Plumbing Upgrades to Save you Money

custom home construction, new bathroom

Looking to find ways to save money on a custom home build or even your current home? Have you thought of upgrading or replacing plumbing fixtures as a way to add immediate value to your home, save money, provide ease of use, keep the kitchen and bathroom more sanitary, and reduce your impact on the environment? The latest advances in water-saving technologies can do all of this and more.

There is no need to wait for Cal Tech’s award-winning solar-powered toilet design that can “turn human waste into hydrogen, water, and electricity” to come on the market before you can build your new home or retrofit your existing home with innovative plumbing designs that are available today including:

  • Hands-free technology
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Low flow toilets
  • High-efficiency faucets
  • Gray water systems

Hands-free technology
A healthy home can be accomplished in a variety of ways, especially with hands-free fixtures. Hands-free faucets are designed for both bathrooms and kitchens, significantly reduce germ contamination and are very well-loved by parents with children who’ve been known to get distracted while the water’s running.  In the bathroom, the installation of a touchless toilet kit enables the user to wave their hand above the toilet tank to flush it. With some kits, the toilet lid will automatically close without slamming shut.  You can round out your kitchen and bath décor with soap or lotion dispensers that are also hands-free.

Tankless Water Heaters

The Best of 2017: Tankless Water Heaters

More and more homeowners are replacing their hot water storage tanks with the newest tankless water heaters.  Tankless water heaters supply hot water on demand and save the homeowner both the time and expense of storing hot water and constantly reheating it.  Unlike a storage tank with a limited supply of available hot water, the heat exchanger technology can provide you with an endless supply of hot water no matter the number of tasks.

Low Flow Toilets
High-efficiency, low-flow toilets are one of the easiest ways to cut down on household water consumption.  All home improvement stores and plumbing suppliers stock these high-efficiency toilets.  If the toilets in your household were installed before 1994 or if they use more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, there are better options today with toilets using about 1.28 gallons per flush.  Dual Flush toilets using even less water for liquid waste!  A family of four could save more than 15,000 gallons of water per year by replacing an inefficient toilet with a 1.6 gpf (gallon per flush unit) and even more with a toilet rated 1.28 gpf.

High-Efficiency Faucets
To save the average family more than 700 gallons of water year, simply replace old fixtures for new high-efficiency WaterSense labeled fixtures.  High-efficiency faucets and showerheads not only reduce water use but save energy by reducing the demand for water heaters.  WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories reduce water use without reducing performance. They are not the low flow products of a generation ago.  Today’s high-efficiency showerheads combine water savings with high performance.

Gray Water Systems

Not everything requires potable water.  Being able to reuse water is important to not only the environment but your budget and since no one can recall the last time the cost of water ever decreased, reducing water use is even more important.  You can reduce your non-potable water use with the implementation of a gray water system.  The State of Colorado allows water from bathtubs, showers, washing machines, as well as water from bathroom and laundry room sinks to be harvested for gray water systems.   If you are considering a new home, please talk to your Builder about integrating a gray water system into your design and make the most of every drop of water.

What is WaterSense?

The Federal Government EPA’s WaterSense program labels plumbing fixtures for efficiency and performance.  The labels indicate whether low-flow fixtures perform as well or better than similar counterparts.   Their website has tools that allow you to search for WaterSense labeled products.  WaterSense labeled products are certified to meet EPA criteria for water efficiency and performance.  Ask your local plumber or homebuilder about WaterSense labeled products.

WaterSense logos will show up on certified WaterSense products.

Plumbing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about technology and its impact but these innovations can immediately impact your home’s aesthetic and impact and your budget and comfort.  Talk to your local plumber or homebuilder today.  And best of all, updating your plumbing fixtures or building with the latest technology provides you the opportunity to take advantage of multiple rebates that may be available from your local utility companies and local and state government.

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Outdoor Kitchen Inspiration: Ideas for the Colder Climates

There is something so delightful about eating your food outside.  Why stop there?  Have you ever given much thought to bringing the whole kitchen experience outdoors?  You may remember we talked about how you can create a dynamic outdoor space, but an outdoor kitchen may be just what you need to live a more relaxed life outdoors.

If you live in a colder part of the country, you may have thought a grill was as close as you were ever going to get to an outdoor kitchen, but not so!  While outdoor kitchens are certainly more common in some parts of the country like Arizona, New Mexico, and California, you can certainly have your own right here in Colorado!  Yes, Durango has plenty of freezes and snow, but we also enjoy very desirable weather from April through October. We don’t know about you, but the 60-80-degree weather is just about perfect weather for preparing a meal outside.  Much more suitable than 100+ degree weather!

Simple or Complete Outdoor Kitchen?

To start, you must first decide whether a simple or complete kitchen is right for you.  Your needs, desires, available space, and budget are some things to be considered when making this decision.  If there are space or budget limitations, a simple kitchen may be for you. A simple grill and counter top may be enough for you to prepare and enjoy a meal outside.  If you want to maximize your time outdoors, consider a complete outdoor kitchen.  This means a space for meal prep, cooking, and eating.  This will allow you to interact with your guests outside while you prepare food!

Some unique ideas for your kitchen might include:

Flower/Wine Sink

The bonus compartment in the sink can serve as a vase for flowers or can double as an ice bucket to keep adult beverages cold!

Wood-fired Oven

Wood-fired ovens aren’t just for pizza.  You can cook practically anything in one!  The high heat allows food to cook more quickly and if you live in Durango, you know this is a requirement of high-altitude cooking anyway.  The open flame is also a great addition to the atmosphere of your outdoor kitchen and serves as a great source of heat on those cooler nights.

Outdoor Bar

An outdoor bar complements an outdoor kitchen perfectly.  The countertop and bar stools are a great way to add seating.  Add in some open shelves and some cocktails and you are ready to play bartender!  If you’re really ambitious, you can repurpose your bar into an ice bar once the snow starts flying!

Fire Pit

This is not essential for an outdoor kitchen, but makes a great addition to an outdoor Kitchen – especially one in Colorado!  A fire pit allows you to spend more time outdoors in the Winter and provides a great centerpiece for your kitchen!  Plus, who doesn’t love sitting around a campfire after dinner?

Choose a Location

Now that you have an idea of what you’d like your outdoor kitchen to look like, think about best locations to put it!  With colder climates, you may choose an area that has more sun exposure in the Winter so it stays warmer and snow is less likely to pile up.  Think about your roof and where snow falls off.  Consider whether you must combat prevailing winds, overhead powerlines, and trees.  Do you have enough privacy?  Is the soil stable?  Are there low-hanging trees that pose a higher risk for fire?  Also, consider how smoke from your new grill may affect your neighbor.

Other considerations: If your outdoor kitchen does not include a fridge or sink, you may want to place it near your indoor kitchen to provide easy access to the refrigerator and sink while cooking.

Coverings

Though coverings are not necessary for your outdoor kitchen, they may extend your kitchen’s use and allow you to cook outdoors year-round!  If you don’t already have an extended roof line or a semi-enclosed space dedicated to your kitchen, here’s some inspiration for you.

Louvered Roofs

It is amazing the technology that is available to us these days.  Picture a roof with the ability to keep out rain and snow, but also the ability to open like shutters on sunny days.  Amazing, isn’t it?

Pergolas

We know what you’re thinking – how can a pergola be a good choice for an area that gets snow?  When built tough, pergolas can withstand a heavy snow load.  Pergolas are not only beautiful, but they are great for providing shade in the Summer and allowing in light during Winter.  If you plan on using your outdoor kitchen during snow season, a canvas or tarp can be a good seasonal solution to keep out rain or snow.  A corrugated fiberglass top is also an option when you’re looking for a solution that still lets the light in.

Best Materials for an Outdoor Kitchen

You may already have the perfect spot in mind for your outdoor kitchen, but materials for the kitchen itself are usually last on everyone’s list.  Here are some suggestions to help you decide.

Plumbing

Plumbing, probably the least exciting thing you can talk about when designing your outdoor kitchen, but it can be one of the most problematic!  If you want your outdoor kitchen to survive more than a year in Durango, be sure to use stainless steel, plastic, or solid copper.  If it does not fall into one of these categories, be sure it is approved for outdoor use.

Countertops

You may not have given much thought to countertops and their ability to hold up in weather, but it’s so important!  Living in the mountains, we experience huge temperature fluctuations.  We must prioritize function over fashion.  That means ensuring the proper thickness and using a material that will withstand freezes and thaws.  And temperature changes are not even the half of it!  Given the sheer expense of countertops, consider using a material the holds up to UV rays, doesn’t absorb stains and odors (bears!), and cleans up well.  Some suggestions would be granite, stainless steel, glazed-ceramic tile and stain-resistant stone.

Cabinets

Don’t let your cabinet material be an after-thought.  Most are a large investment and if not chosen carefully and super susceptible to the elements.  Best cabinets for an outdoor kitchen would be stainless steel, reclaimed lumber, bamboo, and even waterproof polymer.

If not built properly, an outdoor kitchen can deteriorate quickly!  Outdoor kitchens are an investment so don’t let it go up in smoke!  Talk to us – we would be happy to build you one that will last!

 

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A Mirror to Transform Your Custom Home

Are you looking to add something to your custom home? Maybe you’re wanting a certain touch that will take your favorite room in your home to the next level? A well-placed mirror may be exactly what you need. Mirrors can have a transformative effect on a room when utilized in ways that go far beyond giving you a last glance at your outfit before you walk out the door.

Make a Room Feel Bigger

Not all rooms can provide the wide open spaces that we love. That being said, there’s no need to feel cramped while working your way through laundry or buckling down in your office. A large, strategically placed mirror can create the illusion of additional space and added depth in a room that functions well as-is but has a tendency to leave you feeling stifled.

Bring in More Light

Transform a room that leaves you feeling dim into a room that keeps you energized and buoyant by maximizing the light levels that a room provides. Position a mirror to reflect natural light or expand the reaches of an artificial light source, utilizing the limited light you have. Reflecting light into darker areas can really elevate the atmosphere of a room that may, at times, leave you feeling as if you’re in the depths of a dungeon.

Bring the Outside In

Pull nature into the interior of your home by setting a mirror to catch your favorite views. An extra glimpse of your garden during the day is sure to lighten your spirits. A thoughtfully placed mirror can give you that joyful jolt by bringing a pop of nature inside or showcasing those mountain views that are stunning enough to frame.

Create an Accent Piece to Match Your Personal Style

A mirror, though useful, is not just a practical object. Choose a bold frame or uniquely shaped mirror to accent your style and create a strong focal point. Daring mirror designs can give a room a wholly fresh feel and identity and a truly unique mirror can even be an art piece unto itself, worthy of being the center of attention.

 

Think Outside the Box with an Outdoor Mirror

Most people limit their vision of mirrors to exclusively indoor applications. In truth, there is a lot of versatility to be explored in outdoor mirrors. Really make a statement with a large mirror that acts as defining piece for your outdoor space, or create the illusion of a window in a tall garden fence without the fear of your neighbors peeking back.

Though mirrors will always have their practical utility (thank goodness for that) there are so many creative ways to expand beyond their traditional use. Smaller rooms and darker areas appreciate the helping hand that they deserve and nature finds a second home indoors when a mirror is thoughtfully placed. And, whether your style is classic and clean, bold and eclectic, or anywhere in between, a mirror can complement any décor, even in your outdoor living space.

 

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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!

5 Ways to Incorporate Nature In Your Custom Home

Durango’s charm comes from a mixture of many unique elements and, undeniably, nature plays a large part in that charm. We know that having a serene and inviting outdoor living space is a wonderful way to take advantage of our beautiful surroundings, but there’s no reason to leave nature behind you when you close your door. There are a ton of creative ways to incorporate that wild charm inside your custom home or remodel. Read on to find out our five favorite ways to incorporate nature into your home.

Attached Greenhouses

Houseplants are a great way to keep touches of green in your home year round, but for a more robust selection and the added benefit of possibly growing your own food, a greenhouse attached to your house is a great option for any gardener or green thumb.

Any greenhouse will give you a longer growing season and the ability to expand the variety of plants you can grow and with the right mixture of plants and proper planning you could keep your plants growing year-round. An attached greenhouse means that all of those advantages will be accessible without having to trudge through snowdrifts in winter or even having to put on shoes any other time of year. Were you to create a sitting nook within your attached greenhouse you could have a lush and warm escape when the winter blues pop up mid-season.

Atriums and Courtyards

Having an open air space in the center of your house such as an atrium or a courtyard can really make it feel as if you’ve brought the outdoors in. You can get as creative as you’d like with this space: create a peaceful Zen garden, grow a stunning array of flowers, or even keep a live tree growing through the middle of your home.

Atriums and courtyards come with the additional advantage of being much more private than your typical backyard, so you get a more intimate and secure outdoor space that is usable at all times of the day. Being sheltered by the rest of your house, your atrium or courtyard will be accessible more often, even during windy days or other weather that might otherwise keep you inside. Additionally, such a space in the middle of your house allows you to throw open the windows for increased ventilation. Imagine fresh air circulating from both inside and out rather than trying to push through the whole of your house from one end to the other.

Exterior Pocket Doors

If an atrium just won’t work inside your home, but you love the idea of all of that fresh air, consider the ability to open your house more fully to the nature around you. A wall of windows can be a gorgeous accent in any home and provide unobstructed views to the outside of your home, but to fully embrace what lies beyond, imagine removing all such barriers altogether. All the windows you can plan for can’t measure up to the freedom and openness of exterior pocket doors. Better than your standard sliding glass doors, pocket doors slide away into your wall and completely out of sight leaving your entertainment space open to the outdoors and all of that fresh air.

Green Walls

Living walls can help bring nature into your home subtly.
Living walls can help bring nature into your home subtly.

To truly bring a bold splash of nature into your home there are few options as unique as a green wall (also called vertical gardens and living walls), a wall in your home that is bountiful with a blanket of live plants covering its whole. The inherent beauty that a living wall brings to a room comes with the valuable benefit of increased air quality. All plants help to filter toxins out of the air, so your collection of house plants does help, but a green wall can contain thousands of individual plants that all work nonstop in cleaning up the air you breathe. Some plants are better at filtering than others, so to truly maximize this benefit from your living wall pick an assortment of plants that brings a balance of unique beauty and high filtering ability.

Indoor Water Features

 

If air quality is a concern for you, having an indoor water feature offers the dual benefits of maintaining the balance of indoor air while bringing with it the feel of nature. A water feature can act as a large and aesthetically pleasing humidifier as water evaporates from the fountain into the air; in the typically arid environment of Durango, such a feature can be invaluable. Water features also create and release negative ions that assist in drawing dust and other impurities out of the air. Living in a house with naturally purified air and balanced humidity brings many health rewards from healthier skin to better respiration and overall wellness.

When you live in Durango you’re surely familiar with all that there is to gain from spending time in nature. Continuing that experience in your home, in whichever ways you choose, garners you those benefits day-to-day and at times when getting out into the wild isn’t an option. Adding any of these elements to your home plans would be an excellent way to embrace all that nature has to offer.

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Everything You Need To Know About: Trusses

Marrying beauty and safety is no easy task. Rarely in our world are things that are intended for safety also appealing to look at. Luckily, trusses are both extremely safe in structure while also being able to bring a bold aesthetic to your custom home. Premanufactured trusses are often able to be installed in one day, which is a significant time gain over other traditional methods. This additional speed and convenience that comes with utilizing premanufactured trusses give you a winning combination for your custom build.

Recently having become very popular, trusses are steadily overcoming traditional framing, rafters, and joist in new home builds. Typically, trusses are wooden structures that are formed to create a series of triangles that will distribute the weight of your roof outwards to the walls, though they can incorporate steel and other structural shapes. Take advantage of the strong lines that trusses offer by leaving them exposed to create a powerful design element. The use of roof trusses will also allow for a more open design within your home as they are able to span greater distances than traditional framing, therefore, requiring fewer load bearing walls inside.

Many variations of roof truss designs exist, from straight-forward, simple designs to those that are more complex and ornate; all have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few styles to give you an idea of the wide array of truss designs available.

Custom trusses adorn this Durango mountain home by Buena Vista Builders
This combination of steel and wood bring a balance of traditional and modern to this custom Durango mountain home.

Simple Trusses

The simplest design, the King Post Truss, consists of one vertical center post with a triangle off each side. Great for smaller homes, as its reach is more limited than other trusses, the clean design of this truss provides an open, elegant feel. Adding two additional beams gives you the Queen Post Truss with slightly more form while maintaining that simple elegance. The Modified Queen Post Truss, Howe Truss, and Double Howe Truss are all based off the original center post design of the King Post Truss with their own unique arrangements of beams of triangles. The Howe Truss is particularly strong and able to span a great distance, anywhere from 6 – 30 meters.

The Fink Truss the Double Fink Truss and Fan Truss maintain the clean lines that the King Post Truss and its variants offer while abandoning the center post design which then lends an open, airy feel to the design.

Arched Trusses

The Bowstring Truss and Gambrel Truss allow the possibility of an arched roof while still benefiting from the aesthetic and strength of trusses. A vertical center beam provides the apex height in both of the designs with additional support beams to either side as they descend.

Single Slope

Truss designs for single sloped or flat roofs can be achieved in a few different ways. You could choose a structure of parallel beams joined and supported by a series of triangles, such as in the Flat Truss and Sloping Flat Truss designs. Other triangle based options include a right triangle that utilizes the descending side as the roof, as in the Monopitch Truss or an obtuse triangle like the Inverted Truss.

Extended Length Trusses

For those projects in which you need an extra-large open space, there are truss designs that can handle huge spans starting around 20 meters to those necessary for auditoriums and other huge buildings. North Light Roof Trusses will get you all the strength you need for those 20 – 30-meter projects, while those behemoth spaces can be accommodated by Quadrangle Roof Trusses.

There are many additional options in truss designs that you may find suitable to the space you envision in your custom home. Hopefully, this list has given you an idea of just how versatile trusses can be in a home and further inspire you to find just the right look and feel for you.

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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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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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8 Great Tips to Make Your Home Energy Efficient!

Spring has sprung, Durango, and there’s no better time to give your home an “energy-efficiency audit” than right now. Taking the time to tend to a few details can not only make you and your family more comfortable as the days continue to get longer (and hotter!), they can also save you a ton of coin to take that next great vacation.

Start by servicing your air conditioner – By replacing the air filter, you can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15%. You might also consider checking its evaporator coil, which should be cleaned annually to get its maximum performance.

Take a good look at your window dressings – Blinds, shades, and films not only go a long way in slashing heat when the temperatures rise, they also add immensely to the beauty and value of your home.

Get out the caulk gun – Warm air moves out of your home in the winter and moves in during the summer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 30% of heating and cooling bills are consumed by air leakage alone. Head to the hardware store where you’ll find plenty of options- including caulking, weather-stripping, and weather-resistant sealings.

Caulking your windows is a great way to save money!

Pay attention to dust – Dust that builds up on your electronics- lamps, stereo systems, computers- keeps them from being as efficient as they could be because they’re working harder than they need to. While you’re at it, get the ladder out and dust off light bulbs and fixtures for better lighting and air quality. Finally, pull out the vacuum cleaner and vacuum beneath the refrigerator where dust builds up on the coils, making it work much harder than it needs to.

Limit you’re A/C usage by redirecting your ceiling fans – Strategic use of your ceiling fans can be a huge boon to your energy savings. In the winter months, your ceiling fans should be rotating clockwise to push warm air downward. During the summer, they should rotate counterclockwise, thereby pulling warm air up and away from you. And it’s as simply as flicking a switch in the center of your fan!

Cook outside – Rather than using inside ovens and stovetops, take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy some time with your family cooking outdoors on the barbeque or grill. Remember to bring the baseball gloves or a Frisbee to entertain the kiddos!

Cooking outside – getting better by the decade, helping energy efficiency since the cave dwelling days!

Use surge protectors- Outfit each room in your home with a surge protector and run all of the electrical devices in that room to the surge protector, making it that much simpler to turn all of those devices off when you leave the room. This tip alone can make an immediate impact on your electric bill.

Head to the nursery – What better time to plant trees and shrubs and do a little landscaping than when the weather is pleasant? Evergreen trees planted on the north and west faces of your home protect you from those merciless winter winds while trees that lose their leaves in the fall can be planted on the south and west faces to provide shade in the summer and insulation in the winter.

Energy Efficiency increases with landscaping
Believe it or not, energy efficiency is increased when you add in landscaping!

After taking stock of your home and tending to these details, you might then consider making small changes in your day-to-day tasks to conserve even more energy. For example, washing your clothes in cold water can save you $63 a year, and hanging those washed clothes on the line not only keeps you from using a dryer that will flood your home with heat, but also give your clothes the sort of fresh scent that no dryer sheet can match!

What are some tips and tricks that you use to save money when spring rolls around?