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Exterior Home Lighting for Curb Appeal Pizazz

Written by Guest Blogger
June 21st, 2014
briget murphy

Photo by Briget Murphy.

Your Dallas area home should be as beautiful on the outside as it in on the inside. Highlighting your architecture and landscaping, especially at night, is one brilliant way to do it. Why let your home be hidden from sight in the dark? Bring out the full beauty of your home with facade and landscape lighting designed to accentuate your home. Outdoor lighting is important not just for aesthetics, but is also a safety feature. With lighting, you, your family, and guests will feel secure when entering and leaving your property.

When thinking about front and landscape lighting, look for ways to highlight your entire yard (including your pool and trees) as well as the front of your home. Jack with von Gillern Construction can help you choose the appropriate lights for different areas of your property. There is no need to have only one type of lighting. Instead, think about mixing up fixtures so that you have different types of lighting across your yard, patio and entry.

Patio lighting can consist of small LED lights installed in the rafters or attached with eyelet bolts to a cement wall. Recessed lighting provides a sleek and unobtrusive look while providing light. Recessed LED lights on the floor of your deck create a soft and flattering uplight. Brighter overhead lighting can come from a variety of outdoor lamps that would complement your home and décor – from rustic fixtures, to ultra-modern lights to outdoor chandeliers.

Tree lighting is a beautiful way to add drama to your landscape. Up lighting with lamps in the ground or attached to a tree branch is the usual way of doing this. Von Gillern Construction can help you choose the correct lights for this. Also consider up lighting boulders, interesting garden spaces, outdoor art or anything of beauty or interest.

Stair lighting is not only beautiful, but has a safety aspect. Consider recessed lights built into the risers of your steps, or just beneath the lip of your tread. Lights can be squares, circles, rectangles or a decorative design.

Walkway lighting can be tricky, as you want to avoid a “runway” look. Von Gillern Construction can help you design your walk lighting so that it illuminates sufficiently but is also aesthetically pleasing. Down lighting or recessed lights are the usual the way to go with sidewalk lighting.

Facade lighting usually consists of both/either up lighting and/or down lighting. Aside from providing security, exterior house lighting can add drama to your home exterior by creating patterns of shadows and light on your home’s walls and highlighting structural elements. Don’t forget your front entrance lights.

You may want to have von Gillern install timers so that lights automatically come on at sunset and turn off at a set time. Motion-detecting lights are great to have near your garage and driveway.

If you would like more information about facade and exterior home lighting for your Dallas area home, visit their website or give Jack a call at 972.818.0411. With years of experience in home remodeling, award-winning von Gillern Construction is ready to work with you to create the perfect lighting that will bring out the natural beauty of your landscaping, and add warmth to your front entrance.

Home Remodeling: Unique Front Doors and Mailboxes

Written by Guest Blogger
June 16th, 2014
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Beautiful wood and glass front door, balanced with light fixtures on either side of it, and a distinctive house number. Notice how the brick arch about the door provides that extra appeal. Photo by Briget Murphy.

When you think about home remodeling, keep in mind that first impressions are very important. Take a look at your front door and mail box to see if they set the right tone for your home. Your entry is the first part of your home that your family and guests see, so you want it to reflect your style and taste. Front doors and front home entrances are also a “teaser” for what is to be viewed inside your home. You do not have to completely remodel the front of your home to change its look. Small renovations can quickly transform your home from blah to wow.

Consider changing your front door. This is the entryway into your personal space, so you want it to be attractive and welcoming. Consider different options for a new front door – perhaps glass-paned, antique-looking or distressed wood, ultra-modern steel – or a combination of materials. A decorative grille on your door adds a special touch. Have your door painted or stained in a complimentary color, or a contrasting color such as deep blue or colonial red. von Gillern can also add brickwork, stonework, wood framing or decorative stucco work around the door frame for added “oomph”. Choices for unique hardware, such as door knobs, hinges, and knockers, are practically limitless. Keep in mind that people unconsciously find symmetry comforting and aesthetically pleasing. Create a balance around your front door with columns, trellises, potted plants and light fixtures.


home remodeling dallas

Photo by Erika Smith.

Next, examine your mailbox and see if it accurately reflects the feel of your home. Gone are the days when mailboxes were simple metal contraptions that were functional, but not too pleasing to the eye. Your mailbox is part of the first impression people receive about your home…and therefore also about you. Have a mailbox installed that compliments your home. With so many choices to choose from, you will be able to find just the right match. If your post box is near the street, consider having a unique brick, concrete or stone custom mailbox built for you, to your specifications. Not only will it function as a depository for your mail, it can be a work of art.

House numbers are often overlooked when homeowners want to remodel the front of their homes. Typically, house numbers are found on the mailbox and on the front porch. Beautiful tiles with numbers can be placed curbside, embedded in your walk, or next to your door. For a distinctive touch, have your house number imprinted into the concrete around your door frame, or have a planter constructed near the end of your driveway with the numbers prominently displayed on it. Remember, your house number doesn’t have to contain just digits: For example, an elegant “eleven4nine” could be used instead of just numerals.

When you are ready to start exterior or interior updates, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, or home additions, contact the Dallas area, award-winning von Gillern Construction. They have years of experience in the Dallas area, including Plano, White Rock Lake, Preston Hollow, Addison, Lakewood and Park Cities. For more information about our quality home improvement projects and services, visit the von Gillern website, or call Jack at 972.818.0411 today. Scroll down to see photos of a wide variety of front door ideas! Also, if you have a pet, print out the notice to the fire department below.


home remodeling dallas

Photo by Ken Doerr.


home remodeling dallas

Photo by Briget Murphy.


home remodeler dallas

Photo by Don Graham.


front doors dallas

Photo by Gideon Strauss.



Photo by Chris Beckett.


save pet

Print this and tape to the glass in your front door, or a front window. By Rossie.


modern door dallas

Photo by eric wittman.


Photo by Briget Murphy.

Photo by Briget Murphy.


Photo by Briget Murphy.

Photo by Briget Murphy.


home remodeling plano

Photo by Briget Murphy.

window grill

Famed Architect Frank Lloyd Wright used window grilles in his home in Oak Park, Ilinois. Photo by John Delano.

Ornamental window grilles are gaining popularity in Dallas homes. Providing a touch of class and decoration to your home, window grilles also provide extra security for your home. Window grilles have been around for centuries – serving both as decoration and as a security system. Popular in many countries for centuries, window grilles are now a trending item in home construction in the US, and in Dallas in particular. Consider adding window grilles in your home remodeling project.

Grilles can be made from wood, or – in most cases – iron, and come in a wide variety of styles – from utilitarian to elaborate, to modern. They can add a unique, personal touch and enhance the outside of your home. No matter what style your home is, there are grilles that will fit every type of architecture from classic to contemporary. Wooden grilles are usually made from pine, Douglas fir, maple, cherry, mahogany, alder and red oak. You can even create your own design for your window grilles. Wood, aluminum and wrought iron grilles can be painted or tinted in any color to either match your color palette or provide a complementary contrasting addition to your home.

If you do not want to completely redo the front of your home, adding window grilles will give your house an automatic facelift. Grilles added to the windows and doors can completely change the exterior of your home with little and minimal cost. Imagine how your home will look with decorative grilles added to the windows – you can accentuate the architecture of your home to create an even more appealing first impression of your abode. Scroll below to see some beautiful photos of window grilles from around the world.

If you would like more information about window and door grilles, or if you are planning exterior and interior updates, bathroom and kitchen remodeling or home additions, visit the von Gillern Construction website or call Jack at 972.818.0411. Award-winning von Gillern has served the Dallas area for years, including Plano, White Rock Lake, Preston Hollow, Addison, Park Cities and Lakewood, and we are dedicated to providing the very best quality and craftsmanship for all our projects.

window grille

A window grille in Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Allen.

A window grille can also be a handy spot to store your soccer balls! Photo by Ze'ev Barkan.

A window grille can also be a handy spot to store your soccer balls! Photo by Ze’ev Barkan.


A window grille at night, in France. Photo by

A window grille at night, in France. Photo by g4114is.


A window grille in Yemen. Photo by Rod Waddington.

A window grille in Yemen. Photo by Rod Waddington.


A window grille in San Francisco. Photo by Kevin Wong.

A window grille in Damascus. Photo by Verity Cridland.

A window grille in Damascus. Photo by Verity Cridland.

Fancy grilles in Suva, Fiji. Photo by Michael Coghlan.

Fancy grilles in Suva, Fiji. Photo by Michael Coghlan.

Window dressing in San Francisco. Photo by Donna Sutton.

Window dressing in San Francisco. Photo by Donna Sutton.

Fish float back and forth on this lovely window grille in India. Photo by bookminx.

Fish float back and forth on this lovely window grille in India. Photo by bookminx.

Home Remodeling for Curb Appeal: Front Walks

Written by Guest Blogger
May 29th, 2014

A continuation on our series about exterior home improvements.

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Front walks are the first impression people have of your home – make it beautiful!  Photo by Briget Murphy.

Your front walkway is not just a way for you and your guests to get from the car to your front door. It provides the first impression of your home, and adds to the atmosphere of your home, which is a reflection of you, your personality and your taste. In the Dallas area, you can find every style of front walkways – from traditional and elegant to whimsical and fun.

When designing your walkway, you should think about the width, shape and paving materials you want used. Many walkways are four feet wide, but five feet across is preferred because it provides enough room for two people to walk side by side comfortably. The shape of your front walkway will depend on the size of your front yard. Small yards tend to look better with a straight walkway while large yards with winding or curved walkways can add interest to the front of your home. The style of our home needs to be taken into consideration too. A colonial or Victorian home often looks better with a straight walk, while a Mediterranean or ranch style home is more suited to a curved walk. However, the style of the walkway may be determined by the size of your front yard as well as by the architecture.

There are many choices for paving materials for your front walkway. You will want something that compliments the exterior of your home, but that provides an interesting touch. Material choices include concrete, bricks (click link to read about brickmaking!), paving stones, slate and gravel. In the Dallas area, you need to take the weather into consideration when planning your walkway. You want a material that will withstand the extremes in temperatures and that will not be affected by direct sunlight. Slate is durable and comes in a wide range of colors that with compliment any building materials. Bluestone is similar to slate, with a slightly different composition that also can withstand the weather as well as high traffic. Brick can be used in a traditional herring bone pattern for an elegant look. Secured with either mortar or sand or gravel, brick is a classic walkway material. Gravel is another classic material for a walkway. A combination of materials can create a unique walkway that accentuates your entry. For instance, a concrete walk lined by bricks is a nice combination. A gravel walk with large slate paving stones is another attractive combination.

Scroll down for more photos of beautiful front walks! If you would like more information about creating a stunning front entry walkway for your home, please visit the von Gillern Construction website or call them at 972-818-0411. Award-winning von Gillern Construction is dedicated to providing the very best quality materials and craftsmanship for all your exterior and interior updates, bathroom remodeling, home additions and kitchen remodeling. Serving the Dallas area, including Plano, Frisco, White Rock Lake, Preston Hollow, Addison, Park Cities, Lakewood and beyond, von Gillern Construction is one of the area’s most experienced home remodeling companies.

home remodeling dallas

Photo by Briget Murphy

front walk dallas

Photo by Briget Murphy


exterior updates dallas

Photo Attribution Briget Murphy


home renovations dallas

Photo Attribution Briget Murphy


von gillern construction

Photo attribution Briget Murphy

front walkways

Photo attribution Briget Murphy



Home Remodeling Tips: Garden Sheds Can Enhance Your Property

Written by Guest Blogger
April 27th, 2014

home remodeling dallas

Photo Courtesy of Shed King

Many of us in the Dallas area remember the days when a storage or garden shed was most often a metal pre-fab structure that was convenient, but to be honest, not very attractive. Fortunately, today’s potting sheds and outdoor storage buildings reflect the taste and style of the homeowner while also having a practical purpose. If you love to garden or if you have a gardener who comes to take care of your yard, you will need a garden shed to store tools out of sight, as well as having an area specifically designated for the care of your lawn and plants.

When planning a storage or garden shed, homeowners must first decide on the location. Some neighborhoods have zoning restrictions, so consider this in your plans. Some homeowners prefer to have a garden shed next to the house for easy access. These structures are often built so that they blend into the home like a tiny extension added out into the yard. Other homeowners prefer to have the garden shed away from the house, sometimes near the pool area or in the back of the property. Since potting sheds are no longer limited to the old time metal structures, homeowners can be as creative as they want when designing their garden shed, as long is it is within any neighborhood restrictions. Built with natural materials, it can blend into the environment or it can be a dramatic structure that is a statement piece in the yard. Some sheds are whimsical, with a touch of fantasy or are even miniature versions of the home. With glass windows instead of solid walls surrounding the shed, the structure isn’t intrusive, and the addition of windows allow plenty of natural light to flood in. Many homeowners prefer a small structure that is open on one side that has a potting bench in the center, and storage space on both sides of the large workbench. There really is no limit to shed styles.

Plenty of work and storage space is important in the potting shed. You want to keep gardening implements out of sight and still have clear work spaces for repotting plants and starting seedlings. You can also use the shed to store everything you need for pool upkeep.

When you are ready to plan your garden or storage shed, contact von Gillern Construction, or give them a call at 972.818.0411. With years of experience in interior and exterior updates, home additions, room additions and kitchen and bathroom remodeling in the Dallas area, von Gillern Construction is dedicated to providing the very best craftsmanship for all of your updates, home remodeling and additions.

Outdoor Showers: Tips from a Home Remodeling Expert

Written by Guest Blogger
April 15th, 2014

home remodeling dallas

In the Dallas area, an outdoor shower not only provides a convenient place to wash off after doing yard work or using the swimming pool, but it can also be an accent piece that is both functional and artistic.

There are two types of outdoor showers – stand-alone and wall mounted. Stand alone outdoor showers are installed away from the house and attach to flexible hosing. A wall mounted outdoor shower is stationary, usually attached to the home or in its own structure, and is attached to an outdoor plumbing supply. Wall mounted outdoor showers are the most popular styles in the Dallas area. An outdoor shower can be designed to blend into the style of the home or it can be a completely different look, making it a statement piece in the back yard. Using natural materials such as stone, bamboo and wood will create a shower that blends nicely into any yard. Shrubbery, flowers and trees can add privacy to showers as well as adding beauty to the yard or pool area.

Showerheads can be hand controlled or foot controlled. A hand controlled shower head is one that you turn on and off at the faucet, just like a normal showerhead in a bathroom. A foot pedal showerhead is one that you can turn on and off hands-free. These allow you to easily turn on the water with the foot pedal, which is particularly handy if you have soil on your hands from working in the yard. Foot pedals also help save water and avoid the transfer of bacteria between your hands and the fixtures. With both types of showerheads, there are numerous options available for water flow such as misting, rain shower, pulsating and massaging.

From simple, basic designs that blend into the existing architecture to elaborate structures that make an artistic statement, outdoor showers have drastically changed over the years. Gone are the rustic structures associated with campgrounds, surrounded by a sheet of plastic or tarps and offering only cold water. Today’s showers are associated with luxury as well as being practical. Textured tiles, stone work and mosaics can help create a luxury outdoor shower in your backyard pool area.

As with any plumbing, take care as freezing weather approaches by winterizing your outdoor shower. Be sure that it is plumbed so that it can be isolated from the plumbing in the house, and drained during periods of freezing temps.

If you would like more information on outdoor showers, or room additions, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, home additions or interior and exterior updates, visit the von Gillern Construction website today. Award-winning von Gillern Construction has proudly served the Dallas area, including Plano, Frisco, Addison, Park Cities, White Rock Lake, Lakewood and Preston Hollow, for years. We are committed to providing you the very best craftsmanship for your home remodeling, home addition and updates.

Home Remodeling with a Pool House or Pavillion

Written by Guest Blogger
April 7th, 2014

pool pavilion and pool house dallas

In Dallas, everyone loves to spend the summer around the backyard pool. Your own pool house or pavilion will not only add value to your property, but will add a touch of elegance to your outdoor living area. A pool house is not only a convenient place for you and your guests to change clothes, have easy access to bathroom facilities and store all your pool equipment and toys, but it also serves as a focal point for your backyard and pool.

Pool House There are endless options for a pool house. They can be simple and clean in design or fancy and whimsical. It all depends on the mood; however keep in mind that in many areas, the pool house must be in keeping with the style of the main house. Many people want a pool house that complements the design of their home, reflecting the owner’s taste architecturally. The layout can be whatever you want – a simple structure to accommodate basic needs or a building that can also serve as a guesthouse with a full private bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

Pavilions are open, airier structures that provide protection from the sun as well as being a gathering spot for family and friends. You can choose to have a solid roof over the pavilion, or for better airflow and a more open feeling, you can have a slatted roof covered with sun-blocking material or climbing plants such as ivy or wisteria. Outdoor string lights wrapped around the posts and weaved into the roof give a festive air and provide mood lighting. An outdoor kitchen or grill area, combined with an open dining area makes a pavilion the ideal party space. Add some flowing curtains or moveable sun shades and the area is a perfect refuge from the sun and even those quick summer showers.

If you are thinking about adding a pool house or pavilion to your backyard, contact  von Gillern Construction at 972-818-0411, or visit their website for more information. Award-winning von Gillern Construction has proudly served the Dallas area for many years. We serve the entire Dallas metroplex area, including Plano, Frisco, White Rock, Addison, Park Cities, Lakewood and Preston Hollow. We are committed to providing the best quality materials and craftsmanship for all your room additions, and home remodeling, including kitchen or bathroom remodeling, home addition, and interior and exterior updates. Check out some of our photos on!

Home Remodeling: Creating a Cool Patio in Dallas

Written by Guest Blogger
March 31st, 2014
home remodeling dallas

The running water from fountains – whether classic like this ancient fountain, or modern – cool the surrounding air.

Everyone enjoys relaxing on a beautiful patio during the summer months. However, the hot Texas sun directly beating down on you and your friends can quickly spoil outdoor fun. Fortunately, there are many stylish and creative solutions to keep in mind as you plan your new patio, to keep it cool in summer and make the most of your outdoor space. If you are thinking of having a patio built, keep these things in mind.

 A solid-roofed patio can create a cozy area to gather, block the sun from overhead, and provide an outdoor shelter from which to watch a refreshing summer rain shower. If you prefer a solid roof over your patio, damp rated outdoor ceiling fans are a great way to keep the air circulating and create a little breeze. Retractable shades and outdoor curtains can also be used to block the sun, and can be tucked away when the sun is not out.

Pergolas and Arbors If a solid roof over your head isn’t necessary, consider encouraging airflow with a pergola or arbor, as discussed last week. Climbing plants such as ivy, grape vines, and flowering vines can be used to cover the rafters or latticework, giving your patio the visual coolness that the color green imparts. Along with perennial plants, consider some annual flowering vines with sweet smelling flowers, such as moon vines. Wet rated ceiling fans can be installed for additional breezes.

Patio Flooring Don’t forget about the flooring on your patio. Black and dark colors absorb the heat, so whether you choose concrete, wood, tile, or stone patio flooring, use light colored materials, as these cut down on the absorption of heat. A light-colored all-weather carpeting or mat will deflect the sun and create a cushion under your feet, as well.

Built-in Water Features The splashing of fountains or water features on your patio not only sounds cool and refreshing, they actually contribute to a cooler microclimate. Consider a wall fountain on one of the walls of your patio.

Built-in Raised Plant Beds Plants also cool the air close by, especially broad-leaved plants. Consider having a plant bed built on one or several sides of your patio. Raised beds provide a feeling of “walls” for your patio to give it more of an “outdoor room” feel, as well as providing a space to plant greenery and some flowers and herbs.

For more information on creating the coolest outdoor space in your neighborhood, contact award-winning von Gillern Construction at 972-818-0411 and visit their website.  Together we will make a cool and welcoming outdoor space that your family and friends can enjoy during the heat of the summer. With years of experience serving the Dallas area, von Gillern Construction is committed to providing you with the very best craftsmanship for your home remodeling, room additions, bathroom renovations, and interior and exterior updates.

Home Remodeling with Pergolas and Arbors

Written by Guest Blogger
March 24th, 2014
home remodeling dallas

This pergola by von Gillern Construction provides a cool and inviting space to relax.

Who doesn’t love relaxing in the shade, surrounded by greenery and flowers? Arbors and pergolas are wonderful additions to any home, creating a beautiful and welcoming area in your yard or patio. An arbor creates a tunnel-like passage that is covered with climbing plants. Pergolas have supporting corner posts and roof usually made of slats or latticework. Like arbors, pergolas are designed to support climbing plants such as grapes, wisteria and clematis.

These garden or patio accents add an extra touch of beauty to your backyard. In addition to the heady scent of flowers in bloom, arbors and pergolas have practical uses. They give your yard extra character and a touch of elegance. They can be used to divide up space or create a private enclosed area. In the Dallas area, because our weather allows us to dine outside many months of the year, a pergola is the perfect place for an outdoor kitchen, barbeque or dining area. A pergola with a shelving unit or shelves added to a trellised wall makes the ideal space for cooking outdoors. Shelves can also be used to gardening tools to create a small outside nursery for plants. Arbors can be used to create covered walkways to the pool, outdoor dining area or even a secluded corner of the yard.

Imagine your own yard with an arbor covered with greenery or a pergola with vines or flowers in bloom. You can create your own personalized space, protected from sun and rain, to entertain friends, relax on your own or have a family gathering.

If you are ready to add a room addition, have you kitchen or bathroom remodeled, or have an arbor or pergola built, visit the von Gillern Construction website or give them a call at 972-818-0411. Award-winning von Gillern Construction has served the Dallas metroplex, including Plano, Frisco, White Rock Lake, Addison, Park Cities, Lakewood and Preston Hollow, for many years. We are committed to providing the very best craftsmanship for your home improvement, expansion project, and other home remodeling needs.

home remodeling dallasI have been involved with six remodeling projects in the twenty years I have lived in my older home. I have worked with Jack von Gillern on the last two major projects. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that remodeling projects do not have to be a nightmare. With Jack, I had peace of mind throughout the project.

Patti C. in Dallas