UNDERSTANDING YOUR HOME’S GUTTERS

Gutter

Gutters offer many types and styles to choose from. These include general gutters, contemporary style, french country and old world just to name a few. The style of gutter chosen typically accents the home in a decorative way. There are several sizes and plenty of accessories available to enhance performance and the overall look.

One misconception about gutters is that they are designed to shield flower beds and walkways from pouring water off the roof. In fact, they are designed to keep water away from the foundation of the home, where unwanted moisture could lead to problems for the home. Once installed properly, gutters can also create positive drainage with the use of splash blocks or gutter extensions, both which are designed to carry water away from the house.

The types of gutters vary. There are shallow gutter styles which offer a sleek and almost unnoticeable appearance and there are deep gutters that can be accessorized with decorative heads or bold colors to make the gutter a part of the exterior design of the home. Homes with high roof pitches may have larger gutters to manage the amount of water coming off the roof. There are also many types of downspouts. These range from rigid shaped, rounded rectangular styles, smooth rounded styles and cascading water downspouts, which is more decorative.

Although not required, there are many gutter accessories that have useful functions. Installing leaf guards within the gutter will assist with keeping leaves and twigs from clogging the gutters.

Gutters are designed to reduce rain noise from water running off of the house and prevent wood near the soffit areas from not being over saturated, thus carrying the water away from the area. While gutters are not a required addition to your new custom home, you may want to discuss gutters, available accessories and added features with your building consultant to determine if this is a feature your new home may benefit from. If you choose to incorporate gutters into your home design, make sure to learn about ways you can properly maintain the gutters to avoid other unnecessary problems. It is also advised to use a reputable vendor to assure proper installation which could also avoid potential issues with unwanted moisture.

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com

Continue Reading

GRAY IS THE NEW BEIGE

If you have been in a newly constructed home over the past 15 years or so you have probably experienced the builder beige or taupe colors that line the walls within many homes.  For years builders were placing neutral tones within the taupe range as the standard wall color.  This was a popular choice for many builders and consumers alike and allowed homeowners to use this as a backdrop for their newly decorated homes.

As times pass and trends fade it is common from time to time for this standard color to change as well.  The trend over the past few years and likely for several more years to come is gray, thus gray is the new beige!

Some people may think of gray being a drab and gloomy color, however this really isn’t the case.  There are so many shades within this popular color and it is nice to see the complementary color schemes that have been worked alongside this color backdrop to bring about some amazing interior design.

In addition to builders and homeowners choosing gray as their wall color within their new homes, this same color palette is making its way into kitchens with cabinet styles and floor tiles.  The availability of tiles and flooring patterns featuring gray colors has increased over the past few years.

So why is this important to you?  As a homeowner you can choose whatever colors you like within your new home, making your home custom is part of the enjoyment of building a new house.  If you choose to stay with the taupe range of colors and install these selections within your home, then decide to sell your home within 5 – 10 years you may find that consumers feel the interior of your home looks or appears more outdated than a home of the same age with gray interior features.

Think about shag carpet for a minute.  The vibrant colors of shag carpet was a trend within the home market for several years, and the trend flowed into other rooms like kitchens and bathrooms and as a result there was a rainbow of colors flowing through the home.  If you looked to purchase a home in the late 80s or 90s and found these colors and styles within a home you may feel it was a bit outdated and have to consider additional expenses in order to remodel or bring the home up to date.

This visualization provides you with an idea of how colors and styles can affect selling a home when it is time.  Again, the color choices are yours to select and enjoy within your new custom home.  It is a good idea to discuss your color selections with your building consultant and determine what options are available to you. Expanding your color palette can sometimes seem uncomfortable, but the possibilities of adding other colors you adore with a new backdrop of color can bring about lively additions within the décor of your new home.

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com

Continue Reading

ADDING RUGS TO SOFTEN A ROOM

As you plan and build your new custom home you may have decided to go with hard surfaces in your primary living spaces.  Whether you have chosen hardwood, stained or scored concrete or tile surface as your main floor covering, once you move in you may decide to soften up your rooms by adding accent rugs.

Creating a functional, while enjoyable living space can be exciting – and with all of the many home décor accessories available today you have the option to draw out your creative flair as you decorate your new custom home.  Area rugs are a popular choice within living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.

There are many types of area rugs and finding the perfect one for your décor can take some time.  If you are unsure of the types of area rugs, visit a local rug distributor to see multiple choices.  From imported asian rugs to antique Indian rugs, one is able to find a nice area rug within a broad price range.  Even places like Home Depot and Pottery Barn offer multiple patterns and sizes of rugs should you decide to view their selections.  If you are attempting to find rugs to soften your area and keep within a reasonable budget you may choose to search online venues like overstock.com or wayfair.com where you can find some beautiful patterns at reduced prices.

Adding an area rug to a large open area will also add a focal point to your room décor and allow you a foundation of colors to choose from while decorating the walls and furniture within the room.

You will want to consider color, texture and size of the rug to compliment the room you are hoping to decorate.  While looking for area rugs, don’t jump at the first one you see simply because the price is right.  It would be better to save money over time and find a rug you will love for many years. Almost as important as the decision to purchase art for your walls, you will be engaged with this new addition for many years to come, so you want to assure it is satisfying to the eye and your overall décor.  Wool rugs are a nice accent and are known to have a long lifespan, typically looking even better as they age. Other types of rugs to consider would be those made of natural fibers.

If you are a family with allergies, you may have chosen the hard surfaces to help deter additional allergens from your home.  If this is the case, you may still choose to use accent rugs, however learn the best ways to keep rugs clean to reduce dust mites and other allergens from invading your living space.

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com

Continue Reading

POP! GOES THE COLOR

Minimalist decor is very popular these days. More and more we are seeing people opting for the muted hues in their paint choices as well as fabrics. While this can be beautiful and understated, sometimes it’s fun to play with color to give your room an unexpected touch.

Do you have a room in your home that is just missing something? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it needs that finishing touch. It might just need a pop of color! Now that it’s Spring, this would be a great time to spruce up your space with something bright.

Does 60-30-10 mean anything to you? Well, it’s about to make your interior design world a whole lot brighter! No pun intended. When decorating, this sequence of numbers explains what percentage of the room belongs to a dominant, secondary, and accent color.

60% of a dominant color

30% of a secondary color

10 % of an accent color

To make our live’s even easier, lets break it down by the layout of the room itself.

60% of the room’s color is the walls

30% of the room’s color is the upholstery

10% of the room’s color is an accent piece

Now don’t panic! You don’t need to repaint your entire house. There are some very easy ways to incorporate color without having to do an entire interior makeover or breaking into the piggy bank!

  • Textiles – a few throw pillows and a throw blanket might just do the trick.  If you are up for it, add a bold rug. (Tip: Choose three patterns that “work” but don’t necessarily match and mix them.)
  • Paint a piece of furniture – A dated piece of furniture becomes brand new again when you paint a few  coats of a bright color onto it.
  • Use fabrics as wall decor – Find a fabric that you love and frame it or Mod-Podge it.
  • Add accessories – Add color subtly with a grouping of vases or even some colored kitchen utensils.
  • Bloom your room – Plants and flowers are a perfect way to add an organic element (every room should have at least one) and color too.

Need a little design inspiration? Here are a few examples of creative ways to incorporate color into a space.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 4.25.48 PM

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com

Continue Reading

YOUR NEW KITCHEN BACKSLASH

When planning and designing your new custom kitchen, make sure to consider all of the available options for a decorative backslash. There are so many options available today you are sure to find a suitable option that will offer a nice design flair while remaining within your budget.

For years now the majority of installed backslashes were tile. While this is always a nice option, there are several other options you may consider.

Vinyl wall decals are a trendy option offering different wall patterns, in several colors and styles as well as offering an inexpensive option. Another selection offering a similar look however without utilizing the vinyl is to use a stencil template designed for paint. This option is also available in different patterns.  If you are looking for a solid color instead of a pattern design, you may prefer using one of the many faux finishes available. Although Faux finishing entire rooms is still a popular paint option for many homeowners it also adds a nice design touch within localized areas like kitchen backsplashes.

If you prefer the old world look, a great selection may be brick pavers or a nice travertine stone to be applied to the wall. Depending on the type of border pattern you choose you can achieve several different looks. Even stacking the stone at a slight angle or staggered design will offer a completely different look.

As you research the multiple options available you are sure to discover how vast the selection is when it comes to all of the different options available. 

With the popularity of utilizing reclaimed building materials you could choose a vintage tile theme or reclaimed wood or metal to incorporate within your design – of course these items can be incorporated as a focal point within your backsplash design or encompass the project in its entirety. If tile is the option for you,  you may consider a ceramic or porcelain tile design, or add glass mosaics to your custom look. 

Keep in mind backsplashes do not have to be limited to the kitchen. You may choose a backsplash within your bathroom design, custom bar area within butler pantries, game rooms, or mini kitchenettes within an in-law suite.

Try looking through design magazines and online searches for backsplashes to see some of the items you may like. Share some of these ideas with your building consultant and allow them the opportunity to help you create a design that is uniquely your own.

As with most of your new custom home, the possibilities are endless. Make sure to inquire of your building consultant for options that may be available for your home plan.

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com

Continue Reading

FUNCTIONAL KITCHEN LAYOUT

Have you ever been in the midst of preparing a meal and as you search the cabinets for a specific utensil or desired pan you come to the realization of how unorganized your kitchen cabinets have become? Or, what about realizing your dishwasher is nowhere near the cabinets that will house the dishes you use every day?

If you are in the market for a new custom home and you happen to be in the design phase – this one is for you.  Take some consideration for the layout of your kitchen and really design the layout to meet the needs of you and your family.  It is likely your kitchen is one of the most heavily used areas of your home, so consider its function and plan accordingly.

If this is your first custom home you may be overwhelmed by all of the available options when it comes to designing your kitchen – from appliances to cabinets, all the various colors, heights, styles, trim options and inclusive options within the cabinets, as well as flooring, lighting – you really could spend a lot of time in this area planning the perfect kitchen.

A few things to consider when planning your kitchen layout:

Decide if you want an open layout kitchen or a kitchen design offering separate room space connected to dining room, breakfast or living room, etc. Is it your hope to have a breakfast bar or space for a kitchen table within the kitchen area?  What about a pass through into a dining room or living room? Do you want an island in your kitchen?  If you said yes to the island – have you considered a prep sink or maybe placing your cook-top within your island?

When it comes to appliances have you selected a standard dishwasher or dishwasher drawers? Do you prefer your refrigerator to be freestanding among the cabinets or built into the cabinets for a sleek design?  Think of all the possibilities within your kitchen and then review your house plan with your building consultant to design a perfect functional kitchen for you and your family.

As you dream of kitchen layouts, try to envision cabinets that house all of you dishes, formal and everyday items.  As you open the drawers try and imagine all of your available pots, pans and lids neatly placed or view the spices lined within a perfectly organized spice drawer making your dinner preparation a breeze.  Maybe your dishwasher would be close to the cabinets so you can easily unload and put away dishes, and you would likely go with the drawer option to conserve water when you only have a few dishes to wash – but having the option to use both drawers when you need to wash a full load.  An island with a trash compactor, prep sink and space for your children or others to sit and chat as you peel potatoes.

Only you know the perfect layout for your kitchen – so before you go with the standard plan design, consider your options and design a kitchen plan that suits your style. This is part of what makes your home a custom home.

For more information about this topic and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com.

Continue Reading

THE GREAT PAINT DEBATE

Paint is not all the same, there are different qualities of paint, just as there are different qualities of painters.  Some of the big differences are noticed from the paint prep work instead of the actual paint itself.  Why is this?  Well think about a car that has been in an accident and as it is being repainted, no prep work is done, it is just painted and now ready to be picked up.  Now, think about the same car and someone taking the time to remove the old paint, sand down the necessary areas, and prep the car appropriately before painting. You can likely envision the difference between the two end results.

Drywall is typically installed in the same way within multiple homes.  However, there are going to be good drywall vendors, who see the installation as an art form and those whose work could use some improvement. Having a reliable builder assist you with building your new custom home may save you from having to learn this lesson the hard way.

The prep work involved with painting includes sanding, caulking, priming and other applications to achieve the desired look.

In addition, knowledge and understanding of different levels of paint finishing and different types of paint products will also help you to achieve the perfect look within your home.

So what types of paints are available?

Flat Paint Most homes are painted with Flat paint on the walls.  Flat paint doesn’t have much of a sheen to it and overall it has more of a matte finish.  Within most homes as long as the drywall has been prepped the right way flat paint will have a nice finished look.  Flat paint is available within any color imaginable and is typically easy to touch up.  However, Flat paints with more of a red base or darker tones may not be as easy to touch up and could require much more material and labor to get it right.

Egg Shell Finish Another paint primarily applied to walls is the Egg Shell finish.  This finish has a little more sheen than the flat paint and can be cleaned a little easier than Flat paint, however not nearly as well as a Semi-Gloss paint.

Satin Finish Satin Finish has a higher sheen than the Egg Shell allowing for more durability when it comes to cleaning this type of paint product.  It is common to find this paint on doors, window casings and trim.

Semi-Gloss Semi-gloss paints can be found on most trim within the home.  The semi-gloss has a small amount of sheen to it and is more designed to be easily cleaned with little assistance.  This type of paint is also at times selected for bathroom areas where moisture content is higher.

Now that we have learned about the types of paint products available it is a good time to discuss the differences of paint level finishes.

Most homes have plenty of windows, however the amount of natural light coming in to the home will vary.  It may be due to window treatments or blinds or possibly heavily wooded lots.  Regardless, most of us have been within a home where you can easily notice the drywall seams or areas/spots on painted walls that have been touched up, where the entire wall had not been repainted.

Consider the same home with plenty of natural light, and you might imagine how even more noticeable these seams or touched up areas may appear.

The key to having a good paint finish really comes down to the abilities and professional quality of the drywall and painting company you hire.  Having a builder assist you in this process might save you time and money along the way.  One reason for a better finished product has to do with proper prep work.  When time is taken to properly prepare the areas to be painted, including sanding, caulking and priming the walls the finished areas will look different than if no prep work is done at all.

When a customer is approached on upgrading their paint, all too often they may not really understand the benefits or differences of the available options.  Most painters are aware of the difference between a builder grade paint and standard builder grade paint finish and a custom or commercial grade level  finish.  Even though you are building a home, you may have the desire to have a nicer finish  than the standard builder accepted paint finish (which is a nice standard finish) within your home.  Many times this will depend on the amount of natural light within the home as well as the desire to have a seamless look and prestigious finish.

There are more steps involved with painting when these finishes are requested and as a result you are not simply paying for additional paint, but also for the additional time and effort that is put forth by the drywall and painting crew in order to deliver a finished product you may truly desire.  Some of this additional prep work can include additional priming, additional mudding and sanding and in some instances can even involve a meticulous process where the wall is scrutinized by adding extra lights and step by step the smallest of flaws are filled and covered to eliminate the possibility of unwanted shadowing, seams or other visual intrusions once the finished product is complete.

Most builders, including custom builders have a standard that is acceptable within the marketplace today in regards to the finished paint product.  This includes a reasonable amount of tolerance when it comes to seams and other minor flaws within the home.  For people who have a desire to hang more artwork, or possibly empty nesters, this upgraded paint finish may be more visually pleasing to the eye and be a desired choice within their new custom home. In addition to the finish being more precise and less flawed it is likely the paint application will last longer and you will not necessarily be in need of a repaint as often. The good news about building a custom home is that it is truly custom; allowing you the ability to change items you feel are important to you.  So as you consider your lifestyle and envision the overall finished product you may choose to consider an upgraded paint option within your new custom home.

As you go through the selections of your new home, make sure to consider your thoughts on types of paint, overall finishes and the colors that will best suit your desires. It’s also important to remember that more expensive does not necessarily mean better when it comes to paint.  Lighting, areas, types of materials, etc. all factor in to the best paint for the job. Allow your building consultant to assist you with the right fit.

For more information about this topic or general information about building your new custom home please visit our website at AmericasHomePlace.com.

Continue Reading

VENETIAN BLINDS IN YOUR NEW HOME

Venetian blinds give any custom home a timeless style sense and a valuable tool for controlling heat from the sun.

Don’t damage your venetian blinds by raising them in the closed position. If they are raised when the slats are closed, you can cause them permanent and sad looking damage.

Cleaning: Clean venetian blinds with a soft cloth. If you prefer, there’s a blind cleaning tool you can get at any decent home improvement store. Every so often, you will want to take the venetian blinds down completely and give them a good washing.

Imagine how cool your new custom home will look and feel with stylish venetian blinds; get our Free Floor Plan Book.

For more information about Venetian blinds and how they apply to your new custom home contact us atAmericashomeplace.com.

Continue Reading

USEFUL TIPS : FLOOR PLANS & ELEVATIONS

What to look for in a floor plan can depend on many variables.  Are you starting a family or downsizing?  What styles do you like?  Are you looking for a plan offering open and airy space or possibly one offering plenty of defined room spaces?

Through my experience in meeting with consumers looking to build a home I have found we each have a unique idea of what our perfect home plan is and it is critical to come to an agreement in the beginning to assure all parties involved will be able to love the livable space – Yes Men, this is my friendly way of saying most women have a completely different idea of a dream home than men and this can be a struggle at times – so don’t let it be, this can be an exciting time in your life and building your new home should prove to be a positive experience – one you will likely enjoy for many years to come.

In some instances I have had men say they will choose the exterior selections and the women prefer to select the interior selections and overall functionality of the home; others have no desired preference and easily come to an agreement of the space they wish to call home.  Regardless of what the possibilities are in the beginning, upon completion the floor plan you choose will prove to be uniquely your own, so choose wisely!

Here are a few useful tips and common things to consider in regards to choosing a floor plan:

  • What is your desired budget – Are you building for functionality, aesthetic appeal, possibly to balance your home/work life or a combination.  Understanding your needs will help you to better understand your options

TIP #1 Having an idea of what you would like to spend on your home will make a huge difference with recognizing the types of homes and inclusive options available to you.  Decide on a comfortable desired living space allowance and then meet with your builder to determine products offering cost saving curb appeal and the overall look and feel of the home you desire to build within the predetermined budget.

  • What style of home do you prefer? Are you looking for a Ranch, French Country, Spanish style, A-frame, Log Cabin, Colonial, Cottage? There are thousands of possibilities and styles when it comes to floor plans and finding the perfect plan can be overwhelming at first. By narrowing some of the plan styles you may like, this process may become more enjoyable.

TIP #2 Take some time to drive around different neighborhoods looking at different styles to help narrow the selections. There is a large number of floor plans and elevations available today. There is also a plethora of home photos on the internet as well as architectural magazines and Free Floor Plan Books, so use your resources and find the one you like. Make sure to keep notes of some of the home styles you like, including keeping a photo log if you desire.

  • What is the functionality of your home? Are you looking for sizable rooms, functional space, cozy living, or outdoor living space? Know your style!

TIP #3 Imagine yourself living in your new home. As you look at plans, visualize yourself and your daily routines; walk through the events of the day to see if the plan is truly going to meet your needs. For example, if you are an entertainer and you love having people over, a plan with a small kitchen and no dining room may not be suitable for you.

There are countless items to consider when building your new custom home.  Knowing your budget, the style of home you like as well as truly understanding the functionality of your family may prove to be beneficial factors to assist you with choosing the perfect floor plan and elevation.

Once you have narrowed your selections, blind folded yourself and thrown the dart to pick the right one, give yourself a hand. This process can be overwhelming because of all of the choices available. Take comfort in knowing, with proper planning and your trusted builder by your side,  your dream home will soon enough be a reality.

For more information about floor plans or elevations and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com.

Continue Reading

AVOIDING THE FAST FOOD BUILDER

There was a time when building a home was more like driving through a fast food restaurant.  Different builders would offer a few different plans, several different color selections for paint, a handful of flooring styles and colors and a cabinet in a basic or jazzed up version with a few colors to choose from.

Some builders even went as far as offering 4 color selections – The “tan,” “yellow,” “blue,” and “green” themes to streamline the process and move the building phase along a little quicker.  Even today most of us have heard the phrase “builder beige,” or “cookie cutter home.”  These terms were coined because so many builders were using such a similar color of neutral paint throughout their homes, and mass producing the same plans that it just became the norm.  Well in today’s fast pace world we are surrounded by new and improved products, more colors and finishes then we can imagine and the desire to have the best looking products surround us within our new home.

Think about the last time you went through a fast food restaurant and as you are gazing at the menu think of how often everything is grouped the way in which “most” people like – nowadays one can even make their meal a small, medium or large – but generally we are all grouped in the same category, choosing a number 1 or a number 3 and moving on.

So in a world filled with many builders and even more choices – how do you make the right choice?

  • Customer Service is a great place to start! What are the people like?  Knowing the people who are going to be building your home is an excellent indicator of the service and experience you will have throughout your building process.
  • Educate yourself along the way! Know what you like and what you don’t like.  We all have ideas of styles, colors, designs and true functionality of our house flow and when you venture out to build your home it is important to end up with a home you are satisfied with; to ensure this happens educate yourself along the way.
  •  Expect Quality! Just like no two burgers are exactly the same, no two builders are exactly the same, so seek out a Quality Builder.  Look for a builder who is experienced and who can offer an ongoing level of quality to exceed your expectations of your new home.  There are also many different types of builders. There are those who specialize in production homes, those who specialize in a particular price range and those true custom builders who set themselves apart by allowing you to “build” your home on your lot just the way YOU want it!

Most importantly remember building your new home isn’t as easy as driving through a burger joint to pick out a number 1! Your home is unique, your family is unique and you deserve to enjoy your home just the way you envision it – Uniquely Your own!

For more information about working with the right builder and how it applies to your new custom home contact us at AmericasHomePlace.com.

Continue Reading