In a new Time book, Healthiest Places to Live, our very own Provo and Orem were named as one of the best places to live for your well-being.
"A stunning Rocky Mountain backdrop and a tight-knit population that lives its faith contribute not only to this region's serenity but also to lower rates of disease."
By Ann Robinson & Annie V. Schwemmer
Published: Friday, Oct. 10 2014 10:06 p.m. MDT
Updated: Friday, Oct. 10 2014 10:06 p.m. MDT
Smart redesign that stays within the footprint of your house can be less expensive than a large, “big box” addition and can have a big impact on your lifestyle.
When it comes to home remodeling, we stand by the saying: “Bigger isn’t always better.”
We have said it before and we will say it again: Good home remodeling is about function and design, not about size. We have seen small homes with much better style and function than homes with double the square footage. For instance, adding a large room on the back of your house may make you feel like you are solving space issues in your house. However, if there are still problems with the design/function of the rest of your house, additional square footage may not resolve the core issues of your home.
“Bigger is not always better” has been our message since we started Renovation Design Group more than 10 years ago. Smart redesign that stays within the footprint of your house can be less expensive than a large, “big box” addition and can have a big impact on your lifestyle.
During the past few weeks, we have been delving into a recent Houzz.com research study, "Transforming the American Home." The study shows that of the 200,000 respondents, 76 percent who remodeled stayed within the existing footprint of their home. This led the Houzz researchers to also conclude that “bigger isn’t always better.”
One of our role models in architecture is Sarah Susanka. She developed the Not So Big book series featuring such titles as "The Not So Big House" and "Not So Big Remodeling." These books are based on her architectural theory of keeping the scope of the project smaller with creative and smart design while taking the money saved and using it on finer finishes. This makes the space more functional and more beautiful without having to make it big. Basically, Susanka says finding the sense of home has more to do with quality than quantity.
We completely agree. It has been exciting to see more people — according to the Houzz survey — grasp this concept. A relatively minor remodel or small addition can result in a significantly improved house design. Often homeowners can’t see past the existing walls to even imagine a different floor plan and design; they just know they need more space and that for some reason their house isn’t working for them anymore. An architect with "fresh" eyes can present options and solutions most homeowners (and contractors) would not see.
A key issue for making an existing house function well is the circulation pattern of the home. It is always a problem when people have to cross through one room or area to access another. (These are the rooms in which we find it difficult to arrange furniture because they are functioning as a hall instead of a room.) If you can resolve the flow issues, you will have a home that will feel and function as a much larger space, even though the size has not actually changed.
Some design solutions may involve moving walls, doors, windows or even stairs. Such alterations may seem drastic to the homeowner, but one such change can be the key to all the other functions falling into place. For instance, struggling to work around a totally misplaced stairwell can be equivalent to the "tail wagging the dog." No matter how you try to modernize the home’s style, if the house does not circulate well, it will neither function properly nor feel comfortable.
The other syndrome to avoid is putting "lipstick on the pig." This refers to replacing and upgrading finishes without dealing with the underlying issues of the home — namely, the way the home flows and functions. If your kitchen is nothing more than a glorified hall with appliances in it, no amount of new cabinets or granite countertops will fix the problem. Unless your goal is to have a better-looking problem, you need to dig deeper and address the underlying issues before you focus on finishes.
Finally, if you are contemplating adding a room, make sure of two things: First, there must be a logical and sensible way to access the room. Look at the circulation in the house before you consider anything else. Second, make sure the addition is proportional to the existing house and its infrastructure.
By this we mean, don’t add a huge family room off the back of your house if you have an 80-square-foot kitchen that can’t support a family or gatherings in a room of that size. You must begin your design process by looking at the house as a whole. Be sure you focus on changes that will have the greatest impact on the way your family functions and on your lifestyle.
While a house can indeed be too small, it is also true that it can be too large. With careful and thoughtful design, you can choose to make your home comfortable, beautiful and functional instead of massive. Bonuses associated with a smaller house include less to clean, less to heat and cool, and less to pay taxes on. Truly, bigger is not always better!
Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions toask@RenovationDesignGroup.com
To see the original article click HERE.
Last weekend Tawni and I did the Silver Lake hike up American Fork canyon. Although it was a little harder than I anticipated the views are worth it!
If you're looking for a fun, nearby hike that's a little bit of a challenge -- give this one a try! You can also camp up there if you're feeling so inclined.
Caveat: the last part of the road to get to the trailhead is pretty bumpy and unpaved.
For more details check out our friend Dustin Cook's blog: @utahoutdoorfun.com
Keep sending us those drawings from the newsletter. For every drawing (send us a photo via email or text of the drawing) we receive we will put your name into the hat for a chance to win the Hee Haw farm tickets!
The lucky winner will receive (4) tickets. Please Text or email your drawings to us by October 20th to be eligible!
So far we've been impressed with the entires.
Good luck and happy Halloween!
Taylor Oldroyd, CEO of Utah County Association of Realtors Regarding the Orem University Mall Redevelopment
CEO Message: Orem Developments
Dear UCAR members and friends,
I have watched and listened to the debate about the University Place and the Woodbury proposal in Orem with great interest. Investments in a community like this don’t come around very often so I am surprised by the lengths some will go to undermine the proposal. I want to make sure you have the full picture of the benefits of the Mall and the remodel. This will be a tremendous benefit to Orem and surrounding communities. But in some cases I have seen and heard blatant misrepresentations and scare tactics used to mislead the public.
Allow me to offer my perspective. First of all, it is important to understand the nature of public/private partnerships. These partnerships typically incorporate large investments which can spur job creation and economic development and offer the public broad benefits with less upfront public funds.
Second, where would Orem be without the Mall? The Mall and the growth along University Parkway and State Street is a partnership that generates a significant amount of sales taxes; this revenue helps keep overall taxes lower. This partnership was made a generation ago. Now is not the time to turn our back on a friend.
Third, Woodbury will make again a significant investment in the community to help the community continue to grow into the future. Their partnerships, investment, and history with the site are clear.
Here are the facts:
1. The Woodbury proposal exceeds $520 Million of new investment in new buildings, infrastructure, and personal property.
2. The CDA proceeds are projected to cover approximately 60% of the infrastructure cost.
3. The infrastructure includes:
a. new roadways to alleviate traffic,
b. new utilities infrastructure that will benefit the project and the surrounding area,
c. a new park that will be a gathering place for the community, and
d. a new parking structure to accommodate the more dense vertical development of University Place and new Orem town center.
4. The proposed plan is purely performance based with absolutely no obligation to the city if Woodbury does not perform on their investment.
5. Woodbury is following the same model used by the Legislature that allows for a portion of the incremental taxes created by the new investment be reimbursed to help fund the cost of infrastructure to the project.
6. This represents a 75% of increment over 20 years.
7. The mall will never pay less taxes than it is currently paying, in fact, it will always pay more, 25% of any of the incremental tax still goes to the city and other taxing authorities.
Let me repeat, the CDA proceeds are going toward the cost of infrastructure not to tenants, not to apartments to subsidize rents, but to infrastructure that benefits the whole community. If Woodbury does not make the promised investments, there will be no incremental taxes and no obligation from the city or other taxing entities.
The partnership from Orem allows Woodbury to invest in the needed improvements. The whole purpose of this CDA tool is to help municipalities leverage economic development to do more than developers could otherwise do on their own. This is not corporate welfare but an investment from the public that leverages the private investments. Woodbury receives, essentially, a rebate on a percentage of the property taxes for a fixed period of time and only on the tax generated by the increased assessed value of the improved property.
Sounds like a win win for Orem and all the surrounding property owners. Please help spread the word about the benefits of economic development, job creation and improving our quality of life.
Orem’s University Mall concept architecture
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