Monthly Archives: November 2014

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF CONTEMPORARY HOME DESIGN

When you’re driving around towns like Greenwich, Westport, and New Canaan, it’s easy to see that traditional home styles are among the most popular. Our streets are lined with some of the most impressive colonial, shingle, and French country style homes. There are, however, several fine examples of contemporary and modern home styles in the area as well. We’ve had the opportunity to build more than one. As luxury homebuilders, we always enjoy applying our skills to unique designs, no matter what the architectural style.

Contemporary

The terms “modern” and “contemporary” are often interchanged, but there is a difference. The technical definition of contemporary design, whether in terms of architecture or interior elements, is the idea of something being created at the present time, in the now. Modern refers to a static design style that is often associated with postindustrial architecture built between the 1920s and 1950s. The terms are being interchanged even more today as mid-century, or retro, architectural design elements are becoming popular again.

For this blog post, we’ll use the term “contemporary” to describe the style and we’ll look at some of the elements that make a home contemporary. The first is the use of straight lines and rectangular forms. At first glance, the idea of straight lines can seem dull and lifeless. Once you consider the theory behind it, however, you can begin to understand the appeal. Straight lines, coupled with minimal clutter, provide unobstructed flow. And the use of juxtaposed horizontal and vertical rectangular forms is intended to provide dramatic effect.

Natural materials, and the way they are used, are important. For example, wood is often stained instead of painted, to provide a natural effect that reveals the grain. Wood is also used in less ornate fashion — such as large planks of vertical, smooth siding instead of the more textured look of traditional clapboards.

Extensive use of glass is one of the most prevalent contemporary design characteristics. Large panels of floor-to-ceiling glass are used to bring in natural light, views, and the landscape. The idea is to blend the exterior and interior spaces to create a more natural environment.

Open floor plans with minimal use of doors and walls, and sparse decor, help create an unobstructed space that flows more freely. This also creates a more casual, relaxed environment. Open spaces allow more light to reach areas of the home that do not have as many windows.

For those who are new to the style, it can take some warming up to. Once you’ve spent some time in a well-designed contemporary home, and the more you know about the design process, the easier it is to appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into the development.

Kelly M. Wright
Wright Building Company

THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY MATERIALS & WORKMANSHIP BEHIND THE WALLS OF A HOME BUILDING PROJECT

When hiring a luxury homebuilder for a renovation, addition, or custom home project, homeowners expect the finishes to be top-of-the-line. Considerable effort goes into choosing the best appliances, flooring materials, windows, etc. The types of materials used behind the walls, however, are often taken for granted. It’s assumed that the builder will be using high-quality plumbing, electric, and HVAC materials and fixtures. The truth is that not all homebuilders do, particularly if they are new to the business and these types of issues are not on their radar. The materials that you use, and the workmanship during installation, will affect the overall quality of the home.

Plumbing equip

Plumbing
The small things can make a big difference when it comes to plumbing materials, and you typically get what you pay for. Parts, such as a simple shutoff valve, are sold at a variety of quality and cost levels. The cheaper versions have a shorter life expectancy. For a few more dollars, the higher-quality product can provide a significantly longer lifespan.

When it comes to workmanship, one of the most important considerations will be the holes that plumbers create to run pipes – known as penetrations. Exterior penetrations, such as those needed for a garden faucet, must be sealed properly. You can’t just apply duct tape over the seams – and believe me, it happens. These seams need to be properly sealed and flashed before siding can be installed. Using flashing panels that are specifically designed for this purpose is an excellent standard practice to protect against air and water.

Electrical
Employing highly trained and experienced electricians on a home renovation or custom home build will ensure the job is done right, and that the correct parts and installation techniques are being used. Skilled electrical contractors can make a home safer and more efficient. Quality electrical work starts with a good plan. The wiring architecture on a luxury home can be complex and require multiple components. Planning the wiring scheme ahead of time will ensure an efficient use of materials, helping to cut down on unnecessary costs. Energy efficiency is another consideration. Properly sealing wall sockets and using programmable thermostats are two examples of how an electrician can assist in creating a more efficient home.

HVAC
Proper HVAC installation starts with choosing the right-sized heating and air conditioning units. Configuring the system appropriately requires not only calculating the square footage, but also taking into account the orientation of the rooms, the number of windows and doors, etc. If an A/C unit is too large, for example, it will initially cool the room very quickly. To keep the room cool, the unit will need to run multiple, shorter cycles. The result is additional wear on the equipment and more energy use. Another example of proper installation would be to ensure that every room has a return duct, or a jumper duct.

Building or renovating a home is a major expense and undertaking. You want that investment to have a healthy lifespan. Using the right talent and materials from the start will make a big difference in the long run.

Kelly M. Wright
Wright Building Company