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home design show 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

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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.

 

 

 

 

Mission-Mod Blog Home Concrete Foundation Pour

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Uncategorized | No Comments
Concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida.

Concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida.

Foundation work is complete on the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri.  The dirt floor underwent a termite treatment and was covered in plastic to prep for the concrete foundation pour.

The dirt foundation is prepped with a termite treatment and covered in plastic in advance of the concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida. for more, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

The dirt foundation is prepped with a termite treatment and covered in plastic in advance of the concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida. for more, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

The 4,600 square foot home’s foundation sits four inches above the finished floor elevation. Notice that the tower entry sits even higher at 14 inches above the finished floor elevation to accommodate steps leading to the front door for a grand entrance.

 

 

Before the concrete pour, you can see around the perimeter of the home’s foundation, deep trenches with reinforced steel rods. These trenches are called footers and they are 20 inches deep and will be filled with concrete to anchor the load bearing walls of the home.

Because the home has an open floor plan, the footers are a few inches deeper than in a typical home foundation. Since there are fewer load bearing walls in the home, the footers have to be super stable to support few walls that will carry the structural load.

The concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. The foundation required 11 trucks of concrete. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida. for more, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

The concrete foundation pour at the Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri. The foundation required 11 trucks of concrete. Follow the step-by-step process as we document the construction of this 4,600 square foot custom home located in Heathrow, Florida. for more, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

Next, the concrete block walls go up, so stay tuned as we offer tips on the masonry phase of construction. For more, go to www.ImYourBuilder.com

 

 

 

Mission-Mod Blog House Foundation Work Begins

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Mission-Mod Blog House, Uncategorized | No Comments

Follow the Mission-Mod Blog House for a Step-By-Step Tutorial on the Custom Construction Process

The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

The next phase of construction of the Mission-Mod Blog House by Orlando Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri requires soil testing of the lot. This should happen before the concrete forms are laid out for the foundation and the underground work begins. Two soil tests are necessary: Proctor and Density. These two tests will provide the builder with information on the type of soils the lot contains and how compact the soils are. Compaction results of 95 percent or better are suitable for construction.

Foundation forms for The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

Foundation forms for The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

Next, the concrete foundation and underground work begins. Due to the existing grading conditions of the lot, the builder decided to do a monolithic foundation which consists of the footings and the slab in a single pour versus a stem wall in which the footers are poured and a masonry wall is constructed and then the slab poured on top of that. If your lot is on a hill or sloping terrain, a stem wall foundation is required. Since this particular lot is flat, it accommodates a monolithic foundation, which is less expensive (a cost savings of approximately 30 percent).

The concrete foundation contractor places the forms around the perimeter of the house including the garage and sets the forms at the proper elevation.

Foundation forms for The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

Foundation forms for The Mission-Mod Blog House under construction by Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri of Jorge Ulibarri Custom Homes. Follow the blog for a step by step guide to the process of custom home construction. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

Next, the plumber and the electrician “pull strings” (string the locations) to figure out where pipes electrical conduits will be located with respect to the walls and plumbing and fixtures. Also in this phase, the plumber will do the underground work for the mechanical contractor, which is placing conduits for the copper lines necessary for the air conditioning units. This form serves as a grid to guide the underground work. Stay tuned for our next post as the Mission-Mod Blog House undergoes its concrete foundation pour.

Barrel Ceilings That Raise Eyebrows

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments
Brick multibarrel ceiling in kitchen of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Brick multibarrel ceiling in kitchen of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

A Checklist to Determine if the Barrel Ceiling is the Right Choice

The latest in home design is all about raising sight lines with architectural details. Ceiling treatments that make you look up are the main ingredients of a well-designed home. This attention to the details above is evident in the popularity of the barrel ceiling. “As a custom builder, I get many requests to create a barrel ceiling in the kitchen or a home’s passageways. This type of ceiling treatment has many incarnations that offer homeowners options for materials and price points. The barrel ceiling requires certain bones in a home: truss support, ceiling height etc. Before going forward with this ceiling design option, here is a checklist to determine if the barrel ceiling will work well for your living space,” says Orlando Custom Builder, Jorge Ulibarri. 

Ceiling Height:

faux painted multibarrel ceiling in kitchen of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

faux painted multibarrel ceiling in kitchen of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

It’s important to take into account the height of your ceiling because the barrel ceiling will lower the height by 18 inches. Here’s why: the design requires a 12 inch drop to accommodate the radial barrel and 6 inch drop at the end of the barrel to accommodate the beam.

Ceiling Structural Support:

Brick veneer single barrel ceiling in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri. This single barrel ceiling works well for hallways.

Brick veneer single barrel ceiling in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri. This single barrel ceiling works well for hallways.

Not every home’s infrastructure is built to accommodate the design and weight loads of a barrel ceiling. If you want to retrofit or remodel a room to include a barrel ceiling, then you have to reinforce the existing trusses to accommodate the loads or weight of the barrel ceiling. This adds significantly to the cost of the barrel ceiling and should be factored into the budget.

Room Layout:

The barrels must align with the kitchen island and lighting fixtures. Pictured here is a brick multibarrel ceiling in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

The barrels must align with the kitchen island and lighting fixtures. Pictured here is a brick multibarrel ceiling in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

One of the biggest challenges with this type of ceiling that must determined in advance is the layout of your room. The kitchen is the number one choice to showcase a barrel ceiling. The challenge in the kitchen is to synchronize the layout with the design above. The lighting fixture above the kitchen island must be centered over the island and in the middle of the barrel. The barrels must sync up with the various other kitchen components in a way that makes sense visually and functionally.

Barrel Ceiling Materials:

Single faux painted barrel ceiling in the hallway of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Single faux painted barrel ceiling in the hallway of a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

So you decided your home can accommodate the barrel ceiling. Now it’s time to pick the finishes. When it comes to choosing your design elements, you have several options: soffits, beams, crown molding, tongue and groove, faux finish, travertine tiles and brick veneers. You can chose to go with a single barrel or a multibarrel design. The multibarrel ceiling typically consists of three to four barrels separated by beams. If you are watching your budget, a faux-painted finish for the barrel ceiling is most affordable. If you opt for brick veneer or travertine, you have the choice of a staggered linear pattern that runs parallel to the beams or a herringbone pattern that crisscrosses or a combination of both. Another budgetary consideration: the herringbone pattern in a brick or travertine finish tends to be the more expensive of the two. Wood beams are essential elements of the barrel ceiling. You can go with the more affordable faux wood beams made of drywall or foam. Pricier options include beams made of real wood veneer. For a look at how to create faux wood beams, I invite you to view my Trade Secrets Video on Faux Wood beams as well.

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3 Things to Think About When Wiring Your Home:

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

Our lifestyles and daily habits continually evolve to accommodate the latest technology. In new construction, the challenge is to build a home that is wired for technology today and into the future. Orlando Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri suggests three things to think about in the design phase to ensure the home’s electrical wiring will meet the homeowner’s needs.

TV Location and Use:

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Think about the locations and uses of each TV. In the planning stage, the homeowner and builder should discuss where each TV will go and whether the TV will require additional components such as a cable box, DVD player or game console.

For example, will viewers watch the TV in high definition?  If so, the TV requires a cable box. Where will the additional equipment reside? In a closet, hidden from view? Or, in a piece of furniture underneath the TV?

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“Typically, most builders don’t include the additional cost of wiring a TV to its components. Determining these prices in the design phase will help the homeowner make informed decisions and stay within the budget,” says Ulibarri.

Phone Use and Location:

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Today’s landline telephones no longer require a phone jack at each location to function. Instead, the telephone base station hooks to a single phone jack running the phone line through the power line so all other telephones in the home hook to electrical outlets. Think about where the phone base station will reside. That space must be wired with a phone jack. No other phone jacks are needed in the home. Think about where the additional telephones will go, so that there are electrical outlets to plug into.

Consider a USB Electrical Outlet:

Leviton USB Charger

Leviton USB Charger

One of the latest developments in home automation is the electrical outlet with USB ports for charging technological tools such as tablets, cell phones and computers. Leviton recently introduced a 20 AMP USB Charger Receptacle. It’s a standard receptacle with two USB ports that incorporate a smart chip from Texas Instruments allowing the device to speak with the receptacle to understand what needs to be powered and optimize the power efficiency.

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The USB Charger Receptacle fits in a standard box and wires like any other receptacle. “This is an affordable way for homeowners to upgrade their electrical outlets to accommodate today’s technology,” explains Ulibarri. Leviton’s USB Charger Receptacle retails for $20.

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

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
www.modernflames.com

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.

The Kitchen Island Curves and Wraps In 2013

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

The Latest Trends in Kitchen Island Design Trade Lines for Curves and Mixed Materials for Monolithic.

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The latest kitchen design trend creating a buzz at the International Builders Show has to do with the shape and make of the kitchen island.

Kitchen Island Curves:

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Still a must-have in any modern kitchen, the island is softening its linear look with curves that allow for round-the-table seating instead of shoulder-to-shoulder.

Kitchen Island Surfaces Go Monolithic:

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Countertops that wrap around the island base are showing up in the latest kitchen designs. It’s an aesthetic known as Monolithic. You’ll be hearing that word a lot in 2013. Monolithic design is defined as a single material that seamlessly wraps around a surface, wall, cabinetry or any other feature.

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Some of the best examples are in the concrete surfaces of kitchen countertops, very on-trend this year. Concrete is a malleable material that can be sculpted and molded to create a seamless surface.

Kitchen Island Doubles Up:

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The kitchen island is doubling up in some homes to offer more multi-tasking capabilities, surface space and storage. Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says the double island is a great solution to a common kitchen design challenge: keeping the kitchen open while preserving storage space. “In one of my homes, the shape of the kitchen is square. Rather than enclose the kitchen with walls to create more surface and storage space,  I added the double island  to maintained the openness while providing this added functionality.”

In this example picture above,  Jorge designed two islands each with seven linear feet of countertop space that sit four feet apart.  The inner island, located in the kitchen center, will be monolithic, made of wraparound Carrera marble with white cabinetry underneath. The island facing out towards the family room features the same white Carrera marble countertop but with an espresso wood cabinetry base to compliment the floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the family room.

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Three Tips for A Tree-Filled Lot

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

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The Costs and Considerations When Constructing on a Tree-Filled Lot

Trees, especially mature ones, typically enhance the value and beauty of a lot for home construction. Many homebuyers want an idyllic setting for their dream home framed by a canopy of trees but this can add to the cost of the homebuilding process. A lack of trees is a telltale sign of cheap development. We all know it’s easier to clear the property of all trees than selectively keep trees in the process.

The extra cost for building on a tree-filled lot can be worth it as long as the homebuyer weighs all the costs and benefits associated with preserving the trees. Here’s a look at some issues to consider when purchasing a lot with trees.

Evaluate the Root System:

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Evaluate the root systems located close to the home’s foundation. Mature trees on smaller properties have deeply entrenched roots that can affect the foundation of a home. If the lot is being redeveloped and an existing structure is torn down to make way for a new home, the existing root structure may have to be removed thus killing existing trees. If the lot is being cleared for construction, it’s important to avoid placing the foundation on or near an existing root system that can grow into the pipes and the underground infrastructure over time.

Consider the Treetop Canopy:

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The logistics can be more complicated thereby adding to the overall cost of construction. Construction equipment also can damage the existing trees.

Consult with City & County About Drainage:

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Consult with City and County authorities about drainage requirements. Consider the relationship between the trees and drainage. A common oversight when attempting to keep the trees during construction is the failure to understand the relationship between the trees and the site’s drainage. The drainage design is one of the most important elements of home site development. It is critical to check drainage requirements and finished floor elevations for the lot with both city and county authorities. This must happen prior to making the decision of which trees to preserve.

City and county engineers create the master plan of a development. They determine how a piece of property must drain and the soil height requirement to build on. The level of the soil is known as the grade elevation. It plays a critical role in conserving the existing trees on a lot. Here’s why: If the city or county requires a higher soil grade elevation than what’s in existence, the builder must bring in fill or extra dirt. This extra soil can smother tree roots effectively killing them. If the city or county requires a lower soil grade elevation, then the builder must remove soil, which can expose tree roots killing them as well. Sometimes the city or county will require shallow rainwater retention ponds on site that can affect the tree root system on the property.

The smaller the lot, the more critical are the abovementioned factors in the construction process. For more money-saving new construction tips and design ideas, subscribe to the video series, Trade Secrets, available on YouTube.

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