Design Archives - cornerstonecustomconstruction

Sport and Resort Pool, The Latest Trend in Pool Design

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

The latest trend in pool design combines sport and resort for a pool that does triple duty as the home’s showpiece, social hub and gym.

A pool designed for exercise and entertainment can be a wise investment-increasing your home’s value and enhancing your quality of life. The latest trend in pool design is Resort and Sport. Florida Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri says clients these days are asking for pools built for a workout and a party. “Clients no longer want the lagoon-style pool with its boulders , cascading waterfalls and meandering shapes. Although these pools are pretty to look at, they aren’t as functional as the more contemporary, sleek designs,” explains Jorge, who is building a Sport and Resort-style pool for one of his clients that embodies this latest trend.

“Today’s pool designs are more contemporary and polished looking with clean lines. From a cost perspective, this look is affordable depending on the types of finishes the homeowner chooses. The beauty comes with the pool’s contrasting colors and mosaics. The contemporary style lends itself to a lot of creativity as opposed to the lagoon-style pool and its limited design,” says Jorge.

The design of a pool is dictated by its function. The homeowner wants this 1000 sq. ft. pool to become part of his fitness routine so its design spans 80 feet long to accommodate swimming laps. (Note a 25-yard pool is considered standard lap pool.) As an added bonus, the pool’s length makes it visible from every window of the house giving it a resort look.

Also designed to entertain, the saltwater pool features several social spaces such as a swim-up table, shallow water lounging areas, sunken seating, stepping-stones and a spa. The pool gets its contemporary edge from ample use of cobalt blue mosaics and pebble stone bottom with contrasting ivory travertine coping (pool’s edge)

The saltwater pool integrates with the outdoor covered living room via the spa, where water gracefully spills over the sides and flows back to the pool. Bubbling fountains throughout contribute to the soothing, melodic ambiance.

The budget for this pool is on the higher-end but Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri says there are always opportunities to save. In our next blog posting, we’ll give you some money-saving tips on the latest trends in pool design. Check back and be sure and subscribe to our blog and video series Trade Secrets for more affordable design ideas.

Top 3 Trade Secrets for a Multi-Tasking Kitchen

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | 5 Comments


Kitchen designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri www.imyourbuilder.com

The modern kitchen in today’s home must be a multi-tasker, able to handle more household duties than just the cooking. Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri says his clients are asking for kitchens that take on tasks once reserved for single-use spaces. “Today’s kitchen comes stocked with amenities that handle household business such as computer niches, technology stations, and recycling centers all designed in an open floor plan that seamlessly integrates the kitchen with the great room (family room) and dining area.” Jorge has been in business for more than 12 years designing and building custom residences throughout Florida. Based on his observations of changing lifestyle needs in the function and design of the kitchen, he shares his top three trade secrets for creating a modern multi-tasking kitchen.

Create Work Stations:

Today’s kitchen has to handle all types of household business from paying bills to doing homework. The modern floor plan contains workstations and task-oriented cabinetry to facilitate daily life. Cabinetry design features accessibility and convenience with fewer overhead cabinets and more lift-up or sliding doors and pull out drawers at arm’s reach.  Work areas can include a baking station with tray drawers, the food prep area, the coffee bar, and custom storage compartments for appliances. “I design the kitchen to include architectural elements such as wall niches and bump-outs to store coffee machines and other appliances or to showcase dinnerware.”

A computer niche in the kitchen can serve as a satellite home office allowing members of the family to research recipes, do homework, pay bills, and shop online. “The kitchen computer niche is another feature that brings the family together in the heart of the home. It keeps the kids out of the formal office and allows supervision of their online activities.”

According to the American Institute of Architects’ recent design trends survey, 43 percent of architects polled saw an increase in demand for computer areas in the kitchen. “The last few years have seen kitchens take on new functions with dedicated computer areas and recharging stations,” says the AIA.

Although everything can be done wireless, Jorge says some clients want the option of a CAT 5 connection point in the kitchen.

Create an Entry Drop Zone:

The corridor leading from the garage to the kitchen is an ideal space to serve as a drop zone. Jorge designs this area with a bench and under seating storage for people to sit, remove and store shoes. The entrance corridor also features upper cabinets for sports gear and backpacks and wall pegs to hang jackets, umbrellas and other articles of clothing. A countertop serves as a technology docking area to recharge phones and other electronic devices. Underneath the countertop are   filing drawers to store household paperwork. The drop zone frees up the kitchen to focus on other tasks and prevents clutter. “I design this area to be just as architecturally relevant as the rest of the house even though its function is solely utilitarian.”

Jorge enhances the look of the drop zone by adding an arch or beam header to integrate wood elements. The bench base is accented in travertine or stone with cedar wood doors that open to storage compartments underneath. The upper cabinets feature distressed wood complimenting the beam and cedar doors below. The pegboard is an opportunity to introduce clever design elements such as antique hardware and family memorabilia.

Create Social Spaces:

A well-designed kitchen island is essential for entertaining in today’s kitchen. Jorge designs the kitchen island with a minimum of 42” clearance all the way around and a 36”-high bar top that is level with the island. “If you don’t have the space, make the island smaller or reconfigure the kitchen so it’s bigger. Don’t cramp the kitchen. You’ll regret it.”

Jorge recommends consulting with the supplier of the countertop surface during the design phase so there are no issues with the sizing and installation of the countertop with the base cabinetry. “This is a common and costly mistake people make. They build the kitchen cabinetry months before they look at their stone countertop options only to discover the pieces aren’t large enough. So, they end up with a seam in the middle of the island and pay for two slabs instead of one.” Countertop stone selection is a team effort with the kitchen designer, cabinet manufacturer, builder and homeowner.

A social kitchen is one where entertaining happens indoors and outdoors. The trend in home design is to merge the outdoor and indoor living space. The location of the kitchen is key to this successful integration. “People gravitate towards the kitchen. By locating the kitchen next to the outdoor living space, it will pull people outside. Essentially, the kitchen becomes part of an indoor-outdoor party room by adding sliding glass walls to create one space. The outdoor kitchen can handle the grilling while the indoor kitchen serves as the food prep area and a window over the sink can open up to pass through beverages.”

Today’s kitchen takes on many roles, designed to be the cook, the entertainer and the household manager. 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 -www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.Home.Builder


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

Ceiling Details-Designing the Look Above

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In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, learn how to enhance your overhead living space with strategic architectural ceiling details. Luxury Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri shows you various ceiling designs he uses in his homes and offers honest cost breakdowns and tips on how to create rooms that make you look up and go “Wow.” Also, for the latest tips, design finds and other useful information on home design, architecture and homebuilding, be sure and “like” his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.Home.Builder and register to win a free custom made wrought iron winery door valued at $3000.


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Home Design with Wrought Iron

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design | One Comment

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri shares design ideas on the use of wrought iron doors and accents to customize your home. Learn money-saving tips on creating an old world custom look with strategic architectural touches using wrought iron. Jorge shows you various locations and uses for wrought iron including winery doors, window treatments and stairwells. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

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Design Tips for Wrought Iron Details

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design | One Comment

“Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

Wrought iron goes with any architectural style and it never goes out of style. It’s one of those architectural and decorative elements that instills a sense of legacy in a home. Whether wrought iron takes the shape of a chandelier, staircase or front door, the material symbolizes something solid with a storied past as if it has endured for generations. Wrought iron can showcase a homeowner’s personal expression or add period charm. Strategically incorporating wrought iron accents into a home’s décor can add character and ambiance for an affordable price. Here are a few suggestions.

The front door is one of the most highly visible architectural elements that defines the style of a home. A custom-made wrought iron door can make a statement and add to the home’s curb appeal.

The double-door wrought iron entry is a trademark of Custom Homebuilder, Jorge Ulibarri. “The beauty of wrought iron is that it can carry the design theme throughout the house from the front door, railings, winery door, windows and so on,” explains Jorge.

Oftentimes, the homeowner designs the wrought iron details of the front door and Jorge orders it custom-made and imported from an artisan in Monterey, Mexico. There is a significant cost savings Jorge can get by working directly with artisans in Mexico. Jorge is able to pass on the savings to his clients. “I’ve had clients who have added their initials to the scrollwork of front door and the hand railing design.” One example pictured here showcases a front door with matching scrollwork on the floating staircase.

Wrought Iron Front Door with Matching Scrollwork on Staircase

Homeowners can expect to pay approximately $6,000 to $8,000 for one of these doors depending on the size and the design. “I do caution homeowners to make sure they are purchasing from a reputable company and that the door is certified and tested. I’ve seen very poorly crafted doors that can be a nightmare,” says Jorge.

Wrought Iron Winery Door with Grapes and Leaves Theme

The winery door is another highly visible opportunity to showcase wrought iron. The doors to the winery can feature a theme such as leaves and grapes or perhaps the homeowner wants his or her initials. Jorge says the cost to design, handcraft and import a winery door is approximately $1,800.

Wrought Iron Winery Door with Scrollwork

The master bath is an ideal area of the home to add a touch of wrought iron as well. One example pictured here is the window in the master bath overlooking the tub. This window is made of frosted glass for privacy and serves as the backdrop for wrought iron detail. Jorge says the cost to create this wrought iron decorative window is approximately $300 to $350 depending on the window size.

Master Bath Wrought Iron Decorative Window

Master Bath Wrought Iron Window

For more design ideas with wrought iron accents including various locations and uses, watch Trade Secrets by Jorge, a video series that offers money-saving tips to create that custom-home look on a budget.

Trade Secrets by Jorge, Designing with Wrought Iron

To learn more about Jorge’s work, visit www.imyourbuilder.com

Fireplace Design Tips from Trade Secrets by Jorge

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design | 2 Comments

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri shares tips and design ideas for creating a fireplace that is both functional and a focal point of the room. Learn about various materials, labor costs and design considerations when adding a fireplace to an existing room or including one in your design plans. As always, Jorge welcomes any questions or comments. For more information go to www.imyourbuilder.com.

Watch the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge for “Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

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Fireplace Design Tips to Light Up a Room

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The fireplace has evolved from purely functional to a decorative showpiece in the home. It transforms the room and becomes a focal point adding character and enhancing the home’s architectural theme. Even in hot climates such as Florida where Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri designs and builds homes for all budgets, the fireplace is an essential feature. “A well-designed fireplace has a commanding presence. It serves as a social gathering spot inviting people to gather around the hearth to enjoy and admire one of the most dramatic spaces in the home,” says Jorge. He has several tips for designing a fireplace that makes a statement in any room.  There are three elements to consider when designing a fireplace: the shape, the surround, and the tower finishes.

Fireplace shape: The basic design of a fireplace is a towering box. The first design challenge is to create movement. “The fireplace should be multi-dimensional, incorporating niches, arches, columns, and mantles to create a fireplace with movement.”

Fireplace surround: There are many fireplace surrounds to define the architectural style. Some of the most common materials for surrounds include travertine, marble, precast and wood. Jorge typically uses fireplace surrounds made out of travertine or precast to suit the old-world style of his homes.

Fireplace tower finishes: The selection of the tower finishes can be the hardest choice to make because they are the most visible elements of the fireplace. Depending on the size of the fireplace, cost will dictate the final selection.

One example that incorporates these three design elements is the formal fireplace pictured here that Jorge created.

It soars 24 feet with a travertine mantle and two columns sitting on a hearth. “This is a good example of how to spend money on the design and framing rather than expensive finishes. The total cost of this fireplace is $1,600. A money-saving alternative is to use precast stone instead of travertine, which will cost half the price.” Another option for this soaring fireplace is to plaster the whole thing all the way to the ceiling giving the room a Tuscan feel. The price to plaster the whole fireplace all the way up to the ceiling is $1,000 and it’s worth every penny,” says Jorge.

Another example of a well-designed fireplace is pictured here in the family room.

This stone fireplace features a wood beam as the mantle. An arched niche above the fireplace with tongue and groove as a backdrop serves as a built-in for the flat screen TV.  Jorge says the fireplace finishes here cost between $2,500 to $3,000 and required two days of labor to construct.

Another cost effective tip is to use a stucco finish on the fireplace surround and tower and use stone and wood as accents in key places such as a mantle, header or a heart. This will cut the cost down of the stone to a minimum and will still give it an authentic Tuscan-aged look.

For homes already built, the homeowner can add in a ventless fireplace, which will not require cutting through the existing roof. Installation is simple. The unit costs approximately $2,500 and the installation runs $500. Depending on the design and finishes, the unit could cost an additional $3,000 to $4,000.  For more information, check out the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge which focuses on Fireplace design. Click here to watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHl2iSwkk94&feature=plcp&context=C34762abUDOEgsToPDskKcL8XZguL9xpNV6ChK62kB

Defining Space with Floor Transitions and Arches

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“Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

Today’s cost-conscious consumers want easy and inexpensive ways to enhance their living spaces without breaking the bank. Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri builds million dollar homes and says anyone can add affordable architectural elements that give a home that custom look on a budget. One of Jorge’s most stunning and functional design ideas starts underfoot with floor transitions and ends upwards with archways.

Mosaic transition and arches in the hallway define space

“There are many affordable ways to create and define space in a home with the strategic use of floor transitions and archways,” explains Jorge, who has more than a decade of experience designing and building custom homes for all budgets.  What is a design transition? A transition visually divides space. It’s a design element or embellishment that visually marks a spatial boundary or highlights an architectural detail.

“Transitions are design details that are often overlooked but are the mark of a well- built, well-designed home.” Jorge recommends travertine mosaics as an ideal choice for floor transitions because they are affordable, easy to install, and have a lot of design potential. “In an open floorplan, I place travertine mosaic mats under the archways to separate the rooms. This way, we maintain the open floorplan but we give each space a visual separation from the other. These mosaics come in 12-inch by 12-inch mats and they are roughly $10 per square foot. The installation runs around $120 a transition. I would use transitions sparingly and strategically in high profile areas of the home.”

Travertine Medallion in Tower Entry

Floor medallions also serve as eye-catching focal points to define and highlight a space, especially in high traffic areas of the home.  Jorge uses two types of floor medallions in his homes: wood inlaid and travertine mosaic.

Jorge says there are thousands of choices when it comes to floor medallions.  The example pictured with this article is in the tower entry of the home. It is a 36-inch medallion. “To save money, we enlarged it to 48 inches by adding 4 by 4 mosaics all the way around it to compliment the staircase risers, which also have the same mosaics.” The cost to add this travertine medallion is  $120 for materials and labor according to Jorge.

The wood inlaid floor medallion is another stunning option. The example pictured here is in the foyer of the home. “I typically put wood floor medallions in the entry way or foyer of a home. These hardwood inlay floor medallions are laser cut. I purchase them online from Atlanta Inlaid Floors www.atlantainlaidfloors.com  Installation is simple. Once the floor is completed, we do a template of the medallion. We trace it over the floor, cut out the travertine, apply liquid nails to the floor and insert the medallion. The key thing here is to make sure that the medallion is flush with the existing floor, not too low or too high.”

Wood Floor Medallion in high profile area

Wood floor materials also make artistic transitions from room to room. Another creative idea is to use wood floor planks to “frame” around stone or tile floors. The wood accents can pull from the beams or tongue and groove ceilings to create a lot of warmth and character.

Instead of blowing your budget on interior decorating, consider investing in visual enhancements to the bones of your home -the walls, floors, and ceilings. The return on investment will be much greater with a well-built home that showcases itself instead of a home that requires overdone decorating to “dress it up” and compensate for architectural shortcomings.

For more home design and construction trade secrets and tips, check out the video series, “Trade Secrets by Jorge,” on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/jorgeulibarri  You can also post your questions or comments to his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.home.Builder.

Trade Secrets by Jorge- Floor Design Ideas

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


Custom Touches that Will Floor You

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri focuses on floor design. Jorge takes viewers on a tour of one of his homes that showcases a mixture of floor designs and materials. Jorge shares ways to create and define space with floor transitions and offers ideas to add affordable custom touches such as floor medallions, wood details, and mosaics to create that luxury look on a budget.
Watch the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge for “Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

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