Monthly Archives

January 2013

How to Add Glass Tiles for Today’s Shimmer Trend

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design, Kitchen Design | One Comment
NKBA 2013 Design Contest Contestant "Mosaics Meet Their Match" , photo courtesy of NKBA

NKBA 2013 Design Contest Contestant “Mosaics Meet Their Match” , photo courtesy of NKBA

Surfaces with shimmer and sheen go perfect with today’s popular transitional style. 

Surfaces that shimmer are trending in home decor and that makes glass tile an ideal tool to add sparkle to any space. From kitchen backsplashes to bathtub surrounds, accent walls and pool perimeters, indoors and outdoors, glass tile is IN. The National Kitchen & Bath Association says the current look in the kitchen is all about surfaces with sheens that gleam alongside stainless steel appliances, capturing light and complimenting more traditional elements such as wood cabinetry. Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri uses a mixture of glass, stone and metallic tile mosaics in many of his homes.

“Travertine or stone mosaics work well in more rustic styles while the glass tile mosaics help fuse rustic and contemporary. It’s an affordable architectural detail when used in small, high profile areas,” says Jorge.

Glass Mosaic tiles frame a vanity built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass Mosaic tiles frame a vanity built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass tile is a timeless material adorning ancient temples, monuments and other great architectural works. Today’s modern twist on glass tile mixes it up in mosaic patterns with other materials such as stone, ceramic and metal.

Glass tiles come in many shapes, colors and sizes and are available in sheets of predesigned patterns. Prices vary from a low $5 per square foot  sheet to upwards of $15 to $30 per sheet. Although these mosaics may look like artisans painstakingly handcrafted each design, glass tile mosaic sheets are easy to install.  Here are some of the hottest looks for 2013.

Glass Stick Mosaics:

Glass tile backsplash in a Modern-Mediterranean Kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass tile backsplash in a Modern-Mediterranean Kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Rectangular tile or glass stick  mosaics are popular shapes and patterns in modern home design.

The  larger rectangular blocks known as subway tile are surfacing in many kitchens where the aim is to incorporate simpler, more modern elements.  Shiny glass tiles combined with  stainless steel and industrial materials work to create a transitional style that blends traditional and contemporary elements.

White Subway Tile in the kitchen of The New Southern Home, photo courtesy of NWC Construction

White Subway Tile in the kitchen of The New Southern Home, photo courtesy of NWC Construction

Glass Mixed with Stone or Metal Mosaics:

Glass mixed with stone or metallic tiles in a mosaic lends itself perfectly to that Mod-Mediterranean style that blends Old World with modern design.

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Metallic tile alone can add an industrial edge to a room as an accent wall or niche backdrop. These mixed mosaics merge shiny and natural materials to pull together stone floors with beams and contemporary fixtures. As an example, Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri is framing a wall-to-ceiling fireplace with a mixed mosaic design of stone, glass, and metallic.

Glass and stone tile fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass and stone tile fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass Tiles for Sparkling Pools:

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Many of today’s pools feature glass tiles on the sides and bottoms to capture light and liven up the color of water. A blue or emerald-green glass tile bottom can make pool water mimic the azure hues of the Caribbean ocean. Because the glass tiles are durable, tough, and resistant to mildew and stains, they are ideal for embellishing outdoor areas such as water features.

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Glass Tiles To Infuse 2013 Color of the Year:

Emerald Green Glitter Glass SubwayTiles by Susan Jablon

Emerald Green Glitter Glass SubwayTiles by Susan Jablon

The new hue for 2013 as anointed by Pantone, the global color authority,  is Emerald. This jewel-tone hue is surfacing as color pops in home décor and fashion. Consider incorporating emerald glass mosaics to sparkle up a space.  Pantone suggests infusing its Color of the Year in emerald painted accent walls and home accessories as well.

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Check back soon for more home design inspiration and new home construction tips. I’m headed to the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas next week. We will return with the latest products, sources and trends in home design and new construction. I can’t wait to share with you more about what I discover. Thanks for reading.

5 Tips to Pick the Perfect Stone Slab

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments

 

granite kitchen backsplash in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite kitchen backsplash in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Natural stone gives any room rich and timeless character but picking the perfect piece of stone for your kitchen countertops can be tricky business. Since it’s a natural material, no two lots or pallets of stone are alike. Each harvest from the quarry has its own unique characteristics and appearance. Selecting the ideal stone surface not only involves a good eye but a clear understanding of the material. Here are a few money-saving tips to help you pick the perfect stone slab for your home’s countertops and kitchen island.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

 Pick the Slab Before Building the Kitchen Island and Counters:

A common mistake homeowners make is selecting a stone slab that doesn’t fit the kitchen counters and island.  Hakan Collu, Owner of International Tile and Stone, recommends that homeowners pick the stone slab first then design the countertops and island to fit the stone surfaces. “This is a big mistake that can cost money and detract from the look of the stone. Kitchen design should be collaboration between the designer/builder and the stone supplier to avoid waste and extra cost,” says Collu.  When the kitchen island is built too large for the stone selected, the homeowner has to buy an extra slab and ends up with an unattractive seam. Also, certain colors of stone are limited to certain sizes. To get the maximum use of the slab, pick it out first, then build the island to fit.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Understand the Stone’s Durability and Limitations:

White Carrera marble is the popular choice these days for countertops; it’s also a stone that requires regular maintenance and care. “Homeowners need to understand the stone’s characteristics and limitations so there are realistic expectations about the stone’s durability.”   Marble is not as durable as granite; it stains, scratches and cuts.  Travertine, a type of limestone, is a softer stone and is more absorbent making it vulnerable to stains.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Ask HOW the Stone is Priced:

Stone can be priced per square foot or by the piece.  It’s important to ask what is included in the price of the stone. Ask whether the countertop and island CAD design, the stone slab’s custom cut, and it’s installation are included in the price.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Lay the Slab Down to See How Light Reflects:

Stone slabs typically are displayed standing upright. When looking at stone piece, lay it down to see how light reflects. This will give you an accurate representation of the way the stone will look lying flat as a countertop. It allows you to show the stonecutter the area of the stone you want highlighted in the custom cut. Also, this is a good way to inspect the stone for fissures that are harder to see when the stone slab is standing upright.

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Ask if the Stone Has a Sealer:

A quality sealer can extend the lifetime and durability of natural stone. The Marble Institute of America says that most granite countertops do not need to be sealed. Granite is stronger, more resistant to scratches and more durable than most stone surfaces. Most granite slabs are factory treated with a resin coating to fill in micro-fissures, indentations and other imperfections. Marble is a good candidate for a quality sealer because it is vulnerable to mild acids commonly found in the kitchen. If you do choose to seal the stone countertop, The Marble Institute of America recommends using a quality sealer that is resistant to water and oil and has a life expectancy of ten to fifteen years and

Look for Remnant Stone:

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

granite countertop in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Sometimes, great deals are available with remnant stone. This is stone that was leftover from a custom cut. By choosing stone scraps, you can find an exotic stone piece for a fraction of the cost. These stone scraps are ideal for small areas such as niches and half baths. For more money-saving tips and design ideas, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

Three Tips for A Tree-Filled Lot

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design | No Comments

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The Costs and Considerations When Constructing on a Tree-Filled Lot

Trees, especially mature ones, typically enhance the value and beauty of a lot for home construction. Many homebuyers want an idyllic setting for their dream home framed by a canopy of trees but this can add to the cost of the homebuilding process. A lack of trees is a telltale sign of cheap development. We all know it’s easier to clear the property of all trees than selectively keep trees in the process.

The extra cost for building on a tree-filled lot can be worth it as long as the homebuyer weighs all the costs and benefits associated with preserving the trees. Here’s a look at some issues to consider when purchasing a lot with trees.

Evaluate the Root System:

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Evaluate the root systems located close to the home’s foundation. Mature trees on smaller properties have deeply entrenched roots that can affect the foundation of a home. If the lot is being redeveloped and an existing structure is torn down to make way for a new home, the existing root structure may have to be removed thus killing existing trees. If the lot is being cleared for construction, it’s important to avoid placing the foundation on or near an existing root system that can grow into the pipes and the underground infrastructure over time.

Consider the Treetop Canopy:

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The logistics can be more complicated thereby adding to the overall cost of construction. Construction equipment also can damage the existing trees.

Consult with City & County About Drainage:

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Consult with City and County authorities about drainage requirements. Consider the relationship between the trees and drainage. A common oversight when attempting to keep the trees during construction is the failure to understand the relationship between the trees and the site’s drainage. The drainage design is one of the most important elements of home site development. It is critical to check drainage requirements and finished floor elevations for the lot with both city and county authorities. This must happen prior to making the decision of which trees to preserve.

City and county engineers create the master plan of a development. They determine how a piece of property must drain and the soil height requirement to build on. The level of the soil is known as the grade elevation. It plays a critical role in conserving the existing trees on a lot. Here’s why: If the city or county requires a higher soil grade elevation than what’s in existence, the builder must bring in fill or extra dirt. This extra soil can smother tree roots effectively killing them. If the city or county requires a lower soil grade elevation, then the builder must remove soil, which can expose tree roots killing them as well. Sometimes the city or county will require shallow rainwater retention ponds on site that can affect the tree root system on the property.

The smaller the lot, the more critical are the abovementioned factors in the construction process. For more money-saving new construction tips and design ideas, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

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