5 Benefits of New Construction

With low inventory in most real estate markets across the country, more buyers are looking at new construction. Whether the home is already being constructed, or you buy a lot and start from scratch, there are many benefits to building a new home.

Move-In Ready

When you buy a previously-lived in property, inevitably, there will be something you want to change. Some homes just need minor improvements, like a fresh coat of paint, while others require a complete gut job. One of the best parts of a new construction home is that it is fully move-in ready. 

You can rest assured that plumbing and electrical are in working order, new appliances are installed and ready for first use, and every room matches your style. The only thing left to do is unpack. 

Designed for You

Starting with the layout, all the way down to countertops and color schemes, new construction is designed for you. 

When building new, you can work with your contractor throughout the entire process to make sure the floorplan meets you and your family’s needs. Open floor plans, high ceilings, and space for a home office, gym, or studio can all be incorporated into your new home.

As construction nears completion, you can select countertops, appliances, colors, light fixtures, and more. Your contractor will guide you through design options while helping you stay within your budget.

Lower Maintenance 

As a homeowner, maintaining your home is essential. With new construction, modern technology keeps maintenance to a minimum. 

Your home will be built to the most up-to-date codes and safety standards, with new plumbing, HVAC, appliances, windows, and roofing. This not only creates less work for you over the years, but maintenance costs will be less as well. 

Energy Efficient

New construction also utilizes green practices for highly efficient homes. Often, a third-party will rate the home’s energy efficiency, ensuring it meets requirements. With proper insulation, high-efficiency appliances and systems, your home will have a low carbon footprint and low utility bills. 

Home Warranty

Builders don’t just walk away after it is completed. A new home comes with a warranty, so you can feel confident about how the construction will hold up over the years. Should any issues arise during the warranty period, the builder will work with you to solve the problem. 

To make the most of these benefits, make sure you find a contractor you like and trust!

A Peek Inside Unit 17

It’s official – there are just two units currently left for sale at The Residences at 66 High Street. Every unit completed has a design all it’s own, while maintaining the sense of luxury that 66 High Street is known for. 

The Horton Group works with residents to customize each unit to feel like home from day one. Unit 17, which recently sold, was no exception. The customized options have us inspired! 

Come take a peek at Unit 17, and learn about some of the build-to-suit options available for the remaining units at 66 High Street!

Color Scheme

Color can completely change the feel in any room. Dark, earthy tones create a grounding space, while neutrals can create a feeling of spaciousness. Pops of color are also an option for those who love a bold statement. Whatever your color preference is, this is an easy customization for any unit. 

Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most customizable rooms in any unit. Select your preferred appliances, layout, backsplash, and added features. Unit 17 has a walk-in pantry with an extra fridge!

Molding and Trim

Do you love intricate crown molding or modern lines? Another simple way to customize a space is to select your preferred molding and trim throughout the home. 

Flooring

No matter what type of flooring you prefer, there are endless options! If you select wood floors, there are still decisions to be made on the boards’ width, length, and color. You can also decide if you want the same flooring throughout the entire home, or change it up in different living spaces. 

Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry always makes a statement and creates a unique focal point in any room. Design a kitchen to meet your needs, install custom bookshelves in the living room, create the walk-in closet of your dreams, and make sure you have the bathroom storage you need with custom cabinetry. 

Countertops

Granite, quartz, or butcher block? Countertops in the kitchen and bathroom last years, so it’s important that you love the ones installed. After you share your vision with your contractor, you can review options and view samples until you find the countertop of your dreams. 

Custom Additions

When it comes to other custom additions, we are thrilled to make your vision come to life! Unit 17 features custom wine storage in the kitchen and Swing Catalyst for perfecting the golf swing. We have worked with residents to create custom home offices, home bars, and more. These final touches make your unit unique to you – and that’s what makes it feel like home. 

Interested in learning more about the build-to-suit options available at the Residences at 66 High Street? Contact us today!

Tools Every Homeowner Should Own

Even if you don’t consider yourself a handyman, having tools at your disposal will help you in a pinch. Whether you need to hang new photos, make minor repairs, or are tackling a DIY project, proper tools will help get the job done. 

Keep reading for a list of essential tools every homeowner needs. 

Measuring Tape

When you are buying new furniture, remodeling a room, or taking on a DIY task, a measuring tape is necessary. Select an easy-locking ¾-inch model at least 25 feet in length for use at home. 

Hammer

A claw hammer is one of the most basic tools because almost every project you take on will require one, from nailing things in place to minor demolition. Choose a hammer that is well-balanced with a comfortable grip. 

Level

Anything you install – from cabinets to shelving to wall art – requires a level. Laser levels make it very easy to be precise, but low-tech levels with floating bubbles are also accurate.

Screwdrivers and Screws

Make sure you have a screwdriver set with a variety of flathead and Phillips head sizes for any project you may need to complete. Of course, you’ll need various sized screws as well. 

Pliers

Vise-grip pliers lock in place, making them a versatile tool for many different uses. Needle nose pliers are essential for electrical work or when you need to reach a tight spot. 

Wrenches

Wrenches are often needed for putting together furniture. An adjustable crescent wrench has jaws that can tighten and loosen, making it great for a basic toolset. You can also invest in a wrench set, with wrenches in a variety of sizes. 

Utility Knife and Wire Cutter

A utility knife, or box cutter, can make precision cuts quickly and easily. Wire cutters are needed for electrical repairs and many craft projects. Both should be in your toolbox. 

Stud Finder

A handheld stud finder finds nails and screws in the wall, making it easy to find a stud when hanging photos or mounting a TV. 

Carpenter’s Square

A carpenter’s square, also called a combination square, is used in various woodworking, metalworking, and masonry projects. This tool helps you find 45 and 90-degree angles. 

Sander

A sander helps to create smooth surfaces for sealing or painting. Handheld sanders are great for many DIY projects and smaller jobs around the house. 

Cordless Drill and Drill Bits

A cordless drill can drill holes in sheetrock, which can aid in hanging curtains, artwork, and mounting items on the wall. Invest in a good set of drill bits to get the most out of your cordless drill.

C-Clamps

C-clamps come in handy for many projects. Clamps hold two materials together in place, making it easier to glue or nail them together. 

When buying tools, think about what you will use the most. Buying tools individually, rather than a complete toolkit, can ensure you only get what you need. Keep your tools well-organized so that when the need arises, you know where to find what you are looking for. 

Home Improvements for Aging in Place

In 2020, many people altered their homes for added comfort, private workspaces, and aging in place. Adults are choosing to forgo moving into a nursing home, whether they stay in their own residence or move in with family. 

You can make several modifications to your home to create an environment that is safe and comfortable for all who live there. Many are simple improvements you can make on your own, while others may require hiring a professional. Keep reading to learn more!

Interior Improvements 

Being able to move about safely, despite age or physical limitations, helps people remain independent. Here are some general modifications you can make to aid in mobility around the house:

  • Install handrails. Handrails aren’t just for stairs. Consider adding handrails in hallways, bedrooms, and bathrooms. 
  • Install a stairlift. If going up and down the stairs is required, a stairlift makes it much more manageable. 
  • Automated features. Automated thermostats, blinds, and lighting allow you to make changes without having to stand up. 
  • Open Floor Plans. When possible, widen doorways and hallways. This is especially helpful for people who use a walker or wheelchair. 
  • Add carpet and anti-slip mats. The carpet adds some extra cushion when walking, and well as traction. Anti-slip strips can be added to the bottom of area rugs to reduce the chances of slipping. Anti-slip mats are also essential for the shower. 
  • Install a walk-in shower. A walk-in makes it easier to get in and out of the shower. Add a bench and handheld shower head for additional ease of use. 
  • Raise the toilet seat. This makes it easier to sit and stand back up. 

Exterior Improvements

A few select changes to the home’s exterior make it easier to come and go and make your outdoor living space more enjoyable for all. 

  • No-step entry. Installing a ramp next to the front or back steps allows easy access in and out of the home. Handrails on both sides of a ramp, and well as any exterior walkways, add extra support. 
  • Modify the door threshold. The slight difference between your porch or ramp and the floor inside the door can be enough to create a tripping hazard. To make a flush threshold, you can raise the porch or replace the doorframe. 
  • Exterior lighting. Ensure all walkways, outdoor living spaces, and entrances are well lit. 
  • Low-maintenance exterior and landscaping. As people age, the exterior of the home is often the most challenging to maintain. Make landscaping easier with an automatic sprinkler system and low-maintenance plants. You can also replace high-maintenance siding for vinyl or brick for less upkeep. 

With some simple features added to your existing space, you can help ensure your home is safe as you or your loved ones grow older. 

Add Architectural Details to Your Home

The difference is always in the details. 

When you walk into a custom home, you can immediately tell the difference. Architectural details can make any space come to life, adding a luxurious and timeless element to your home design.  

Keep reading for simple ways to add architectural details to your home. 

Baseboards

Baseboards cover the joint between the wall and the floor, hiding any imperfections and protecting the wall. Since baseboards run throughout every room in the home, they also serve as a visual link. If your baseboards are outdated, select a new decorative molding, or paint the baseboards to freshen up every room. 

Door and Window Trim

Door and window trim, also called casing, comes in various prefinished and unfinished options, ranging from simple to elaborate. Mitered door casings connect each piece of trim with an angled joint. If your home has high ceilings, butted casing offers a wider head casing for the top of the door, drawing the eye up. 

Crown Molding

Crown molding can be installed where the wall meets the ceiling or cap off cabinets and columns. This decorative finish changes the style of any room, makes the ceiling feel higher, and adds a sense of luxury. 

Chair Rail 

Chair Rail is another type of molding, applied horizontally to walls. Chair rail provides a classic decorative element and protects high traffic areas where furniture is frequently moved. Chair rail is often found in dining rooms, breakfast nooks, and living rooms. 

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors instantly create a flow throughout your living spaces. Hardwood can match any style, and typically adds to the value of the home.

Ceiling Beams

Ceiling beams are another way to draw the eye up. While some beams are essential to the property’s structure, exposed beams can also add to the design of a space. Whether opting for a rustic vibe with wooden beams, or a modern interior with metal beams, ceiling beams add a visually appealing focal point in any room!

Color Contrast

One of the easiest ways to highlight architectural details in your home is with contrasting colors. If you opt for dark hardwood floors, select a light paint color for the walls. Another option is to contrast light cabinetry with dark countertops, or vice versa, to create depth. 

Architectural details can create simple or bold statements. What’s your favorite way to add in architectural detail?

A Season of Giving

December is always filled with generosity, excitement, and compassion. 

This year is undoubtedly different, as we’ve all faced unforeseen challenges in 2020. Yet, there is still an overwhelming amount of kindness we can’t help but notice. 

All year, we’ve witnessed individuals, businesses, and families rally together to help those in need. Over the months, we’ve continuously been uplifted by people near and far who continue to do the work of helping others. 

Challenges in Connecticut

While many have adapted to a new way of living, many more are faced with lingering challenges: 

  • 600 Connecticut restaurants have closed since March.
  • 35,000 businesses have closed. 
  • 277,000 jobs have been eliminated. 
  • 43% of Connecticut unemployment claims came from closed and nonoperational businesses, including restaurants, bars, nail and hair salons, and museums.

Many have reached out to ask how to help along the Connecticut shoreline, and that’s where The Gift Card Project comes in!

The Gift Card Project

The Gift Card Project launched in Guilford and Madison in March 2020 in response to the desire of so many people asking how they can help. Their efforts quickly spread throughout Connecticut, helping collect and distribute over $20,000 worth of gift cards to those in need. 

The Gift Card Project aims to help in more than one way:

  1. By buying gift cards from small businesses, you help support your favorite local restaurants and shops.  
  2. Those gift cards are then given to someone who could use a boost. The Gift Card Project handles distribution to ensure gift cards get to those in need! 

Now, they are once again collecting and donating gift cards to those who need them most!

Simply buy a gift card from a small business and email or send it to The Gift Card Project. They will distribute it to those who need it most: families struggling to make ends meet, restaurant workers whose hours have been cut, and business owners forced to close their doors. 

Learn more about how you can help at The Gift Card Project.

Should You Upsize or Downsize?

In the years leading up to 2020, people moved away from sprawling estates and mega-mansions, opting to downsize and move to areas with walkable downtowns. 

This year, there’s been another shift, as people are spending more time at home and are looking for more square footage and outdoor space. People are reevaluating how they spend their time and what’s important to them, including where they live. 

Keep reading for some tips for finding the right size home for your needs. 

Evaluate Your Current Living Situation

We’ve all spent more time in our homes this year. Pay attention to where you spend the most time, and what areas are seldomly used. Could you repurpose a dining room, for instance, if you only use it a few times a year? Reimagining rooms may offer up additional space for the things you want to do at home.

Know Your Financial Situation

Before any type of move, you need to factor in your financial situation. If you are considering a larger home with a bigger yard, know that your property taxes will likely increase. Determine your maximum monthly budget and meet with your mortgage lender to help you figure out how much home you can afford. 

Signs it’s Time to Upsize

Many people are dreaming of more space this year, but you should take time to think about if the extra space is needed or the result of cabin fever. Signs it’s time to upsize include:

  • An expanding family and not enough rooms.
  • Not enough space for everyone to gather for meals.
  • You require a dedicated home office. 
  • You have budgeted in a larger monthly payment. 
  • You want to move out of the city and into a suburban or rural area. 

Signs it’s Time to Downsize

Other people find themselves with too much space. Here are some ways to know it’s time to downsize:

  • You cannot keep up with the maintenance of your home and property.
  • Many rooms in your home are seldom used. 
  • Children or family members have moved out.
  • Your monthly payments are stressing your current budget. 

Determining the right-sized home is a personal choice, as everyone has different needs and priorities. What are you looking for in a new home? Let us know in the comments!

Office Design Trends for 2021

It seems like everything has changed this year, including the spaces we work in. While some continue to work remotely, others have headed back to their place of employment.  

Businesses have adapted to the changing times, implementing new protocols to keep their employees healthy at the office. However, all of this leads to the question: 

How will office design trends change?

With two new commercial build projects happening in 2021, we’re excited to create office and retail spaces for a diverse range of tenants, all the while keeping in mind function and safety. 

Below are some ways we expect commercial design to change: 

Layout

An open office design is popular among many companies. An open layout uses floorspace more efficiently than multiple walls and doors, but it also means people are working closer together. 

Some designers believe the open office layout will begin to fade, though others disagree. 

“There’s a lot of benefit to spending time near daylight and fresh air, and an open plan facilitates that,” said Kevin Van Den Wymelenbery, Director of the Institute for Health in the Built Environment.

Those who want to keep the open feel, ensuring there is ample space between workspaces is a great place to start. Another option is to install glass walls or tall plexiglass dividers to help create separate work areas. 

Airflow

No matter the layout, airflow is one of the most critical factors of new commercial space design. With the right HVAC system, increased outdoor airflow and filtered air improve indoor air quality for all. Rather than circulating air in the room, new systems will pull exhaled air out of the room and push in filtered air. 

Surface Finishes

Construction materials, especially those used for shared surface area, may also begin to change. Germ-resistant materials that prevent the growth of viruses, bacteria, and mold can help stop the spread of all infectious diseases. In addition, touchless technology will continue to see a rise for doors, elevators, and bathroom fixtures. 

As we get ready to work with client for these new spaces, we’re excited to incorporate new design trends to make every space functional and safe for all!

Advantages of Buying a Home in Winter

Recent buzz in the real estate community exclaims that because of this year’s low inventory and historic low mortgage prices, competition among buyers is fierce. While experts predict the winter market will remain busy, it is expected to have less activity than the spring market, when even more buyers will be on the search. 

If you are ready to buy, whether you are looking for new construction or a resale, read the rest of the blog to see the advantages to buying property in the winter!

Less Competition 

Generally in the winter months there are fewer buyers because not as many people are willing to go house hunting in cold weather. Close to 40% of all real estate transactions country-wide occur between the months of May and August. Due to fewer buyers remaining active in their search, it becomes easier to find a home you love – for a price you can afford. Fewer buyers also means fewer all-cash, over-asking offers, making your traditionally financed offer more appealing. 

Motivated Sellers

In the off months of the real estate calendar, sellers are often more motivated to get a deal done promptly. Many sellers putting their house on the market in the winter are not doing so because they want to, but because they have to. These cases are often ones of urgency, such as an unexpected job change or a death in the family. Real estate agents are also well aware of sellers’ motives during the slow winter months, knowing they are more likely to negotiate, whether it is on the sale price, closing costs, or closing date. 

Test Durability Through Harsher Weather

Visiting open houses in the summer seems ideal with warm weather and better lighting, but for those residing in New England, that can be a mistake. Seeing how a house weathers the winter climates, on the other hand, shows you the durability of a house. In the winter, some houses experience cracks in the foundation, frozen and cracked pipes, poorly insulated rooms, and weathered roofs. Continuing your home search in the winter means you can look for signs of weather-related issues. 

More Flexibility With Movers

As we all become accustomed to moving in slow motion in the winter, surprisingly the movers themselves do not. With a decrease in business, moving companies often incentivise using their business by offering discounted rates. It is also hard to beat the availability of movers in the winter, due to the lack of competition. This helps for booking the exact time you need to be out of your old home and into your new one!

Horton Group Project Recap

As the holiday season gets underway, we can’t help but look back on the past year. Amid the challenges and unforeseen circumstances, we’ve witnessed incredible things happening in our community.

Small businesses exceeding expectations to meet the needs of the people they serve. 

Individuals going above and beyond to help others. 


The Horton Group team working together to provide the very best service to our clients. 

Every year, we’re grateful for the work we do, and this year, we feel even more honored to be helping people feel at home. 

As we move into 2021, here are some updates on our current projects:

The Residences at 66 High Street

The Social Redesign is completing a unit at 66 High Street! Nicole White, along with designer Mary Ellen Sullivan and the Horton Group team, is working on completing the newest unit in the Leete Building. The best part? You get a say in the final design of the unit! If you haven’t been following along, visit The Social Redesign on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to vote. 

In addition to new units being completed, outdoor living spaces are also coming to fruition. The pool is in at 66 High Street! Residents will be able to enjoy an inground pool overlooking the Long Island Sound come summer. We can’t wait!

Overland Lofts

The Overland Lofts is now leasing units! This project with Davenport Companies has been an exciting project. From a Willys-Overland factory to residential lofts with commercial space, this historic building is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts revitalization project. The Overland Lofts include 60 market-rate apartments, retail space, and dog park, and more!

Coming in 2021

We’re excited about a new project happening in 2021! Stay tuned for more details on this commercial space in Branford, as well as other residential and commercial development projects.

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