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The Electric Fireplace, A Hot Property in Home Design for 2013

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design, Video Episodes | No Comments
Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

One of the latest trends to light up a room is the electric fireplace. Recently, I attended the International Builders’ Show in Vegas where electric fireplaces were the hot property in home design. There are several reasons why:

Electric Fireplaces are Affordable:

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

A gas or wood burning fireplace can cost you approximately $3,000 to purchase and install plus the cost of the gas lines, which can run as much as $400.  An electric fireplace costs approximately $1,000.

Electric Fireplaces Can be Installed in Any Room:

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

Because electric fireplaces don’t require ventilation, they can go in any room with a 120 Volt electrical outlet to plug into. The electric fireplace simply hangs from the wall so the possibilities are endless.

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Imagine an electric fireplace flickering nearby while soaking in your tub, reading fireside in your family room or enjoying an al fresco evening by the flickering light of your outdoor living room hearth.

Electric Fireplaces Go with Any Décor:

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Electric Fireplace by Modern Flames

Manufacturers are capitalizing on this trend in the hearth industry launching new electric fireplace product lines in many styles. These electric fireplaces have cool capabilities that traditional fireplaces just can’t pull off. Some have colored LED backlighting that can be programmed to rotate up to nine different colors or remain constant. The base of the firebox can feature stones or a glass rocks.

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

Electric Fireplace by Hearth & Home

In order to appreciate the beauty of these affordable faux fireplaces, I put together a Vlog with some video clips so you can really appreciate how an electric fireplace can light up a room.

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.

3 Tips to Avoid Costly Mistakes in Your Lot Purchase

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design | 4 Comments


Custom Home under construction by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri requiring a stem wall footer foundation. www.imyourbuilder.com

If you are in the market looking for a lot to build your custom home, here’s an important lesson in building a solid foundation. It can save you money and avoid costly surprises in the building process.  There are two types of foundations in Florida for the construction of a home: stem wall footers and monolithic.

The existing grade (surface) and slope of the property determines the type of foundation. In Florida, most lots are flat or semi-flat. Monolithic would be the proper choice. Sloped or uneven terrain requires stem wall footers.

Stem wall footer foundation under construction on lot for custom home with Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

The difference between the two? Stem wall footers are buried two or three feet below the house to avoid erosion and to anchor the house deeper into the ground into harder soils.

Stem wall footers are buried 2 to 3 feet below deep into the hard soils to solidly anchor a custom home under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri

In monolithic foundations, the footers are incorporated into the house slab and they don’t go as deep. Stem wall footers is the more expensive foundation of the two and takes longer to build because it’s a two-part process.

Here are three tips to avoid costly mistakes when selecting your lot:

Before purchasing the lot, consult your builder and have him walk the property.

Order a Topography Survey from your surveyor.

Call your county building department and get your finished floor elevation to determine the difference between the existing grade and the proposed finished floor elevation.

Together, these three key pieces of information will determine how much fill the lot requires to make it buildable (or in some instances how much fill needs to be removed).  Fill is an important price consideration when deciding on a lot because it can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of the lot. Just another money-saving Trade Secret and for much more, subscribe to our Trade Secrets blog and the Trade Secrets video series on you tube.