Remodeling Tips & Tricks

John “August” Johnson of Creative Spaces Remodeling has been building and working closely with homeowners to achieve their dream home for more than 30 years. Let John guide you through the ins and outs and best practices of the perfect remodel.


Can remodeling your home improve your environment and well-being? 

The answer is a resounding yes. 

It’s been widely accepted that water can help alleviate some of the most common stressors such as mental fatigue, memory problems, anxiety and depression to mention just a few. When these feelings build, it can create stress overload and chronic stress.  Many find the solution to be adding water features to their homes.  You just happen to have the Chesapeake Bay which is one of the most beautiful water features right outside your window.

When living directly on the water’s edge, you can design both your indoor and outdoor living spaces around the water.  I suggest creating a carefully designed personal interior space with incredible water views, all while staying inside during foul weather or increased pollen season.  I also suggest creating relaxing outdoor living spaces by bringing nature directly to you or you to nature with not only the incredible waters views, but also aquatic sounds and smells.  You can do this with features such as balconies, rooftop decks, patios, walkways, outdoor kitchens, screened porches, stone fireplaces with built-in pizza ovens and BBQ grills.  For large gatherings think about covered pavilions with comfortable seating, open bar area and or course bathrooms. Whether you need a personal space to find some peace of mind and relaxation or you want to share your space and your therapeutic water with friends and family, it can be done.

If you are like me and get a sense of peace whenever you take that moment and just soak up nature’s beautiful Chesapeake Bay, you can make it a part of your everyday life if you choose.  Embrace the water into your family’s lifestyle with smart design and both creative and intelligent building practices. 

Let the healing begin.

Are remodeling and building different on waterfront properties than inland properties?

The answer is yes and no.

Yes, as to the regulations, permits and actual construction practices and materials. But not in the way we think and plan design.

With regard to the regulations, permits and construction, there are many restrictions when it comes to waterfront properties and how they will affect our Chesapeake Bay. Items to be aware of are established wetlands, land disturbance, containing soil runoff, first floor elevations due to flooding, and rising sea levels. 

When building on the waterfront it’s important to select the correct materials that can withstand the harsh weather elements, especially during a major storm like a hurricane or nor’easter. Due to the salt content, stainless steel screws and nails are used. I also suggest insulation higher than regulations require, especially facing the water, as well as higher wind rated roofing shingles. It’s subtle, but the weather can be relentless on the waterfront even on beautiful days. 

Each county can be different but all have property line setbacks from the water for new structures. Hire a professional that specializes in building on the water who knows all of the regulations before starting to design. 

When designing, we use the same process whether on the water or inland. However, instead of focusing on a view of a green valley or a scenic mountain, it’s all about the water view. 

The important part is to carefully review not only what you want to design, but why. Why do you want the kitchen off of the family room? Why do you want a place for the kids to hang their book bags? Reviewing the “why is something important” will help you prioritize the desired improvement. I suggest a “must have” list and a “nice to have” list. Then as you start the process of designing your new home or renovation, you have a clear direction of what you want, why you want it, and how it will improve your lifestyle and family living.