Building Your Family Home

Family silhouettes in nature.

Building Your Family Home

There was a time that building your own home was the norm. Indeed, it was a rite of passage that helped usher young people into adulthood and allowed them to create a solid physical and emotional foundation for the family. However, as society has developed over the centuries and populations became more centralized into cities and urban areas, the work of home building shifted to professionals. The situation is not much better today; that not only is it unusual to build your own home, but only around 65% of the U.S. population even owns their house.     

That doesn’t mean to say that building a home for your family isn’t possible. Whether you are set to create your dream home, or just a starter house to get yourself onto the first rung of the property ladder, there are some good reasons to engage in the process. That said, there are also significant challenges along the way.  

Let’s take a look at some of the key pros and cons of building a home rather than buying an existing property. What are the potential stumbling blocks? How can you approach the process to ensure success?

Safety

When you’re considering building your own home, some thought needs to go into the safety aspects of this endeavor. After all, your main concern when finding any home — whether you buy it or build it — is that it provides a secure and reliable roof over your family’s heads for years to come. It’s important not to proceed until you are confident in this area.   

Expertise plays a role. If you are not 100% confident that you have the skills and knowledge to build a safe home, you shouldn’t undertake it on your own. In most cases, you don’t need the safety licenses that professional contractors need, but it’s important to remember that professionals are licenses for a reason. It demonstrates they know what they’re capable of creating safe building projects. An option here is to lead the project as the general contractor and bring on qualified subcontractors for elements you’re unsure of. However, this can certainly get expensive, particularly if you make mistakes along the way that need to be repaired.  

On the plus side, leading your building project means that you have a personal hand in making sure that your family’s safety is forefront throughout the process. If you live in an area prone to problems, you can make certain disaster-proofing is present from the get-go. Unlike buying a house, you can also be sure that potentially hazardous materials haven’t been used in its production. If you buy a home that was built in the 20th century, for instance, you might find that asbestos had been used for its insulation. This mineral, which had been commonly used in construction, is known to lead to mesothelioma and other non-cancerous respiratory illnesses. Building your home from the ground up means you aren’t potentially exposing your family to such hazards, and you don’t have to go to the expense of having them removed.  

Environment

The more we learn about the planet we live on, the clearer it is becoming that some of our activities can be detrimental to the environment. As such, when you’re making your decision as to whether to build or buy a home you have to consider the extent to which this could be harmful. Certainly, construction utilizes a lot of raw materials, can put pressure on local exo-systems, and on an industrial scale counts for around 38% of global emissions

This is where buying an older home can be appealing. There is no additional consumption of resources, and you are unlikely to disrupt habitats when clearing the land. Even if the property isn’t quite up to your family’s preferred standards, undertaking some renovation isn’t generally as negatively impactful as building a home from scratch. 

That said, though a construction project isn’t the most sustainable, there are ways that you can mitigate the issues. There is a growing trend of using reclaimed wood as part of the home construction process. This is material that has been salvaged from older buildings but is still a viable raw product. You can apply it to the structural elements of your home, along with decorative touches such as fireplaces and furniture. Building your own home also allows you to design it for maximum energy efficiency, utilize environmentally friendly insulation and building materials, and even install solar power throughout the building to allow for long-term sustainability. 

Value

It may well be the case that you are intending to build the kind of home that you can spend the rest of your days in. Something you can pass down to the following generations of your family. However, life is rarely that straightforward, and your circumstances and plans might change. As such, it’s helpful to consider whether a home you build yourself can represent a valuable investment should you need to sell it in the future.

The good news is that this generally tends to be an area in which starting from scratch can be preferable. Newly built homes tend to be more attractive to buyers than those which are older and have fewer modern conveniences. This means that you may be more likely to see a profit on your family home than if you spend time trying to sell one that has been around for decades. However, you do need to weigh this potential profit against the possibility that it might cost you more to build than it would to buy.  

Another advantage is from the experience that you’ll gain through the process. You’ll understand precisely what goes into designing, preparing, and constructing each element of your property from the ground up. As such, if you decide to sell you can be in a good position to undertake any renovations that could make your property more valuable to buyers later on. It also means that you can cut down on the time and cost of getting someone else to do the renovations, allowing you to capture the window of opportunity for the best possible sale. 

Conclusion

Building your own family home can be a rewarding experience. But it’s important to take time to consider whether your circumstances might mean it’s better to buy an existing property. With investment, commitment, and some research you can create a property that not only suits your family but acts as a valuable investment.

Historic Preservation: What Are the Most Necessary Renovations & Updates?

Historic preservation is a rewarding experience that requires a love of history and an understanding of design. Before you begin the journey, it’s essential to assess what to renovate or update and what to leave alone. That largely depends on the state of the property, but there are universal rules to follow and factors to consider when you tackle a period house.

The Exterior Part of the Equation

The exterior of the house or building is one of the most important aspects of the property. Many of the exterior details likely caught your attention and drew you to the property in the first place. The last thing you want to do is update the house so much that you eliminate historic nostalgia or the details that drew your eye in the first place.

Before beginning to renovate or update the building, it’s wise to check out the rest of the neighborhood, as well. Typically, all of the buildings and homes in a historic neighborhood will have a similar aesthetic. Stucco siding or an unsightly deck could take away from the cohesiveness of the entire neighborhood. Inasmuch as you can, try to preserve the facade of the house as it applies to roofing, siding, and wood or wrought ironwork.

That being said, you can work with historic architects and designers to update features in a way that retains the structure’s authenticity. Updating a property doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you have to change the way it looks. You can simply upgrade certain items with modern equivalents made to look like the originals. You can also seek out authentic features from the original time period.

 

Let There Be LightThe lighting in older houses often leaves something to be desired. Owners of historic properties are then at a loss. Do you preserve the original appearance of the interior, or do you illuminate the space with modern lighting that may be too bright?

Fortunately, those aren’t the only choices any longer. Many new, modern lights resemble vintage lighting options. You can always preserve the look of the lighting by opting for antique fixtures. Failing that, you can also invest in new fixtures that are deliberately designed to have a vintage patina.

The same is true for light bulbs. You don’t necessarily want to outfit your home with old-fashioned filament bulbs, which blow out frequently and are costly to upkeep. However, it’s possible to maintain an old look while using eco-friendly light bulbs. If you enjoy the charming appearance of an authentic Edison bulb, for example, you can light up your home with LED equivalents that come in a variety of color temperatures and brightness. That goes for period-inspired outdoor lighting, as well.

Pairing Safety and Historic Accuracy

 Replacing door knobs and locks causes debate among preservationists and people who are interested in renovating historic properties. The hardware on exterior doors is often gorgeous, not to mention indicative of the period. Regrettably, it can be faulty, as well. You’re left to decide if you want to risk a malfunctioning door lock or install new, glaringly modern knobs—right?

That’s the thought, but you needn’t go to extremes. Even if it means adding an additional lock and saving the original knob, you can carefully select a style and finish that evokes the time period and matches both the existing hardware and the overall appearance of the door.

Check the Pipes

 Water damage is a disaster in historic spaces. No matter what, make sure you check the pipes. Peer up at the ceilings and tap on the walls to assess possible water damage, as well. There’s no need to stick to authentic antique pipes. Upgrade for the sake and safety of the house.

Bathroom and Kitchen Updates

Most historic homeowners and preservationists agree that the bathroom(s) and kitchen are the rooms often in need of updating, but this can be a matter of preference. Plenty of folks appreciate kitchens and bathrooms with original features and fixtures, such as farmer’s sinks or 1920s tile. In that case, you can still update your space. Search for preserved and refurbished appliances and decor to install in your home.

Otherwise, feel free to upgrade where you see fit. You may crave a glass-enclosed shower over an old clawfoot tub. The kitchen may be crying out for a dishwasher. As long as you strive to maintain the integrity of the architecture and introduce period-appropriate decor and knickknacks inside, you can embrace modern conveniences in the rooms that need them most.

What do you choose to retain and renovate when you take on a historic property? Let us know the features you try to keep and what you prefer to replace.

Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, and finance.

Tips From Pros: Choosing The Right Awning For Your Home

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Providing shade for your backyard or front porch is one of the most important things during summer heats and there are several ways to do so. Planting a tree is the most cost-effective, some would even say the most elegant solution, however, it could take 15 to 20 years for a tree to fully matures and even then, it will cause a no small amount of additional maintenance on your property. As an alternative, some people decide to go with expensive wooden constructions or simple, cheap and inefficient method of using parasols. As a compromise, more and more people are turning towards the idea of awnings. Still, making a choice of the right awning for your home is not an easy one to make.

The location of the awning:

The first thing you need to consider when getting an awning is the location that it is about to take. Two most notable spots for an awning are just above the window or over your patio. The benefits of the awning in the first location are the fact that it protects the room from the direct sunlight, therefore resulting in a significant heat reduction.

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During the summer, this helps reduce the amount of energy spent by your AC unit in order to cool down the room. On the other hand, during the winter, you might want to get as much daylight as possible, which is why the above-window awning should, almost always, be a retractable one.

As for the awning above the patio, in a situation where you have a wooden outdoor furniture, having this protection from direct sun ray exposure may protect it in the long run. In the above-discussed winter scenario, however, it is always advised to move your outdoor furniture somewhere else.

The choice of the material:

The next major choice you will have in front of you is the one of material. Apart from determining the appearance of your awning, this choice also determines the maintenance and durability of the awning in question. When it comes to the appearance, this is not a choice that can be made standalone. You need to take into consideration the layout of your home, the façade on its exterior as well as the patio it hangs above.

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As far as the popular choices go, cotton, canvas, mesh and acrylic are the most popular choices. One last thing that the choice of the material determines is the price of the awning, while those determined can always get an appropriate solution from their local budget awnings Sydney retailers.

The shape and style:

While awnings are getting more and more popular solution for providing shade and covers in households, traditionally, they are most commonly used in front of stores or boutiques. This diversification of use for private households and businesses of various kinds has led to the situation where there are so many different shapes and styles of awnings. Rounded entrance canopy or gabled entrance canopy are most commonly used in hotels, traditional valances and quarter rounds is commonly used in front of stores. As for households, lateral arm or concave are styles that are used in most situations.

To retract or not to retract:

In the first section of this piece, we already went to length to address the advantages of retractable awnings, however, a lot of people prefer to go with fixed designs. Most common reasons for this are the fact that they are easier to install and much less likely to malfunction.

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No matter how quality the installation process was, a retractable awning still functions with a help of a specific mechanism. Now, this mechanism consists of numerous moving parts, each of which might malfunction at one point. In this situation, you probably won’t be able to immediately fix a problem but would have to look for a professional aid. In other words, while retractable awning is clearly superior in many aspects, the ease of maintenance is clearly not one of them.

Situational variables:

Finally, in some situations, it may not be so easy to make the right choice seeing as how there may be a number of situational variables one needs to take into consideration. For instance, you may, or may not, need some side panels or an awning that stands at a certain unorthodox angle. Furthermore, there may be a series of obstacles like tree branches you might need to either prune or work around. In any case, each of these variations will make the price of the installation a tad more expensive.

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At the end of the day, making the choice of the right awning for your home can be incredibly difficult, yet, there is one thing you must always take into consideration – it isn’t something you’re supposed to again for quite a long time. You see, this is one of those choices that will stick with you for years and decades afterward, which is why you need to be extra cautious while making it.

 

Lemax – Sugar ‘N Spice – Buildings

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What Sets One Construction Company Apart From One Another By Guest Writer Ivy Delfin

SherInt2The answer to this is the same thing as what sets all companies apart in various industries: quality. Quality is the thing that you should be driving for in construction. Contrary to what a lot of unimaginative builders and developers believe, constriction is not a matter of shallow or narrow parameters, a matter of ticking boxes the way that they’ve always been ticked until your building goes up, it’s a constant exercise in imagination and innovation, it’s an exercise of limitless possibility and potential. Although building and construction is governed and controlled very closely by government regulations and laws, and every building must adhere to the codes that apply to the area that it’s built in, that doesn’t mean that you can’t always be looking for newer, different, better ways of doing things. All it means is that good solid old-fashioned quality control has to be at the very front of your mind at all times in your thinking. A competent architect, engineer or construction planner will be committed to getting every detail exactly right in every aspect of the construction.

Construction work is so very variable. From restoration to new buildings to renovation toSher2 repair and beyond, all the best practices that we use today have been thought up and honed by constant experiment and testing, to make each process more refined and more perfect and efficient. The very best kind of construction is solid, is long lasting, is beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, is sustainable and leaves no traces or damages to the environment, tells the story of the era in which it was built, is liveable and practical and creates ideal conditions for habitation (insulation, ventilation, relative size, location, and design), and also functions perfectly to the human conditions for which it was built.

The thing about construction is that encompasses every element of the building that it is relevant to, so, the consequences are grave and far reaching, and will seep into every aspect of the habitation of the house or building. The construction of the house will have material effects on the experience of living in the house, so choosing a construction company should be an exercise in searching for quality an value, rather than a quick fix.