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Orlando homebuilder Archives - cornerstonecustomconstruction

Saving Money with Smarter Thermostats

By | Building Green, Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design | No Comments
The Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat

As a custom homebuilder, I’m always eager to pass on money-saving tips and products to my clients. I recently discovered a Smart Thermostat that can save you up to 20 percent on your annual energy bill and it’s affordable. It’s called Nest Learning Thermostat, an intuitive system that learns your temperature preferences and thermostat habits and then tweaks them for energy savings. Based on your usage, Nest devises a schedule and programs itself to run your home’s heating and cooling more efficiently.

I’m installing Nest Learning Thermostats for a client who sees both their monetary and design value. The home is Mod-Mediterranean, a fusion of traditional and contemporary style, so the sleek design of Nest fits right in and looks great on the walls.

Custom home in the gated community of Magnolia Plantation  under construction that will feature the Nest Learning Thermostats

Custom home in the gated community of Magnolia Plantation under construction that will feature the Nest Learning Thermostats

According to the manufacturer, 89 percent of programmable thermostats waste energy, costing homeowners an extra $173 a year. Why? Because many homeowners find thermostats difficult to program or they simply don’t bother. It’s a known fact that the thermostat can be the biggest energy hog in a home. Replacing old, inefficient ones with Smart Thermostats can add up to significant savings.

Nest Learning Thermostat with leaf icon

Nest Learning Thermostat with leaf icon

The Nest also encourages energy-saving habits with a “leaf” reward system. A leaf icon on the thermostat appears when the user does something that saves energy. The homeowner can earn a leaf by adjusting the temperature for energy savings throughout the day. The Nest also comes with a mobile app for remote control of the thermostat from a smart device. There’s also an “Auto-Away” mode that turns to an energy-savings temperature, when the homeowner is gone.

For homeowners, Nest offers an affordable, easy-to-install option for upgrading thermostat intelligence in the home. The Nest retails for $249 a unit and $199 for the first installation and $25 for each additional installation. For more design ideas and money-saving tips, subscribe to my blog and video series.

3 Tips To Prevent Water Intrusion in Your Home

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

As Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains across the Southeast, it’s testing the ability of many homes to withstand water intrusion. In the excitement of building a home, owners typically focus on the home’s finishes and sometimes neglect to ask about critical products that aren’t visible but work behind the scenes to protect the home. Waterproofing is one of THE MOST important considerations, especially if you live in climates with storm seasons such as Florida.

Here Are 3 Must-Dos to Waterproof Your Home:

Waterproof Exterior Balconies with Flashing & Proper Underlayment:

Balcony built with Flashing installed to prevent water intrusion, by Orlando custom builder Jorge Ulibarri, imyourbuilder.com

Flashing is the L-shaped sheet metal that goes from the balcony deck, up the walls and into the house underneath the door threshold to keep the rain out. Underneath the flashing is a membrane over the entire deck that seals the structure from water intrusion.

Drawing showing how flashing should be properly installed on points of entry to prevent water intrusion

It’s important that a certified company install the flashing according to the manufacturer’s specs and that the materials are top quality.

Build Roof Coverage on All Exterior Doors:

Roof coverage should extend 2-3 feet over all exterior door entryways to prevent water intrusion. All exterior doors should open to the outside. Front door on home designed and built by Orlando custom builder Jorge Ulibarri, imyourbuilder.com

Exterior doors on a home should always open to the outside and have roof coverage over the entry point, at least 2 to 3 feet extending out over the entry point to deflect water and prevent it from entering. In Florida, when it rains, strong winds tend to blow the rain horizontally, which literally pushes water into the home.  If the home’s exterior doors don’t have roof coverings, you can add awnings.

Install a Roof Membrane:

installation of roof membrane to prevent water intrusion

When going over the specs of the home, make sure your builder uses a self-adhesive membrane as underlayment under the roof tile.  This acts as a barrier to prevent water leaks.

For more tips on getting the best buy for your dollar with new home construction, subscribe to the series Trade Secrets by Jorge, available on YouTube

Trade Secret #3-To Add Luxury for Less

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design | 3 Comments

Floor Transitions and Focal Points

Here’s Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space: Create floor transitions and focal points to visually define space and create architectural character.

Today’s cost-conscious consumers want easy and inexpensive ways to enhance their living spaces without breaking the bank. Florida Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri says anyone can add affordable architectural elements that give a home that custom look on a budget. One of Jorge’s most stunning and functional design ideas starts underfoot with floor transitions.

Floor transitions are subtle details that define and separate spaces while enhancing the floors.  It’s a design element or embellishment that visually marks a spatial boundary or highlights an architectural detail. Transitions are design details that are often overlooked but are the mark of a well- built, well-designed home.

The floor medallion is an inexpensive floor transition that carries high visual value.

Floor medallion made of wood inlays draws attention to high profile areas of the home and adds a luxurious touch, designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

Installing  floor medallions to  high traffic areas of the home is an easy way to update an existing floor or customize a new one. Floor medallions serve as eye-catching focal points to define and highlight a space. Jorge uses two types of floor medallions in his homes: wood inlaid and travertine mosaic.

Floor medallion made of stonework is a highly visible and affordable accent to update or enhance your floor, designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

Expect to pay approximately $500-$600 for a travertine mosaic floor medallion and $1200 for a wood inlaid medallion.  Floor medallions are  unique and elegant-something you don’t find in many custom homes and is sure to give any home a signature look.

Mosaic mats made of travertine or stone also visually delineate different rooms.

a travertine mosaic mat under the archway visually defines space as we transition from the hallway into the master suite, designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

Jorge recommends travertine mosaics as an ideal choice for floor transitions because they are affordable, easy to install, and have a lot of design potential. These mosaic mats can serve as “rugs” to transition from room to room such as the hallway to the formal living room or kitchen to family room. Consider placing mosaic mats under the archways to separate the rooms in an open floor plan and to announce the boundaries from one room to the next.  This floor transition typically comes in 12-inch by 12-inch mats and cost approximately $10 per square foot. The installation runs around $120 a transition.

chiseled edge travertine frames a polished travertine floor in the formal living room to visually define space, designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

Wood floor planks that frame a space are another option.

wood floor planks frame a polished travertine floor, designed and built by Jorge Ulibarri, www.imyourbuilder.com

Envision placing wood floor planks around the perimeter of a room and fill in the floor space with travertine or carpet. Wood floor planks  can pull from the beams and tongue and groove ceilings to create a lot of warmth and old world ambiance. For more affordable design ideas to add luxury to your living space, subscribe to the video series,  Trade Secrets by Jorge, available on YouTube