The Manuel Builders Blog

 


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.

5 Holiday Hot Spots in Your Home

Categories: Home Safety, Other | Posted: November 23, 2017
It’s easy to forget about or even brush off fire safety during the busy and stressful holiday months whilst shopping, cooking and spending time with family. According to the National Fire Protection Association, home fires occur most often during the winter months so before baking the pecan pie and rocking around the Christmas tree, take some time to check out these fire safety tips.

 

Know The Facts

One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. A heat source that is too close to the tree causes one in every four of Christmas tree fires. December is the peak time for home candle fires and one-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom.

Oh, Christmas Tree

Natural trees should be cut at a 45-degree angle at the base then placed in water. Tree stands should be filled with water at all times and when the tree becomes dry, discard it right away because once your Christmas tree becomes dry, it’s chances of catching fire increases greatly. It’s also important to place the tree away from any heat source including fires, candles, and space heaters.

Smart Decorations

When hanging lights either on your Christmas tree or on the exterior of your house, make sure to check the strings for wear and tear, throwing away any with frayed wires, broken bulbs or faulty sockets. Remember not to pile on a lot of plugs onto one power strip or extension cord, this includes stringing three or more strands of lights together. When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples as it could damage the integrity of the lights. Also, only use non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations as it can prevent a fire from growing rapidly should one break out.

Kitchen Time

The heart of your home can get pretty wild around the holidays when you’re preparing the perfect dinner for your family and it’s easy to become distracted and forget about a certain dish on the stove. The NFPA says that unattended cooking is the #1 cause of kitchen fires. Be certain to stay present while you’re cooking and keep distractions to a minimum. If you must leave the room, take a pot-holder with you so you don’t forget that you have a dish in the oven. Also, keep kitchen clutter off the counter, especially flammables like towels, paper, plastic containers and cooking utensils, away from the stove.

Watch Your Wicks

During the Holiday months, candles set the atmosphere and give a sweet aroma that just makes it feel like Christmas time but the incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. To reduce the risk of fire, keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn and make sure it’s placed on a sturdy base. Try to remember and remind your family to only have candles burning in a common room like the living room or kitchen (away from flammables) so the flame is never left unattended. It’s a good practice to walk through each room before bed and before leaving home to make sure there’s no candles still burning. Also, consider battery-operated and LED lights as they can look & smell like real candles.

Check the Basics

Install smoke detectors on every level of the home, outside of sleeping areas and inside the bedrooms. Make sure your smoke detectors are up-to-date and have working batteries by testing each one monthly. In addition to the kitchen, you should have a fire extinguisher next to the front and rear exits of the house, in the hallway and on every level of your home. It’s also important to develop and practice a house fire escape plan with your family.

Get Your Kids Involved

It’s important that children know the importance of fire safety. Get them involved by printing out fire-safety coloring pages and explain things that they should and should not do around fire. Organize a fire evacuation plan with your family – make sure they know the fastest way to escape, helping younger siblings if they’re in the same room, and instructing them how to move around the house. If they’re in the bedroom with no way to get out the door, make sure they know how to open their own window and other windows around the house. Designate a specific meeting spot where the entire family can meet up to ensure everyone is safe.

For more information about house fires around the holidays visit, www.usfa.fema.gov
Source: National Fire Protection Association

Bi-Annual Maintenance

Categories: FAQs, Maintenance | Posted: November 10, 2017

Part of being a new homeowner means having to learn the basics of maintaining your home to prevent larger problems in the future. Below are some of the basic homeowner maintenance items that we encourage all of our new homeowners to perform on a bi annual basis.

  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts from all debris build up. Water will always find a path to trickle down.. If your gutters and downspouts remain clogged with leaves or twigs, the water will eventually back up and could potentially begin seeping into your home.
  • Maintain exposed wood with a clear sealant i.e. exterior beams, posts and doors. The harsh weather here in Louisiana can quickly break down any exposed wood if not properly sealed.
  • Inspect outside of home for the condition of siding, paint, masonry, stucco and wood trim. Take a step back and look at your home from afar. We can sometimes miss the bigger picture by trying to dig in too deep. Look for chips, cracks, and fading of paint. Touching these up continuously can be much easier and cost effective than trying to do many touch ups or repairs all at one time when they pile up.
  • Check A/C pan and hot water pan for signs of water then flush the drain lines. Simply pouring a bit of bleach through these lines to break down any debris that could potentially cause a clog. This can be a huge factor in preventing more costly damages.
  • Make sure to check your smoke detectors and replace the battery, if necessary. Your detectors will notify you when it is time to change the battery. Just listen for the beep!

To check out the items needed to maintain on a monthly and annual basis, check out our full maintenance video here.

Hosting the Perfect Autumn Gathering

Categories: Lifestyle, Other | Posted: October 24, 2017

 

When you’re planning to host a gathering with your friends, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to create the perfect atmosphere and set the mood for the evening. Use these simple tricks to leave your guests saying “WOW!” when they visit this fall season.

 

Color Me Happy

Decorating your home for the season is the perfect place to start! Did you know that certain colors in your home can promote different moods in you and your guests? Encourage a happy mood with green and yellow colors. Jewel tones such as red or deep purples/violet promote liveliness & energy whereas blue colors promote calmness. Use this to your advantage in your living room by incorporating these colors through velvet throw pillows, footstools or even an accent chair. Also, to make your guests more comfortable – we recommend hanging your favorite blankets on a rustic ladder in-reach from the couch – It’s a good way to store your cozy fall throws while still giving your room style a cohesive look.

Social Hour

When your guests begin to arrive, greet them at the door with a smile and lead them to the living room where a small appetizer is displayed on a coffee table – We suggest a cheese platter featuring different kinds of cheeses, crackers, pepper jelly, prosciutto, salami, olives, and fresh fruit. Easy, simple, and delicious plus this dish pairs quite nicely with wine. Don’t hesitate to move furniture around in a way that encourages conversation amongst the group, creating more Feng shui in the space. This takes the main focus away from the fireplace or television.

Dining with Purpose

Prep your dining table with the perfect fall centerpiece by setting a few different heighted candles then placing a green garland around them. Choose to accent the centerpiece with different fall items like autumn leaves, pinecones or even apples and pears, if you wish. Another nice touch would be to set the table with mini pumpkins on each place setting, tying burlap string around the stem with their name card and a nicely scripted menu for the evening’s dinner.

Take It Outdoors

If the Louisiana weather permits, plan to take your friends outside for dessert to cap off the night. Have a s’mores platter ready to take out after dinner, complete with graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and a few unexpected treats like peanut butter or even pumpkin spice Kisses or marshmallows as a way to say “Cheers” to the season! Arrange chairs around a fire pit, warm blankets within reach, and string lights over-head for an extra touch.

Fall time is all about family and friends! Take advantage of this season to open your home for an eventful gathering. Use this article as inspiration, but make it your own with your personal touches!