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3 Pillar Blog

Blog Category - Newsletter

Friday’s FAQ | Windows

Categories: Design, Maintaining Home, Newsletter | Posted: February 20, 2015

This week’s Friday FAQ is related to the livability of a home.

Wall of Windows

Q: What is an “insulated” window?

A: Newer windows are often referred to as “insulated” because of technology that retards, blocks, or slows the transfer of air through the unit. Most people are familiar with fiberglass or other types of insulation material in a wall cavity. In a window, the “insulation” is a combination of several factors. Most common are windows with at least two panes of glass enclosing a ‘dead’ airspace between them. The airspace may also be sealed to contain a clear, odorless gas (commonly argon), which is heavier than air and thus an even more effective insulator. Better yet, one or both inside surfaces of the glass can be permanently laminated with a clear coating that further retards thermal transfer and protects the home interior against solar heat gain and damaging ultraviolet rays.

Study Windows

Capturing Natural Light

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: February 18, 2015

Walk into most new homes and you’ll notice a big difference from many older homes: an abundance of natural light. In older homes, poor thermal performance forced builders to scale down the size of windows and glass doors.

Today’s builders, however, are able to maximize the capture of natural light by taking advantage of advanced technologies and materials, a wider range of sizes and styles, and a number of new products and creative applications.

For clients who prefer a modern look, glass walls can be used to maximize natural light. For those preferring traditional housing design, professional builders usually work within historic housing forms to increase interior natural light. Window manufacturers have helped this effort by providing a wide variety of products to match traditional house styles.

Wall of Windows

For example, a roof window (or series of these units) over the center of the kitchen can bring in a tremendous amount of natural light without having an adverse impact on a traditional façade. This is especially true if that room is on the back or side of the house and thus out of view from the street. Unlike skylights, roof windows can open to vent stagnant or hot air and odors. They have a flat design, only slightly raised above the roof finish, which further reduces any intrusive appearance.

For smaller interior rooms, such as a water closet, walk-in shower, or storage area, traditional approaches to bringing in natural light are almost impossible, or at least impractical. Tubular skylights offer a solution. From a small, unobtrusive opening in the roof, light enters a tube lined with mirrors and reflective material that magnify available light into the room below. These small devices pour large quantities of light into tight spaces, making them feel more spacious and comfortable.

Fixed or operable transom windows may also be used to bring natural light into interior rooms. Set above passage doors to bedrooms and bathrooms or even in interior walls, transom windows can carry natural light from rooms on the outside perimeter into otherwise dark, inner spaces.

JV Model Stairs

A kitchen backsplash can be used creatively to increase natural light. Glass block or fixed panes of glass may be installed in the space between the countertop and the wall cabinets. Light is brought onto the work surface without sacrificing kitchen cabinets for a large window expanse.

When homeowners prefer traditional architectural styles, experienced home builders will assist homeowners with design and product solutions, made easier with the wide array of technologically advanced windows now available. With new products to choose from and some creative design work, home owners are able to enjoy both their home style of choice and the aesthetic and cost-saving benefits of natural light.

 

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The Hidden Build Process

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: February 4, 2015

Understanding the construction process will help owners manage their expectations and emotions.

Here’s a quick quiz…

It’s four or five months into a new custom build. The home is weather tight, plumbing and wiring have been roughed in, the insulation is in place, and drywall has been screwed to the walls and ceilings. The drywallers are sanding the seams in preparation for that first, shiny coat of paint. How do most homeowners feel?

The question illustrates a crucial issue. There are two things going on at each stage of a project: the actual construction and the homeowners’ perception and evolving feelings about it. Fortunately, most people react in predictable ways at predictable times, so an experienced builder will understand how to help their clients through the inevitable ups and downs. If the homeowners know what to expect, the emotional ride becomes easier and more enjoyable.

As construction begins, homeowners are typically very excited—and why shouldn’t they be? Preconstruction ups and downs involving plans, specs, and product choices are behind them. Their dream home is about to take shape!

Emotions tend to remain high as workers and machines dig the hole, form and pour the foundation, build the rough frame, and install windows, doors, siding, and roofing. How long this takes depends on the home but with some exceptions, such as weather delays, things moves fast with obvious progress nearly every day. Excitement and anticipation build as the home they have been imagining for years is finally rising from the ground!

Pinnacle Club

That visible progress slows dramatically during the next phase of construction.

Once the shell is complete, the electricians, plumbers, and heating technicians descend on the house to rough in their systems. This is when a homeowner’s emotions can be tested. This phase of the project is inherently time-consuming. Plus, it can be drawn out by complex scheduling requirements of different subcontractors. Progress seems to come to a halt and excitement can quickly morph into anxiety. Will the home be done on time? What’s taking so long?

At this point, it helps to remember the importance of good lighting, plumbing, and heating to a home’s livability. Investing the time to do them right will pay off big later on.

We understand how challenging this phase of the project is for homeowners. This is the time when, as professional builders, we step up communication about the progress that is being made behind the scenes. We find that educated homeowners can better manage their emotions through the whole process, but especially as we get ready to move into the home stretch.

The last phase includes installation of trim, flooring, cabinets, and fixtures. Here, excitement begins to rise again as the finish line pulls into sight. By the time the keys are handed over, emotions will be at a point nearly equal to where they were at groundbreaking.

Model at Jerome Village

How best to navigate this emotional journey? How does one enjoy the highs and take the dips in stride? Awareness about the process goes a long way. Study the schedule and know what is going to happen and when. Think of the project as a story, and the schedule as the plot outline. A good builder will work with the homeowners to fill that outline with details that will help make the project a great experience and ensure a happy ending.

 

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Preplanning is Key

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: January 21, 2015

When it comes to building a new house, many people don’t realize just how important it is to develop their preconstruction plan. This is especially important with a custom-build home, because there will be aspects that differ from other houses which greatly affects construction plans.

The more time that the Professional Builder spends on the preconstruction planning process, the better the actual build will be. This process involves much more than just creating the home’s blueprint. It involves people, supplies, getting the timing right, etc.  A decision made today will determine whether the personnel and materials are on the job three months from now.

 

Izabella Floor Plan

Communication is key, especially when you are working with the homeowners, architect, interior designer, project manager, and contractor.  The more people involved, the easier it is for a message to get lost along the way.  The entire process is similar to the passing of the baton in a relay race.

The builder can ensure the best possible outcome for the homeowners by taking the time up front to think through and record decisions, establish workflow and detailed schedules, account for permitting, and plan for communication and contingencies.

 

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