Lauderdale Lakes Family Retreat
There is something about a lake where warm summer days, cool night breezes, laughter and games make for treasured family times. This is a retreat with plenty of room for multiple generations of family members and friends to enjoy the good times. The original carriage house and boathouse on the property were kept and renovated to complement the style of the new home on the lake. A new detached garage was built. The home is timeless, comfortable, and unfussy. Able to stand up to the demands of kids, dogs, and many happy weekend guests.
Green Lake Retreat
This was a very special project, building this lovely traditional lake home get-away on a beautiful and spacious lakefront lot. At over 8,000 square feet – it was designed for ample space for overnight guests with 2 guest suites and a bunk room each for boys and girls. There are many delightful places to congregate in the home making it a welcome retreat for the owners and the lucky guests.
Lodge on Middle Lake
The exterior of this lakefront home uses wood, stone and beams creating a rustic lodge look. Inside, the design and décor feature unifying craftsman and natural material elements, creating a cozy and casual ambiance. A wonderful escape from busy city life! The Interior Design firm – Katherine Elizabeth Designs helped create the unifying exterior and interior design shown.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, a pantry was the kitchen feature most desired by new home buyers. Kitchen pantry possibilities range from a closet, a nook to a dedicated room. A couple of interesting trends in pantry design:
- Wanting more daylight in the kitchen prompts a shift in storage design. Delivering more daylight means less available wall space and that has translated to an increased interest in walk-in room pantry space.
- A really large pantry can serve as a secondary kitchen; also known as a “messy kitchen” , or a back kitchen – complete with cooktop, dishwasher, sink, prep space, floor to ceiling storage for canned goods, serving platters, oversize pots and pans, and space for caterers to set up. With open kitchens adjacent to living areas, a back kitchen provides a place to keep kitchen chaos out of sight when company comes.
Convenience, accessibility, and “at a glance” visibility are the key attributes of a great pantry. A walk-in pantry doesn’t need to be fancy since it’s behind closed doors. However, even if it’s only simple shelving, it’s a good idea to include a countertop for a landing zone. It’ll make it easier to stock items, provide extra place for food prep, and space for a blender, a stand mixer and a coffee maker. You can add as needed wall cabinets with pull-outs and built-ins. Other features can include pullout baskets for root vegetables, narrow cubbies for large platters, and nooks for cookware. The pantry should be large enough to hold a week’s worth of groceries and close enough to the food prep area. Organization and the right location are more important than size alone though.
Other pantry design ideas to keep in mind are:
- Which way will the door open? A door that opens inward can work, but it may make an already small space smaller. When space is at a premium, the best options are a pocket, folding or a sliding “barn door.”
- Ideal lighting illuminates every shelf evenly, so be sure to install quality LED lighting. A skylight is a great idea if the home design allows. And make sure the light switch is in a spot by the pantry door.
Whether your pantry is built-in cabinetry, a butler’s, a walk-in, or a combination – storage is never in short supply, and your kitchen layout is optimized for maximum efficiency.
Building a new home – more than any other endeavor tends to pit dreams against the hard reality of cost. And it’s pretty common for the homeowners’ vision to be out of sync with the budget and actual costs to build. That can be disappointing, but there can be creative solutions that reduce building costs while still delivering that vision.
The solution to the budget conundrum involves more than shrinking the size of the home and giving up favorite features and amenities. The method for finding the happy medium is called ‘value engineering.’ It’s a way of doing everything that optimizes the return on every dollar, and it’s not just a random cost-cutting exercise. Instead it’s a systematic and thoughtful approach to satisfying the homeowners’ most important needs while still honoring the budget.
We put on the “value-engineering glasses” when initial pricing is completed and it looks like the home design and materials will need to be modified to keep it in budget. An experienced builder knows of alternatives that lower costs while maintaining quality. The goal is to support the homeowners in making informed choices.
It’s not unusual to be able to shave tens of thousands of dollars off the budget for a custom home by making a lot of small adjustments that only minimally impact the home’s look and feel—if you know how to do it right.
How does a builder know where to make those adjustments?
By asking the right questions in the right way, identifying patterns in the answers, and reading between the lines. A builder who is good at this can often uncover priorities that the homeowners weren’t able to articulate. Solutions can then be tailored to those priorities.
For instance, if the conversation reveals that the homeowners aren’t likely to use the front porch very often, they may be receptive to making it smaller. If a priority is a large kitchen with high end appliances, having a simply designed family room can completely acceptable. Where substitutions must be made, the trick is in knowing which lower-cost materials and design features will deliver the needed performance, aesthetic, or warranty features, while not increasing maintenance costs or reducing the home’s longevity.
Value engineering can also include reducing exterior wall space by simplifying the facade. Exterior walls cost a lot more to build than interior walls, so a facade with fewer corners, nooks, and crannies will require less materials and labor. Changes could be as simple as moving windows or doors a few inches to eliminate framing members, or as complex as adjusting the home’s footprint to minimize waste in roofing and siding without sacrificing interior space.
It even means working with subcontractors to redesign pipe, wire and duct runs. In fact, good value engineering is a team effort, and a good team of subcontractors will be accustomed to helping make it work.
Budget is a very important factor in home building. During the design and the building process, fully understanding what the essentials are for the new home, and considering what are the “nice to include if budget allows”, helps you make informed decisions to create a home you’ll enjoy for a lifetime.