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Practically Perfect: Designing a Practical Kitchen for Your Fairfax County Home

When designing your dream kitchen, what is it you look for most? Is it beauty you’re after? Or functionality?

The good news is, you can have both!

So, how can you make sure that your kitchen renovation is practical while still being aesthetically appealing? Let’s dive in.

In a practical kitchen, there are two basic design rules:

  1. Minimizing unused space
  2. Optimizing the flow of traffic

As long as all your design choices lead back to these two ideas, you’re on the right track.

Maximizing Space in Your Kitchen


There are lots of fun and visually exciting ways to make the most of your valuable kitchen space.

Kitchens are busy places, so you want to use up every bit of square footage you can. Not only will this increase the utility of your room, but it will also eliminate under-developed, awkward-looking gaps in your design.

Your Cabinets

From Pinterest

You may not currently be getting all the use you can out of the space above, below, and inside your cabinets. Boost the function of your cabinets with these space-saving storage solutions:

  • Above the Cabinets: If there is a gap between the top of your cabinetry and the ceiling or you have a soffit that houses your kitchen ductwork, even this humble space can serve a purpose. Use this unusual space to display your decorative serving ware, or store other rarely-used items. You can keep fragile or impractical things up there or integrate your collections of cookbooks, antique glass, or vases into the décor.
  • Upper Cabinets: Use risers to maximize shelf space in your cabinets. Risers are especially useful for taller bottles and containers, so you can still see all your stuff, even when it’s stacked.
  • Lower Cabinets: Install roll-out racks to help keep things in order and use the full depth of your lower cabinets. Organize from back to front. Keep your most-used items at the front, while the things that you use less frequently, like holiday items and specialty equipment, can stay hidden.



Instead of letting your knives clatter around in your drawers, you might consider installing a magnetic knife strip onto your backsplash. This keeps your tools handy, away from busy little hands, and they’ll stay sharper longer.

A miniature stacked shelf or a rotating rack on your countertop is ideal for spices and other frequently-used culinary necessities.

Traffic Flow

Don’t let any inch of kitchen potential go untapped. There are tons of creative ways to use kitchen space, depending on your needs.

Having a good flow of traffic through your kitchen can also keep things running smoothly and efficiently. While working in the kitchen, you should be able to move from one space to another with limited interruption. A good flow of traffic makes it simple to navigate through your kitchen and lets you go about your business without a second thought.

The Kitchen Triangle


One tried-and-true kitchen design concept is the kitchen work triangle. The points of the triangle are the stove, the sink, and the refrigerator. In a practical kitchen, you should be able to move freely between these three points when you cook. A good rule of thumb is that the arms of the triangle should never be less than four feet and never longer than nine feet. Within these dimensions, you should find it easy to switch between tasks without any wasted movement.

Kitchen Work Zones

Having a good understanding of how you and your family use your kitchen, you have the basis for a perfectly practical design. Since most kitchens are a hub of activities for the whole family, it’s important to know what purpose you want that space to serve. Once you have those ideas sketched out, you can divide your kitchen into dedicated zones to support those activities.

Baking Zone


Some ideas might include a baking zone with ample, flat space for rolling out dough. You’ll want to place your baking zone close to the sink and garbage for easy cleanup, and have your utensils, mixing bowls, and tools close at hand.

Beverage Zone


A beverage zone could house a coffee machine, a bar fridge, a hanging rack for glasses or mugs, an espresso machine, and its own sink and cutlery drawer, so thirsty people don’t get in the way of others working in the kitchen.

Seating Area


If you have a large family or entertain a lot, you might want more sitting around a bar top or the kitchen island.

Whatever your vision of a dream kitchen might be, it can be just as beautiful as it is practical. When you’re ready to get started, Foley Homes is ready to help you make it happen. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.

Avoiding Decision-Making Overwhelm During Your Fairfax County Remodel

Remodeling your home can kick up a whirlwind of emotions. It’s exciting and wonderful to create a new space for yourself and your family. It’s creatively fulfilling to make your home your own and have the final say. But on the flip side, it can be stressful: you’re turning your home into a construction zone while trying to manage a remodeling team and balance the budget.

As if that isn’t enough, there are a ton of decisions to be made. Which rooms are we going to renovate? What goes where? Do we spring for new cabinets? Is that the color scheme? Hardwood or tile? It can all be quite overwhelming.

Anxiety and Indecision Are Normal!


It’s ok if you’re dealing with anxiety and indecision. It’s typical – and even common – to feel overwhelmed during a renovation! There are a lot of moving parts, and sometimes it feels like things are out of your control.

Take a deep breath in and out. Let the calm wash over you.

Although your renovation might have a few bumps along the way, we can assure you, it will turn out just fine.

Trust Your Gut Instinct


Don’t expect that your remodel will look exactly like the one you saw in a glossy magazine, on HGTV, or even at the neighbors. No two renovations are completely alike, just as no two homeowner’s tastes are completely alike. 

Do trust that you can make the best decisions for your home. After all, you live there, and you know the wants and needs of your family. And if you’re looking at your half-finished remodel wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into, don’t make a final judgment call just yet. These kinds of projects almost always look better than you’d expect once it’s done. You can’t judge a reno by its halfway point!

Trust Your Contractor


Lastly, have faith in your contractor. They are there to guide you through the process and give you a result you’ll love. Our experienced remodelers know what will or will not look good in your home. After the initial consultation, they will also understand what is possible within the realms of your lifestyle, tastes, and budget.

Ultimately, we want you to be delighted with your final result, and our design-build process makes it easy.

Know What You Like – and What You Don’t


If you’ve been in your home for a while, you likely have a good sense of how you use the space and what needs to change. Even if you don’t have an exact image in your mind about what you want, even a general idea is a fine place to start.

Our designers will work with you to learn more about how you plan to use your space. They want to know what you do and don’t like about the layout, the décor, and the general design. Knowing these details will help us formulate a plan. We use those initial discussions as a starting point, and then we start filling in the details together.

Pre-Construction Meetings


Before we begin construction, there will be a lot of decisions to make. This process can seem like it’s never going to end, but there is a reason we do it. Making these decisions now will alleviate a lot of stress down the line. 

Sorting out the details well ahead of the construction schedule ensures that you’re not panicking and making last-minute decisions.

That said, there’s no rule against changing your mind. We complete the decision-making process well ahead of time, so if you have second thoughts about any details, we will be sure to address it right away, before we start ripping down walls.

Complete Transparency

Matias Delacroix/Getty Images

To finalize the arrangements, our contractors will present you with a spreadsheet that details all of your selections. This list will include things like flooring, lighting, fixtures, hardware, cabinetry, storage, faucets, appliances, paint colors, countertops, and the list goes on.

Even though by this point you may feel that have a pretty good grasp of what’s what, it’s important to see everything laid out together as it helps you visualize the finished product. Plus, it will provide a series of checks and balances for your contractor so they can confirm that you’ve approved all the work that they’re about to do.

So there you have it! Even though a remodel may seem overwhelming, we want you to know that you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out today to speak to us about your ideas. Our design-build team will help you bring your vision to life.

Contemporary Kitchen Design Ideas for Your Fairfax County Home

Contemporary kitchen style has origins in 1940s Europe, its simplicity, clean lines, and monochromatic palette the backdrop for a functional, minimalist approach that emphasizes the efficient use of space.

Whether you are planning a complete remodel or just looking to add some contemporary elements to your kitchen, we’ve put together some essential tips to spark your imagination.

The Contemporary Color Palette

From Pinterest

A contemporary approach tends toward a neutral, monochrome palette. Shades of grey, white, black, and greige are most common, although a splash of color here and there is not unusual. Bright accents lend a mid-century modern feel.

Black is still quite popular in contemporary design. It lends an aura of elegance and luxury that suits any type of home, from urban condos to family homes.

A monochrome palette using shades of grey might sound industrial, but adding wood elements, such as flooring or countertops, softens the look and takes it a step away from looking too industrial. Natural fibers and textured fabrics are warming as well, and a few plants or a kitchen herb garden lend depth and life.

Adding dimension to a monochrome color palette requires contrast, which can be achieved with high-gloss cabinets or island. Contrasting shades of the same color create depth and make your neutral colors pop, while brighter hues, like orange or teal, lend a modernist look and feel. If you opt for an accent shade like this, think about where you are placing it. The island is one possibility, but for a more subtle, albeit dramatic, approach, try painting the insides of your drawers and cabinets.

Contemporary Cabinetry Style

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

Simplicity and function are the order of the day with contemporary style. Contemporary cabinets are flat-fronted and generally have no hardware, lending a clean, uncluttered look.

You won’t see crown moldings or corbels, either, as the style intrinsically avoids unnecessary decorative elements. Think seamless, and you’ll be on the right track.

Contemporary kitchen cabinets come in a wide range of materials, including plastic, glass, and wood, many with a glossy, lacquered, or metallic finish.

Concealed storage keeps your surfaces clear without having to downsize. Pull-out pantries, built-in appliances, and freezer drawers are great ways to keep things simple on the surface. For a completely seamless look, think about custom panels to conceal your refrigerator, dishwasher, wine fridge, and so on.

A built-in range might seem a bit old-fashioned, but it fits right in with the contemporary aesthetic.

Backsplash and Tile for the Contemporary Kitchen

From Pinterest

Shape and geometry are the first considerations when choosing tile for a contemporary kitchen. Colors and textures take the backseat – even when it comes to the backsplash, often the most ornate feature of kitchen design.

Glass and ceramic tile are common choices, laid in a uniform pattern. A geometric design with grout in a contrasting color gives you enough distinction without being overly ornamental. The idea is to enhance the simple, clean lines of the rest of the kitchen features, so ornate, and colored tiles are best avoided.

Open Shelves


Open shelving gives you so many design possibilities to work with. For example, floating shelves offer you a chance to display beautiful but functional kitchen tools, which then double as decorative elements.

Open shelving can also be integrated into your kitchen island to extend the design. To extend your interior design and create a seamless look in an open-concept space, use the same type of shelving in your adjacent living or dining room.

Not all shelving in the contemporary kitchen has to be open. You will need plenty of closed cabinetry to hide your things away. Unless something is immediately functional, it should not be in the line of sight. Pantry items, for example, should be stored away behind closed cabinets, although a set of canisters for essentials like coffee, tea, sugar, and flour would do nicely.

Think about functionality, too. How do you work in the kitchen? Open shelves above your work area give you a place to display the things you use most in a place that is within arm’s reach of all the action. Economy of movement should always figure into your plans.

Geometric, Flexible Design


Many homeowners today are opting for a multi-generational approach to kitchen design. Having countertops at varying heights, integrated seating, extended breakfast bars, and easy access for storage at any height makes your contemporary kitchen future-proof.

Are you planning a kitchen remodel and thinking about contemporary design? Reach out today to find out how we can help.

Creative Room Addition Ideas for Your Fairfax County Home

Life happens, families grow, circumstances change, and sometimes you find yourself in a situation where your once-perfect little house is no longer ideal. If this sounds like where you’re at right now, thoughts of moving are likely on your mind. But is that really the answer?

You love your neighborhood. The kids have lots of friends, a great school, and the thought of leaving your neighbors behind makes you sad. So why leave?

If you feel like your home is getting a little too cozy, adding a room might give you the space and comfort you’re after. Better yet, you’re already there – no moving necessary!

What Kind of An Addition Do You Need?

The type of addition you undertake should take into account both your current and future needs.

Think about what features you would need to make your house more comfortable. Is it an extra bathroom for your teens? A master suite to give you some privacy? An in-law suite to keep your aging parents close by, or an income suite to bring in some extra cash? How about a bigger living room or a family room in the basement so the kids can have their own space?

These are all excellent room addition ideas that can help you transform your living space into exactly what you need.

Here are some of the most popular room additions we work on at Foley Homes:

Garage Conversions



A garage conversion is a great way to get some extra space without changing the footprint of your home. Whether you use it as a spare bedroom, a family room, or a home office, it’s one of the fastest and least complicated ways to get the extra room you need because the basic structure is already there. Depending on the current state of your garage, you might need to insulate, install a new floor, windows, HVAC, and create a new entry.

Auxiliary Suite Over the Garage

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Photo: Joshua McHugh

If you’re still using your garage for your vehicles or storage, think about adding a level over the garage for an auxiliary suite. This stand-alone unit could be an income suite, an extra bedroom, or your new home office.

Add A Second Story



Depending on the size of your lot, the rules of the neighborhood residents’ association, or your local zoning and variance laws, it may not be possible to build out or change the footprint of your home. In this case, it might be an option to build up instead.

As long as the structure of your home has enough integrity to support this type of addition, this is a real and viable option that can change the look, feel, and functionality of your house. It is, however, a pretty big job. If you choose to go this route, think about relocating while the work is being done. You might be more comfortable in a temporary home or another part of the house.

Screen Porch or Sunroom



A screen porch, while it’s not a four-season room, gives you some extra living space during the warmer months. If you tend to have a lot of visitors in the summertime, this approach could serve you well as it helps you extend the warmer season.

However, if you want a room that’s useable year-round, a sunroom might be the ticket. Sunrooms give you the same benefits as a screen porch with a little added protection from the elements. If you already have a sizeable deck, you will just need to enclose and insulate it appropriately. Whether you open up the common wall to the rest of your house is up to you, but if you do so, consider that you will need to extend your heating and cooling system for adequate comfort.

Finished Basement

From T1NY.CO

From T1NY.CO

Your basement holds a world of possibilities. Some ideas for finished basements include media rooms, game rooms, home theaters, a fitness room, or a home spa. You could even turn it into a replica of your favorite bar. Maybe your teens need a play space of their own, or perhaps your eldest wants their own room – why not give them a stand-alone suite they can decorate any way they like?

Finished basements offer an attractive return on your investment, too, so no matter what you decide to do with it, it will pay off over the long-term.

Do you need some extra space? If you love your house, but the walls are starting to close in around you, it might be time to think about an addition. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.

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Remodeling For The First Time? Here Are Some Things to Think About

If you are preparing for your first remodel, you’ll soon find out how many things there are to consider. The design and planning process begins long before any of the actual remodeling work, so it’s a good idea to get real about what to expect, so you’re not faced with any surprises.

Managing expectations, understanding how your budget is allocated, and getting a grip on the order of things to be done is essential – at least, if you want to minimize the inherent stress and enjoy the process of transformation.

At Foley Homes, we put a lot of effort into the preparation phase to ensure our time (and yours) is well-spent. The result is a less stressful experience for you and a more efficient process for our team, ensuring the best possible outcome for your Fairfax County remodel.

During the initial planning, here are some things you might want to ask:

What Will My House Look Like During the Remodel?

Image from livingstingy

Depending on how extensive your remodel is, you should get used to the fact that things won’t be “as they were.” Our crews do our very best to keep your home clean, tidy, and dust-free, but a bit of drywall dust, plastic sheeting, and temporary accommodations are expected, and often necessary.

If you are going to be living in the home during the remodel, we try to ensure that your routine won’t experience too much disruption. We will protect surfaces and floors, cover or store items of value, and make sure you have a working kitchen and bathroom.

How Long Will My Remodel Take?


The length of time it takes to complete your remodel depends mainly on the amount of work that we’re doing. If you intend to live in the house during the remodel, it might take a little longer as we may need to complete the work in phases.

Additionally, and especially in the case of older homes, we could run into unexpected problems that cause delays. Unfortunately, not all of these situations are predictable, so we’ll need to cross that bridge when we come to it. Fortunately, we are dedicated problem-solvers, and we’ll work quickly to get these issues resolved with as little disruption as possible.

Can I Live In The House During The Work?

Nisian Hughes / Taxi / Getty Images

Some of our customers choose to live in their house while the work is underway, but this is not always an ideal situation. If you decide to go this route, you should fully understand the implications as they can affect your happiness and quality of life. If your remodel is extensive, there is a good possibility that you will need to find alternate arrangements, at least for a portion of the work. If you can stay elsewhere, even for a little while, our need to shut off the water or remove walls might not be as much of an inconvenience.

If you choose not to live in the house, you should make provisions for that in your budget. For example, you may decide to find a temporary rental, in which case you will be carrying the rent for that time. You will probably be eating out a lot more as well, so that’s also something to consider.

Ultimately, it’s your choice, but we will go over the details with you at length so you can consider your options.

Should I Be Concerned About Air Quality?

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Our crews use containment protocols, zip-walls, and a dust-reducer to help maintain good air quality in the home. We use a three-stage HEPA filtration system that removes a remarkable amount of dust and particulate matter, and most of our customers are very happy with the way it performs. In addition, we install temporary air filters on all ducts to reduce dust circulation and build-up. If you or a family member have severe allergies, talk to us about extra steps we can take to ensure a healthful atmosphere.

What Do I Need to Do?


We do ask that you store or cover your dishes, art, books, and valuables. These are your responsibility. If it makes sense, our crew will take photographs and restore your interiors to the way they were.

Our process begins with getting to know you and your expectations for the project. Beyond understanding your goals and budget, we like to know about your family, your lifestyle, and your routine. This approach makes it easier for us to implement a plan that works for everybody. We are easy to talk to and great to work with because our goals are always aligned with yours.

Do you have questions about your upcoming remodel? Reach out today, and let’s talk about it.

The Difference Between a Good Contractor and a Bad Contractor in Fairfax County

A home remodel is a big job. You trust your contractor to keep your interests top-of-mind and to do excellent work because a lot is riding on the result.

Unfortunately, though you count on your contractor to possess these qualities, you can’t always get what you want. However, if you heed the warning signs, you might just get what you need.

Warning Sign #1: It Seems Too Good To Be True

Business tricks

Bad contractors are good at telling you what you want to hear. They’ll promise you the moon and the stars for a song, and they might even backtrack on everything a more reputable contractor said could not be done.

You might be thinking, “Yeah! Finally, somebody sees it my way!” but in reality, the only thing they are trying to accomplish is getting that contract signed and your deposit in the bank. They’re not thinking about whether something is doable or not, or whether it can be done with your budget.

We see this quite a lot. The bad contractor often comes out looking like the hero while the right contractor draws ire because we ask tough questions.

The truth is that sometimes, a good contractor won’t be able to answer your question right away. We might need to speak to an engineer or an architect to be sure we are telling you the right thing. A bad contractor, on the other hand, will be quick to say “yes” without considering all the variables.

Warning Sign #2: The Quote Is Very Different From Other Contractors

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Everybody loves a bargain. This is the very reason why so many people end up choosing a bad contractor over a good one. But heed this: if your contractor doesn’t price out the job accurately, you will pay the difference.

While an inexperienced contractor might be technically very good at what they do, if they don’t have enough experience quoting jobs or permitting, you could end up frustrated, disappointed, and on the hook for a lot more than you bargained for.

A lot goes into a renovation job. There are permits, drawings, engineering, zoning, getting approvals from the county, or satisfying the local resident’s association – these are all critical tasks that a contractor is responsible for. If anything falls through the cracks, your budget, your timeline, and your dreams are at risk.

Warning Sign #3: They Don’t Have a Professional Business Presence

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Any company you decide to do business with should have a professional presence. If the contractor you are speaking to has neither an office nor a business phone, or if they never pick up your calls when you reach out to them on their mobile, it’s a clear sign that something isn’t quite right.

A good contractor encourages communication. They will have a professional business presence with a bona fide listing that you can check on. When you call their business number, somebody will answer, and your concerns will always be addressed promptly.

Warning Sign #4: They Don’t Know Everything That Needs to Be Done to Complete Your Job

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Say you’re putting in a new gourmet kitchen with all the bells and whistles, including a commercial-grade range and hood fan. You might ask your contractor, “do I need to upgrade my electrical service?”

In this situation, we would typically ask an electrician for their professional opinion before we give you an answer.

An inexperienced or bad contractor, on the other hand, would probably tell you that you’re good to go without the support of a professional opinion. Experienced contractors in our area know that pipes and electrical often need to be upgraded, especially in an older home. A lot of times, we’re dealing with old pipes and possibly knob and tube wiring, which doesn’t meet code and can be dangerous. In any case, we would never make a blanket statement like that without having some authority on the subject.

Other warning signs can include:

  • They ask for too much money before the work begins
  • There are no local references for you to check
  • They don’t give you a written list of materials and selections
  • They can’t show insurance

This last item is critical, because if anybody gets hurt on your job, the responsibility falls to you, the homeowner.

While the differences between a good contractor and a bad contractor might not be apparent right away, these are a few red flags you should look for. Recognize the warning signs and heed your gut – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Are you ready for a remodel? Reach out today; we’d love to show you how we can help.

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Fairfax County Renovations: What Do You Want From Your Master Bath Remodel?

Times have changed. People change, as do their needs and wants. Technology, techniques, building materials – all of these things have evolved considerably, keeping the renovation business lively, design-focused, and exciting!

However, one thing that hasn’t changed much is what people want from their master bathroom remodel. Adapting to stages of life, getting more functionality, adding new conveniences, and making the most out of available space are still the top reasons Fairfax County homeowners decide to remodel their master bathroom.

While most of our clients tend to keep the original footprint of the room, some choose to open up walls and enlarge the space. Reclaiming a hall closet or underutilized space in a spare bedroom are just a couple of the strategies we leverage to deliver on your vision.

Some of the conversations we will have revolve around whether the current layout is working for you, and if the fixtures themselves—tub, shower, vanity, storage—are supporting your lifestyle.

Trends in Master Bathroom Renovations

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Trends in master bath remodels have not changed a whole lot over the years. People often want to get rid of their tub in favor of a larger shower, but some choose a freestanding tub. Multiple shower jets or double shower heads are popular, and double vanities are pretty standard.

Essentially, what people usually want out of their master bath remodel is an upgraded space that stands out from the rest of the bathrooms in the home. For example, you may choose to tile the master bathroom, setting it apart from your hall bathroom or powder room, which is not tiled.

Other popular requests include:

  •     Universal design, like walk-in or curbless showers, shower benches, grab rails, and “comfort height” vanities and toilets.
  •     Working within the existing footprint but rearranging the features without changing the plumbing.
  •     Expanding into the space occupied by the tub. Sometimes this is challenging, however, because many homes of a certain era were designed with a large window over the tub, making it difficult to build a shower there.
  •     Drawers over cupboards in vanities.
  •     Recessed medicine cabinets and niches.
  •     Smart mirrors, lighted mirrors, built-in screens, and connected technology.
  •     LED lighting.
  •     Under-floor heating.
  •     Quieter bath fans, or fans on a timer that shut off automatically.

Heated Floors

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There is nothing like the feel of a warm floor under your feet on a cold day. During a master bath renovation, we are often redoing the floor with tile, so it’s the perfect time to install radiant under-floor heating.

Alternately, there is a fantastic flooring product by Armstrong called Alterna. Alterna is an engineered flooring product that retains warmth, so it’s much more comfortable to walk on than any other kind of tile. Alterna tile is also easy to care for, and it comes in many styles, sizes, colors, and finishes to complement your décor.

Master Bath Design Trends


Beyond the essentials, it’s the design elements you choose that are the icing on the cake. There are many details you can add that will ramp up the results, making your master bath a luxurious indulgence you will enjoy for many years to come.

Design, colors, textures, and other décor can tie the project together and still be functional. Some of the design details you might consider include:

  •     Pocket doors to maximize space.
  •     Frameless showers add a sleek, modern look.
  •     Custom cabinetry and hardware punctuates your personal style, whether it’s modern, traditional, or vintage.
  •     Natural stone shower panels over tile lend a seamless look.
  •     Marble or granite countertops for your vanity.
  •     Steam showers and therapy tubs to help you relax your cares away.

Choosing Colors for Your Master Bathroom


Selecting a color palette that is either relaxing or invigorating completes the picture, adding a touch of your personality and also creating an atmosphere of its own.

For example, black and grey are very popular as they invoke formality, dignity, and luxury.

Green is fresh and natural, lending a sense of the outdoors.

Orange is aspirational, light-hearted, and surprisingly versatile when punctuated with black or white.

Blue is calming and peaceful, evoking ocean breezes while inspiring the imagination.

White, ever-popular in the master bath, is clean, pure, radiant, and peaceful.

Ultimately, your master bath renovation should be about form and function. The great news is that today, we have access to an almost endless selection of beautiful, useful fixtures and choices that are both highly functional and easy on the eyes.

When you’re ready to start talking about your master bathroom renovation, we’re ready to listen! Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.


Kitchen and Master Bath Remodels in Northern Virginia

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is about functionality, style, and often, a bit of luxury too. As home improvement projects go, kitchens and baths are where homeowners tend to spend the most. While both rooms are essential to everyday living, they each can enhance your style while delivering on a few of the “nice to have’s” – those little touches that make your house so pleasant to come home to.

There are plenty of good reasons why these types of renovations are so popular with homeowners in Virginia. They provide a superior return on investment, which is always a bonus if you are planning to put your home on the market.

What’s More Important: Kitchen or Bathroom?

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Your kitchen and bathrooms are, arguably, the hardest working rooms in your house, making it even more essential to give them the TLC they deserve.

Take the kitchen, for example. It’s the beating heart of your home and family – a place to prepare and enjoy meals, entertain your friends, get caught up on events of the day, and enjoy quiet moments whenever you have the chance.

When you think about your kitchen the way it is now, what would you change? Are there things about it you love? Or do you find the layout a bit frustrating when you’re trying to get things done?

Open-concept kitchens

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You might think that your kitchen is too small to renovate, but sometimes, opening up the layout provides you with all the space you need and then some. Open-concept living is very popular with Fairfax County homeowners. Open sightlines help you take advantage of natural light and will make the room seem much larger. As a bonus, it’s a way to bring the family closer, because walls and doors won’t separate you.

An open-concept floorplan is also a great way to extend your interior design. Your décor will flow seamlessly from one room into the next, giving your home a cohesive feel. Some of the ways we accomplish this is by extending the flooring from one room to the next, and matching light fixtures and trim.

If you are concerned with your open-concept space looking too much like a work environment, think about adding built-in refrigerator or freezer drawers, or installing panels on your appliances to help them blend seamlessly with the rest of the décor.

Indulge your senses with a master bath remodel

Photo by dSPACE Studio Ltd, AIA

Your master bathroom is your own private space. Since it isn’t part of the daily traffic through the house, you can turn it into a personal oasis, a place to indulge yourself in calm, peaceful serenity.

The master bathroom doesn’t see as much traffic. Without the kid and guest traffic to consider, you can opt for top-quality upgraded features because you know they will last a long time.

Choose upgraded, luxury features like custom tile work, a multi-jet spa shower, a steam shower, or a soaking tub. Under-floor heating is particularly nice on cold mornings!

Other delicious touches you might consider include a washlet bidet, voice-activated lighting, smart mirrors, and lighted mirrors. Today’s smart technology is very accessible, so there are lots of things to consider, and most are more affordable than you might think.

Extending your master bedroom design to the master bath

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Our goal with master bath design is to create a cohesive flow from the master bedroom, with flow being the key concept. To achieve optimum design, the traffic flow should be effortless, and the décor should be an extension of the master bedroom.

Ultimately, we want to ensure the result is as good or even better than you imagined it. To achieve this, we listen to your ideas so we can better understand what you are trying to accomplish with your remodel. Making it beautiful is a primary objective, but functionality and flow are essential. Where we place the toilet, tub, shower, and vanity are critical, because if the space doesn’t work, you’re never going to be satisfied with it.

For these reasons, we bring in our entire team right from the start. Architectural designers, plumbers, electricians, tile masons, and other artisans come together to discuss any potential issues that might cause delays along the way. If there are problems that need to be addressed, we resolve them before we start the work, ensuring your renovation job is completed on time and on budget.

Are you ready to get started with your kitchen or bathroom remodel? Reach out today to find out how to get started.

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Home Remodeling Timelines: What’s Realistic in Northern Virginia?

If you are thinking about a remodel project for your Fairfax County home, congratulations! Taking an idea from vision to completion is an exciting prospect, and when it’s all said and done, you’ll finally have your dream home.

What many homeowners don’t realize, however, is that the process often takes a lot longer than they might imagine. It all depends on the work that’s being done, how extensive it is, and, more importantly, how much planning has been done before you begin 

To ensure a smooth process with a minimum of stress, it’s vital to understand the work that goes into the job. We also advise our customers to stay flexible and be realistic in terms of their expectations. When you are fully prepared for the road ahead, it will be a lot less stressful – and you might even find it enjoyable!

Setting Realistic Expectations

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The materials you choose, the building techniques we use, and the realities of the house itself dictate how long a job will take. In most cases, the design phase and the construction phase take about the same amount of time, but in some circumstances, the design phase may take even longer.

With that in mind, here are a few additional points to consider:

  • Timing is everything. Be sure you schedule the construction phase when it isn’t going to inconvenience you or disrupt your family life. For example, if you start working in the late fall or winter and there are delays (materials don’t arrive on time, permits are held up, and so on), you could be waiting until spring to start up again.
  • Schedule demolition work for when your family is out of town or on vacation to minimize disruptions.
  • Don’t wait to order the materials you like. Once you have made your selections, they might take a while to arrive. Plus, if you wait, those items might not be available when you’re ready to go.

Our Process

Foley Custom Homes is a design-build firm. We leverage an approach that’s proven to minimize conflict, improve communication, shorten timelines, and help you stay on budget, and that holds true even when we’re working with multiple subcontractors.

Our team is hands-on through every process, from the initial ideas to the architectural drawings, obtaining permits, and right on through to the final coat of paint.

Understanding Your Ideas

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We begin by getting to know you. We want to understand your vision for the remodel and learn your likes and dislikes in terms of design. We’ll talk about your budget and how we’re going to get you what you want without going over that amount.

Design and Pre-Construction Meeting

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Once we have the design and drawings finalized, we will bring all of our subcontractors together so we can discuss, as a team, what comes next. All potential issues are discussed ahead of time to minimize delays down the line.

Meeting the Family

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We’ll talk about your lifestyle and the changes that will happen while the work is being done. We’ll offer solutions that will make your life easier during the process, as we want to ensure you, your children, and your pets experience as little disruption as possible.


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Materials and product selections are chosen well ahead of construction. Our design team will work with you to help make the process easier, and once you have made your decisions, they will be detailed in a contract and ordered right away.

Permitting and Scheduling

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Often, there is a fair bit of lead time to receive items like tile, flooring, windows, and such. During this time, we will take care of all the details, like obtaining permits and developing a construction schedule. We always build in a little cushion of time just in case something unexpected occurs.


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Before the project begins, we will have a projected schedule in place that you can follow along with. Your project manager will keep you informed of our progress and of any delays or obstacles that we find along the way. No matter what, we are always available to answer any questions or concerns you might have.

We Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Our office leverages high-tech construction project management software to help us stay organized and to enhance our communications. We offer our customers a client portal where they can view any change orders, invoices, permits, insurance, and other documents related to the job.

To us, it’s absolutely essential that you can move into your new space and enjoy it when you expect. We do everything in our power to ensure that no detail is overlooked and that you are delighted with the result.

When you work with Foley, you’re family. Reach out today, and let’s talk about your renovation ideas.

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Open Concept Kitchen Design: Pros and Cons for Your Fairfax County Home

Open-concept kitchens are very trendy in the modern family home. It opens up sightlines, creates a single living space, and helps you extend your interior design. If you have children, if you love to entertain, or if you are trying to make the most out of a small living space, an open-concept design is ideal.

However, just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Before you start knocking down walls, it’s a good idea to consider all the pros and cons of an open-concept kitchen. Only then will you know for sure whether or not it’s the right approach for you.

Open-Concept Kitchen Pros

A big, airy, open space makes your house seem bigger. If you have a smaller home, this could be a distinct benefit.

Other plusses of an open-concept design include:

Less Isolation

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If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, an open-concept design gives you more space, but it also keeps you connected to what’s going on in the rest of the house. When you’re in the kitchen prepping and cooking, you won’t be closed off from your family and friends. You’ll be able to see and talk to them, and they’ll be able to come and visit you (and maybe pitch in too).

Keep an Eye on Kids and Guests

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You can’t leave small children alone for a minute. Having an open kitchen allows you to keep an eye on what they’re up to while you prepare meals or get things done. When you have people over, you’ll be able to keep a better handle on the beverage and snack situation too.

Better Use of Space

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If your home has a lot of separate, closed-off rooms, chances are you don’t even use many of those areas at all. When you open up your floor plan, you will likely get a lot more use out of all of these spaces.

Open Up Sightlines

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Without walls to get in the way, your open-concept space will maximize natural light and take advantage of any views that you have. For example, if you have a large bay window in the living room, now you’ll be able to enjoy that view from the kitchen.

Less Formal

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Formal dining rooms are not often the norm these days. Most families prefer a more causal setup, and dining around the island is a great way to come together – without feeling so officious.

Open-Concept Kitchen Cons

Even though open-concept design offers a lot of benefits for some homeowners, it’s certainly not right for everyone. Let’s look at the downside of open-concept kitchens:

It’s Messy!

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If you cook a lot, be aware that every bit of mess you create in the kitchen will be visible to your friends and family. Even for cooks who are meticulously clean and extremely organized, this can be a challenge.

Kids and their toys are another concern. In an open-concept design, be sure you have enough storage, either built into your furniture or in the form of extra closets.

It’s Noisy!

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When you remove the walls, you open yourself up to a lot of distractions. If you require quiet to work or make phone calls, for example, an open-concept design might not be right for you. However, there are ways to deal with it. Area rugs, throw rugs, or sound-absorbing flooring, like cork, can help to dampen the cacophony.

Fewer Walls

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If you have art or collections that you hang on your walls, you’ll have less space to display them in an open-concept design. You’ll have to find other options for your displays, relocate some items, or downsize your collections.

Less Storage Space

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You’ll need to consider where you will store your kitchen items. If you have the space for a separate pantry, that could be a solution. Kitchen islands and peninsulas also work for this purpose, but the bottom line is, you’ll have fewer cabinets, so fewer places to put things.

You Might Lose Purposed Spaces

If you have a small home office, a hobby room, or a TV room where the kids go to hang out, an open-concept design will require a shift in your routine. Everybody will be in the same room, essentially, so you need to be ready to love and accept everything they do.

In conclusion, an open-concept space has its good and not-so-good points to consider. In the end, it’s really about your family dynamics and what’s going to work best for you.

If you are considering remodeling your Fairfax County kitchen for open-concept design, reach out today, and let’s start the conversation. We’d love to show you how we can help.