Posts Tagged ‘Island Home Design’


By Carolin Santangelo

A quiet debate continues over which exterior veneer is preferable for our coastal clime.  

Should you choose vinyl or fiber cement siding? Fiber cement siding is the product you may know as ‘Hardie board,’ made by the James Hardie Bldg. Products, though other manufacturers, including Certainteed, GAF, etc., make an equivalent product. Some of these manufacture both siding types.
Take any two builders and one may strongly proclaim fiber cement siding, the other, vinyl. Pose the question to the same two builders on another day, or for another project, and you may receive alternate answers. A smart builder will thoroughly quiz the homeowner to determine what is appropriate for the homeowner’s purposes.
 
Fiber cement siding may ‘look’ more like wood, if only slightly; it   is often stamped with a wood-grain texture, and its painted surface usually is an egg-shell finish. Vinyl has a crisp, almost perfect look; almost too perfect in a sense.  Its finish also can be a variety of wood grain textures, with a typically more glossy finish. 
Both products will stand up to our coastal conditions as long as they are applied correctly.  (Manufacturers will nullify warranties if not installed correctly.) Vinyl siding can be rated for hurricane winds; check manufacturer’s specifications to be sure your selection will meet windstorm code requirements. Windstorm engineers also differ in their opinions of the materials.  
Some engineers recommend fiber cement siding for use in their analysis of buildings, asserting it provides more rigidity to the structure. (As such it is a heavy material, and requires two people to install.) Other engineers will perform analysis for either vinyl or fiber cement siding, not differentiating one in preference over the other. Again, each is dependent on installation techniques, which the engineer will oversee during the replacement or new construction project. 
Cement siding and an initial application of paint may cost only slightly more than the same project carried out in vinyl. Maintenance of vinyl nearly ends after installation, with a spray of the garden hose usually all that is necessary to clean it. Upkeep on cement siding, despite claims to the contrary by siding and paint manufacturers, in our area appears to often require repainting in as little as five years, (an issue which may stem from improper application) though longer periods may be possible, if conscientiously applied to manufacturer specifications.  
Cement siding color is limited only by your imagination. Virtually any is possible, though some dark colors might not hold up in our hot sun, and some may not be acceptable to your home owners’ association. 
Color may seem insignificant, but check with your HOA before starting any project. Pre-applied colors direct from fiber cement siding manufacturers are now available in a palette of a dozen to 16 colors and stained wood effects, (varies by region) and most with a 15-year color fast guarantee. 
Vinyl siding color is limited to a manufacturer’s palette – often just 10, occasionally up to 40 standard colors. Alcoa is offering its Dream Color program, with up to 700 available, on a custom order basis. This is an option that may provide just the look you want in vinyl; though if you order it, you own it. 
There will be no second-guessing your selection, and no do-over.  Premium vinyl products come with a limited lifetime warranty against color fading. You must make a confident choice, and like that color for a very long time, since there won’t be a reason or opportunity to repaint in a couple of years.
Both vinyl and cement siding are available in shingle or shake   styles to coordinate with varieties of siding profiles. Either siding is impervious to insects or rot. Should it be necessary to replace, vinyl is highly recyclable, and requires no finish or solvent to clean or maintain. Fiber cement siding often contains recycled product in its composition, and additionally is fire resistant.
While some clients opt for fiber cement siding, others are perfectly happy with vinyl for their home. Even though I’ve been hands-on with all of our own construction projects, it will be too soon for me if I never hold a paintbrush again. 
That’s why the choice for our own seaside home was vinyl, and it came through Ike unscathed. These hands are now meant for nail polish and holding nothing more burdensome than a cool, yummy refreshment. 
You, too, should assess how each choice may impact your lifestyle. Either way you go, your home’s exterior can enjoy good looks and a long life.
  Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. Contact SeasideHome@windstream.net, or (409) 632-0381.

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By Carolin Santangelo

Facing stunning sunset views of the back bay, and with canal access, Cindy and Dave almost had it all in the house on the far west end they purchased five years ago. The three bedroom, two bath house had enough sleeping accommodations although it didn’t have enough living space. In a somewhat constant state of improvement, its great features have been enhanced over the last few years.
An attractive built-in pool was added first; its amenities include in-water bar stools that overlook the bay.  The original 80s contemporary style (or ‘contemptible’ style, if you will, due its poor use of space) had high clerestory ceilings, which contained huge and impressive, though generally useless, volumes. After a couple of  years dealing with the constraints of cramped living and dining areas, Cindy and Dave decided to enlarge the space by enclosing an underused deck. It was a great solution; it utilized the existing structure and did not require additional pilings.
 Their initial interest was just to increase the kitchen size and push the dining out onto the enlarged new space.  After talking to a builder, it became apparent that it wouldn’t cost much more to expand their project and include more space in the master bedroom above and add a half bath, by taking in its open deck.
The decks never served the homeowners well as they did not provide adequate shade from the west sun. Nor were the decks weather resistant; open slat deck boards permitted rain to fall onto the deck and ground level patio below. While it would ordinarily seem counter productive to eliminate deck in our environment, where outdoor entertaining is so important, there would be no shortage of decking; the house now boasts a small covered porch over an existing open deck with room for seating, and which protects the front door, as well as original extensive decking from house out to another large deck above the boat slip.
The newly expanded dining room enjoys windows on three sides, extending views not just toward the bay, but up and down the canal in both directions.The addition of a standing seam metal roof shade cover over the large west facing windows also provides protection for the exterior deck stairs below which access the front door.
Interior PhotoMost recently completed was a lowered ceiling above the volume living room. The new ceiling creates the floor for a new loft above, at the same time bringing the ceiling down to a height that has better scale which is more conducive to relaxed entertaining. Their recovered storyboards — collected in overseas travels, which floated away from the ground level storage area during Ike — now grace the living room walls.  Here, IKEA storage components are an ideal, clean looking display for other artwork.
For the kitchen, Cindy shopped the sales and contacted a commercial flooring contractor for a warm brown stain, accented with stainless steel hardware and glass door inserts. Maple butcher-block slab countertop along one wall contains the workspaces, stainless steel appliances and under mount sink, which Cindy and Dave installed.  White subway tile makes a clean looking backsplash. A 10 1/2 foot solid bamboo parquet slab makes an enormous island that is central to the remodeled kitchen, dining and living areas. Its shape promotes flow around the kitchen and its size provides a great buffet surface. Bar stools encourage guests to enjoy their refreshments out of the way of the workspace.
Aside from the initial structural addition, Cindy coordinated contractors for interior finishes which she and Dave could not do themselves.  The work was not complete when Ike visited the island in late ’08.  Furnishings, unfortunately, were stored on the ground level and most everything was a loss.  While interior damage to the house was limited, enough moisture came in under the front door to make the yet unfinished end-cut wood floor cup and buckle, requiring sourcing of hard-to-find matching pieces from Lumber Liquidators.  The boat dock was seriously damaged during Ike, and Dave personally rebuilt it when contractors were in heavy demand.
All in all, this was a most resourceful makeover;  making the best use of features and spaces already contained by the original house, adding only a few hundred feet to its original 1,500 square feet, and yet expanding its functionality in so many ways.

Carolin Santangelo is a home designer and owner of Seaside Home Design, LLC. E-mail her at SeasideHome@windstream.net, or 409.632.0381. The home featured in this article is a popular weekly rental while the homeowners travel during the summer. For information about renting it, go to www.vrbo.com\232406.

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