Tag

granite Archives - cornerstonecustomconstruction

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

2015-07-16_0020

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.

2015-07-16_0019

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.

2015-07-16_0010

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

2015-07-16_0002

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.

2015-07-16_0006

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.

2015-07-16_0003

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.

2015-07-16_0017

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.

2015-07-16_0004

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

2015-07-16_0012

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

stoneandglassmosiac

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:

GlassMosicPool

 

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.

tile_design_ideas_details

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.

stix48

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.

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:

sIMG_5550

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:

WaterFeature

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:

FLoatingVanity1

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.

Faux Wood Beams for Affordable Architectural Details

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

“Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

Good taste can be affordable with smart design and strategic use of materials to add elegance and character. Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says faux beams are cost effective architectural elements that create a custom, old-world look on a budget.  “Faux wood beams are the best buy for your design dollar because they are dramatic but cost one-fifth the price of a real wood beam,” explains Jorge, who has designed and built custom homes for all budgets for more than a decade.

Faux Wood Beams in Formal Living Room

Jorge’s best money-saving advice is to plan ahead if it’s new construction. “The beams should be shown in the home’s drawings as with everything else that involves framing, so the framer includes them in the price of the framing package to avoid extra charges.” For homeowners thinking about adding faux wood beams to an existing home, the cost savings are still substantial. Homeowners should have an understanding of how these beams are made in order to hire the right person for the job. Here’s a “how-to” breakdown for creating faux wood beams.

Faux Wood Vaulted Beams in Family Room

Step one is to have a carpenter frame the skeleton of the beam with 2 by 4s. Let the drywall contractor wrap the beams in drywall as he does the rest of the house.

Faux Wood Beams Wrapped in Drywall

Step two is the distressing of the beams. The craftsman will age and season the drywall with special tools. He can get even more creative by adding termite holes or gouges.

Step three is the application of the first coat of paint. This will determine how light or dark the finished wood beam will be.  Next, the craftsman applies a gel stain. Jorge recommends using the color Chestnut for the gel stain for a more realistic finish.

Faux Wood Beams Primed and Ready for Painting

Step four is creating the beam details. Using a special tool, the craftsman creates the grain and the knots in the drywall beam. Once this is done, the beams will sit for 24 hours and then he will apply a light coat of the same gel stain to give it the final look.

The cost to create these faux wood beams depends on volume. For example, in a home where there are 30 to 40 beams, Jorge says the price to finish them can be as low as 60 to 70 dollars per beam. Now if you only do a handful of beams, you can expect to pay a hundred dollars per beam.

“The beams are a good example of what I tell homeowners: better to spend your money on rich architectural elements than on pricey overdone décor. A beautifully built home showcases itself.

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.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnOCOGdooBo&w=560&h=315]