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It’s not a home, it’s a lifestyle – 5 personal values to drive a home built around you

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

It's not a home it's a lifestyle. 5 personal value to drive a home built around you. | Innovate Building Solutions

For some a home can be viewed as a pile of sticks, bricks and shingles – a dwelling, a simple roof over your head. For others (like Sandy and Jeff Alexander of Stonington Connecticut) a home is much more. It is the hub of family life, an extension of who they are and of what they value. You may be wondering how can people view their homes so differently? I believe is tied into connection with your surroundings, the importance of family life and how you want to interact with the world around you.

When I talked to Sandy about the beautiful modern, bright and airy farmhouse (she worked with builder Nick Lehto of Lehto Design Build on the project) she said to me, “Mike – this home (and architecture in general) has been a love for Jeff and me. We didn’t want to build any old house. We were building our forever home. A place for Jeff and me and our 6-year-old son Brody to enjoy and do things together. We wanted to spend as little time as possible maintaining and fixing this home. We were determined to build a home which was sustainable, cost-effective and respected our planet.”

Are you looking for more than just sticks and bricks slapped up by “ABC Crank-It-Out Production Builders Incorporated?” Do you want a home which connects with who you are, with what you value? If so, read on to see how Sandy and Jeff incorporated personal values and a desired lifestyle into their modern forever home.

A contemporary “wow” vacation home designed to inspire a prince….and you

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

A contemporary vacation home designed to even inspire a prince - Innovate Building Solutions

Imagine after a long, tumultuous, stress-filled year you could leave all the anxiety behind, spending a work and social media free week relaxing in a hot tub in a contemporary vacation home. You’ll be looking out over one of the top 10 beaches in the world and putting your mind to rest with the love of your life. Does this sound like a wow experience to you? It certainly does to me, and I’m betting I could convince my wife Rose and kids Grant, Parker and Jade to come along as well without too much effort. This experience is possible in the Sand Dollar Hideaway vacation home in St. Thomas.

This home, owned by Suzanne and Steve Levine, was not designed to be “just any old vacation house.” It was designed and inspired by a not-too-flattering comment made by an Arabian prince to Suzanne 16 years ago. As the prince was getting ready to leave their original vacation home (see all 3 properties which are on this 2.5-acre property below) Suzanne asked the prince what he thought about his stay at their property (note – this home has been used by the likes of Hillary and Bill Clinton to Al and Tipper Gore) and he said simply to Suzanne, “It’s not a wow.” Ouch. For Suzanne, this comment really hurt. Imagine you’ve invested millions of dollars in a luxury property and someone would not think it was a wow experience!

Fast forward 16 years. Suzanne and Steve decided to design and build a contemporary style vacation home on the balance of their cliffside land. The goal was to design this home to not only be enjoyed by their family, but could also to be used by previous guests of their other 2 properties (see an aerial view of all 3 properties below) and for special wedding and corporate events.

An aerial view of a luxury St. Thomas vacation properties Sand Dollar Hideaway and Sand Dollar Estates - @InnovateBuild

 

But this would be no ordinary house. Suzanne and Steve not only invested millions more in this house – but more importantly they poured their heart, soul and design tastes into what they call the “new home.” They were determined this design would be a “wow”…. even for a prince with discerning tastes who could afford to come to the island and this property with his 2 private jets!

Luxury contemporary living and family rooms in St. Thomas Vacation Home Sand Dollar Hideaway - Innovate Building Solutions

In this article let’s take a behind the scenes look at 5 design and construction features which IMHO (in my humble opinion) you would be crazy not to say is a WOW! Let’s dig in.

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors, Uncategorized

7 Answers Revealed Unlock the Mystery Behind Glass Floors and Decks

Nothing quite gets a debate stirred up like walking on a glass floor. They are cool, scary, fun, sleek, crazy, contemporary and stylish all in the same breath. The word which is no one’s vocab about them is – boring! If you’re looking to create an exciting, light-filled and dramatic design in a luxury home, professional workspace or public building which can move light (and your eye) from one level to another a glass flooring system is the ticket. At this point you may be saying, “Not so fast buddy – I’ve got a million questions about these floors before I would even consider using this crazy product!” If you said this you would not be alone.

Glass floors are not well understood and viewed by some as risky and crazy. The fear of the unknown will do that to all of us. Have you heard the popular acronym fear is False Evidence Appearing Real? My goal with this article is to “take you behind the curtain,” to give you the straight scoop and reveal the answers behind the mystery which is the glass floor. So strap it on and let’s step out “onto the ledge” and learn the answers to 7 questions about intriguing glass floors.

How to create an outstanding glass bridge which will not fail

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

How to create an outstanding glass bridge which will not fail

When you think of words to describe the most outstanding bridges in the United States (the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Brooklyn Bridge in New York or the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida) what words come to your mind? If I’m guessing right it might be exhilarating, breathtaking, fun, beautiful and maybe a bit scary. The word which is not in this list – boring. Now image a bridge which not only spans between 2 points but one you can see through – now that’s a wow! This describes a glass bridge. You many have heard or even walked on – if you were gutsy enough – some famous glass floors like the CN Tower in Toronto or the Tiananmen Mountain “walk of faith” (I have to say no thank you to this one!).

scary glass bridge on Tiananmen Mountain in China walk of faith bridge

“Walk of faith” bridge

You may be thinking why should I care about a glass bridge since my home (or business) is not trying to span over the East River, the Pacific Ocean or even capture a breathtaking (top down) view of a famous city? When you look at the basic benefits of any bridge they look to connect 2 spaces. In the case of the glass and suspension bridges and floors mentioned above they make the connection between 2 places with a dramatic flair which cements an experience in your mind.

When you look at your custom home or business why should you settle for the same old same old design when you can add flair and drama to create a truly unique space? Imagine how people visiting your home will react while walking over a clear or colored glass bridge! If you’re a business who wants to wow potential clients or new recruits a space which stands out from the crowd is essential (isn’t this why you hired a professional architect or designer to plan your project?). Here are 3 unique advantages of glass bridges which make them one of the most distinctive features in a new home or commercial building:

  • 1) Moving light through a glass floor – Perhaps you live in a row home in the city and the lower level of your home where you have your office is dark. A glass floor can help you move light into this space. Or perhaps you have a restaurant and want to get light into a lower level seating area – another distinctive advantage of structural glass.

Glass flooring bridge in an upscale luxury home

  • 2) Visually connecting two spaces – One of the most interesting factors of a glass floor or bridge is it can be designed to be see-through. If you have a lower level wine cellar you can see through the floor to this feature. Maybe you’re into sports memorabilia and you want other to see your favorite jerseys on display, or want to uniquely exhibit your company’s products by creating a horizontal “showcase.”

Glass floor bridges to connect spaces in a hockey lounge to the rink

  • 3) Creating wow factor – You want to add colored light through a horizontal space to create a kaleidoscope of colors below. Now this is a wow feature not to be missed!

In the article below I’d like to take you beyond the fun benefits of a glass bridge and dig into the design nuts and blots, safety, privacy and style considerations which make this product work in a luxury home or business.

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

There is something mysterious about walking on a glass floor or bridge. You may ask yourself, “Is a glass floor as safe as a common wood floor? Do I have to experience the “thrill” of seeing through it (some people get scared looking through a glass floor)? Will it be too slippery to walk on if the surface is wet?”

In the article below I will take you on a journey to dispel the common myths surrounding glass floors and bridges. I will also provide you with a quick glimpse of some fun things you can do in a contemporary home or commercial building with this versatile and distinctive material.

 

A Step by Step Guide to Select a Glass Floor or Bridge

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

How to select a glass floor bridge deck

There is a mystique around a glass floor – whether you are walking on one at the Eifel Tower or in a luxury home. After someone gets done oohing and aahing they will often ask themselves, “Is this floor safe? Can it be private? Will it be slippery? Does it scratch easily?”

These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked when designing a glass floor or bridge for an upscale home or a commercial business. This got me to thinking it would be helpful to create a simple step by step guide to help people through the process of selecting the right glass floor for their specific project. The 8 1/2 steps below can serve as a primer through the glass bridge or glass floor selection process.

 

7 Ways to Light up Your Man Cave – Natural and Electrical Lighting Options

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

7 Ways to Light up a Man Cave

When you think of a basement (or cellar) what comes to mind? Dark, dingy, dirty or musty are some of the most common images. If you want to transform your basement into a man cave or a family friendly space one key will be proper lighting so the room’s lighting will work for any event, party or movie you want to watch. This article will look at 7 common – and not so common – natural and electrical lighting options to turn your scary basement into a place you’ll really want to hang out.

5 Tricks to Design a Glass Floor, Walkway or Bridge

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

Opening image 1

There is something very cool – yet mysterious – about walking on a glass floor. While the versatility of glass shows itself everywhere (from windows in the home, to drinking glasses, to eyeglasses to decorative art pieces) it’s certainly seen as strange novelty for most to step onto a glass walkway. With the invention of advanced glass flooring systems (which typically incorporate glass pavers and laminated glass floor panels) it’s now possible to design distinctive glass floors, bridges and walkways. These applications are not only architecturally dramatic – but are safe, stylish and engineered to last – but there is a catch. The catch is to use these top 5 design tricks to maximize the benefits of your floor to get the best results. Let’s explore these 5 design tricks.

 

7 Cool Uses of Glass for Contemporary Luxury Homes

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block, Glass Flooring, Glass Floors, Kitchen Remodeling

Contemporary glass floor in a luxury home

I have to admit my fascination with glass has grown exponentially with increased exposure to contemporary and modern home design. The light, shine, flexibility and clean open spaces created with glass are a magnet for my eye. Since I’m a guy who hates even having a North elevation in my home (note – a North elevation is the darkest side of a home) it’s natural for me to like the effects created by the combination of light and glass. The flexibility of glass designs, textures and colors to create expansive views (or obscure them) make this material a contemporary designer or owners dream. The article below will highlight 7 unique uses of glass in a modern home.

How to use glass floor panels to connect spaces in a custom home

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Floors

Structural Glass Floor panels to connect inside and outside spaces Creating a custom home should not only be about creating a distinctive looking interior – but also about embracing the character of the lot and home’s facade as well. Urban renewal custom home in Kansas City MissouriThis dual objective to leverage the inside and outside assets was certainly paramount in a recent Kansas City urban design home project for builder Jane Kietzman and her husband Randy Kietzman (the architect on the project).

In the article below learn how Jane and Randy created a stunning design element and a visual connection between the inside and outside of this newly built custom home (located at 2405 Forest Ave. in the Beacon Hill area of Kansas City) by incorporating glass floor panels.

 

 

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