Custom Homes
Horizontal banding is a technique used to accommodate such traffic patterns. Let’s say, for example, that your family room is between the master bedroom and the kitchen. Horizontal banding would place the doors or openings to the kitchen and the bedroom on the same side of the home. This creates an easy traffic pattern that makes it simple for one coming from the bedroom to get to the kitchen without having to diagonally cross the family room. It also can make furniture placement easier.

In addition, a stairway from the entryway may not be very practical. It’s more reasonable to have it come to the family room or kitchen and toward the center of the home for better access. This is also a better use of space. Keep in mind, there should also be several entrances into the kitchen as well. Three is good but five is even better.

— Privacy and Togetherness
As much as we love our family, there is a time when all of us appreciate a little privacy. This is especially true in a house full of kids. The relative placement of rooms can play a major role in how a home lives. Start off by asking yourself some of the following questions:
  • Do want your children’s bedrooms directly over the master bedroom or would you rather have the master bedroom in a separate wing?
  • Do you want the master bedroom next to the family room or away from loud activities?
  • Do you want your kitchen isolated or open to other rooms?
  • Do you want the kids’ recreation room isolated or as a room that is open to the bedrooms and welcoming to family?

Your need for privacy and togetherness will determine your answers to these questions. Most homeowners want the master bedroom to be away from heavy noise volume and away from children’s rooms. Likewise, it is common to want the kitchen to be open to promote togetherness and conversations. Children’s playrooms work well when they are designed as a central hub instead of isolated rooms.

— Arrangement of Windows
It’s important to know that it doesn’t take a lot of windows to make an impact on the character of a home. However, knowing where to place them is key to creating the look and feel you most desired. This is where sight lines come in handy. Look for areas in the home that are blocked off and dark, and use windows to open up the view and make the space appear larger.

Many homeowners think that if they have an expansive rear wall in the family room, it must be filled with two-story windows to bring in the beauty of the outdoors. However, the same effect can be created with a strategically placed set of six- or eight-foot windows. This arrangement will offer the same impact and also save you energy.

In addition, it is often a great idea to place small windows under top cabinets in the kitchen. They can have a major influence over the look and feel of a kitchen. Another example would be a bowed bay window in a small dining area. It will make the room seem much larger. You also should pay special attention to the direction in which the windows face. What view will the window give you, and will it give morning or afternoon light?

GREEN BUILDING TIPS
People everywhere are beginning to understand the importance of recycling. Some are consistent about separating glassware, saving cans, bagging newspapers and rinsing out empty milk cartons before carelessly disposing of their collection. Many even choose appliances and products for their homes that are environmentally friendly.

However, most people don’t realize that the opportunity to live in an earth-friendly home begins before the builder even breaks ground. It’s becoming increasingly popular for builders to minimize and recycle jobsite waste during the building process. Furthermore, builders are trying to use building products made partially or completely from recycled materials. Whether you call it environmentally friendly, green or ecological, the interest to build new homes with Mother Earth in mind is growing. Choosing the right building materials can make your home more environmentally friendly and economical to maintain.

If you are in the market for having a new house built, you easily can limit the toll your building project takes on the environment with a few conscious thoughts. Start by carefully selecting your building materials. Products made partially or completely from recycled products are now available and can be used on the foundation, the framing, the rafters and much more. Following are some examples of products that are now recycled and used in the home:
  • Ceramic tile is being made from old light bulbs.
  • Carpeting is being made from recycled soda bottles and sheep’s wool.
  • Interior wallboard is being made from newspaper and gypsum.
  • Recycled concrete is used for drywall.
  • Newspaper and reclaimed cotton are being used to make insulation.
  • Decking materials can include recycled milk cartons.
  • Low-density concrete can be recycled and used for insulation.
  • Paint is being made from old paint.
  • Shake shingles are being made from aluminum cans and nails from melted-down cars.
  • Fly ash from burned coal can be used to make concrete.
  • Bricks can be made of tightly compacted earth, clay and straw.
  • Linoleum is a natural flooring covering material made up of linseed oil, resins and wood flour.
  • Steel is 100-percent recyclable and an extremely durable building material.

It’s important to pay close attention to the price of some of these products. Sometimes the cost can be significantly higher than their traditional counterparts. Do your research beforehand and choose the right building materials without adding to the cost of construction.

   
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