Home build and renovation estimates can be something of a mystery for many clients—particularly as the final estimate can be much larger than the original quote. An initial estimate of $300 per square foot may come back to you later at $425 per square feet. For a project of 300 square feet, that’s a sizable cost difference. If you aren’t familiar with the estimation process of a design-build project, the final quote can be quite a shock.(more…)
If you’ve never undertaken a home renovation or home building project, you may be surprised by the length of the project. Any kind of home construction requires a commitment to thoughtful design, attention to detail, and a purposeful process that doesn’t take shortcuts.(more…)
One of the joys of building your own house is that you get to choose the location of your property, the topography, and who your neighbors are. But for many homeowners, knowing what to look for in a build site can be something of a mystery. Few people have experience buying vacant land, and you don’t want such a major investment to become a major disappointment.(more…)
When your current home no longer meets your lifestyle needs or fits your design aesthetic, it can be difficult to decide between remodeling your home or building a new one. A house is more than an economic asset—it’s a sacred space for your family to live, love, grow, and create lasting memories. We are connected to our homes in ways that are difficult to express, and the decision to build a new home or to renovate your existing home is no small matter.(more…)
With a reputation as one of the best places to live in the United States, Ann Arbor has established itself as a special town comprised of many unique and vibrant neighborhoods. From Water Hill to Burns Park to the Old West Side, each community has a charm all its own, given shape by the architectural style, the landscape, and the neighbors themselves. If you have owned your home for many years, your connection to the house goes beyond the four walls and a yard. You have deep roots in the neighborhood itself.(more…)
Joel Beals is our newest designer at Giraffe, and he’s also a customer. He and his wife Patricia are building a home in Ann Arbor’s Water Hill neighborhood. They wanted to hire Giraffe for the project, but we were so impressed with Joel’s design sensibilities that we brought him onboard our team.(more…)
Pilar and Cristian were dreaming of building a home away from the busy neighborhood of their children’s youth. They needed a home that would be easy to age into and also welcome their friends and family for dinner or an extended stay. They desired a place to look forward to coming home to.
Located on a two-acre property just outside of Ann Arbor, the home is designed to embrace the picturesque views and green acreage. The homeowners prioritized a lifestyle of gardening, outdoor time with pets, and plenty of space for visitors to enjoy—a kind of destination spot for family when they come to town.(more…)
Many homeowners come to Giraffe with questions about lowering their heating bill or creating a more comfortable climate for their living space. Their home loses heat or it’s inefficient, and it’s a great concern of theirs. These clients might not use the term, but they’re asking about sustainable design.
We all want to be comfortable in our homes, and sustainable solutions can provide that extra comfort. Giraffe’s goal is to become the authority in sustainable design in the Ann Arbor region. Our staff throughout the company are driven by sustainability—from designers to builders to our company’s office team. (more…)
The dream you have for your home is the genesis towards realizing a living space that’s custom-made specifically for you. It’s the privilege of your design team to catch your dream and translate it into a design plan that will guide your entire homebuilding or remodeling project.
If this is your first time remodeling or building a home, you may be wondering what to expect from your design team. What will they expect of you, and what can you do to make your experience as rewarding as possible? Let’s explore those questions.(more…)
Jessa and Tony blend careers, family, and personal growth—all with a dash of grace. But their living space wasn’t conducive to that balance. With living areas that created barriers instead of inviting flow, they experienced conflict between how they wanted to live, and what their environment could provide.
“We have a nice house, but it didn’t come with a formal office,” Jessa explained. “We’re both physicians, and we can do admin duties from home, but we didn’t have a good base to do that work.” Instead, they were operating out of a spare bedroom. (more…)
For many homeowners in Southeast Michigan, a basement is an afterthought—a spare area for storage, laundry, and utilities. For others, it’s a fun space for play or entertainment. But for Ann Arbor homeowners Paula and Allen, the basement is the emotional touchstone of the entry into their home. And it was setting the wrong tone.
Paula and Allen’s home is built into a hill, and the garage enters into the basement. For them, the lower level serves as their foyer. It’s the space that welcomes them home after a long day of work. But the greeting wasn’t the warm sanctuary they longed for. (more…)
Chris and Bob are homeowners who had recently moved to Ann Arbor from Boston. Their beautiful Colonial house has a classic charm that is evident from the street. The house incorporates several unique features that you don’t see in houses anymore, including a true butler’s pantry and a dumbwaiter. The kitchen opens out to a second-story deck that overlooks a spacious yard, and well-placed windows invite natural lighting throughout the house. (more…)
Ten years ago, when Joel and Patricia were looking for a home for their growing family they fell in love with a 1970s Tudor style home and saw so much potential for what it could become. The existing floor plan felt dated and segmented; several rooms without continuity, and an outdated kitchen. For this house to feel like home it needed to be more open and flowing, but they wanted to keep the traditional feel. The new design had to marry the traditional with the updated functionality. (more…)
Jan and Rob enjoy the tranquility of their home that is more reminiscent of a Northern Michigan retreat with views of woods and river than its college town location might suggest. But this wasn’t always the case. Helping their home make the transition through the growing pains of several disconnected additions, to a space that felt like a balanced, expansive whole, required a team effort of creativity, flexibility, and collaboration. (more…)