Award-Winning F.C. Design Firm Talks Remodeling

The Great Falls bathroom that won Foxcraft Design a renovation award from National Association of the Remodeling Industry after the company’s renovations. (Photo: Courtesy of Foxcraft Design Group)
The Great Falls bathroom that won Foxcraft Design a renovation award from National Association of the Remodeling Industry after the company’s renovations. (Photo: Courtesy of Foxcraft Design Group)

Falls Church’s Foxcraft Design Group may soon have to remodel its trophy case to accommodate all its recent awards.

It has received a national first-place award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a residential bathroom project costing more than $60,000, two national magazine awards, and regional and districts awards, too.

What did Foxcraft do, and what’s trending now in remodeling?

Foxcraft’s Jim Lynch who designed and modeled the bathroom project in Great Falls, said the company’s winning design emphasized light and natural elements.

Before improvements, the bathroom was “all cut up in little categories,” with two walk-in closets, two small vanities, a toilet in a compartment, and “an enormous whirlpool which nobody ever used” but which received all the natural lighting.

Foxcraft increased the shower size, combined the closets and installed shoji screens which hide the toilet and permit natural light to flow in the closet, giving the bathroom an Asian feel.

Dan Dalrymple, Foxcraft’s project manager, said a popular bathroom trend is heated floors which may be found in all rooms in some houses.

But the chief trend in remodeling these days is “the open concept” combining the kitchen, den, and living room, Lynch said.

“In the past gentlemen sat in the living room while ladies cooked in the kitchen” which he compared to sterling silver and linens which “no one uses now.”

New designs open everything up with a small room reserved for “quiet” or study. “We all have become less formal,” Lynch said.

People are staying in their homes longer now, too, and master bedroom suites on the first floor are in demand.

Another trend is bringing “the outside in. Now people like to walk right outside to decks or screened-in porches.”

Lynch noted that today’s bedrooms often serve multiple purposes and may contain exercise equipment and a computer, desk, and files to make a small office, in addition to the furniture intended for the room.

The “real trend is to make closets and the bedroom more efficient.”

By reducing the size of the bedroom to accommodate only a queen-sized bed, a chair, and a desk, and converting the closet into a dressing room, the bedroom meets its intended use.

“If you can define a space for what’s it supposed to be, it becomes a lot more comfortable,” Lynch said.

Rather than remodeling to increase a home’s value, many are remodeling to enjoy the space themselves.

“The more they [homeowners] look at it as less an investment in cash, the happier they are when they invest more in their lives, and they are the happiest when they renovate.”
Remodeling a child’s bedroom is tough since over ten years, a person changes a lot from age four to 14. “The room needs to grow with them [the children] as they grow.”

Remodeling changes are found in garages, too, which “have almost become extensions of the home,” Lynch said. Garage pulley systems enable kayakers, for example, to lower and lift a kayak right on top of the car. And garage pulleys are useful for storing garden tools, too.

Renewable resources in home remodeling “have not taken off as much as we would have expected,” Dalrymple said, however, “tremendous energy savings” are found in LED lighting which costs more but has an “expanded life span.” Also, foam insulation “is more costly on the front end,” but it saves money long-term, Dalrymple said.

Another trend are on-demand water heaters, although they are “a little bit costly on the front end,” and may not be suitable for large homes since the water has to be “pushed” long distances, he said. Gas and propane are the most efficient.

Modern security changes such as keyless entry and battery-operated key pads are popular trends, including “the ability to monitor whether the garage door is open,” which is “very easily done over your smartphone,” Dalrymple said.

Remodeling is “driven by how long you plan to stay in your home,” Dalrymple said. Are you making changes for yourself or someone else?

“When you come home to something inviting, it makes life a lot more pleasant,” said Lynch.