by Madeline Pillow on July 30, 2014

Moss Building and Design blog


Jeannine Miller, Moss Building & Design

By – Jeannine Miller (


I am often asked who I follow and what I subscribe to online, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.


Young House Love.  A young couple of DIYers renovate their entire home and share each step of the way.  They are doing everything I am too lazy to would love to do.

IKEA Hackers.  I don’t even really like IKEA furniture (gasp!), but I love this website.  IKEA hackers from all over the world contribute their ideas for modifying and repurposing IKEA stuff.

Brutalism.  This funny and clever blog written by Northern VA Humorist Kathleen Canedo never disappoints.  She finds the funny in everyday happenings and is completely relatable, sort of the Erma Bombeck or Jerry Seinfeld of today.

Moss Building & Design.  (Of course I love this one!)  Bloggers cover current trends in home remodeling.


This American Life.  Each episode has a theme and several stories about real people related to that theme.

Freakonomics Radio.  Host Stephen Dubner and his co-author of the Freakonomics books, Steven Levitt, explore a myriad of quirky topics and provide insight from an economist’s perspective.  A recent favorite episode of mine is “What do King Solomon and David Lee Roth have in common?”

Here’s The Thing.  As much as I don’t want to like Alec Baldwin, I do.  Despite his blatant love of self, this show is a great listen.  Alec interviews prominent New Yorkers who have found fame through movies, sports, television, theater, politics and more.  Whether or not you are familiar with the guest, the episodes are always interesting.  You’ll have to reach into the archives though as there hasn’t been a new episode in months.

Today I Found Out.  Interesting, fact-based stories in ten minutes or less on everything from the cause of the great Chicago fire to how the states got their names to amazing animal facts.  Just enough info to make you cocktail-party smart.

Today’s Comedy.  My go-to station on Pandora.  Pretty funny stuff, mostly.  Especially Jim Gaffigan – he kills me.  If you’ve never heard his take on Disney, you’re missing out.  “How can I spend an enormous amount of money, be uncomfortable and listen to my children complain and whine?  Disney!”

Share your online favorites and I’ll send you a $50 gift card for Moss Home Services.


And now a word from my sponsor:    If you’re in the market for some home remodeling, call the experts at Moss Building & Design.  We will consult with you and help you explore the many possibilities for updating your home.  Call 703-961-7707 to schedule an appointment for a free estimate.

In addition to blogging about all things home and family-related, Jeannine Miller manages Moss Building & Design’s Community Relations Department, which includes the popular HandyMOM 101 and HandyGirl 101 workshop programs.


Kitchen Backsplashes That You Don’t See Every Day

There are many unique things you can do for your kitchen backsplash.  You don’t only have to use tile when designing your kitchen backsplash.

Chalkboard Paint in my kitchen remodel?

This kitchen design from uses chalkboard paint as the backsplash.  How cool is that?  Write down your grocery list, recipe, or doodle and leave messages for your family.  It’s outside of the box and I like it!  Would you ever consider something like this for your kitchen remodel?kitchen backsplash ideas

Stone Kitchen Backsplash

Not a fan of the chalkboard paint idea?  How about venturing from the standard tile design and trying stone?

kitchen contractors

home improvement northern va

Both of these kitchen designs have added texture from the stone backsplash.  The second picture creates a Mediterranean, airy feel with the chosen stones and colors.  The staggered placement is unique.  Would you consider something like this in your kitchen remodel?  Or what about as the backsplash to your vacation home?  This would look great in the kitchen of a cabin or lake house.

Go Green With Your Backsplash

And no, we don’t mean the color green.  We’re talking about repurposed or recycled materials.

Check out this backsplash featured in the HGTV’s 30 Splashy Kitchen Backsplashes article.  It uses recycled plywood to make the backsplash in the kitchen.

kitchen remodeling

This is a great way to use repurposed materials.  This kitchen design definitely has a farmhouse vibe with the white kitchen cabinets and the plywood backsplash.

Another way to stay green with your kitchen remodel is to use repurposed glass in your backsplash, like the kitchen below from

northern va kitchen contractor

I think this backsplash turned out beautifully, and the fact that it is a design that recycles and reuses makes it that much better!

Modular Panels in Your Backsplash Kitchen Design

Still haven’t found an alternative to tile?  What do you think about these modular panels?  As indicated in the HGTV article, this one in particular was used in a beach house, which seems like a perfect fit to me.  I think it’s modern, sleek look could also be used in a non-vacation home.

Northern VA kitchen contractor

Kitchen Remodeling in Northern VA

What do you think?  Would you consider any of these options?  Additionally, one of my favorites from the “30 Splashy Kitchen Backsplashes” is also the etched glass (pictured below).  I think this is so unique and I think the possibilities are endless with this!

Northern VA kitchen remodel

Whether you prefer tile designs or would like help getting more creative with your backsplash we are here to help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams!  Our designers and remodeling experts can help you at any stage of the process.  Call us at 703.961.7707 or email us at to schedule a free consultation.  You can also look at our kitchen portfolio for more kitchen inspiration, as well as Pinterest and

Photo Credits:



Northern VA Contractor Turns 13!

July 23, 2014

At Moss, we are celebrating our 13th anniversary since being founded by Co-Owners Pete Hampel and his son, Jason Hampel, on July 23, 2001. Our company grew in 2003 with the addition of Co-Owner and Jason’s brother-in-law, Justin Schopp. Moss was founded on the nickname of Pete’s father, Paul Francis William Hampel Jr. The nickname came from his four children and is derived from the fish, mossbunker. Mossbunker was bait used in crab traps during family vacations to the Jersey Shore. As the children were occasionally called “bunkie” (a 1940’s term meaning friend), it was concluded by the children that their father must be “Moss”. Over the years, our company has evolved to include Moss Home Services, our home improvement division, in 2010. Since then, we have watched our company grow in the number of staff, clients, and new products and technology such as our Moss App which was released …   
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OMG, I’m not LOL anymore

July 21, 2014

  By – Jeannine Miller (      PSA from JSM The SITREP is this:  Our vernacular is becoming FUBAR.  IMHO, kids today think proper grammar is a CWOT.  Their YOLO attitude is contributing to STML.  An adult’s email is seen as TMI and garners a response of TL;DR.  I hate to sound OCD, but IRL people have to know how to craft sentences and spell correctly if they plan to GFTW, AKA, succeed. I know ROFL is more fun than sitting in a classroom learning, but it’s not a FML situation.  (ED, OTOH, is.  NEKT.)  If you don’t want your kid to become one of those PPL who is SSINF, please join me and support the AAAAA. TY. And now a translation: ANAWFMS:  If you’re in the market for some home remodeling, call the experts at Moss Building & Design.  We will consult with you and help you explore …   
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Bathroom Vanities: Trending Organization and Technology

July 17, 2014

  By – Jenn Zschunke ( Bathroom remodels, while crucial to a home’s resale value, have long been considered less impactful in comparison to kitchen remodels and other living spaces. That idea, compounded by years of lackluster bathroom features, has led to more utilitarian and generic design for bathroom remodels. However, that trend has been shifting for today’s bathroom designers who are focusing on creating bathrooms that are truly rooms that are functional, incredibly comfortable and pleasing to the eye. Moss has found our Northern Virginia clients to be well-attuned to this bathroom trend and happy to allow us to assist them as they upgrade the features in their bathrooms with thoughtful design elements that combine function and form to their best level for their budget and design ideas. One of the most crucial decisions a bathroom remodel undergoes is with the bathroom vanity – Moss has found that not …   
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Meet Moss: Alex Ondrejik

July 16, 2014

Meet Moss is our new series where we introduce an employee bi-weekly.  We’ll describe what they do here at Moss as well as some fun and interesting facts that you may have never guessed!  We’ll also share a photo so that you can put a face to the facts and get more familiar with our employees. This Week’s Meet Moss Employee is Alex Ondrejik Alex has been working as a project manager in the Home Services division for 6 months. His experience in the industry has spanned about 10 years. What he most enjoys about his job is the interaction with clients and the unique aspects that come with every project. As he says, “Every day brings something new” whether that includes meeting new people or taking on new project tasks. Alex, in his time off, builds and designs custom furniture and enjoys being outdoors with activities such as fishing, scuba diving, …   
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Kitchen Home Improvement in Northern VA

July 15, 2014

Kitchen Ideas for your Home One of the best parts of a renovation is considering all the “add-ons” that come into play. Especially in a kitchen remodel, there are considerations for the appliances, décor, and overall cohesive design with the rest of your home. It’s hard not to skip ahead to focus on these elements because they are usually really fun to choose.  Determining the layout of your space is  necessary before any decisions regarding appliances and decor can be made. Choosing the best appliances for your Kitchen Part 1 Once your layout had been decided, you can focus on the appliances and the fun “add-ons” for your renovation. Some of the locations of your appliances may only have certain areas they can go based on your layout unless there were changes made in the construction phase of your renovation. Once the possible locations are decided, you should consider what …   
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Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

July 11, 2014

Make a Statement with Your Kitchen Backsplash Many kitchen designers will encourage you to pick one area of your kitchen and to make that your statement piece.  Otherwise, things tend to get overly busy if you have different areas of your kitchen competing for the spotlight. For me, the kitchen backsplash is a place where you can get really fun and creative.  You can play it safe in other areas such as kitchen cabinets and kitchen countertops, and then get really creative with the tile and design of your kitchen backsplash. Statement Kitchen Backsplashes This kitchen remodel in Herndon, VA, has one of my favorite backsplashes.  The tile selection really complements the other fixtures in the kitchen. What I really love about this backsplash is how it goes up the entire wall.  It definitely makes a statement and is the focal point of this kitchen remodel.  This tile paired with the kitchen …   
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Kitchen Contractors in Herndon, VA

July 8, 2014

Kitchen Remodeling in Northern VA Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the home because it is a main gathering point and an important functional room. A kitchen should meet the design and functional needs of a homeowner while  the room should fit in well with the home’s overall design and the home’s footprint. In this blog, we will take a look at a recent kitchen remodel in Herndon, VA (seen above and below) that better serves its family after its transformation. Herndon, VA Kitchen Remodel Prior to the remodel, these homeowners had two major needs through their kitchen remodel: Brightening up the kitchen in terms of cabinet color and natural light Opening up the kitchen’s layout The original kitchen did not have a lot of natural light which was compounded by the dark tone of the kitchen cabinets. The layout of the kitchen was problematic for the owners as the …   
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Summertime And The Livin’s Easy

July 7, 2014

  By – Jeannine Miller ( It’s finally here!  Can you believe it?  After that awful winter and the never-ending school year, we can finally enjoy summer.  I love summer so much and I swear it makes me feel like a kid again.  Maybe it’s because I spend much more time outside than I do through the winter and I tend to do a lot more fun stuff. I’m going to share a few things I’d recommend you try this summer and I hope you’ll reciprocate.  Stepping outside our own box and trying new things is really like putting pennies into the fountain of youth. Sandy Spring Adventure Park.  I went with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop and we all had a blast.  They have a zillion ropes courses and zip lines for beginners through experts.  Top it all off with s’mores around the campfire and you’ve had one awesome day! …   
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