Adding Architectural Interest to Your Home’s Interior

No one wants a ‘cookie cutter’ or ‘builder grade’ home. Our homes are something we work hard for and we want them to be a reflection of ourselves. However, this reflection doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to make your house feel like home. Some of us are lucky to have homes with existing architectural interest. Others of us have to plan to add architectural details into our remodels. We’re here to help you navigate the best options for your home’s interior. Here are some of our clients favorites. 


Architectural Interest- Transom WindowsTransom Windows

Transom windows are a popular choice for people looking to add architectural interest to their home. Not only are they nice to look at, but transom windows are a great way to let more light into a space. They are often installed over doors, both interior and exterior. When used over an exterior door, such as a front door, they let in light without sacrificing privacy. When used over an interior door, they can make the entrance to the room feel more spacious. Transom windows can also make your ceilings appear higher than they are. If you’re looking to add even more interest to them, consider using decorative glass to help draw the eye upwards.


Tray CeilingsArchitectural Interest- Tray Ceiling

Tray ceilings are a great way to accent a room and make it feel more grand. A tray ceiling is a recessed portion of a ceiling. They are a versatile choice and can often be found in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms. Some people choose to leave them as a simple by just recessing the ceiling and painting it as you would a normal ceiling. Others choose to make it more of a focal point by installing trim around it, or painting it an accent color. 


Architectural Interest Board and batten wallBoard and Batten 

Board and batten is often used as a way to accent a feature wall in a home, although some people choose to use it in the whole home. While the term board and batten is generally used to describe boards attached to your wall, there are a variety of specific styles that people install in their homes. Some of our clients’ favorites include grid walls and wainscoting. The grid style is perfect for an accent wall, while wainscoting is a great way to break up a color on a wall. 


 Built in DeskBuilt Ins

Built ins are the perfect way to add architectural interest and function to your home. Popular built ins include bookshelves, desks, banquette seating, cubbies and recessed wall niches. Once you have a plan for your built in, there are plenty of ways to customize it to suit your needs. For example, our clients often include charging stations for their electronics in cubbies. Other options, like bookshelves, can be customized to what you are looking to store in them. Will they be for displaying knick-knacks, books, seasonal decor or maybe a little bit of everything. People often choose to have a portion of built in bookshelves built with cabinet doors for storage. 


Architectural Interest Arched DoorwayArched Doorways

Arched doorways are a great way to bring old world charm to your home. Often used as an accented entry into a kitchen or dining room, they can easily transform the feeling of a room. Arched doorways are typically seen for standard sized door openings. However, you may want to consider using them as a double sized door opening to accent a living or family room entryway. Trim and doors for the doorway are a personal choice. If you are looking for something more ornate, consider adding trim casing around the arch and doorway. If you consider yourself more of a minimalist, consider skipping the trim. When it comes to doors, privacy is usually the deciding factor. If your arched doorway leads to a bedroom or bathroom, you’ll want to include doors. If your arched doorway leads to a family room, consider keeping it door free. 

Vaulted Ceiling


Vaulted Ceilings 

Vaulted ceilings are a great way to make a room feel significantly larger than it is. By raising the ceiling to align with your roof line, you create an open and airy space. The structure of your home greatly impacts your ability to vault your ceilings, but most homes have at least a portion of a ceiling that can be vaulted. If you are looking for a more open and brighter space, consider adding skylights to the vaulted area. This will bring in lots of natural light throughout the day. 


White sliding barn door that separates the master bedroom from the bathroom.Barn Doors

While barn doors aren’t always considered in ways to add architectural interest to your home, we thought they were great to include for those of you looking to spruce up some doorways. Barn doors are often used as a way to separate a master bedroom and bathroom, to close off a laundry room, or even as bi-passing closet doors. Not only are barn doors stylish, they can be very functional for tight spaces. They are perfect for narrow hallways because the door opens by sliding it along the track, rather than swinging out into the walking space.  When adding barn doors to your home, you’ll want to consider if you want a new or reclaimed door. Once your door has been selected, you’ll need to find hardware suitable for the door size and style. 


A great time to add architectural interest to your home is as a part of a remodel. A remodel allows you to work with a professional to plan out the full style of your home. An architectural designer can help you determine the best ways to incorporate these ideas into your home in a way that makes them look as though they were a part of the original design. If you’re ready to remodel and update your home from ‘builder grade’ to one of a kind, contact us today!

Universal Design Bathroom Tips

Universal design, also known as aging in place design, is the concept of designing a space that is safe and functional for the many years ahead of you. Often times, people are concerned about the aesthetics of universal design features making a home feel unattractive. We are here to tell you not to worry! These spaces can be functional, safe and beautiful. Below are five of our favorite features to prove just that. 


Grab Bars Gray Shower Tile with White Accent and Grab Bars

Grab bars have come a long way in the recent past. They are stylish and provide you with an opportunity for stability when entering and exiting a shower. You also may consider them along the back wall of the shower for stability while in the shower itself. They can be positioned horizontally or vertically, depending on their location. There are even small grab bars that can be incorporated into mounted soap dishes in your shower. If you are considering adding grab bars to your shower, be sure to talk to your contractor first. The framing of the shower will need to include blocking to secure the bars in place. 



Teak shower benchFolding Bench

Folding shower benches are often overlooked as a universal design feature, but they are a great one to consider. The bench can be left down for a shower seat when needed. As time or medical conditions change, they can be folded up to allow more room in the shower for a possible walker or wheelchair. As with the grab bars, be sure to talk with your remodeler about your bench preference early on in the design of the project.  Wood blocking will need to be in place behind the tile to keep the bench secure. 



aging in place seamless shower patrick a finnZero Threshold 

Zero threshold, or curbless shower entries, mean that there is no step up and over into the shower. While this may not be something you are concerned about at the moment, this may change in the future. A full threshold makes shower entry difficult and unsafe if you use a walker or wheelchair. A zero threshold entry allows for someone to safely walk or wheel into the shower. The shower layout will need to be adjusted for a zero threshold entry. A small pitch will be put toward the center drain to prevent water from pooling and you may even consider additional draining at the entry. 


Tile and Grout Considerations

Tiles that have texture help to create an anti slip surface. A tile such as a tumbled stone is great for this purpose. You will want to ensure that the tile has soft edges though to allow for easy movement for a wheelchair or walker. Another consideration is a smaller format tile that inherently will have more grout lines. The grout will help to add traction to the floor. When shopping for tile, remember that the surface will change when it is wet, so it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to tile texture. 



Open Bottom Vanity

When designing the vanity area of your bathroom, consider leaving a portion of the vanity open on the bottom. This allows you to still have storage, but also to have a space that will be wheelchair accessible. You can design the open vanity portion with a lap style drawer, similar size to a pencil drawer on a desk, to store daily essentials. 


There are plenty of considerations when designing a universal bathroom, but these are a great start to discuss with your design build remodeler. Be sure to be honest with any safety concerns that you have now or may have in the future. The more information you can provide your designer, the better he or she is able to create a safe and functional space for you. 


If a universal design bathroom is something that you are considering, give us a call today at 847-380-8189 or fill out our contact us form. We’d love to help you design and build a bathroom that you’ll love for years to come. 


Guest Post- Maintaining Your Home for Winter: Tips for Preparing for Cold Weather

Winter is my favorite time of year. Time for basketball, cozy pajamas, hot chocolate, and fires in the fireplace. It’s also the time for doing some cleaning and maintenance around your home to make sure it can withstand the cold weather. A little time spent now can save more time and money later by preventing small problems from becoming major issues.

There are several things you can do to winterize your home. Some are normal cleaning projects that prepare your home for maximum sun exposure and clean indoor air. Some are “catch it sooner rather than later” inspections for leaks and damage, while others are annual touch-ups that help keep potential damage away. All will go a long way toward keeping your home in tip-top shape for winter. So, here’s what you need to know.


Deep cleaning your home will help keep indoor air cleaner when windows and doors are shut tight. This is the time of year to have your carpets cleaned, as well as your chimney and furnace. You’ll want to vacuum upholstery; dust window sills, ceiling fans, blinds, and heating grates; and wipe down baseboards. Clean your drapes and window screens, and wash windows inside and out. Change the A/C and furnace filters and check fire extinguisher expiration dates. Finally, make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

Outside, you should clean or pressure wash your deck or patio, driveway, and sidewalk. Clean out your gutters and downspouts to keep water from backing up. Wash your grill and patio furniture before putting them in storage. While you’re washing the windows outside, check for leaks or openings that need to be caulked.


The best way to inspect your home is to walk all the way around it, from top to bottom, looking for places where cold air or pests can come in. Check the roof shingles or have a professional do it. You’re looking for damaged or missing tiles. Check your siding or exterior surfaces for damage or wear and tear that requires repainting. Look for buckling or warping, as well as cracks that might let in bugs or rodents. Consider hiring an exterminator to seal cracks and crevices. Look closely over your deck for raised nails or boards that need replacement. Seal or paint the deck or patio, if necessary. Check your driveway and sidewalk for cracks that might need to be sealed. Walk around your yard and remove debris, and check the fencing for holes. 

Going inside, check your dryer vent for lint buildup and inspect appliance water hoses for leaks. In the attic, look for daylight that might indicate small holes in the roofing or loose fittings that could allow critters to get in. Have your HVAC unit inspected and serviced. See if the weather stripping on exterior doors needs to be replaced. Check vents and chimney piping for holes or areas that need caulking and check for mold in poorly ventilated areas. Look at the walls, ceilings, and floors for cracks that might need to be sealed or repaired. Again, catching small cracks now means easier repairs than fixing major damage later. 


You can prevent damage from falling tree limbs by pruning back trees and dead foliage. You also want to prevent flooding by taking care of your water pipes. Remove, drain, and store outdoor hoses, and close inside valves supplying water to outside hose bibs and faucets. Open the outside hose bib to allow water to drain. Insulating exposed water pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces will keep them from freezing. When temperatures drop, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so the pipes underneath can warm. Let cold water drip through the faucet in the sink furthest from the water supply line to your house. 

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to your home, a little bit of work now can save you major headaches and repair bills later. Check this list, look around your home, and then enjoy yourself knowing that you’re ready for whatever winter may bring.

Author: Clara Beaufort

Photo by Pixaby


Kitchen Remodel Financing

Guest Post- Kitchen Remodeling Financing: Compare Loan Options & Financing Strategies

Kitchen remodeling is a common home renovation undertaking among homeowners. Aside from the perk of having a new kitchen, it can also lead to an increased property value and an easier time selling the house.

Potential buyers want to see updated fixtures and finishes, new kitchen appliances, fresh countertops, and unique touches throughout. However, tackling this kind of home improvement project is expensive.

Fortunately, home improvement loans are available to help you pay for the project without depleting your savings. This guide covers the best kitchen remodel financing options, so you can make your HGTV dream a reality.

How to Finance A Kitchen Remodel 

It isn’t uncommon for homeowners to seek out kitchen renovation loan options because of the high cost and potential return of such a project. 

As long as you can keep up with monthly payments on a kitchen loan, financing isn’t a bad idea, because kitchen renovations can boost the value of your home. Consider it a return on your initial home investment—and the cost of financing is part of your contribution to that return. 

Using personal loans to finance a kitchen remodel

Most homeowners tilt toward personal loans to pay for renovations. Personal loans are a reliable solution for kitchen financing because there is a loan option out there for nearly all types of borrowers.

Though some loans are marketed as something like “home improvement loans” or “kitchen loans” personal loan lenders do not typically restrict how borrowers can use the funds, and loan amounts can be high enough to cover basically any renovation budget. 

Using home equity loans as kitchen loans

Another option for kitchen renovation financing is a home equity loan. For homeowners who have available home equity, a home equity loan can be a cost-effective solution. 

Home equity loans are secured using the home as collateral, so interest rates are often lower than for personal loans. However, you’ll wait longer to receive funding from home equity loans, and the application process may require extra steps. 

Using a HELOC as a kitchen loan

Similar to a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a viable option for financing a kitchen remodel or renovation. 

A HELOC operates like a credit card for homeowners. You establish a flexible line of credit you can draw from multiple times over the life of the account, and you can borrow as much or as little as you need each time. You only pay for want you draw, plus interest. 

A HELOC is most beneficial for homeowners who plan to complete a kitchen remodel over several months. However, like a home equity loan, your home equity is collateral. This makes it crucial to understand how much you can afford to repay.

See the full article here: Kitchen Remodel Financing

Author: Melissa Horton of LendEdu

Your Kitchen Backsplash Guide

With new tile on the market every day, it can be difficult to find the perfect backsplash for your kitchen remodel. When choosing your kitchen backsplash, you’ll want to consider durability, style, size and what budget you’re willing to allocate to the backsplash. While there is a myriad to choose from, below are some of our clients’ favorites. 


Black and White Cement Tile BacksplashEncaustic Cement Tile

Encaustic cement tile has been a popular choice for a few years now. Its a great way to add a strong design element to your kitchen remodel, especially if you have chosen simple cabinetry. Encaustic tile comes in a variety of patterns. With the different patterns, some people choose to layout the tile in a way that creates an even larger pattern to fill the wall. If you’re considering encaustic tile, but concerned it might be too bold for the space, you may like it just above the cooktop as an accent. 


Subway Tile

Subway tile is a classic due to its simplicity and versatility. Many people choose subway tile for their kitchen remodel because it looks timeless. For those that want a variation of subway tile, people are choosing to use larger format subway tile, such as a 4×8 tile. Those that want a more contemporary look may choose to install subway tile vertically, rather than the typical horizontal installation. There are also chevron and herringbone variations to consider. 


Glass Mosaics

Glass mosaics have a huge variety which is why they are a popular choice for kitchen remodels. Due to the size of the mosaics, they are often sold attached to a mesh sheet to assist in installation. Glass mosaics are often a rectangular or square shape. Sometimes they are just glass, other times the sheet contains a mix of glass and ceramic or porcelain tile. Much like the subway tile, glass mosaics may be run vertically for a more contemporary look. They are often used as an accent piece with field tile that is a bit simpler. 




A slab backsplash is  made of a large, solid piece of stone. Often times, the slab is made of the same material as the countertop. This is often used contemporary spaces as they are visually simple and streamlined. They appear to be a continuation of the countertop which helps to unify the design. Because the slab is one large piece, they are a great option for those who want to avoid grout lines.  When choosing a slab for a backsplash, be sure to look at the veining and variation in the stone so that you can plan where you want the higher variation areas. Marble is a common choice for a slab style backsplash. 



Stacked Stone

Stacked stone is a great option for those looking to add a bit of texture and visual interest to their kitchen remodel. While people may think that stacked stone is a more rustic option, it can be a great way to add warmth to a transitional kitchen remodel. Stacked stone is made from thinly cut pieces of natural stone. Because it is a natural product, there are a variety of colors available. Each stone piece has a natural variation that can add a great design element to your backsplash. Gray tones are very common for stacked stone backsplashes due to its versatility. 


Picking a backsplash is only one of the many decisions you need to make when planning your kitchen remodel. If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your kitchen, contact us today to get started! Our design build team would love to turn your dreams into reality. To see some of our kitchen remodels, including all of the kitchens featured here, visit our kitchen portfolio.

Your Bathroom Remodel Sink Style Guide

If you’re planning your bathroom remodel, you know that each and every design decision has an impact on the overall look and feel of the finished space. It is easy to focus on items like the tile and vanity, but you don’t want to forget about the various plumbing fixtures that help define the space! Sinks in particular seem to be an easy choice until you realize all of the different options for your bathroom remodel. We’ve talked to our bathroom designer to help you determine which style is right for your space. 


Pedestal Sink- bathroom remodelPedestal

Often used in powder rooms, pedestal sinks, are a budget friendly option for bathrooms that don’t need much storage. Because of the lack of cabinetry, pedestal sinks also work well in smaller bathrooms to keep the space feeling light. If you’re considering a pedestal sink for your bathroom remodel, but concerned about storage consider adding a medicine cabinet mirror or built in storage. 



Custom double vanity, drop in sink, bathroom remodelDrop In

Drop in sinks, also known as top mount or self-rimming, are a popular choice for bathrooms. They are a budget friendly choice in comparison to an undermount sink. Drop in sinks are also relatively simple to install. They are supported under the countertop and then are set in place. While drop in sinks are popular, some people feel the rim of the sink can look busy on the countertop. However, it’s a personal preference!


Vessel sink, bathroom remodelVessel

In the early 2000s, vessel sinks were one of the most popular bathroom sink choices. While the craze has died down a bit, vessel sinks are still a common choice for people looking to have a bit of a ‘statement piece’ in their bathroom. They can easily add visual interest to simple vanities. Vessel sinks are also simple to install. One downfall of vessel sinks is cleaning. Depending on the style of the sink, it can be difficult to clean around and behind the sink. 


Double vanity sinks, undermount sink,



Of all the sinks on this list, undermount are the most popular. Undermount sinks get their name from the way they are installed, mounted under the countertop. They are visually appealing by keeping the vanity looking simple and clean. Undermount sinks make cleaning the counter much easier as there is no rim between the sink and counter, just a smooth drop from counter to sink. If you’re considering resale value, undermount sinks are considered a sophisticated perk to the space. 


Small bathroom with single vanity and a tile half wall. Integrated

Some people choose to buy a vanity, sink and countertop all in one. The sink in this option is integrated with the countertop. This is often a common choice in powder rooms and hall bathrooms because of their simplicity. When the countertop and sink are made of one material, there are fewer choices. Because of this, integrated sink vanities are often readily available for purchase. Like the undermount sink, integrated sinks are easier to clean than the vessel or drop in sink. 


While there are a lot of choices to choose from, hopefully this guide will help you determine which sink it best for your bathroom remodel. If you’re just starting to think about remodeling, give us a call or fill out our contact form to get your project started! Our design build team would be happy to help you with your remodeling needs! To see some of the bathrooms we’ve completed visit our bathroom portfolio

Our Big Win!- REMODELING Magazine’s Big 50

This year we are proud to announce that we were awarded REMODELING Magazine’s Big50. This award represents the top 1% of remodeling professionals in the country. REMODELING Magazine describes Big50 as an award for companies who “have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship, and impact in their community or the industry at large”. 

This process began with an interview from REMODELING Magazine. Shortly after the interview process, the winners were chosen and were honored to attend the award ceremony at the Remodeler’s Summit in Orlando, Florida. All Big50 winners were featured in the July-August issue of REMODELING Magazine. Each winner also has their interview summary on REMODELING Magazine’s website. Click here to read our feature! 

Here at Patrick A. Finn, LTD., we have been serving the Chicagoland area since 1991 with a focus on true craftsmanship and flawless design. Patrick, an immigrant from Ireland, learned old world quality and craftsmanship in England. Once he had the skills of a master carpenter he brought his passion to the United States to begin his business. Here he and his team have remodeled well over 500 homes throughout Chicago and the Northwestern Suburbs. Quality workmanship, a dedicated team and wonderful clients are all to thank for the continued success of the company.

Your Guide to Creating a Functional Home Office

Do you wish you had a room in your home for when you need to get work done? Wish your child had a place to complete their homework in peace? A home office designed and built by Patrick A. Finn could be just what you need!

Keep reading to learn how to create the perfect home office in your Chicagoland home.

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3 Planning Tips to Keep Your Home Remodel On Schedule

Home remodeling projects have a lot of moving parts. Multiple contractors, intersecting timelines, material decisions, and permit acquisition are all factors that can lead to delays, mistakes, and frustration.

While you can never completely remove unpredictability from a home remodeling project, following a few simple steps during the planning process can lead to a project completed on-time and on-budget.

Keep reading to learn 3 planning tips that will set your Chicagoland home remodeling project up for success.

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Walk-In Closet Design Guide

Let’s face it — we could all use more closet space. Even if you can physically fit everything you need into your current solution, a well designed closet is about more than just capacity. It should store and layout your wardrobe to empower your style and make your life simpler.

At Patrick A. Finn, we believe there is no better way to do this than through a walk-in closet. Read on to learn about what to consider when designing the perfect walk-in closet for your master suite or bedroom.

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