Make Your House Work for You: 5 Smart Home Additions for 2017

HGTV is currently having its Smart Home Giveaway for 2017 and though we’d all love to win this gorgeous house, we can’t. Sadly. But! We have come up with some simple smart home features that you can add to your home. Below are five of our favorite smart home features that you can add during a custom remodel or a custom home build. What kinds of features would you want in your home for the future?

1. Light-Up Staircases:

These add such an ease to your everyday lifestyle, easy to see at night and beautiful. Adding lights underneath your stairs can automatically update the feel of your home and gives you an excuse to redo your staircase!

 

2. Remote Controlled Shades:

Do you have a home with hard to reach windows with blinds? Problem solved with remote controlled shades. There are a few companies out there that make them and can be worth the investment.

3. Electric Glass Windows:

If remote controlled shades just aren’t for you, then a relatively new product is electric glass. This is a great option for bathrooms, large picture windows, and even offices. Watch the video below to find out more about electric glass and what it can do for your home!

4. Wireless Dimming Lights:

Dimmable lights are nice…but dimmable lights that are wireless? It’s kind of amazing. Phillips has some amazing new lights out that connect wirelessly around your house so you can control them remotely.

5. All-In-One Home Systems:

From doorbell cameras to security systems that tie into your heating and cooling units, 2017 has some really amazing technologies coming out to make you feel comfortable. Whether your custom home is your primary residence or your vacation home, have ease of mind with some of these amazing companies:

 

6. Smart Appliances:

Smart appliances are all the rage right now, and for good reason. Not only do appliances (that sync up to the Bluetooth in your devices) make your life easier, but they can also give you peace of mind. Are your hands dirty but you need to preheat the oven? Jenn-air and GE have great smart appliances that connect directly to your devices so you can voice command and Bluetooth command what’s in your kitchen. Check out some of these awesome appliances here and here.

5 Timeless BathroomTrends to Look Out for in 2017

custom home construction, new bathroom

Bathroom trends come and go (remember floor tile for countertops?) but there are ways to update your bathroom during a custom remodel that will help it remain timeless. By adding in details, updating fixtures, and increasing your storage, your bathroom appeal will change overnight. Take a look below through our top five picks for bathroom trends in 2017.

 1: Concrete Countertops

Concrete counters and sinks add a monochromatic, modern feel to any bathroom and usually look best when paired with similarly modern bathroom features, think all glass showers, bathtubs that are angular, and tons of light.

Concrete countertops in custom home construction
Concrete counters mixed with rustic features.

2: Open Shelves

 This rustic-inspired trend doesn’t look like it will be going away anytime soon and the beauty of having shelves like these is that they can easily transform depending on what you put on them. In the images below, you’ll see that there are two different styles: a modern take with clean lines and simple storage versus a rustic spin with woven baskets to add some texture.

Custom bathroom remodel, open shelving
Open shelving in a modern custom bathroom remodel keeps the space light and airy
Custom rustic bathroom remodel with open shelving
Open shelving in a bathroom remodel is kept rustic with woven baskets.

3: Natural Light

Natural light is a must for any bathroom – it makes small spaces seem bigger and makes bathrooms feel more like spa retreats. When you’re doing a remodel, ask your contractor or builder if they could add more windows to your space. If you’re limited in wall space, try adding in a skylight or bright vanity lights to help.

Custom bathroom remodel with skylights and natural light.
Natural light keeps this custom bathroom bright and inviting.
custom home construction, new bathroom
High windows above the dual sinks keep this bathroom light and airy in Durango, Colorado

4: Monochromatic Tones

Monochromatic bathrooms are back – and they look stunning. Sticking with one color palette (black, white, gray) keeps your bathroom looking classic through ages. In the photo below, you’ll notice that they added color and variation with accessories. Keeping your tiles and fixtures in line with your color palette help bring unity to the room.

Custom bathroom remodel with classic subway tiles in monochrome
Monochromatic colors keep bathrooms looking timeless, all you have to do is switch out the accessories!

5: Showpiece Tiles

To add to a monochromatic bathroom, making sure you have some focal points that are unique can really make your bathroom feel instantly updated. When working in a monochromatic color scheme, you can easily add unique tiles to your bathroom without making it seem too busy. In the pictures below, patterned tiles add to the uniqueness of the bathroom while still keeping it feeling timeless.

Custom bathroom remodel in Durango, Colorado
Unique tiles make this stand-alone shower seem trendy and classic.
Custom bathroom floor tiles, Durango, Colorado
Featured floor tiles keep this monochromatic bathroom on-trend but classic.

 

With the many options on the market these days, your bathroom can look updated but still remain timeless with a few tweaks. Let us know what you’d like to see in your custom bathroom remodels or in your custom home and we’d be more than happy to make your dreams come true!

Off-Grid Essentials: What You Need to Unplug for your Custom Home

Durango is a charming town made up of a colorful and caring group people. Though there are a lot of things that make living within Durango a wonderful choice, many people may prefer the idea of moving beyond the buzz of our town and unplugging from the infrastructure of today. Building an off-grid home, or remodeling your current home to begin an off-grid life, is a rewarding process that will bring you the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes with knowing that your home is self-sufficient.

It can seem intimidating at first to begin planning all that is necessary to go off-grid. In truth, building a more conventional home requires the same considerations of building an off- grid home; the real difference lies in the solution to these considerations. Power, water, sewage, these are all things that must be addressed no matter what type of home you’re building. Where the approach to these questions in a conventional build is often to hook up to existing infrastructure, an off-grid home must find solutions in other ways. These options may even save you a bit of stress in the planning process if your location were to require an easement for access to power, water, or waste disposal.

Water

Water is a huge consideration when building or upgrading a home to be off-grid. Running out of water is not a situation that anyone wants to deal with, so securing a dependable source is imperative for any home. Most houses do not have access to a natural body of water on their property, and, in some cases, even those that do may not have the right to use that water. You will likely end up either drilling a well or installing a cistern to be the main water source of your home, both of which are standard systems for conventional houses as well as off-grid homes.

In 2016, a bill was passed into law that allowed for the legal collection of rainwater. This was wonderful news for off-grid homeowners as any additional source of water, especially one was easy to set up as rainwater collection, is wholly welcome. Rainwater should only be relied upon as an auxiliary source. One of the many reasons we love the Durango area is the abundance of sunny days every year. While this is surely not something anyone would wish away, it does mean that rainwater cannot be relied upon as a main supply of water.

Waste Disposal

Much like the options for off-grid water systems, the sewage systems that you will likely consider for your off-grid home are similar to or the same as those used in most conventional rural homes. Installing a septic system with a leach field will likely be the best option to choose for your home. In reality, there is only one other option available for sewage in an off-grid situation due to practicalities and established regulations. Installing a gray water tank to handle the waste water from showers and sinks (which can be reused as flush water) and a composting toilet that drains into a black water tank is a viable option that is a bit more hands on for the homeowner as the tanks need more frequent upkeep.

Energy

One of the first and main things you’ll need to consider, whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your current one, is where you’ll be getting your power from once you’re off-grid. Of course, there is always the option to forgo power altogether and embrace an older lifestyle, but most individuals and families are going to want power in their homes. Energy isn’t just for lights, it can be the source heating (air and water), refrigeration and cooking capabilities. Add in more modern amenities like computers, televisions, microwaves, washers and dryers and you’ll be needing a reliable source of energy to keep you going.

These days, solar panels have become so efficient and affordable that they have become the go-to option for those pursuing an off-grid lifestyle as well as those who are just looking to cut down on their electricity bill. Luckily, Durango is a sunny place to live so, as long as you have unobstructed southern exposure, solar power is a readily accessible resource that you can typically rely on.

While solar power is available to most, hydropower is an energy source that is only available to a lucky few. Not only must one have a natural source of running water accessible from their land, but they must be sure that whichever water source they rely upon will produce year-round energy that won’t run out in the depths of a dry summer or a particularly frigid winter. That being said, if you have that perfect combination don’t hesitate to utilize that resource.

Maybe your new location doesn’t have reliable year-round water or consistent sun exposure but instead, has on oft-overlooked energy source gusting by. Wind energy typically brings to mind images of gigantic industrial wind turbines churning away hundreds of feet in the air, but domestic wind turbines can be a great source of home energy in a much more compact size.

Many homes benefit from using a combination of natural energy sources. In the midst of a string of overcast days in which solar energy is lacking, wind power may be abundant and ease the worries of running out of energy; being set up to use complimentary systems can be advantageous. If you do choose to stick to one source of day-to-day energy, it may be best to prepare for the worst and have a backup generator to rely upon in emergency situations.

All energy systems that rely on collecting power from a natural resource will depend on a bank of batteries to store that energy. These home batteries have developed to high levels of efficiency and storage capacity, and the technology just keeps advancing. Whichever energy system you choose to rely upon, you’ll have a wide array of battery options to choose from to best fit your needs.

It’s worth looking into alternative methods for running systems that will reduce your dependence on electric power. Natural gas can be your source of refrigeration, cooking, and heat. Additionally, a wood burning stove can help keep you super cozy during those cold stretches.

Despite the great leaps in efficiency and capacity there still exist practical limits to what any off-grid system can handle. When relying on such systems it’s prudent to embrace a lifestyle of reduced demand. Being conscientious about the amount of water or energy you use day to day is nearly as important as the physical systems that provide you with those resources. This is not to suggest that you’d be living uncomfortably in an off-grid home. Little changes can add up quickly, such things as installing efficient appliances, designing your home to take advantage of passive solar energy, and any number of smaller thoughtful actions such as turning off all the lights as you leave a room will contribute to a comfortable, care-free and happy life in your off-grid home.

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6 Custom Kitchen Ideas

We know that you can plan an extraordinary master bedroom, an elegant living room, and a welcoming outdoor space, but for most people the soul of their home is in their kitchen. Of course, choosing beautiful appliances that fit your needs will be a big part of your finished custom kitchen, but there are plenty of other ways you can make a unique statement in your kitchen that fits your style. Below, we’ve outlined some of the latest, trending custom kitchen ideas and designs so that you can start picking out the

  • Open It Up

If you love to entertain you likely hate when you have to leave the fun of the moment to work on something in the kitchen. With an open kitchen design, you can put the last touches on your signature dish or pour a fresh round of drinks without missing out on any conversation. A bar or an island is a great way to maintain the definition of kitchen space from dining and entertaining spaces while allowing for an easy flow of conversation and adding bonus counter/storage space. Also, if you have young children you know how valuable it is to be able to work on dinner without having to leave the kitchen every time you hear a suspicious noise.

The gorgeous beams and pendant lights add more space to this custom kitchen.
  • Shelving

Everyone knows that cabinets can make or break the style and feel of a kitchen, but to really set your kitchen apart consider ditching the cabinets. Wrap-around shelving can bring a fun bohemian feel to your kitchen and allows you to show off all of the styles of your glassware and dish sets. Couple the open shelves with below counter cabinets to store appliances and other unsightly objects.

  • Counters, Backsplash, Flooring

There are nearly endless options to choose from when deciding on what types of counters, flooring, and backsplashes to put in your kitchen. Your personal style will be the biggest deciding factor in which color and textures will work best. Although nowhere else is it more important that style does not take priority over function than in the kitchen; it’s important to choose durable surfaces that are easy to clean and won’t easily stain. Luckily, there are so many options out there that you should have no issue in finding materials that are both reliable and great looking.

  • Lighting, Fixtures, and Hardware

Whether your style is elegant, bold, abstract or anything in between it’s the little touches that will bring the look of your kitchen together. Introduce a touch of fun to a kitchen in which you chose an overall subdued design, or, in a kitchen of sleek design, round things out with your choices of lighting, fixtures, and hardware.

When it comes to lighting, you truly can’t have too much. Natural light is a must, but having plenty of options for artificial light is going to be so important as you cook into the night. Consider hidden under cabinet lights to not only assist in prep but to bring a clean, dramatic accent to your kitchen.

  • Walk-in Pantry

Keeping things organized is important in a kitchen. What better way to have the room you need to keep your pantry organized than to create a dedicated walk-in space? No more digging through cabinets or dancing on tip-toes to find the one item you know you have, but isn’t in immediate view.

Optimize your space by having your walk-in pantry act as just another place to get more prepwork done.
If you’re limited in space or have a smaller kitchen you’re remodeling, make your walk-in pantry a little shallower.
Barn doors can add that rustic charm and make your pantry more of a feature, than just storage.
  • Built-in Wine Storage

If you love wine and always keep a few bottles on hand why not graduate from your standard wine stand to built-in wine storage as you plan your home? Whether a custom built-in wine rack fits your needs or the control of a climate cabinet is in your plans, you can keep your favorite wine easily and stylishly within reach. Some really clever ideas:

Custom built wine storage that can also double as pantry storage.
Creating a separate space above your bar just for wine and wine glasses – that’s something we can get behind!
Working with a small space? Get creative with unique wine storage solutions!

Outside of the usual ample storage and counter space that is a must in any custom kitchen design, there are countless ways in which you can bring your own style and flair to your kitchen. These suggestions are just a few options available to you for making the center of your home as unique as you are. Make sure that when you are thinking about designing your own custom kitchen – whether during a remodel or a custom home build – you enlist the help of professionals to help you make the most of your layout.

 

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Creating a Dynamic Outdoor Living Space

When you live in as beautiful a place as Durango and its surrounding areas you want to take full advantage of what nature has to offer. So, you’ve planned and built a gorgeous custom home that embraces the views of your property, but you’re still experiencing only half of what your space has to offer. To truly embrace your surroundings you’ll want to create an outdoor living space that will pull you and your family into the sunshine and open air. Spending more time outside is easy once you’ve created a welcoming outdoor area that speaks to your lifestyle.

Decks & Patios

Building an outdoor area that you won’t want to leave begins with designating a space. Some of the best ways to define and create a sense of purpose in an outdoor living space is to build a deck or patio that will serve the dual purpose of establishing an area dedicated to relaxing or entertaining outside and creating a space that will invite people out.

Think about what you want to get from your outdoor space. While decks can provide gorgeous open views and are a wonderful solution to building on uneven or steep terrain, a patio really nestles you into your surroundings and can produce a comfy environment. Depending on the feel you’re envisioning for this space, you may be drawn to one of these options over the other as the base for your outdoor living space. For the best of both worlds, and if you have the space, consider building a deck that leads down to an intimate patio area.

Dynamic outdoor space helps you enjoy the most of your beautiful views!

Pergolas, Verandas & Arbors

Once you have your outdoor area designated with a deck or patio it’s time to think about whether you’d like to add a shade element to this space. We know that the Durango sun can become pretty intense during the height of summer, but don’t exclude those blazing days from your outdoor time. An umbrella or awning, while effective, can be very limited in the amount of shaded space that they actually provide. Depending on what balance of shade to openness you want, building independent or attached structures, like pergolas, verandas, and arbors, will provide stylish shade that can be built to whatever size you wish. Planting climbing flowers or other vegetation near these structures will not only add a beautiful element to that area but also provide additional natural shade.

Original materials can really enhance any home addition.

Outdoor Kitchen

Maximize your outdoor time by creating the opportunity to perform traditionally indoor tasks outside. No need to be stuck in your kitchen while the party hums along on the patio. By building an outdoor kitchen you give yourself the option of staying where the action is as you prepare the meal. Even if it’s just you and your partner making a simple lunch being able to cook outside is a luxury you won’t regret.

Covered outdoor kitchens can help bring the party outdoors even when it’s snowing!

An outdoor kitchen space can be as simple or as advanced as you desire. A grill and some counter space could be the extent of your setup, or you could go as far as building an area with its own oven/stove top, refrigerator, sink, and bar. Love pizza? Add a wood burning pizza oven. The limit is truly your own imagination when it comes to designing the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.

Take your outdoor kitchen area to the next level by building raised garden beds around the perimeter of your entertaining space. Pick your own vegetables and herbs and add them straight to your dishes without ever having to enter the house. Raised beds will also help to define and stylize the edges of your space to create a cohesive feel.

Picking fresh herbs straight from your garden in your outdoor kitchen makes every meal special.

Lighting

Half the fun of an outdoor space lies in taking full advantage of those warm summer evenings. While it is awe inspiring to spend those nights star gazing and watching excitedly for falling stars from your backyard, you’ll still want the option of having that area well-lit for entertaining. Electric lights are an easy and reliable option that can add a dazzling design element of their own but consider also using lanterns or torches to accentuate a cozy atmosphere.

Outdoor lights serve a both practical and decorative purpose. Such things as incorporating LED lighting into vegetation to add an edge of magic or placing lights in such a way that they also provide accent lighting to show off the architecture of your house can add an element of modern design and utility in your outdoor space.

Outdoor Fireplaces or Fire Pits

Add an element of fun to your outdoor area by bringing fire into the mix. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit can add an exciting focal point to a design and create an area towards which people will naturally gravitate. After a jovial dinner, as people begin to rise from the table and stretch their legs, they’ll be ready to move to a new area in which to congregate and socialize. A welcoming fire offers a setting that can be both casual and intimate where friends can gather and keep moods bright as the sky darkens. Additionally, adding fire to your outdoor area opens up the option of spending more time relaxing and entertaining outside during winter months.

Watch gorgeous mountain sunsets in the summer from an outdoor fireplace.

Water Features

Whether you live by the river or are tucked away from any natural water source, adding a water feature to your outdoor space is a wonderful idea. A trickling rock waterfall or a koi pond can lend an additional dimension of relaxation and tranquility to any area. You might even consider the combination of a water feature and a fire area to either contrast or complement each other in an outdoor space.

Privacy

Once you’ve planned and built your optimum outdoor living area you’re all set to kick back and enjoy the beautiful Durango weather. Something that can put a quick damper on your joyful situation is the thought of surrounding neighbors or passers-by peeking into your space. You’ll want to plan some form of privacy barrier to keep those curious eyes from wandering too far in your direction.

Of course, a fence is always an option but may detract from the open, natural environment you’re trying to create. Look towards vegetation as a solution. Strategically planted trees, or those climbing flowers that may be growing on your pergola, will block unwanted attention while maintaining the atmosphere of natural beauty that you’ve worked so hard to create. Use your imagination in regards to elements you were already planning in order to create privacy. Those raised garden beds that you may have been considering, the waterfall feature you’ve been planning for, any number of things could easily be planned to stand between your intimate space and that beyond.

In the end, the most important aspect to any outdoor area is that it must reflect you and how you like to interact with the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for more stimulation or relaxation in your outdoor living space, how you wish to realize that is up to you. Combine elements that speak most to your sensibilities to create a dynamic atmosphere and a versatile space that will make you never want to go inside again!

 

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Embracing Natural Light in Custom Homes

We live in such a bright and beautiful place. Durango typically has around 300 sunny days per year, so taking advantage of all that natural light is a must when planning your custom built home. There are numerous things to consider when planning to fully embrace all of that natural light. Luckily, when you’re building your home from the ground up you can take every step available to you in order to bring in the rays.

Naturally, when living in this sun-filled environment solar panels are a wonderful option for converting the power of light into energy in our homes. But, you can go beyond solar panels in the planning of your home to take full advantage of what the sun has to offer. You can utilize direct sunlight in a plethora of ways in your custom home to create a bright, warm and energy efficient environment.

When you begin to consider how to best incorporate sunlight into your custom home your mind will likely jump first to windows. Indeed, windows will be the primary means by which you’ll be bringing all of that sun into your home, but in order to maximize the effectiveness of those windows, there are things one should take into consideration in the early planning stages.

When deciding on room placement while planning your home be sure to consider what type of light you’d like each room to receive and how to achieve this. One of the easiest and earliest ways to plan for this is to visualize which direction they’ll be facing once the house is built.

Most people are familiar with the versatility and effectiveness of south-facing windows. Allowing the most winter light, when we rely more heavily on passive solar heat, but limiting direct sun in summer when less heating is desirable, south-facing windows are a great choice for rooms that make up the majority of your living area. These larger rooms, such as your living room and kitchen, will allow the winter heat to disperse throughout the house and are likely to be the areas in which you will spend the greatest amount of your waking time.

On the other end of the spectrum, north-facing windows will receive even, filtered, natural light year round without getting much direct sunlight. Rooms that might work best with north-facing windows are rooms in which you don’t spend a predominate amount of time. Laundry rooms, craft rooms, and bathrooms are not as high of a priority when it comes to heating, but will still benefit from the gentle light that your northern windows will provide.

When it comes to deciding which wall to put bedrooms on you must first consider the habits of the people who will be sleeping in those rooms. For an early riser, east-facing windows will likely be a desirable feature. East-facing windows will bring in the most morning sun to greet the early risers in your family. For this same reason, an east-facing window would be a challenge for someone who likes to sleep in.

Dining rooms and breakfast nooks are natural choices for east-facing windows; start your day with coffee and breakfast as you soak in that soft morning sun. On the opposite side of the house, you can count on strong evening light through your west-facing windows. If you’re fond of watching television at the end of your day keeping your entertainment room on the opposite side of the house is advisable as this direct sunlight will keep any west-facing room full of robust light until the sun dips away.

Creating an open concept design is another great way to welcome as much light as possible into your custom home. The smooth transition from room to room will assist the flow of light into areas of your house that don’t have windows of their own. Try to position interior rooms, those that will not have their own access to windows, in such a way that they will benefit from the free flow of sunlight. You can keep your future home aglow with a little forethought in the planning process.

You may think that once the sun slips behind the mountains you can no longer rely on the heating power of the sun. But, a thermal mass is yet another great way to fully utilize the sun’s heat. A thermal mass can take many forms with the defining characteristic being that it can absorb a great amount of heat throughout the day and slowly release this warmth back into its surrounding environment once the source of heat is gone. Think of leaning against a brick wall once the sun has gone down and feeling all the warmth that is still trapped in the bricks. In summer, a thermal mass should be shaded from the sun so that the heat it absorbs throughout the day will be drawn from the inside of your house and actually assist in keeping your interior cooler. If exposed brick walls don’t fit into your vision for your custom home consider other options that will serve as a thermal mass. Adobe or concrete walls, a large stone fireplace, or dark tiles or a concrete slab for flooring can all effectively collect and hold warmth throughout the day and generously release it back into the air at night.

With all this work done to bring the light and warmth inside you won’t want to neglect planning for the depths of summer when all of that light and heat becomes less desirable. That same passive solar effect that helps to keep you comfortably warm in winter can also turn your house into a sauna in the summer months. Something as simple as an overhang from your roof can make a great deal of difference in modulating the temperature inside your house. An overhang of the right length should drop low enough to provide shade for your windows in summer, but still allow the low-hanging winter sun to reach into your home. This little bit of strategic shade can make all the difference in keeping a cool house in summer and a cozy one in the winter months.

Planting vegetation around your custom home can add not only a desirable verdant touch of nature but provide additional shading when it’s needed. Deciduous trees, those that grow leaves in spring and lose them in fall, provide natural shade that automatically adjusts to the amount of coverage you need. Those summer leaves provide ample shade, but still allow a soft glow of filtered brightness. In the winter, when those leaves are shed, the bare branches allow light to pass through unimpeded. Large deciduous trees can also shade parts of your roof, thereby helping to keep your attic from getting overly warm and allowing heat to spread into your house from those areas.

Once the planning is done and your beautiful custom home is built there are still further ways to maximize the effect of natural light in your home. Consider the materials that you are using to decorate and accent your design. Large white or light surfaces will reflect light and will make a room appear larger. You can contrast these bright colors with darker, dense materials intended to absorb solar heat (once again tapping into that thermal mass effect). Plan to use these warmer colors on surfaces such as floors or cabinets that will naturally be in more direct contact with the sunlight.

Energy efficient shades or blinds can both serve a practical effect in helping to modulate the temperature in your home throughout the year, but also be an appealing aspect of your interior design. In winter, closing your shades after the sun goes down helps to hold the heat in while the icy winds blow outside. And, of course, in summer months when shades are drawn, they will assist in keeping the sun and heat from permeating into your cool interior. Choosing energy efficient versions of the shades you love will increase these effects to maximize your control over the temperature in your home. Honeycomb or cellular shades can be effective insulators and are often the “go-to” for many homeowners looking for energy efficient window covers. While these are a great option, don’t feel as if these are your only route for efficiency. Many other types of blinds and shades, from plantation-style to drapes, can be duly efficient. Looks for materials that will be able to trap air or have an additional lining that will lend an insulating aspect to the window coverage. For further efficiency and versatility consider combining or layering different styles of window coverings.

All of this sun that we are so lucky to live in is one of the best free resources that we have access to in Durango. It only makes sense to take full advantage of this when you are planning and building your custom home. With some careful consideration towards where and how you will be building and what materials you choose to use you stand to keep yourself in happy balance with the sun for years to come!

 

 

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6 Ways To Reduce Stress During a Remodel

A remodel is an exciting time for a homeowner. You’re making a big change to your house and allowing a certain amount of disruption into your daily routine while the project is being completed. Though we do our best to make the whole process go as smoothly as possible from the first sparks of inspiration to the last sweep up after completion, it is undeniable that this time can be a source of stress for a homeowner.  Taking the usual initial steps will set a strong foundation which can help to keep a project moving along with as few hiccups as possible. These few additional steps should help you and your family to further cope with the changes that are to come.

Have a Plan and Stick to It – The more thorough the plans you’ve made before starting a remodel, the fewer decisions you’ll have to make along the way. Deciding on details before you have a time constraint to pressure you will leave you feeling more confident in your choices and reduce stressful situations in which you have to make a hasty decision or risk slowing the project. As well, once you’re plans have been set try not to make many changes. Too many changes once a project is underway can be costly, both in time and money.

That being said, if some detail is begging for a change that resonates with you, embrace it. Sometimes the process of watching your house undergo so many changes can reveal to your new inspirations and, as long as you keep these to a minimum and the change won’t be too disruptive to what has already been completed, you should pursue this.

Planning for a custom remodel in Durango Colorado
Make a plan and stick to it.

Communication – Communicating what you want clearly at the beginning of your remodel is the first step in ensuring a smooth process. But, keeping this line of communication open while work is being done is key in continuing with ease. If you become concerned with some aspect of how things are progressing it is better to discuss these concerns with us as they arise rather than letting them weigh on you in silence and only addressing them once it is too late to reconcile the issue.

A common cause of stress during a remodel comes from a lack of communication with one’s family. It is especially important to keep your significant other up to date on how things are progressing, financially and otherwise. It is also wise to let everyone in your immediate family know what they can expect while work is being done and what they can do individually to help. “We’ll all have to share one bathroom for the time being, so please plan on quicker prep times” is an easier discussion to have than trying to calm tensions between your children once issues arise.

Be Prepared – If you are planning on living in your house while work is being done a little bit of forethought can save you a lot of stress down the line. Knowing that your kitchen or a laundry area won’t be accessible to you for a stretch of time while work is being done you can make arrangements to set up a temporary area to serve as a stand-in. Nothing is worse than waking up on that first morning in need of a cup of coffee and realizing that you no longer have an accessible coffee machine.

plans for a custom remodel construction in durango, colorado
Being prepared can make everything much more manageable.

Pets – Just as you put extensive thought and effort into keeping your family comfortable during the remodeling process you should also consider the comfort of your pets during this time. While smaller pets confined to cages and tanks may be easy enough to move to another room, a dog or cat may have a harder time coping with the construction process. Things can get loud and people that your pets are not familiar with will be coming and going. If you have a pet that is not comfortable with strangers it can become stressful for them to be loose during working hours. Even if your dog or cat is very friendly it can be a safety issue, for animal and human alike, to have them freely wandering through the work area and wanting to interact with people who may be working with dangerous or heavy equipment. Even the simple act of a dog or cat walking through the area that is being worked in can result in such things as a nail in a foot, a head/body injury, or an electrical shock.

Setting up an area for your pet in which they are safely contained and made to feel secure is a great idea to ensure their safety. It may be an even better idea to make other arrangements for your pet during the remodel. Can they stay with a family member or friend in town? Perhaps boarding them during the process would be the best plan. Whatever you choice for keeping your pet happy, they’ll benefit from you considering their safety before things get underway.

Neighbors – There are aspects of remodeling that may prove bothersome or disruptive to neighbors in addition to oneself – this is especially important if you’re living in a townhome or apartment setting. Starting out by letting your neighbors know your plans and offering to hear any concerns during the process is a considerate thing to do. Let them know if they should expect heavy machinery traffic, a lot of outdoor noise, a dumpster on the street or other such inconveniences. You may wish to express your regret at any disruptions and let them know that you appreciate their being patient and understanding of the process. Your neighbors will appreciate that you considered them and be glad to be aware of what they can expect.

be considerate of your neighbors when doing a custom remodel
Notify your neighbors of your upcoming remodel

Hopefully, these steps will help you in diminishing any stresses that may happen when you’re thinking about doing a custom remodel. Some of these tips can be easily applied to your custom home build, too! There are so many things to consider, but at Buena Vista Builders, we want to be able to make this process seamless and easy. We hope to keep your experience a positive one from start to finish.

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Ready to Remodel? Here’s Where to Start.

So, you love the house you live in but you wish your bedroom had a master bath. Or, it’s time to add another bedroom before your next little one comes along. Maybe you love where you live, but overall your house has left you wanting more. You know it’s time for a remodel, but you’re not quite sure where to start.

At Buena Vista Builders, we are here to help you and answer any questions that you may have but here are a few starting steps to consider as you move towards your custom remodel:

Visualize and Make a Plan – You may realize that you would like to make a change, but not be quite sure what you would like to do. To help your vision begin to take shape, start by walking through your house and make a list of things you like and dislike about your space. Not only will you find areas on which to focus from your list of dislikes, your list of likes can help you visualize what results you would like to achieve in the rest of your house. Even if your remodel will focus on one room, noting those things that you like and dislike throughout the rest of your house will give you an idea of what you’d like to achieve and avoid in your room of focus. If you value the natural light in a particular part of your house, you may be inspired in your remodel to focus on elements that will achieve a similar effect. Visualize how these elements will work in the new space. What limitations might you encounter? Do you live in a townhome or apartment? Did you clear your remodels and renovations with your HOA or fellow neighbors? Some townhomes and complexes require you to preapprove any changes or additions made to your building so make sure you’ve done your due diligence and contacted the right people.

Know Your Budget – Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do it’s time to look at how much you’d like to budget for your remodel. How much work will fit within your budget? Try to consider costs that may not immediately spring to mind. Visualize the completed space, what little details had you not considered in setting your price. Sometimes it helps to mentally allocate percentages to different areas of the job in an effort to prioritize and get the most for your money (50% to materials, 20% to man hours, 10% of appliances, etc). If the appliances you had your eye on are taking up a large percentage of your budget and you are struggling to provide enough to create a strong foundation it may be time to reevaluate.

budgeting, custom remodels, custom homes, durango, colorado
Knowing what your budget allows can help a remodel move along swiftly.

Even the best-planned budgets can be busted by unpredictable elements. There may be damage that has gone unseen before work begins. Faulty wiring, water damage, and structural damage are unfortunate circumstances that could demand a portion of your budget that you had planned to use elsewhere or require extra funds to complete. It’s a smart move to be prepared for this by planning for a certain amount to serve as a contingency fund rather than be put in a situation which would necessitate your making sacrifices in other areas of your remodel.

Have a Time Frame – It’s best to have in mind how long you expect the remodel to take. It’s very important to communicate these expectations to us when we first meet so that a realistic time frame can be agreed upon. The establishment of such a mutual goal will help avoid frustrating situations that may occur when other plans overlap with the final phases of your remodel. Additionally, whether you plan to continue living in your house during the remodel or are planning to make accommodations elsewhere, it can be stressful to have no reliable end date in sight that will allow you the full use of your house again. These inconveniences can typically be avoided with open communication of expectations.

Remodels done well and on time with Buena Vista Builders in Durango, Colorado
Do you need your remodel done in a week? Two months?

Be Prepared and Be Flexible – When undertaking any project it’s inevitable that bumps and blocks will crop up here and there throughout the process. When these hiccups do occur it’s best to be prepared to be flexible. Limitations in the environment, time and budget may affect what is possible in a project. As well, situations beyond anyone’s control may unexpectedly become a factor in the remodel and require changes in plans. Maintaining a flexible mindset will allow you to make decisions and take the necessary actions to get those plans back on track in a timely manner, not to mention save you from a lot of stress in the process.

Whether you’re already in contact with us, or are just beginning to put ideas together for a remodel, these few starting steps should help you form your expectations for your house. Of course, we can offer insight and advice on what your home could become, but ultimately this space is yours and we’ll do everything we can to make your vision come to fruition.

 

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Add instant value to your home: Remodel your bathroom!

Remodeling can add so much value to your already existing home so when you are eventually ready to sell, you can rest assured that your investment pays you back. We’ve discussed remodeling a home, the benefits of building a custom home and why – but maybe you’re not quite ready to undertake a large project just yet. Taking it one room at a time is a great way to slowly get your remodeling done – while still knowing you’re investing in the right areas.

So what room do you tackle first? We suggest that one of the first areas to remodel is your bathroom.

How do you know when it is time to remodel a bathroom? There are several indicators to look out for like: realizing that the plumbing needs some repairs, some major components of the lavatory need to be entirely replaced, or the room is just entirely too outdated for your comfort. When the time comes for these major changes, it may be best to simply call in a professional for a complete overhaul of space. However, there will be several things to think about before calling your homebuilder. Ask yourself the following questions to make the conversation with your home builder or general contractor easier when the time comes. As always, we recommend hiring professionals for any kind of home renovation to ensure that your new construction is up to code and done safely.

What are the basic expectations for the finished version of your new custom bathroom?

A builder will absolutely be able to help in planning the remodel and should be consulted before any decisions are made, but knowing the expectations for space will improve the planning experience for all parties involved. Going into the first meeting with the homebuilder thinking that you know exactly what you want may not be ideal. Have a general idea of what you want out of your space and how you want to feel in your space, and then talk to the professional with an open mind.

What sort of price range will you be willing to work with?

This is extremely closely tied to the basic expectations of the bathroom remodel. If considering a complete overhaul with new fixtures, tile work, and flooring, among other things, the budget may need to be a bit fluffy. However, there are ways to cut costs without cutting corners. If there are aspects of the bathroom that are still enjoyable, try to keep them. This is especially pertinent with part of the remodel like tile or flooring. In older homes, it is sometimes hard to be sure what is lurking below these surfaces, and breaking into them unnecessarily could prolong the expected date of finish as well as skyrocket the final costs. Keeping certain aspects of the plumbing in place will prevent the need to re-plumb areas that do not need it, even if the fixtures are being exchanged for new ones.

Is there a specific nuance you want for the finished bathroom?

Certain aspects of the bathroom should be strategically planned to accommodate ideas of what the finished product should make a visitor feel about space. Much of the nuance can be dictated by available natural light, added lighting, and the color scheme of the materials used in the remodel. Lighting is something that will need to be discussed with your homebuilder, but starting with a general idea of what you want will be best for productivity. Keep in mind that if you have an older lavatory, you may be getting into rewiring for lights in new places. Having a well-lit bathing area or shower will add to the overall feel of the bathroom.

Natural light as well as light fixtures can add to the overall appeal of a remodeled bathroom.

Is there a need for more storage space in the bathroom?

This may be something to think about if there are frequent issues with cluttered countertops in the bathroom before the custom remodel. It could also be a good idea to add in a towel rack or two depending on what the bathroom is being used for, how often it is being used, and by how many people. If there is no linen closet elsewhere in the house, or you simply want to have your towels easily accessible where you need them most, then you should consider storage

Do you need to rewire or update your electrical?

There is value in rewiring the lavatory. When remodeling an older bathroom, outlets and electrical components of space might be outdated beyond current building code. This is not only disadvantageous to the value of the home; it can create a hassle later if it’s not taken care of during the initial overhaul. It is best to not only replace the outlet but also, completely rewire the bathroom during the custom remodel so that this space can support whatever electric needs you could have like electric razors, straightening irons, toothbrushes, etc. This part of the job may cost a bit extra, but will prevent issues if there is ever a time that the house needs to be inspected for sale.

Do you like the size of your current bathroom?

It is incredibly important to work with realistic ideas about the size of your space and what exactly you want in the bathroom. If the bathroom is a bit smaller and contains a bathtub that is not being used, it may be wise to turn this space into a shower. This would open up the bathroom visually and overall create a more practical area.

Dimension and size are huge factors to consider when undertaking a bathroom remodel. Do you want a larger shower? Dual vanity?

In rather small bathroom spaces, sometimes in may be beneficial to move the sink to a corner space in an attempt to open up the room even more.

Maybe you don’t need too much space for your guest bathroom but adding unique shelving and fixtures can make a small space seem large.

Do you know what style you want in your new bathroom?

The textures of the floors and countertops can make a large difference in ease of cleaning, as well as how prone to becoming slippery they will be. This is something to discuss with your homebuilder after discussing your personal expectations, budget, storage needs, and desired nuance for the bathroom. The builder will be able to walk you through what they feel are the best options for assessing your personal desires for the area.

Will the remodel make sure there is enough ventilation?

In an older house, the bathroom may contain an out-of-date ventilation system, which will need to be replaced both for comfort and safety of visitors and residents alike. Having a well-ventilated bathroom can make a huge difference in the possibility of mold growth in the home. Another tactic for prevention of mold growth is to make sure windows in the bathroom can open to let overly humid air escape. This could be as simple as replacing existing windows and as complex as installing new windows where there previously were none. The beauty of the custom remodel is that these things are entirely up to the customer and are completely guided by the homebuilder.

Using these questions can help you determine when, what, how your remodel will look like from start to finish. Making sure that you communicate clearly with your homebuilder is imperative so that your next project finishes smoothly and to your satisfaction. Buena Vista Builders has been a local Durango establishment for over 20 years, providing remodel work to many Durango locals. If you have any questions about what we can do to get your home where you want it to be, drop us a line.

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7 Reasons To Remodel

So we’ve discussed the benefits of building a custom home, but maybe you don’t want to find a new home or build a custom home. You’re happy right where you are – but you want to add some more value to your home. There are many ways to get the most out of your current home by doing a remodel. Below, we’ve outlined the top six things to help you make up your mind on whether or not a remodel is for you:

  1. You Want New Amenities: According to the National Home Builders Association, adding in newer amenities is the number one reason to consider a remodel. With the change in technology, most home remodels now feature the latest gadgets and tech advances to make the most out of your existing home. Installing USB ports on your outlets, drawer-style microwaves, touch-less kitchen sinks are just a few of the ways to start upgrading your home with more user-friendly technologies.
  2. You Want to Go Green: Going green isn’t as hard as it used to be, especially with advances in technology. There are many ways to bring an older house into the energy-efficient realm – and doing a home remodel is the perfect time to make sure that you’re where you want to be. You can increase energy efficiency by replacing older, single-pane windows with double-pane. You can update your heating and cooling systems to remotely monitor the temperature inside your house. You can also upgrade your appliances to the Energy Star rated dishwashers or refrigerators. Keeping in communication with your builder can also make sure that you are recycling used materials appropriately.
  3. You Want to Stay in Your Neighborhood: You chose to live in this neighborhood for your family. The schools are great, your kids don’t want to leave their friends, and you’re invested in staying. Remodeling your home can keep you in the place you like best. Being able to put in the amenities you want and upgrade your current home can enable you to stay in the neighborhood that you love.
  4. Your Family is Expanding: Maybe you’re welcoming a tiny addition to your home or maybe you’re looking to accommodate houseguests more frequently. More family members mean that you need more space – plain and simple. Undergoing a remodel to utilize the most out of your space and your home means that you can accommodate the growth of your family. Turning your garage into a second bedroom, adding more space above your stairs, or adding in an extra room in your attic can change the layout of your house immensely.
  5. Your Home Needs Repairs: Older houses tend to need more repairs and updates – especially if it’s been a while since they’ve been up-to-code. If you’ve purchased an older home, undergoing a remodel can help to bring your home into a newer standard. If you’re not interested in doing a complete remodel on your home just rooms, consider choosing a few of the most important updates for your old home to do while your remodel takes place. Updating the electricity, updating the lighting, the windows, or the roof while you’re remodeling your bathroom or your kitchen, can save you a larger headache down the road.
  6. You Want to Increase Value: Increasing the value on your home by way of remodeling is the best return for your home. If you don’t have the budget for doing a larger remodel, consider tackling the project one room at a time. According to HGTV, the number one remodel that has the most value is updating your bathroom, then the landscaping, and then the kitchen. Tackling a remodel in sections can save you money while adding, slowly, to your overall increased home value.
  7. You Want to Avoid Buying a New House: You’ve already gone through the hassle of buying and selling a home. It can be a headache. Your current home was great when you just moved in – the excitement and the joy of having a house that you could call yours beat the fact that the home was missing some custom features. Remodeling is one of the easier ways to bring that personalization to your home without the headache of buying and selling all over again.

 

A home remodel can be the best way to bring in special touches to your home, save you some money and help you make the most out of your house. Updating your amenities and certain features can bring the 21st century into older homes with ease when you remodel. Buena Vista Builders is highly skilled and efficient at home remodels because we know that your house is your home. Check out some of our resources to find out some more information on saving money while you remodel your home, ideas about how to incorporate newer technology into your home, or updating awkward spaces.

 

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