Friday, October 17, 2014

We’re in our Home and Enjoying So Many Great Features

We’re settled in our new home with lots of move-in experiences, and we’re enjoying so many new features we’ve never had before in previous homes. We’ve almost located all our belongings. The first weekend we couldn’t find the leaf for our dining table. With all our family here, we improvised quickly for meals and the last day they were here, of course, we found the leaf wrapped in brown paper under a bed.

All of the decorating features – paint color, crown molding, great light fixtures, tall ceilings, good use of square footage, attractive tile and granite worked great and look exactly like we wanted and imagined. Our furniture fit in the new spaces well and looks good. The artwork looks great and complements the furniture.  So, with the lake view and all the décor, along with our family and friends we really like the outcome of the look of our house.

What may be even more amazing is how well the high energy efficiency components make living in our house so comfortable and enjoyable. From the inception, our builder educated us on the differences in energy efficient homes and high energy efficiency homes. I certainly didn’t know about or understand the differences. But, the differences make such a difference in comfort and sound reduction.

The term energy efficiency is thrown out quite a lot with both realtors and home builders. Most new home buyers don’t question the term and therefore may not be getting much in the way of improving the overall comfort of their homes. Generally, energy efficiency means double-paned windows and some insulation. That’s pretty basic efficiency without saving homeowners on monthly bills, comfort or value.

Our high energy efficiency home includes triple-paned windows, no air loss around windows or doors, and caulking all wood-to-wood joints to prevent even the smallest air leaks. There are several components that add up to high energy efficiency, but the single most important feature is reduction of air leaks. For us, we’ve never lived in a home that was this comfortable. We have large windows across the back of our house with west exposure, and we don’t feel the heat or cold anywhere in the house including the windows. We’re practically sitting on the lake and we see boats pass by but we don’t hear them. For me, that was unexpected and pretty amazing.

In another blog we’ll pick up some of the additional high energy efficiency features that add to our overall comfort. The value in being educated on high energy efficiency items and then making a decision to incorporate them in our construction results in three positive major improvements in our home, including:

Monthly Bills – Our home is all electric and so far our electric bill has been less than $100 a month. Our low utility bills can be looked at as a monthly dividend on our investment. And, as energy costs increase in the future, we’ll save even more.

Comfort – The comfort and quiet of our home are beyond our expectations and way beyond the comfort of any house we’ve lived in. We set our thermostat and never touch it again. For the first time, we don’t feel like we need to keep our house a little too cool or a little too warm to save on utilities. And, we never have a draft or cold or warm spot in the house.

Value – As energy homes become more common, traditionally constructed homes will become energy obsolete and lose favor the same way gas guzzler automobiles have. The traditional homes will suffer in the marketplace, but high energy efficiency homes will appreciate in value and remain extremely marketable.

For more information on high energy efficiency construction give our builder, Blue Moon Bay Builders, a call at 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310. Like our family, you’ll be glad you did.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

New Construction Complete – We Moved

            Getting the house finished was a lesson in patience for all. It seemed we would get close to finishing and then one more detail would come up and we’d be pushing the moving date a little to accommodate for all the small finishes.
            That being said, the final product is stunning. The front of the house with the wide angled steps and large porch are quite inviting for visitors. The hardwood floors throughout the house and the tile in the baths and laundry room look amazing and it all blends together and has exactly the look we were hoping for.
            The paint colors and trim work are crisp and fresh and make the spaces look larger. The cathedral ceiling in the living area and the tray ceiling in the master bedroom are perfect and also add to a feeling of large spaces and they’re pretty.
            The kitchen is more than I dreamed of and the colors and appliances blend exactly as we wanted. The closets are of ample size and the shelving is custom built to meet our needs. The deck and the view of the lake are stunning. I could spend most of my time out there visiting with family and friends, talking to my husband while he grills, or reading a book and relaxing.
            I’ve talked mostly about the design of the house, but I also want to mention how wonderful the infinity variable speed HVAC works and how quiet it is. In fact, inside we don’t hear it at all and outside it is a quiet hum. We’re so glad we made the decision to get the top of the line system on the market today. The house is incredibly comfortable and very quiet. I’m quite sure that can be attributed to the HVAC, great insulation, energy trusses and triple pane windows.
            As I’ve mentioned often, we couldn’t have asked for better builders and their team at Blue Moon Bay and their incredible subcontractors who kept coming back time and again to make sure everything was perfect.

            Thanks to all our readers of the blog. We’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about some of the high energy efficient construction elements in the blog and then we’ll begin a new adventure with new construction on a new project. For any questions on the new construction on our new house please call our great builders at Blue Moon Bay at 501.520.9201or 501.262.9310.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Construction Includes Flooring, Fireplace Tile, Light Fixtures and Shutters

            Within a few weeks we should be moving into our house; in the meantime the last part of our new construction is moving swiftly. The hardwood floors are about half complete and quite attractive, the tile and mantle for the fireplace are finished, the light fixtures are all in place and the shutters on the front are up.
            The last few pieces of the puzzle are about to be wrapped up shortly. We finished deciding on all our hardware and bathroom mirrors, and I think we’re finished picking out all the fixtures. So, now the race is to get everything completed and all the loose ends tied up.
            In making a decision on the flooring, we looked at lots of different choices for laminate and hardwood, working towards the right decision for our house and our proximity to the water. We learned that laminate has come a long way in the last few years and we looked at some that was very attractive; but with the wisdom of our builder, Blue Moon Bay, and his team, we decided the right decision for us was to use engineered hardwood. In the long run, we decided with the moisture and the lake nearby, the hardwood suits us best. The next hurdle was the cost. Our builder and decorator found a beautiful and affordable (I feel like I’ve used those words together quite a bit in most of my blogs – it seems to be a theme in our construction decision-making) hardwood that is quite attractive and should serve us well for many years. It’s going down nicely and looks amazing.
            The tile subcontractors finished the tile around the fireplace. It took a while to pick out the tile because we wanted something that would be unique, striking and durable. We decided on a marble that was quite different from the other tile in the house. We were pleased with the result. The fireplace will certainly be a focal point in our great room.

            It took hours of looking up at light fixtures in the store to finally decide on the ones we thought would look best with the other design components in our house. We have a great chandelier to go over our table but it took a while to make a decision on this light fixture. The result is very pleasing. We chose the same fans for the three bedrooms and living area. The tulip lights on the fans had yellow glass shades and once they were up and turned on at night we didn’t like the yellow light. So, we found clear shades that we purchased and put up and we like the new shades much better. Two glass globes pendants over the island in the kitchen turned out great. The entryway light is unusual with lots of small crystals that hang from the fixture. All in all, the fixtures turned out great and blend with the other design elements.

            The white shutters are up in the front and add a great contrast to the gray siding. The railing is getting painted and the front of the house is starting to look like a home.
            This amazing journey is about to come to an end and we’ll get to start enjoying our new home. We’ve had so many great people who’ve worked on our house. They’ve been great craftsmen and professionals in every way. And, our builder has led the entire construction process with such integrity, patience, good taste and affordability. For more information on the new construction, please call 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Construction Includes Two New Design Elements and Out-of-This-World Air Conditioner

            We’ve made huge progress in our new construction in the last couple of weeks. The house is truly beginning to take shape now that we are in the last stages of construction. Within the last week the tile in the bathrooms and laundry room has been laid and it looks incredible. It took a couple of visits to the tile store to decide on the tile. And when it was first going down the color didn’t look like what we thought we’d picked out, but with a lot of patience from our builder, we listened to him and decided in different lights it looks different. Bottom line, the tile is in place and it is unique and very attractive. We’re so please with the outcome and the mature advice from our builder.
            At the end of last week, the new granite in the kitchen and bathrooms was installed. It is a medium gray color and looks fantastic with the other gray components in the house. A new trend in granite includes choosing between a brushed finish on one side of the stone or the traditional polished finish on the other side. We decided to go with the polished side to avoid the possibility of scratches on the brushed side without a solution for polishing out any scratches.
          The tile and granite are stunning and blend beautifully with the other design elements in the house. In the midst of getting the tile and granite in place, the new 21-seer Infinity heat and air system has been installed and the results are just amazing – actually it is exactly as the contractor said it would be. The unit has a variable speed compressor that lets the system bring the cool when it’s needed but allows it to function mostly in low-stage, where we get the highest efficiency and the best dehumidification because of longer run times. The dehumidification is especially important since our house is only 50 feet away from the lake. An added benefit is the system is also very quiet.
            The tile, granite and HVAC system are all exactly as we envisioned. Our builder, Blue Moon Bay, continues to be a great company to have as our contractor. Their integrity is impeccable, the years of experience are incredibly helpful and, probably mostly, their patience in dealing with us as first-time builders is greatly appreciated. This has been a journey, for sure, a little anxious at times, but mostly a great learning process with a terrific outcome. For more information on our new construction, call 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

New Construction Includes Cabinets and Interior Painting

             Picking out an interior paint color for the new construction of our house was a little daunting. We spent time with our decorator, who is part of our builder’s team at Blue Moon Bay Construction, to choose a color. Part of the process of choosing a color included looking at many shades and variations of several colors. Going into the decision-making we knew we wanted a shade of gray that would be a soothing, peaceful color that would continue to make the interior full of light and enhance our view of the lake.
Sounds easy right – not so much because there were so many choices. We settled on a medium shade at first. The builder painted the color on a large piece of paper and taped it on a wall in the house. When we went by to look at the color it seemed too dark. We then had a couple of new colors to look at and we finally decided on a lighter shade of gray. Thank goodness for the patience of our builder. And, the new color seems perfect.
            Deciding on all the intricacies of kitchen cabinets was as thought-provoking as choosing a paint color. We knew we wanted plenty of storage space in the kitchen, which stretches across one end of the great room. We also have an island that contains cabinets and we decided to add one additional narrow cabinet for even more storage. We also wanted them to be attractive, easy to reach and blend with the rest of the great room.

One process that has been an incredible help throughout the building process was making frequent trips to our builder’s house to look at different design and material elements in their house. We had always admired the cabinetry at our builder’s home and decided to use some of the same ideas they used. All the dreaming finally turned into reality and we have the cabinets we envisioned. They are installed, painted and the doors are mostly in place. And, we are so excited about the way they turned out.
           Even now that we’re down to the nitty gritty details, we are so grateful for our builder, his team of professionals and the subcontractors. Our home construction is on track, we’re so pleased with the quality of construction, everyone has been easy to work with and very accommodating, and we can hardly wait to get it all finished. For more information on our new construction, call 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

New Construction Includes Front Steps

            One of the last exterior areas to conceptualize in the new construction and then build was the front steps that lead into the house. As I’ve mentioned before, one challenge we’ve worked with and to our advantage is having a seven-foot elevation for our house to stay out of the flood zone. This challenge keeps coming up and we’ve solved the dilemma with our builder, Blue Moon Bay, with creative and cost-conscious solutions. So, when it came time recently to decide how to make the front steps functional, attractive and affordable, once again we applied those principles to the entrance of our house.
            The builder wanted to know first of all what we had in mind for steps. It was important to us for the front of our house to be welcoming and distinctive, yet also affordable. We wanted steps that were angled, but not drastically, and easy to step up. The solution was to pour a concrete slab for the steps to sit on and then use the split face brick, which we also used for the foundation, for the steps turned so that the face of the brick is visible and the right height for the steps. Then, concrete will be poured into the brick for stability and strength. The outcome is quite attractive, a little unusual and very functional.
            Inside the house, the subs are working on getting ready to paint, add cabinets soon, and move toward completion within a few weeks. The cabinet maker has put the custom shelving in the closets and it is exactly what we wanted, very well built and sturdy, and will help us keep our things organized. We worked through this process together with our builder to make sure they understood our needs and we understood the constraints and what made good decisions for practicality and solid construction.
            We are so pleased with how everything has worked out so far. We’ve had wonderful people to work with from our builder and his staff to the different subcontractors and their crews. We’ve certainly had a few challenges along the way, but they’ve been solved in a creative and practical manner. If you’d like more information about our new construction, give us a call at 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310. Stay tuned for more on the new construction of the interior finish out.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

New Construction Includes Interior Wall Preparation

As the new construction on our house progresses with the exterior vinyl siding complete, drywall contractors moved in to get the interior walls in place and ready for the next phase of priming, texturing and painting the new walls. The interior studs have been in place for quite a while, insulation was rolled and blown in, and then the next step was to install drywall. We were out at the house one day when all the sheet rock was delivered and placed in each area of the house. We thought putting the drywall up would be completed over several days, but we were pleasantly surprised to get to the house the next day to find all the drywall up.
All of a sudden we could visualize each room with the walls in place. And, the house was beginning to really take shape. We were very happy with the results. Our visions, plans and dreams of a house on the lake are beginning to take on a new look with interior walls.
After the drywall was in place, subcontractors came in to tape and mud the walls. After the initial tape and mudding, a second application was applied. After each tape and mudding application was complete, the subs sanded the drywall to provide a smooth surface so the walls could be textured. This was a messy process where the workers each wore masks for safety to prevent inhaling dust from the drywall.

Once the sanding was complete the process of texturing (also quite messy) began. The walls are being prepared so that painting could begin soon. And, we got to pick out paint colors. This has been such an interesting process with each new step. We’ve learned so much about each phase of construction and all the steps involved to get our house complete. Our builders, Blue Moon Bay, have done a beautiful job of building a great house, with an emphasis on high energy efficiency, attention to detail, and great communications with us during each phase. If you have questions or want more information about the new construction of our house, please call 501.520.9201 or 501.262.9310.

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