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Remodeling: An Opportunity To Follow One’s Passion

Adding that personal touch.

In this BOWA project in Great Falls, a gallery was designed to display the owner's extensive motion picture poster collection.

In this BOWA project in Great Falls, a gallery was designed to display the owner's extensive motion picture poster collection. Copyright Gordon Beall Photography & BOWA

Having remodeled thousands of projects over the past 25 years, our clients' reactions tell us that some of the most successful projects often address a specific passion or interest. Folks seem to be spending more and more time at home not only working, but also enriching their lives through personal interests. To that end, today's remodeling design often includes developing new areas for pursuing a variety of passions. Here are some local examples:

A breakfast room addition was carefully planned to also function as a bird watching area. The foundation was specially designed to allow the existing trees to remain in close proximity, and great care was taken to preserve the surroundings during construction. A professional arborist was engaged to manage the health of the trees in the six months prior to construction to ensure the addition had an almost treehouse feel.

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Classic car gets a classic space as part of this whole house BOWA renovation in Arlington.

There are a wide range of car enthusiasts each with his (or her) own specifications. Some garage additions, whether attached or detached, are effectively museums. One such addition was designed as an antique car barn, including four-inch thick, rough wood floors, and individual bays for each piece of art. Other garage projects are focused on automobile maintenance and repair. These often have automatic lifts, similar to your local repair shop, which allow for easy access and even provide additional storage. One Great Falls garage was designed and built so that a father could share his knowledge and interest in cars with his sons.

Sports fanaticism often drives remodeling design. Sometimes, modestly designed trophy areas for displaying family victories are included. Other times, whole rooms pay homage to (most often out of town) favorite college or professional sports teams. Real stadium seats, painted murals of favorite scenes, and custom flooring made to look like ball fields are all a part of the fun.

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The 7,000-gallon salt water aquarium in this BOWA renovation in McLean required extensive structural reinforcement and a crane to set it in place.

Are salt-water aquariums your thing? While they aren't for everyone due to the significant maintenance, technology and investment required, some homeowners find the colors and peaceful setting captivating. For one local enthusiast we installed a 7,000-gallon live coral reef. The weight of the aquarium required the floor be reinforced with steel beams, a crane was needed to set the glass tank, and a separate control/filter room was added.

Many designs incorporate a trend towards enjoying and collecting wine. A very efficient and relatively inexpensive approach is to purchase specialized wine refrigerators. These vary in size from small under-counter units, appropriate for a kitchen or bar area, to large full-size units most often installed in unfinished areas of the basement. For the wine aficionados, fully conditioned wine rooms with custom-made wood racking for storage have become common in luxury homes. And for a really nice touch, these rooms are designed to include a tasting area or even full-size dining areas, similar to many stylish restaurants.

Art collections, whether pop or classical, often drive remodeling design decisions. For example, hallways are widened to create galleries and sophisticated specialty lighting is installed, based upon the type of art work, natural light etc. One such project in Great Falls involved creating a generous gallery to feature original antique movie posters.

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The homeowners' team loyalties were reflected in this Potomac, Md. home theater renovation by BOWA.

So the questions remains, what's your passion? By working closely with an experienced design build remodeler who has access to a whole host of specialty designers and experts, your dreams of an at-home museum, sanctuary, tasting room, etc. may well be within reach.

Joshua Baker is founder of Bowa Builders.