The Manuel Builders Blog

 


3 Ways to Make a Small Space Feel Bigger

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: April 21, 2018

With the rise of tiny homes and even vans being refurbished into homes on wheels, it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to make smaller spaces feel bigger. Although some of our homes may not be as palatial as we’d wish, there are ways to make it feel and look more spacious. Let’s explore just a few of these simple options below.

  • Go Light. Lighter colors on the walls are a major way you can give the room an open and airy feel.  When it comes down to the science of it, darker colors absorb rather than reflect light. This is what gives rooms with darker colors on the walls a cozier atmosphere. If you’re looking to make a room feel fresher, brighter and bigger, start with the walls.
  • Say Hello Again to Reflections. Remember how in older apartments there would be a full mirrored wall or mirrored closets? I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not trying to bring back mirrored closets or vertical blinds for that matter. However, they were onto something. Mirrors expand the space and once again reflect light giving the room the illusion of being more spacious. A beautiful mirror strategically placed can do much more than dress up a bare wall.
  • Forget the drapes. This will add more depth to a small space and also let in more natural light to create a softer and lighter look. If drapes are a must then choose something sheer or a close shade to your wall color to get a similar effect. The window treatments you select, like many other décor choices, will make a drastic impact on the overall theme of your home so choose wisely!

 

– Written by our Design Coordinator, Suzanah Hajrula

“The best part of the whole experience for me is getting to see it all come together through our homeowner’s eyes. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when all their beautiful selections and careful planning finally become real for them.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Ways to Enhance Your Curb Appeal!

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: March 23, 2018

We can only make one first impression, and this definitely holds true when looking at a home for the first time.  Whether you are updating your home to sell or wanting a fresh look for spring, curb appeal is essential to the overall appearance of your home and can be easier than you think to achieve!

Here are a few simple and inexpensive tips to boost your curb appeal instantly:

Hide the Unattractive Stuff

Find creative ways to disguise any outdoor eyesore items such as trash cans, utility boxes and AC units.  Find an inexpensive privacy screen or install fence boards to help hide these items.

There are so many ways you can camouflage a water hose or any other items that you may have laying around your yard.


Dress It Up

To make a significant change in appearance, be sure and pay attention to the details or the “jewelry” of your home.

Start with the focal point of your home…your front door.  Make a statement by painting it a bold color that contrasts nicely with the rest of your home’s exterior (and don’t forget to update the door hardware).

Other ways to make your entrance shine is by adding appealing house numbers that are easily seen from the road and light fixtures that reflect the style of your home.

Add charm to your home with a window box filled with your favorite flowers or add oversized planters on either side of your front door for more of a dramatic affect. Even replacing your old mailbox can make a difference, so be sure and pay attention to the details.


Get Creative with Landscape

A clean, well-manicured landscape is a must when improving curb appeal!  You want to create flower beds that direct the eye to the front entrance of a home and adds value to the overall appearance. Start by adding a crisp curved border defining the edge of the bed, softening the look of the landscape.

Get creative by incorporating things such as colorful potted plants, a simple stone or brick path walkway or vibrant mulch to help richen the feel of the yard. And always remember “less is more” to keep a clutter free curb!


Light It Up

Don’t let nightfall hide all your hard work!  Adding landscape lighting can make a world of difference to the appearance of your home at night and can also add security.

Accent important architectural features of your home or showcase your beautiful landscape and trees.  Make sure things such as steps and pathways are well lit as well.

 


 

– Written by our Design Coordinator, Kristin Tucker

“I absolutely love helping each homeowner translate their personal style into the home of their dreams.  I believe that details are an important factor in making your house a home.  One of my favorite ways to showcase this is by incorporating beautiful lighting that suits the style of the home and personality of the homeowner.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mixing Metals: Gold & Silver CAN Be Friends!

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: February 25, 2018

..Is it ok to mix bronze and brushed nickel through out my home?

Mixing metals adds intrigue and dimension. In the world of interior design, there used to be the idea (you know, back in the 1980s) that it was practically a decor sin to “mix your metals.” Well, I’m excited to say, it’s time to erase that outdated advice! Mixing metals is the perfect strategy for adding visual interest and depth to any room, and it’s an easy way to make pieces in your home look like they’ve been collected over the years and are placed there not only for style, but also for personality and comfort. The trick is to make sure you’re mixing your metals so that they complement each other in a way that emphasizes their individuality but doesn’t cross the line into the land of the “too mismatched” or distracting.

Here’s a few tips when using mixed metals:

Choose a Dominant Metal
All metals are NOT to be used equally… instead of going for a balance of two metals, think of one as a base metal and one as an accent metal. The base metal will help ensure a sense of harmony throughout your home, while the accent metal will act like the perfect jewelry with a classy outfit… pleasing to the eye without “trying too hard.”


Blend Warm and Cool Tones
Stainless and brushed nickel are both considered cool metals so by adding deep hammered gold, copper, black iron or bronze to the mix, you can bring warmth and interest into any space. A beautiful look in central family rooms (i.e. kitchens, living area, etc.) is the combining of warm and cool metals of the same “family,” such as deep bronzes and brushed golds – even bright coppers – for a more cohesive, but still exquisite look.


Take into Consideration the Palettes You are Using
Make sure your color palette compliments the metals in your space… particularly to when selecting the dominant metal. More traditional metals like bronze, brass, iron black and gold work well with warmer palettes (like reds and browns), while more contemporary metals like satin nickel and chrome work well with cooler color palettes (like blues and greens). Truly neutral palettes, though… well, they’re so popular in new homes for a reason! Warm it up, cool it down… create a fascinating, relaxing space filled with your own personal flair.


Use Lots of Texture
Metals and materials all have texture! Don’t just think about matching the colors, mix up the feel of your finishes. Polished copper pendant lights, a hammered copper or bronze apron front kitchen sink, antique copper cabinet hardware… all of these bring texture into the kitchen. The question is: which kind of texture fits you best?! These pieces will bring your custom home style to life!


Keep it Understated
Follow the golden rule: less is more! One metal finish is cohesive. Two is complimentary. Three… do it well and it can be stunning. Four? That’s just going a little overboard. Don’t bring in too many metal finishes into one space and be sure the ones you bring together complement each other!


Finally, the more important thing to remember is that your home should reflect you and the things you love. Have fun when decorating and designing your spaces! Make it personal and a place that you love coming home to!

 

-Written by our Design Coordinator, Lisa Keeter

“Spending time and advising homeowners while they select all their colors and finishes to truly personalize their home is absolutely my favorite step in the in-house process.  I love helping them create their home from the ground up . . . we actually place a homeowner’s chosen flooring down and make the rest of their selections on top of that base.  It really helps coordinate the other elements in a home – from countertops and cabinets to backsplashes and faucet fixtures – with the colors flowing throughout the home.”

 

Path to Building on Your Land

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: February 9, 2018

When you think of building a home, you may have the thoughts like “that feels overwhelming” or “there’s no way I can get that done right.” And if you’re doing everything yourself; you’re running from one place to another and choosing everything on your own, it really can be!

What we do at Manuel Builders is we take all that complication & difficult decision making and simplify them by giving you your very own guide for every step of the process! In the flow chart above, we break down the steps of our building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Customize Your Home, Finalize The Details and Construction.

Before beginning construction on your new home, we’ll work together to design a home that suits your needs and wants, build an itemized guaranteed bid for you, then draw up home plans for you to approve and finalize. When building on your own property, the world is your oyster! You have dozens of plan options & elevations to choose from for your future home. But before you get overwhelmed, our team is here to guide you every step of the way! In phase 2, we get very detailed as we finalize all the interior and exterior finishes like lighting, faucets, hardware and more. We’ll also map out exactly where your home will sit on your lot to then begin the dirt and foundation work. The last phase is the easiest phase for you! At this point, we’ve worked with you to check all the boxes off on the list and now you can sit back, relax and watch your vision come to life!

Are you interested in building your home on your land with Manuel Builders? We invite you to take a look through our plans to find the perfect one that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Begin your journey here.

Want to get an even better grasp of our build process straight from our team? Take a listen to our Regional Consultant Manager, Marie as she breaks it down for you in this video.

Lamplighter Realty

Categories: Community, FAQs | Posted: January 31, 2018

One of the perks when purchasing a home in our developments is the opportunity to work with our in house realtor, Tassie Fonseca of Lamplighter Realty.

Manuel Builders offers two ways to build your home, on your land and in a development. For the development side, it’s important to have someone that knows our product helping to sell it. With Tassie of Lamplighter, she has years of experience on our MB team, giving her all the knowledge she needs to carry our homes to the customer, then to the point of closing. We simply save you a step when shopping for a Manuel Builders’ home by providing you with the best realtor around!

The name Lamplighter stems from the scripture verse “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105); therefore the tagline or motto “Lighting the way home” is often used to represent its mission. A home is much more than a purchase, it’s a place where people do life together. In many times, the way people get to that place is with the help of a realty company that leads them on the path of homeownership. Tassie says, “My personal goal is to respect people in all walks of life, guiding and helping them as much as I can. Buying a home is a huge deal and people should feel like we understand that and are here to help them along that journey.”

Lamplighter Realty proudly serves all Manuel Builders’ development homes in the Lafayette & Lake Charles regions.


Tassie Fonseca, Lamplighter Realty

337-501-5011

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Finding the Perfect Rug

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: January 12, 2018

If you are planning for the big move, you may have already begun shopping for furnishings to go into your new living space. Choosing a rug can be an arduous task. Here are a few tips that may help you to select the perfect one.

  • Construction: If you have pets and children, try to choose wool. Wool rugs are by far the most durable and the easiest to clean. This material is naturally stain resistant. Stay away from cotton construction, especially light-colored cotton rugs in high traffic areas.
  • Size: You should have at least a 2’ band of flooring around the perimeter of the rug. This is not an exact science as there are various shapes and sizes of rooms and rugs, just a general rule of thumb

Room Size                                              Recommended Maximum Rug Size

5’ x 7’                                                                  3’ x 5’

7’ x 10’                                                                5’ x 8’

10’ x 12’                                                              8’ x 10’

11’ x 14’                                                               9’ x 12’

14’ x 17’                                                              12’ x 15’

  • Furniture Placement: All on, or half on. Furniture should be placed where at least the front feet are on the rug. The rug is not large enough if you have to place the furniture beyond the perimeter of the rug. Rugs are traditionally used to tie the room together and create warmth in a room.

 

  • — Written by our Building Consultant, Wendi Ritz

“When she’s not figuring out how to make the master closet bigger or if she can get that oversized tub to work in your layout, she’s chasing her trio of Ritz athletes from baseball to football to volleyball practice or hot gluing together whatever school project is due next week . . . occasionally burning a few fingers in the process!”

 

 

 

Paint Color Tour

Categories: FAQs, Home Design | Posted: January 9, 2018

 

When styling your home, selecting the right paint colors is exceptionally important. These colors will literally cover the majority of surface area in every room and set the overall tone of your home, including walls, ceiling, cabinets, and trim. I’m here to show you some examples of color combinations our homeowners have done in the past that came out beautifully which will, hopefully, help you choose colors for your own home. We are a proud partner of Sherwin Williams, so you’ll be able to find any of these colors featured in this video and below on their website or at any local store.

Some of our most popular color combinations:

  • SW 7015 Repose Gray: Most Popular Interior Wall Grey Color
  • SW 0055 Light French Grey: Grey Color That Pairs Nicely with Creams
  • SW 7568 Neutral Ground: Great Wall Color Choice for Grey Cabinets
  • SW 7548 Portico: True Tan Color
  • SW 7036 Accessible Beige: Most Popular Interior Wall Beige Color
  • SW 6206 Oyster Bay: Modern Wall Color

We hope we’ve helped you decide on which style and colors fit you best for your future home! 

4 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the New Year

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: December 27, 2017

 

Say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018! There’s something about the New Year that inspires people to make changes in their lives. Things like starting a new fitness routine, trying out a new look or picking up a new hobby are always popular resolutions. Why not start your “New year, new me” mantra from inside your home. No, I’m not talking about the newest DVD workout craze but sprucing up your home just in time for the New Year. Here are some simple ways to make your home feel new and fresh!

Clean Out Your Closet

If you’re anything like me, closets are the first place to get cluttered!  Take some time to declutter your closet. Don’t just reorganize the mess but really take stock of what you have versus what you really need. If you haven’t used it in the past year, toss it or give it away.

Update Your Décor

Small changes can make a huge difference. Things like throw pillows, lamps, mirrors and curtains can make a world of difference in the overall feel of a room. A few changes in these areas can give an old, drab room a mini makeover.

Replace Your Bedding

The easiest way to spruce up a bedroom is to change the bedding. A new bedspread or comforter can give your bedroom an entirely new look. Whether you choose something colorful and fun or something light and airy, the possibilities are endless!

Change Your Hardware

By replacing drawer pulls and cabinet knobs, you can give your kitchen or bathrooms the update that they need. Visit a hardware store to get some ideas so you can achieve a look you will love!

 

  • Written by our Design Coordinator, Suzanah Hajrula

“The best part of the whole experience for me is getting to see it all come together through our homeowner’s eyes. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when all their beautiful selections and careful planning finally become real for them.”

 

 

 

 

 

5 Holiday Decor Trends

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: December 17, 2017

Christmas time is officially here! We know you’re in full decorating mode and getting ready for family and friends to join in on the festivities, but before you finish decking the halls, take a look at some of this year’s holiday trends to help give your space some fresh love!

Go Natural

Dress up your dining table with wood charger plates and lush garland to create a whimsical, woodsy feel. Go for eucalyptus in your greenery for a new, on-trend look. Need a new idea for place cards? Place a mini wreath on each person’s plate with their name or a season’s greeting on a paper and tie it to the wreath. Can’t get enough greenery? Hang garland on your staircase, around windows or doors to bring the outdoors into your home. If you’ve got a fireplace in your living area, bring in some fresh chopped wood to display around the hearth. You can place them in a wire basket and tie a red or burlap bow on it to add to your decorations.

Wish Upon a Star

Celestial décor is all the rage, according to Etsy, from wall hangings to mugs and geometric star ornaments for your tree! Not even just stars, moons and galaxy themes are also all over the 2017 Holiday Décor scene. Place gold geometric stars and moons around your home, then incorporate fairy lights into your garland and inside lanterns for decoration to create a trendy celestial theme. Get the kids involved and create origami paper stars, tie them together, and make a garland to go around the Christmas tree!

Stylish Stockings

Give your mantle a new, updated look with fun and modern stockings. It’s time to switch out your traditional red & white stockings for ones that truly speak to your own style. You can find many different kinds of holiday stockings to fill with goodies! From thick sweater knit, burlap, faux fur, and even jungle print. Speaking of individuality, give your mantle a break from holding your stockings this year and hang them along your staircase’s handrail or even place them strategically on a wooden ladder for more rustic approach.

Chalk It Up!

With chalk boards and a little imagination, you can easily bring the holiday spirit into your home with little effort! From small place cards for the dining table to a giant framed chalk board in your kitchen, the opportunities for what you can do with them are endless! Place a beautifully scripted “Merry Christmas” sign on your mantle, use a free-standing chalkboard at your front door to welcome your guests with a cheery holiday greeting, or get the family involved and give each of your kids a medium sized board to do decorate how they see fit!

Moody Undertones

If your interior is mostly white, warm accents and rich colors will flatter your décor. Dark dinner plates (like matte black or dark green) against a white dining table, or deep green wreaths against a neutral background creates contrasting colors that are pleasing to the eye. Set the mood by lighting candles, turning on warm lighted lanterns, lighting the fireplace or turning on the Christmas tree lights then turn off all the main overhead lights to set a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Sit by the fire with a warm drink in hand and loved ones around you to truly enjoy this holiday season!

Whether you use one or all of these trendy tips and ideas, remember that it’s best to make any decorating ideas your own by incorporating them your way! So, kick your feet up, grab your hot chocolate and enjoy your beautiful handy-work with your family and friends. Now, that’s what we call the true holiday feeling.

A Guide for Dirt Pads and Compaction Tests

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: December 8, 2017

In this video with Haleigh, our Permit Specialist, we talk about the importance of dirt pads for your home, how tall it needs to be and the explanation of compaction tests.

Why might I need a dirt pad?

There are four basic reasons why you may consider building a dirt pad for your new home.

  • The first and most common reason is that your property is in a flood zone.  If so, building your home up above the Base Flood Elevation, or BFE, is REQUIRED in all parishes in order to begin construction.
  • The second motivation would be if your property is not in a flood zone, but you’re still concerned about flooding.  At this point, no dirt pad is required, but it is MOST OFTEN the least expensive and most effective way to ensure your home will remain above any rising water in the case of flooding.
  • Another possibility would be if the ground where you want to build your home is not level.  A dirt pad can be used to level the property to ensure positive drainage away from the house.
  • Finally, a dirt pad can be built to achieve a certain home appearance.  If you want a “raised” look or brick steps leading up to your front porch, a dirt pad can be a great way to accomplish that.

How tall does my pad need to be?

The height of your pad will depend heavily on your property location and conditions.  Due to various parish and slab requirements, the minimum height for any dirt pad is 18” above undisturbed ground.  If you’re in a flood zone, most parishes require you to be at least 1’ above Base Flood Elevation.  Once you reach that minimum height, if you want your pad to be taller for either peace-of-mind or visual appeal, that’s entirely up to you!

What is a compaction test and why is it recommended?

A compaction test is used to verify that the pad upon which your home will be built is stable enough to bear the weight of your foundation.

It is mainly made up of three soil samples, one from the center and two from opposite corners of your pad. The soil samples are tested to determine the density, moisture and compaction levels.

A passing compaction test is 95% or greater on all three samples.  You will also want to have a compaction test completed for every 12” of dirt you build up.  This guarantees that each level of your dirt pad has been properly compacted to give your home the stability it needs.

Remember, the foundation may not be the prettiest part of your home, but it is the most important.