The ASLA’s Outdoor Design Trends for 2014

Every year, the American Society of Landscaping Architects gets together to discuss and explore the latest trends in design for exterior spaces, and the results have recently been released for 2014. Many professionals like those at Tiefenthaler rely on the ASLA outdoor design trends in planning exterior projects, for both new home construction and existing spaces. Here are a few of the landscaping ideas that are turning heads this year.

Outdoor Design

Source: ASLA

  • Exterior living areas that include features for meal preparation continue to be popular. More homeowners are installing outdoor kitchens, rotisseries and brick ovens in addition to the traditional grills.
  • Fire and water features are in demand as families spend more time outdoors entertaining guests. Fountains, ponds and small-scale creeks add to the peaceful atmosphere, while outdoor fireplaces allow households to spend more time outdoors in the early and late seasons.
  • Native plants are the latest trend among homeowners who want easy care landscaping. These plants are used to their environment, which means they don’t need excess sunlight or watering beyond what they experience in the back yard.
  • Rooftop gardens are gaining acceptance among urban dwellers. Not only do they provide a wealth of produce and herbs for households that want to grow their own food, but they offer insulation from the elements and lower energy bills.
  • The latest in lighting is always among the ASLA trend report topics. From ambiance illumination to task lighting, outdoor enthusiasts need to be able to see their gorgeous space. Solar-powered lighting continues to be an energy-efficient choice.

The professionals at Tiefenthaler stay current with the ASLA outdoor design trends, as well as the latest developments in new home construction and large scale renovations. Please give us a call to hear more about our work, which includes both interior and exterior home improvement and transformations.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Architect for Your Home Build

Now that you’ve decided to purchase a custom built new home, it’s time to start looking into New England architects that can help make your dream come true. Tiefenthaler Construction works closely with many architectural professionals throughout the region, and our experts know the important questions to ask when you’re trying to find the right fit.

New Home

Source: Tiefenthaler Construction

1. What is your design approach? If you like classic interiors, you’re not going to work well with an architect who concentrates on modern, edgy styles.

2. What challenges do you foresee in completing this project? Ground breaking of your new home is not the time to discover that your architect sees problems. Ask before you hire an architect to determine whether he or she sees roadblocks or potential delays that can hinder your project.

3. How are fees for materials and labor calculated? You’ll want to know how your architect is earning the money you’re paying, and it’s important to find this information out before a dispute arises. Inquire as to how you’ll be charged for your architect’s services and other staff, as well as costs for materials.

4. What will be required of you as the home purchaser? If you need to provide input or participate in meetings, it’s best to know this in advance. You can plan and prepare for the project better if you know your level of involvement.

5. How will you communicate with your architect? Whether it’s email, phone or text, you need to establish how you contact your professional with questions, concerns or changes.

Please give us a call to find out more about the New England architects Tiefenthaler works with in connection with our custom built new homes. Our close, professional partnerships help us bring quality craftsmanship and construction services to satisfied residents throughout the area.

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Give the Floors in Your Home a Rustic Feel By Using Reclaimed Wood

No matter what room in the house needs new flooring, you have a wide array of building materials to choose from to replace it. Ceramic tile and hardwood are popular options, but you might consider reclaimed wood as a unique alternative that will add character and a rustic feel to any space. Here are some ways the renovation pros at Tiefenthaler are using this distinctive floor covering in Fairfield County, CT area projects.

Hardwood Floor

Source: Tiefenthaler Construction

  • Install reclaimed wood in your family room for a rustic touch on this casual room in the house. The bonus is that the surface of wood is sound absorbent, so the loud movies and video games won’t echo throughout your home. With an accent rug or two, your floors are also comfortable and family friendly.
  • Wood flooring is also an excellent option for your kitchen. It’s easy to clean with regular sweeping and mopping, and long term maintenance is a breeze. Plus, it’s durable, so it can withstand all the wear and tear your family can throw at it. If you spend lots of time in the kitchen with meal preparation, your feet will also thank you for installing reclaimed wood floors.
  • Consider reclaimed wood in your master bedroom if you like a rustic, beachy style. The look is reminiscent of cottage or colonial interior design, with its weathered appeal and softness. Shades of blue and green really pop against dark wood, bringing the feel of the seaside and enhancing the peaceful atmosphere you want in your bedroom.

There are many other options for finishing your home’s floors with repurposed wood, including a media room fix up or family room renovation. Please give us a call at Tiefenthaler to hear more about our current projects or to schedule a consultation with one of our home improvement specialists.

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Buyer Beware: How Some SPEC Home Builders Cut Corners

When you’re in the market for a new home, your budget is one of your most primary considerations. You want to get the best price on a place that offers the features you want. As such, you might think that buying a new speculative home will help you get a great deal on new construction. However, as the professionals at Tiefenthaler can attest, these speculative companies don’t have your best interests in mind and will cut corners wherever possible to increase their profit.


Source: Tiefenthaler Construction

Speculative home building companies build according to plans drawn up by architects who have no connection to the homeowner who purchases the property. Typically, these structures are cookie-cutter in nature and have the bare minimum in terms of features, accessories and appliances. This enables them to get a discount on building materials, though the savings aren’t passed on to the buyer. Often times its the things you cannot see that are compromised, such as the type and quantity of insulation, the quality of the interior cabinetry and hardware, very basic or minimal moldings and the quality of the plumbing fixtures or home appliances.

In contrast, custom home builders aren’t in the business of making a profit at the expense of inferior quality. Builders like Tiefenthaler consult with and listen to the needs of new home buyers and the architect they chose to design THEIR custom home with all of the features and benefits tailored to their taste and budget. Every element of the home gets the blessing of the homeowner, from the foundation to the roof.

The point to be taken away is that speculative or housing developing homes are not always the best option when it comes to investing in a new construction home. Custom home builders like Tiefenthaler work closely with you and your architect to design and construct your dream home, using your input at every stage along the way to ensure the end result is exactly what you want. Please contact our office to hear more about our new home construction or schedule an appointment to view one of our projects.

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