiling adds even more dimension and introduces an element of geometry to a room.  A coffered layout can be as intricate or simplified as desired, and will be appreciated for its architectural contribution.
kolbe window site ultra studio and transom ult-dhsttran-gbsstair-400
Your windows to the world are an often overlooked opportunity to enhance your homes quality.  Attention to their structure is a must in order to enhance the overall impression of a home.  Artfully arranged muttons will define a homes period styling and further communicate the message of quality.
stairs to powder room
Hallways and stairwells are transitional spaces neglected in too many homes.  Ultimately these spaces are seen more often than any one room.  We like to detail these areas with well crafted wood panels and substantial moldings.  Not only will this attention add to the beauty, it will reduce wear and tear on high traffic areas.
We firmly believe that when planning  construction or remodeling, attention to the architectural details will enhance the value.

The Home Building Process

What to Know Before You Build

What to Know Before You Build


The process of remodeling or building your home is exciting, but can be stressful at times.  Your best strategy is to educate yourself and select a builder with experience and a stellar reputation.  The right builder will guide you through the process seamlessly and run interference before you are even aware of any problems.
A great place to become familiar with the homebuilding process is the  “Current Construction” section of our Portfolio where you will see our daily behind-the-scenes activities.   Here you can follow along as stunning custom homes take shape from the ground up.
Here to illustrate the earlier stages of building, is the stunning home featured in last month blog.
The Design Build Process

The Design Build Process


Having a builder with the patience to walk you through the building process is essential to your peace of mind.  Every design and construction detail must be worked out in advance.  The design process can take six months or more depending on the style and amenities you choose.  There will be multiple meetings between you, your builder, designer, and architect with everyone focused on creating your unique space. Some builders even have a complete team in-house for you.  Creating a stress-free experience for his homeowners is the main reason Scott Lowell assembled his team of experts at Lowell Management.  You can be certain that everyone is pulling together.  Their goal is to listen to homeowners and say yes to as many requests as possible.
Selecting the Perfect Site for Your New Home

Selecting the Perfect Site for Your New Home


What does going home look like to you?  The home site will influence the design of your home.  Equally important, your home’s architecture must be appropriate for the site and surrounding areas.  The right location will validate your investment and provide years of happiness.  An experienced builder will ensure the best combination suitable for your home site and style.  Major considerations when selecting a lot include:

  • Level of activity or seclusion you desired
  • Views from multiple perspectives
  • How the home will be oriented on the lot to maximize natural light and protective barriers
  • Technical considerations such as elevation, slope, soil type, depth of soil, water table, etc.

In addition to the expertise required to evaluate a lot you are considering, Lowell has secured a number of beautiful home sites in the most desirable areas of Lake Geneva.
http://lowellmanagement.com/properties.html

Customizing Your Home

Customizing Your Home


This is the reason you decide to build or remodel. The opportunity to have the exact home you’re dreaming of without compromise.  Every detail, interior to exterior, will be designed just for you. Each nuance will set your home apart from the ordinary.  Your preferences will come into play as your home design evolves.  Major decisions will include:

  • open vs divided spaces
  • flow and adjacency of rooms
  • plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems
  • insulation and energy efficient systems
  • window and door options
  • interior and exterior materials
  • cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures

An experienced builder will guide you through all options and help you evaluate the cost/benefit of each.

Plan Ahead to Minimize Changes


Do your best to include everything you want at the very beginning.  Once construction is underway it may becomes difficult or costly to add to the plan.  An experienced builder will be tuned into all possibilities during the planning stages.  Keep an open mind and you are sure to benefit from a professionals experience.

Budget and Timeline Management


You want a builder with the ability to maintain ongoing open communication with you throughout the process.  A contract detailing cost and possible contingencies will be agreed to by all parties along with a timeline compatible with the size and features of your home.  You want a builder who understands what it takes to deliver your home on time and within budget.   You will play a major role by making selections according to a timeline created to keep construction on schedule.  Lowell maintains long term relationships with the most talented craftsmen and reliable suppliers who work together to avoid and efficiently resolve problems with the least amount of delay.

Exceptional Building Materials


You simply can not find the type of materials and finishes you see in dream homes at a big box home improvement store.  Access to statement making material is a result of continuous research over time.  Many exclusive sources will only work with the most reputable and established builders.      Many specialty products take longer to receive, so professional planning and scheduling is vital to timely availability on site when needed.

Constant Supervision to Ensure Quality


Supervision during the construction of you home is essential to quality.  Building codes and architectural specifications are fundamental to your health, safety and welfare at home.  The permit process and scheduled inspections are calculated into your timeline.  A professional builder respects the codes and will oversee every aspect of construction to make certain your well-being and investment are protected.

Builder Reputation is Everything


The perfect partner for your building or remodeling will have your best interests at heart.  You want to select a builder who develops lasting relationships with customers.  Reading what our customers say is a valuable lesson in the importance of trust and confidence.
http://lowellmanagement.com/testimonials.html
We wish you the best as you explore your options for building a new home or remodeling your space.  Your questions and inquiries are always welcome, please let us know if there is any way we can help.
 

Top 10 New Home Trends

The freshest ideas for your new home or remodeling project are inspired by classics and designed with ease.  Enjoy and be inspired as you create your personal vision of home.

Inviting Open Spaces

Inviting Open Spaces


Architectural features rather than walls define spaces today.   An open feel prevails with rooms radiating from an internal landmark feature like this dramatic stone fireplace.
Indulge in Architecture & Authentic Materials

Indulge in Architecture & Authentic Materials


Classic style with graceful lines emerges as the favorite when enhanced by a selection of authentic materials with integrity.   The time to splurge is during construction so your home has permanence with quality that will last for generations.
Energy Efficient Design & Materials

Energy Efficient Design & Materials


New homes have the advantage of building in the very latest technology with innovations that will maximize energy efficiency.   High performance windows and household systems all contribute to the effective operation of a home. The proper orientation of a home to its site will contribute by taking advantage of natural light and protection from the elements.
Artfully Mixed Elements

Artfully Mixed Elements


Style statements are not born from overly matched materials and finishes in the home.   The most stunning results emerge from a combination of contrasting colors and textures.   Salvaged, reclaimed and recycled materials compliment the newly manufactured to expand your opportunity for a unique look.
Command Center Kitchens

Command Center Kitchens


Not just the heart of the home, the kitchen has become the core of all activity.   The size is not as significant as the layout.   The commonplace island has evolved and now acts as a pivot point for operations as well as a style directive.
Space for Connecting

Space for Connecting


In order to add balance to everyday demands, a cozy gathering place ranks high on the list of “must haves”. Comfortable furniture, technology and entertainment systems complete this haven for families to reconnect.
Spa Luxury at Home

Spa Luxury at Home


The Master Bedroom Suite is becoming even more luxurious as the demand for in home retreats intensifies.   Multiple shower heads, free standing tubs, and dedicated grooming areas all contribute to the spa-like character of these personal sanctuaries.
Stop and Drop Organization

Stop and Drop Organization


Your homes entry points accumulate daily necessities that can evolve into chaos.   Point of use storage will assist in the organization and recovery of on-the-go essentials
Prized Possessions

Prized Possessions


You can take it with you. Homeowners are holding on to significant pieces they love from previous homes.   The beautiful antique doors in this entry were incorporated into their new home along with cherished memories.
Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living


The desire for outdoor living is stronger than ever.  Moving beyond relaxation and entertainment, outdoor kitchens, showers and sleeping spaces are inviting us to spend more time in the fresh air.   Visit last month’s blog post for important considerations when planning your outdoor  space.
 
 
 

Creating Attractive Outdoor Living Spaces

1 exterior deck and windo

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!'”      Robin Williams

Longer days and calmer temperatures signal a return to outdoor living.  Using nature as a backdrop, the open-air space surrounding your home can provide hours of delight and relaxation.  Multiple studies have shown that just looking outdoors will activate the part of the brain related to thoughts of balance and happiness.  Take advantage of natures feel-good with the creation of al fresco spaces that will also enhance the square footage and value of your home.

The most successful outdoor space will be an extension of your homes interior style while blending with the surroundings.  A perfect plan will provide appealing and useful outdoor “rooms” as well as beautiful scenes when you look out the window.

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Where do you start? 

  • Our recommendation is to first make a list of any daily activities that would be pleasurable if moved outdoors.  Often relaxation tops the list, with entertainment, cooking and play space following closely.from website 20180008
  • Take inventory of your property and the available options to create outdoor rooms.  Consider exposure to the elements, the direction of sunlight and your desire for privacy vs. neighborhood interaction.  This will guide the placement of your outdoor living space to the front, side or back yard of your home.

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  • Next evaluate your floor plan and the most logical points for moving from indoors out.  The more convenient this transition, the more you will use your outdoor areas.  When building or remodeling, we like to feature specialty Nano (folding) or French Doors to visually diminish the indoor/outdoor line and encourage fluid movement.

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  • An informal sketch of your property showing home placement will allow you to designate logical active and calm areas.  Allow for entertaining and family fun as well quiet activities like reading, napping and gardening.

700 S. Shore Pool

  • Consider ways to lengthen the time you can enjoy spring and summer months by including the protection of a covered porch or three season room.

porch

  • Connect your outdoor living areas with landscaping, walkways and privacy screening than integrates the outdoor space with the overall architecture of your home.

1 sunroom two

  • Finally, remember that there are experts,  like those at Lowell Management,  with the expertise and ability to guide you in the planning and execution of your new home and remodeling projects.