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project HOME CONSTRUCTION &

planner

A special collaboration of


Contents

project HOME CONSTRUCTION &

planner editorial Jodi Keen

advertising Angela Mayes Chad Thompson Holly Hayden Keeley Ham Lynn Saffran Shelby Mays

design

PHOTO COURTESY OF: STEVE BAKER BUILDING

Maegan Saalwaechter

contact us Messenger-Inquirer 1401 Frederica St. Owensboro, KY 42301 270-926-0123 (option 6) advertising@messenger-inquirer.com www.messenger-inquirer.com

4 Flooring

Set the right tone in your home

10 Survival Guide

Be in-the-know by working with the HBAO

14 Bath Design

What’s trending? ! We asked the experts

Home Builders Association of Owensboro

5 Energy

Get power and peace of mind with natural gas

6 Paint

Craft a color palette with Benjamin Moore

12 HVAC

Use these tips for home heating and cooling

13 Lawn Care

16 Replacing Windows

Follow this checklist for replacement windows

18 Home Construction

Get your lawn in pristine condition by halting pests

Steve Baker Building provides tips and trends

270-688-0353 hbao.com

on the cover Steve Baker Building

Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

1


Make your home interior stylish and smart Trends

Traditional seating is getting a facelift via benches at the dinner table, ottomans in the living room, and oversize accent chairs in the bedroom. Cute throw pillows, lifelike imitation house plants and accents like lanterns, sterling silver candleholders, and metallic lamp stands add fun, simple touches to any room. Woven and wicker are also making room in 2021. And don’t forget your home office, whether it has its own room or just a corner of your living room. Make sure you have desk space, room for storage and filing, and a comfortable chair.

Quality

When buying products for your home, don’t cave to sticker shock. Calculate each item’s cost per use to see how the price stacks up, and you’ll often find that higherquality products are worth the investment

because of how much mileage they’ll see over their lifetimes. Rugs, for example, are literally tread on each day by shoes, paws and claws, and they have to fend off soil, water and snagged threads. It’s better to invest in a high-caliber fiber and secure backing, as well as a rug pad to keep it from slipping or scratching hardwood.

Smart Features

Even before working from home became the norm, smart features were exploding in popularity in all home-related areas. Smart

tech is more than an attractive amenity; it also can perform vital tasks and cut down on redundant, time-draining chores. Meal prepping for next week? Samsung offers a side-by-side refrigerator that lets you look at what’s inside without having to open the doors and let the cool air out. Drying a small load of towels? LG’s line of electric and gas dryers allow you to add or subtract time and customize drying to meet each load’s specific needs. Above all, Energy Star-rated appliances save energy and, ultimately, money.

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

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Flooring will set the tone for your home Flooring sets the tone for any home and can pull a room’s overall look together. But more than a decorating detail, flooring must stand up to the rigors of daily home life, whether that’s tiny feet, animal paws or lots of shoes.

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Floor Concepts, Inc. We Can Install It ALL! • • • •

Then, pair your answers with the attributes of each of these options:

Hardwood

Elegant and timeless, hardwood floors add a beautiful look to any room. Hardwood also comes in many wood species, grades, stains, and thickness, and each is critical to selecting the best choice for your project. Traditional hardwood floors are crafted using 100 percent solid wood and are highly durable, but they’re also vulnerable to moisture and humidity, and scratches can be permanent. Engineered hardwood uses laminated layers to protect the wood from contracting and expanding due to moisture.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is highly popular for its durability, affordability and ease to maintain. It also stands up well to scratches, pet nails and heavy traffic, making it often the perfect flooring in a busy home. Tons of surface textures are available, from the look of classic wood grain, to embossed or pebbled finishes.

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Before selecting flooring, ask yourself these questions: • What is the size of your room? • How much foot traffic does your room receive? • What is the room used for? • What décor style does the room have? • Do you have kids or pets?

Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

Tile

While sometimes a more expensive option, tile is a versatile flooring choice that can match flooring with backsplashes and shower walls, leaving a cohesive, pulled-together look. Tile detail also is nearly limitless, so it will flow well with whatever decor you’re trying to match. If you’re eyeing tile, be sure its Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating lines up with the demands you expect to place on your flooring.

Carpet

Although hard surfaces are trending, carpet remains a favorite for flooring, particularly in bedrooms. Depending on the type of foot traffic you expect each room to see, select carpeting that is resistant to stains and snags, has a strong backing, and isn’t too tall to interfere with doors. A dense yarn twist will also help your carpet fibers return to their original place and shape after being walked upon.


Power Up Get instant heat, backup power, peace of mind with natural gas Nearly every part of our homes — how we cook, clean, bathe, and control the temperature — is connected to a central power source. And whether a homeowner is building a new house or upgrading their HVAC units, cost savings and energy efficiency are top priorities. That’s why natural gas continues to be a top seller for home energy. “The good thing about natural gas — especially new construction home — No. 1 is, being natural gas heat, it’s extremely efficient,” says Jim Payne, a senior account representative for Atmos, adding that even commercial properties are investing more in natural gas power. Natural gas has myriad uses in a home, from outdoor fire pits and grills to gas log

fireplaces and clothes dryers — the latter, Jim says, is “one of the most efficient things you can put into your home.” Natural gas also powers home generators, from small to whole-home generators. (The latter detects when a main-source power outage occurs and automatically switches your home’s power generation over to natural gas. A similar process identifies when the main source is available, and the backup natural gas source safely switches off.) After experiencing power interruptions from February’s winter storm, and even as far back as the ice storm in 2009, a new generation of homeowners is installing gas-powered appliances and generators so they can still cook, get hot water, and have a heat source during a power outage. And since natural gas lines are buried deeply in the ground, service isn’t disrupted by burst pipes or downed power lines during poor weather on the surface. “It really boils down to peace of mind,” Jim says. “There’s a lot of things that you can’t control, but you can control how you’re prepared. … One of the things we’ve always hung our hat on is its reliability.” Because of that reliability — both

in production and demand — the cost of natural gas isn’t as volatile as other energy sources. Since natural gas-powered appliances tend to run very efficiently — in the upper deck of the 90th percentile — they’re more affordable than electricpowered appliances. Tankless water heaters, for example, often run at 97% efficiency with minuscule energy waste, leading to a cost that’s half or even a third the cost of a conventional, electric-powered tank. Smart technology such as a Nest thermostat also help you program your heating and cooling so you get the exact temperature you want and don’t use energy when you don’t need it. Many natural gas companies such as Atmos have a 24-hour emergency response if a service interruption does occur. Installing smart tech to monitor your energy usage can also alert you if there’s a leak.

CALL BEFORE YOU DIG

Although natural gas lines run deep underground, they can be breached by homeowners attempting new landscaping or building. Before digging into a home project, always be sure to call 811 to have an inspector assess your gas line’s exact location.

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Aegean Teal 2136-40 is Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year, and after the chaos of 2020, its soothing tones definitely evoke much-need peace and harmony. Another bonus: There’s a wide network of Benjamin Moore colors that complement Aegean Teal, tying together an overall natural look with graceful pops of color.

NEUTRALS

Aegean Teal is best balanced by neutral tones, such as clean Atrium White and soft Foggy Morning. But those neutrals don’t have to be on cool: Try a hue on the warm spectrum, such as Muslin, Chestertown Buff or Potters Clay.

Aegean Teal

Chestertown Buff

Potters Clay

Foggy Morning

VIBRANCE

Although this color palette serves a soothing purpose, it does accommodate some drama. An accent chair in Rosy Peach or a cashmere throw in Amazon Soil (more mauve than brown) add some vibrance to the cool-color aesthetic. Even deeper cool colors such as smoky Silhouette and Kingsport Gray add some edge without overwhelming the main tones.

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

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Let Aegean Teal lead your color palette


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(270) 681-1339 | libertyfinancialmortgage.org Loans are subject to credit review and approval. Fixed- and adjustable-rate purchase and construction loans listed require a minimum 5% down payment. Closing costs may apply. A sample principal and interest payment on a (30)-year $150,000 fixed rate loan amount with a 4.375% interest rate (4.443% APR) and 5% down is $711.48. Taxes and insurance are not included; therefore, the actual payment obligation will be greater. Actual interest rate may vary based on credit history. Liberty Financial mortgage lending product availability may vary based on property location. (1) Rate Match restrictions apply. (2) Gift card offer is available on financing of purchase or construction loans for primary residences only. Purchase or construction loan amounts up to $149,999 will receive a $250 gift card. Purchase or construction loan amounts of $150,000 or greater will receive a $500 gift card. Not valid in combination with any other offer. Federally Insured by NCUA. NMLS #518136

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Homebuilder SURV IVAL GUID E

from the Home Builders Association of Owensboro So you’re thinking about buying a new home? Good decision. But, doing your homework is the first step to choosing the right home. Through the Home Builders Association of Owensboro home buyer information, you’ll get tips on learning the home buying lingo, shopping around, choosing a builder, communicating with your builder, taking charge, wrapping up the sale and caring for your home after purchase. The first step homebuyers should take in their search for a new home that provides lasting satisfaction is to select a professional builder who is known for quality construction and strong customer service. Most home builders construct fewer than 10 homes per year and as small local business persons, rely heavily on referrals from previous customers to generate new business. As such, a home building company is only as good as its reputation. Most home building companies are in business to stay and they can only do so to the extent that they have satisfied customers. In fact, many builders live in the communities they build.

guides buyers through the homebuilding and purchase process. This type of manual can familiarize you with the procedures the builder follows in working with his/her clients and is often an indication of the builder’s commitment to customer satisfaction. • To determine how a company treats its customers, it is important for prospective homebuyers to talk to previous buyers of the builders’ homes. Visit communities on weekends when people are more likely to be outside and ask several different people how the company was to work with and how satisfied they are with their home.

Devise a well-written building contract

Disputes between parties often involve good faith issues that their contracts do not adequately address, either because the parties did not consider these issues or because the failed to write them in the contract. A well-written contract is a critical tool for reducing liability. It should: 1) be a product of the parties’ negotiations, 2) describe in detail the rights and obligations of the parties, and 3) fairly Research and speak with allocate the risks inherent in the project. Such a contract provides the parties with a mutual reputable home builders understanding of contract terms and conditions, thereby Homebuyers should begin their search by discovering who is improving the chances that each party’s expectations will be met. building in the area where they want to live. A well-written contract helps prevent disputes from arising Below are several sources homeowners might find helpful: during construction because the parties have settled potentially • Some of the best builders rely on referrals and do not troublesome matters such as the scope of work, the materials to advertise. Talk to friends, relatives and colleagues at work who be used, and the time and method of payment before the project have recently purchased a new home or had one built. begins. • Local chapters of the National Association of Home Although a well-written contract requires communication Builders can provide names of companies who are members. In between the parties, it is no substitute for ongoing Owensboro, start by visiting hbao.com. • Area real estate agents, familiar with new home construction, communication between the buyer and builder during the project. This is another reason to select a builder from the start can offer builders’ names and insights into quality and customer with whom you can communicate effectively and who you are satisfaction. comfortable with. • To narrow their prospective list of builders, buyers should look closely at each builder’s finished work and work in progress, including models, occupied homes (if interested in a custom-built Get a clear, defined warranty Many builders also include a limited warranty in their contract. home) and homes under construction. • Meet with the builder or the person who would be in charge Such a warranty can also help prevent disputes after construction is completed. of building your home to learn more about the company and The warranty, like the contract, should clearly express the the homes they build. Are your questions answered clearly and intent of the parties. The limited warranty describes the problems completely? and remedies for which the builder will be responsible after • Remember that your relationship with the builder will completion of the project and the duration of the warranty. It also continue through the warranty period, so choose someone with defines the mechanism for addressing disputes. whom you will be comfortable for the long term. If a builder covers workmanship and materials in a warranty, • As part of the interview process, review the contract, the warranty should also provide some guidelines or standards warranty and warranty standards that the builder provides. Note against which to judge the builder’s compliance. One of the the amount of detail provided. The same attention to detail usually flows through the construction of the home. Don’t hesitate best sources of such guidelines is “Residential Construction Performance Guidelines for Professional Builders and to ask questions about any items that you don’t understand. Remodelers.” (Available from www.BuilderBooks.com) • Many builders today provide a homeowner manual that

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021


HBAO a one-stop shop for home-related information It’s sometimes tough to get started on a homerelated project. Whether it’s a bathroom remodel, installing new carpeting, or even building a new house, unless you’re familiar with the process, it can be easy to stumble. That’s why the Home Builders Association of Owensboro is such an important ally for area homeowners. HBAO offers a network of trusted, proven home professionals who handle all manner of home-related items, from plumbing and masonry to energy and drywall. Whether you’re in the market for custom windows, a drywall installer, a home inspector, a Realtor, a landscaper, financing, or an excavator, HBAO has a long list of reputable business partners and registered builders in Greater Owensboro who can do the job well. When it comes to home-related projects, don’t go it alone. Call the Home Builders Association of Owensboro.

Home Builders Association of Owensboro 3515 Wathens Crossing Owensboro, KY 42301 (270) 688-0353 hbao.com

GET THE LIST! HBAO.com 270.688.0353

Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

11


Save money with an energy audit Overconsumption of energy is a problem that plagues many homeowners. Wasting energy can hurt bottom lines and the planet, but many homeowners aren’t aware just how much energy their homes are consuming and even wasting. That’s why a home energy audit can be so important. A home energy audit or assessment investigates just how much energy a home consumes so homeowners can make their homes more energy efficient. Audits identify where energy is being wasted and can offer suggestions to fix the problem. The average U.S. household consumes around 90 million btus in a year. Of the energy used in homes, nearly 50 percent goes to heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting account for the remaining consumption. Consumers can save between 5 and 30 percent on home ! energy bills by getting a home energy audit and making the adjustments advised

45M BTUs Water heating, appliances,

45M BTUs heating & cooling

electronics & lighting

by auditors. There are two types of energy audits: professional and do-it-yourself. Professional auditors will go room-to-room to assess a home’s energy use. Typical testing includes thermographic scans and infrared cameras to determine air leakage and insulation; a blower door test, which depressurizes the home and simulates the effect of a 20 mph wind to find air leaks; and watt meter measurements to test energy usage by various devices throughout the house. Before an auditor comes to the house, homeowners can make a list of any

problems or concerns they want to discuss with the auditor. The auditor also may interview the homeowner to learn about how the home normally runs and can analyze energy bills to determine typical energy consumption. Windows, doors, HVAC systems, insulation, fireplaces, and lighting fixtures all may be assessed during a professional audit. Even though a professional audit is usually the best way to determine where a home is losing energy, homeowners can conduct their own audits to detect and fix problems. Locating and sealing air leaks, addressing inadequate ventilation, checking that insulation levels and vapor barriers are at recommended levels, and inspecting HVAC systems should be part of any DIY audit. If a heating/cooling unit is more than 15 years old, the DOE suggests having it replaced with a newer, energyefficient unit. An energy audit can identify areas around a home where improvements can be made to reduce energy consumption and waste. Upgrading to new appliances, replacing light bulbs, sealing drafts, improving insulation, and addressing moisture and water leaks can be good for the environment and help you save money in the long run.

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021


Keep pests out of your oasis The value of a retreat-like backyard was never more apparent than in 2020, and people have increasingly looked to their home gardens and yard for a respite from the pandemic. A revamped outdoor space can provide the perfect retreat for homeowners who want to get away from it all, but pests can quickly transform an oasis into an uninviting space. Mosquitoes, especially, make their presence felt in summer, but there are techniques to employ to keep them at bay.

1. Remove standing water.

Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, who don’t even need a lot of water to successfully breed. A daily walk around the property may uncover kids’ toys, empty flower pots or other small receptacles that can collect water. Even clogged gutters can lead to the accumulation of a small amount of water,

and that can be enough for mosquitoes to breed. Remove these potential breeding grounds when you find them, and do so each day, as mosquitoes mature from eggs to nymphs in roughly four days.

2. Mow regularly.

Mowing your lawn so the grass never gets too high is another way to make a backyard less hospitable to pests. Mosquitoes, for example, like tall grass because it protects them from the elements, including wind and hot summer

sun. Mowing enough so grass never gets too high in summer can make backyards less inviting.

3. Plant with pests in mind.

Plants can also be part of homeowners’ strategy to repel mosquitoes. Various plants have mosquito-repellant qualities, such as citronella, lavender and marigolds. Speak with a local lawn and garden professional for recommendations about plants that can thrive in our region and repel pests at the same time.

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Give your bathroom a makeover with these products PHOTO COURTESY OF: WINSUPPLY OF OWENSBORO

Home bathrooms have seen more use since the pandemic started, and renovation trends are now leaning toward more comfort and relaxation in this part of the home. Try out these trends recommended by Emily Gentry, a showroom consultant at WinSupply of Owensboro

Bidet

On the heels of a global pandemic, a bathroom accessory that is starting to gain popularity in the U.S. is the use of bidet toilet seats. With toilet paper in high demand and sometimes hard to find, the bidet eliminates the need for wiping when you go. American Standard carries a variety of bidet seats for every price range, starting with a manual version that requires no electricity, to one that will even heat the seat surface and provide different levels of water pattern and control. They are beneficial to the environment by cutting down the usage of paper, and even more hygienic than wiping alone. It can also give those aging in home more independence and a higher lever of comfort and peace of mind.  

developed a line of smaller tubs too that will fit into standard openings. Some are 58 inches and will fit in to a standard 60-inch tub opening. These also have the possibility of deck mounting the faucet right onto the tub, eliminating the need for a larger, sometimes more expensive faucet. Freestanding tubs used to be a high-priced item, but with more and more options coming available every day, there is something for everyone and every budget.

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Freestanding tub

Freestanding tubs are still becoming more and more popular as an alternative to the large drop-in tubs of years past. These beautiful bathtubs can transform any space and give you a more spa-like feel. Maax has recently

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project planner Use this project tracker to keep important notes as you plan and budget for your next home renovation. IDEAS:

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

15


5 tips when replacing windows Replacement windows are a smart investment with myriad positive points. Because drafts from aging windows often force heating systems to work extra hard to maintain interior temperatures, replacement windows can increase a home’s energy efficiency and reduce its heating and cooling costs. Replacing old windows can also make a home quieter by blocking out exterior noises, and improve its safety and marketability. Newer windows are also often easier to remove and clean. Interested in replacing your home’s windows, but don’t know where to start? These guidelines can help.

Get several estimates

Ask for recommendations from neighbors, coworkers and friends in your

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

area on which companies they used to install their replacement windows. When you interview the prospects, ask several questions about how they go about installing the windows: • How long will the project take? • Will I need to remain home during the process? • Do you discard debris? • What is the protocol for installation during inclement weather?

Research permits for your project

Most home renovation projects need to be approved by the local municipality, so contact the permit office and find out the requirements for a residential window replacement. Some window contractors will include securing permits in the cost of the project. After the project is completed, an inspector will come by and ensure the work was done according to code.

Considering changing up the appearance

Look at the type of hardware you have around the home and other fixtures. Choose windows that have locks or latches that can match those features for

continuity of style. Think about choosing a different style or frame color of the window, or — important if you’re removing a home’s original windows — a different type of window to improve efficiency and function.

Research top window manufacturers

It’s tempting to purchase windows based on price alone, but replacement windows are often a decision that only has to be made once or twice for the life of the home, so a higher cost is often justified by their daily use. Invest in durable windows that will have staying power. Read plenty of reviews on various window brands and visit showrooms to see windows in person. And don’t forget to contact the Home Builders Association of Owensboro for a list of reputable local manufacturers and retailers.

Prepare your home for installation

Before the installation, clear pathways, remove window treatments and disconnect window alarm systems. Plan for one to two days of installation, and keep pets and children away from work areas.


Is it time to change your electrical?

deteriorated wiring can present a shock hazard and also a serious fire hazard. Furthermore, the amperage of old wiring may not be able to meet the needs of the devices used in homes, which will overpower your circuits. This can cause breaker blowouts and other problems, such as overheated wires that may spark and cause fires from within the wall.

Old homes can be charming and contain architectural elements not often seen in many modern housing developments. But what older homes may have in design appeal, they may lack in updated features. While cosmetic changes are not necessarily difficult, one area of concern in historic homes — and sometimes even in houses built 40 or 50 years ago — is archaic wiring. Wiring provides power to every room of the home. In today’s electronicsdriven society, electricity that works is an essential component of daily life.

Signs that wiring needs replacing

Assess the condition of and demands on your electrical system Over time, wiring can be compromised through simple aging, pest infiltration, weather, or other conditions, and

Look out for these signs that it’s time to replace old wiring: Circuit breakers trip frequently, vibration or tingling when you touch a wall switch, appliance, or receptacle, ungrounded outlets (these are two prong plugs.)

Don’t temporarily patch a problem

Wiring often falls into the “out of ! sight, out of mind” category. Homeowners may make allowances for inadequate electrical systems, such as running extension cords or using multi-plug connectors to increase their wiring capacity. However, they may not be diligently keeping on top of upgrades needed to stay safe. Confirming that a home’s electrical system is safe is a necessary part of home maintenance.

Our Windows Pay for Themselves

Call a professional

For those who haven’t already done so, schedule an inspection with a licensed electrician to go over the home’s wiring. He or she can determine if any areas pose a safety risk and/or do not conform to local code requirements and the National Electrical Code. Failure to meet code can lead to difficulty obtaining permits to make other home renovations, or difficulty selling a home later on. The electrician can also go over improvements that can improve safety and function. Additional outlets, including GFCI outlets in kitchens and bathrooms, may be part of the plan, as well as rewiring a fuse box or circuit panel to allow for better flow of power around the house. Frayed wiring or under-insulated wiring also may need to be replaced.

Don’t get complacent

Owners of even newer homes should recognize possible electrical system dangers that require attention. Plus, considering electrical codes change quite frequently, it is always in a homeowner’s best interest to work with a qualified electrician to keep wiring inspected and up to date.

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Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

17


Within four walls Tips and trends in new home construction Photos: STEVE BAKER BUILDING

Sometimes, home needs are so specific that it’s best to call off the house search and build your own. Seth Baker, owner of Steve Baker Building, tells us about trends his company is seeing in new home construction, as well as tips for getting started with your own new build.

TRENDS

“In the last five or more years, we’ve seen a lot of open concepts — multiple rooms that are all open to each other,” Seth says. This layout concept helps with traffic flow and keeps heated or cooled air circulating. Speaking of the HVAC side of home construction, Seth says zoning systems with multiple thermostats are also increasing in frequency as multiple generations of family members reside in one home. And, owing especially to the pandemic, home workspaces have jumped in popularity. “You’ll see a little bit more of some home office space,” he says. “It’s on people’s minds to have that extra space for kids to do their homework, or for Mom or Dad to make a business call.” “With more people working from home and the digital world we live in, home offices have become a necessity for many families,” Brandi Baker adds. “Our plans tend to have a fourth bedroom, home office or bonus room to meet their needs.” Although not necessarily a new concept, bonus rooms are also trending because of their versatility, as is the practice

18

of grouping like rooms on the same level, such as living, dining, and recreation areas, or bedrooms and laundry facilities. Also popular are “drop zones,” or cubbies near entry points. “In nearly every home we have built in the past few years, we have included a “dropzone,” or cubbies. It seems like more people are leaning towards mud rooms from the garage with a separate

Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

laundry,” Brandi says. “This helps keep their home organized with a place for the coats and backpacks while giving them plenty of room for their laundry to be hidden away.” 

GETTING STARTED

Looking to build your own home? No matter how involved you might be in the home construction process, Seth says it’s good to have a professional’s input.

“Some folks come to us and they have their home plans completely drawn,” he says. “50-70% of the folks that come to us, we design the layouts. They may bring us a few ideas — they like this feature or that feature — but with us being involved in it, there are a few bonuses involved: It keeps the costs down, and we’ll give suggestions. For homeowners, the needs are ever-evolving based on what season of life you’re in.” “In general, you’d want to have at least a base idea of what you’re wanting on your home,” Seth says. “If you have a piece of property you’re wanting to build on, you should go out and look at it — does it allow a basement, or a slab foundation? — go out and take a look at that property, just to get started. We can pretty much guide someone from there.” Brandi also points out that it’s important to tailor a custom home build to its residents’ specific needs, because one size doesn’t fit all anymore. “The way we live in our society changed greatly in 2020. It only makes sense that we want our homes to adapt to those changes,” she says. “Home has become a workplace, a classroom, a vacation destination and the place we eat most of our meals. Larger porches to enjoy our outdoor space, walk-in pantries to store additional food while we eat out less, and designated work places are all things our customers are considering when looking at home designs.”


TRENDS TO TRY Eco-friendly living: It should come as no surprise that urdesignmag.com, a web magazine that showcases creative trends in design, architecture, art, technology, and fashion, predicts that eco-friendly living solutions figure to be hot commodities in 2021. Eco-friendly appliances, furniture and designs can help to conserve energy and reduce waste, which environmentalists and government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency note are two critical components in the fight against climate change. Large windows: Large windows can provide stunning views of the outdoors and allow ample natural light into a home. The COVID-19 pandemic that dominated much of 2020 forced many people to spend considerably more time at home. Darker homes without much natural light can adversely affect mood, especially when people are spending more time at home. HGTV predicts that homeowners will seek ways to bring more natural light into their homes in 2021, helping people feel less cramped. Minimalism: The anticipated popularity of minimalism in 2021 may also be connected to the pandemic. As professionals were forced to work from home and many families spent more time together inside their homes then ever before, they may have recognized a need to cut back on clutter, including extra furniture. A minimalist approach is both simple and clean, which can make homes feel less claustrophobic. Multi-functional spaces: Homeowners asked a lot of their homes in 2020, as rooms were transformed into multi-functional spaces seemingly overnight. HGTV notes that spending more time at home showed homeowners that it may not make sense to dedicate entire rooms of a home to a single purpose. Renovations that can help homeowners transform rooms into multi-functional spaces figure to be hot commodities in the years ahead. Renovation-free updates that can increase your home’s value • Install statement light fixture • Peel and stick backsplash • Paint cabinets and/or island • Paint your trim • Replace doorbell

• Replace outlets and switches • Restore grout • Install open shelving, pair with stylish brackets • Swap out the faucet

SteveBakerBuilding@yahoo.com SteveBakerBuilding.com @SteveBakerBuilding Home Construction & Project Planner 2021

19


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OUTDOOR LMNG WITH NATURAL GAS T

he smell of spring is in the air. Trees are budding, flowers will soon bloom and there's lots of sunshine in the forecast. There's a certain feeling that comes with springtime, a positive outlook of renewal and new beginnings. There's a bounce in our step and a smile on our face because Old Man Winter has finally left. It's time to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors once again. With a little help from natural gas, you can create an inviting and comfortable outdoor living space that you can enjoy all year. Imagine sitting down to a dinner that was cooked to per­ fection on your natural gas grill, then relaxing next to the glow of a natural gas fire pit. You'll be the envy of your neighbors! Grilling with natural gas is more convenient and less expensive than propane or charcoal. No tanks to refill and no messy ashes to clean up. Natural gas grilling produces more consistent cooking results with even temperatures that last as long as you need. Because you can control the flame for each burner, you can also vary the tem­ perature for different types of food.

Natural gas also helps to keep our skies clear and blue so we can continue to enjoy the outdoors. Homes with natural gas appliances produce between 30 to 40 percent less harmful emissions compared to an all-electric home. If renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is a part of your energy mix, you also need a backup energy source. Choose natural gas be­ cause it's a clean, affordable and dependable partner for our clean energy future. According to the American Gas Association, over the past 40 years the number of natural gas customers has grown 70 per­ cent. However, due to more efficient appliances and better building standards, today's homes use nearly 40 percent less natural gas. Make natural gas a part of your energy solution for cleaner skies and affordable, efficient energy. For more information, please visit AtmosEnergy.com.

NATURAL GAS IS CLEAN AND RELIABLE

Residential natural gas accounts for only 4 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

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