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Mina Fies, Founder & CEO, Synergy Design & Construction. Photo Courtesy Benjamin Burgess

This month, we’re doing things a little differently because we’ve got reason to celebrate: Synergy Design & Construction is turning 15! We’d like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of our past and current clients and to the Greater Reston community for their ongoing support and trust in our business.

One of the reasons we’ve kept our office in Reston (right near Reston Town Center on Bowman Green Drive) is the sense of community this area provides. It’s an important part of who we are to be part of that community. We are your neighbors. We get it. We’re also big believers in giving back. That’s why you’ll often see us around and about at local events, sponsoring local youth arts and sports programs or lending a helping hand to local non-profits.

We also know it takes a lot to invite strangers into your home and that’s why we couldn’t do what we do without an amazing team of inhouse professionals. From project managers to interior designers to carpenters, we partner with our clients so they have as stress-free a home remodeling experience as possible. You can find out more about our team of home remodeling professionals here. We want homeowners to feel empowered and knowledgeable when it comes time to remodel their home, so we’ve also got a freebie for you. Read our tips for a stress-free home remodel in our FREE download here.

Get inspired by what’s possible and download your FREE stress-free home remodel guide here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

As a local kitchen and bathroom remodeler, we’ve seen it all in Northern Virginian homes, from the quirks of the original mid-century homes in Reston to newer colonial style homes that are ready for an upgrade from contractor-grade finishes. There is no cookie-cutter approach to our work. Every project we work on is tailored to our client’s specific needs, design aesthetic and lifestyle. Our commitment is to creating dream spaces that are perfect for you and your family. No fads, no one-size-fits all approach, just beautiful on-time, on-budget home remodels. Whatever your home remodeling challenge, we’ve got your back.

Ready to start your renovation journey with one of the best local home remodelers? Find out more about us here or get in touch here. Just window shopping? No problem! Check out some of our projects here.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all been there: there’s something ‘off’ about a room in your home that you just can’t put your finger on and don’t know how to fix. Or, maybe you’re just looking for some ideas for how to update your space with a fresh, modern look. This month, we’ve got seven ‘dos and don’ts’ to help give your home some interior design pep.

As a full service home remodeling company, Synergy Design & Construction doesn’t offer interior design as a standalone service. However, we not only help our clients with material selections for all of their remodeling finishes (think cabinets, tile, countertops, appliances and fixtures, etc.), we also offer the option of soft goods selection services for clients who would like professional interior design help to finish their space. It’s all part of helping homeowners have a holistic experience so they renovate happy!

1. DON’T Push All of Your Furniture Up Against the Wall

This is a BIG one. All of the furniture pushed up against the walls just doesn’t do a room justice. Don’t despair! If your family room is crying, “Help me!”, it’s an easy fix. If you don’t have room to pull your couch away from the wall, think about adding or moving accent chairs to update the look. Couches and chairs do not need to be part of a set; you can mix and match for more of a designer feel. If your couch moves too much for your liking if it’s pulled away from the wall, add a credenza or heavy console table behind it to help keep it from shifting. It not only looks great, there’s now another place to put drinks and snacks when you’re watching TV or entertaining.

In the example below from a recent home remodel in Reston, none of the furniture sits against a wall. The L-shaped sofa provides a relaxing place to sit facing both the media center and the fireplace. Two armchairs on either side provide additional seating that can be turned towards the fire on a chilly winter evening for a cozy feeling or towards the TV on family movie night.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this project here.

2. DO Curate Display Shelves

Shelves bursting at the seams with knick-knacks, books and piles of ‘stuff’ your kids left there and never put away? Take some time to clear them off and curate them for a more organized look. We’re not saying you can’t have your treasures and books displayed on shelves for a homey feel and personalized touch, but the key is placement of things together for a designer look. Think of grouping items in odd numbers, like threes and fives. Personally, I don’t like the look of books turned spine inwards — what’s the point in that — but if you have tons of books, thin them out, or put a couple of coffee table books together with a modern objet d’art on top as a more design-thoughtful touch.

In this home remodel in Fairfax, our clients opted for our interior design help with the furniture selection and placement in addition to a total main level home remodel. This is a great example of beautifully curated bookshelves flanking either side of the fireplace. Layered lighting and thoughtful furniture placement (note — nothing is pushed up against the walls other than the console table) make this a stand-out Great Room.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this project here.

3. DON’T be Afraid of Colorful Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinets

What can we say, we LOVE gorgeous cabinets. Gone are the days when everything has to be white in the kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with an all-white kitchen for a classic look, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with color. If you aren’t ready to go all-in on colorful cabinets, adding a contrasting island color or floating shelves is a great way to go.

In this kitchen remodel in Reston, we loved our clients’ choice of this “Dakota Shadow” cabinet color. Contrasting maple cabinets and floating shelves were stained in a ‘honey’ color which plays off the existing window and door frame color and provides warmth to the space.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

4. DO Embrace Black/Dark Colored Doors/Window Trim and ‘Moody’ Paint Colors 

You may have noticed many new-builds in the area have black/dark colored exterior window frames. It’s a ‘trend’ that is here for the long-haul and it extends to the interior of homes, too. From black window trim to black interior doors to ‘moody’ painted cabinets and wall color, it’s time to embrace the darker hues. Worried it’s going to make your space too dark? The trick is to lighten things up with contrasting brighter, neutral colors paired with wood tones to keep your space from feeling cold.

In this basement remodel in Reston, our clients wanted to create modern spaces throughout and weren’t afraid to change things up with black interior doors, ‘moody’ colored bar cabinets and paint colors in the home theater and gym — to stunning effect.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this basement remodel here.

5. DON’T Overdo it on Throw Pillows

This is a hard one because lots of throw pillows just make me happy, but it’s time to put a few of them away. This applies not only to the family room, but also to bedrooms as well. For an updated, chic look, less is definitely more. Too many pillows can make a room feel cluttered (plus, how long does it take to remove them all from the bed every night?!) and also distracts from other design elements in the room.

This family room from a main level remodel in Reston is a great example of this. The eye is not drawn to the throw pillows, it’s drawn to the gorgeous sloping roof and statement light fixture instead.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

6. DON’T Protrude if You ‘Recess In’

Stick with us on this one and let me explain what we mean! If you can recess a cabinet (closet, linen cabinet, etc.) then go for it. Not only does it save space, it gives a more streamlined and flush finish.

In this primary bathroom remodel in Herndon, the linen closet at the far end was recessed in. It not only keeps it out of the way, it also allows the gorgeous walnut vanities and soaking tub to take center stage.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

7. DO Go Bold With Wallpaper in Small Spaces

We get it, this seems counterintuitive, but you don’t have to think small in small spaces when it comes to wallpaper! We LOVE wallpaper in any room, but we especially love it when clients take a risk in the powder room. Bold wallpaper can actually make a space look bigger (when it’s done right). The powder room is the perfect place to have some fun and show your personality!

In this main level remodel in Reston, our clients picked the perfect wallpaper in the powder room. It makes a contemporary statement, but is paired with natural finishes (like the rattan light fixture) to perfection.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this home remodel here.

Ready to work with a local home remodeling company who can help you with every aspect to create your dream space? Find out more about us here.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve said it for a while, but gone are the days when having a bathtub is a must-have in the primary bathroom of a home. Although having a tub in a guest or kids bathroom is still something many prospective home buyers are looking for when it comes to resale, it’s not essential in the main bathroom. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have room for both, a beautiful freestanding tub is still a great design choice. But, if you don’t use your tub now and are thinking about going tub-free, here are some examples to show you how it’s done in five local homes where homeowners decided to ditch the tub.

1. Double “Wow” Shower With Tons of Luxe

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

Although this bathroom was a great size, the oversized chocolate brown tub dominated the space and the shower cubicle (seen in the middle along the back wall) was squeezed into a small space. We created a gorgeous double shower with marble tile and champagne bronze fixtures instead — and even had room for a built-in linen closet.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

See more of this bathroom and the rest of this home remodel in Reston here.

2. Universally Designed Curbless Beauty

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This Reston house was built in the 80s and although the bathroom was large with natural light cascading into the space from existing skylights, the large tiled tub was overpowering the space and the existing shower was cramped into a small nook. Planning to age-in-place, our clients were ready to not only modernize the entire space, they also wanted to make it more functional for their needs by replacing the tub with a curbless shower. The new shower is a stunning design feature in itself, but universal design ensures it is now easy to enter without any trip hazards.

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After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Many homes in the local area were built in the 1980s, and with that comes some tell-tale design that can really date a home back to the days of big hair, leg warmers and home phones with really long cords. Admittedly, for some of us, it really doesn’t feel that long ago and since I still believe some of the best music came from that decade, there’s no judgment here! However, although fashion and phones have changed, as one year slips into the next, day-to-day life sometimes leaves little time (or energy for that matter) to focus on changing the spaces around us. So, this month, we’re providing some tips and ideas to update your 1980s home with transitional finishes.

Transitional design is a great way to blend more traditional design with modern finishes for an updated, fresh look. Not sure what transitional design is? Read our blog for more information about what transitional kitchen design means. Below, we also provide some examples from a recent home remodel in Reston. By their own admission, the owners of this local Reston home said it had become “lost” in the 1980s and they were ready to make some major changes.

1. Light brown/honey-colored cabinets

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This color/style of cabinet is very common in this area in homes built in the 1980s. Many of our clients want a more updated look using lighter color finishes for cabinets. However, transitional design doesn’t mean white cabinets are the only option. In this example, our clients went with cabinets painted in a gray “Argent” color. Although wood cabinets and/or kitchen islands started making a comeback in popularity a few years ago (and score BIG design points when done right), the wood tones used now are very different to this color of cabinet. See examples here.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

2. Fake bulkheads

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

In this photo, note the bulkhead running above the cabinets and window. Although there are sometimes AC ducts, pipes or electrical wiring running through bulkheads like this, many were added when homes were built as a way to lower the ceiling instead of installing ceiling height cabinets. Always seek professional help to determine what’s behind bulkheads or soffits, but if budget allows, a great way to create more storage and to help a kitchen feel bigger is to remove them and install taller upper cabinets instead.

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

3. Wallpaper

Before. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

This one is TOUGH because, at Synergy, we LOVE wallpaper. However, the older style of wallpaper (think stripes in particular) or wallpaper borders is over. Back at our home remodel in Reston, we removed the wallpaper in the Powder Room, added a new vanity, new flooring (note the existing small, square tile) and painted the walls in this “Etched Glass” color to create a perfect transitional space!

After. Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

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Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It may not be the most exciting decision you’ll have to make when it comes to remodeling your kitchen, but it is an essential one: the refrigerator!

At the center of home life, function is more important than form for some, but for others a new refrigerator is an opportunity to make a design statement. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to choice. It mostly comes down to personal preference, the utility you need and the look you prefer. If you’re undecided or just looking for a little design inspo, here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular options.

Pro tip: don’t forget to think about the depth of your refrigerator. Counter-depth refrigerators will sit flush with your countertops rather than jutting out. In recent years, improved design and technology means you don’t have to forego capacity for this streamlined look.

You also need to ensure the door style you choose will fully open with enough clearance for interior produce drawers to be pulled out. This can be particularly problematic when the refrigerator placement is against a wall. No one wants to buy the latest and greatest refrigerator only to find out they can’t open the drawer fully to get to the veggies!

Before we get started, it should be noted the benefit of working with a design-build company like Synergy is that our Interior Designers help you make appliance choices. We also have (and this is the case for most professional home remodeling companies) accounts with suppliers and will not only pass any trade discounts on to you, we help you with your appliance package and coordinate delivery for your project. Although not every kitchen and bathroom remodeler does this, we also register appliances for warranty purposes on behalf of clients. It’s a huge time saving convenience for them and all part of the Synergy service.

Refrigerator Styles

Don’t know the difference between a french door, a side-by-side or column refrigerator? A good place to start is reviewing the different styles out there. You’ll notice not all of the examples below have exterior ice/water makers. Many of our clients choose refrigerators and freezers that have integrated water/ice makers on the interior.

French Door Refrigerator

This refrigerator style simply means you have left and right swing doors for fresh produce storage on the top and a pull out freezer at the bottom. A classic style, this remains one of the most popular choices for many. This style of refrigerator may be for you if you tend to have more produce than frozen food, or if you have large dishware or boxed items (like birthday cake, yum) that need to be stored.

This kitchen remodel nicely shows how a french door refrigerator is equally at home in a more contemporary aesthetic just as much as in a transitional or traditional kitchen.

Image courtesy Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

French door refrigerators now come in all sorts of configuration options. This 36” Bosch 4-door refrigerator has two pullout drawers.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.


This style means the refrigerator is on one side, the freezer is on the other. There are a couple of benefits to a side-by-side vs a french door refrigerator:

  1. the freezers tend to have more capacity
  2. both fresh and frozen can be seen at eye level when the doors are opened
  3. There is less likelihood of frozen produce getting buried under other items

Some people worry there is no room for things like pizza boxes in side-by-side refrigerators. Not so! Most are designed these days with compartments that are large enough to fit this type of box.

In this home remodel in Fairfax, our clients took the side-by-side to a whole new level with this 36” Sub-Zero refrigerator and 36” freezer.

Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this kitchen remodel here.

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Image courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Basements always seem to be last on the list of priorities when it comes to home remodeling, yet they provide the opportunity to create multi-functional spaces that serve as the perfect place for family and friends to gather and unwind. For those who regularly have overnight guests, having a bedroom and/or bathroom on a different level also provides privacy and separation of space. Finished basements also add value from a return on investment perspective for resale.

Whether you’re looking to finish a totally unfinished basement or redesign your existing space to improve functionality or somewhere in between, here are some factors to help you kick-start your basement remodel. We’ll also take a behind the scenes look at a recent basement remodel in Vienna to show you how it’s done.

Figure out what type of contractor you need

Knowing the type of help you need is the first step. A simple project to finish a basement with drywall and add carpeting does not need a full service design-build firm. A more cost-effective way may be to use a general contractor (GC), but you will likely have to take on more responsibility for managing the project and making design choices and (sometimes) buying the materials yourself.

Synergy Design & Construction is a full service design-build firm, meaning we have an in-house team of professionals who partner with you on both the design of your space and its construction. Local home remodeling companies like Synergy tend to focus on design-thoughtful, complex basement remodels that involve reconfiguring the space, adding a bathroom, wet bar, laundry room, etc.

Still not sure what a design-build firm is? Read this article!

Let’s take a look at one of our recent basement remodels in Vienna. The space had an existing rec room and guest bedroom/bathroom, but there was also a large unfinished space that was ready to be put to better use. The design goal was to create different ‘zones’ within the basement by reimagining all of the spaces and refinishing it with modern — but family friendly — finishes. Our clients knew they needed the design expertise of a design-build company like Synergy as well as wanting to work with a deadline driven company who would project manage the remodel for them.

Create a ‘Must-Have’, ‘Nice-to-Have’ and ‘Pinch Me’ List

We recommend homeowners make this list for all home remodeling projects, not just basement remodeling. This is where you get to work putting together a list of what your needs really are — and those that you can live without. For example, creating a guest bedroom and bathroom might be a ‘must-have’, but adding a new wet bar with beautiful cabinets, a bar sink, a dishwasher and icemaker might be a ‘nice to have’. We know, we know: you want it all, but be realistic about how costs add up.

For our basement remodel in Vienna, our clients ‘must-haves’ were to transform the unfinished space into a TV/Rec Room and add a new bar, upgrade the existing rec room and turn it into a games room and add additional work space. Another must-have (and this often comes into play for below grade basements) was the need to add an egress window to the existing guest bedroom. Lastly, our clients decided that although the guest bathroom was functional, remodeling it to update in line with the rest of the basement was also on their list.

Set a Budget

Talking of costs, now it’s time to set a budget. Don’t be afraid to be upfront with any prospective home remodelers or contractors you talk to about what your budget is. It helps set expectations from the beginning of the relationship and any reputable company will be honest with you about your budget vs. what they deliver.

A number of factors will impact the cost of your basement remodel. The most obvious is the total square footage of the space, but that’s not the only item. Other things to consider are if the basement is completely or partially refinished and if existing plumbing lines or rough-ins are in place for bathrooms, washing machines and bar sinks/dishwashers, etc.

If you’re thinking of taking down walls or creating a different floor plan, then load-bearing walls, columns or other structures need to be taken into account. This will add cost to your remodel. Advice for tell tale signs if a column or beam is load-bearing can be found here. This also applies to ductwork. Ductwork that needs to be added, changed/removed or concealed will also add cost. Looking for ideas on how to hide ductwork? Read our blog “How to Hide the Awful Ductwork“.

The other big ticket item is the level of finish you expect. Adding things like a beautiful new built-in TV/Media center or wet bar with cabinets and all the bells and whistles will, of course, increase your cost.

Back to our case study. As with every home remodeling project we work on, we discussed the budget upfront so we could partner with our clients to create a design that met their investment goals. During the Preliminary Design phase, our Interior Designers worked with the homeowners to create the perfect floor plan and layout for their specific needs.

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Image courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

As a full service design-build home remodeling company, our focus isn’t limited to the finishes in the space we’re remodeling, we often work with clients who want to make changes on an entire level or throughout their home as part of their renovation plans. One (often overlooked) change that can have a big impact on the look and feel of a home? Interior doors!

Six panel doors are one of the most commonly used interior door styles in houses in this area, but there are other options. If you’re ready for a change, we’re here to help with some design ideas (most are from homes in the local area) so you can get inspired about what’s possible in your space.

A 6-panel door looks great, but it’s not the only style available. Read on for more design ideas! Image credit Jeld-Wen.


For a more contemporary look, many homeowners are opting for 1-panel doors. They are sleek looking, fuss-free and, the best bit, versatile as they work in many different styles of home. They look stunning with chrome or black hardware.

In this contemporary townhome remodel in Reston, we reconfigured the layout of the entrance hall as part of an entire main level renovation. The 6-panel doors on the coat closet did not blend with the contemporary finishes of the rest of the renovated main level. We moved the location of the coat closet to unutilized space behind the front door and used double 1-panel doors (also used on the powder room door — not shown) for an updated look.

Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.
Images courtesy of Synergy Design & Construction. See more of this remodel here.

This next example shows how double 1-panel doors with frosted glass and square chrome door hardware add a feeling of spa-like luxe to this primary bathroom.

Image courtesy of Monarch Construction.

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Our design-build approach ensures your project is delivered on-time and on-budget. See more of this remodel here.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

I was taking part in a non-work related meeting recently where acronyms and new terms were flying around at a dizzying pace. No matter what industry you work in, it’s often easy to forget the words you use as part of your everyday vernacular mean little to others and can cause confusion and, ultimately, frustration. 

It got me thinking about how that translates to the home remodeling world. There is no one-approach-fits-all when it comes time to update your home. It can be bewildering trying to figure out exactly what type of contractor or home remodeler you need for the project you are thinking about. So, this month, we’re here to explain one of the ways to remodel by taking a deeper dive into the world of ‘design-build’.

First things first, what does design-build mean? In its simplest form, it means a company ‘designs everything it builds and builds everything it designs’. It’s a one-stop-shop experience so you contract with one company as opposed to hiring an interior designer (and/or architect, if needed) for designs and then having to find a separate construction company (and, in many cases, a project manager who can bridge the two). 

The biggest advantage of a design-build approach is the company does all the heavy lifting and brings a team of people to the table to work on your home.

Most design-build home remodeling companies like Synergy Design & Construction have an in-house team of experts who partner with you from the design of your dream space all the way through to the end of construction — usually all professionally project managed along the way. In most cases, design-build companies have Interior Designers, Carpenters and Project Managers as full time employees. Others may even have in-house mechanical, electrical, plumbing and paint/drywall experts on their team. However, most (Synergy included) outsource speciality work to preferred and trusted trade partners as they are only needed at certain points in the overall project. 

The other advantage in having one company who is responsible for your project from start to finish is that you have a much more realistic idea of cost/budget and timeline earlier in the process because the designers/architects and construction teams work hand-in-hand. Having a fantastic project designed on paper by an architect or interior designer with all the bells and whistles is no use to you if the construction company comes back with a quote that is triple your budget. 

Lastly, working with one company means you have one point of accountability, but it also lets you get to know your team. Here’s one of our in-house carpenters at a recent home remodel in Reston. All of our carpenters are highly skilled, passionate about the work they do and develop relationships with the family they are working with. They take great pride in their work and clients have actually told us they miss having the crew around once the project is done!

We assign a Lead Carpenter to every project we work on who knows all the ins and outs and details of your project. They focus on top notch work and deadline driven projects. Carpenters and construction crews will be in your life for a while during a home remodel, so we think it’s important to know who’s in your home — find out why here

Find out more about our team here.

That all sounds great, but what are the downsides? Well, the scope for most design-build firms tends to be larger, complex, design-thoughtful remodels. To give you an example, at Synergy, we do not work on powder room or pantry remodels as a standalone service, but we do include these as part of larger projects such as remodeling all of the bathrooms in a home, or a kitchen plus pantry remodel. In the same way you don’t need an accountant to balance your checkbook, you don’t need a design-build firm for a simple bathroom update. Thinking of a smaller remodel or refresh that doesn’t need a design-build approach but don’t know where to start? Then read this.

This Pantry/Mudroom remodel in Vienna was completed as part of a larger main level remodel. See more of this remodel here.

The other factor is you may pay more (but not always) for the all-inclusive service. In our experience, however, although design-build may sound more expensive at the outset, the time saved (not to mention the stress relief) of not having to find different experts and companies to work with and knowing your chosen company understands your scope and budget at the outset is money well spent (and dollars saved in the long run).

Ready to take the next step on your home remodeling project? Get in touch! We’re always happy to help homeowners in the area figure out if we’re the right fit for their needs.

See more of this home remodel in Reston here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

Home remodel on your New Year’s resolution list? A home remodel is a big financial investment and no one wants to make any changes to their home that won’t stand the test of time when it comes to design choices. We’re here to help! This month, we’re sharing what made our team’s list of trends and things we think we’ll be seeing more of in 2023 when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodeling and interior design.

Fireplaces in Kitchens

The role of the kitchen has changed in the last few decades. They’ve become multi-functional spaces that serve gathering and entertaining needs as well as their day-to-day cooking/prep function. There is now a move taking this one step further by creating kitchens that are ‘cozy’. We like to think we’re trail blazers on this one, but fireplaces in kitchens are regaining popularity as a way to achieve a more intimate and ‘lived in’ feeling.

A Touchstone recessed electric fireplace was integrated into the island in this home remodel in Reston. See more of this home here. Photo courtesy Synergy Design & Construction.
Photo Courtesy Jamie Padgett.

Pet-Friendly Laundry/Mudrooms

This has been a growing trend in recent years, but adding a pet cleaning station to a mudroom or laundry is now a BIG ticket item. With many of us adding a furry friend to the family during the pandemic, it’s now become a ‘must-have’ for many homeowners when they are building a new home or remodeling an existing one. Nicola, our Director of Marketing, did this in her own home and created not only a dog shower (that also doubles for muddy boot cleaning and other heavy duty cleaning) but also added a built-in dog crate, too.

Photo courtesy Nicola Shelley.

Butler’s Pantries as an Extension of Kitchens

In the same way the role of the kitchen has changed, our use of ancillary spaces on the main level has also changed. Historically, Butler’s Pantries were reserved for staff as a primary “landing point” for meal service/clean up as they were located between the kitchen and dining room. These days, Butler’s Pantries are an extension of the kitchen, usually with similar cabinetry or design elements (although not always) for a cohesive feel but with a multifunctional purpose. Not everyone has room for a separate Butler’s Pantry, so mixed-use spaces that combine the Butler’s Pantry/Pantry/Laundry/Mudroom are now high on homeowner’s wishlists.

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Vining Ivy. Photo courtesy Glidden

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

It seems like no time at all since we took a leisurely stroll admiring the calming and soothing colors of last year’s color trends! This year, the biggest names in the paint industry are ready to move things forward and are looking optimistically to the future with new colors that are lush, gorgeous and versatile.

As a full service home remodeling company that focuses on design-thoughtful interior remodels, Synergy doesn’t provide painting as a standalone service. However, we believe painting should be included as part of every home remodel and our Interior Designers will even help you pick out the perfect palette for your space! Not every home remodeler or general contractor includes painting in their scope of services, so be sure to ask the question before you sign a home remodeling contract.

With that said, time to get inspired and take a look at the top color picks by some of the biggest names in the painting industry.

Benjamin Moore  

Benjamin Moore is our go-to paint company when it comes to our home remodels. This year, they’ve named Raspberry Blush (2008-30) as their color of the year. Providing “Joie de Vivre”, it is described as “a vivacious shade of color tinged with pink, this electric hue is the definition of charismatic color.”

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients is how to best use color without overdoing it and overpowering the space. This depends on a lot of factors (including your personal design aesthetic when it comes to use of color), but it is possible to paint a room all in the same color, or simply use it as an accent. Benjamin Moore provides some helpful suggestions for using this paint color to maximum effect in different ways:

  • Bring a blushed update to the deep red dining room with Raspberry Blush walls and Onyx furnishings.
  • Create a lively living room with walls and wainscoting. 
  • Add a pop of color to your home with a powder room or ensuite painted in this rich coral.

Farrow & Ball

Based in England, Farrow & Ball have long held a reputation for quality paint and interesting colors (or should we say, ‘colours’) and they are also high on our list of favorites when it comes to paint names! 

This year, they introduced 11 new colors to their collection of high-performance, low-VOC, water based paints. According to Farrow & Ball they are, “inspired by moments of joy, comfort and refreshment to bring delight to your decorating. The first additions to our much-loved colour card in four years, these versatile new shades range from a lively, flame red to a delicate pink. With our signature richness, depth and extraordinary response to light, each one is unmistakably Farrow & Ball.”

This is a big deal for Farrow & Ball who haven’t introduced any new colors for four years. They are retiring 11 of their older colors to make way for these new ones, so if you’ve used their paint in your home in recent years, it might be a good time to look into which colors are being discontinued in case you need a touch up.

“Our relationship with our home has changed so much over the last few years, it felt like the perfect time to introduce these new colours,” said Joa Studholme, color curator for Farrow & Ball, in a press release. “We all feel ready to show off our spaces and personal style.”

Say hello to the new Farrow & Ball colors:

  • Stirabout
  • Eddy
  • Tailor Tack
  • Templeton Pink
  • Bamboozle
  • Hopper Head
  • Selvedge
  • Kittiwake
  • Wine Dark
  • Whirlybird
  • Beverly

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