Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bonin Architects Hires Architectural Designer / Landscape Architect


NEW LONDON, NH – The architectural firm of Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC, New London is pleased to announce the hiring of Architectural Designer / Landscape Architect Gregory Rusnica, of Newbury, New Hampshire.

Greg graduated sum cum laude from the University of Rhode Island with his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture in 2005.  After graduating, he joined a Rhode Island architectural firm where he worked on residential design projects, the I-195 relocation project, urban planning, transportation planning, and streetscape, park and waterfront design.  Greg has also worked on many Lake Sunapee properties relating to wetland planning and permitting in compliance with the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act.


Greg has a well rounded knowledge of architectural and landscape science and practice and takes a sustainable design approach to every project. He is comfortable working independently and with the team in every phase of design and construction.


Greg lives in Newbury with his girlfriend, Pam, and his German shorthaired pointer, Wellington.  He is an avid snowboarder and also likes hiking, kayaking, gardening, and cooking. He enjoys New England history and following the progress on environmental protection and preservation.


About Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC:
Bonin Architects & Associates creates innovative, energy efficient home designs and specializes in green, energy efficient homes incorporating recycled and energy efficient building materials and sustainable (green) energy practices.  Construction Administration is offered as a separate service and includes working with clients to determine budget requirements, material choices and product specifications for quotes, and working with the contractor throughout the construction process.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CNN Money Reports Home Building Spikes Higher

CNN reports this morning that home building has spiked to its strongest level in almost two years.  Contributing factors are record-low mortgage rates and a surge in construction of apartments and condominiums.


Housing starts shot up to an annual rate of 685,000 in the month, up 9.3% from October and 24.3% higher than a year earlier. Building activity easily topped predictions of 627,000 starts economists surveyed by Briefing.com were expecting.

Building permits, a closely-watched reading that is less affected by weather than actual starts, also shot up, rising 5.7% from October and 20.7% from the year before to 681,000 homes annually.

"By historical standards, homebuilding activity is still very depressed, but at least it appears to be on an established upward trend," said Paul Diggle, property economist at Capital Economics.

Read the full article here.

New Hampshire home building activity has increased, too, as Bonin Architects & Associates have noticed in the Lake Sunapee area.  Many homeowners are getting a head start on the spring building season by starting the home design of their cottage remodel and cabins with Bonin Architects over the winter months. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Popular Home Features in 2015


The NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy surveyed over 3,000 builders, designers, architects, manufacturers, and housing marketing specialists to forecast the characteristics of the average single-family detached home in 2015.


Can you guess the results?  Take this quiz and see how well you do (answers posted at the bottom).

1.       Size:  The average new single-family home will be:
a.       Larger, between 2800 and 3000 square feet
b.      Stay the same (2496 square feet)
c.       Smaller between 2000 and 2,400 square feet


2.                                                        will be a top priority in a home built in 2015.
a.       Landscaping
b.      Technology
c.       Appliances


3.       New home will have more green features, low-E windows, engineered wood products, and:
a.       Use water efficiently
b.      Solar energy
c.       Radiant heat

4.    True or False:     Two-car garages remain high on homeowners’ priority lists.

5.    True or False:     The formal living room will be either combined with another room or completely disappear.

6.   True or False:      First-floor master bedrooms with walk-in closets will be a priority.

How did you do?  BoninArchitects has various architectural services to help you design, build, or remodel a home that fits your priorities – now, in 2011 or in the future.  Call or stop by to set up a free consultation!

Answers:  1.c;  2.b;  3.a.;  4.True;  5.True;  6.True.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Home Energy Credits Still Available for 2011


IRS Tax Tips:

There is still time this year to make energy-saving and green-energy home improvements and qualify for either of two home energy credits.


The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit is aimed at homeowners installing energy efficient improvements such as insulation, new windows and furnaces. The credit is more limited than in the past years, but can still provide substantial tax savings.

• The 2011 credit rate is 10 percent of the cost of qualified energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency improvements include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors and certain roofs. The cost of installing these items does not count.

• The credit can also be claimed for the cost of residential energy property, including labor costs for installation. Residential energy property includes certain high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass fuel.

• The credit has a lifetime limit of $500, of which only $200 may be used for windows. If the total of nonbusiness energy property credits taken in prior years since 2005 is more than $500, the credit may not be claimed in 2011.

• Qualifying improvements must be placed into service to the taxpayer’s principal residence located in the United States before January 1, 2012.

Homeowners going green should also check out the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, designed to spur investment in alternative energy equipment.

• The credit equals 30 percent of what a homeowner spends on qualifying property such as solar electric systems, solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and fuel cell property.

• No cap exists on the amount of credit available except for fuel cell property.

• Generally, labor costs are included when figuring this credit.

Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify for these tax credits, so homeowners should check the manufacturer’s tax credit certification statement before they purchase. Taxpayers can normally rely on this certification statement which can usually be found on the manufacturer’s website or with the product packaging.
 
Eligible homeowners can claim both of these credits on Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits. Read more at www.irs.gov.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Start Your Home Design


Thinking of building a new home?  Here are some tips for getting your ideas together for your home design. 
  • Find and purchase your land
  • Start documenting your ideas to present to Bonin Architects

Why is it important to purchase your land before you start getting too far in the process of the home design?  The land will undoubtedly have an impact on the design of the home:  its footprint, number of stories, whether or not you can have a walkout basement, orientation, etc.  Once you have your land, Bonin Architects will visit the property with you to help site the home within the town Planning Board regulations and the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act guidelines.

Then it’s time to start gathering your ideas for your new home.  General requirements such as the use of the home (primary residence, vacation, or retirement home), the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location of your Master Bedroom, the use of outdoor space, and having an eat-in kitchen or separate dining room are some things to start thinking about. 

Bonin Architects will work with you during the Schematic Design Phase of the home design to develop the size, footprint and layout of the home.  In this phase you will also address any specialty features, rooms, and other priorities you have for the home, including a home theater, office and/or media room, craft room, sun room, porches, decks and basement use.  Use your current home as a comparison for what you like and what you do not like about each room, space, and its use.

Working with Bonin Architects for your home design will result in having much more than a home with a standard floor plan – together, we will create a custom home design that matches your philosophy and lifestyle, a reflection of who you are, how you live.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Design Your Home Before You Find Property?

Once you decide to build a home, it’s hard not to think about it.  There are many design elements to consider, and your architect will guide you through the decision-making process.  Some of these you can decide on before you find the perfect piece of property; however, there are some decisions that will be influenced by the characteristics of your land.

Design elements to think about before you find property:
  • Specialty rooms for hobbies or activities;
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms you will need;
  • Storage space requirements;
  • Design details such as a gas fireplace vs. wood;
  • The theme of your interior design (colors, light, textures)

Wait until you find your land to determine these design fundamentals:
  • The home’s size and number of stories:  site or local restrictions may limit the size, height, or even the placement of the home on your property;
  • Type of foundation:  the type of foundation system you choose may be dependent upon local or state codes, the lot size, slope, and soil type;
  • Walkout basement:  a sloping lot can allow for a walk-out basement, providing more usable square footage for recreation areas or additional guest bedrooms.

If you’re excited to get started on planning your home design, we suggest you create a binder of clippings and samples you are collecting.  Include design elements and details you do not like: sometimes these are more valuable to your architect than features that you do like.

Ready to get started?  Call or stop by to schedule a free site visit!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Thermostat that “Learns”?


Some of us are frustrated at the changing of the seasons – not because it's time to bring out the sweaters and coats, but because we have to find the directions on how to reprogram the thermostat! 

Nest  | The Learning Thermostat
The new Nest Learning Thermostat might be the answer. Developed former Apple executives Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, the Nest is said to be user-friendly with updateable software and nominal installation requirements.  Best of all, the Nest is easy to operate:  simply turn the dial to set the temperature as each day progresses on the screen.  After a week the Nest has stored and “learned” the data to keep replicating the first week’s settings.  Better yet, it has a motion sensor that can detect when the house is unoccupied, called Auto-Away™.  Auto-Away turns heating and cooling down automatically when no one is home, saving energy for you when no one is home.

Want to know if you’re saving energy?  It’s simple:  look for the Nest Leaf on the screen.  

The Nest is a great way to see if you're saving energy every day.  Whether you're putting it in your primary residence or vacation home, Bonin Architects gives the Nest a thumbs up!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bonin Named 2011 BNI Member of the Year


For the second year in a row, Kimberly Bonin was voted Member of the Year of the Lake Sunapee Region Chapter BNI (Business Networking International).

Kimberly Bonin, Mike Roberts,and  Carol Williams

Over 200 members from BNI Chapters throughout New Hampshire attended the awards dinner October 6th at the Castleton in Windham, New Hampshire where Mike Roberts, BNI New Hampshire Executive Director, presented Kim with her award.  The Member of the Year Award recognizes a BNI member for their exceptional leadership skills, attitude, attendance, quality of referrals, and contribution to the growth of the chapter.

Receiving the BNI Chapter’s “Givers Gain” award was Carol Williams of Efficiency Productivity Systems (EPS), which recognizes a member who excels in giving business referrals and other forms of direct support to their fellow BNI members without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Upper Valley Home Improvement Guide

Did you see the article on Bonin Architect's lakefront cottage project makeover in the Upper Valley Home Improvement Guide?

This great cottage has won several design build awards, including a Merit Award and the People's Choice Award from the 2011 AIANH Excellence in Architecture Awards!

The homeowners were involved from conception to completion, reusing every bit of material they could in the cottage renovation.

Missed that issue?  Read all about this cottage on our website at http://www.boninarchitects.com/en/selected-projects/selected-projects/83-portfolio/selected-projects/119-le-petite-pointe-cottage.html.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Renovation Architecture


We had the opportunity to complete a home renovation design for a 1970’s lake cottage with the intent of using it as a primary residence.



Whole House Renovation
Old-style wood paneling was replaced with attractive wainscoting to lighten the space.  Carpeting was ripped up, and the existing wood floors were refinished, and windows and doors were replaced with energy efficient modern units.  Beams and T&G decking on the ceiling were kept exposed and refinished.  



The architects redesigned the small kitchen from a galley-style to U-shaped to create a spacious workspace and maximize the limited space.  A large island placed between the kitchen and the dining area provides working space to the kitchen while providing an informal seating area for breakfast or tea.


Side-by-side sliding doors were replaced with Eagle French doors, and glazing above the doors was changed to half rounds instead of triangular to create a modern look.


A custom wet bar by Vermont Custom Cabinetry is handy for entertaining and providing a nice transition between the dining and living rooms.



Friday, August 19, 2011

Three Reasons to Use an Architect


Thinking of building or remodeling?  Consider using an architect.  Why?

Reason #1: Architects save money.
 
An architect's services are a wise investment because a well-conceived and designed project can be built more efficiently and economically.  As ideas evolve, changes can be made on a computer screen or paper much less expensively than when construction is under way.  Other ways architect-designed projects save money include:

Designs that take full advantage of solar heat and natural lighting to save on energy needs.
               
Flexible design solutions that accommodate future growth and usage needs.

Accurate construction costs based on detailed drawings and specifications that result in quality materials and workmanship at a fair market price.

Materials, finishes, and design solutions that reduce maintenance and replacement costs.

Homes that sell faster and increase in value at resale. 



Reason #2: Architects solve problems.

The architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience, and vision to guide the design and construction process.  This broad knowledge helps architects focus individual home owners' needs to maximize their investment in livable square footage on time and within budget. 
Architects stay abreast of advances in roofing, brickwork, floor tile, paint finishes, and other building materials to ensure a smooth and cost-effective building process.



Reason #3: Architects see the big picture.

Few people realize how complicated it is to build until they find themselves lost in a maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, and contractors.  Architects don't just design four walls and a roof; they create total environments, interiors and exteriors that satisfy specific needs and functions.  If a project requires engineering or other construction services, an architect can coordinate the team of experts.

An architect sorts out complex building codes and zoning laws and can locate qualified contractors, visiting the construction site to ensure that the project is built according to plans and specifications.

Source:  www.aia.org

Friday, July 29, 2011

NAHB Predicts New Homes in 2015

We may not know how many new homes will be built in 2015, but we do know what they will look like.  The National Home Builders Association’s Economics and Housing Policy recently asked 3,019 builders, designers, architects, manufacturers and marketing specialists in various locations to describe the  likely characteristics of the average, new single-family detached home in 2015.

The findings have some surprising, and not-so-surprising, results:
  • The average new single-family home will be smaller, between 2000 square feet and 2,399 square feet
  • Needs will outweigh wants in terms of size and features
  • Universal design will be a key architectural design consideration for new homes
  • Energy efficiency is one of the top goals for newly constructed homes, and new homes will have more green features, like low-E windows, engineered wood products, and make efficient use of water
  • Technology will be a top priority in a home built in 2015
  • Landscaping and outdoor living space will receive more attention as homeowners will utilize their outdoor space more
  • 2-car garages remain high on the list


Specific room priorities:
  • The formal living room will either be combined with another room in the house, like the music room or library, or completely disappear
  • Kitchens will feature a double sink, recessed lighting, and table space or a breakfast bar for eating
  • First-floor master bedrooms with walk-in closets will be a priority


Least-likely features of the 2015 home?
  •     Two master bedroom suites
  •     Sunrooms
  •     Hobby rooms
  •     Formal living rooms
 Read the rest of the survey  

Whether you’re building or remodeling a home in 2011, 2015, or anytime in between, Bonin Architects has various architectural services to help you design, build, or remodel a home that fits your priorities.   We’re located on Main Street in New London, NH.  Call or stop by to set up a free consultation!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Community Outreach: We Build it Forward Update

On June 25, 2011, teams of community members and local businesses met at R.P. Johnson & Son's Andover NH location to kick off a day of giving back, We Build It Forward. Ten projects in seven communities in the Andover – Sunapee area were completed in a day, including fundraisers and yard cleanups, fixing park shelters and painting an entire house.

Team Bonin Architects designed and built a community bulletin board at the Andover transfer station - even some of our clients pitched in!!  Other projects included replacing the roof on a mobile home in Sunapee, NH, building a handicap ramp, installing 2 storm doors and doing a yard cleanup in Sutton Mills, cleaning up Wadleigh State Park in North Sutton, remodeling a bathroom, painting and repairing a picket fence at East Andover Preschool, replacing a bulkhead basement door in Andover, and building a 60 foot Allan Block retaining wall.






The Kearsarge Chronicle was on hand to interview volunteers and beneficiaries of this terrific program.  Watch their interview and mark your calendar to become a volunteer at next year’s We Build It Forward!










Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NH Architects Interviewed About Cottage Renovation

Country Almanac’s Small Room Decorating, a national magazine designed to help homeowners maximize the living space in their small home or cottage, loved the 400 square foot cottage renovation recently completed by Bonin Architects and Associates in New London, NH.

The cottage renovation project had two primary goals: creating an open, efficient space that looks and feels larger than it really is and reusing as much as the original building material as possible.

 
The result is an efficient use of space, with a new cathedral ceiling and sleeping loft created when the original ceiling was removed.  Apartment-sized appliances maximize space in the kitchen.
  


Creative storage space was addressed with shelves, cubbies, benches, and hooks.







Friday, June 24, 2011

R.P. Johnson & Son has called for community support and New Hampshire has answered

PRWEB.COM Newswire


Andover, NH (PRWEB) June 24, 2011
Seeing the rush of volunteers, sponsors and donated materials show up, at 8am on Saturday June 25th at R.P. Johnson and Son in Andover, NH for the We Build it Forward Outreach event will be a powerful testament to the unity and giving nature of this NH community, but no more than the outpouring of support they have already seen from area businesses and citizens in the form of thousands in event sponsorships and material donations and dozens and dozens of volunteers. Notable team leaders include special support from Bonin Architects of New London. Sponsors who went well over the call of duty include: Marvin Windows and Doors, A.W. Hastings, Co, Inc., Old Hampshire Designs and The Lions Club of Sunapee.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/346662#ixzz1QDYYluw9

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bonin Architects Hires Summer Architectural Intern

Intern Architect joins NH Architect Bonin Architects & Associates, New London


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEW LONDON, NH – The architectural firm of Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC, New London announces the hiring of Christopher Presutti, of Webster, New Hampshire as an Intern Architect for the summer.

Presutti, an architectural student at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, will start his third year in the Bachelor of Science degree program in Architecture this fall.  He is an honorary brother and co-head of the alumni committee of Phi Sigma Pi, a National Honors Fraternity based on the three ideals of Scholarship, Fellowship, and Leadership. 

Christopher was selected for his impressive portfolio, outstanding scholastic record, and overall experience in the work environment.  Principal Architect Jeremy Bonin explains, “We’re very happy to have Chris join the Bonin team this summer – and personally, I’m excited to have an intern from my alma mater.  He is very talented and brings outstanding communication and artistic ability to the position.”

About Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC: 
Bonin Architects & Associates creates innovative, energy efficient home designs and specializes in green, energy efficient homes incorporating recycled and energy efficient building materials and sustainable (green) energy practices.  Offered as a separate service, Construction Administration includes working with clients to determine budget requirements, material choices and product specifications for quotes, and working with the contractor throughout the construction process.

Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC
209 Main Street, PO Box 2571
New London, NH 03257
603-526-6200
www.boninarchitects.com

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lake Sunapee Area Community Event - "We Build It Forward"

ONE DAY. ONE COMMUNITY. ONE CHALLENGE. 
A powerful day of giving and serving Others

Bonin Architects is proud to be a Team Leader in our local 2011 We Build It Forward campaign.  Spearheaded by R.P. Johnson & Son, We Build it Forward is a way for everyone in the community to help out their neighbors in need.  

On Saturday, June 25, 2011, Bonin Architects will join hundreds of individuals who will take part in serving others.  

Have you been inspired by someone who made a difference in your life?  It could have been an act large or small where someone went out of their way to help you with a problem, situation, or was just there when you needed them.  Now is your opportunity to “pay it forward” and help someone else!  From painting or yard clean-up to fundraisers that help feed the hungry or build homes, you can be involved by signing up at the We Build It Forward website.  You can either join the Bonin Architects team or build a team with some of your friends and colleagues.  

We need your help!  This is what you can do:
First:  Ask yourself who you can help - write it down
Second:  Decide how you want to help! – write it down
Third:  Sign up online or call us and say YES! I know how I can help!

Need Some Ideas?
  • Plan a fundraiser dinner and sell tickets at the door
  • Choose a community member in need of a deck or home repair of some kind
  • Choose an area of town that needs a clean up
  • Find a youth or recreational organization that needs a new structure
  • Stage a bake sale, clothes drive, food drive
  • Fix a door
  • Replace an electrical box
  • Clean up a public place
  • Repair a fence
  • Paint a house
  • Repair a window
  • Donate bikes to needy kids
  • Bring meals to seniors who need a home cooked meal
  • Offer to play music and entertain all these wonderful, giving people
  • Make a donation of materials or dollars toward materials

The event will serve the R.P. Johnson & Son service area and will commence at the Rte. 11 Andover, NH location.

Say YES to join us!  Sign up at WeBuildItForward.com today!  You’ll be helping your neighbors and having a great time!
  
Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC, 209 Main Street, New London, NH.  For more information call or email us!  603-526-6200, info@boninarchitects.com

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Progress on Lake Sunapee Custom Home

Progress is ongoing on our custom home being built on Lake Sunapee!  The crew has worked through good and bad weather in order to hit a target finish date of July 1st.  Check back for more construction photos and product descriptions!


Kitchen cabinets being laid out

Crown molding


Custom stair

French doors leading to balcony

Lake elevation

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bonin Architects wins again!

Bonin Architects was presented with a Bronze award at the Annual Cornerstone Awards sponsored by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of New Hampshire’s (HBRANH) Sales & Marketing Council for our cottage renovation project on Pleasant Lake in New London, NH.

The awards ceremony was held at the Center of NH / Radisson Hotel in Manchester.  Over 103 awards in 51 categories were presented.  For more information on the awards and a full list of the winners, visit the association’s website or their Facebook page.

Below are a few photos of our winning home design.  For a complete description of the project, visit Bonin Architects’ website.







Monday, March 28, 2011

Remodeling Vs. Moving

Remodeling your current home may be a better option for you than finding a new home that fits your needs.  Yes, there are plenty of homes on the market, but consider these reasons why many are improving your existing home rather than thinking of packing up and relocating (according to the National Home Builders Association):

  • Remodeling allows you to customize your home to meet your needs and desires. The only similar, but much more costly alternative, is to design a new custom home and have it built to your specifications.
  • Remodeling means that you don't have to give up a familiar neighborhood and schools.
  • Remodeling is a more efficient use of your financial resources. According to the American Homeowner Foundation, selling your home and moving typically costs about 8-10% of the value of your current home. And much of this goes into moving expenses, closing costs, and broker commissions - items that have no direct impact on your home's quality.
  • Remodeling can be stressful, but few experiences are more stressful than moving.

While your home may have fit your living requirements over the years, remodeling it will make your home a more enjoyable place to live while adding resale value.  While remodeling may improve the resale value, though, remodeling projects vary greatly as far as investment vs. value.  According to the NAHB, “the general rule of thumb is that any remodeling project that brings your home up to the level of your neighbors' is a worthy investment. But it doesn't pay to be the most expensive house on the block - real estate experts recommend that a remodeling investment should not raise the value of your house to more than 10-15% above the median sales price in your neighborhood.”

Remodeling can all you to live comfortably for several more years in your home while you wait for the market to recover fully in your area.  Remember, though, that when you do sell, potential buyers will be comparing your home to newer homes.  The solution?  If possible, says the NAHB, you should look at the current design trends for new homes and incorporate popular features like “great rooms (open kitchen/family room arrangements), master bed and bath suites, and higher ceilings”.

Also, suggests the NAHB, read Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” annual report, which assesses which projects give homeowners the greatest return on investment.  You can’t go wrong updating your kitchen and bathrooms, as these are the first things potential buyers consider in buying a new home.

Our tip?  Hire an architect for your home renovation project.  Read another blog on why it's beneficial at http://timberframeblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/home-renovations-hire-architect.html.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Skiing at its BEST! NH Ski Up

Join us at the 2nd annual NH Ski Up on Saturday, March 19, 2011 for great skiing, snowboarding, networking, tailgating, and a BBQ!

Saturday, March 19, 2011
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Skiing, Snowboarding, Networking, Tailgating & BBQ

$45 per person includes full day lift ticket and BBQ on the "beach" at Mt. Sunapee State Park.  If you are a season's pass holder at Mt. Sunapee, or want to go and not ski, the BBQ is FREE!

Tickets are limited!  Register at http://nhskiup1.eventbrite.com/
Want more information and pictures?  Visit these sites:
http://www.facebook.com/NHSkiUp
http://www.sunapeeregionblog.com/2011/02/the-2nd-annual-nh-ski-up-at-sunapee-is-here/

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NAHB: Ten Tips to Sell Your Home


Photo courtesy of NAHB
Are you building a new home but need to wait until you sell your current home?  If so, you’re not alone.  Here are ten tips to selling your home, provided by the National Association of Home Builders:

You may think your house is perfect just the way it is, but a prospective buyer may not see it that way. To give your home "curb appeal" and make it more attractive to buyers, there are some tasks you should see to before you place that "For Sale" sign in your front yard.

Many of these suggestions are simple, common-sense items; others will require some time and investment. But you'll reap the rewards when a buyer walks into your house and exclaims, "This is the home I've been waiting for!"

1.   If your home needs to be painted, this is the time to do it. The interior paint job should be fresh and clean and in a single, neutral color throughout. This is not the time to experiment with lilac walls in the bedroom. The same goes for the exterior. Don't forget shutters and windows. If your home has vinyl or aluminum siding, be sure it's clean. Moldy, dirty siding will tell a buyer that your home has not been taken care of properly.

2.   The green shag carpeting still gracing your floors should be replaced. Old, matted carpeting will be a detriment to your home selling. Real estate agents all have a dozen stories of a home that sat and sat on the market until the old carpeting was replaced. Then, it sold immediately. If you have hardwood floors under old carpet, tear up the carpet to expose them; today's buyers love hardwood floors.

3.   Make a list of all those little repairs you've let go. Then fix each one. The hole in the screen, the loose doorknob, the doorbell that doesn't work and the leaky faucet must all be repaired before buyers start looking at your home.

4.   If your home's appliances, like the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator and washer and dryer, are old and outdated, it could pay to replace them. Buyers do not want to be faced with the possibility of having to replace appliances upon moving in to a new house. Shiny, new appliances already in place will be a big selling point.

5.   Clear your house of clutter and debris. Get rid of piles of old newspapers and magazines, the old clothes that don't fit, the closet full of small appliances that don't work, dust-filled collections of knickknacks, etc.  Clean, open spaces make your home look bigger to prospective buyers.


When you are ready to start thinking about building your new home, the first step is to hire an architectBonin Architects is licensed in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York (inquire as to other states).  We're happy to talk to you about budgeting and costs, green building materials, and sustainable home design!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remodeling Your Home

It really pays off to use an architect to design your home remodel.   This design is for one of our clients renovating their home that was damaged by fire.  


The fire damaged one wing on the house, so we are replacing it with a new two-story addition.  The addition is designed to closely match the existing house while taking advantage of the opportunity to make updates to the floor plan.




The ground floor has an open kitchen and generous pantry, as well as a breakfast nook overlooking a three season porch.  A new two-story tower will conveniently house a stairway to the second floor Master Bedroom and a sitting area above the porch below.

Are you planning a home remodel?  Here are some topics Bonin Architects will discuss with you:

Spatial changes / additions
Structural improvements and updates for code compliance
System updates (electrical, plumbing, heating)
Insulation and energy savings
Existing site challenges
Permits

We’ll also ask you about any adjustments in living requirements or accessibility issues you may need to accommodate, and discuss at length a list of “green” options you have, including any materials that can be reused or recycled in the project.

Bonin Architects recently won two awards from the American Institute of Architects for a cottage renovation project we completed in New London, NH.  We’d love to design your award-winning home!

See why you should use an architect for your remodeling project at http://timberframeblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/home-renovations-hire-architect.html.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Award Winning NH Lakefront Cottage Renovation

We were pleasantly surprised Saturday night at the AIANH Excellence in Architecture Design Award ceremony when our Lakefront Cottage Renovation project won TWO Awards:  The Merit Award and the People’s Choice Award in Residential Architecture!

Entries were judged on overall design excellence including aesthetics, clarity, creativity, appropriate functionality, sustainability, building performance, and appropriateness with regard to fulfilling the client's program. The entries were also previewed in the January/February 2011 issue of NH Home Magazine.  Winning entries will be featured in a future issue.

Residential Architecture: Lakefront Cottage Renovation
Architect: Jeremy Bonin, Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC
Merit Award and People’s Choice Award, Residential Architecture

Project Description:
Originally one of eleven cabins on “The Point”, the recently subdivided property left this and one other cabin in close proximity to the beautiful beach and lake. Removal of the ‘point’ cabin allowed for a meandering path from renovated cottage to the dock as well as substantially opening the view to the lake from the remaining cabin.


A newly exposed cathedral ceiling is warm and inviting as are the reused and repositioned windows and doors for capturing lakeside views and breezes. Salvaged and refinished from the cottage are framing lumber, T&G boards and floors. Finishes and materials are low or no VOC products and even the woodstove is a found item making a new home in this beautiful location.

With material reuse and minimal site impact as two principal goals throughout the design and renovation process, the resultant cabin provides for three seasons of comfortable lakefront access and family gatherings.

The 2011 jury was comprised of representatives from the State of Maine’s architecture community: James A. Sterling, AIA, Portland; Ellen Belknap, AIA, SMRT Architects, Portland; and Walter Arsenault, AIA, Fraser Matson Architecture & Planning, Falmouth.

Juror Comments: “Understated, simple, cost effective renovation. Excellent use of limited space. Restrained and authentic in use of materials and details. In some ways, this is the most appealing project …. maybe it speaks to the desire for simplicity in all of us.”

 
About The American Institute of Architects
For 150 years, members of The American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. AIA members have access to the right people, knowledge, and tools to create better design, and through such resources and access, they help clients and communities make their visions real. www.aia.org
 
About Jeremy Bonin and Bonin Architects & Associates, PLLC
Jeremy Bonin, a principal partner of Bonin Architects & Associates, is an award-winning architect and the author of TIMBER FRAMES: Designing Your Custom Home.  Jeremy has a special interest in sustainable design and green homes with a specialty in green building and renewable energy systems. 

Bonin Architects & Associates, led by Kimberly Bonin and Jeremy Bonin AIA NCARB LEED AP, located in New London, NH, is a national   architectural firm licensed in New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.  www.boninarchitects.com



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Healthy Home, Healthy Family

There are many things you can do to make your home healthy.  A healthy home translates into better health for your family - as well as the environment.  Here's 10 ways you can make your house healthy, courtesy of the US Environmental Protection Agency:

   1. Clear the air.  Take the smoke-free pledge. Choose not to smoke in your home and do not permit others to do so. Small children are especially vulnerable to the health effects of secondhand smoke. Choose to smoke outside, if you must smoke. Moving to another room or opening a window is not enough to protect your children.

   2. Air quality.  Listen to local forecasts for ozone, smog and particulate matter. When levels are high, limit your outdoor activities.

   3. Rid your house of radon. January is National Radon Action MonthTest the level of radon gas in your home with a radon test kit. If the test result is 4pCi/L or higher, takes steps to reduce radon.

   4. Some household products are toxic. Use with caution! Look for alternatives to pesticides and household chemicals. If you must use them, always read the label and follow directions exactly. Always store them in high locked cabinets and in their original containers.

   5. Check for carbon monoxide.  Check that all potential sources of carbon monoxide, such as space heaters and wood stoves, are well-vented and in proper working order. Never idle the car or lawnmower in the garage, or use propane heaters in tents!

   6. Water, water everywhere.   Know the quality of your drinking water. If you have a private drinking water well, test it periodically.

   7. Get the lead out.  Avoid potential sources of lead. If your home was built before 1978, have your home tested for lead paint. When remodeling or doing home repairs, be careful that you do not create lead dust. Keep children visiting your home away from lead hazards.

   8. Keep mercury from rising.  Limit your intake of specific types of fish with high levels of mercury. Have a mercury-free home-find alternatives to mercury thermometers or mercury used for cultural or spiritual practices.

   9. Too much sun is not much fun. Cover up, use SPF 15 or higher sun screen, and stay out of the midday sun to avoid damaging UV rays. Talk about the weather. Make a plan for temperature extremes-keep food, fluids and clothing stocked for extreme cold or heat, think of public places to go to escape the extreme temperatures, and identify who you can call for help if you need it.

  10. Wash your hands of it.  Keep the dirt outside. Remove shoes at the door. Wash your hands to keep dirt that might be contaminated with lead, and pesticides off you and your kids.