by Haley Johnston on August 24, 2016

MOSS Blogger Zaiba Hasan by Zaiba Hasan (

Every August my family spends the month traveling cross country to visit our various family members throughout the United States. It never ceases to amaze me by how different the elevation and architecture varies by region. Seemingly, part of the modifications is based on practicality (regional weather, local vegetation etc.) and part on historical influencers and influences. I thought it would be enjoyable to take a journey across the U.S. and experience some of the architectural designs first-hand.

Modern Design vs. Contemporary Design

Built with straight lines and huge unobstructed windows, these building were built in the “modern” era of construction. Contrary to popular belief “contemporary” and “modern” aren’t synonyms. “Modern” refers to the modernist architecture of the early and mid-20th century, an era of great change in the American landscape. Ornamentation and sentimentality were out; clean lines and superior function were in. Contemporary architecture retains modernism’s devotion to connecting the indoors and outdoors, and to achieving a feeling of spaciousness. Over time architects started feeling that the clean lines and starkness were in fact too cold and began phasing that particular style out for more “warmer” home styles. Recently there has been a surge in more contemporary/modern homes being built in the Northern Virginia area.

Contemporary Design
Contemporary Home Pacific Northwest

Modern Design

Contemporary Style Home

Prarie Style a.k.a “Frank Lloyd Wright”

Considering I am from Chicago, I have to pay homage to the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. You see his imprint all over the city, with its horizontal lines, flat (or hipped) roofs, windows grouped together to allow maximum light exposure for those dreary winter days. The whole premise being “organically” constructing a building so that it may blend into its surroundings as if erected straight from the prairie.

home designFrank Lloyd Wright Style Home

Mediterranean/Spanish Design

Primarily found in warmer states with Spanish histories like Florida, California. You can identify one of these homes by its tiled roofs, arches, stucco-finishing and its obvious Spanish ornamental flair! These extravagant homes were very popular in the 1920’s and 30’s until the depression hit.

Spanish and Mediterranean design

Spanish-Style Home

Home Design Using Adobe

When visiting my BFF in Sante Fe I was enamored by the homes in the area. It literally felt like I was either going back in time or visiting a foreign country.  Adobe brick is a composite material literally made with the earth, mixed with water and some kind of organic material like straw or dung. Yes, I did say dung….let’s let that sink in! However, the homes were ethereally beautiful, cool, and was told pretty low maintenance!!

home design adobe brick

Adobe Home

Craftsman Style Homes

You will find craftsman-style homes all over the United States. Craftsman-style homes embrace simplicity and natural materials like stone work and hard plank wood. Usually found with some shingle siding and large open front porches-you can see families sharing a cup of tea on white rocking chairs! Or maybe that’s just my family.

Addition and Bathroom Remodel in Oakton, VA
Craftsman-Style home

Federalist-Style Homes

Quintessentially “DC”, Federal-style homes came into popularity in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. Boxy designs, two/three stories high running two rooms deep with an understated design element. You can find these homes scattered all over the mid-Atlantic region but primarily in the Washington DC area. These days, people are altering old federalist homes and modernizing the elevation. This is a very popular style in Arlington, VA.

addition Oakton, VA

Having the good fortune of traveling cross country this summer and seeing the different types of architectural styles, I can say one thing with certainty that there is no place like home….

Until Next Time,



by Haley Johnston on August 24, 2016

Pam KopiakBy Pam Kopiak (

The phrase “Back To School” conjures up images of me going shopping with my  father in search of new clothes, the many maligned school supplies (crumpled list in hand) necessary to complete the new year and most importantly,  the BRAND NEW backpack.  I mean, that thing was going to be with you day in/day out for a WHOLE year.  It had to be JUST perfect right?

Well, apparently there are a LOT of people (in our area alone)  that cannot afford that luxury.  These folks cannot even afford to get the required school supplies more or less a new backpack every year.  This is where community involvement comes in hand.  You know that saying “It Takes A Village”?  Well sometimes it really does.  MOSS is reaching out to help children around the area get what they need to start another successful school year.


Community Relations Manager, Jenn Zschunke, headed up a summer time mission with her  kids to shop for backpacks and then deliver them to Cornerstones in Reston, VA.  They are still accepting donations here if you are interested in donating.


Community Relations team member, Zaiba Hasan, spent a day in June helping out at the back to school backpack drive at Homestretch in Falls Church.  Even though the school year had JUST ended, it was already time to look ahead to the next year for those who can use some assistance.

Doorways For Women And Families

Last but not least, I also took some time to brave the crowds to do a little back to school shopping as part of MOSS’ pledge to sponsor a child (a 4th grade girl – yay!) for Doorways in Arlington.  Ruler? Check. Markers? Check.  Feeling a great sense of pride helping someone in need? Check.

There are plenty of Back To School drives out there that could use some help.  If you don’t know of a local cause, NBC4 will be hosting a Backpacks 4 Kids donation drop off on August 24th at the Apple Federal Credit Union in Kingstowne, Alexandria  – you could even meet Erika Gonzales or Amelia Draper if you’re lucky!

If you would like to discuss your remodeling plans or have general questions call MOSS at 703.961.7707 or email


HandyMOM101 Workshop Series: Arlington Central Library

August 19, 2016

 By Pam Kopiak ( Fun fact about me: I actually LOVE the library.  I am an avid reader (or used to be before the kids sucked away all my energy) and think the public library is an awesome space!  So many books, magazines, DVD’s, books on cd, audiobooks…. I could go on and on.  And I always like that it is such a peaceful place.  That’s  why you wouldn’t necessarily think the library in Arlington and a HandyMOM 101 workshop would go hand in hand. That’s where you would be wrong! Last month, MOSS participated in a three part HandyMOM101 series featuring Patch It, Tile It and Caulk It, DIY workshops put on by MOSS professionals to empower homeowners to tackle their own home improvement projects. Arlington Central Library Hosts HandyMOM101 DIY Workshop Libraries are a great place to learn, (as well as a place to connect to free Wi-Fi) and …   
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How to Maximize Tax-Free Weekend for your Home Remodel

August 4, 2016

It’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Tax free weekend is almost here and will begin Friday August 5th at 12 am, and end on Sunday August 7th at 11:59 p.m. The Virginia Department of Taxation has laid out all of the tax exempt items customers will be able to buy this weekend on their website. While back to school school supplies and clothing for the kids will surely be on your list, you may not realize that you can save big on a wide variety of appliances for your Northern Virginia home remodel. Tax Exempt Appliances During Tax-Free Weekend Homeowners who are currently remodeling their home should be jumping for joy as this means dishwashers, refrigerators, bathroom sink faucets, shower heads and much more can be purchased tax-free this weekend, if they carry the Energy Star™ or WaterSense™ label. As long as these appliances are purchased for personal (non-commercial) …   
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Home Gym Ideas to Keep you Working Out

July 29, 2016

Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated to work out. And while your shiny new treadmill kept you in check at first, you soon found yourself avoiding the ‘home gym’ you improvised at the start. While we can’t promise you a 6-pack or buns of steel, we can give you these home gym ideas that will make you want to work out everyday. Check out these home gyms that make us super pumped to work out. Don’t Hide your Gym in the Basement This may not be a luxury everyone has, considering the basement is usually a way homeowners maximize their space. But if you have the spare room, consider the placement of your home gym. For instance, this home gym we found on Houzz used their attic space to their advantage which made a bright and airy studio to work out in. Yoga anyone? Photo by Candelaria Design Associates – Browse traditional home gym …   
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Why You Should Remodel Your Home Right Now

July 28, 2016

                    Mortgage refinances hit new highs following the ‘Brexit’ earlier this month. According to this Yahoo Finance article, mortgage refinances surged to 11%– the highest level in three years. “Mortgage rates dropped again last week to their lowest level in more than 3 years, as investors continued to seek safety in US assets given the global turbulence following the Brexit vote.” So what does this mean for Northern Virginia homeowners? Now is the time to remodel your home. The Best Interest Rates for Remodeling Because interest rates are coming down, refinancing with the lower rates can allow you to take money out to remodel without dramatically increasing your monthly payment. Homeowners are looking to refinance to save money on their monthly payment, and rather than looking to buy a new home, many are taking advantage of the interest rates to invest in their own …   
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Laundry Room Inspiration

July 26, 2016

 by After a freak accident involving a Costco-sized Tide container, my hubby, and a malfunctioning washing machine…. it was time for me to begin my quest in designing the perfect laundry room. I loved researching all of the laundry and mudroom ideas I could find, and with a new washing machine and dryer in my sights, I began my quest in searching for ideas that would make the perfect laundry room. Choosing the Right Washer and Dryer For me choosing what type of machine is probably the MOST fun of the entire process.  As someone who literally does 3-4 loads of laundry a day, the right equipment can make or break your laundry routine.  Whether you choose front-loader vs. top loader, HE vs. traditional, steam vs. non-steam or any of the combination above.  Researching what is the best value that can accommodate your family’s needs starts with perusing Consumer Reports. Planning …   
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15 Years of MOSS

July 21, 2016
p>Today Moss Building and Design is excited to celebrate 15 years of being in business. Since 2001 our vision has been to improve the quality of our customers’ lives in their homes. Throughout our 15 years of being one of the Top Northern Virginia contractors, we have been able to service our customers with the high quality craftsmanship and customer-focused service that has been ingrained in us from the beginning. We have been fortunate to not only improve our customers’ homes, but get involved in our community and the local causes that are dear to our hearts. We have not only grown our business, but our relationships with the many organizations we have been lucky to partner with through the years. Have a look at ‘MOSS Through the Years’ and see how far we’ve come since our start.     
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Remodeling Trends: Galley Kitchens

July 15, 2016

The History of the Galley Kitchen Galley Kitchens refer to the design of kitchens where space is maximized with minimum movement required between units. This means that galley kitchens typically have units in two facing lines, but can also refer to U-shaped designs. Galley kitchens increase their storage space by working vertically, with hanging pots, dish racks, and typically ceiling-hung cabinets. One of the first mass-produced galley kitchen designs was known as the Frankfurt kitchen, in 1926 for a Frankfurt housing estate. 10,000 units were installed in Frankfurt, and it was the most successful and influential kitchen of the period. Galley Kitchens as Space-Savers Galley Kitchens are perfect when you don’t have as much space to work with for your kitchen remodel. That doesn’t mean that you have to completely ignore it! If you don’t have the space to expand your kitchen or you simply want to upgrade your kitchen to reflect your tastes, galley kitchens are easily updated and can …   
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Remodeling Trends: Tile Edition

July 12, 2016

 by Zabia Hasan ( I am in the preliminary stages of a bathroom remodel, also known as the “I’m still trying to convince my hubby that we NEED our bathroom remodeled.”  The great news for me is that one of the major perks of my employment with one of Northern Virginia’s top remodeling company’s is that I have the experts at my fingertips!  Beginning my research for bathroom tile I turned to Haley Johnston, a regular contributor for Angie’s List “Experts Contributor Program” (and who also happens to be my office-mate) for advice.  After reading her article  Shopping for Bathroom Tile on Angie’s List, I was energized and ready to begin this project.  In choosing the perfect tile I discovered that there were 5 current tiling trends that I thought I would share with you. The following examples were pulled from Houzz and Pinterest. Engineered Tile Though one can dream about having …   
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