571-275-9253 info@fairfaxds.com
Fairfax Design Solutions Wins Best of Houzz

Fairfax Design Solutions Wins Best of Houzz

Fairfax Design Solutions is proud to be a recipient of the Best of Houzz 2023 award. This is our 5th consecutive year of being recognized. This exclusive award is bestowed upon just 3% of the more than 3 million home professionals and interior and architectural photographers on the Houzz platform.

“We are honored to be recognized for our top-notch customer service through the Best of Houzz awards,” said Martha Fecteau, owner and lead designer of Fairfax Design Solutions. “We always strive to do our very best at making our clients happy.”

Fairfax Design Solutions wins Best of Houzz award.

Best of Houzz is awarded annually to honor professionals who rated highly with clients whose projects were completed in the previous year. A “Best of Houzz 2023” badge appears on the winner’s profile to assist homeowners in identifying popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz locally and around the world.

Fairfax Design Solutions is available to assist you with your next design project. Give us a call to experience award-winning customer service – 571-275-9253.


How Much Will My Kitchen Remodeling Cost?

How Much Will My Kitchen Remodeling Cost?

If you are in the market for a kitchen remodel and have wondered how much it will cost, Fairfax Design Solutions would like to provide you with some insight into the different factors that will affect the pricing. When we tell our potential clients how much the average kitchen remodeling job costs in Northern Virginia, we are prepared to see mouths drop open. For a mid-level range kitchen remodeling that includes new cabinetry, appliances, countertops, backsplash, etc., you can expect to pay between $65,000 and $71,000. If you’re thinking that you can buy a home for that price in some parts of the country; you would be correct. Let’s go over the factors.

Cabinet and appliance costs will affect your kitchen project budget.

First let’s figure out if you want an update or a complete remodeling. If you are happy with the basic layout of your kitchen, but would just like to refresh the cabinets, countertops, appliances and lighting, then you are really talking about an update. An update is not going to cost you as much as a complete remodeling. You should figure that it will cost between $25,000 and $50,000. Some factors that will affect the price of your update include cabinetry (options include painting, refacing or replacing), countertops (laminate, granite or quartz), appliances (basic or top of the line), etc. Fairfax Design Solutions can assist you in selecting the products that will keep you within your budget and provide you with computerized renderings and floor plans to help you visualize your newly updated space before a single hammer is lifted. A kitchen remodeling involves redesigning the whole floor plan. For example, if you’ve always wanted an open floor plan kitchen and you currently have a galley style kitchen, we are going to have to do some major modifications to your home. We may need to remove a soffit or a wall and relocate windows and install electrical wiring and plumbing in addition to purchasing new cabinets, countertops, lighting, appliances, tile, etc. The cost for a kitchen remodeling is definitely going to cost more than an update. So now that you understand the difference between an update and a remodeling, we will go over the products in a bit more detail. Cabinets are generally going to be the most expensive part of your kitchen update or remodeling project. There are different tiers of cabinets. Low-cost basic cabinetry that is constructed with thin particle board sides and butt-nailed or stapled drawers is at the bottom of the tier. These types of cabinets are often used in new homes to keep down costs for the builders. They won’t hold up as well as higher grade cabinetry. A medium grade cabinet is made with furniture board sides and include drawers constructed using a dovetail technique. Fairfax Design Solutions does not recommend anything less than a medium grade cabinet. If you want to go with the best quality, we recommend cabinets with ¾” plywood sides. In addition, the more features you opt to have in your design, the more your cabinets will cost. If you’ve always dreamed of having a pull-out spice rack and a “garage” for your appliances, it will add to the cost. Fairfax Design Solutions can guide you through the cabinet selection process and make recommendations to keep the costs down.

Granite countertops are a top choice in Northern Virginia.

Countertops are another important part of your kitchen update or remodeling project. There are essentially three choices: granite, engineered stone (quartz) or laminate. Granite is still probably the most popular option in Northern Virginia with engineered stone a close second.  Laminate, even though it’s about ten times cheaper, is not often used in kitchen remodeling/updates in this region. Granite has different price levels so if you want to keep your cost lower, you can select from a lower price level. Fairfax Design Solutions has several partnerships with countertop dealers in the area, so we can help you select the best option for your budget. Appliances are another high dollar part of your kitchen remodeling/update project. You can go with a lower end appliance package for $4,000-$5,000 or you can select a high-end package that will cost you $40,000-$50,000. Most of our clients elect to go with mid-range pricing that will cost anywhere from $10,000-$15,000. Some appliance manufacturers will offer rebates if you buy several items from them. Fairfax Design Solutions will assist you in finding an appliance package to meet your needs. There are so many more details that go along with kitchen remodeling/updates such as plumbing fixtures, backsplash tile, lighting, cabinet pulls and more. Fairfax Design Solutions will walk you through the entire process and assist you with your kitchen project. Give us a call to schedule an obligation-free consultation – 571-275-9253.  
Aging in Place Design

Aging in Place Design

What exactly is Aging in Place Design? In the world of remodeling and interior design, it involves creating designs that will allow individuals to live in their homes as comfortably as possible as they age. It takes into great consideration the safety of people who may have trouble getting around their homes due to reduced vision, illness, decreased mobility or a myriad of other reasons. With so many Americans of the Baby Boomer generation entering their 60’s and 70’s, aging in place design has come to the forefront in recent years. Most folks prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible and we at Fairfax Design Solutions have the experience to assist with that goal. We are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and we specialize in creating designs that will allow people to maintain their quality of life as they age. On a recent aging in place project in McLean, VA, we designed a new bedroom, bathroom and portions of the main level of the home.
Existing Master Bathroom

BEFORE – Master Bathroom Photo

Our client’s main goal was to make her small 1950’s master bathroom safer and wheelchair accessible in case it was needed in the future. Fairfax Design Solutions used the principles of aging in place design to formulate several solutions for her. In order to achieve her main objective, we knew that we would have to remove a wall and extend her current bathroom out into her master bedroom. Since we didn’t want to leave her with less square footage in her bedroom, we conferred with our client and decided to also remove the wall between the master bedroom and the adjoining bedroom. Every product for the new bathroom and bedroom was selected with the aim of allowing our client to remain in her home for as long as possible. Fairfax Design Solutions opted to put grab bars throughout her newly renovated bathroom, but we tried our best to keep them attractive and inconspicuous.

AFTER – Aging in Place Vanity

Even though the bathroom has a wonderful amount of natural lighting during the day, we added several layers of additional lighting to the space such as vanity lights and recessed lights. We even selected a lighted, magnifying makeup mirror that was installed at her vanity. The floor tiles in the bathroom were chosen because they had a rougher and more slip-resistant texture.  Faucets were selected with lever style handles that are easier to operate. The opening to the new shower was designed with a 36” width to allow for future wheelchair access.  Our client’s new vanity cabinet was also built with a 36” opening under the sink to allow for a wheelchair if necessary.

AFTER – Accessible Shower

  The end result was a luxurious, spa-style master bathroom that is much safer and accessible. Fairfax Design Solutions knows that the topic of aging in place can be one that some individuals would rather not discuss. If your objective is to remain safe and independent in your home for as long as possible, it’s best to address the topic now rather than later. Even though the example that we gave above is a more extensive solution, we also have simpler solutions available. If you’d like to meet with us to evaluate your home, please contact us at 571-275-9253.    
Renovating a 100+ Year Old Home

Renovating a 100+ Year Old Home

Though Fairfax Design Solutions doesn’t generally serve clients in Maryland, we were excited to take the opportunity to design several rooms in an 1876 Federal style townhome in the City of Frederick. The property was not in the best shape as it had served as a beauty salon in a previous life and most recently was converted to an apartment with tenants in the upper and lower levels. The home had two kitchens and two bathrooms – one set on each level. Our clients fell in love with the overall charm of the property and wanted to make it their “forever home.” Fairfax Design Solutions was happy to assist them in making their vision come to life.


Here is a photo of the kitchen cabinet that the homeowner wanted to retain.

Much to our delight our clients wanted to preserve as much of the existing style of the home as possible. In our initial tour of the home, the homeowners pointed out the features that they were hoping to keep. There was a hutch style cabinet (depicted in the photo) in the lower kitchen that they wanted to preserve. Upon closer inspection the cabinets were in very poor shape and contained a mildew smell that would be hard to eradicate. We decided to go with a similar but brand new cabinet in the design.


Our clients wanted to keep the existing bookshelves.

The homeowners also pointed out that they wanted to save the bookshelves in the living room. The bookshelves appeared to be in decent shape and we felt pretty confident that we could keep them.

The upper level of the home offered Fairfax Design Solutions more artistic freedom because we were told to demolish the existing kitchen and carve out a master bedroom and master bathroom from the area. Even though we were designing a new space, we wanted to keep the charm of the home intact by using products that emulated the past such as black and white tiles and antiqued black granite.

The upper level kitchen would become the new master bathroom.

It was decided that the master bathroom would be located at the rear of the house and that we would build a wall to separate it from the new master bedroom. A big concern was the lack of closet space for the new master bedroom. We were able to add an approximately 9′ long closet along the new wall to the delight of the homeowners. We also kept the shower along the new wall to avoid any possible cold weather damage to the water pipes. A new freestanding cabinet in the master bathroom was designated to hold towels and linens.

After many months of designing, demolition, consultations with the City of Frederick Historic Preservation Commission and building, Fairfax Design Solutions, our partner builder Adroit Design Remodeling and the homeowners were thrilled with the outcome. We were able to preserve many of the features of the home while giving our clients a very nice home to live in for many, many years to come.

Please take a look at some of the “after” photos from the project below. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget

Remodeling Your Kitchen on a Budget

Before Kitchen Photo Counter Fairfax Design Solutions

The “before” kitchen photo.

We at Fairfax Design Solutions realize that not everyone has an enormous budget for their remodeling projects. As a matter of fact, it’s very rare that we come across a client who isn’t at least a little concerned about the cost.

Last spring Fairfax Design Solutions met with a client in Alexandria, VA who wanted a new look for her kitchen. She didn’t want to spend a lot of money because she plans to move from the area in about five years. Having already invested about $8,000 for new granite countertops a few years back, our client wanted a more up-to-date look while preserving the existing granite. We couldn’t blame her for wanting to save the granite because it is a beautiful neutral color and it is in fantastic shape. She also wanted to remove a desk in the kitchen that was serving no purpose other than to be a collection area for her junk mail.

The first task at hand was to find a contractor who would be willing and able to preserve the granite. A couple of our preferred contractors didn’t feel comfortable taking on the task of removing and replacing existing granite for fear of damaging it. Fairfax Design Solutions knew that purchasing a new countertop and cabinets would be out of the question for our budget conscious client. We explored many options before deciding that cabinet refacing was the best answer in this situation.

Before Kitchen Photo Fairfax Design Solutions

The “before” kitchen desk photo.

A local cabinet refacing company was contacted to provide us with an estimate. The cost for the refacing was very close to the price of new cabinetry, but the cost of installing the new cabinetry plus countertops would have more than doubled the price. An added bonus was that the refacing company was able to install new cabinetry where our client wanted to add it. In this case she wanted to remove the desk and add two deep drawers. We also installed some nice features to assist our client in organizing her kitchen such as pull-out trash/recycling bins and a pull-out spice rack.

After-desk-area - Fairfax Design Solutions

The kitchen desk has been converted to two deep drawers.

In addition to the cabinetry, lighting was also a big concern for our client. Her kitchen was very dimly lit by a bulky fluorescent light. Fairfax Design Solutions designed her kitchen with two pendant lights over the counter and several recessed lights to replace the outdated light. We also enhanced her newly refaced cabinetry with some LED strip lights along the bottom.

Fairfax Design Solutions is happy to report that our client is thrilled with her new kitchen and pleased to have kept the cost down to a more affordable level.