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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.

 

 

 

 

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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3 Tips for Picking the Perfect Lot

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Rendering of Villa Alexina, designed by Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

So you’ve found the perfect lot to build your dream home. Before you sign the contract, beware that the sticker price isn’t the total purchase cost. Many consumers fail to factor in ALL costs associated with preparing the lot for new home construction.

Looks can be very deceiving when it comes to land purchases and there are many hidden costs that only surface with the proper tests and data checks. Florida custom homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri has helped many clients find the perfect lot, working together with real estate agents as part of the “lot search team.”  Jorge says ideally, buyers should include the builder in the lot selection process. “The homebuilder knows what it will take to make the land buildable. He can guide the client in asking the right questions and seeking critical information that will save money and headaches in the building process,” says Jorge, who designs and builds custom homes throughout Central Florida.  To help you pick the perfect lot for your dream home, here are three important tips:

Get A Land Survey

Before you sign the purchase contract on a lot, it’s advisable to order a land survey that includes topographic information showing the existing grade elevations of the lot.

Soil Test the Lot

No matter what geographic area you build in, there will be special land considerations that affect the foundation of your new home. To avoid any unforeseen issues such foundation shifts and cracks due to unstable soil or in the case of Florida, sinkholes and muck, hire an engineering company to do soil testing. Soil tests will determine if the land is suitable for construction.

When you order your soil testing there are two types to request: Preliminary Testing, which costs approximately $500, and Extensive Testing, which costs approximately $2,500. Preliminary testing will take soil samples or bores  as deep as  six feet and typically include  five soil samples per half acre lot. You can request more samples  to increase the test’s accuracy. Preliminary Testing  is not foolproof.  It can fail to detect potential soil issues such as muck that can add to the cost of the lot because it will require sand fill.  Extensive Testing  makes soil borings down 20 feet for a more accurate picture of the lot’s condition.  The extra upfront costs with Extensive Testing  is well worth it because it can save you thousands of dollars in hidden costs to prep a lot for construction and  prevent you from purchasing an unsuitable lot.

Crosscheck ALL Setbacks

In some cases, there are multiple setback requirements that affect the orientation and design of a new home. It’s important to investigate and crosscheck all setback requirements of your lot. Call the county or municipality where your lot is located to find out the construction setbacks and finished floor elevations.  The later will become a crucial piece of information once you get your topographic survey.  With the finished floor elevations and your topographic survey, you will be able to determine the amount of fill that your lot requires in order to achieve your finished floor elevation.

If your lot is located in an HOA governed development, get a copy of the HOA bylaws to verify your construction setbacks from the developer or HOA.  Sometimes there is a difference between the county setback and HOA setback requirements and you must abide by the most stringent setbacks. This is a common mistake consumers make only to realize it after they have purchased the lot and have started the design and construction process.

Make sure you check if your lot is located on a flood zone. If it is located in a flood zone, make sure that your surveyor notes the designated  flood zone.  If the county has not determined the flood zone that your lot is in then  you will be paying a very high premium for flood insurance.

For more money-saving 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

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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]

The Proper Fix for Cracks in the Floor Foundation

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

Another Home Construction Tip from Trade Secrets by Jorge

Cracks in the home’s foundation are a fact of life. Most homes experience cracks in the concrete slab as the home “settles” over time. Those concrete slab cracks can cause marble, tile, or stone floors to crack and it can be a very costly problem after the flooring warranty has expired. Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri has built homes of all sizes and for all budgets and says the key to preventing floor cracks is to properly repair the slab prior to the floor installation.

“Cracks in the slab do not compromise the floors if the contractor properly repairs and preps the slab with quality materials prior to the floor installation,” says Jorge.

Crack in the Concrete Floor Foundation that Needs Repair

Repairing the Foundation Cracks

After the concrete slab is cleaned and prepped, the contractor should apply an adhesive primer followed by the application of a membrane throughout each crack. Jorge advises homeowners to insist on a quality membrane because cheaper membranes won’t work.

Wire Mesh Adds an Extra Layer of Protection to Prevent Foundation Cracks

Add an Extra Layer of Protection to Prevent Floor Cracks

Jorge adds an extra layer of protection to ensure that the floors won’t crack. “I add a wire mesh between the membrane and the travertine, stone, or marble floors.  This wire mesh reinforces the slab and guarantees the floor will never crack.”

Unfortunately, if the floors already have cracked, you will have to remove the individual damaged tiles or stone and replace them. However, if the contractor has taken the extra protective measure to cover each crack with wire mesh for reinforcement, the homeowner should have no issue with the integrity of the finished floors.

For a step by step description of how to fix cracks in the concrete foundation, check out the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk9CcPWFceY&w=560&h=315]

Designing the Details Above

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

“Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

Ceilings in a home are an ideal canvas to add custom touches that define your home’s architectural style, from Tuscan to contemporary or any variation in between. Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri suggests corbels and beams as another great design buy for your bucks. “They look like real wood but cost half the price,” says Jorge, who has more than a decade of experience designing and building custom homes in all price ranges.

The corbels and shutters that Jorge uses on his homes are made of foam but look like real wood. “I use these design features to accent my homes for that authentic old world look,” says Jorge.

Faux Wood Corbel Made of Foam

The foam corbels pictured in this article cost approximately $22 each and installation runs $5 each.  A set of foam shutters retails for $180 with installation at $40 a pair.

Faux Wood Shutters Made of Foam

These products are easy to maintain and come with a lifetime warranty. I buy them from the manufacturer, Ackue International at www.ackue.com

“These products work well on my homes because the textures and finishes are very realistic.”  Jorge uses corbels on the exterior and interior of his homes in high profile areas such as the tower entry. Here, the 24-foot-high ceiling features corbels surrounding rustic beams every two feet.

Tower Entry with Corbels and Beams

The effect is very affordable to create. Jorge explains that the rustic wood beams are actually framed lumber that is covered in drywall, faux painted, and distressed to look like real wood. “This is a great builder trade secret because I only pay $70 per beam.” Other costs associated with the faux wood beams are included in the packages for framing and drywall that get negotiated into the total price of house.

Beams with Barrel Ceiling

The barrel ceiling is another architectural feature that draws the eye upward. This type of ceiling gets its name because it looks like the inside half of a barrel. Again, it’s done affordably in the framing stage. Barrel ceilings lend themselves to many styles and finishes including faux painting, brick, travertine, or stone. “Travertine is a very good deal in sizes 4-inch by 4-inch or 6-inch by 4-inch. The cost of the material is $4 per square foot. The installation requires two craftsmen a day of labor, which runs approximately $400. “

To bring warm up a room, tongue and groove ceilings made of southern yellow pine wood can instantly upgrade a living space.

Tongue and Groove Ceiling

Jorge says the material to create tongue and groove ceilings runs approximately $3 per square foot and includes the wood staining. The labor is $2 per square foot.  “Think strategically about where you add in tongue and groove ceilings. It’s cost-effective to accent small, highly visible areas as opposed to larger areas to maximize the “wow” factor and your budget.”

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  Post your questions or comments to his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.home.Builder.