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3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Design

Insulation: Stay Cool without Sweating Energy Bills

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 18, 2017

New homes are built to save energy, and a primary component of that goal is insulation. The definition of insulation, however, is rapidly expanding as homebuyers and energy codes demand even better energy-use performance from new homes.

Today, there are far more options than those rolls of fiberglass you see on the shelves of big-box home improvement stores. While batt insulation remains an inexpensive yet effective option, other materials have emerged that help optimize thermal value in new structures or when replacing conventional insulation.

For instance, in addition to insulating between the wall studs, we may add a 1/2-inch thick rigid foam insulation panel behind the finish siding of a new home. That technique is commonly called a thermal break, and many of the latest energy codes and standards, such as the federal Energy Star program, require it.

In addition to taping the joints between the insulation panels, a thin, woven air-water barrier (also called a weather-resistant barrier or housewrap) can be applied over the panels to shed incidental water that gets behind the siding or stucco and blocks air infiltration through the structure.

Another increasingly popular insulating technique is called “flash-and-batt,” a practice that combines conventional fiberglass batts with a “flash” or thin layer of expanding foam insulation.

Specifically, an insulation contractor will first spray-apply a 1-inch deep layer of foam layer into a wall cavity. As the foam expands, it seals any gaps in the cavity to block air and moisture vapor from flowing through the wall. The contractor then fills the rest of the cavity with uncompressed fiberglass to resist thermal (or heat) transfer. The result is an air-tight and well-insulated wall.

Most of a home’s energy is lost through the attic or roof structure. The difference in air temperature and pressure between the attic and the living space below can be dramatic. This causes air to escape into the attic and puts an extra burden to maintain a desired temperature on the home’s heating and cooling system.

A flash-and-batt application can almost entirely eliminate thermal loss into the attic. Often, after the flash layer is applied within the floor cavities, a loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose (made from recycled newspaper and similar fibers) effectively covers the floor.

Another option is to apply an air-tight version of spray-foam insulation to the roof rafter cavities to block air and heat from entering the attic space. The result is what is often called a “semi-conditioned” attic because the air temperature of the attic and living spaces below is almost the same, but without actually having to heat or cool the attic space.

The push to make new homes more energy efficient is driving new and better insulation products and applications, and professional builders are at the forefront of keeping up with that evolution to provide better indoor comfort and help reduce monthly energy bills.

Building Success 101

Categories: Building Success 101, Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 11, 2017

Q: What is contemporary design?

A: A contemporary kitchen is characterized by cabinets with simple lines (that is, without ornate moldings) and by metallic hardware finishes. This design style also puts high value on natural light and views to the outside, which means lots of window area. Explanations for this style’s growth include a more well-traveled populace (contemporary styling is popular worldwide) and the desire for homes with the sleek lines of high-tech products like the iPhone.

The Super Kitchen

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 4, 2017

Recent research shows what homeowners want in this crucial room

Although the design of a custom home is a personal statement, most people give at least some thought to market appeal. For this, the most important aspect is the kitchen.

A great kitchen adds real value. A November 2016 article on Realtor.com reported that 69 percent of its home listings make the kitchen a central selling point and that homes with luxury kitchens sell eight percent faster than comparable ones in the same ZIP code.

Those luxury kitchens are hot. For its 2016 Kitchen Trends Survey, Houzz.com asked 2,700 homeowners about their product and design preferences and found strong demand for “super kitchens” that serve as the center of family life. The reason? Nearly two-thirds of homeowners spend three or more hours per day in the kitchen on activities that include cooking, dining, and entertaining.

With the range of activities going on in kitchens, people are adding more features than ever. These include dining tables, homework spaces, TVs, wine refrigerators, and built-in coffee makers.

And with the growing popularity of decks and other outdoor spaces, nearly two-thirds of homeowners want kitchens that open to those spaces, whether that opening is a sliding glass wall system or just a single entry door.

Who Wants What

Of course, these preferences aren’t monolithic. For instance, the Realtor.com article noted that they vary at least somewhat by region, with people in New England more likely to spend money on large kitchens than Midwesterners, who put greater emphasis on affordability and efficient layout. And homeowners in the Southeast are more apt to settle for a smaller kitchen if that means they can keep a formal dining room.

What homeowners want also varies by age group, especially when it comes to design styles. Millennial homeowners (ages 25 to 34) tend to be fans of contemporary and farmhouse styling while baby boomers (ages 55 and older) are drawn more to traditional designs. Millennials also spend more on pantry cabinets or islands, which are part of that farmhouse aesthetic.

Color choices vary by age group as well. “Younger buyers are more likely to keep resale value in mind and tend to choose neutral wall colors and white cabinets,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “White also lightens up the kitchen and makes it feel bigger.”

When it comes to surface materials, homeowners value durability and ease of use. They want countertops that can take the heat of a hot pan, and flooring they can stand on for long periods without fatigue. Virtually all are interested in built-in storage, with homeowners prioritizing this “over all other functions of their kitchens,” according to the study.

Finally, while some appliance manufacturers are touting high-tech features, homeowners seem underwhelmed–a mere five percent opt for an oven they can control remotely from their smartphone. Durability and looks are more important, with 72 percent of homeowners opting for stainless steel. It seems like some things never go out of style.

Styling with Hardscapes

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 20, 2016

It wasn’t long ago that the most you could expect from a new house was a white slab of concrete approaching your garage and your front door. With any luck, you might see another slab in the backyard that would function as a small patio. That was the only option offered by most new home builders.

Thankfully, those days are past. Now the best builders recognize that such “hardscape” areas are essential to the curb appeal of their new homes. What was formerly, at best a neutral feature, now delivers distinctive style and a boost to the overall value and beauty of a home.

Builders and homebuyers have several options available to bring a little zing to this element of a home’s style. Here are a few to consider:

Stamped concrete. Just as it sounds, the masonry or concrete contractor places textured panels of various sizes over an area of newly poured concrete and applies a slight bit of pressure to make an impression. Once the concrete sets, the panels are removed to reveal a permanent pattern.

Stamped concrete is an excellent and cost-effective way to add the three-dimensional look of a custom-etched or troweled concrete surface, hand-laid bricks or stone pavers. Several patterns, from uniform bricks to more abstract textures, enable builders and homebuyers to satisfy their personal tastes and to compliment the style of the new home. Stamped concrete can be used to highlight the walkway to the front door or create a consistent, dimensional look for all of the home’s hardscape areas.

Colored concrete. When colored concrete is desired, a pigment is added as the concrete is being mixed (called an “integral” coloring process). This means that the color is mixed through the depth of the hardscape area, not just painted on the surface. Colored concrete is often used to highlight a hardscape feature, such as a walkway. Used in conjunction with stamped concrete technique, the integral coloring process can enhance the authenticity of a pattern, such as red bricks or dark stone pavers.

Aggregate. Another option that adds dimension to a standard concrete surface is exposed aggregate. Small rounded stones are added to the concrete mix. Then the concrete surface is brushed before the concrete sets, exposing the texture and slight color variations of the authentic pebbles. Exposed aggregate can add interest to an otherwise featureless expanse for a relatively low cost.

Bricks and pavers. There’s no substitute for the “real thing” if it fits the budget. Laying individual bricks or stones—available in various sizes, shapes, and colors—is a labor-intensive (and thus more costly) endeavor. The preparation for a brick or stone path, patio, or driveway is much the same as that for a poured concrete hardscape. However, laying each brick (and sometimes cutting it to fit), maintaining a pattern and straight lines, and securing the pieces in place with either mortar or sand takes much more time and skill. Of course, the greatest advantage to hand-laid bricks and pavers is aesthetic. The natural materials show slight undulations and variations in color and texture that are unmistakable.

Thin (or veneer) bricks and stones can help lower the cost of the hand-laid approach, but these are most suitable as accents, such as lining a concrete driveway or walk. They are less suited to high-traffic areas that must carry greater weight.

Used in creative combinations, the options available for hardscapes offer builders and homeowners unlimited ways to achieve unique surfaces. Effective hardscapes will enhance a new home’s architectural style, increase its value and bring long-term satisfaction to the owner.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Who Are We?

Categories: About Us, Awards and Recognition, Build Process, Design | Posted: March 9, 2016

Who is 3 Pillar Homes? We have created this blog to explain to you a little bit more about who we are from what you have already read about us on the website!

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3 Pillar Homes is an award winning custom home builder and a family owned company lead by a second generation builder with 17 years of experience building custom homes in Central Ohio. We are one of the largest custom homebuilders in Central Ohio and we are proud to offer a client-centered design-build experience. We take pride in the trust our homeowners and community members place in us and you can see this in our most recent achievements which include seven years of being on The 50 Fastest Growing privately held companies in Central Ohio (ranked by Business First), Several years of being the 2nd largest Custom Homebuilder in Central Ohio and By Our participation in things like the BIA Parade of Homes where we were the Foundation Builder last year providing proceeds to Habitat for Humanity in Central Ohio.

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Design Process:

As a builder, 3 Pillar Homes really focuses on a careful design process that promotes both function and flair. We especially focus on the dynamic interaction of the kitchen, morning room and great room, the heart of the home and where the family lives and gathers together. We also focus on windows and natural light to maximize our open designs. In addition to great design, 3 Pillar Homes also offers a stunning trim package that builds on our Signature Arched Openings which are included in every 3 Pillar Home. As a design-build builder, Customization is a cornerstone of our philosophy. We also focus on flexibility to help our homeowners maximize options and resources available to them.

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Energy Efficiency:

We don’t just focus on great layouts and beautiful trim; we also care deeply about how your home is constructed and how well it will live for you and your family in the years to come. For example—Our Energy Star Rating includes a 95% efficient furnace, a meticulous air infiltration package, and a professional third-party test to measure to duct leakage and an air-door blower test ensure your home will be comfortable, while operating at the highest efficiencies with lower costs to run and maintain your home over time.

Our Process:

One of the most important things our homeowners share with us is how valuable they find our process and our communication. We are nimble in developing personalized designs that are focused on both your goals for the home and your goals for the budget. We have systematic way of guiding you through the process to cover everything from understanding what’s included, to how your home will be situated on your lot, to the specifics of detailed pricing and to understanding your options for financing your new home. 3 Pillar Homes utilizes a impressive software program that includes every aspect of your home—the construction documents, the plot plan, the details of your colors and selections, any change orders. We also utilize quality control forms with real time documentation on ipads during on-site walk-throughs in your home throughout construction. A hallmark feature of our 3 Pillar process is the unparalleled system of communication and support which includes a pre-color selection meeting, weekly updates and progress reports, formal walk-throughs during construction, as well as a 3 part warranty system that includes a 30 day and one-year workmanship warranty and an insurance backed structural warranty.

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Our Team:

To help you bring all your goals together, we include concierge designer service before and throughout your new home build experience. Our dedicated staff includes—the sales team, the office support including in-house estimating, a dedicated project manager, architect, designer and warranty manager. In true partnership with our homeowners, 3 Pillar Homes brings a process and systems along with award-winning designs and experience to each home we build.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Friday FAQ – Cool roof

Categories: Design, Friday FAQ | Posted: February 5, 2016

Q: What is a cool roof?

A: A cool roof is defined as a roof that either reflects the sun’s heat away from the roof or is designed to ventilate a narrow airspace under the roof finish to keep it cool. Either way, the result lowers the temperature of the home’s attic space, which helps reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the house.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Friday’s FAQ – “Zoned” Heating and Cooling

Categories: Build Process, Design, Friday FAQ | Posted: December 4, 2015

Question: What is “zoned” heating and cooling?

Answer: As a way to lower energy costs and enable a more comfortable and healthier indoor living spaces, builders separate areas of a home into smaller zones rather than one big space to heat and cool. In this scheme, smaller, more efficient heating and cooling equipment (furnaces, air conditioners, etc.) are responsible for smaller zones within the house; the warm or cool air generated by the equipment is distributed through metal ducts (or chases) only to its designated zone, thus reducing energy use and enabling more control over temperature and comfort in different areas of the house.

Stay tuned for a future blog on the Nest thermostat that 3 Pillar Homes uses in its model homes!


3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Bonus Rooms: The Ultimate Flex Space?

Categories: Design | Posted: September 21, 2015

 

Who can’t use a little extra space in their home? The bonus room has become a desirable feature for new homebuyers. With one room that’s not designated for a particular purpose, you can create the functional space that best suits your lifestyle.

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How many ways can you use a bonus room?


Family/game room. If you’re tired of having toys, books, DVDs, and video game system controllers kicking around your living room, you might be ready for a family room or game room, where you can centralize the more active entertainment. Accent the space with storage spaces, like cabinetry and cubbies, to store the games and toys.


Home theater. A home theater allows you, your family, and your guests to kick back and enjoy a movie in the comfort of your home—without the high cost of tickets and concessions. Convert the bonus room by adding a large tv screen, a home theater system to deliver the audio quality, comfortable seating, and the right lighting (with dimmers, of course).


Craft space. Any crafter knows that the supplies somehow pile up and clutter makes it hard to be creative and productive. A craft room, art studio, or other creative space will have all the equipment, tools, and supplies where you can readily access and use them. Hang racks and build storage for paper, ribbons, fabrics, and yarn, or whatever your passion requires.


Man cave. The two words that can send a man into a euphoric daydreaming state. The man cave provides a private haven, where the man of the house can hide from the “Honey Do” list, enjoy a book or magazine without interruption, play poker, have the remote control all to himself, and just revel in his thoughts. A great use for a bonus room, the man cave might feature comfortable furniture (e.g., reclining sofa with cup holders), a poker or pool table, gaming system, music system, small fridge, and bar.


Home office. More people are working from home, either occasionally or full-time. A bonus room enables you to designate a home office space where you can either close yourself away to get work done, or close that work off from your personal life. The dividing line between work and living is essential to thriving in both. Make sure you can readily access the Internet from this room. And don’t forget the home office deduction on your income tax return!


Exercise room. When you have an exercise room or fitness center—as opposed to a treadmill tucked in a corner where it doubles as a clothes dryer—you’re more likely to utilize the value of the equipment. Install a television screen so you can entertain yourself or watch workout videos. Include a small fridge or a water dispenser to keep hydrated. Choose flooring that is both durable and easy to clean. Foam and rubber tiles provide the cushioning you need and are easily replaced when damaged.


Homework station. Avoid “The dog ate my homework” excuse when your students can organize their books and assignments in a homework station. In addition to a desk, computer, Internet access (with parental controls) and bookshelves, include bulletin boards for posting calendars, notes, and reminders. You can also use dry erase, chalkboard, or magnetic primer right on the walls to turn them into functional space. With dry erase and magnetic primer, you apply one coat and then cover with your choice of wall paint.


Guest room. A bonus room generally doesn’t include a closet, but for a guest room, you don’t need one. Just furnish the space with an armoire to allow them to hang up and store clothing. You can also use a day bed with underbed storage or a trundle bed to accommodate an extra guest.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home-builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659

Decorating Your Home!

Categories: Design | Posted: August 27, 2015

BlogDo you feel like there is so much to decorate and no time to brainstorm? Do not fear, we have all the decorating techniques you need right here!

Unfortunately you cannot have your master bedroom having the same layout as your child’s room so it seems you’ll have to come up with something different. This short piece will highlight ways to differentiate the rooms in your home with reducing how much you rack your brain about it.

Master Bedroom

Since this is the room where you’ll recharge after a long day; it needs to have the perfect balance. A small room can be expanded with    lighter  colors and light curtains. If you have a large room that seems to be overbearing, you can use warm colors and patterns to make it   cozier. A nice antique find can dress up a boring nightstand set.

Lining up furniture to be parallel with the wall maximizes floor space and gives a nice flow to the room.

Have smaller nightstands that are as tall as the mattress so you won’t have to struggle with the alarm clock in the morning.

Children’s Bedrooms

The most important thing is to have as little clutter as possible, and to have versatile furniture that you won’t have to replace every two years.

From the initial paint job, try to pick a neutral color that kids won’t outgrow.

Instead of having floor lamps all around, try wall sconces that they won’t be able to pull down in their early years.

A simple chest can be used to store toys now, and then store game systems later.

Teen Rooms

The room of the teenager is their sanction; you might as well make it something they are comfortable with to avoid endless hassle.

A simple duvet cover can go a long way for a teen, especially if they think it’s comfortable.

No matter how good decorative pillows look, they can become a horror to the resistant bed makers.

Try to make use of installed shelves to increase storage space and easy use of their favorite things.

Guest Rooms

It’s crucial that you have a comfortable room, whether it is stationed or temporary. Try including entertainment for the guest, such as a small TV and magazines.

Multi-purpose furniture can be a great asset to your guest bedroom, such as a futon that makes a reliable couch in the daytime.

Those that have an enclosed porch could easily make that into a temporary room for a guest by hanging light sheets over the windows to maintain the outdoor feel but still giving them their privacy.

 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home-builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

The Connected Home

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: July 8, 2015

Connected home technology in the early 2000s was a costly proposition. In most cases, high-priced “structured wiring” linked a central server to the devices it managed and also to proprietary, hardwired keypads and control screens.

Wired Speaker

Fast-forward more than a decade. Things are simpler and more affordable, with everything from security sensors to speakers to lighting controls available in wireless models controlled by a tablet or smart phone. The price of fully connecting a home is one-tenth what it used to be.

Few are taking advantage of this new affordability. A survey of 6500 households published in early 2015 by technology research firm Gartner, Inc. found only a handful using this powerful technology to do more than simply stream movies.

A new home is the perfect opportunity to join that select, modern few.

Ed Webb of Koncerted, a Boston-area home electronics integrator, says that most of the homeowners he talks with are familiar with remote control of temperature and security, but they seldom know what other automation is available. Once they learn about and try it, they want more. “My lighting control business is up 250 percent over last year, and my automated shade business is up 200 percent,” he says. That’s because the benefits are grand and the price is right. In just one example, wireless technology has cut the cost of automated shades by more than half when compared to hardwired versions.

Other affordable wireless products finding a ready market include Ring, a doorbell with a camera that displays on a cell phone; Nest, a self-programming thermostat; Hue, an LED bulb that can be dimmed or changed in color via a handheld app; and Sonos, a wireless speaker system.

One thing that stops people from wanting such devices is worry about getting them to work together. A good electronics integrator can set up an iPad app that controls the TV, the heating and cooling system, the lighting, and everything else.

When deciding between devices it’s best to focus on benefits. For some, being able to remotely control the thermostat sounds interesting. For others, being able to use a phone app to adjust the home’s heating and cooling system so it’s comfortable on arrival lights up the imagination.

The Nest

One common question is whether the home still needs a wiring infrastructure. The answer is yes, but the wiring is simpler than in the past. The basic requirement is to run data and TV cable to every room for bandwidth-hungry video services like Netflix or iTunes: streaming these services through a wire is a lot more reliable than streaming them wirelessly.

For sending data to all those new wireless devices, Webb recommends an enterprise-grade wireless router with 5 gigabytes of RAM instead of the typical 56K consumer model. Costs for the upgraded router are higher, ranging from $400 to $1000, but it can keep up when people are streaming movies on two or more screens. Video devices like the Ring doorbell can also eat up bandwidth. For remote areas of the house, consider wireless access points rather than repeaters.

The bottom line is that with a few affordable devices and a little integration work, homeowners today can easily set up automated systems to conserve energy, manage home security, provide a world of entertainment, and generally make their home more responsive and comfortable.

 


 

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio.  For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035.  You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.