The Manuel Builders Blog

Blog Archive for September, 2018

Think “Lean” to Enhance Your Life

Categories: Wellness | Posted: September 27, 2018

When you hear the word “lean,” most think of slim body shapes, but our team took on another kind of “lean” and went through a process called “Lean Week!”

We were not working out physically in the gym, but we were working hard to change our thinking regarding waste. The lean process trained our team and our trades to see our world with new eyes for waste. Lean is about running the most efficient operation, being good stewards of the time, talent and resources we have been blessed with. During Lean Week, we realized that much of what we think is normal or business as usual or simply unavoidable, are things we can change if we work together with great communication, systems and processes.


We realized, along with our trades, that we can see with different eyes and effect the cost of doing business for all of us, which translates into a better product at the lowest possible price. Together we realize we can make a huge difference that results in a win for all, including our customers!


We worked with True North Development who increased our awareness in so many ways. When we are made aware of something that can be improved, it makes it difficult to return to our old way of doing things. We now see extra phone calls, extra road trips, excess material usage that is unnecessary to accomplish a desired effect, and many other things with new eyes. We are creating a culture of people with an eye for and intolerance for waste of any kind. Inefficient practices are plentiful because of old habits, traditions, processes and how we are raised and trained. We see these things as normal and we have very limited ideas of waste. Our goal was to begin to learn to spot waste and begin to see with Lean eyes!


I wonder what our lives would look like if we applied these same practices to our personal lives. As I contemplate how to apply the lean principles to everyday life, I think I could make some major changes. When I think about how many separate errands I make instead of thinking through how to combine them into a single trip, my head spins. For instance, visiting the grocery store, cleaners, picking up cash at the bank and dropping off alterations all in one trip vs many trips.  My husband is great at this. His travel from A to B is a science based on traffic, quickest route, etc. Not only would I save time, but gasoline, too!


There are so many ways we can use Lean thinking to enhance our lives. For instance, asking for help when someone is going the way of one of your errands, organizing your kitchen for easy flow, decluttering your closet for timely assembly of outfits, and spending a little extra time thinking through tasks for the day can help tremendously. Spend a few minutes going through your refrigerator and pantry, thinking of what you will cook for the week before you head to the store. Just a few Lean principles brought into our lives and work can lead to great payoffs!  Sometimes a simple pause to plan well can translate to tremendous profit in time.


“Awareness is the greatest agent of change.”

– Eckart Tolle

-Written by Co-Owner, Missy Manuel

“Missy holds the official title of Director of Organizational Health & Leadership within our company. Her main goal day in & day out is to nurture the culture and values we hold by instilling this in our employees.”

What Flooring Should I Use in My Kitchen?

Categories: FAQs, Home Design | Posted: September 21, 2018

We get this question often from our homeowners, specifically regarding the use of laminate wood flooring in this part of the home.  The answer is yes, it can be used, but NO we do not recommend that you use laminate in the wet areas such as: the kitchen, bathrooms, and the utility room. Both laminate and luxury vinyl flooring provide the look of wood, but at a more affordable price.

Laminate vs. Luxury Vinyl Flooring:

Laminate is water resistant, but not water proof; therefore, it would not be recommended to lay down in areas that have a chance of getting wet. Excessive amounts of water have the potential to warp or permanently damage this type of flooring.

Laminate flooring is made from pressed wood core with a decorative and protective layer on top to give it the finished look. The protective top coat is durable and helps resist scratches and wear and tear, which is a benefit when using it in high traffic areas such as the entryway, the living room and bedrooms. Laminate flooring is also easy to clean.

Tips on cleaning laminate flooring:

  • Vacuum to pick up dirt, rocks, and grime
  • Dust the floor
  • A recommended cleaner for laminate flooring is Bona
  • Use a microfiber cloth when cleaning laminate floors


When our homeowners want to have the same floor throughout, luxury vinyl flooring is a great option to achieve this look. Vinyl flooring can be used in places that you would not normally put laminate flooring, such as a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom. Depending on the type, vinyl floor is durable, water resistant and many styles are completely waterproof, therefore if you have a leak in the kitchen, your floor will not get damaged.

Tips on cleaning luxury vinyl flooring:

  • Use a soft bristle broom to remove loose dirt
  • Damp mop as needed with clean water and a non-abrasive floor cleaner, like Bona





-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.”