Remember the Details When Planning a Second Story Addition

There are many factors to determine when adding on to your present home, but the number one concern is lot size. Many homes that can benefit from an addition are located in urban areas where space is limited, making building up the most practical solution.

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You will need them even if you plan on installing an elevator. A major consideration is location, since a new staircase will take up existing floor space. Some homeowners enjoy making a gorgeous architecturally detailed staircase the focal point of a room while others prefer it to be out of the normal traffic pattern. Working closely with a design-build firm in Decatur who listens to your needs and expectations can help make this placement decision much easier.


A new roof and walls will all require insulation, and this is the perfect time to increase the amount in other areas of your home. Great strides have been made in insulating materials over the years and, considering many older homes are sorely lacking when it comes to sufficient insulation, installing blown or fiberglass insulation in existing walls and between floor and ceiling joists can definitely increase your home’s energy efficiency.


New windows will have to be installed and just like with your insulation now is a good time to replace existing windows if needed. Is the exterior finish going to match? Over years siding fades and brick color can be hard to match. This is a major consideration and one that needs to be decided early in the design process. And what about that masonry chimney? If you never use your wood burning fireplace then consider removing it and installing a new ventless gas unit.

For more information about remodeling your home in Atlanta, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

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A dynamic new entryway and other interior updates open a Druid Hills home for better light and flow


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Deciding Between Brick and Stone Exterior Home Finishes

When discussing exterior home finishes, you’ll soon discover they are as diverse as the homes themselves. Long gone are the days when the most popular siding choices were wood, aluminum, or vinyl. Now homeowners can select from heavy duty brick or stone siding that offers more benefits such as increased insulation.

Concrete Brick Siding

Concrete brick siding is reasonably priced and offers outstanding insulating properties and better resistance against inclement weather like sleet, snow and ice. Since concrete can easily be tinted or dyed, concrete brick siding is available in a wide selection of colors.  State of the art manufacturing techniques now allows the siding to be made in several different sizes and styles.

Clay Brick Siding

For thousands of years clay has been used as an exterior home finish, and clay brick siding is a very popular option because of both sound reduction and extra insulation. Clay brick siding interlocks together and then is permanently secured using mortar. It is available in either a smooth or textured finish and also comes in a wide array of sizes.

Mortarless Brick Siding

In the past this product was usually used for things like retaining walls, but recently it has been revamped as a exterior home finish.  While it is faster to install than the above mentioned options, it does take an experienced professional because of the complex dry fit.


Natural stone has been used for centuries because of its beauty and durability. Adding stone can easily increase a home’s property value, but it is expensive and is often used in combination with another finish such as vinyl siding. Because of the weight, stone requires a good solid foundation and needs to be installed by an experienced stone mason.

For more information on exterior finishes and other renovation ideas, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

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Creative Materials to Use in Your Fireplace Design

The days of having a fireplace that blends into the surrounding wall space are long gone. Now a home’s fireplace style and design can easily become the focal point of a room and is limited only by your imagination.

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  • If your Atlanta home improvement plans include adding a new fireplace, then take a moment and think outside the box when it comes to location and design. No longer does a fireplace have to be just a boring opening in the wall. Consider installing a poured in place multi-view concrete fireplace as a room divider. Or, for a less expensive option, select a prefabricated freestanding fireplace, perfect for filling in a corner.
  • Speaking of inexpensive, one of the easiest and most affordable ways to change the look of a pre-existing fireplace is to paint the brick surround. Use a bright bold shade for pop or go with that old standby: white. A white brick surround looks so clean and sleek and works well with all decorating styles.
  • Nothing is more dramatic than a solid slab of marble or granite surrounding the complete fireplace. Forgo the mantel and install a slab large enough to reach from floor to ceiling. An entire slab gives the rich marbling and veining maximum exposure.
  • Copper is a very interesting choice for a fireplace surround. As the copper ages, patina forms and the finish will deepen and change color, lending a very eye-catching and elegant look to the entire room.
  • You simply can’t go wrong with stone. From fieldstone to flat rock, stone never looks dated and always complements any color palette. When selecting the stone, work with an experienced installer so enough is purchased to create a repeating pattern.

For more information about renovating a room with a fireplace, feel free to contact us at Renewal Design-Build.

Where to Add Skylights in Your Atlanta Home

Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to finally begin those long planned Atlanta home renovations. While you’ve probably discussed with the family things like new appliances, where the extra bath is going to be located and if the new flooring should be tile or hardwoods, have you even considered adding extra light by including skylights in some of the rooms?


In addition to the practical aspect of filling a room with everything from bright sunlight to gently filtered natural light on an overcast day, skylights can also create an extremely interesting visual both for the interior and exterior of your home.Here are some ideas to try:

  • Rooftop decks have become a popular addition to homes. Depending on the living space located underneath, adding skylights can make for both easy maintenance as well as a cool interactive experience between the two floors.
  • Bathrooms are one of those rooms that really benefit from having a window, but many times privacy can become problematic. A skylight is a great way to incorporate light without worrying about blinds, shutters or frosted glass. You can even make it vented to help control moisture in the bathroom. Plus what could be more relaxing than soaking in a hot tub while enjoying the bright blue sky or ethereal stars?
  • The days of “one size fits all” cookie cutter skylights are gone, and now sizes, shapes, styles and color of glass are only limited by your imagination. Or install one single plain skylight and then add interior detail to create unique ever changing visual dynamics.
  • If your home has a long dark hallway that you intend to keep, consider adding several square or geometric apertures or one long linear skylight to naturally brighten this connecting space.

For more information about Atlanta home renovations, contact us at Renewal Design-Build.