Backyard Dissonance

Formal Family Room View of backyard and lake

Tired of feeling so disconnected to your back yard? That disconnect between your home and the backyard can really set people uneasy, like a whole portion of their property is shifted to the side, only meant to be looked upon  and not immersed in.

The spring is coming and so are the opportunities to finally fix that backyard disconnect. Take the time this spring to come up with a pleasant home addition that takes advantage of that backyard space. Be it an all glass section added to the home, to help feel integrated into your backyard and nature, or a pathway that leads to a bar and seating area for relaxing.

Let’s spring forward with our homes design and appeal! We will break down some ideas for you to chew on and help you develop a stronger sense of what you do and don’t want!

Starting with and enclosed glass room:

  • A pentagonal shaped enclosed space featuring the most possible visual availability possible.
  • Windows taking the place of all walls and ceilings. Great for enjoying your surrounding environment, weather on a lake or in a backyard, while still keeping yourself in a regulated temperature room and away from those pesky mosquito’s!
  • An alternate use for this addition could be a green house! Naturally! Providing protection from outside critters, while still gaining the nutrients needed from the sun and the sky! Your plants will be in a well constructed environment and flourish before your eyes!
  • Add some form of pathway leading out further to your back yard. These can come in the form of bricks, rock slabs, gravel, you name it!
  • A nighttime paradise, exemplifying the spatial wonders of the stars in the sky! You can think of this room as a mini observatory during those cloudless nights that will provide you with a spectacle as-if on demand!

If your not feeling the whole glass room concept, lets break out of the box and think a little more about backyard additions that are more free winded!

  • Starting from a nice pathway leading from your back doors, let’s venture out to the bungalow you installed that features an assortment of social activities or relaxing options!
  • A bar with a couple of chic stools made from tree stumps or stone slabs! This can be a comfortable place to sit and chat with friends or family and lose the remainder of the day!
  • The covered ceiling of the bungalow allows for protection from direct sunlight while still allowing the fresh breeze to sift on through.
  • Maybe your more interested in something like an outdoor kitchen? Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! Being able to enjoy the fresh feeling of spring while cooking your favorite meal that doesn’t have to include BBQ is always a rewarding feeling!
  • Once your done cooking you can retreat a space that has some stereos installed and are accompanied by some outdoor/indoor furniture to relax and eat.

Be it an outdoor kitchen or glass room, the potential for your home to become more luxurious and enjoyable should not be passed by! Take advantage of the beautiful seasons lacking the frozen flakes of despair and find some consonance between your home and backyard desires!

Give us a call today at Xpand inc. and let’s start mapping out the necessary materials and planning to make your dream home become a reality! We work with you every step of the way and will provide the best possible satisfaction we can!

While your at it, check out our past articles on potential places for a new home! Bloomington and Prior Lake!

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! 

 

Looking for some home work in Shakopee? Look no further!

We at Xpand Inc and Homes of Excellence offer a wide variety of home services that will fit your home building or renovation needs!

Today we thought it would be good to give some insight into what those services are in a broad manner, so you know exactly where you fall and how we can be of service!

We have six main categories for services:

Custom Homes

First and foremost is our most prominent service, the construction of homes! When working with clients, we go through all the materials and steps with you, to assess what would be the best route to achieving your homes refined individuality.

When building homes we always keep in mind visual cohesiveness and functionality to really optimize your homes effectiveness in all manners. Due to our close work with each client, we limit the amount of subcontracts we take on at a time to keep the focus on the current projects and really ensure its results.

Kitchens & Baths

Kitchens are a central figure in a home, and we are aware of that when dealing with the space. We want to make certain that the style and layout of your kitchen is a place of communal growth an joy. We can achieve almost any style under the sun, from modern and sleek to classic and clean!

When it comes to bathrooms, people often try to really downplay the atmosphere and tuck it away in the corner. Bathrooms can be great places of aesthetic achievement, and we think it is important to take that opportunity! Getting home from work and wanting to soak away the trials of the day is much more enjoyable in an atmosphere that has great dynamic lighting and a soothing aura. We can achieve such an atmosphere in a variety of ways that will surely be to your liking!

Garages and Outbuildings 

A garage can be more than just a storage space for your vehicle. The garage is a space that holds dynamic possibilities and can become an essential part of the home. From tool-shop to workshop, we can help get it going in the right direction!

Outbuildings are something that are not often on the mind, but hold great additions to a homes property! All that seasonal equipment can’t fit in your workshop/garage, so lets build a new location for it that will add convenience to your home life!

Decks and Porches

On the note of seasonal, we also think it’s important to mention decks and porches! Many may not know, but Xpand started out by specializing in decks and porches. This means that since evolving our company, we have achieved something of a master level when it comes to these outdoor platforms! Due to our upbringing we have made it our goal to ensure our decks and porches are the very best around!

Lower Level Finishes 

Basements and lower levels are spaces that can sometimes go unused due to it’s lacking character and elements. We can change that. Using both a practical and professional mindset we can offer you suggestions that would best fit your home and offer some great new possibilities for social and family events!

Remodels & Additions

Being experts in home building entails many possibilities, but one of the main aspects is revitalization. When homes need to be remodeled and brought up to code and standards, we can do it. In the process of achieving the necessary requirements, we will instill a new breath of life and modern class into the location! We know just what to look for when it comes to unexpected issues that have built up over time, ensuring the safety of all who interact with this building!

We hope this has been an informative article to excite you about the possibilities our services provide! Give us a call or send an email with any questions and let’s start making those dream homes a reality!

YOUR DREAM IS OUR MISSION

back side view of house

That headline isn’t just to get your attention, it is to inform you of the reality of our services. We at Xpand inc, with our friends at Homes of Xcellence are based in Shakopee, Minnesota and are dedicated to achieving that which you dream of. We believe your dream home should not stay in the mind, but be actualized in reality, and cherished in life.

The services we offer correspond to the mission of customer satisfaction. Be it from building your new home from scratch on a plot of land you deem perfect to live on, or the renovation of a home in which you already cherish, your dreams are the starting point and we give you the hammer to break past the barriers.

When it comes to our custom homes, we become your guides in the emotional process and provide you with the necessary knowledge and tools. The homes we build capture your personality and become something that is surely one of a kind. We help in the design conception phase, and nail out those gritty details that can sometimes become overlooked in the excitement of the process. Details like vendors, granite and flooring, carpet and appliances. We give you the knowledge to make the decisions that your happiest with.

When it comes to our crews, we take the term ‘professional’ and escalate it to a whole new level. Our craftsman are masters at what they do and we an we trust them because of our past experiences with them, and their work ethic being well above the standards.  We only dedicate ourselves to a few jobs at one time to ensure those we work with have our full efforts and there isn’t any question about our dedication to the project. Accountability is something we pride ourselves in!

We at Xpand inc and Homes of Xcellence are dedicated to you and the realization of your dream home. No short cuts, no questionable work ethic, no cookie-cutter homes and no generic results.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s build something great together!

Dreaming of the sun and shine

Back right side view of the house

Being cooped up all day because of dreary weather is no fun. Sadly, we have a little bit of time left before the weather will allow us to enjoy natures bounty again. The cold and chilly weather cannot, however, take away from us our imagination and day dreaming abilities of our home and the luxuries we will be able to enjoy when the sun once again dominates the sky!

While we are barricaded indoors, why don’t we plan out some ideas to implement during the spring and summer? Preparation probably never hurt anyone!

Decks, porches, patios and the like! Outdoor renovations that will make the winter seem like a bad nightmare are just around the corner! Here we will provide some easy and quick tips on some new deck designs and things of the sort!

Let’s start with the patio!

The backyard is often thought of as this wide open space that may or may not include some form of a garden. I think we should expand on this open space! If you don’t already have one incorporated, then we highly recommend adding a location for a patio!

A patio can come in all kinds of formats! The design is only limited by your imagination! If you want a patio that is focused on the “sunshine fun time” feel, then we need to incorporate large amounts of plant life and furniture that can work in sync with those plants! A nice white wood table, maybe with  some form of quartz or granite surface, along with some nicely formed wicker chairs would be a great start! To get the greenery in there, consider having a garden surround the patio area. The garden could line the perimeter of the patio area while staying out from underneath the location. There is also the option of having some form of flat ceiling incorporated in the patio’s structure and you could hang the plants from the ceiling to create an always lovable floating garden!

Want more of a rough patio design? Try the rugged rock pathway leading to a table that has a giant circular rock slab as the surface! Combine the table and pathway with some minimal wooden chairs that have some metal bars and you will be golden…or in this case stone-den!

Moving onto Porches!

Porches are a strong factor in the first visual understanding of a home! They can really add a unique flavor to the homes character, while providing a great location to relax in the breeze of the day.

Porches, just like patios, have a wide array of options to make it unique for every home! Porches and traditional styled elements go together hand in hand. Consider a porch design that struts a large space with multiple seating options, from couches to cushioned chairs. Make sure however, that the furniture featured in your porch is weather-resistant! Wicker chairs here are a great option for the resistance alone, but also because of that traditional feeling and the variety of colors they can be found in or painted to!

When seating in the porch you can add a table to enjoy a nice meal, be it breakfast or dinner. To compliment your meal, a nice citronella candle or two in the form of a torch or the like, will help keep those pesky insects off your menu! Adding some fans for those warmer days will also incorporate another layer of functionality and style!

Last but not the least impressive, decks!

We aren’t talking about the part of a ship, we are talking about that risen section that is outdoor of your home! Decks give great value to a homes landscape appreciation. Decks allow the backyard to be appreciated in a new manner!

whether during a sunset, sunrise or zenith, decks offer some great extra space for social activities to take place in the wide open world!

So how can we break away from the generic wooden deck and have a design that stands out? Well, as for the wood aspect, try a different kind of wood! No one has to have the same type of wood for decks, try asking about different wood variations that will match your home and it’s surroundings! Decks generally have some form of railing for safety, but this is where you can get creative as well! Instead of some wooden poles, consider some glass panes as a fall barrier, this will allow for a stronger appreciation of the scenery while still providing a safety mechanism! If your not too worried about the view, and you don’t care for the glass, maybe try some stone! Ask around for some custom stone railing options!

No matter the location, a deck, patio, or porch can be an immensely great addition to your home and add some great charm and functionality! If you caught this outdoor renovation bug, we conveniently have the skill and knowledge on all things home and renovation, including the outdoor kind!

Give us a call at Xpand today and let’s start mapping out your plans for those home renovations and remodels! When the tame weather approaches you will be ready!

 

Project update! Carver, MN!

We know it has been quiet on the Facebook front when it comes to project updates, but that’s because we have been hard at work!

Recently  we have been working to finish a project for a home in Carver, MN. We were asked to finish the lower level of the home, which included the allotment of additional space, a wet bar, a bedroom, a full bathroom and a family/entertainment space!

The process involved a multitude of materials, and has resulted in a fantastic cohesive atmosphere with some really unique characteristics! Like this secret bookshelf that hides a nice chunk of storage space!

Installation GIF

This hidden door mechanism is one of the strongest elements of the project!

Other materials and methods used in the lower level include:

  • Stained concrete flooring
  • Granite and cultured marble countertops
  • Custom cabinetry
  • Chrome and stainless steel plumbing fixtures
  • Brushed nickel
  • Enameled wood finishes
  • Tiled walk-in shower

This project took an estimated 4-6 weeks to complete!

Why not give us a call today and talk with us about your home needs! We at Xpand are dedicated to helping you fulfill your home ambitions and making your dreams comes true! 

Hibernate this winter in your new cave dwelling! Basement remodels for an entertaining season!

Get cozy this winter with a basement remodel to fulfill all your entertainment needs! Commonly known as man caves, we like to branch out and give it an alternative name, the women’s retreat.

Basement remodels can be a fantastic way to liven up the opportunities available in your home! Giving your basement the aesthetic you’ve always wanted will ensure a wonderful time inside during those cold, dry wind, snow-filled days!

Before setting out to make an overly zealous list for the remodel, we have got some tips for you to consider!

  • Keep the basement light filled and positively bright!
    The basement can quickly become a location that serves an atmosphere of solitude and hermit like tendencies, but that’s no good for anyone! Ensure the basement has strong lighting that enhances the color of the objects and walls around it! Lighting has a strong correlation with mood, so lights that replicate natural sunlight the closest would be best! Don’t let the season bring your mood down!
  •  Get creative! This is your private get away! Be as nerdy or meticulous as you want with the details and have some fun! You could, for example, install a section of the basement to be a little movie theater escape room! The chairs could be leather like the real movie theaters and have a wide screen with a projector! But don’t stop there! Design those seats how you want! They could be reminiscent of race cars with the design, or maybe have a strong outer space feel! The mind is the limit!
  • Themes! When designing your basement, you have a few options. Stick with one theme throughout the entire space, or break it up into different themes based on the room! For example, consider one room to be more of a lounge and socialize area, filled with calm cool colors and strong decorative pieces reminiscent of the 70’s-80’s. Or An entire basement made to bring forth an atmosphere that brings retro video games back into the future! (see what i did there?)
  • Move on up in the world! Literally! These areas of retreat don’t need to be held withing the basement, that’s just where they originated. It’s totally acceptable to have the retreat become the first location that is entered in a home! Make the ground level of the home a place of leisure and relaxation so that as soon as you walk in, you can begin unwinding and thaw out! (warning, winter brings frozen limbs, a fireplace is recommended)
  • Commonly installed in basements for a strong social setting is some form of bar. This can be a great place for conversations and a few drinks before moving to the movie theater room or lounge! Think of the bar as a separate room as well, planning the theme around it to be cohesive with the bar!
  • Consider the flow of the basement! Don’t pack it super tight with fun gadgets and entertainment centers, be aware of the space you have available and the orientation of the objects in the room/s. Also consider the elevations of bars and counters for example. This can give a strong sense of intimacy within the room!
  • Consider the functionality of the basement. Do you want this place to be a strong social gathering place, a study basement, to relax and work on hobbies/the gaining of knowledge, or a basement that fulfills the needs of everything you ever wanted so you never have to leave? This should be something to consider first and foremost before designing your basement. You don’t want to have a basement to be the jack of all trades, but master of none!
  • Cave or no cave? Don’t limit your creativity based on stereotypical examples of basement ideas/layouts! Your basement doesn’t need to feel closed off to the rest of the home, it can be a place that is transitioned into from different levels of the home!
  • Lastly, lets consider for a moment the idea of a cave, in the attic! That’s right, just like before, you can actually have the basement ideas in a different location! Consider the options available to you for a basement remodel, and then take those ideas and try to apply them to other locations of your home to see which floor of the house it would work best!

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We hope you have some ideas flowing for some great additions/remodels! Give us a call and let us help you, be ready for the coming seasons and really get the most out of your home!

Kitchen Remodels and design changes!

Are you tired of the design and feel of your kitchen? I think it’s time you think about a remodel! Give that old kitchen design a rejuvenated style!

Kitchens are often considered the heart of a home, so if the heart isn’t a place you want to be, it’s time for a change! That’s not to say your kitchen needs a gutting and to be completely redone, even a couple changes here and there can really make a big difference! So what are your options and how do you start?

Let’s break it down!

  • First it is important to consider the rooms around the kitchen and their aesthetics! The kitchen is the heart, so everything else should feel similar and cohesive! Match the style of the kitchen with those other rooms if you can, or do some form of appealing contrast!
  • Little touches can go a long way. You don’t need to install completely new cupboards or islands! Adding a new coat of paint can really bring out a positive and warm vibe from the kitchen. Generally, white has been the top color choice for kitchens, however gray is making a strong contender for that top spot! Both colors tend to compliment all the other colors, so consider them!
  • Consider functionality! Maybe your current kitchen doesn’t appeal to you right now because the cabinets and drawers are in some poor locations for your needs. Redesigning the layout of your kitchen while keeping the same style is another strong option that can really help you enjoy the kitchen and its benefits! You may also consider looking into the newer forms of kitchen cabinets and see if there are any appealing new designs!
  • Back to color, it’s good to consider the accent colors in the kitchen and how they affect the way you see that space. A nice green hue around the sink can bring a fresh feeling and push away any thoughts of scraps that are thrown into it. Colors can redefine the way we see objects and spaces in the kitchen and make the more unpleasant areas seem more appealing! This can also work for the garbage can believe it or not!
  • Bold and brave! The fixtures of the kitchen can have some really stand-out designs and are generally a strong focal point for guests and the family alike. Consider maximizing on these focal points and their interaction with the space, they will more than likely become a topic of discussion, so it’s important that the topic is on a good track!
  • Contrast is great for emphasis! Having a kitchen with a strong light to darkness contrast can really emphasis specific aspects of the kitchen. For example what does, and does not stand out when you first walk into the kitchen. This dramatic emphasis can help spread the room out and make it feel bigger, and more inviting!
  • Maximize the functionality of your drawers and space in the kitchen! Storage is always a lacking commodity. Try and find ways to maximize the storage of shelving units and drawers. Maybe install smaller sub sections inside of them  that can hold smaller objects and remove the clutter that could build up across the counter space in the kitchen.
  • Technology is built to be efficient, so why not incorporate it into the home? Smart homes are becoming more widely accepted and appreciated due to their ability to run efficiency through the home. Adding automated devices in the kitchen can attribute to a stronger control of things like water, gas, heating and so on. You could implement sensor-activated lights to reduce electricity costs, and also not worry about fumbling for the switch in the middle of the night. There are all sorts of gadgets to look into that could help your home in terms of cost as well as functionality and ease! Not to mention these kitchen technologies can be kid friendly, enhancing the safety for the whole family in the kitchen.

Remember, the kitchen is the heart of the home! It is the gathering place for the family and guests alike! So it should be a location that all feel welcome and enjoy being in!

Give us a call about those budding ideas for a remodel and lets talk about the options and designs! 

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Andy’s Corner October 2017!

Andy has a new project well underway!

Built a new addition above the existing garage which includes

  • A sport court with vaulted ceilings
  • An exercise room
  • A sitting room
  • A new master closet.
  • Re-purpose the existing master closet to be part of the master bathroom which will house a new tub and cabinetry.
  • Also, a new brick facing on the front of the house and garage to replace the existing brick.
  • The entire roof on the house and addition will be replaced with GAF shingles.
  • The entire exterior of the house will be painted.

This is the progress of the “Sport Court”!

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Andy has made some great progress with this project and we cant wait to show you his results once he is finished!

Have some exciting ideas for Andy and his crew? Give us a call today and we can work it all out! 

Follow the not so yellow brick road!

Front right view of house

Obsessed with the Wizard Of Oz? Then this isn’t the article for you! However you’re more than welcome to stay and read how to lay your own brick pathway! (you can paint them yellow if you so desire)

Why lay your own brick path?

Having a pathway lead up to your front door is a classic style that looks great and really helps guests feel welcome! Learning to lay your own brick pathway also helps to brag a little bit at those fun get-together’s! Knowing how to lay a brick path also helps open a bunch of opportunities in other areas of your home! (Bonfire pathway for example!)

Is it hard?

No! Making your own pathway is relatively simple! It should only take about half a day to start and finish, and all with a cheap price tag! You’ll just need a hammer, shovel and rake for tools!

How do I start?

That’s what we are here for! For materials you will need

  • Bricks
  • Crush Basin
  • Sand

Starting off is easy! Simply mark out the area you plan to convert into the pathway so you know what your doing and where, then remove any plants, rocks, and debris from inside that area.

Next, smooth the area with a shovel. Be sure to have some wooden stakes hammered into the ground that mark the edge of your walkway, on both ends and the side as well! It helps to run a string between the stakes to help you have a better visual of the finished outcome (roughly). Be sure to leave enough room under the string for a shovel to fit. This will be your indicator of “have I smoothed the ground enough?”

Use the shovel to dig a line underneath the string, this will define the edge of the project. Its better to work from the outside in.  Level the ground using the string and a measuring tape. Now dig out the base of the pathway to the depth of the bricks your have, plus an excess of two inches to account for the crush base layer.

Fill the area with crushed stone base and rake it to approximately two inches deep.  Using the claw of your hammer, dig a trench for a metal pipe on both sides of the pathway. These pipes will serve as an indicator of a consistent 2 inch depth for the crushed stone base layer. Make certain the top of the pipe is exactly two inches above ground level and beneath the stone base layer.

Smooth the base layer by scraping along the top of the pipe with a brick, once complete you can remove the wooden stakes and string.

Smooth the walkway area with a rake and a level. Change accordingly, the amount of crushed stone base. Now get a plate compactor to compact the surface. Once done compacting, carefully remove the pipes and fill the trench in with crushed stone base using the shovel.

Replace the stakes and string to act as precise tools for the edges of the brickwork. The string should be one brick width inside the outer edge of the walkway.

Start laying the bricks in the pattern you so desire! (the most fun part!) Keep using the string as a guide to keep the pattern straight and consistent. Wait for the placement of cuts bricks and outer row bricks.

Install edging (if you want edging) using landscape spikes. Leave enough room for the final row of bricks or desired edge detail. Once ready, lay the final row of bricks to fill the remaining gaps, but be sure it fits, so cut to fit with a circular saw or angle grinder.

Compact the brick using the plate compactor to really help them get snug. Then finally lay some sand across the top of the bricks so it can fall between any spaces and keep them from moving around at all.

All done! You now should have a wonderfully made new brick pathway! on the next dinner night at your place you can welcome everyone across your newly made achievement!

Give us a call today and inquire about house remodels that could give a strong aesthetic fit to your new pathway!