Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Home Maintenance should be completed every season to prevent damage, save energy, and keep your home running properly. Your fall and winter tasks especially in cold climates are most important because they can help prevent costly damage to your home down the road.

Here are a few ideas to help you create your maintenance list.

Clean your Gutters

While most homeowners put covers over their gutters this only keeps the leaves out, fine organic matter and grit from your roof can still get inside and that is why it is a good idea to take those covers off and clean them.

Homeowners, if you don’t have covers you may experience clogged gutters which are a major cause of ice dams, so make sure to run water through them and get all that debris out.  Also, inspect and tighten any lose joints and identify and replace old and broken gutters.

Check you Roof and Chimney

Inspect your roof. Are your shingles in good condition? Are any missing?  If so, replace and repair. Also, look for dips or sags, this could indicate a problem with the structure underneath.  If your roof is on the older side a roof inspection by a licensed contractor should be scheduled.

 Creosote buildup can lead to a chimney fire, so get your fireplace  and chimney cleaned before you decide to use it for the winter.

Cleaning up Outside

Do a visual inspection of your yard.   Identify branches and hedges that need trimming and trim, put away garden tools, hoses and patio furniture that might be damaged from the cold weather, and sprinkle the lawn with fertilizer and reseed.  Run your lawnmower or any other equipment that has gas till it is empty.  Leaving the gas in the tank can degrade the gas and worse, water could condense inside and cause rust and irreversible damage.

Also, water should not be left in any exterior hoses or pipes as they could freeze and cause a burst.  If your faucets aren’t self draining , turn them off manually at the shut off value inside the house.  If you have a water irrigation system call your technician and have him come out and winterize the system.

Exteriors

Starting with your front door, install weatherstripping or chalk around both the doors and
windows, and continue around the house looking for drafty spots and chalk where needed.
Don’t forget the garage windows and doors or other outside structures.
If your air conditioner is in a location of a drip line or somewhere it can get damaged put a board over and cover. You don’t want rodents inhabiting or water build up so make sure the
cover doesn’t make a full enclosure.

Examine your pool cover for damage and replace if needed, check your drive way for cracks and seal, and lastly make sure you have winter supplies such as ice melt close at hand.

INTERIORS

Fans are often forgotten, but simply reversing the direction to create an updraft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling can save money in heating cost.

Replace your air filters and the wicks on your humidifier, schedule a furnace tune-up and don’t forget to insulate the attic stairs.  Attic stairs cause a significant heating loss so investing in an insulating cover or creating your own foam box is a good idea.

This is also the time to go around and check and replace your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide batteries.

 

The Homework Station

As school starts parents will soon be reminding their kids “to do their homework” and while it’s sometimes easy to motivate them to do their homework, it’s not always an easy task. To help avoid these moments, here are a few ideas to help create a space where your kids will love to do homework.

Make it Personal

Homework is not your child’s priority. Working with your child to create a space they enjoying being in will give them pride in their work, help inspire creativity and help get their homework done. Picking paint colors, asking for their input, providing them with choices of desks and furniture and simple decorations gets children involved in the process and warrants a better chance for success.

Color 

Studies have shown color plays a key role in people’s behavior, motivation, and creativity. So how do you choose the best color for a homework station?  Remember to go with your gut because color is personal. Does your child’s personality correspond to a particular color?  Try green for a color that is considered balancing while red can physically stimulate activity in children.  Yellow is thought to promote creativity and blue is known to stimulate the mind. Once you decide on what color will work best, everything else will fall in place.

Lighting & Outlets 

Adequate lighting helps prevent eyestrain, tiredness and headaches so make sure you use good ambient lighting. Also, keep in mind where plugs are located in case your child studies with music, needs a table lamp, printer or perhaps a few charging ports for their electronics. You might not have enough outlet space so a power plug may be needed.

Functional & Comfortable

You don’t want children falling out of their chair or not being able to reach their desk while doing their homework so make sure the area is functional & appropriate for their age & height. Also make the room multifunctional by adding a comfy couch or reading nook for those long reading assignments, adding an art station for projects, or double their bedroom functionality with a homework area or library.

Chairs 

Picking out chairs reminds me of “Goldie Locks & the Three Bears”. This one is too hard, this is too soft, but this is just right. When picking out chairs, make sure your kids try them out first. Style does not come before function in this case although there are plenty of comfortable, stylish chairs available. Some children might not even want a chair but instead choose a ball or a stool. Each situation is different but remember – not too comfy or they will fall asleep, not too hard or they won’t want to sit there, but in the middle so they can get in a groove and finish.

Storage & Shelving 

Having shelves, cupboards and drawers can make it easier to find things and makes it easier to stay on track with assignments since desks can get cluttered quickly. Corkboards, dry erase boards, baskets, and file cabinets can also help keep the space organized and neat.

Inspirational Fitness Rooms

Finding time to go the the gym in today’s busy world can be hard.  A simple solution is to create a gym in your own home.  Home gyms give you the flexibility to train whenever and however you like.  Creating your own home gym is easy and you can go all out or keep it very simple.  It’s up to you but remember to let it be unique and reflect your personality.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Adding a few full-length mirrors will make a tiny space feel double the size and more like a real gym.

Exercise equipment comes in all different colors so decorate your exercise room to match the feelings that will inspire you to work out.

Take over your garage or old shed, add a great door, and get the feeling like you’re working out outside.

Don’t forget to use your imagination like this Hattiesburg, Mississippi, fitness studio, designed by Richard Keith Langham, which was tented in a bold Romo stripe.

Bright white walls, black equipment, and neutral accents like rope and benches will make the room feel open and welcoming.

Clean lines keep your room looking sleek and inviting.

Natural air-flow, greenery, and a wood gym flooring who could ask for more.

Tell Us Your Thoughts! 

Have an idea for our next blog or if there is something you want to share email Judy at judyd@wrightbuild.com for more information.

2018 Pantone Colors

Distilling the complex universe of color concepts into eight distinctively designed palettes for home and interior, Pantone Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman shared the long-anticipated upcoming color trends for 2018 at the International Home + Housewares show.  Here are a few thoughts on how to infuse these colors into your home.

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Resourceful: This palette is made up of complementary blue and orange colors. “This is quite an interesting color combination,” said Eiseman. “It combines warm and cool tones that you just can’t avoid looking at it.”

 

Verdure: Vegetal colors like Celery are combined with berry-infused purples and eggshell blue, symbolic of health, in this palette.

Playful: Think “Minions.” Bright yellow, lime popsicle, and all other things fun come together for this color scheme. “People need to stop and smile,” said Eiseman.

Discretion: Playful’s alter ego. Subtle hues such as Elderberry and Hawthorne Rose offer a new sense of strength. “Pink has developed more power than ever before,” said Eiseman.

Far-fetched: With warm, earthy hues such as Cornsilk Yellow blending with rosy tones, this palette “reaches out and embraces many different cultures,” said Eiseman.

Intensity: This is an eclectic mix of colors that evokes a sense of strength, power and sophistication, all balanced with black and gold.

TECH-nique: Bright turquoise, pink and purple colors anchored with Brilliant White and Frosted Almond nod to technology. This palette is all about hues “that seem to shine from within,” said Eiseman.

Please click on photo’s for more inspiration design idea’s from Martha Stewart, Stephanie Rapp, and Kate Thorn.

 

TOP TEN LUXUXY DESIGN TIPS INSPIRED BY THE HBRA’s LUXURY HOME TOUR

Ten Hot Luxury Design Tips from the HBRA Greenwich and Darien House Tour

by Sharon McCormick | May 2, 2017
Sharon McCormick, of Sharon McCormick Design,  was one of the sponsor’s and volunteer’s of the recent CT Luxury Home Tour, presented by the HBRA of Fairfield County.  The tour showcased four gorgeous homes in Darien and Greenwich and really presented excellent examples of some of today’s hottest interior design trends.  Here are ten luxury design tips she noticed — and loved — throughout the tour:
White kitchens:  Each home on the tour had a white kitchen.  The idea of a bright, clean space to gather, entertain, and spend time with family must have universal appeal.
Waterfall Islands:  In a waterfall island, the sides of the kitchen island are clad in the same stone as the counter top.  The seamless, modern look of these islands is very popular.
Polished Concrete Mantel:  A polished concrete fireplace mantel and surround has a sleek, contemporary look.
Shiplap:  On walls and ceilings, the raw, rustic look of shiplap provides a great contrast for modern design.
Quartz Counter Tops:  High durability and low maintenance make quartz, with its endless color options, a trendy choice for counter tops.
Integrated Appliances:  Appliances that blend seamlessly with the kitchen cabinetry are so popular right now.
Smart Homes:  Integrated smart home systems aren’t just trendy technology — the ability to customize settings for lighting, climate control, home entertainment, and security is a convenience that can cut energy costs and help you make the most of your home.
Barn Doors:  Interior barn doors, like shiplap, provide a rustic, textured look to an otherwise modern space.
Ghost Chairs:  No, it’s not a seat for a poltergeist, or even an invisible chair!  Ghost chairs are transparent chairs made of acrylic, plexiglass, or polycarbonate.  This modern choice takes up less visual space in room and is super trendy.
Outdoor Living:  Bringing the inside out is getting easier, and more luxurious, thanks to the growing line of weatherproof options.  You can have a giant television by the pool, a state of the art sound system by the spa, and custom outdoor dining areas, all unaffected by the worst weather New England can throw at them!

WBC to Appear on Property Brothers “Buying & Selling”

When HGTV experts Jonathan & Drew Scott needed help in Westchester County for their Property Brothers show,  “Buying & Selling”, they called upon local custom home builders Chris Wright & Judy Doyle of Wright Building Company to help transform two dated homes in ‪Westchester County to two amazing properties with smart, stylish living spaces.  You can watch these spectacular transformations take place ‪April 26th and ‪May 24th on HGTV.

Wright Building Company has been the area’s premier builder of fine custom homes for over 30 years. They are well respected among homeowners, architects and interior designers by providing experience, process, skill and communication to every job.  They have built and renovated over 100 homes and always provide individualized consultation and ongoing communication to ensure their client’s needs are satisfied.  Chris Wright is proud to say, “our homes are not only beautiful, they are the most efficient homes around”.
Wright Building Company has 3 Divisions; Custom Home Building, Additions & Renovations and Estate Care.
For more information on Wright Building Company call ‪203-227-4134 or go to www.wrightbuild.com

 

BUILDING A FAIRFIELD COUNTY CUSTOM HOME IN 2017

Technology and innovations in many industries have advanced so quickly that it seems like all of a sudden we’re living in an episode of “The Jetsons,” right here in Fairfield County. Futuristic technology, building materials, and equipment have proliferated the home building industry. Homebuilders, as always, must adapt. Good contractors always do. The driving force behind today’s high-tech custom home can be attributed to advancements that provide better efficiency and easier-to-manage systems, fixtures, and equipment.

IoT Smart Home Technology
For the past few years, smart home technology has been built into custom homes across a range of equipment and entertainment systems. Lighting, appliances, garage doors, locks, security systems, and more can be controlled through your smartphone and home-based hub.

The next big thing to come in smart home technology will be the fully connected Internet of Things (IoT). Although we currently have a variety of smart devices, IoT is the idea that one single network connects all of these technologies to allow them to work at their fullest potential with maximum ease of use. Smart home manufacturers are working hard to make this a reality. We’re seeing more and more connected systems from manufacturers such as Amazon, Nest, and Phillips.

Home Efficiency
As efficiency becomes even more important to homeowners and builders, we’re sure to see a continued increase in equipment that uses less energy. As a result, geothermal technology is poised to become more of a norm. Geothermal heating and cooling units are highly efficient and more readily available than ever. Another system likely to become more popular is variable speed HVAC. Variable speed works by slowing down and speeding up power output based on the heating or cooling load of the house. Traditional systems simply turn on and off. This type of equipment can be up to 40 percent more efficient than traditional units. Other systems likely to become more popular include ductless mini-split systems and radiant heat.

Home Building Materials
New home building materials are always surfacing. Some take off, and some fade away. For 2017, there are a few materials that have the potential to make an impact on how homebuilders construct custom homes. One is recycled steel. Builders are choosing to use smaller amounts of steel over large quantities of wood that often require more complicated framing systems, particularly in luxury homes. Another is insulated concrete forms. Interconnected foam replaces plywood foundation forms, and the foam remains in place as an insulator. Composites on decking, trim, and siding will likely also grow in popularity as homeowners become more comfortable with them.

Virtual Realty
We’ve had 3-D animation to aid home design for several years now, but virtual reality (VR) is poised to eventually replace it. VR is on the precipice of taking off, and it will affect a wide range of industries. VR already exists in certain capacities for home builders, but future advancements will allow homeowners, architects, and homebuilders to step inside a full-sensory immersion and experience the spaces, functionality, and technology of a custom home before it’s even built. It’s hard to say when this type of experience will be the norm, but it’s safe to say it will be here before we know it.

One of the most exciting aspects of being a custom homebuilder, particularly in the luxury markets of Fairfield and Westchester counties, is seeing the home building process evolve and improve. Advancements have been rapidly made over the past few years and will likely continue to progress at a fast clip. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

MAINTENANCE NEEDS FOR A NEW CUSTOM HOME

We’ve built over 100 custom homes across Fairfield County, CT, and Westchester County, New York. One thing that remains constant across all of these projects is the need for regularly scheduled maintenance. Home buyers often don’t think of maintenance after they’ve built a home. After all, it’s a brand-new structure with top-of-the-line finishes and mechanical systems. Just like any other advanced mechanical device, however, regular maintenance will be required to keep it running properly.

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Your homebuilder should walk you through regular maintenance as part of the planning process, before construction. This way you’ll know what to expect after the keys are turned over. The most significant maintenance needs will come from the home’s mechanical systems. They’ll require yearly tune-ups to stay functioning at peak efficiency.

Whole-Home Ventilation Systems
Today’s luxury custom homes are built almost airtight. We accomplish this by using the latest materials and building processes, such as spray foam insulation, advanced exterior home wrap and flashing, and all-in-one exterior insulation and sheathing panels. The result is super efficiency. Hot air stays in during the winter, and cool air stays in during the summer. When air can’t escape, however, mold can grow, and airborne toxins can be trapped inside. For this reason, whole-home ventilation systems are now a standard mechanical component in custom homes.

There are four main types of whole-home ventilation systems. Your architect and homebuilder will work together with you to determine the right setup for your custom home. Regular maintenance is fairly simple. The filter, which is easily accessible, should be changed out yearly. And ductwork can be cleaned every three to five years.

HVAC Systems
Heating and air conditioning systems should have yearly scheduled maintenance conducted by a professional HVAC contractor. One exception to this is the filter. Energy Star recommends checking the filter once per month and cleaning it or replacing it depending on the level of residue and any wear. Professionals will conduct a yearly checkup that will include inspecting the thermostat settings, tightening electrical connections, checking refrigerant levels, and cleaning and adjusting blower controls, among other steps. Quality homebuilders will offer a maintenance program that typically includes these types of checkups.

Wood-Burning Chimney
Wood-burning fireplaces that are used regularly should be inspected once per year. Chimney cleaning removes soot and creosote buildup in the chimney liner, smoke chamber, damper, and firebox. Creosote is highly flammable and accumulates fairly quickly. It only takes a thin layer to potentially cause a chimney fire. Venting systems on stoves and furnaces should also be cleaned. In addition to safety, keeping these channels clear of debris will help create more draw and put less strain on the systems, allowing them to function more efficiently.

Security Systems
Today’s smart home security systems are changing the home security game. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the idea of maintenance. Having a maintenance program in place will cover yearly professional inspections. These typically include the inspection of battery function as well as signal and sensor transmission, and the repair of any damaged or malfunctioning parts.

Of course, any home requires standard upkeep on a variety of additional interior and exterior features. A good caretaker, or maintenance program from your homebuilder, can help with issues as they arise. Most homes need gutter cleaning, countertop oiling, paint and/or stain touchups, and more. By having a good maintenance plan in place, you can keep your home looking like new for years down the line.

ANSWERS TO ESSENTIAL LUXURY HOME BUILDING QUESTIONS

Each custom home that we’ve built in Fairfield County and Westchester County has been a unique experience. Although many of the essential construction processes and materials apply to any custom home, there are always factors that need special consideration. This is the nature of custom luxury home building. It’s taken us years to learn how to anticipate, adjust, and excel at the ever-changing home building landscape. This is why we’re uniquely positioned to help homeowners understand what to expect before and during the home building process. Here are a few of the essential questions that we’ve tackled through the years.

Questions

How much does it cost to build a custom home?
There is a wide range of factors to consider when determining the cost of a custom home. Estimating these types of projects can be a full-time job. For that reason, we don’t provide numbers without having critical pieces of information. Establishing price will require a formal sit-down to discuss your needs and wants for your custom home. The size of the home, materials used, amenities, location, building team requirements, and many more factors all must be considered.

How long does it take to build a custom home?
Each home is different, but the rough timing to build a smaller, 5,000-square-foot custom home is between 10 and 12 months. For waterfront homes in Greenwich, Darien, and Westport, the timing will likely be longer. Permitting, planning, and construction will be more challenging here. The types of materials and additional outbuilding and amenities can also affect the timeline. For example, it will require more time if you’re looking to build an expansive pool house, guesthouse, wine cellar, and/or recording studio. Structural elements, such as large vaulted spaces, and custom features will likely add time.

Having a comprehensive building team in place can help make the job go faster. For large custom home construction projects, it’s ideal to have a homebuilder, architect, engineer, and interior designer in place before beginning the process.

What types of home building restriction can I expect?
Nobody wants to be restricted when building his or her dream home. Creative, resourceful, experienced builders and architects can help homeowners realize their dream by understanding how to work within the regulations and restrictions of certain Fairfield County towns. Greenwich, Westport, New Canaan, Darien, and Fairfield are some of the most desirable locations for custom home building. As a result, the building lots have mostly been carved out, and the population of homes is plentiful. There are very few open lots left in these towns. Teardown home sites, and any newly subdivided land, will likely require creative planning and construction techniques.

Each town is different when it comes to zoning restrictions. Some areas have historic districts with special regulations. Waterfront property has a variety of regulations. And footprint and teardown rules apply in many of the towns’ popular areas. Your homebuilder will guide you through the restrictions when the search areas have been established.

What am I not thinking of that I wish I had before building?
Building a luxury home is a time-consuming endeavor for the homeowner. Although this process can be stressful, there are steps you can take to help things run smoothly. The first step is hiring the right homebuilder. You need someone running the job who is experienced and understands the process, regulations, materials, relationships, etc.

Second is planning. When you take the time to plan ahead, the process will run much smoother. This starts by assembling the right team. Your builder can help guide you through assembling a team. From there the team will map out the entire process in detail, from permitting to handing over the keys.

Third is time management. You’ll need to make a wide variety of choices. If you allocate specific time to manage this part of the project, you’ll find it easier to handle.

The best way to fully understand the process is to set a meeting with your contractor. You’ll be in a good position to start taking steps toward building your dream home.

THE PROS THAT MAKE UP A CUSTOM HOME BUILDING TEAM

Building a custom home requires a team of experienced construction professionals. Even small home renovations and additions require the expertise of several home building pros. For luxury custom homes the need for multiple skilled professionals is even greater. The process typically starts with the contractor or architect. From there, numerous tradesmen are brought in throughout the process.

team

Contractor/Homebuilder
Homebuilders, otherwise known as contractors, or general contractors, will be responsible for the entire home building process from the ground up. The builder works closely with the architect and other pros on the scene, but is responsible for putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, from estimating the job to delivering the keys when the home construction project is complete.

Contractors of luxury custom homes have an enormous responsibility. Building any home is a significant undertaking, but building a 10,000-square-foot luxury home in Greenwich, CT is a massive job that requires skill, knowledge, and experience across a wide range of responsibilities. Having an experienced homebuilder on your team is critical to achieving the highest-quality work, and having the job done on budget and within the agreed-upon timeline.

Architect
Homebuilders have strong working relationships with local residential architects. At Wright Building Company, we’ve worked with a variety of the most skilled professionals in Fairfield and Westchester counties. For some new home construction and renovation jobs, our clients have come to us first. We then recommend the architect to best suit their needs. Other times, the architect will have established the client relationship and will reach out to us for construction.

The process of custom home architecture starts with information gathering. Working closely with the builder, the homeowner and architect will flush out the homeowner’s wants and needs. From there the site is measured, plans are drawn up, and surveying can typically be done. If the land is challenging, the builder may conduct feasibility studies, with the help of land engineers and the architect, to determine the best way to build complex structures on sloping, rocky, or waterfront property. A schematic is then typically drawn up, and the design and development process can begin.

Land and/or Structural Engineer
With the types of custom homes that we build, structural and soil engineers are often involved in the planning process. The same is true for large home renovations and home additions. Custom homes in towns like Greenwich, Westport, and New Canaan are often very large structures that have multiple heavy load requirements and unusual architectural elements. In addition, these homes are often built on land that requires creative and scientific consideration. Waterfront property can be some of the most challenging.

Subcontractors
The contractor will typically have a project manager on staff to run the operation on the ground. The home building company will oversee the entire operation, and the subcontractors will be responsible for day-to-day construction. Numerous subcontractors work through the process. Surveyors and excavation professionals are some of the first to arrive on the job site. From there we have foundation crews, framers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC pros, masons, finish carpenters, lighting experts, home technology and AV pros, landscapers, and pool installers, among others.

Ensuring that a custom home is built properly requires a wide range of considerations. One of the most important is hiring the right subcontractors. Luxury home construction leaves virtually no tolerance for imperfection. To achieve this level of detail across every step of the process requires highly skilled and experienced experts.

At Wright Building Company, we take great pride in delivering the highest-quality renovation and custom home construction work. The end result is a happy family with a beautiful new home that they, and we, can feel good about.