All posts by Alicia Smith

The F&S team is humbled to announce the following awards from the Best of Roanoke 2019: Platinum Best Home Design Building Firm, Platinum Best Commercial Construction Developer, Platinum Best Home Restoration Company, and Silver Best Kitchen and Bath Contractor. We are grateful to have an awesome team here at F&S, and continue to strive for excellence!

F&S Building collected new sports equipment during the American Heart Association’s New River Valley and Roanoke Heart Walks. These items were donated to the Boys & Girls Club on 9th Street in Roanoke.   The F&S Team was given a personal tour of the facility and it was amazing.   Classrooms, gym, space, common areas, a kitchen, a computer lab…. it was wonderful to see how they are helping the children in our community by building their 3 pillars : Academic success, Healthy Lifestyles and Character and citizenship.

Do you have a living room that you want to be super stylish… but also family friendly?  And do you also happen to have a loving spouse that has completely different taste in interior design schemes? Welcome to the dilemma of approximately 100 million households across America.

Aside from the kitchen, the living or family room is the place where your family most likely congregates for some quality time whether that means doing homework, working on your favorite hobby or just sitting down as a family to enjoy a good TV show.

The key to a good living room design is to embrace your style but amplify the functionality at every turn. Building on open-plan living, find creative ways to utilize space without filling it up with large amounts of furniture.  It’s normal for budget conscious families to try to use all the furniture they have amassed over the life of their family- this can frequently result in the space feeling disjointed with no real rhyme or reason to the design.  Chaotic color choices may bring more confusion to the space. Solutions can range from innovative storage to just plain ‘ole decluttering.

Always determine your focal point which may be a really great fireplace, a large picture window overlooking your lake view or just a really great piece of furniture.  Make sure all the items in the room complement that focal point even if they are not an exact match.

Choose a paint color that belies your personality.  If you have warring sentiments for color choices with part of your family gravitating toward bright reds and yellows while others favor soft grays – choose a darker neutral.  You can always add brightly colored accessories but it is much harder to change a paint color.

Make room for everyone- the larger your family, the more challenging it can be to infuse the space with touches that speak to everyone.  Obviously you want to encourage a layout that promotes quality family time.  Make sure there is enough seating to accommodate everyone in your family- this could be accomplished by sofas and chairs but could also incorporate comfy-but-cute pouch ottomans or cozy bean bag chairs for kids and teens.  Find a coffee table that also has storage beneath that can keep games on hand for a little family fun.

Light up the room with various types of lighting- pendants for decorative flair, floor lamps for muted ambiance, and standard ceiling lights when you need to light up the room.  Having different types of lighting is an easy way to adjust the feel of the room based on your mood.

Finally…furniture.  If you are trying to make the most of your money you may be recycling your current sofa or sectional.  Add bright pillows or a nice throw.  You may be able to invest in some fun accent chairs which are functional but also add a little pizazz.  End tables and coffee tables that have drawers or storage are great for adding hidden storage.

If your home does not have the open floor plan that makes family living flow you may want to consider taking out some of the dividing walls.  The key to that is making sure you engage a licensed and insured general contractor that can evaluate the structural aspects as well as provide interior design guidance to insure your investment creates the perfect space!

Many homeowners dream of converting an unused attic into extra space, but few know what that involves. There are some great benefits of an attic renovation.  If you love natural light, gable vents can be fitted with replacement windows, you can add individual dormers,  or raise part of the roof for a shed dormer, creating a whole wall of windows.  Attics can be converted to add an additional bedroom, a bonus room, a studio or even an additional family room space.  Finishing an attic also offers the chance to get creative with the roof lines  with vaulted ceilings and decorative tongue-in-groove woodwork.

Are building codes on your side?   Although homeowners often consider codes to be obstacles, safety and durability are the real missions of codes.  Because codes vary according to your locality a building inspector can provide applicable codes and requirements for your new attic conversion. However, if you are working with a qualified general contractor they should also be able to provide code requirements.

Some things to consider are ceiling heights, floor support and egress codes.  Ceiling heights generally need to be a minimum of 6-7 feet above top of floor.  Evaluating the floor support structure of the attic is extremely critical.  Floor systems are designed to carry the required live and dead loads .  If your home was built decades ago or just has a ‘ceiling’ joist for the attic floor it will most likely require additional reinforcement.   There is an egress code for bedrooms that typically requires a window for exit in case of emergencies.  This will need to be considered when adding a bedroom in an attic space.

The next thing to evaluate for additional living space in attic is your support systems.  As mentioned above the structure including the rafters or trusses and floor joists, as well as, the support over doors and windows below will determine if you can add living space with your current structure or have a need for additional reinforcement.  Especially if you have roof trusses, an attic space addition could require significant modification and associated costs.

Expanding your mechanical systems to the attic can potentially be a challenge.   You will need to consult with a licensed electrician to determine if your electrical panel has additional space for new breakers to handle the increased load of the new space. If it can, it is easy to run new wiring to the attic.  If there is not enough space, additional electrical work will need to be done.

When adding plumbing for a new bathroom or mini-bar in the new attic space it is helpful to locate then over or near plumbing locations below reducing pipe as well as disruption of the living space below. Your HVAC will need to be evaluated to determine if your current system will support the new space by adding additional ducts.  If not, you can consider adding a mini-split system, electric baseboard heating and a window unit for air conditioning , or upgrade your current system to a larger unit to accommodate the additional space.

If your new attic space is for a bedroom you will be required to add a standard staircase to access it which will take up room in your living space below.   Spiral staircases take up the least amount of space but do tend to be more expensive as they are a specialty item.  If the space is not a bedroom, you could add an access staircase on the exterior of the home as well.

In lieu of retirement communities or assisted living, more and more seniors are moving in with their children.  It makes sense for a lot of reasons:  being close to family, cost savings, much easier to care for and less need to worry about aging parents. 

There are some key elements to keep in mind if you are making the leap of creating an in-law suite to insure that you provide privacy and comfort while also keeping them connected.  This will require some balance and creativity to manage organization, convenience and the interior design aspect.   Here are things to remember.

Separate but Together-  In order to feel private the in-law suite will need to feel private by having some separation from the rest of the home .  But you don’t want them to feel like you’ve created the Great Wall of China to keep them away.  If you have a basement or garage that can be converted that is optimal.  If you are actually adding an addition, it is a good idea to create their own private entrance that allows them to come and go without having to access the rest of the home.

The family that eats together stays together  – unless the in-laws start to feel like the hired help, cooking and cleaning up after the family on a regular basis. Adding a kitchen or even a smaller kitchenette with a small sink, refrigerator, small counter and stove is a great idea.  This gives the family options- they can eat with you or choose to have breakfast, lunch or dinner in their own space.  Togetherness is important but can become too much of a good thing without the option to enjoy your own solitude from time to time.

GO in Peace –  a private bathroom is essential.  Having their own bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower or tub/shower combo will help contribute to their sense of privacy and being in their own home. 

Retreat… to your private retreat – Include space to unwind and relax in your in-law suite.  Making them truly feel at home will make the experience better for them and you.  You don’t need to have a lot of extra space, just a nice sitting area that isn’t their bedroom with comfy chairs, a TV and small table.

Small laundry closet–  you don’t have to add a fully laundry room but if you have space simply include a laundry closet with a compact stacked washer & dryer.  This takes up minimal space but makes life easier for everyone – not only will this give the in-laws their own laundry space, but you’ll have less laundry on your plate too!

The bottom line is this – make the in-laws feel at home.  



The F&S Building Innovations Commercial Team recently completed the Kroger Blacksburg (Main Street) project and was part of the ribbon cutting ceremony on October 24, 2018. Dubbed the ‘Gucci Kroger’ complete with wine & growler bar, Starbucks, Olive bar, Hokie gear store and many other specialty options, it will take grocery shopping to an entire new level! This project had to be completed during night hours to minimize disruption to customers and employees.

Upon completion the following message from the Store Manager,  about the onsite project supervisor ” extremely helpful throughout. He was very mindful of our customers and associates throughout the whole project. He did his work efficiently, neatly, and always with a great attitude. Without his leadership and expertise this remodel would not have gone nearly as smoothly as it did.”


F&S BUILDING INNOVATIONS was both excited and shocked to win the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business of the Year Award. The awards dinner was held at The Hotel Roanoke on November 1, 2018. After bringing home the win for Residential and Commercial Services category it came down to the leaders of each industry for the overall award. 

The Chamber noted F&S was chosen in part due to is dedication to providing exceptional customer care, and the committee was impressed by the company’s commitment to its clients and the community.   F&S also received high scores for its growth in employees, innovativeness and staying power. 

The F&S Team counts it a privilege to continue to work within the Roanoke and surrounding areas for over 42 years in both the Residential and Commercial construction arenas being well-versed in both ground up construction and major renovation projects.