The Manuel Builders Blog


Live in La Cour Beausoleil!

Categories: Community, Lifestyle | Posted: October 23, 2016

La Cour Beausoleil is a community exclusive to Manuel Builders with homes starting in the $170,000s. Located in the highly sought-after Milton school district, this community features a variety of home sizes and amenities that are sure to impress. It’s all about location with this up and coming subdivision. Simply pick your lot, then pick your plan and get started on building the home of your dreams!

View our plans for La Cour Beausoleil Community here:
Contact Tassie Fonseca for more information: 337-501-5011 –


Top Interior Design Trends of 2016!

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: October 21, 2016

Looking for some new design concepts for the Manuel Builders home you want to build? Take a look at these interior design trends that have really stood out in 2016.


Two Tone Kitchen Cabinets

Contrasting two tones really brings out your furniture choices in your kitchen.  Try light colored upper cabinets and dark colored base cabinets!  Or you could also try light colored cabinets with a contrasting dark island.  Make it unique and make it you!



Deep Kitchen Drawers

These drawers are definitely more than just practical.  Not only are they spacious and accommodate kitchenware of various sizes, but they are also very modern looking!


Lighter Color Pallets

While classic and regal, dark reds and gold are no longer the icon in interior design choices.  Stick to light greys and whites to make your room pop with beautiful lighting choices!


Dark Appliances

Nothing shouts elegance than matching dark colored appliances!  You can even select a matte finish to keep finger prints and smudges away. Look modern, look clean!101_2320_isadore_mb


Statement Bathroom Mirrors

Make a statement with your bathroom and “wow” your guests!  Unique mirrors with features that really pop are sure to leave a good impression.  Also, combine glass front cabinets with mullions to add an extra flair to an already beautiful room.


Find more inspiring ideas from our gallery of homes here.

How often should I change my air filter?

Categories: FAQs | Posted: October 20, 2016

All homeowners should check their air filter monthly to ensure there isn’t any build up. Air conditioning filters are needed because they keep dust out of the home and provide clean, cool air. Old and dirty air filters in an air conditioner will have a negative impact on the performance of the system, causing it to cool ineffectively and affect the quality of air inside the room or house. We suggest to buy filters in bulk to save time, cost and effort. This way you have your new filter easily accessible to replace every month. Tip: Set a calendar reminder in your phone the 1st of every month to stay on top of this important task!

The Game is on Sunday and We’re Coming Over!

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: September 27, 2016


Fall is here and you know what that means in South Louisiana: Football and tailgating season is upon us!  Now is the time to start getting ready to show off your beautiful home by hosting a tailgate and getting your friends to cheer on your favorite team.  We compiled a list of simple ideas and reminders that are sure to make your party stand out and be remembered as the tailgate of the season!

Keep It Simple

No need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to simple tailgate snacks.  Pick up easy items, such as marinated olives or unique vegetables, and dress them up on nice platters.  Another option is to stop by your local baker and order themed cookies and cupcakes served on a tiered tray.  While shockingly simple, these tasty treats will surely impress and add interest to your serving table!

Presentation is Key

Anyone can put trays of food out on a table and call it a day.  But the best tailgating experiences have memorable presentations.  Add table accents, such as footballs, pom-poms, and team memorabilia!  Make a mobile cooler by adding ice to a wheel-barrow!  Have a basket of team-related koozies!  Little things like these can turn your one-day party to an experience talked about all season long!

Game Day is Game Day

The players on the field aren’t the only ones that can have an awesome game day!  Spend some time before the game having a friendly competition with your guests.  Get some corn-hole boards, horse-shoes, or ring-toss bottles!  Winner gets dibs on the best seats for the game.

What’s Your Signature?

The last thing you will want to think about is how you will stamp your own personal touch to this party.  What do you want your guests to remember?  Do you have a rockin’ signature dish that party-goers will be craving for weeks?  Do you have awesome party favors that are the perfect mementos to bring home?  Do you have a home-made game that your friends will get into as much as the actual game?  Whatever it is, make it unique and make it you!

Have a safe and fun tailgating season and enjoy some time with your friends!

5 Rooms That Can Be Cleaned with $5

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: August 19, 2016


You would be surprised with what you can clean with so little.  Just buying a bottle of vinegar from the store, you can clean your house at a fraction of the price you would pay for chemical cleaners!  It’s cheap and it’s natural so you won’t have to worry about what those chemicals will do to you or your home.  Here are 5 areas in your home you can effectively rid of bacteria, mildew, and dirt with using vinegar as your main cleaner!


Use vinegar as a mattress disinfectant!  First purchase a spray bottle or you can utilize an empty or used windex/409 bottle to save money. Mix together vinegar, a pour or two of rubbing alcohol and a couple drops of tea tree oil in the the bottle. Spray your mattress with the mixture to help fight off dust mites, mildew and any odors. Don’t be too generous with the amount sprayed, you want to refrain from soiling your mattress with the mixture. Less is more! If you find that it’s not enough, try following up with a shake of baking soda across the mattress. Wait til it dries, then pass the vacuum to clean it up.

Laundry Room

Replace fabric softeners with vinegar when doing your laundry! It will create the same results but at a much lower price. Add a cup of vinegar to the final wash or rinse in the cycle. It will remove the static and soften the fabric just like you’ll expect. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how the smell is no longer present!

Living Room

For this space, focus on the areas that have glass, i.e. tabletops, media center doors, lamps, picture frames, etc. Mix together half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle to give them all a nice clean and sparkle!


It’s definitely a good idea to skip using the chemicals in the places you store your food, like your refrigerator!  Just clean with a 50-50 water-vinegar solution and you can even store the bottle in the refrigerator too!

You can also rid your plastic containers of food stains by letting them sit with a coat of vinegar applied.  Then you just wash as normal and they are good as new!


Using straight or diluted vinegar is very handy when battling stains and odors.  You can even pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight to remove any toilet rings.

These are just a couple of ideas, but the possibilities are endless!  Why pay all that money on household chemicals?  Just pick up a bottle of vinegar and you can clean your whole house with a natural cleaner that won’t hurt your wallet.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Yard Healthy by Beating the Summer Heat!

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: July 5, 2016

Manuel blog photo collage

The Louisiana summer heat is no joke! Instead of letting your yard succumb to the sizzle, follow these helpful tips to create the most appealing outdoor hangout for your friends and family this sunny season. But more importantly, these tips can save you from any trouble once the summer comes to a close!


Grass Length Perfection

Mowing the lawn at a higher height insulates the grass from the summer sun and reduces water loss from the soil. Lucky for you, most lawn mowers have easy-to-adjust blade heights so simply adjust the blade height on your mower to 3 inches and you’re all set!

Keep Your Grass Hydrated

Sadly, more plants are killed through over-watering than under-watering. You may not ever need to water your lawn if Mother Nature is on your side, but if you notice the growth is beginning to brown, water for 30 minutes (no more than ½ inch) once or twice a week. The best time to water is between 6-10 am or 4-7 pm, avoiding 11am-3pm which is the hottest part of the day.  Also, refrain from watering overnight as this provides the perfect conditions for mildew and fungus to grow, which no one wants to hassle with!

Save Your Grass!

Don’t make the mistake of over fertilizing your grass or gardens. Doing this can create flush of tender growth that will struggle in the hot summer weather. It’s best to avoid fertilizing during the hottest months of summer, and to wait until fall when the greenery starts thriving on its own. When you do start to use fertilizer, use discretion. Some liquid fertilizers feed the greenery and make it thrive, but they do not appropriately enhance the soil like granular fertilizers most often do.

Clean up Spring Growth and Keep Weeds at Bay

Keep your shrubbery and garden well-manicured by trimming dead or obtrusive branches from last season, including tackling those unwanted weeds. Everyone dreads weeding a garden, but it could mean the difference between a beautiful thriving garden and one that is way overgrown in weeds. To make this task easier, consider investing in a stainless steel claw weeder.

Let it Bloom

Get the color your yard needs by planting flowers that thrive even through the summer heat. Be sure to research each flower before planting; some require some shade, or more water. Understand the flowers you’re planting to help them prosper.

And don’t forget to take before and after pictures of your yard to document all the hard work you put in!

10 Home Projects to Complete for an Easy, Breezy Summer Season!

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: May 27, 2016

Summer is finally here! Before it gets too hot, we’ve got a few household tasks for you to knock out so that summer will be a breeze for you and your home. Tackle these projects and you’ll be more than ready for impromptu summer gatherings. Plus, you won’t be sizzling in the hot sun trying to get your list of to-do’s completed but rather enjoying a relaxing time by the pool!

Inspect Outdoor Cushion Covers

Indoor/outdoor pillows and cushions really go through a lot of wear and tear throughout the year. Remove the slip covers and give them a good wash. If you’ve had them for a while, and it just seems to have lost it’s fluff, consider purchasing new Outdoor Room 2010ones altogether. Sometimes adding a new pop of color to your outdoor furniture can be just what you need plus it’s an inexpensive change!

Wipe Down Outdoor Furniture

It may sound like a simple task, but it is often overlooked. The rain showers may rinse off dirt and dust, but it doesn’t compare to a thorough wipe down– nooks and crannies, included. A good wipe down and proper care for your outdoor furniture really goes a long way to keeping it looking its best for a long time!

Clean Outdoor Rugs

Even though it’s an outdoor rug, it still needs to be vacuumed just like the rugs and carpets placed in your home. Hose it off, and make sure it dries completely. Your outdoor rugs need some TLC, too! If it’s frayed or very discolored, consider purchasing a new one. You can find many options of outdoor rugs for reasonable prices at TJ Maxx, Marshals or HomeGoods.

Haylei Smith

Pressure Wash the Patio

What could be more satisfying than pressure washing the patio? Watching all the dirt and grime wash off instantly is the kind of gratification we like! If you don’t feel like spending the money and getting your own pressure washer, you can always rent one. In just a few short minutes, YEARS of dirt will magically disappear from your patio and walkways. You may even have your guests fooled that you recently remodeled the area! –Don’t forget to move your furniture out of the way first!


Re-Paint Your Exterior Doors

The summer sun and heat can really wear down a wooden door by warping and Haylei Smithcracking its surface over time. Re-painting your door helps seal the wood from the effects of natural elements, plus its also an easy trick to give your home a “new” look and feel! Try going out of the box by choosing a bold color to use instead of the same neutral you’ve had for years.

Get That Grill Ready

If you enjoy cooking a few good steaks on your grill, often it is necessarily to give it a good deep clean at least twice a year. Giving your grill’s cooking grates, burner protectors and the cook box a good scrub-down really does wonders. Don’t forget about the exterior too! Consider even purchasing a sleek grill cover to help protect the exterior from tarnishing or rusting. Note: Always disconnect the gas before you start scrubbing and wiping the grill!


Repair Damaged Screens

Mosquitoes, flies, lovebugs, stay out! Take some time out of your weekend to inspect the insect screens around your home because even the slightest tear can let in dozens of bugs. Mending the screens are surprisingly easy to do with just a couple tools. It’s not a glamorous job to tackle but imagine how unglamorous your home will be with the extra unwanted visitors during the summer!37ce25085da0dd15a1600a77b5e3ab31

Update Your House Numbers

If you love hosting parties at your place, make sure your house numbers are visible. Consider replacing them with larger numbers, and position them under a light fixture so that your guests have a better visibility of the numbers. Consider updating them on your mailbox as well. Giving your guests two different ways to find your home is always best!


Update Fixtures

If you’re planning to host a couple parties and get togethers at your home this summer, you’ll want proper lighting to set the mood. It’s a good time to check or maybe upgrade exterior light fixtures, to ensure they’ll all function in tip Haylei Smithtop shape. Try adding some strands of lights to your back patio for fun lighting too!

Guest Room Spruce-Up

When you have guests over, you want them to feel comfortable and impressed with your home. Try sprucing up the space with new throw pillows for the bed or new art for the walls. Adding a nice candle is a good touch as well so that it not only looks good, but smells good too!


Do one or do them all! Either way, you’ll be feeling good about your home’s look all summer long. Sometimes the smallest changes will make the biggest difference!


Don’t be a Stranger. Let’s Welcome Our Newest Neighbors!

Categories: Home Safety, Lifestyle | Posted: April 19, 2016

Moving into a new home can be one of the most exciting events for you and your family. It’s a new beginning and with that fresh start comes new neighbors! There are two ways most people will go about addressing their neighbors: Stay hidden or Stay open. One may choose to respect thy neighbor but leave it at that and others may choose to love thy neighbor like they are family.

Either way you choose to view it, it’s important that you make your neighbors aware of who you are and that you welcome them into the community. It’s only neighborhood etiquette to do so!

Give them the 411:

handshake2Introduce yourself to the new neighbors first and foremost so that you can exchange contact information. In the event of an emergency, you want to know that someone is looking out for not only your house but for the well being of your family. Get to know them by sharing information about your family and create small talk. This will help the both of you form trust in your relationship so that you can have comfort knowing your new neighbor will look after your house while you’re away. So whether you are a “stay hidden” or “stay open” type of neighbor, exchanging contact information is always a must.

Welcome Gifts:

A welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift will brighten the newcomer’s day and ease the hassle of settling in. Typically, gifts are simple and inexpensive like a plate of cookies, a bouquet of garden flowers, a stack of (new) local take-out menus, or an extra phone book. Other gift suggestions can be:Haylei Smith

* Fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from your garden.

* Blooming houseplants

*Personalized stationary with the homeowners new address

* Specialty spices for their new kitchen spice rack like Tony Chachere’s or Louisiana Hot Sauce

*Local goodies such as a pack of Swamp Pop, Loaf of bread from Great Harvest, Sweets from Indulge, etc

If gifts aren’t your thing, you can also offer to help them unload the truck while they’re moving in or invite them to dinner with a few other couples from the neighborhood. This will ensure that they feel welcome in their new place!

Be respectful:

When welcoming your new neighbors, stray away from rushing over as soon as the truck pulls into their driveway presenting them with a basket of homemade goodies. This can easily be stressful for them and might put them in an uneasy position. Instead, allow them time to begin their move into their new place and see that they are settled before you go knocking. However, a polite wave and “Welcome to the neighborhood!” from your yard is certainly appreciated.


Regardless of the situation you’re in, what matters most is that you’ve made the effort! It’s a much better feeling to be greeted and welcomed into a new environment, especially one where you call home. After all, if you’re the new neighbor moving in, wouldn’t you hope to receive the same experience?!

The Floor is Yours: Make it Last.

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: February 29, 2016

Carpet. Tile. Hardwood. Concrete.

There are so many choices when it comes to the world of flooring options for a new home, that it can sometimes be an overwhelming experience. The options are endless but it’s important to think through each one available since it’s a detail that will be vivid to you and your guests for years to come.

We are lending our expertise by outlining 5 key points to consider when it comes time to decide on flooring styles suited best for you and your new home.

1. Which room or rooms are you considering?


Let’s start off with the basics.

The function and location of the room obviously plays a big part in flooring decisions of your home. It’s wise to stray away from carpet in the kitchen or dining room due to the propensity for spilled foods and liquids. Spaces in the home that contain entry doors such as the foyer or a mud room are considered high traffic zones which will accumulate much more dirt and grit than areas like an upstairs bedroom. Consider choosing a hardwood or tile floor in these areas. Although, no floor will last forever if the grit isn’t regularly maintained, of course! The bottom line here is to choose a surface that’s suitable for the function and location of the room.


2. Consider your family’s status and lifestyle.

Constantine CollectionDo you have children? If so, how many? Young ones? Do you have elderly or disabled family members living with you? Are there any pets in the house? These are the next things to consider and quite possibly the most important. How you and your family live makes a difference in choosing a floor type. Children usually create more wear and tear from running, banging and playing with toys. Some of the laminate products might be better in this scenario than site-finished solid wood due to the wear resistant, or “kid-proof” nature of laminate flooring. These products have factory-applied coatings that are designed to be very durable and scratch-resistant. The surface finish of a site-finished wood floor (one that’s sanded and top-coated in your home) doesn’t have the same durability characteristics as those factory-finished floorings. No one wants scuffed up wood flooring after only a few months in the house!

The grout seams associated with tile may be an annoyance or even a hindrance for family members with wheeled walkers or wheelchairs. The wheels could catch or “clunk” as they pass over the grout, especially wider grout lines. Consider installing hardwood, laminate or even a tile with thin grout lines.

For pets that have long claws and/or have a high volume of shedding, it’s best to select a flooring type that will last. Hard surfaces work well for cleanup from pets that shed whereas carpeting will retain pet hair and dander. On the other hand, claws can also scratch a wood floor. If you have larger dogs with sharp claws, tile or wood/laminate flooring with the most durable surface finishes may be your best bet.


3. Does anyone in your home suffer from asthma or any other respiratory allergies?

Keeping your family’s health concerns into consideration is always wise when selecting floor types. Carpet can obviously harbor a greater amount of allergens that are more difficult to rid of than those on a hard surface. If you decide on carpet for your home, we suggest to set a strict cleaning schedule in place to assure your carpet stays as clean as possible. This will help avoid the buildup of pesky danders, allergens, etc. that can trigger asthma and other allergies.


4. How much care and maintenance are you willing to allocate to the floor?


Speaking of cleaning schedules, it’s important to note the level of care that some flooring options hold over others. Wood should be swept or vacuumed often to avoid the dulling and scratching that comes with ground-in dirt. Stone and tile are very durable although, their finish will eventually succumb to the lack of regular sweeping and maintenance. For carpets, they will easily lose fluff and freshness if they are not vacuumed at least once a week. They track a much higher level or dirt than any other floor option which means they will also stain much faster too! It’s recommended to have them professionally cleaned every 9months or annually to extend their life span in your home.

5. How important is floor to you from a style and aesthetic point of view?

Are you willing to spend the extra buck for something much more high end, or would youHaylei Smith rather take the economical route? Spending all your money on a new, expensive floor may not be of interest to you, but buying a super cheap floor may have you spending more money than planned with replacements down the road. From the aesthetic point of view, selecting a vibrant, very unique flooring that is trendy or in style now, may grow really tiring to look at in the next five years. Consider utilizing that trend you love now towards the easily changeable decorations in the room i.e. the wall colors, lamps, pillows, etc. This way you aren’t spending more money on a new floor!

Look at all your options. If you like the look of Brazilian Cherry but don’t need to have real solid wood to make you happy, consider the laminate options. You might be surprised to find a laminate that’s a close match to real wood but for less money. If you’re remodeling or building a new home, you can apply the savings to something that provides greater service and satisfaction in the long term such as upgraded appliances or cabinets.

Finally, once you’ve considered all of the factors discussed above, it’s time to get out and test drive your final choices. Find your top 2 or 3 favorites and choose the one you know you’ll love for years to come!

Practicing Gratitude in 2016

Categories: Lifestyle | Posted: December 29, 2015

“Practice of Gratitude” by Missy Manuel, Co-Owner of Manuel Builders

Missy shares with us through video and writing how powerful the practice of gratitude can be to one’s life and to those around them. Use this as a testament to be more grateful in this next year ahead. Whenever there’s a moment of doubt, take a step back and appreciate the great things still happening all around you..

I guess I never realized how deeply connected joy and gratitude really are until I began the practice of gratitude.  These days, one can find multiple articles on happiness; however, I think gratitude is an essential key to well-being.  It helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen panic, and could open up our thinking to new solutions. Practicing gratitude means to literally verbalize specifics as to what one is grateful for or jotting those things down on paper. No one is hardwired to be grateful. And, like any skill worth having, gratitude requires practice.

Gratitude is definitely a gift from God. When we practice gratitude, we re-experience the good things that are present in our lives, which then produces feelings of joy.  I think in today’s culture, humans are so fast-paced and focused on what we need to obtain.  We also focus on what we don’t have and find ourselves constantly living in a state of scarcity.  It is as if our emotional battery is always draining like a cell phone battery.  We simply get on the hamster wheel of life and never feel like we have accomplished enough, are rich enough, thin enough, successful enough and basically just not enough. You fill in your blank.

We are a fearful culture. Yet, I know gratitude has given me not only a true sense of joy, but freedom from worry.  Growing up in a home that practiced worry more than almost anything, I was a natural worrier.   When things went well, I wondered when the shoe was going to drop, staying in a state of preparedness, squandering my joy of individual moments and living in the negative fantasy that defines worry.  This was exhausting.  Gratitude practice has changed all of that for me.  Now when my mind goes to worry, it is simply a prompt to begin a gratitude prayer for the things that are good and present reality for me.

Every day starts with a gratitude list of things as small as hot coffee and snoring pugs to larger things like my home, husband, son, etc.  Also, as a family we have begun to state 3-5 things we are grateful for at the dinner table.  Those items range from a cancelled soccer workout, to a good result on a test, a great meeting, the end of the day or simply being grateful for one another.  These practices have made a huge difference in our mindset for everyday ventures. Even my teenage son’s prayers reflect a more thankful disposition and if you have teenagers, you know that is no small deal!

Gratitude helps me remember the small yet special things in my life; the moments I don’t want to miss.  Research shows that people who have lost loved ones actually miss the little things about them the most; things they bypassed and failed to fully take in due to the busy nature of life.

The practice of gratitude also helps bank emotional energy for those times in life when we face trials. These trials are inevitable; we face them as part of being alive on this earth. God promises us in the Bible that in life we will have trials (James 1:2) and He also tells us to be anxious for nothing but in everything pray and be thankful, for peace will guard our hearts. (Phil 4:6)

Gratitude practice has changed my life and it can change yours too.  Make a list of whatever comes to mind in the morning as you sip your cup of coffee. I think all of us have many things to be thankful for, if we really think about it.  I truly believe the antidote to this culture’s striving and fear-based mindset could be tremendously impacted by the practice of gratitude.  Try it for 30 days and let us know what happens!  Have a great and joyful new year!

I leave you with a few quotes to chew on!

“Life is a gift, totally given to you without cost. A daily and chosen ‘attitude of gratitude’ will keep your hands open to allow and receive life at ever deeper levels of satisfaction. Those who live with such open and humble hands receive life’s gifts in abundance and throughout their years, (“full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over into their lap” Luke 6:38). “ –Richard Rhor

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” — Brene Brown

Recommended reading:  One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voscamp — Purchase it here

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This holiday season, we asked some of our team to share what they are most thankful for and what the holidays really mean to them. Watch their #ThankfulThoughts below: