What Is Involved In Building a Home

Back right side view of the house

Our last article talked about Prior Lake and it’s great possibilities involved with living near the town. Today we thought it would be good to give a comprehensive look at what it takes to build a home!

Building a home is one of the most exciting processes you could imagine. The chance to make an environment that suits you perfectly, and be able to say you made it. Along with building your home, you get to choose the location, adding another layer of freedom and personalization!

So let’s break down the basis of this process so you can get a rough idea of how this all works!

  • Pick a plot and have a design made up for the home
  • Prepare the site and pour the foundation of your home! This will entail the construction crew leveling the site and begin laying out the houses foundation details with markers.
  • Rough framing process begins. The basic skeleton of the home is formed  (walls, roof, floors).
  • Install a rough version of the plumbing, electrical and HVAC. This entails things like pipes and wires, sewer lines and vents, water supply lines, bathtubs and showers, duct-work and HVAC system.
  •  Installation of the insulation! The key to a perfect temperature in a home comes in a variety of materials. Fiberglass, cellulose, foam mineral wool, concrete blocks, spray foam and foam board and rigid foam.
  • Next up is when the drywall is installed along with the brick and stucco, stone and siding.
  • Now that the base aspects of the house are built, you get to start designing  the interior with things like trim, baseboards, casings, window sills, molding, stair balusters and even cabinets and fireplaces! At this point, you get to start defining the characteristics of your interior. Something we offer at Xpand inc. is the option of custom work, for example custom cabinetry! We can help you Xpand beyond the normal confines of interior structures and really elaborate the uniqueness of your home!
  • Moving forward, now is the time to install hard surface flooring and counter tops. This means you will want to know the material your going to use for the counters. A strong material that is a wide favorite would be something like quartz and granite, but we will be able to go through the other types of material with you to ensure you have a nice range of options that match you and your dream home!
  • Moving forward in the process towards your dream home, we have the installation of light fixtures, outlets and switches along with the necessary electrical panels. Lights can really define an atmosphere and give a great sense of wonder, so be sure to consider the manner in which they are presented and what they will be emphasizing!
  • At the same time as the fixtures, it will be the time to install sinks toilets and faucets, the components that can help define a bathrooms style!
  • Final clean up is near! Your home is almost at its final stage! It may seem like it came fast while reading this, but the actual process takes around 12 weeks to do, and your anticipation during that time will cause the days to move slowly! At this stage of the building process, mirrors, shower doors and carpeting are all installed and finely cleaned. At the same time the greenery around the home is planted and the exterior landscaping is completed to compliment your home.
  • The final, but most exciting step is the walk-through of your finished home.  This will be the realization of your dream home. At this step you want to pay close attention to aspects that the builders need to fix. We at Xpand will explain the the needs of your home in terms of maintenance and responsibility, as well as warranty coverage and procedures. Be sure to take notes and ask questions!

That’s it. You now have the home of your dreams! Or, you would if you went through this process, but that’s also an exciting factor, you still get to go through these steps and create a masterpiece that signifies you and your family, your home will break the cookie cutter mold and stand out from the rest!

Give us a call today and lets start the process of your dream home! We will Xpand your dreams into reality with Xcellent service! 


Tips on how to give a room a more prominent feeling of space!

So let’s say you have a beautifully decorated living room that your proud of, but still has some issues with the feeling of space and it being too cramped. How could you resolve to a degree, this issue of space, without ruining your already well developed design and layout of the room? Well there are a couple ways!

Something often overlooked or not consciously thought about when it comes to a room is the molding in a room. Molding involves things like baseboards and crown moldings. These touches to the walkways in and out of a room, and along the ceiling can really emphasize space of a room, enhancing its feeling of width, depth and height!


Starting with the baseboards! Baseboards are often seen as a visual foundation of a room, seeing as they are at the floor level. They generally run along the perimeter of a room, outlining the room and encasing it. The variations in height of the baseboard can really alter the feeling of a room, for example, an 8″ baseboard will give a more bare feeling in comparison to a 10″ baseboard, which you can use to your advantage in either scenario depending on the room and your layout. Something to consider when changing the baseboard height, is the height of the ceiling, for these two components often interact. Another thing to consider is the flooring type, whether it is a hardwood floor or carpet, and alter the type of baseboard accordingly. For example a hardwood floor with a shoe mold baseboard tend to have great synergy!


Openings from one room to another without the use of a door allows strong flowing properties in a home. Using this form of opening however means it needs to have high representation of itself because it lacks a functionality like an opening door. This is where the casing, or trim of the opening comes in! The casing wraps around from one side of the wall to the other, defining the opening, while also protecting the corners of the wall from bumps and breaks. When considering the casing, it is good to think about how the casing comes off the wall. It is best to avoid flat and lifeless casing that just sits on the wall. Optimize the opportunity by considering the depth of the casing and the profile, how far it stretches across the wall it is on, and the way it interacts with the viewer and user of the opening.

Crown molding

Last but not least we have crown molding. is basically the same as baseboards, but for the ceiling. The same things can be considered, however a new element is involved. When considering crown molding, you want to think of how the corner of the ceiling phases into the molding. A dramatic and popular option would be a cove molding, which has a really strong emphasized curve from the ceiling, across the corner between the two walls, and transitions onto the lower wall seamlessly.  Sometimes this option can be better than a very intricate crown molding, because it doesn’t add an overwhelming visual concept that can actually make the room feel even more full. Since the crown molding is so similar to the baseboards, it would be wise to think of their interactions together as well, in terms of style and width, depth and height (or drop in the case of crown molding).


You now have three new forms in which your home can develop a stronger control of itself and the atmosphere it wishes to present. Using all three in a cohesive manner that amplifies each other can come together to be an astounding addition to a room or home entirely. Give it a shot!

Give us a call today and lets talk about the options and our recommendations for your home and its style! 

Modern fireplace renovation ideas!

When you hear the word “fireplace” you usually think of the standard fireplace that is sitting in a brick chimney and in the living room of the home. Generally that’s how they actually are, but why stick with the generic? Let’s be a bit eccentric and exciting today!

Modern fireplace concepts

We are going to move the fireplace away from the generic chimney attached concept and develop some ideas for more unique and modern concepts!

Let’s start off by moving the fireplace away from the brick and chimney. Your fireplace can easily be installed into a wall now! This can hold great opportunities! For example, the wall could be made specifically for the fireplace, allowing the fireplace to be shown and functional on both sides of the said wall, adding a unique warmth and charm to more than just the living room!

If your worried about adding a wall to the house and closing the space up, why not consider a the midsection of the wall to be cut out, allowing for visual space to still be relevant, and a fireplace being functional on both sides!

Ventless fireplaces 

Most people don’t actually know that since the 1980’s there have been ventless fireplaces. There are, and they can be tremendously useful from a design standpoint!

Incorporating a ventless fireplace allows the location and incorporation of the fireplace to be faster and easier, foregoing the flute or chimney altogether! This means you can have a wonderful in-wall risen fireplace in your dining room to give an alluring charm during dinner. Adding onto the previous concept, the fireplace could actually function in two rooms, so when you move from the dining room to the living room you don’t have to leave the comfort of a fickle flame! Fireplaces don’t even need to be restricted to the main section of a home! If you have a workshop in the garage, or an enclosed porch of some sort, you could always install a fireplace in these locations!

Changing how you see the fireplace and the generic ideas of how it is supposed to be can open up some great opportunities for your home and it’s development of character!

Consider in the future, a renovation that incorporates a fireplace wall or ventless fireplace to add a strong visual appeal as soon as you step into the home. Fireplaces are key to a dramatic feeling in an atmosphere because it showcases an element defined by it’s fickle existence and undying charm in the glow of it’s oxygen burning life.

Give us a call today and let’s talk about some fireplace renovation ideas! We have some great insight to offer and we would love to collaborate with you to achieve those new standards of uniqueness!


Garage workshop renovation ideas!

During the winter seasons, it is easier to get into hobbies that are at, or near the home. For some, this may be difficult based on the hobby or profession, due to the need for specific machines/tools. For example, if your a hobby ceramics artist, or even a full time ceramics artist, and looking to move your workshop out of a rented space and into the home, we have a solution for you! The garage!

The garage has so many possibilities to become a workshop, be it a mechanic shop or something else, there is always a way to alter your garage for what you need! Since the garage is generally an open space already, it’s easier to convert from one function to another.

What to consider for garage renovations

Renovation Format

Renovate your garage to add a second floor dedicated to your workshop! You can add onto your garage and incorporate some form of loft style that can allow for interaction with the garage floor while dwelling on the loft working away perfecting your craft! This format would also prevent the issue of car placement, by not displacing your vehicles to fit the necessary equipment of your trade. Another option is to have a new car garage built on the property to the perfect dimensions to fit the family vehicles so that you may convert the ground floor of the home attached garage, into your new workshop.


When converting your garage into a workshop you must take into consideration the needs of your new work space. Consider a layout that that will minimize health hazards and ensure safety as a priority. An example  for a ceramics workshop would be to ensure you have a ventilation system applied to the garage so that you may dispose of the hazardous materials floating in the air. It is also important to make sure there is a clear fire escape route that has minimal chance to be hindered in case of a fire. Safety precautions and protocol should be considered before any renovations or additions are acted upon.


Moving your workshop to your home garage area will be a huge convenience especially during the seasons that might prevent you from leaving your home. Having the workshop at home will allow a more precise execution of time management, helping your days become more efficient in all manners. Altering your garage into a workshop also allows for change! The issues you had at your out of home workshop can be addressed in the process of developing your in-home workshop! A workshop at home will also mean there is no longer the possibility for community sharing issues, unless you choose to hold workshops in your new space. This alone is a great bonus because it means you will know where everything is at all times and things won’t fall apart mysteriously when your gone.

The pros of an in-home workshop easily outweigh the pros of a community or rented work space. Converting your home garage into a workshop will no doubt increase productivity and efficiency for most all forms of trades/hobbies.

Be sure to give us a call today and let’s talk about those garage renovation ideas and additions, to ensure a high quality job that will be more than sufficient for your workshop needs! 


Breakfast nook, the new place for a light meal and a book!

Kitchens are fantastic, they offer a wide variety of options that most always involve great food, people, and atmosphere. Often, when thinking of a kitchen, there is the cooking area, and the seating area, but little did you know there is a secret location often forgotten despite its amazing qualities.

A Kitchen nook! A small location right off of the kitchen that is a great seating for small meals/snacks. Kitchen nooks often are accompanied with small tables and built in seating next to a nice wide three panel window for an added relaxing atmosphere.

So what are some important factors when thinking about installing a kitchen nook? Let’s break it down!


Kitchen nooks often take advantage of smaller little locations near the kitchen to emphasize a cozy feeling and have a charming effect. However this could also be a challenge because you don’t want to cramp the space with a bunch of furniture and items for cosmetics. When developing the layout its important to think about how many people this room can hold at once as well as the size of the furniture. For example, a round table top between 42 and 60 inches in diameter would work best generally for this nook.


When considering the light fixture for this nook, it’s important to consider the objects below. If your table and chairs are relatively simple minimal designs, a strong light fixture with prominent sculptural aspects would help bring the room together and give both aspects of simple and complex great attendance and contrast with each other. If you have a more complex and design heavy table and seating, then a very minimal and simple light fixture would work best!

Window treatment

When this space is developed, it’s important to keep in mind the small quirk of the space, and to accommodate the atmosphere accordingly, especially when it comes to temperature. Take note of the peak sunlight times in the nook to understand when it will be the hottest and try to find a balance for that, while also considering the winter months and cold air. Alter the windows to fit the theme and style of the nook with the curtains, but also think about curtains that help control the flow of temperature from outdoors. Custom drapery can be a great insulation between the window and room!

Breakfast nooks can be a place for small snacks and meals, as well as family game spots that allow for a comfy atmosphere and appealing visual aesthetic. There are many ways in which this nook can be made to work, so much as you always keep in mind the flow of the space and it’s primary functions!

That’s all for today on kitchen nooks! If you need a remodel on the home to open some space for a kitchen nook please don’t hesitate to call! We will work with you through every step of the way to ensure this becomes apart of your dream home concept! 

Wine and dine in your own home!

Going out to a nice luxurious restaurant can be a wonderful time. Beautifully made atmosphere with a sense of romance and charm filling the air. However, sometimes you just don’t have the time and energy it takes to go to a location such as this, getting the reservations and getting ready are just too much of a hassle. Your next best option is to stay home and enjoy time with the family at the dining area, the only problem is, the dining area feels lacking. In this post, we are going to give you some inspiration for dining room remodels and innovations! We want you to develop a dining room that gives a strong relaxing atmosphere, filled with a sense of luxury and sophistication! A dining room to be truly proud of, and excited to use!

There are many aspects to consider when thinking about dining room remodels, and while it’s easy to get carried away and completely change this room into it’s own little world (which can be very appealing when done correctly) however it’s good to keep in mind that this room is apart of the bigger whole, and there should be a strong cohesive element in this room in comparison to the rest of the home.

Now let’s break down some aspects of a dining room remodel!


How the dining room is oriented can effectively make or break the room right off the bat. This room needs to have a set up that allows easy flow and movement from this room to another, giving no stress in transition. This room is primarily used as a family gathering spot to eat, however is often subject to being a place of activity, and that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the layout of this room. Consider the windows and adjacent rooms, as well as the lighting placement for an overall effective experience with the design you want to implement.


There are numerous manners in which this room can be formed to have it’s own special atmosphere and quirks. For example, you could have one of the walls dedicated to greenery! Bringing the nature indoors to consistently provide a fresh feeling environment that is very aesthetically appealing and downright unique!



Consider what interactions you would want to have with other rooms, while in this room. There is a more modern route that can be taken, that allows for visual access to multiple rooms while occupying the dining room, which thoroughly enhances the feeling of vastness/openness.


A very open style dining room that allows  for visual  access to other rooms while in the dining room is key. However if this seems too invasive to you, there is always the standard and other alternatives in terms of the wall layouts.  If you want a more secluded dining room, you can always enforce a very structurally closed of style that is still effective and actually stronger at achieving its own atmospheric feeling.

That’s all we have for today, but be sure to let some ideas stew for those dining room remodels and give us a call when your ready! We will work with you through every step of the way to achieve the dream home you desire!


Nursery room and baby tips!

If you are lucky enough to be adding an extra to the family this coming winter, i’m certain you are stressing about the room that will be dedicated to that soon-to-be. A nursery room is supposed to be the safest location for the baby and have nothing but positive affects on the little bugger. So what should be considered when baby-ing up a room?

Let’s break it down!


The new born baby will spend most of it’s time in here staring at a never changing ceiling. This room needs to be well thought out, from the lighting, to the noise, to create the least stressful environment as possible. To do this, it is important to consider all of the senses. When considering the light, it’s best to have forms of light that are natural, but not intense, something more subdued. This room also needs to have as much stillness as possible, so very little traffic should come through here, which means nothing of need should be stored in here that will require you to go in and out of this room often. Consider the placement of the furniture that works best with the needs of you and the baby, this will ensure a more peaceful environment, rather than a jungle gym. Once the child actually comes into the room, there may be a need to adjust things to make it a comfortable location for the both of you.

Baby furniture

The furniture you have will require some familiarization, to ensure smooth functionality in the moment of need, rather than struggle and increased screams. Become familiar with the bassinet and how it works, this will be an essential tool in the early stages of babyhood because it allows transportation of the sleeping bug, for a watchful eye. After the first four or five months, it’s time for the infamous crib. When choosing a crib, ensure it satisfies all safety regulations so that your child cant slip through the slates like Maggie in the Simpsons. Information on the new regulations and suggestions for cribs can be found here.

Sleeping arrangements

Since your baby will be sleeping most of it’s early life, it’s important to know the safety tips.

  • “Back to sleep”- always make sure your baby is placed on it’s back while sleeping, to avoid the possibility of the worst case scenario, SIDS (Sudden Baby Death Syndrome)
  • A firm and flat sleeping surface so the baby can sleep better and healthier.
  • fluffy pillows, crib bumpers, blankets, and toys should never be place in the crib with the child.
  • Do not use sleep-position devices. They may prove to endanger your child rather than help.
  • Zipper sleepers are a great way to keep your child warm, but ensure it is not possible for it to be pulled up and over the child’s face.

Having a child can be a wonderful experience if you have thoroughly prepared with the gaining of knowledge and mental confidence! There is more important aspects to consider than what is laid out here, so be sure to keep scouring the web for important aspects of nurseries and babies health! Also, congratulations!

Be sure to give us a call if you have any questions about remodels for the nursery to ensure a larger space, or better noise cancellation options, not to mention lighting options!

That’s all for today! Have a wonderful week, and we hope this was informative for parent’s to be!

Bathroom remodel ideas!

Master bath with hardwood floor and window overlooking lake

The winter is a great time to consider the inside of your home, and the rooms that are used on a daily. One such room of great importance would be the bathroom, we use it every day, so it should be one of the top priorities when it comes to comfort, access and spaciousness. If your bathroom is a cluttered room that drives anxiety, stress and frustration into overdrive just by looking at the closed that hides the beast within, you may want to consider a remodel!

Bathroom remodels can be very cathartic and really help you appreciate your bathroom much more. From the shower to the floor, a bathroom remodel has all sorts of possibilities! So lets think about some options!

Counter space, above and below

The bathroom counters are one of the main focuses when you step into the room. This will be the location you brush your teeth, do your hair and makeup, shave and a multitude of other functionalities. This space needs to accommodate your needs. Something to really consider is the type of counter, what material you will use, and what will help hide the fallen toothpaste instead of show it off. Usually there are cabinets of some sort underneath the counter space, to hold cleaning products or some random things here and there, however you could actually remove the space below and have the cabinets cut out, so there is a nice wide open space below the sink. this will open the room more, enhancing the feeling of space, while also being an option to store objects there if wanted.


The kind of tile you have laid out in your bathroom is another strong attention capturing subject. The tile should be the cohesive element that ties the entire room together aesthetically, while still being something that shines on it’s own. Consider how far this tile is pushed, it doesn’t have to stop at the floor level. Some bathrooms can look great with the floor tile rising up and taking hold of some of the wall space, creating a cut across the room, before going into a different material for the upper half of the walls.

Bathtub or shower? Both? 

The cleaning station! the shower/bath in the bathroom can be the “make or break” of the room. Everything in the bathroom can look great and create an aesthetic appeal, but then be completely ruined by the shower or tub. The shower/tub needs to integrate seamlessly  with the rest of the room. A strong way of accomplishing this integration would go back to the flooring, which could lead right into the shower/tub. Another method could be the means of access, either curtain or slider, or doors. The method of access will also determine how open the room feels. If there is a curtain, the room will instantly be cut down, while a glass or frost door will open the room greatly, increasing the sense of space and decrease any claustrophobic feelings.


That’s all for now, but don’t for a second think that this is all that there is to a bathroom remodel! There is always the toilet, lighting, mirror, shelving, closets etc… that has to still be considered! Make your bathroom a place of peace and strong functionality! Once you have some solid ideas flowing around, give us a call and we will work through your ideas with you and help you through the entire process! 

Winter wonderland in an enclosed porch!

The home has a variety of things to offer in terms of functionality and services. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, the home has tremendous potential to become a character of its own. The only limit to what you do with your home is the limit of your imagination!…alright there might be a few other things too but those are currently irrelevant.

Something that is often overlooked, and that I think holds great potential is the idea of an enclosed porch! An enclosed porch can offer great potential for use all through the year, no matter the season, and connects the occupants with an intimate relationship with the surrounding nature! Be it storming, snowing, or a bright beautiful day, the enclosed porch will always stay relevant in the home.

So what do you need to consider when planning your remodel for the enclosed porch?

Let’s break it down!



I’m like a broken record, I know, but aesthetic is a strong element in a home that must not be overlooked. The feeling you get when you walk into the enclosed porch should compliment the natural environment in all of its forms. A strong manner of accomplishing this is to extenuate the roofing, by installing glass panels on the ceiling, to feel further engrossed in the environment. The colors of this room should be painted with the surrounding environment in mind. If you have strong greenery around then use colors that would compliment green. Often cool colors can work well in these room, like a blue/grey, or on the opposite side, a nice tan/cream color has been known to work well. Finally consider the texture relevant in the room. Will you have a stone fireplace and exposed wood supports on the ceiling to match the rough forest in your backyard?  These questions can really decide how well the room ties together with the outside and rest of the inside areas.



There should be a flow of movement in the room that allows for comfort, because this room is for relaxing and contemplation, or family game night, you name it! Either way this room should allow strong movement which means, don’t pack the room full of furniture to try and overly impress yourself or your guests. This room works best with minimalism. Another thought should be how you enter the room. Will the room be open from the kitchen or living room, with no door for a strong connection to the rest of the home? Or will there be a sliding door to separate the rest of the home and keep that room its own atmosphere?


Elevation of the room

Finally, lets consider the elevation of the room. Will this room be level with the rest of the home and have stairs leading downward to the ground level from the enclosed porch? Or would you prefer to have steps leading down from the home, into the porch and then you can walk out into your backyard? Or will you just get rid of the stairs all together and have a slopped entry way into the porch? These forms of entry can decide who can and cant enter the location, while also causing more or less difficulty in certain areas of life. It’s important to consider who will be enjoying this room and what this room will be used for! Maybe you will install a miniature ceramic studio to work under the stars on those inspired nights? I can dream!


I hope you have some ideas swimming about for your homes new enclosed porch! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us and we will walk with you through the whole process!

Home library remodels, a space for the mind to wander and the soul to flourish

Master suite with sliding door and hardwood floor and chandelier and hallway to walk in closet

Our home can be an energy filled place, excitement, pre-teen angst, you name it. We need to have a place that allows  us to engage in a calm energy to process the day and get lost in worlds of the mind. Books! Stories created from the minds of silver-penned artists to engage the reader in a carnival of curiosities and allow them to rest the body and mind.

Enticed yet? Great! We need to talk about your next home remodel idea! A home library, for you or the family or your neighbors cats, you name it!

So what do you need to think about when building an environment dedicated to reading and studies?

Let’s break it down!


The environment of this room is especially important. The energy you feel in this room will determine your ability to concentrate on the resting function, and really immerse yourself in what your doing. this means there should be an aesthetic that has calming colors and clutter-free energy.

There should be plenty of room to walk, wander and wonder. When concentration is broken from the random inaudible noise outside the room you need to not get distracted by something else in the room. Ensure the room has very specific objects in it, so books and maps and things that are studied and involving sitting or laying and relaxing the body.


Noise is another important aspect to consider, as seen from the section above. Maybe consider having the room dedicated to soundproof so the neighbors mowing their lawn doesn’t cause distress and broken concentration. Think of the type of door you want to use because they all have different forms of noise cancellation. Maybe add an attachment to the bottom of the door to close the gap between the floor and the door but still allows it to open and close smoothly. Technology in the room can be another source of noise, so consider the hum of the computer or the buzzing of a radio when your planning the items inside the room.


Lights! Naturally you need to be able to see what your reading. Think about all times of the day when your in this room. Will there be an abundance of natural lighting during the day? What kind of lights will be used during the night hours? It’s always a great idea to get lights as close to natural sunlight, this is good for mental health and is known to improve the mood and put stress on the decline.

Structural Layout

How will the flow of the library feel? You need to consider the layout of the walls and how the air flows in the room. There is always an option for a loft style, which is popular for libraries/studies. Enter the room and pick out a book then walk up the stairs that overlook the lower level that holds shelves abundant with your future journeys. You could also consider a lovely window seating, the stereotypical library functionality, but always a deeply loved location. A window seat can be a great place to cozy up and read or study, while being close to the outside world without the possibility of an icicle falling from your nose!


Home libraries/ studies are places of retreat and regeneration. They can improve a homes charm greatly and become one of the main attractions as well. Give us a call today and lets discuss some ideas so you can be ready before the winter hits to cozy up and get lost in wonderland with Alice.