The Manuel Builders Blog

Blog Archive for September, 2017

Fall Backyard Makeover!

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: September 29, 2017

You might be ready for Fall but is your backyard? The weather is cooling down and that makes us all want to enjoy the crisp, fall outdoors by a warm fire. But is your patio in need of a face-lift? Use a few of these ideas to enhance the outside of your Manuel Builder’s home for Autumn!

Being Basic is Old News

First, let’s start with an unexpected color palette – Instead of the typical color scheme of orange and brown, try out modern Autumn colors that will stand out and make a lasting impression on your guests! Let your backyard POP with colors like Cranberry, Mustard, & Sage Green – These trendy colors are not expected for fall yet they can be completely fitting for the season. As for decoration and incorporating your new fall color palette, add some glam to your traditional pumpkins by painting them white with chalk paint and metallic gold for an accent color! Along with gourds, wooden fall signs and fall blooms like chrysanthemums, your backyard will easily become an Autumn escape you’ll love this season.

Light It Up

Create a stunning landscape that you can enjoy during the day and at night with a few of these outdoor lighting ideas. Make your next gathering even more magical with the inviting glow of string lights, which are perfect for spending nights outside in the cool weather. You can find vintage bulbs, globe bulbs or whatever shape that fits your style. Want more of a statement piece? Find a unique chandelier to hang over your table for an elegant focal point or even hook it up in one of your trees to give a nice contrast between glam and garden.  Another option would be to add torches that repel mosquitos because us southerners know the struggle, right?! This helps having family, fun outside more bearable!

Add “Cozy” Texture

Make your outside living space more cozy by adding textured blankets, pillows and rugs to create a comfortable space that makes you forget you’re outside! You can store blankets in a wooden crate or wicker baskets next to the furniture so they’re easy to grab on a chilly fall night. Want to make your guests feel extra comfortable? Add a few outdoor pillows! The good thing about throw pillows is that they allow you to play with colors and patterns that can change with your style without doing an entire patio renovation. Adding an accent rug that complements your outdoor furniture is just another way to enhance your outdoor living space. It will tie everything in together and bring the inside out on your back porch!

Whatever you do, fall in love it. Make it a place that’s not additional, yet an extension to your living areas inside your home. Guests can visit your home for dinner gatherings or football watch parties and feel welcome throughout your entire home!

How much does a set of blueprints cost?

Categories: FAQs, Home Design, Other | Posted: September 15, 2017

That’s a great question!  Blueprints, house plans, floor plans, home designs, and construction documents are all terms that can all be used interchangeably when referring to the set of drawings used to construct your home. Are you willing to begin with an existing plan and make modifications, or are you hoping to design a custom home to meet very specific design requirements?
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to starting from a predesigned set of floor plans, your costs could come from online/ magazine-order plan houses, local design firms, and design/build contractors.  With information at your fingertips, you can easily begin your search on the web or pick up the latest home design magazine at the checkout aisle.  Southern Living, ePlans.com, and many others offer various prices for their designs.  Prices can start as low as a few hundred dollars for a single non-reproducible ‘study’ set, which would give you enough detail to get a construction estimate, and up to $1500-$3000 for a set that can be reproduced and customized multiple times to meet your needs for construction.  Customization is usually offered as an additional service.  If you prefer, you can start with local designers.  Madden Home Design offers home designs for $600-$1000 for a set that cannot be modified.  Or you can go to a homebuilder that offers in-house design services, some with varying degrees of customization.  Manuel Builders charges nothing for a full set of construction drawings and allows you to make as many custom changes as you want.
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to the custom home, you are going to look for an architect or designer who can best listen to your needs and bring your ideas to life.  There are many quality local design firms, and each can charge differently for their services. The most popular method is based from construction square footage.  You can expect to pay as little as $0.50/sf to an architecture student doing business on the side to well over $2/sf to an established design firm.  Michael Campbell Design offers custom plan services starting at $1.95/ square foot on the total area under roof (not just living area).  A 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath house could easily cost more than $5,000.  Again, some homebuilders charge nothing for floor plans, even custom ones.  Before investing in design services, it is a good idea to consult your builder first to see what options they offer.
 
Regardless of whom you get the drawings from, remember that the design is the copyright of the creator of the floor plan.  Intellectual property laws protect house plans, so work with your builder to make sure you are following copyright guidelines.
 
And remember, what appears on paper today will become your lived-in reality in a few months.  I hope you consider all the options and choose the best blueprint to achieve the home of your dreams!

Monthly Maintenance

Categories: FAQs | Posted: September 5, 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 monthly basis.

Monthly tasks:

  • Replacing A/C filters is the most basic, preventative maintenance for your A/C unit, and can be considered one of the most important. When your A/C filter gets clogged, dust and dirt begin to find its way into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. You probably know what that means.. the more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and then you’re dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.
  • Clean or replace the dirty filter in your range hood. The same principal applies here as with the A/C filters, except this part doesn’t need to be replaced, simply cleaned. A basic household degreaser and some hot water will do the trick.
  • Freshen and clean sink drains by flushing with hot water and baking soda. No one likes a smelly kitchen! This will also help keep debris from clogging up your drain lines, which could cause water to back up into your fixtures.
  • Check for evidence of leaks around toilets, under sinks and around dishwasher, basically all your wet areas. It is always a good practice to do a quick sweep of all of the water supply areas of your home to check for signs of a leak. Doing so can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repairs by catching a leak before it is too late.
  • Clean aerators on faucets regularly, depending upon water hardness.  You may need to use a rust or scale remover to return them to normal condition. Check any water filters and softeners regularly.

To check out the items needed to maintain on a bi-annual and annual basis, check out our main video here.