Your style of home will help guide what selections to make. There are a multitude of styles to choose from; some examples are Mediterranean, Tuscan, French County, Southern Country, Traditional, Contemporary, and Florida Vernacular. Once you've decided what style of home you'd like to build it will help you decide what finishes you'd like. If you're having trouble determining your style consult with us and our highly talented interior designer.
Militano Interior Design and Selection Tips!
- Choosing Your Style of Home
- Shopping for Floor Tile
- Tiling Your Wall
- The Rich Look of Stone
- Carpeting Your Home
- Real Wood Flooring
- Wall finish - Orange Peel, Knockdown or Hand Troweled
- Ceiling finish - We Recommend Knockdown Ceilings
- Selecting Your Paint Colors
- Faux Finishes
- Plumbing fixtures & faucets
- Light fixtures
- Types of Fireplaces and Mantles
- Ceiling designs - Tray Ceilings and Coffered Ceilings
- Trim work - Crown Moldings, Base Boards etc...
- Choosing Windows for your Home
- Front Door Materials
- Door Hardware
- Selecting High Quality Cabinets
- Countertops - Formica, Corian or Granite
- Getting the Right Appliances
- Special Built-ins
- Enhance the Curb Appeal of Your Home With Professional Landscaping
Floor tile can come in a variety of colors and sizes with large 16"+ tiles being the most popular. As the use of floor tile has risen the selections have as well. You can now purchase many porcelain tiles that resemble real stone for the same price as regular tile. It is a very popular floor finish in Florida because of its durability and low maintenance. Many times we'll see an entire house covered with tiles except the bedrooms.
When shopping for tile make sure you know not only the material allowance but the allowance for installation as well. We hardly see homes laid with a regular pattern anymore, instead the tile is laid on an angle or several different sizes are used to make an intricate design. These patterns are more expensive to install so it's good to know if your builder is giving you an adequate allowance not only for your material but the installation pattern you desire as well. Tile is usually quoted as a cost per square foot.
The same rules apply to wall tile as does floor tile. We are also seeing large tiles laid in the showers as opposed to small 4"x 4" tiles. However many homes are laying small tiles (called mosaics) for the shower floor. This makes for a nice contrast in your shower. Also, if you're looking for decorative patterns in your shower or behind your cook top make sure your builder has included this.
Stone floors are very popular for the same reasons as tile although stone has a much richer look. Recently stone prices have dropped considerably; however, installation costs are still very high. On average installation is twice the cost of the materials. This is because stone needs to be set in a thick mud base and requires more precision than tile because the joints are seamless (no grout). If you select a tumbled or chiseled edge stone though it can be thin set like tile and tends to be less expensive.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of carpet textures and colors to select. The price can range from reasonable to extremely expensive. Carpet is quoted on a price per square yard basis. I personally recommend buying a carpet with Stain Master protection from DuPont. It will extend the life of your carpet considerably. Be wary of other stain protection programs. Many will wash out the first time you have your carpet cleaned.
In Florida we do install real wood flooring however the costs and maintenance are much higher with real wood. Many engineered floors have the same look and better durability. You will be surprised how far these products have come in the last 5 years. Newer products are offering scratch resistance. The price of engineered is also very reasonable. The floors are glued down and snap together like tongue and groove boards. If you do decide on a real wood floor make sure your builder recesses the slab. Real wood is much thicker and will not make a smooth transition to carpet if the slab is not recessed.
There are three different wall textures used today that you might consider in your Florida home. The first is orange peel, a soft sprayed on texture resembling the peel of an orange. The second is called knockdown. It is a very heavy texture that is sprayed on and then "knocked down" with a trowel. The final texture is called referred to as hand troweled. It is a very heavy texture that is applied by hand on the wall. It has no pattern and looks like a bunch of mud was spread over the wall. This is a very popular technique when a Spanish/Mediterranean look is sought.
We usually only apply one ceiling texture - knockdown. Some people ask us to apply a smooth texture or light orange peel texture to the ceiling. This is not recommended because over time your joint lines in your sheet rock will begin to show. Militano Construction uses a special ceiling rated sheet rock to help out with the life and maintenance of your ceilings.
The paint you select is perhaps the most important ingredient in your home. The paint will dictate your style and affect your mood. Most painters charge a little extra to paint multiple colors in your home. The small amount will be well worth it. I recommend most people to change their paint colors through out the house. It also helps mix the home up when you consider different ceiling colors. This applies to the exterior of the home as well as the interior.
Militano Construction receives many compliments on our trim work. While we have some of the best trim carpenters in the business what helps really set your trim apart is the type of paint used. We use a special semi-gloss paint on all our trim work as a standard to really give it a rich presence. On the walls we use the same line of paint but in a flat finish.
Faux can come in a variety of finishes. It is used considerably in Florida homes to give them that aged Mediterranean or Tuscan look. Stencils can also be used to add to the effect. Using a lot of faux (all the walls) can make a simple home look priceless. Militano Construction uses one of the best faux finishers in the State.
Plumbing fixtures and faucets come in a variety of styles and finishes. While chrome and brass faucets still remain quite popular and timeless many homes are now being equipped with oil rubbed bronze and antique pewter finishes. The style and finish of faucet you select will help dictate the style of your home.
Plumbing fixtures are everything except your faucets (i.e. commodes and sinks). I always recommend getting an elongated commode. Your sink can be an over mount, an under mount or a molded sink. Molded sinks are poured with the countertops. These are mostly seen with cultured marble and Corian tops. An under mount sink mounts under your countertops (most commonly seem with granite tops) and an over mount has the rim over the counter top.
Light fixtures are all your decorative lighting. A good rule of thumb for lighting allowance is 1% a square foot of living area. So, if you're building a $500,000 home your allowance should be $5,000.
Fireplaces come in gas, wood burning, and even electric. Gas is the most popular here in Florida. You can have a vent free gas fireplace or one that vents out of the home. Gas fireplaces are also the most economical. If you desire a wood burning fireplace the preferred choice is a prefab fireplace. We rarely install any full masonry fireplaces anymore.
Your fireplace mantle can come in a variety of styles. A more traditional home might have an elegant mantle with marble facings whereas a more rustic home might go for a full brick facing. Your fireplace facing should be designed to match the style of your home. Militano Construction has a plethora amount of ideas for fireplace facings.
Tray or coffered ceilings are very popular in Florida houses. A tray ceiling is a jog or rise in the ceiling and most typically comes in 45 or 90 degree angles. A nice tray ceiling will be finished off with items such as crown molding, rope lighting, faux paint, or wood inserts. Ask us for ideas to dress up your trays.
Trim work is one of the most vital parts of a Militano home. We put a lot of attention and detail into our trim work. Trim includes base board, crown molding, door and window casing, deco molding, chair rail, and columns.
Base board comes in a variety of sizes and styles. The most common size of base is 3 1/2". However, we recommend 5 1/4" and 7 1/4" base boards for their classy looks.
Crown molding also comes in a variety of sizes and styles. 5 1/4", and 7 1/4" are most common.
Door and window casing often comes in two popular styles - colonial and howe. The sizes vary however we use a 3 1/2" wide casing instead of a 2 1/4" in order to give your doors a more defined look. If you are installing 5 1/4" baseboard or larger always insist on howe casing.
Deco moldings are stripes varying from 1/4" to 2" used to create decorative designs on the walls and ceilings.
Chair rails run at various heights. It separates the wall into separate parts to allow different details above and below.
Columns mostly encompasses interior wood or similar products. We prefer the Permacast brand of columns.
Windows come in 3 different makes - wood, vinyl, and aluminum. The aluminum window is the most common in Florida due to its low maintenance and economical costs. The window itself can be single pane, double pane, thermal insulated double pane, or low-e double pane along with non impact or impact glass. We recommend thermal insulated double pane impact resistant windows in all of our houses. Many builders will tell you there is no advantage to double pane. This is simply not true. Double pane windows not only reduce energy costs they reduce noise transfer and feel more durable when operating. The impact resistant glass not only protects you during storms but it protects you from burglars as well.
Front doors are usually made of four different materials, metal, fiberglass, wood, or iron. Metal is the most cost effective, fiberglass is the most durable, and wood and iron are the most elegant. I recommend installing a fiberglass door. They can be stained and look just like a real wood door but they do not have the maintenance of a real wood door. The front door is the first thing people see when they visit you. I suggest putting some extra money into this item to help your home make a statement.
The hardware is the levers or knobs used to open and close your doors. These come in many different styles and finishes. Bright brass is the most commonly used finish but many people are installing more exotic finishes such as antique pewter and oil rubbed bronze. Militano Construction will always install the hinges that match your hardware.
When selecting a high quality cabinets look at the construction. Things to insist on are frameless construction, dovetail drawers, and under cabinet sliders. Another nice feature is full extension drawers allowing you to access the back of the drawer without reaching your hand back and in. As far as nice features like crown molding, enclosed refrigerator, drawers in the cabinets, and trash storage, every cabinet line usually offers these. The wood is usually oak, maple, cherry, with the price going up respectively. You can get flat panel or raised panel doors. Raised panel is more attractive than flat. You can get painted or stained cabinets. A new and very popular finish for cabinets is glazing. This gives the cabinet a distressed look.
The most common are Formica, Corian, and granite. Formica is still the economical choice and is almost always found in the laundry room. Corian and granite are nice solid surface tops. Corian is a manufactured top whereas granite is a natural stone. The price of granite has been coming down lately and is closing in on the price of Corian.
Bathroom countertops are most commonly cultured marble. Recently manufacturers have been taking the shine out of the tops (called a matte finish). When done correctly these matte finish tops resemble Corian. It is also nice to put a bull nose edge on your top making them appear very thick.
The appliances are white, black, bisque, or stainless steel. Other appliances include a separate oven, trash compactors, bread warming drawers, wine coolers, and ventilation systems. Make sure your appliance allowance includes everything you desire in a kitchen.
Militano Construction usually includes an allowance for special built-ins. This allowance can be used for many things that we might not have thought of in the planning stage. Perhaps you'd like to add some shelves in your study, or have a custom entertainment center built in your family room, or have a totally custom library built... Militano can do it all. (See Photo Gallery)
I cannot stress enough the importance of a nicely landscaped yard. Unfortunately because the landscaping is one of the last items put in the home it is usually cut back. With every Militano home you meet one on one with our professional landscape architect. The landscaping will enhance the curb appeal of your home and reflect the style of your home.