The Five Popular New Home Design Trends for 2023

If you are planning a new home construction project starting this year or in the upcoming year, there is a lot to consider before beginning.  The choices you make for a new home, or improvements to your existing home should be dictated by your tastes, goals for the use and longevity of your home, and in some cases, the current design trends in the market.

This month’s blog highlights five popular design trends for new home construction or existing home renovations that will dominate the upcoming year.

Five Popular Design Trends of 2023

There’s little doubt that the events of the global pandemic since 2020 have had significant influence on many things in our daily lives.  These events have even influenced trends in new home construction based on changes to how we work, how our children learn, and even how we relax and entertain.

Trend #1:  Health and Wellness

This is a continuing trend from 2022.  As a result of the pandemic and the lockdowns in 2020, homeowners have turned their focus on “self-care” and finding ways to create balance in their lives from work and school.  Spaces that can accommodate home gyms, yoga, and meditation rooms, or even spa-like master bathrooms.  These spa bathrooms may include features like heated floors, steam or dry saunas, and spa-quality shower or tub experiences.

Trend #2:  Home Offices

With many homeowners working in a fully remote, or hybrid work arrangement, they want to have home offices that are up to par with being in their employer’s physical workspace.  Homeowners are abandoning the kitchen table with the laundry room as a backdrop on Zoom meetings for spaces that have built ins that communicate professionalism and productivity.  These built-ins accommodate optional computer desks, bookshelves, and high-tech solutions to deliver high-speed internet and telecom tools.

Trend #3:  Multipurpose Spaces

Homeowners no longer want specific rooms that have only one purpose.  Multipurpose rooms enable them to change configurations between being a gaming room to a large space for entertainment.  Many homeowners are using multipurpose space to allow for in-home gyms, where equipment is easily stored, and room conversions can take place.

Trend #4:  Upgraded Laundry and Mud Rooms

Organization has become a necessity for many homeowners and that organization is happening in the laundry and mud rooms.  Today’s mud rooms have more ways to store jackets, shoes, and the day-to-day happenings in a busy household.  Laundry rooms have seen more organization as well, with increased counter space for folding, more cabinets for storage, large laundry sinks, and even dog bathing sinks for the furry family members.

Trends #5:  Interior and Exterior Integration

As part of the focus on self-care, and greater opportunity for relaxation, many homeowners are blending the space between their interiors and the exterior of their homes.  Large walls with sliders that open to the outside porch or lanai are a great way to expand indoor/outdoor entertainment space.  Additionally, homeowners are installing outdoor kitchens that may include stovetops, refrigerators, and flat screen TVs.

As you begin your home construction process, make sure to consult with your Prominent Builders and Design home construction consultant about trends and the best ways to enhance your living experience.   With more homeowners spending a higher percentage of time in their living space, it makes sense to build the right experience that fits all your needs, preferences, and style. Contact us today.

The Final Step and Recap of the New Home Construction Process

This month’s blog post is the final in a series of monthly posts about the new home construction process.  Over the last five months, we have shared each of the critical stages of the construction process and what to expect.

Our series is below and follows the construction process from beginning to end:

This final installment focuses on the importance of the homeowner pre-closing inspection.  During this stage, a final walk through is conducted to identify any small or large issues that need to be addressed before the loan closing.  Issues can range from something that is inoperable, to damage that may have been caused and overlooked by contractors.  We share best practices for conducting the pre-closing inspection to ensure that you are fully satisfied with the work and your future new home.

What to Bring

  • If you plan to conduct the walk-through without the builder, make sure to have a trusted friend or someone there like your real estate agent with you who can help. Everyone sees things differently, so it will be helpful to have another set of eyes as you look around the home.
  • You should also plan to have a camera, or your mobile device, for taking pictures. It is important to keep a documented record of what you find, so you can follow-up on issues to ensure they are addressed by the builder.
  • Pad of paper and pen.
  • Phone charger or inexpensive electrical outlet tester (you can find these at any hardware store for under $20).
  • Every builder may handle this process differently, but in general you will be given a roll of blue tape and be asked to put it on items that require attention. Have enough tape for you and any other helpers.
  • Flashlight and screwdriver kit.
  • Try to schedule your walkthrough in the early afternoon, so you can have maximum natural light on the interior and exterior of the home

Walkthrough Checklist

The list below is not comprehensive for all the custom features that you may have added to your home but does encompass many items to inspect during your final walkthrough.

Electrical

  • Test all installed lighting, dimmer switches, and ceiling fans (if applicable)
  • Using the phone charger or tester, check that all wall outlets are working
  • Test GFCI outlets and reset
  • Check the circuit breaker box for proper labeling of all household circuits and look for any tripped breakers
  • Test HVAC system – air and heating; make sure cool air or heat is coming out of all vents within the home
  • Test doorbell and exterior lights
  • Test garage door opener (if applicable)
  • Test ceiling vents in bathrooms

Plumbing:

  • Run all faucets and shower/tub faucets, test hot and cold
  • Check for any leaks underneath the sinks
  • Flush all toilets and wait for the tank to refill, check for any leaks behind toilet or in wall connection
  • Test drains in all sinks and sealing around faucet
  • Run the garbage disposal (if applicable)

Appliances:

  • Check appliances, including oven(s), stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, and washer/dryer (if applicable)
  • Turn on oven at different temperatures, check lights
  • Test stove vents and light

Windows/Doors:

  • Open all windows to ensure smooth operation, check for screens (if applicable); check window locks
  • Test all doors and door locks; make sure all doors are properly hinged and close

Walls and Ceilings:

  • Check for any nail pops on the walls and ceilings
  • Check for full coverage of paint on walls
  • Inspect millwork (baseboard) for paint and sealing
  • Look for general damage on walls, ceilings, and baseboards

Flooring:

  • Inspect flooring for damage to tile, hardwood, or laminate
  • Inspect grout on tile
  • Ensure that carpeting is secured in all corners and ends and there are no raised areas or bumps

Vanities, Cabinets, and Countertops:

  • Depending on when your vanities or cabinets were installed, they may be subjected to damage from other contractors
  • Look for scratches, dents or other damage on all vanities and cabinets.
  • Test door hinges and alignment.
  • Test any soft-close drawers (if applicable)
  • Check countertops for chips or nicks. Run your finger along all the countertop edges
  • Check for sealing along seams of countertops and wall/backsplash

Exterior of Home:

  • Walk perimeter of home, checking landscaping
  • Test exterior hose or water sources
  • Check exterior walls for damage or any painting issues

As stated above, this list is not comprehensive.  If you feel the need for a more thorough inspection, speak with your builder about your interest in hiring an independent inspection service.   Independent inspectors can check areas of the home that you may not have access to or not familiar with what to look for during the inspection.  For example, they may access your roof and attic to check for waterproofing, insulation, and ductwork.

In the end, make sure to conduct a thorough inspection so that you are satisfied and share everything with your builder.  Ask about completion dates and priority of what will be done prior to closing, and items that you are willing to wait for post-closing.

If you have any concerns about your final walkthrough, make sure to discuss them with your Prominent Builders and Design consultant. If you are interested in starting a new home construction project, please give us a call.

The New Home Construction Process – Detailed Interior and Exterior Work

This month’s blog is the fifth installment of our series on new home construction from beginning to end.  In last month’s blog, we covered the steps leading up to drywall, along with the drywall process.

If you have gotten this far with your home’s construction, congratulations!  Your home is well on its way to completion – now the detailed interior and exterior work begins.  In this month’s blog post, we discuss the broader aspects of the interior and exterior work that will be the focus once the drywall is final and the home is secured from the outside elements.

Home Exterior

Some of your exterior work may have been completed prior to drywall, but the outside will continue to evolve as the interior work is underway.  Important exterior work that you will see includes:

  • Siding or other finishes, including weatherproofing material
  • Painting on the exterior walls, trim work, and other exterior components of the home
  • Sidewalk, driveway, and/or patio installation
  • Gutters and drainage work
  • Adding decorative features like shutters, columns, etc.
  • Landscaping and exterior lighting

Home Interior

Walls, Ceilings and Doors

As the detailed work begins inside the home, there may be a logical order for some of the work.  For example, you should see textured finishes added to walls and ceilings and possibly the millwork (such as door frames) before painting is started.  At the same time, your interior doors for closets and rooms may be hung on the frames and painted prior to being placed.

Bathrooms

Bathroom work usually begins with finishing out any tub or shower space.  This means adding shower pans, framing out shower niches, applying waterproofing compounds, and tiling the shower enclosure. Tubs are usually placed as well.

Next, your tile will be laid on the floor in the bathroom.  Sometimes, your vanities and sinks may be installed if they are available, and the tile work comes after.  The order of this work depends on the availability of construction trades, and materials.  Any electrical work such as lighting and vents will be completed as well as adding bathroom fixtures to sinks and tub/shower.

Flooring

Depending on the type of flooring, some of this work may begin after the texturizing and painting.  Typically, carpeting is not installed until closer to the completion of the interior.  But other flooring may be scheduled to begin as other areas are being worked on throughout the home.  Additional millwork may continue as well, such as baseboards once the flooring is installed.

Kitchen

Interior work in your kitchen is complex because it involves a wide variety of trades including plumbing, electrical, flooring, cabinetry, countertops, and finally appliances.  This work will take place as the trades are available, so it’s a good idea to stay in close contact with your Prominent construction consultant.  He or she will make sure that the right contractors are on site and that attention is given to protect any items that are already installed before heavy work is complete.  For example, sometimes your cabinets may be installed before the flooring is complete.  Every effort will be made to protect your cabinets from damage that may come from other trades.

Electrical and/or Gas

During this process, your electrical is being completed which may include switch plates and outlet covers.  You will also see any recessed or installed lighting added to the areas that were “roughed in” prior to drywall.  This could include ceiling fans and other custom electrical features in the home.

If you have gas in your home to power the HVAC, cooking or laundry appliances, this work will be completed during this time as well.  Most likely this is when you will also see your HVAC units installed in the home when the electrical work is complete.

Patience is a Virtue

There are many other large and small tasks that will be completed during this phase of the construction.  The most important thing for you as the future homeowner is to be patient.  You may see some areas worked on more than others, but keep in mind that all the work will culminate in a finished home.  Try to keep your stress level down by staying in frequent communication with your construction consultant and asking questions about the process.

In next month’s blog, we conclude this series on new home construction by reviewing the final stage before closing – the final walkthrough.  We will share tips and ideas on what to look for at this stage of the process prior to closing so that you can close with confidence on your new home. If you are ready to get started on a new home construction or you would like to renovate your home, give the professionals at Prominent Builders and Design a call today.

Continuing our Series on the Home Construction Process

In April, we began a series of blogs on the new home construction process from beginning to end.  Our series has covered the topics of Floor Plan Choices When Building a Custom Home, New Home Foundations – The Important Things to Know, and The Framing Stage of New Home Construction.  In this month’s blog, we focus on the main tasks leading up to the drywall stage and the drywall process.

Prior to Drywall

Before the drywall goes in, there are several important steps to complete to ready the home.  These include the following:

Closing in the Home from the Outside Environment

Once your new home is framed and the roof is intact, the home should be closed off from the elements with any exterior doors and windows. It is important to close off the home to begin drying it out from moisture and creating a stable temperature environment before any drywall, ductwork, plumbing, or electrical work is completed.

Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC

Now that your home is closed in from the outside environment, critical work begins on laying your electrical wiring, adding your plumbing, and installing the HVAC ductwork.  These three items may happen simultaneously, or you may see one before the other based on the availability of the construction trades.

  • You will begin to see the wiring being added into the walls and rough ins for the wall outlets.
  • Pipes are placed into the walls throughout the home to prepare for the plumbing.
  • Duct work and rough ins for registers will also be added into the ceilings and the attic to prepare for your heating and cooling system.

Depending on the building codes, each of these items will be required to pass specific inspections.  Your home construction consultant will work directly with the inspectors to ensure that these items adhere to all the building codes and are ready to move on in the process.  Drywall cannot happen until all inspections are cleared.

Important Tip:  A helpful tip that may help you later is to carefully photograph all the electrical and plumbing prior to drywall.  Go around the home and take pictures of the wiring in the walls and the pipes.  Keep notes associated with your photos so that in the event you want to do something later once the home is complete, you have a record of where specific wiring or pipes are in the walls.

The Drywall Process

Once the necessary inspections are completed, it is time to begin the drywalling.

To help you to know what to expect, we explain the key steps in this process:

  1. Drywall materials are usually stored in a dry environment and given time to adjust to the room temperature.
  2. You may hear the drywall referred to as “plasterboard”, “Sheetrock”, or gypsum. Drywall is typically a ½ inch thick layer of plaster, which is sandwiched between heavy paper.
  3. Drywall is nailed to the framing on the walls and ceilings. The installer will use a nail gun to secure the drywall material to the framing throughout the home.
  4. Once the installation is completed, the drywaller will apply tape over the seams, any cracks in the materials, and cover the nail holes with a type of spackling compound.
  5. Drywalling is a quick process, especially if there are several installers working at once.
  6. Drywalling is a dusty process, so it is important that the construction site is cleaned of plaster dust before working on the next stages of the home.

Once this process is complete, you have reached a major milestone in the home construction process.  Your home now takes on shape and form and hopefully you will begin to have greater vision of what it will look like when it is completed.

In next month’s blog post, we will continue our series with a look at the tasks that now begin to add the various finishes to the home, including cabinetry, flooring, and paint.

If you would like to learn more about custom new home construction, reach out to a consultant at Prominent Builders and Design today to schedule an appointment.

The Framing Stage of New Home Construction

Over the last few months, we have posted a blog series about home construction from the ground up.  We started in April, with a look at popular floor plan designs.  This is an important step in the process that will determine many of the remaining stages of your new home construction.  In May, we looked at the common types of foundations.  Once the foundation is poured, cured, and/or built, it’s time to start putting some shape to your home with framing.

In the continuation of our series on custom home building, we focus on the framing stage this month. We will examine the important considerations for the framing process leading up to the pre-drywall stage.

What is Framing?

Think of your home’s framing as the bones of the home.  Together with the foundation, the framing plays an important role in the structural integrity of the building.  Because a solid structure is so important to a lasting and safe home, framing is governed by various building codes.  These codes ensure that your framing is built with strict engineering principles to protect your home and its occupants.  If Prominent Builders and Design is working on your new home construction project, you can be assured we are going to meet the strict code guidelines.

Types of Framing

Most residential home construction uses platform framing in the process.  Platform framing involves the use of independent walls on the interior and exterior.   The term “platform” implies that the structure sits on the foundation and then multiple levels, or platforms, are layered on top of the structure.

Platform framing uses treated wood to build the external and internal walls.  Some home framing may be constructed with metal, but it is not common.  Wood framing is easier to work with and costs much less than metal.

Platform framing is different from balloon framing.  Balloon framing uses long 2×4 wood that runs from the foundation to the roof.  This type of framing was used on earlier homes and connects the framing together.  However, it also poses a fire risk because balloon framing is more likely to cause major damage in the event of a fire and spread throughout the entire home.

In some states, such as Florida, framing may include the use of manufactured concrete blocks (cinderblock), to create the first level of a home.  This process is used to protect the structure of the home from high hurricane winds.  In addition to the concrete blocks, rebar (steel rods) is used to reinforce the concrete bases of the home.

Framing Components

As you are involved in your home’s construction, you may hear us mention many terms that apply to framing that are helpful to know.  These are common terms for aspects of the framing structure that may apply to the floors, the walls, the ceiling, or the roof.  These terms include:

  • Joists: Joists are horizontal framing components that run the length of the floors, or the ceiling.  Floor joists are the base for the wall panels and are used to support the floor and the structure.  Ceiling joists help to secure the load of the roof to the studs in the joists.
  • Truss: The floor truss is a way to support the floor of the home through a series of web-like structures that help to maintain stability of the floor.  On the other hand, the roof trusses are pre-manufactured wood structures that help to support the weight of the roof and distribute the weight over a larger area.
  • Sheathing: Sheathing is what covers the floor structure and is referred to as the sub-floor.  Sheathing is also used on exterior walls as panels made of plywood, gypsum, or other materials.  The sheathing strengthens the walls and is what builders will apply siding or other exterior components to the sheathing on the outside.
  • Top and Bottom Wall Plates: The plates are the structures that run along the top of the wall frame that support the roof and ceiling or run along the foundation to secure the framing to the foundation.
  • Rafters and Decking: A rafter is a roof structure that supports the sheathing and runs along the roof ridge to the end wall plate.  Decking is what lays on top of the trusses and rafters and provides the framework for the layers of the roof, such as the weatherproofing materials.

There are many other terms that apply to the various aspects of the framing in your home.  If you are interested, talk with your new home construction consultant.  It is always good to ask about how the home is framed so you can better understand the quality of craftsmanship that goes into new home construction.

In next month’s blog post, we will continue this series with a look at the tasks involved at the “roughing in” stage for the electrical, HVAC, and plumbing in your home’s frame.  If you would like to learn more about custom new home construction, reach out to a consultant at Prominent Builders and Design today to schedule an appointment.

New Home Foundations – The Important Things to Know

In last month’s blog post, we reviewed the popular custom home floor plans that are available in new home construction.  Picking your floor plan has a lot to do with your individual preferences, along with the utility of your living space.  We continue this series on custom building with a look at the foundation of your home.  While you may not necessarily choose the foundation for your home, it is useful to know more about the types of foundations that are typically used in home building.

The Importance of a Home Foundation

Your home’s foundation is a critical aspect of your home’s lifespan and safety.  In simplest terms, the foundation is the anchor to the rest of the house.  The foundation must be able to support the weight of the home and protect it from the elements of earth (in the form of seismic activity), wind, and water (e.g., underground water or moisture).  If your foundation is not solid, it cannot handle the stress of shifting ground and water over time and could result in structural damage to most of your home.

Factors for the Right Foundation

Factors that may go into selecting the right foundation for your home may include how you plan to use the space in your home.  For example, if you want to use space below ground level, then choosing a more secured foundation that provides adequate protection from the elements is important.  This ensures that any living space “below ground” is free from the damaging effects of moisture.

If you live in a warmer climate, the right foundation may be determined by the hazards of that climate – for example, Florida homes stay away from wood foundations because termites pose a risk to the homes.  Homes in Florida are also victim of hurricanes and strong storms, and so they require solid foundations to withstand hurricane force winds.

The type of soil, moisture content, and even the topography of the lot also plays a role in selecting the type of foundation for your home.  For example, a good builder may sample the soil and conduct a “perc test”, which measures if the soil will percolate water through it.

Common Types of Home Foundations

While there is a wide range of foundations for homes, we consider the five more common ones you will find in today’s homes.

  1. Concrete Slab Foundations: Probably the most common type of foundation, the concrete slab foundation lays on top of the ground.  Before the slab is poured, plumbing is laid out in the ground for access to the main plumbing system.  Slab foundations are usually about four to eight inches and do best in warmer climates where the ground may not freeze and thaw.
  2. Cinder Block Foundations: Cinder block foundations use fabricated concrete blocks, that are easily placed and stacked to form a home’s foundation.  Block foundations can hold more weight of the home due to their solid construction but can be susceptible to problems if not properly installed.
  3. Stone Foundations: You will normally find stone foundations in older homes.  Stone foundations use large stones that are cemented together.  If these foundations are not full waterproofed, they can deteriorate over time and cause damage to the home through cracking or moisture intrusion.
  4. Crawl-Space Foundations: Crawl space foundations have a space between the ground and the home (about four feet).  This space is not heated, but typically is vented so that there is free-flowing air to avoid any moisture build-up below the home.  Some homeowners may even use the crawlspace for storage or for home components like a furnace or water heater.
  5. Wood Foundations: A wood foundation may use a combination of wood and concrete the form the home’s foundation.  Wood foundations use treated wood for mold, fungus, and a variety of pests.  This type of foundation is more expensive to build but provides home protection from the cold over concrete versions.

If you are working with Prominent Builders and Design on your custom home, speak with your consultant about the type of foundation that will be used for your home.  Talk to them about the advantages and disadvantages of your home’s foundation, and the possible issues to consider over time.

Floor Plan Choices When Building A Custom Home

Building a custom home can be an extremely rewarding process!  Today’s homeowners who choose to work with a custom home builder get a chance to turn their dreams into reality.  But building a custom home comes with many choices and decisions.  One of those decisions that you need to make early in the process is picking the layout, or floor plan, of your new home.  But with so many options, what type of floor plan should you choose?

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What is a Smart Home?

Most Americans have some type of smart phone which enables them to stay connected to everything that is important to them like the weather, news, and a myriad of apps.  Oftentimes, people wonder how they were able to function prior to smart technology as it has become a necessity for day-to-day living.  Homeowners are discovering ways to integrate smart technology into their homes as well.  In this months’ blog, we examine ways you can add more smart technology to your existing home.

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Replacing Your Home’s Flooring … What are the Options?

Your home’s flooring is one of the bigger investments you can make to not only improve your living experience, but also increase the resale value of your home.  It’s a big decision to upgrade your flooring and one that requires a good understanding of what is involved in flooring replacement.

In this month’s blog, we examine different flooring upgrades, important considerations for this larger undertaking, and ways that each of the flooring changes are prepped prior to installation.
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Home Renovations Can Come With Complications

When most people think about home renovations, they are reminded of the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit.” In this classic movie, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play a couple who take on monumental renovations of their home. Their experience is nothing but disastrous consequences throughout the project. In the end, the renovations result in a beautiful home but at the cost of the relationship and their sanity.

Real life may not always mimic the movies, but home renovations can come with complications. There are times that during a renovation, your contractor may discover other unknown issues (big or small) that require attention. In this month’s blog, we highlight the typical problems you may encounter during a renovation project and ways to be more prepared for these setbacks.
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