Today’s official arrival of summer brings a new list of tasks required to keep your newly built construction home in top shape. Here are four simple chores to make your home safe and comfortable all summer long.
1. Keep it cool. If you haven’t already dusted your ceiling fans as we recommended in the spring, now is the time. Most newly constructed homes have ceiling fans with a switch that allows you to reverse the rotational direction of the fan blades. During warm Michigan summers, blowing the air up into your home’s rooms will help you save a little on cooling costs since you will be using the air conditioning a little less. It’s also a good time to replace your HVAC filter, especially if you have pets due to dander and dust. Most manufacturers recommend changing the filters after two or three hundred hours of use which basically averages out to once a month, so it’s important to change them once per season at a minimum. Refer to your HVAC system’s instruction manual in case your filters can be replaced less frequently.
Ready to dive into your dream home’s landscape design? Here are four first steps worth taking.
1. Connect with a professional landscaper. You may think that you can tackle your dream home’s landscape design on your own, however it is best to consult with a professional. Now that spring has sprung, landscapers are already extremely busy. It may be challenging just to schedule an appointment, but do so as soon as you can. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when building a new home is waiting until it is completely finished to contact a landscape designer. If your home is still under construction, you should still meet with a professional landscaper to get the project going. This is especially true for large projects such as pergolas and outdoor fireplaces. In fact, the typical timeline on such large projects can be six to eight months from concept design through actual installation.
Looks can be deceiving. You may enter a beautiful model home and assume it is energy code compliant, but is it?
At Echelon Home Builders, we take into account the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness of materials and systems we use at each step of the construction process. When you walk through one of our model homes, you can rest assured that it has been built to comply with energy efficiency standards, including minimizing air leakage.
What is air leakage and why is it important?
Air leakage is caused when outside air enters a home and conditioned air escapes through cracks and openings. Air leakage can cause moisture issues that may adversely affect the health of the home’s occupants, and the durability of the structure itself. Openings can cause pipes to freeze and create uncomfortable drafts. Minimizing the amount of air leakage in and out of homes is a cost-effective way to decrease heating and cooling costs. Additionally, it helps sustain the overall structure and create a healthier indoor environment.
The most recent Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, offers insights on which building materials are trending in the new-home construction market. Home Innovation’s annual survey and reports have tracked market shares of building material categories for over three decades.
Here are five findings from the latest survey worth considering if you are planning to build your dream home.
1. Appliances– The heat is on cooktop and wall oven combinations as their popularity grows. These combos account for 24% of the market compared to traditional freestanding ovens at 45%. As foodies demand more high-temperature cooking options, there has been a growing demand for induction cooking. This form of heating uses strong magnets to heat pots in a matter of seconds. Author and chef, Jan D’Atri, commented regarding induction stoves, “I don’t think the technology was there before. Now it is, and it’s a great option.” She also anticipates that more high-end consumers will demand combi ovens which roll steam and convection into one, instead of the common, second oven.
Side-by-side refrigerators that experienced immense growth in recent years have fallen to 28% of the market share. This is due to the growing popularity of freezer-on-bottom refrigerators which had 19% of the market share when the survey was conducted. Traditional freezer-on-top models bottomed out at 13%.
Last week, we shared two major flooring trends for 2016—the use of wider, larger planks and the two extremes of hard wood floor finishes as either very dark or light. This week, we reveal three additional trends.
3. More homeowners embrace eco-friendly flooring. First, design experts expect demand for eco-friendly cork to continue to grow because it is affordable, joint-friendly and resilient. Cork is 100% natural and obtained through an environmentally friendly process in which the bark of cork trees is harvested by hand every nine years, without cutting down the trees which can live as long as 300 years. Its high-insulation properties, elasticity, buoyancy and near impermeability make it perfect for use in homes. Like wood, cork is natural, so each piece is unique offering a plethora of grain, color and texture choices. People with allergies prefer cork because its antistatic surface makes it resistant to dust and toxin absorption. Like natural stone, cork does need to be resealed every few years because while it is water resistant, it is not waterproof.
Secondly, the popularity of bamboo continues to grow because it is one of the strongest floors available today and like hard wood and cork, offers unique colors and grains. If you prefer eco-friendly materials, bamboo is far superior to hard wood because bamboo plants grow to maturity in three to five years compared to up to two decades or more for hard woods. Bamboo is also slightly more resistant to water stains and damage than hard wood materials, and its cost is on par with hard woods.
Choosing the right flooring for your dream home may seem overwhelming because there are so many options available. Be sure to choose flooring that reflects your personal aesthetic preferences and meets your maintenance needs.
To help you select an option that is on-trend, we have compiled a list of the top five flooring trends for 2016.
1. Bigger is better. If you’ve visited a flooring showroom or perused home decorating magazines, you have probably already noticed the popularity of large, wide planks. This particular trend is here to stay because their format creates an optical illusion—large planks make the space appear larger and feel more open. If you were to look at a wide plank floor alongside smaller planks, you would immediately see that the large planks create an airy, modern feel while the smaller planks appear outdated and less expensive. Interior design experts agree that this modern style will quickly become a classic one.
Bonus—if you are choosing large floor tiles for your kitchen, mudroom or bathroom, you are decreasing the amount of grout lines that need to be cleaned and maintained over time, so large, wide planks are ideal for those spaces. We recommend opting for large, wide planks because their benefits outweigh those of smaller planks. Note that most grout must be sealed unless it is a high-performance grout.
If you’ve been on the fence about building your dream home, here are three reasons to break ground on a new construction home this year.
1. Prices of existing southeast Michigan homes bounced back at least 20% in the last six years. An analysis of sales data for existing homes from 2009 through most of 2015 performed by the Detroit Free Press shows that housing prices have finally returned to pre-recession 2007 levels across most of Southeast Michigan. Gains were greatest in pockets of Livingston County such as Howell and Gregory.
Real estate experts believe that the increase in the region’s home prices are a result of the state’s improving economy, better consumer confidence, still-low mortgage rates and somewhat tight inventories of move-in-ready homes. This means that if you’ve been hoping to build a new home, but were concerned about maximizing the sale of your existing Southeast Michigan home, there is a high probability that you will sell it for much more today than you could have a few years ago—making the possibility of building of your dream home more within reach than in previous years.
Last week, we presented the top five home design trends for 2016. This week, we continue with the last five trends to keep top of mind as you build, or decorate, your dream home.
1. Pendant lights outshine chandeliers and recessed lighting. Pendant lighting demand is growing because of the deep selection of styles and the flexibility they offer. Using one or multiple pendant lights in specific spaces, e.g. above an island for food preparation or a chaise lounge for reading, makes it easier to accomplish tasks at home. Recessed lighting was ideal for illuminating task areas in the past, however the aesthetic appeal of pendant lighting is now preferred. Some designs are inspired from the past and others are completely contemporary. For an intimate atmosphere, perhaps in the dining room, bowl and drum pendants work best because they shine silhouettes.
Many homeowners make common mistakes when deciding which floorplan best meets their needs. Ask yourself the following questions to decide which floorplan is ideal for your family’s current and future needs.floor plans for new homes
1. Does this floorplan address most of what we lack in our current home? Have you found that your laundry room is too tight and a large mudroom would enable you to store all family members’ outdoor wear, sports equipment, etc. and help you get the kids ready to leave more efficiently? Are you tired of lugging laundry up and down the stairs and want a laundry room on the second level to save yourself time and muscle strain? Ascertaining whether or not the new floorplan solves most of the issues related to your current home’s floorplan and size will enable you to choose an ideal layout.
Ponder why you originally considered building a new home. Perhaps you lack ample storage space in your current home or have decided to start working from home and require a private, quiet home office. If you’ve had children since your last move, is your goal to obtain more space for entertainment such as a theatre, game or craft room?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.