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Million dollar homes 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.

 

 

 

 

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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4 Home Design Trends Changing the Way We Live in 2013

By | Building Green, Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments
Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Modern-Mediterranean Exterior of home designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri

Clean Simple Curb Appeal is driving design trends for 2013, custom home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Although the housing market is slowly rebounding, Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri says the tough economy is driving several trends in the new home market: the elimination of formal living spaces; unified interior and exterior space; clean, simple design and pools for entertainment and exercise, going green for energy savings.

Clean, Simple Design

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As a result of more cost-conscious design and construction, Jorge says consumers are moving away from ornate styles preferring a more eclectic look that showcases simple lines and clean design. “Clients want exterior design that has interesting movement and lines but without all the twists, turns and unusual spaces that overdone design creates,” says Jorge. Inside, clients want sleek fixtures, furniture and finishes that don’t overpower the architecture and bones of the home. Jorge says a style very popular with his clients is Mod-Mediterranean, a blend of Old World and contemporary elements.

Elimination of Formal Living Spaces:

The kitchen and Grand room   seamlessly blend together replacing a formal living room in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

The kitchen and Grand room seamlessly blend together replacing a formal living room in a home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Clients want practical, functional space as opposed to the voluminous showy square footage of the past. As a result, the formal living room is disappearing from floorplans replaced by a grand family room. Jorge says some of his clients also are eliminating the formal dining room opting instead for a dining/breakfast nook area.

Unified Interior and Exterior Living Spaces:

NanaWall seamlessly blends and extends the indoors to the outdoors, photo courtesy of NanaWall

NanaWall seamlessly blends and extends the indoors to the outdoors, photo courtesy of NanaWall

Jorge says clients want every inch of their living space to count. They are asking for floorplans that seamlessly integrate the interior and exterior living space. Indoor-outdoor living spaces are designed so that it’s hard to detect the boundaries between the two.  “I’m talking about a new breed of outdoor living where the finishes, fixtures and décor match the interior. Designs of the past were not in sync with the interiors but completely distinct with defined themes.”

NanaWall seamlessly blends and extends the indoors to the outdoors, photo courtesy of NanaWall

NanaWall seamlessly blends and extends the indoors to the outdoors, photo courtesy of NanaWall

Swimming Pools for Exercise and Entertainment

OutDoor Pool Living by Ann Rue Interiors

OutDoor Pool Living by Ann Rue Interiors

For years, there were two popular choices for the pool: the Mediterranean theme defined by a quatrefoil design, water pots and pergolas or a lagoon-style pool with a kidney-shaped design, boulders and cascading waterfalls. Jorge says today’s pools are built for entertaining and exercise with clean lines and a stylishly sleek look.

Rectangle pool in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Rectangle pool in home designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

The pools are elongated so people can swim laps and have new social features such as swim up seating and water platforms for sunbathing. Some new pool designs flow into covered areas for shady relaxation.

Building Green is More About Energy Efficiency Than the Environment

When it comes to building green, consumers have changed their view and priorities. They are more concerned with energy efficiency rather than the environment. Jorge says green building remains a popular concept with clients in theory but in practice is often cost-prohibitive. “Clients are building with tighter budgets these days because they don’t want to invest all of their net worth into their home after experiencing the housing bust. A lot of green features cost extra upfront. Clients still want energy-efficient appliances, windows, and heating and air systems. These green features are affordable but other green features are considered upgrades in most budgets and not essential.”

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

Faux Wood Adds Affordable Architectural Details

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Time-worn wood architectural details enhance a home’s rustic charm or elegant old world-style but the real deal can be costly. What if you could get the same look at a fraction of the price? Faux wood products made of polymers have the same textures and finishes of real wood but without the maintenance issues and costs associated with real wood.

Faux Wood Corbels on the Tower Entry of Villa Toscana

Faux Wood Corbels on the Tower Entry of Villa Toscana

Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri uses these architectural elements to add character and elegance to his high-end homes. “Faux wood products are one of my money-saving trade secrets. I use them on the exterior and interiors of all of my homes and my clients love the look and the price,” says Jorge.

Faux Wood Shutters and Beam Header on the Exterior of Villa Toscana

Consider the cost savings. Here is what Jorge recently paid for these products: A faux wood corbel costs $25 each, shutters $180 a pair, and a beam header just $20 each.

Faux Wood Corbels on the exterior of Villa Toscana

There are only a few companies that have mastered the science and craftsmanship of faux wood architectural products. Ackue Inc.,based in Sanford, Florida is a leading manufacturer. Ackue Inc.’s award-winning products can make a home look like a million bucks without the seven-figure price tag. Owner George Acha says his products are maintenance free, handcrafted and coated with UV protection.  Custom-made faux wood garage doors are one of his most popular products with orders worldwide. “We try to be as authentic as possible and fabricate unique products where no two are alike, “ says George.

Faux Wood Beam Header on Exterior of Villa Toscana

Faux wood products can enhance the interior or exterior of any home.  Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri uses the corbels in the tower entry of each home. Jorge designs the exterior of his homes to showcase faux wood shutters, beam headers, and additional corbels.  Faux wood products are another affordable design idea to add luxury to your living space. To learn how these Faux Wood Products are installed and where you can add them to your home, watch the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge. Available on Friday May 11th on YouTube and here on the blog.

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.