Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Sound of Silence – Interior Noise Barriers

Imagine you’ve just settled into your freshly redesigned space.  You’re nestled into the plump pillow cushions, custom-made to support the small of your back, for a new favorite chair.  Feet are propped on the ottoman and fresh flowers are wafting their sweet scent towards you.  It took a little while to get to this moment so you’re all about savoring every minute of the reward . . . and . .


(We so love our open plans.  They allow light to wash over the entire space, giving us room to breathe, and enlarges our view.  They also allow noise to travel further, without any barriers.)

. . . all of a sudden, thumping ensues.  The kids are enjoying their favorite movie in the upper level family room and it’s during an animated scene filled with music and explosions.  Laughter spills over the balustrade.  That open floor plan you so adored has become the arch enemy to your quiet time.  Sigh!  Oh well, it is what it is, right?

Maybe not.  Let’s step back in time when you decided to redecorate and update your home.  Was there something you could have done to create a noise buffer?  Absolutely!

I’m currently working on a home redesign project, where we’re grappling with some of the same issues.  The house was built about 14 years ago when so much of the technology for noise control was a bit limited.  There are now many more productive and cost-effective options for buffering sound through walls, floors, and even doors.  Talk about real home improvement!


Various types of sheet materials can be placed behind drywall – both for walls and ceilings – as well as under flooring, to greatly reduce the transmission of noise.  In some cases, the material can go over existing drywall, in order to reduce tear-out, and another layer of drywall can be placed over it.

Retro Best Wall Assembly Steps  Best Retro Wall Assembly

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Have a bonus room over a garage?  Is it also an overflow space for overnight guests?  Wouldn’t it be nice to minimize the noise of the garage door motor?  Did you know there is such an animal as a garage door motor isolator kit?


(Bonus Room Image – Candice Olsen)

(Garage Door Motor Isolator Kit – Isn’t it lovely?  To your ears – yes!)

   Using a door sweep for soundproofing a door

(Solid core or specialty doors can add a sound buffer.  For ultimate results, you may still need to consider placing a barrier at the door’s base.)

In the case of my client, we’ve reviewed these options as we’re considering taking the main upper walkway from carpet to hardwood, while replacing the upper family room carpet with more carpet, as well as the bedrooms.  Even solid, sound-proof doors would make huge difference in containing audio activity!


(Some areas require highly specialized acoustics and sound control.)

This topic is not exactly the captivating part of design, but if you took my example to heart, nothing will seem as “pretty” when noise pollution overflows into what was to be your sanctuary!

Great design often goes beneath the surface of what you ‘see’.  Some solutions are best left to a professional and a licensed contractor.  I’m so fortunate to have a fabulous team as my design specialty is in thinking through all of the details in order to make your whole interior experience the best!

Quietly applauding for the sound of silence!  

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