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May 2013

exterior luxury home spring lake white house

3 Questions to Ask for Stucco with Style

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

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Stucco has been around since the dawn of architecture adorning some of the most revered architectural masterworks in history. A close cousin of plaster (made of gypsum), stucco consists of Portland cement. Today its popularity endures for stucco’s ability to weather all types of climates as a low cost, low maintenance, breathable, water and mold resistant exterior surface. People tend to associate stucco with Spanish, Tuscan and Mediterranean style homes. That would be a stereotype and limited view of stucco’s design potential.

 

Stucco facade painted white on a brick home in South Louisiana, a common architectural style that draws inspiration from Acadian style houses.

Stucco facade painted white on a brick home in South Louisiana, a common architectural style that draws inspiration from Acadian style houses.

In the Deep South, ( in states such as Louisiana) you’ll often find stucco coated front porches and facades on a solid exposed brick home. The French used this stucco-brick combination to create painted accent walls. Whatever the architectural style of home, stucco is a defining characteristic. Stucco out of sync with its architecture looks like a bad makeup job. Stucco in perfect harmony with a home’s style and surroundings is the product of 3 key decisions:

What is the Stucco Method?

StuccoCappozolli

 

Choosing the right stucco texture is key in defining the architectural style you are trying to achieve. Your choices range from smooth to a wide range of textures and patterns. “Your decision of whether to go with a stucco exterior that is eye-catching or subtle should take into account the visual dominance of other exterior features,” says Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri, who builds his homes out of concrete masonry with stucco exteriors. “Concrete masonry units work perfectly with stucco as a canvas. Stucco is low-cost, low maintenance, easy and affordable to repair.” Homes that are made of frame construction can also support stucco exteriors by  using metal lathes and a vapor-permeable, water-resistant building paper to separates the plaster and lath from water-sensitive sheathing or framing. The method of applying stucco ranges from the fastest method, a base coat with a sprayed-on finish coat or  two or three base coats with a finish coat, the more durable and expensive finish.

What is the Stucco Finish?

The curb appeal of a home’s façade can really shine with a great stucco job that provides visual and tactile texture. Stucco has the ability to be sculpted into a variety of interesting patterns that can mimic the look of other materials such as wood, brick, or stone.
Stucco finishes range in quality and price. Smoother stucco finishes (also known as Old World Stucco) are more expensive because they require more technique and skill and are less forgiving. Knockdown is a cheaper stucco finish often used in production homes and costs 20 to 30 percent less than smooth stucco finishes.

Knockdown Stucco finish, a cheaper version of stucco often seen in production homes because it masks the home's exterior imperfections easier than smooth stucco which is more labor intensive, requiring more technique in its application.

Knockdown Stucco finish, a cheaper version of stucco often seen in production homes because it masks the home’s exterior imperfections easier than smooth stucco which is more labor intensive, requiring more technique in its application.

“Builders typically use a knockdown stucco finish to hide all the imperfections of the home’s exterior. Some contractors treat smoother stucco as an upgrade,” explains Ulibarri, who uses Old World stucco finishes on all of his homes. Smoother stucco is more labor intensive, less forgiving, and higher quality finish than knockdown. A sleek stucco exterior is created by smoothing the stucco with a steel tool in a range of thickness from light to medium to heavy. Here are a few examples of the different gradients of smooth stucco:

Smooth Light Texture:

Smooth Stucco in a light texture

Smooth Stucco in a light texture

Smooth Medium Texture:

Smooth Stucco Medium

Smooth Stucco Medium

Smooth Heavy Texture:

Smooth Stucco Heavy Texture

Smooth Stucco Heavy Texture

Other stucco finishes include: dash, a rough stucco finish with small peaks of stucco sticking out; sand, that looks like grains of sand on the home; and a lace texture that mimics the look of a heavy lace fabric.

What is the Stucco Pattern?

Custom Stucco pattern

Custom Stucco pattern

Now that you have decided on the type of stucco finish, you can create a unique signature exterior surface with a custom pattern. Some decorative finishes include a repeating fan pattern (the trowel sweep), a combed finish (thin vertical lines), and briar finish (random lines).

The homeowner also can choose how close or concentrated and pronounced the imperfections will appear on the stucco surface and the shape and pattern of the imperfections such as squiggly lines or bumps. To check out more stucco patterns and possibilities, click on the link www.tsib.org/

 

floor plan blue prints

How to Squeeze 6,000 Square Feet Into a 4,000 Square Foot Home

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

 

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A 4,000 square foot home designed and under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri that has the spaces of a 6,000 square foot home

The sweet spot for today’s custom home hovers around 4,000 square feet but you can get the spaces of a larger home without the cost and waste.

In the last five years, the economic downturn has people right-sizing their homes. Gone are the trophy homes, replaced by smaller homes with smarter use of space. If you are thinking about building a new home, you can live large with less square footage. It’s all about the layout and use of your living space. In Central Florida, the sweet spot for custom home square footage tends to hover around 4,000 square feet. People want to feel like they are living in a spacious home without crossing over into McMansion territory.

Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri just completed a 4,000 square-foot floor plan that combines a functional layout with very large spaces yet small square footage: in short, he squeezed a large home into a small footprint. This sounds counterintuitive, right? How can you have a home with large spaces yet small square footage?  Here’s the trick: by eliminating the formal spaces such as the formal living and dining rooms, Ulibarri was able to use that extra space for a grand foyer, great room and casual eating area. “This also gives the homeowner extra space for the kitchen to accommodate an oversized kitchen island that seats four to six people and takes the place of a breakfast nook,” says Ulibarri, who is building the home in Heathrow’s The Reserve neighborhood.

Floorplan of 4,000 square foot home designed and under construction by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Floorplan of 4,000 square foot home designed and under construction by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

“For years, homes typically had three eating areas: the breakfast nook, kitchen island, and formal dining room- all within 20 feet of each other, which seems excessive given that you can only eat in one place at a time. In a lot of homes, these spaces were seldom used, collecting dust and wasting valuable square footage,” explains Ulibarri.

It’s this consumer mindset about new home construction that is echoed in a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) which found that today’s homeowner would overwhelmingly choose a smaller home with high-quality products and amenities (63 percent) over a larger house with fewer amenities (37 percent). Clearly the focus is on quality over quantity. Here’s how you can do the same to squeeze more functional square footage out of your living space:

The Grand Room:

The grand room that flows seamlessly into the kitchen for a large open social space

The grand room that flows seamlessly into the kitchen for a large open social space

Turn the family room into a grand room. The 4,000 square foot home, designed by Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri, creates a grand room in place of a smaller family room. As we all know, older floorplans tend to compartmentalize living space, splitting each area up into a boxed-in room. In dated floorplans, the family room is tucked all the way to the back in a corner isolated from the social center of the house, the kitchen. Ulibarri brought the family living space into center of the home creating a grand room. “We made a centralized sitting area with a floor-to-ceiling fireplace that hosts the TV in a niche. The fireplace dresses up the space for a bit of formality,” says Ulibarri.

 

An Open Kitchen:

An open kitchen that accomodates an oversized island that doubles as an eating area.

An open kitchen that accommodates an oversized island that doubles as an eating area.

One telltale sign of an outdated home is a closed off kitchen. The latest custom homes have large open kitchens but you don’t need tons of square footage to get the effect. By opening up the kitchen to the grand room in one seamless space, the line of sight and flow of conversation remains uninterrupted creating a true social heart of the home. The square footage gained by eliminating formal spaces enabled Ulibarri to design a kitchen open to the grand room and everyday dining area.

The Daily Dining Room:

Spec B Floor Plans 3-1-2013

 

With the formal dining room eliminated, the 4,000-square-foot floor plan can accommodate a main dining room where the breakfast nook typically resides. The main dining area opens to a view of the pool. “In the past, most houses had dining rooms facing the street. Now you can enjoy the view from your main dining room and seat up to 12 people. By getting rid of the breakfast nook, I put some of that square footage into the dining room to accommodate 12 people so it can serve as daily eating area and entertainment area,” says Ulibarri.

A Grand Entrance:

Tower Entrance for the WOW factor and a fabulous first impression

Tower Entrance for the WOW factor and a fabulous first impression

In modern home design, the entrance gets top priority to create a fabulous first impression at the front door. To make this grand entrance, Ulibarri added square footage to “wow” people with a soaring ceiling and line of sight that extends through the home.

The floor plan pictured here gives the homeowner all the spaces typical of a 6,000 square foot home. It has five bedrooms: a master bedroom and guest bedroom downstairs and three upstairs; and four bathrooms. In addition, the home has a bonus room upstairs. For more money-saving design and new home construction tips, subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a single post.