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Lake Nona Residence

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design, Uncategorized

Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes Introduces Its Latest Custom Residence on Beautiful Lake Hart in Lake Nona

 5,300 square foot custom home located on an envious waterfront lot on stunning Lake Hart in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. Designed and built by Orlando luxury home builder, Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

5,300 square foot custom home located on an envious waterfront lot on stunning Lake Hart in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. Designed and built by Orlando luxury home builder, Jorge Ulibarri.

This 5,300 square foot custom home is located on an envious waterfront lot on stunning Lake Hart in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. Designed and built by Orlando luxury home builder, Jorge Ulibarri, the home is framed by moss-draped oak trees in a storybook setting. The owner wanted to take advantage of the picturesque lake views by opening all of the main living spaces to the outdoors.  “I wanted the architecture to create a sense of arrival that feels as if one has traveled to the secluded beauty of a country manor or Tuscan estate. The home’s stone tower entry and precast accents, custom-made, wrought-iron, double door give it a sense of history and grounded character,” says Jorge Ulibarri, owner of Cornerstone Custom Construction, a luxury home building company based in Heathrow, Florida. Through architectural photos, we invite you on a tour of this 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with a style that respects Florida’s regional architectural language and infuses the latest looks in home interiors.

The two-story grand room opens to the kitchen with a double-height fireplace and wood beams in a grid design anchored by two geometric chandeliers in this home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The two-story grand room opens to the kitchen with a double-height fireplace and wood beams in a grid design anchored by two geometric chandeliers in this home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The ceiling treatment in the grand room draws the eye up to the grid of beams and two geometric chandeliers, an open hallway bridges the two wings of the home upstairs overlooking the tower entry and grand room. The home was designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The ceiling treatment in the grand room draws the eye up to the grid of beams and two geometric chandeliers, an open hallway bridges the two wings of the home upstairs overlooking the tower entry and grand room. The home was designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The kitchen in this Lake Nona custom home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a transitional design with gray cabinets and white quartz countertops that stand in contrast with the kitchen island crafted of espresso wood and gray and white granite. The kitchen features a barrel ceiling of travertine stone and wood beams and an eat-in breakfast bar. www.imyourbuilder.com

The kitchen in this Lake Nona custom home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a transitional design with gray cabinets and white quartz countertops that stand in contrast with the kitchen island crafted of espresso wood and gray and white granite. The kitchen features a barrel ceiling of travertine stone and wood beams and an eat-in breakfast bar.

The kitchen's gray and white color palette makes it feel fresh and modern with stainless steel appliances, fittings and fixtures. The home was designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The kitchen’s gray and white color palette makes it feel fresh and modern with stainless steel appliances, fittings and fixtures.

A two-story tower foyer makes a grand entrance pouring in natural light from a crown of windows. The wrought iron staircase echoes the design of the custom made wrought iron and glass door in this home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

A two-story tower foyer makes a grand entrance pouring in natural light from a crown of windows. The wrought iron staircase echoes the design of the custom made wrought iron and glass door in this home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri.

The masterbath features a free standing tub that fronts a double-entry shower with gray base cabinets and white and gray granite countertops in this custom home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

The masterbath features a free standing tub that fronts a double-entry shower with gray base cabinets and white and gray granite countertops in this custom home designed and built by Orlando Luxury Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri.

The formal dining room in this Lake Nona home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri.

The formal dining room in this Lake Nona home designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri.

Barn doors painted white with stainless steel hardware open to the media room and the hallway with a barrel travertine tile ceiling. The home was designed and built by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. www.imyourbuilder.com

Barn doors painted white with stainless steel hardware open to the media room and the hallway with a barrel travertine tile ceiling.

Heathrow Woods Country Club Residence

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

Terra-Cotta Exterior & Tower Entry Gives Heathrow Woods Home Curb Appeal

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This 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri is located in the country club community of Heathrow, just north of Orlando, Florida. Curb appeal comes from its two-story tower entry, a signature of Jorge Ulibarri custom homes. The home’s exterior color of terra-cotta purposely makes a statement differentiating itself from the ubiquitous beige home exteriors in the neighborhood.

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The front door features solid distressed wood for an Old World character with wrought iron embellished windows. Specialty glass windows with wrought iron detailing crown the tower and cast a beautiful light grid on the interior entryway.

The front door to the tower entry is crafted of solid distressed wood giving this 6,300 square foot home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri curb appeal and Old World character. Two wrought iron embellished windows and a window arch infuse the space with natural light. A mosaic stone floor medallion adds to the grand entry and centers below a massive wrought iron chandelier.  Photo Credit: Harvey Smith

The front door to the tower entry is crafted of solid distressed wood giving this 6,300 square foot home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri curb appeal and Old World character. Two wrought iron embellished windows and a window arch infuse the space with natural light. A mosaic stone floor medallion adds to the grand entry and centers below a massive wrought iron chandelier. Photo Credit: Harvey Smith

The home’s Tuscan-inspired kitchen draws its character from its ceiling treatment of undulating barrels, beams and travertine stone insets. A bi-level kitchen island double tasks as the breakfast bar and a work area with stainless appliances to make it modern and of the moment yet in character with rustic accents such as the copper farmhouse sink and decorative copper insets.

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Another standout feature is the coffee station featuring a built-in espresso machine and service niche underneath with a microwave combo oven below.

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The kitchen opens to a two-story great room with a soaring fireplace and an 8-foot high niche made of precast stone. A wrought iron balcony walkway connects the two wings overlooking the family room below.

The two-story great room in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri opens to the kitchen and draws the eye upwards to a soaring fireplace with an 8-foot high niche made of precast stone. A wrought iron balcony walkway connects the two wings and overlooks the family room below. The ceiling treatment showcases a grid of wood beams. Photo credit: Harvey Smith

The two-story great room in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri opens to the kitchen and draws the eye upwards to a soaring fireplace with an 8-foot high niche made of precast stone. A wrought iron balcony walkway connects the two wings and overlooks the family room below. The ceiling treatment showcases a grid of wood beams. Photo credit: Harvey Smith

The wine room in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri is located beneath the floating staircase with a repurposed barrel serving as wine storage. The wrought iron door is custom made and imported from Mexico. The walk-in wine storage also has a cabinet and countertop for wine tasting.

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The formal dining room in this luxury custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a ceiling treatment with distressed beams in a crisscross grid with hand printed tile insets. Note the dark stained trim that contrasts with the white walls to give the home its Mediterranean flair.

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The owner’s suite features a barrel ceiling and master bath with a soaking tub that shares a wall with a shower on the other side built for two.

The master bath in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a barrel ceiling punctuated by an elegant wrought iron and crystal chandelier with a soaking tub that shares a wall with a shower on the other side built for two. The double entry shower features a wrought iron window overlooking the soaking tub. The master bath exudes Old World elegance with generous use of stone. Photo credit: Harvey Smith

The master bath in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a barrel ceiling punctuated by an elegant wrought iron and crystal chandelier with a soaking tub that shares a wall with a shower on the other side built for two. The double-entry shower features a wrought iron window overlooking the soaking tub. The master bath exudes Old World elegance with generous use of stone. Photo credit: Harvey Smith

Master suite closet with crystal chandelier in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features his and her side with separate entrance.

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The hallway in this 6,300 square foot custom home by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri features a barrel ceiling embellished with travertine stone insets and lit by indirect LED lights.

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The barrel ceiling is echoed throughout the home adding curves to soften the home’s rusticity.

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The plaster walls in the office echo the home’s exterior terra-cotta color. Rich wood detailing includes the distressed double entry wood doors accented with wrought iron pulls, the wood plank ceiling treatment and custom built-in bookshelf. Click below to watch our video tour of this 6,300 square foot Mediterranean home in the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge.

 

 

 

 

Color Trends for 2013 Nix Neutrals For Statement Hues

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design, Video Episodes | No Comments
Midnight Mystery Palette in Roycroft Bottle Green (SW 2847) and Olde World Gold (SW 7700)

Midnight Mystery Palette in Roycroft Bottle Green (SW 2847) and Olde World Gold (SW 7700)

 Opposites Attract as Color Makes a Comeback in Home Decor for 2013

Color is making a huge comeback in home décor and design. Beige walls are out of fashion along with the idea of flipping homes for a quick buck. As more homeowners opt to stay put in their homes for the long haul, they are trading in neutrals for statement hues that bear their own unique décor signature.

Sherwin-Williams has pegged the Color Trends for 2013 and packaged them in four distinct palettes. Recently, while attending the International Builders’ Show in Vegas, I spoke with Sue Wadden, Color Consultant and Interior Designer for Sherwin-Williams.  “The 2013 Color forecast is called Opposites Attract. We featured four collections ranging from deep, dark, saturated masculine tones, all the way to bright, energetic, exciting colors with punches of gray, black and white as palette cleansers, “ explains Wadden.

Every year, Sherwin-Williams culls their color forecast from what’s trending in fashion, pop culture, consumerism and the arts. The reigning color for 2013 is Aloe, as anointed by Sherwin-Williams.

Aloe SW6464 Color of the Year 2013 as deemed by Sherwin-Williams

Aloe SW6464 Color of the Year 2013 as deemed by Sherwin-Williams

“This is no ordinary pastel – Aloe is funky and glamorous, demure and free-spirited. While Aloe’s vibe can verge on retro, when paired with caviar blacks, crisp whites or soft grays, suddenly Aloe has a new soul and attitude. And Aloe is highly adaptable, making it a perfect pick for everyday spaces such as a breezy sunroom or a well-dressed living room,” says Jackie Jordan, Sherwin–Williams director of color marketing.

Aloe SW6464 Color of the Year 2013 as deemed by Sherwin-Williams

Aloe SW6464 Color of the Year 2013 as deemed by Sherwin-Williams

Here is a breakdown of the Four Color Palettes in 2013’s Color Forecast:

Midnight Mystery:

Midnight Mystery Palette in Loyal Blue (SW 6510)

Midnight Mystery Palette in Loyal Blue (SW 6510)

This color palette features oxidized, metallic hues. “Midnight Mystery connotes a moodiness inspired by the futuristic Victorian vibe of steampunk design. It’s a turn of the century aesthetic, a mixture of Thomas Edison and visible mechanics,” explains Wadden. The palette has dark, earthy colors counterbalanced with green grays.

Honed Vitality:

Honed Vitality Palette in Spiced Cider (SW 7702)

Honed Vitality Palette in Spiced Cider (SW 7702)

These earthy, desert inspired colors kick up the neutral palette a few notches with pops of blue for sky and water. The palette draws inspiration from the layered hues of  mineral deposits, sea-buffed stones and the weathered shutters of a rustic farmhouse. “It’s very grounded to the earth and very useable for interior and exterior residential and commercial,” says Wadden.

Vintage Moxie:

Vintage Moxie Palette in  Radiant Lilac (SW 0074)

Vintage Moxie Palette in Radiant Lilac (SW 0074)

This collection of 60s inspired pastels has a retro glamour of pearls, florals and classic feminine silhouettes tempered by funky accents and attitude, according to Sherwin-Williams. Wadden calls them “pastels on speed.” She suggests using these colors as interior pops set off by a white canvas.

High Voltage:

High Voltage Palette in Electric Lime(SW 6921) and Extra White (SW 7006)

High Voltage Palette in Electric Lime(SW 6921) and Extra White (SW 7006)

These bright colors mirror the neon lights of Vegas and 80s fashions. The High Voltage collection has an electric feel and works well with palette cleansers such as black, white, gray and clear acrylics as primary backdrops. “The High Voltage collection is based on the technology of LED lighting and pop culture. They are brights tied to consumer merchandise,” explains Wadden.  She cites as an example, an all white room with electric lime green chairs.

So now that you know what’s trending in color for the home, how do you use such bold hues? I asked Wadden for a few tips.

Use a neutral as a primary wall color and accessorize with colors.

Honed Vitality Palette in Safari (SW 7697)

Honed Vitality Palette in Safari (SW 7697)

You can stay on trend by incorporating splashes of color without making the focus all about a trend color. “Paint the front door rustic red and the exterior charcoal. It’s very rich and on trend,” says Wadden. Think of pulling in color with tile, flooring, carpeting and fabrics from any of these four color palettes.

Take cues from colors you like.

Vintage Moxie Palette in Radiant Lilac (SW 0074)

Vintage Moxie Palette in Radiant Lilac (SW 0074)

“It doesn’t have to be a commitment to the color trend but the whole environment you create,” explains Wadden.  She suggests creating a room that is fashion forward in these colors or using unexpected colors on the ceiling. One example is a front door in plum and a purple couch. “I like the exterior of the home to be a signature of  the home’s interior,” says Wadden.

As a culture, we are becoming more color-conscious, as illustrated by the proliferation of chromotherapy home accessories from bathtubs and toilets to backlighting. I’ll be covering that topic in my next blog posting. Until then, be sure and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single posting on the latest in home design and décor.

The Mod-Mediterranean Home: Tips for Modernizing Old World Architecture

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design, Kitchen Design | 3 Comments

Ideas for Blending Old World and Modern Design

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

In warmer, sunny climates such as Florida and California, Mediterranean architecture remains a popular style. Mediterranean architecture has many incarnations influenced by Tuscan, Spanish and Old World styles, Lately, there’s a new twist to the Mediterranean home gaining traction in some parts of the country known as Mod-Mediterranean.

Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says the majority of his clients are asking for Old World architecture with a blend of rustic and contemporary interiors. “People want something new and fresh. They have style fatigue but won’t let go Mediterranean altogether. They don’t want the overdone, heavy- handed, embellished take on Mediterranean. Instead, clients are asking for a toned down version with rich, rustic materials balanced with sleek, clean contemporary elements,” explains Jorge.

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

The challenge is to seamlessly integrate these two distinct styles. “There must be a balance between rustic and contemporary elements so that one style doesn’t overpower the other. The two styles should not compete but rather complement each other,” Jorge explains. “The style often is referred to as eclectic but it’s not an accurate depiction of the Mod-Mediterranean. Eclectic can be chaotic design and décor, a mishmash of many styles, while Mod-Mediterranean is a very calculated, strategic design with key focal points.” Jorge suggests using contemporary elements in the details and rustic elements in large surface areas.

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Here are several key focal points for blending Old World and Modern Design elements in a Mod-Mediterranean Home.

Kitchen Cabinetry, Fixtures, and Hardware:

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Modern-Mediterranean kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

In the kitchen, infuse modern design elements with cabinetry, hardware and fixtures and integrate rustic materials in the flooring, beams and walls. Stainless steel appliances and stainless steel cabinet doors, flat panel cabinetry and indirect lighting give the room a contemporary edge. Rustic elements come in with travertine floors, wood kitchen beams, even a brick barrel tile ceiling provides an ideal canvas to showcase contemporary kitchen features.

Fireplaces Featuring Rustic and Modern Elements:

Modern-Mediterranean fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

A fireplace is a high profile opportunity to integrate modern and Old World design. Consider framing ledge stone and sleek wood panels around a stainless steel fireplace with glass rocks. The hearth niche can showcase a mix of glass mosaics and stone mosaics to merge two distinct styles.

Rustic Floors with Modern Medallions:

Modern-Mediterranean foyer designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean foyer designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Stone floors such as chiseled-edge travertine add the rustic tone to a home but carry a lot of visual weight. Rustic floors can dominate and overshadow contemporary elements, so it’s important to compliment stone floors with strong accents in furniture, fixtures, cabinetry and contemporary bright colors. Modern floor medallions with shiny stone or glass can pull in the contemporary elements around the home.

Indirect Lighting Throughout:

Indirect LED lighted hallway in a Modern-Mediterranean home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Indirect LED lighted hallway in a Modern-Mediterranean home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Indirect lighting is a defining feature of the Mod-Mediterranean home. A great way to add indirect lighting is with drop-down soffits that not only house the indirect lighting but also add contemporary lines to any room.

Water and Fire Elements:

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Water and fire features such as a fountain pot or water torches around the pool mix primal elements with modern design and give the home that Mod-Mediterranean edge outdoors.

Floating Features:

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Floating vanities and bathtubs and hanging cabinetry in bathrooms accented with indirect lighting underneath give any room a modern flair. Counterbalance with glass, stone and metal mosaics mixed in as design accents and perhaps rustic beams for a blended look.

 

For more design ideas and money-saving new construction tips, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

Designing a Light Bright Kitchen That Entertains

By | Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments

Part 2 of “Design Tips for a Yummy, Sunny Kitchen”

Starting from Scratch

In modern home, the kitchen is the social hub where people spend the most time

Custom Kitchen that Entertains and Infuses Lots of Natural Light

interacting with each other. Today’s kitchen needs to have easy, open access and it has to be functional. All these factors play a big role in the design of the kitchen. Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri has designed and built kitchens in homes of all sizes and price ranges and says there are basic must-haves for any modern kitchen:

  • The kitchen must be near the garage for bringing in groceries
  • The kitchen must be open and accessible to the main living areas such as the family room
  • The kitchen must be oriented in the home to maximize views and natural light
  • The kitchen must balance open areas with linear footage of wall space for cabinets

Kitchen Placement:

When designing a new home, Jorge considers two basic criteria that define the placement and orientation of the kitchen: the view from each room and the natural light entering each room.

“When you think about light, you have to think how the whole house will be laid out to achieve the goals in each room. Light infused in one room affects the orientations of other rooms in the home.” For optimal views and natural light, Jorge advises that homebuyers select a wide, horizontal lot as opposed to a vertical lot. “If the lot is thin, all the rooms are stacked behind each other limiting opportunities for a view. A wider lot allows me to design plenty of natural light in the kitchen and other rooms.”

Balancing Cabinet Space with Open Areas

With any kitchen, Jorge says that windows are a challenge because they sacrifice cabinet space. Window placement depends on the size of the kitchen and the amount of cabinet space available. “It’s not always possible to place windows in the kitchen.  It depends on the linear footage of cabinetry. This is a perfect example of some of the decisions that a homeowner has to make- functionality versus aesthetics.”

In homes that Jorge has designed with 12-foot ceilings, he adds small windows above the cabinetry that are 16 -by 16-inches in size.  “I accent those windows with wrought iron details to give them an old-world flavor that ties into the design of the island light fixture. “

Another solution for infusing natural light while preserving cabinet space is to add a glass cabinet that does double duty as a window and storage.

Don’t Cramp the Kitchen

When Jorge designs a kitchen, he creates a minimum of three and a half feet

A kitchen designed with at least 42″ of space around the island for plenty of room to socialize and cook

clearance all the way around the kitchen island. “If you don’t have that, make the island smaller or reconfigure the kitchen so it’s bigger. Don’t cramp the kitchen; you’ll regret it. “ The island surface area needs to be large enough to accommodate seating so family members and guests can sit around it cooking and conversing.

Create Kitchen Focal Points

The kitchen is the most visited and visible room of the home so it takes priority in the budget and design. Jorge encourages homeowners to talk about accents, finishes, and features that pull the open spaces together. “Ceilings are an eye-catching opportunity to add architectural elements such as beams, barrel ceilings, and vaulted ceilings with arches. For ceiling finishes, I like to add travertine or brick to create rustic warmth and old world ambiance.”

The range hood is another high-profile feature that becomes an eye-catching focal

A copper range hood adds a stunning focal point to a kitchen

point. Jorge often puts copper range hoods in his kitchens and compliments them with copper sinks and copper accents on the backsplashes. Jorge says a copper range hood costs approximately $3,500.  The copper sinks runs about $800.

A more affordable option is a concrete precast range hood that costs approximately $900.  A designer range hood creates a kitchen that serves as a functional showpiece.

Throughout the kitchen, stone is an affordable architectural element that can integrate with the rest of the home. For example, the same stone used in a travertine backsplash and stove range niche can appear adorn the family room fireplace.

Choosing the cabinetry hardware is the final accent that ties everything together. Jorge suggests bold, heavy, timeworn hardware that compliments the old world feel. “When selecting the hardware for the cabinets, always go big. A homeowner can make a statement with the hardware and it’s worth every penny.”

Don’t Blow the Budget on Cabinets

When it comes to cabinetry, it’s all about maximizing the budget with strategic choices.  Jorge says it’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on high-end cabinets. There are quality lines that offer designer finishes and details without the expensive price tag.  “Don’t blow the budget on cabinetry. Cabinets are one of the first selections a homeowner makes and by the time, he or she selects the granite, there is little money left. “  Jorge suggests saving money in the budget for an exotic piece of granite for the island. “It’s worth the extra $1000 because it will turn the island into a conversation piece. It’s not expensive to upgrade the granite to a designer finished edge such as a double-edged, waterfall, or full bull nose.”

Homeowners can also take the savings on cabinetry and spend it on architectural

a well-designed kitchen balances cabinet space with windows for natural light

features such as stone, travertine and granite, ceiling treatments, range hoods, sinks and other kitchen features.

The kitchen has an energy of it’s own. Designing a functional kitchen filled with natural light that is comfortable, open and inviting will set the tone of a home’s lifestyle. A well-designed kitchen doesn’t have to be bigger to be better. It has to maximize space and natural light. For homeowners, the return on investment isn’t just monetary; it enriches their quality of life.

For more kitchen design tips check out “Trade Secrets by Jorge,” on YouTube and www.imyourbuilder.com

If you have questions or comments about your own kitchen design, post us a picture and write us on facebook

Design Tips for a Yummy, Sunny Kitchen

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | One Comment

Old World kitchen designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, Custom Home Builder

People gravitate to the kitchen no matter what the design and layout of the home.  The gold standard in today’s kitchen design is the open concept with family room and eat-in breakfast nook co-existing as one large social center. Gone are the boxed-in spaces that isolate the cook in the kitchen away from the chatter and activity in the home’s social spaces.  If your kitchen doesn’t open up to the home, then there are a few strategic tweaks you can do to make it appear more inviting and accommodating.

New Tricks for an Old Kitchen-

Let the Sunshine In

The easiest way to open up a kitchen is to infuse natural light to create the illusion of space. Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri says strategic use of natural light in a kitchen can create the perception of more square footage. He offers several tips for lighting up an older, outdated kitchen.

Open up a closed, small kitchen with plenty of natural light and windows

Add Windows and Open Up the View

If the kitchen has 12-foot ceilings, then it is easy to add windows above the cabinetry to infuse natural light. Jorge says depending on whether the walls are made of block or frame, the cost to add four windows that are 16-inch by 16-inch in size is approximately $2,000-$2,500 with labor and materials.  Another way to let the sunshine in is to enlarge existing windows that look out to a view.

For smaller kitchens, create the illusion of more space with a light colored backsplash

If the kitchen has a dark colored backsplash, Jorge suggests changing out the existing backsplash for one with lighter colors and textures. The backsplash offers an opportunity for a kitchen upgrade in architectural features. There are several affordable options including travertine mosaics, stone or granite.  Jorge says the cost is approximately $750 to $1000 for labor and materials to resurface a kitchen backsplash with quality materials.

Open Up a Wall with a Framed Arch

Open up a wall with a framed arch to create an open floor plan in the kitchen

An easy and affordable solution to a closed kitchen is to open up a wall adjacent to the family room or dining room to create an arched open space. “The framed arch adds character and light to the kitchen. However, one of the biggest challenges with this type of remodel is the loss of cabinet space. So, the homeowner has to weigh the benefits of opening the space with the loss of storage areas,” explains Jorge. He estimates the price to create an open arched wall is approximately $900 for labor and materials.

Creating the illusion of higher ceilings also works to lighten and open up the kitchen. Some older kitchens have soffits that tend to make the ceilings appear lower thus closing in the kitchen. Jorge suggests removing those soffits to add height and open up the area. “It’s a cost-effective fix to remove soffits and refinish the ceilings to add instant height to the kitchen. You can add beams or barrel ceilings during the renovation to update the space above as well.”  Jorge you can expect to pay at least $1000 for the removal of soffits.

Add beams, barrel ceilings and stone or brick to embellish the kitchen ceilings for a custom look

The kitchen has an energy of it’s own. Designing a functional kitchen filled with natural light that is comfortable, open and inviting will set the tone of a home’s lifestyle. A well-designed kitchen doesn’t have to be bigger to be better. It has to maximize space and natural light. For homeowners, the return on investment isn’t just monetary; it enriches their quality of life.

For more kitchen design tips check out “Trade Secrets by Jorge,” on YouTube and www.imyourbuilder.com

If you have questions or comments about your own kitchen design, post us a picture and write us on facebook

Check back for part two of this article as we discuss new kitchen design in our next installment of  Tips for Designing Yummy, Sunny Kitchens.

Smart Use of Small Spaces

By | Custom Home Design | No Comments

Strategically designed small spaces are the mark of a well-built home and can add a lot of character for minimal cost. Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri has designed and built many custom residences and in each one, he looks for ways to  maximize every inch of the home visually and functionally. “Small spaces hold tremendous architectural power when carefully crafted as wineries, niches, built-ins and  bar areas. These design elements assure that there is no wasted space in a home,” says Jorge, owner of Cornerstone Custom Construction, based in Heathrow, Florida.

Niche in Vestibule, an example of Smart Use of Small Space

Take a close look around your home, and perhaps you’ll discover that there are unused spaces with great potential. Here are a few ideas for turning those small spaces into beautiful features in your home. Consider a winery for your home. Jorge creates wineries in all of the homes that he designs and builds. A winery is affordable and easy to create because it requires a very small space, at least 18 inches.

a winery crafted from a recessed wall
a winery crafted from a recessed wall

There are several ways to find the right space for your winery. Consider an old closet or underneath the staircase or any room where you can bump out a wall to create an additional 18 inches of space. In one of his homes, Jorge created a winery from an oversized guest bath because it shared a wall with the formal living room. This made it easy to frame out the extra space in the guest bath and create access from the formal living room.  Once the 3-foot by 2-foot enclosure is framed and has drywall installed, you can embellish the winery with a wrought iron door.

Winery Featuring Barrel Holders for Bottles

Inside the winery, there are many options for wine racks including wood shelves, iron or wood racks, and wine barrels.  Finishes for the interior walls include options such as stone, brick or faux painting. Depending on the location of the winery, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4000 to $5000.

The niche is another great architectural use for small, unused spaces. There are many different finishes for the back wall of the niche including stone, tile or faux painting. Look for corners of the house that you can frame out or walls that you can thicken out to create a recessed niche. The cost is minimal, under $1000 to frame, finish, and embellish a niche. It’s a great investment that adds a lot of character to the house.

Formal Living Room Built-Ins
Formal Living Room Built-Ins
Built-ins are another way to optimize square footage in a home. When Jorge designs a home, he looks at existing walls of certain rooms where he can create a 24-inch recessed area. This recessed space has many uses depending on the room. For example, in a dining room, this 24-inch recessed space could be used for a built-in credenza with cabinetry.  Jorge typically creates an arch or wood beam overhead to highlight the space.  Another functional space for built-ins is in the office. In a 24-inch recessed space, Jorge creates a built-in desk and cabinetry. In several of his homes, Jorge has designed and built bar areas out of the recessed space.  These spaces are functional and can serve as architectural focal points. For additional design tips and money saving ideas, check out the videos series, Trade Secrets by Jorge, at www.imyourbuilder.com  For questions or comments, please post on to his Facebook page.