Home Design Tips ~ Grand County Living Magazine
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Feature Articles for 2014

Brought to you by Mountain Lake Properties, matching homes with homeowners in Grand Lake, Colorado for 22 years. We are on the boardwalk, near the east end of Grand Lake’s main street.

Home Design Tip #1 - Enhance your Great Room
Enhance your Great Room by marrying both indoor and outdoor design elements. Make it function and feel like an interior central courtyard.

Even though we have to enclose and heat our living spaces, we can still adopt courtyard benefits and features that have been a centerpiece in fine homes for centuries. The example above is from an architect’s home for sale on Shadow Mountain Lake for $2,250,000. At our website www.MountainLake.com you can tour inside fine homes on the market with a wide range of amenities. You can also look back to homes that have sold in recent years.

Use our extensive range of interior tours to help you determine which designs are the best for you. After ten thousand years, humans are still making up their minds on home design.

Home Design Tip #2 - Windows & Blinds
Go easy on doing high windows where you have tall walls unless you have a big budget for blinds to block the sun and don’t mind cleaning both sides of the windows. Consider using fewer blinds and automating them with motors. Say farewell to cords. A windowless, high-wall area does not become dark at night. It can be artfully illuminated from inside (paint with light) to display art and items you don’t want to be bumped. It can be shelves.

Home Design Tip #3 - Stages and Toys. Build in Stages.
You don’t have to move a lot of chips at one time. If you begin with an existing structure…improve one room…take time to dream… If you are fortunate to have virgin land, start with a functioning shelter/retreat and let its “wings” come later. Your time getting to know a place will be pleasantly rewarded with subtle design improvements as your dreams and needs materialize. Build in stages to leave room in your budget for Toys and Grand County Living! View above is from a home for $1,599,000.

If you are coming to the mountains and love to be near water, boat ownership may begin with a portable hands-free kayak. In our early days, we started with a blow-up raft from K-Mart.

You transition through the years with your toys, just as you should with your home, in stages. For the price of two snowmobiles, you can have a 4-season tracked vehicle for year-round fun together side-by-side.

Home Design Tip #4 - Counter Space. Deep and Plenty.
The standard 24” depth for kitchen counters was set long ago for New York apartments. If you could have an other 6” of depth, you would never look back. Deep counters give you the opportunity for extra-deep cabinets overhead that can hold more than a dinner plate. Counter space is not just in the kitchen. At each window, one can extend the depth of its sill to create well-lit shelves for plants, art and cats. The cats will hopefully know what to leave alone.

Look beyond granite and into whatever is available – maybe some new product – or a hardwood for counters and sills. With some windows, you can create an infinity pool-like effect with the view extending beyond sills set at the same level inside and outside.

Home Design Tip #5 - Lighting. Sky is bright, Earth is dark.
Let your ceilings be light colored and your floors somewhat dark. Diffused light reflecting off of a ceiling is pleasant to be around. Although builders have installed ceiling canned lights by the millions (maybe a billion), these affordable lights leave ceilings dark and only do spot lighting; it takes many of them to light up a room. These lights produce heat that can compromise creating a cold roof (see #7). Where you have high ceilings, use light fixtures that hang down and shine up to illuminate a ceiling and give a room a reflected light, as one gets from a sky with muted clouds.

If a bright room is adjacent to a dark room or hallway, consider using (privacy) glass in the doors and/or having glass block up high along the interior walls to carry light from a well-lit room to a windowless area.

Electrical outlets for sconces and picture lights give you the opportunity to light up a high wall from the inside. Sky lights can work if they are sealed properly. Clerestory windows are less troublesome; they bring in light and create interesting roof and ceiling lines.

Home Design Tip #6 - Horseshoe Room
Horseshoe Room: Is a U-shaped aisle with (e.g.) spacious his-‘n-her vanities on opposite sides. Be sure to take extra measures to protect the window and seal out moisture. At the back of the bath, the bottom of the U is a shower or shower/tub combo by a window.

The lower corners of the U are deep walk-in closets, or maybe let one be a shower. The U or horseshoe is 15 feet wide and deep. At its top center is a walled-in toilet/water closet, with shelves or cabinets facing out into a bedroom or a hall, if this is to be a Jack ‘n Jill bath serving two bedrooms. The water closet has doors on each side of the U by each vanity. Its walls across from the corner closets are angled to make it easy to round the bath’s corners.

Home Design Tip #7 - Cold Roof Design.
Icicles are pretty; however, they are a sign that your comfort heat is getting directly to the snowpack on the roof. Snow should sleep on a roof like snow on a mountain, waiting for spring before it naturally melts as the outside air gets warm, (not from your living room).

A cold roof is not just a roof on a roof. It can be much simpler than that. It is part of a whole roof’s ventilation system, (not to be confused with the ventilation for an attic). With scissor trusses and vaulted ceilings there are many details to consider.

To increase the climate zone separation between a ceiling and the outer roof, one can advantageously drop down a ceiling and redirect the ceiling lines. If the rafters and trusses in the attic do not directly create the ceiling lines you want, try reforming these lines using lightweight 2x6’s or aluminum struts supported by the upper rafters. You can create entirely new slopes to put the focus inside where you want it.

A sunken room creates the opportnity to give it a truly vaulted ceiling. These custom ceilings complement the cold roof design.

Home Design Tip #8 - Steps and Elevators.
Stairways are made grand and inviting to take away from the work of using them. Some families decorate the front face of each rising step. Highlight edges so that they stand out for those with less than perfect vision.

Although elevators are a rarity in homes, one can plan ahead for the possibility of adding one later. The trick is to stack large closets, one over the other, even three floors high, so that the stacked closet space can become an elevator shaft.

• 2014 Articles








Mountain Lake Properties

Grand Lake, CO 80447

Mountain Lake Properties is located on the boardwalk, near the east end of Grand Lake’s main street.



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