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3 Pillar Blog

Hidden Benefits of Building New

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: June 8, 2016

The advantages of a new home go beyond the obvious.

The allure of a new home fires the imagination and ignites the spirit. We’ve all dreamed of living in a home with our version of the perfect gourmet kitchen, a beautifully appointed office, and a luxurious master suite. Having everything just the way you envision it is reason enough for most people to consider a new home over an existing property.

But the advantages go beyond the obvious: a custom home built by a professional builder offers performance benefits that only a new home can. These hidden benefits are as crucial to the homeowners’ ultimate happiness as the design, if not more so.

Many of these benefits are the happy offspring of the drive to save energy. Everyone understands that thick wall and attic insulation, careful air sealing, and better heating and cooling equipment make new homes very energy-efficient. But what some homeowners don’t realize is that these details do more than reduce monthly heating and cooling bills: they also make the home more comfortable, healthier, and quieter.

Energy-efficient details are mandated by many building codes, a fact that has raised the quality baseline for all new construction. Most professional custom builders go well beyond this baseline. They work with designers and use the latest software to analyze how the thousands of items that go into the home will determine its performance, and they hire employees and subcontractors who will do the job right.

The result is a home that offers superior performance in more ways than one. Consider…

Comfort. Properly detailed insulation, along with careful sealing of the building shell and the HVAC ductwork, minimizes drafts and helps keep temperatures even throughout the home. Comfort can be further enhanced by optimizing the home’s space design and windows to the local climate. High-performance windows can even be ordered with coatings that protect furnishings from ultraviolet light.

Health. Those comfort-enhancing, air-sealing details also help keep pollen and dust out of the home. High-performance windows resist condensation that can lead to mold growth. Today’s efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are very good at removing unwanted humidity and other pollutants from the home, while bringing fresh filtered air in. Sealed-combustion heating equipment makes everyone safe by keeping carbon monoxide out of the indoor air.

Quiet. Double- or triple-pane windows, quality doors with good weather-stripping, and of course the air sealing and insulation already mentioned, make a new custom home naturally better at blocking outside noise than an older one. If there’s a busy nearby street, sound-deadening windows can be ordered to further muffle traffic noise. Inside, if there’s a home theater or a teenage musician, sealing gaps in those rooms’ walls and using sound-dampened drywall can give everyone what they want for less effort and cost than it would to retrofit an existing home.

A new home also provides a certain peace of mind and confidence that everything in the home will work the way it’s supposed to for years to come. That’s why professional builders use proven products with good warranties, along with highly skilled installers.

In fact, a lot of people build new homes for the same reason they buy new cars: to avoid unexpected, costly repairs. The big difference is that while buyers can add options to a new car, they have to choose from one of the dealer’s stock models. With a custom home, on the other hand, the buyers get a finished project that reflects their own vision. And the skillful use of energy detailing eliminates annoyances that could get between them and their enjoyment of that home. This superior performance is something an old house just can’t offer.

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!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: May 27, 2016

Q: What is flagstone?

A: Commonly thought of as large, thin, tan-colored stones, the term “flagstones” actually refers to any natural stone that measures at least 24 inches across and 1-1/2 inches deep, regardless of shape or color.

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 Opening Act: Preparing the Site

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: May 18, 2016

If you’ve ever driven past a new subdivision, you’ve likely seen a fleet of earth-moving equipment, multiple colored stakes in the ground, and the beginnings of streets, sidewalks, and foundations. These are the tell-tale signs of the building site being prepared for construction.

Site preparation includes several steps. A survey comes first. Topographical features — trees, streams, rocky outcroppings, relative elevations, and open areas — are carefully marked, providing the basis for everything that follows. Property lines must be located precisely to confirm setbacks (the allowable distance between a structure and a property line) in compliance with local codes. Streets and sidewalks are mapped and flagged. Then the surveyors stake out the location of the various underground utility conduits through the neighborhood and to each house. In the case of a single house under construction, the existing utility services in the neighborhood must be located and the connections to the proposed house carefully plotted. Finally, a soil test is ordered to help determine the type and design of the foundation construction.

Most, if not all, of this information is mandated by the local building authority. Copies of the surveys and tests, usually signed and stamped by a registered professional engineer, must be attached to the proposed construction drawings and submitted for permits or approvals from that authority.

Once those steps are taken and the plans are approved by the building department, the next “site prep” step can be taken. The location of the foundation or footprint of the home is staked to provide a guide for excavation. Typically, the stakes and batter boards (which demarcate every corner or turn in the layout) are connected by nylon strings to outline the exact perimeter of the foundation to be built.

Then backhoes or excavators can get to work, digging ditches to extend existing or new utility conduits — for electrical, plumbing, natural gas, etc. — to serve the house. Foundations are excavated using the staked-out lines as a guide. The plans will call for footings and — according to individual designs — a crawl space, full basement, concrete slab, or perimeter foundation walls in preparation for concrete forms, blocks, or other materials to support the main floor.

Every new-home project requires these site prep steps, and it is important for our homebuyer clients to understand this phase of the job enabling them to track our progress and get a complete picture of what is required to build their new home.

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!

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: May 13, 2016

Q: Can I pull my own building permit?

A: No. It’s important that all permits be pulled by the general contractor and its subcontractors, not by the homeowner. Before issuing the permits, the jurisdiction will ensure that these companies are licensed to do the work and that they have the necessary liability and workers comp coverage needed to protect the homeowner. When pulling a permit, the contractor essentially promises that all work will meet the requirements of all current building codes, and there’s usually a third-party inspection to make sure that’s the case.

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.

Controlling Project Costs

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: May 4, 2016

A successfully managed budget is a partnership between the builder and the homeowners.

Custom builders work hard to make sure their clients get the home they want at a price they can afford. Cost-control strategies include value-engineering the structure, writing clear product specifications, and managing the construction in the most efficient manner possible. Controlling costs is a responsibility that professional builders take very seriously.

But the builder is just half the equation: a new home is a partnership between the builder and homeowner, and there are things a homeowner needs to do to keep the project from going over budget. Most of these have to do with decision-making.

Most homeowners understand the importance of making timely decisions and minimizing changes once the project starts, but many lack a framework for making those decisions. The following five concepts will help a new home to come in on time and on budget.

1. Complete the creative process before breaking ground.

Some people have difficulty imagining how a finished space will look, so they postpone some design decisions until after the house has been framed, which can mean reframing certain spaces. Building something twice obviously costs more than building it once. People who have trouble envisioning spaces should be clear with the architect and builder on this difficulty early in the design process. Good tools are available—from 3D design software to physical models—to help homeowners get a better grasp on how their rooms will look and feel.

2. Choose as many products as possible before work starts.

Even people who don’t have trouble envisioning spaces often want to change their minds about products and finishes after construction begins. But changes always add cost, even if the substitute products are comparably priced. Take the example of choosing a different tub for the master bath. There will be administrative charges for ordering the new tub, canceling the original order, and maybe even returning the original tub. Depending on the stage of construction, the change could also delay the drywall while the builder waits for the new tub to arrive. That, in turn, could throw off the rest of the construction schedule.

3. Understand that every item has a cost.

Some people approach the process of designing their new home as they would an all-you-can-eat buffet. They sign the contract and then act as if they can add anything they want to the plate without financial consequences. Even if the extra costs are small—a more expensive faucet in the kitchen, a better grade of carpet in the bedroom—in the end it all adds up.

4. Learn to love multiple choices.

Rather than settling on one particular product, pick good, better, and best options for each product category. If the budget numbers start swelling, it may help to substitute that top-of-the-line lighting package for something less expensive that still works with the rest of the decor. Defining these options ahead of time makes the process a lot more efficient.

5. Leave plenty of lead time.

The more days or weeks between the homeowners product selections and when those products have to be installed, the better. That way, an unexpected delay from the product manufacturer or distributor won’t hold up the job.

The above guidelines are a proven framework for controlling project costs. Following them will reduce stress and help ensure a more satisfying project.

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.

Connect with Us Online!

Categories: About Us, Social Media and Marketing | Posted: April 27, 2016

Woohoo! You have came across the 3 Pillar Homes website and blog pages! Listed below are ways you can keep in touch with us through social media!

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.

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.

Home Price Reality Check

Categories: About Us, Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: April 13, 2016

Consulting with a builder before drawing the plans will save expense and headaches.

Most custom builders have had clients show up at their office with a set of finished plans that, in reality, will cost 25% to 30% more than the clients’ target budget. Fortunately, this problem is easily avoided. Working with the builder on a pre-budget can eliminate unpleasant surprises and help the clients get the home they want at a price they can manage.

Pre-budgeting is essential because a lot of people base their cost expectations on average square foot prices that they got from acquaintances, the Internet, or the advertised prices of homes in new developments. But this approach is misleading when planning a custom home.

That’s because those new development homes tend to be speculative, or “spec” houses. Spec houses are built from value-engineered stock plans that eliminate features that don’t increase the home’s appraised value. For example, additional square footage adds value but a high-end built-in refrigerator does not.

Even a top-quality spec house is built using a production business model. Think of a spec house development under construction as an outdoor factory: each house uses the same menu of materials and finishes, so the builder can get volume pricing from distributors and manufacturers. Also, because all floor plans are similar (if not exactly the same), crews can assemble them quickly and efficiently. Repetition works to keep prices down.

Custom homebuilders work in a far different world. Each home they build has a unique floor plan as well as lots of products and materials that are, well, custom. The homeowners get exactly what they want, but sometimes pay a premium compared to a spec home of similar size.

With a custom home, it’s best for customers to ask a professional builder to review their initial vision before they get the plans drawn. The builder can suggest ways to value-engineer the home and to save money on products and materials. Years of experience have taught the pro the most efficient approaches to new home construction, which means the builder’s staff can work with the architect to make sure the plan minimizes waste and can be built cost-effectively.

And while custom builders may not buy products in bulk, they are highly skilled purchasers who know how to get the best-available pricing. They can suggest brands and models that look and perform as well as the ones the customers have in mind, but that are kinder to the budget.

Once the design process gets underway, it’s a good idea to have the builder do spot checks at different stages. A design-build company will do this as a matter of course, and many architects will involve a contractor in the design. Be sure to ask. If the architect doesn’t offer this type of builder review, then insist on having it done. If the contractor hasn’t been chosen yet, paying one a consulting fee could be a wise investment.

If the client needs bank financing, a pre-budget is a vital reality check. Banks generally won’t lend more than 80% of the home’s appraised value, which is based on the price of “comparable” homes. But their comparisons don’t include every feature. Expensive kitchen appliances and nice landscaping packages add cost, but in the bank’s eyes they won’t increase the home’s value. That forces the homeowners to come up with unexpected cash. A professional builder will know what features do and don’t add value in the bank or appraiser’s estimation.

The bottom line is that involving a professional builder at the earliest stages of the design is an investment that may more than pay for itself.

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.

Model Home Spotlight!

Categories: About Us, Neighborhood | Posted: April 6, 2016

This week we are featuring the Jerome Village model home in our blog!

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Our model home in Jerome Village is just stunning! We have a beautiful open floor plan layout focusing on the heart of the home: the great room, kitchen, and morning room. In this floor plan, we added a sunroom which also added to the open floor plan concept. It is also evident here in this home the use of windows! We have large banks of windows with some added transoms to bring in the maximum amount of light. Engineered hardwood flooring can be seen throughout the first floor including.

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The finished basement in this home continues to be a favorite by many! The open floor plan in the basement combined with a nine foot ceiling height allows this basement to feel open and comfortable. We included a theatre spot, wet bar, wine cellar, and a bedroom with a full bathroom to make this basement feel like a great living space.

One of the reasons 3 Pillar Homes is so invested in the Jerome Village community is because of the philosophy of the development to bring families together and to focus on nature and natural resources. The community at its completion will provide over 600 acres of parks, ponds, and green spaces all connected by split rail fences and pathways. Many of our homeowners enjoy easy strolls, serious runs and lots of bike riding. It’s a significant draw for the homeowners who choose this community. There is also the newly opened Jerome Village Community Center which offers a pool, fitness area and Pasquale’s Pizzeria. Jerome Village also offers Distinctive Architecture that focuses on quality designs that all include front porches for family and neighborly interaction.

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.

Model Home Spotlight!

Categories: About Us, Neighborhood | Posted: March 23, 2016

This week we are shining the spotlight onto our model in the Meadows of Lewis Center community!

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This model shows a beautiful blend of both standard and upgraded features. 3 Pillar Homes provides a stunning standard trim package. It includes our Signature Arched Openings, oversized baseboards, double-stack crown molding on cabinetry, and all windows come jammed and cased. Hardwood flooring is also a standard throughout your kitchen, morning room, and foyer! Granite countertops throughout your kitchen and bathrooms are also a standard feature for 3 Pillar Homes! Come visit us at the model to learn more about what will come standard in your next 3 Pillar Home!

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Located in the heart of Lewis Center, OH and home of the BIA Parade of Homes 2012, The Meadows at Lewis Center offers a great option for custom home living within the Olentangy School District. Families looking to live in Lewis Center, OH will be impressed by the school system, which consistently ranks among the highest in the state. Quick and easy access to U.S. 23 and I-71 makes it easy to navigate in and out of the community.

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.