Tips for Designing a Multi-Generational Home

Multi-generational living can be challenging. You want everyone to have their privacy and space, all under one roof. If you are currently living with multiple generations in your home, or anticipate this situation in the future, here are some tips to design a living space that works for everyone.

Design Your Home with Accessibility in Mind

With multiple generations under one roof, you’ll want to make sure the living space is accessible to the oldest of the household’s members. 

Make sure you have spaces wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Build bedroom suites on the ground floor, so people with mobility challenges won’t need to navigate stairs. If you have a large budget, you can even consider motorized countertops or cabinets that can adjust height to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Design your bathroom with safety in mind. Choose step-in showers, rather than a bathtub  that an elderly person will struggle to climb into. Install handrails or seats in the showers.

Lastly, make sure there is ample lighting in the house for older members who may have trouble seeing. Adjustable lighting is a great option to make everyone happy.

Design Private Spaces and Communal Spaces

There will be times where you’ll want to spend time with your family members, and times where you’ll want some privacy. This can be difficult to achieve in a multigenerational home, but there are solutions. You can build a separate suite in the basement, or even elsewhere on your property like a guest cottage. You can also consider separate entrances into the home, so every generation feels like they have a space of their own.

You’ll want some communal and accessible open-concept spaces, but you’ll also want some separate rooms for privacy. Pocket doors are a great solution to accomplish something in-between open and private. With a lot of people in the house, you’ll also definitely want to make sure your rooms are well-soundproofed.

Maximize Your Indoor and Outdoor Space

With a full house, it’s essential to maximize every inch of your home. Design plenty of creative storage solutions. Lots of people means lots of stuff!

Even if you don’t have extra family members living with you NOW, you can design for your FUTURE needs if you anticipate you will one day have extra members in your household. Design your spare rooms to meet standard bedroom requirements so that they can be used as bedrooms later, even if you’re currently using them as an office or exercise room.

If you have the yard space, designing a spacious, comfortable outdoor courtyard or deck where the whole family can come together for bonding time while having their private spaces indoors is a great way to achieve balance between alone time and social time.

Conclusion:

Living in a multigenerational home can be a challenge, but creating a harmonious living environment starts with the design of your house. It is important to design a space that is physically accessible to every member of the household, and that accommodates both togetherness and privacy.

Need help coming up with a design that fits your multi-generational needs? Get in touch today.

Top Locations for a Laundry Room

The laundry room may not be the most glamorous space in a home, but it’s a room that most homeowners want. 

A laundry room appears at the top of the list of NAHB’s 2021 most essential home features. While most people are happy to have dedicated space to do laundry at home, being able to pick the perfect location for a laundry room is even better. 

If you are building or remodeling your home and have the option of where to place your laundry room, we recommend considering the following:

Basement

Often, laundry rooms are found in the basement. This can be a great option for those who prefer a laundry room that is out of the way. You may also find you have more space to dedicate to a laundry room on the lower level of your home, which may be preferred if you have children or pets, or want to create space for sorting, ironing, and folding within the laundry room.

However, some people dislike going up and down the basement stairs for every load of laundry. This is especially true if the basement is unfinished, and the only reason you go downstairs is for laundry. 

Main Level

A laundry room on the main level of the home is another great option. This location is more convenient for those who do not want to go up and downstairs. It also often offers easier access if you are coming inside from the backyard, and want to drop off dirtied clothing without dragging them through the rest of the home. 

There are some downsides to this type of placement as well. If located on the first level, the laundry room is located in close proximity to your main living areas: the kitchen, living room, and dining room. If not tucked away, the laundry room can be noisy or become an eyesore. 

Some people have a dedicated mudroom on the main level where they place their washer and dryer. This is an ideal location, as it is convenient to where you spend your time on the main level, yet far enough away that it is not a distraction. 

Top Level

If you have more than one floor, you can also opt to place a laundry room on the top level of the home, which is generally where the majority of the bedrooms are.  This location is extremely convenient for dropping off dirty items and putting away clean clothes, as you only have to walk a short distance to each room.

On the downside, a laundry room on the top level means you have to go upstairs every time you need to sort or switch out clothing. As most people spend the majority of their time on the main level, this can become cumbersome. In addition, you likely won’t want to start a load at night or early morning, as the noise may interfere with someone’s sleep. 

Any space can become functional for laundry with some planning and organization. Finding a location that is out of the way yet convenient to get to is ideal for a laundry room.

Patio vs. Deck: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dreaming of an outdoor entertainment space where you can spend the lazy days of summer enjoying some solace in nature, or hanging out with family and friends amidst the smell of burgers being grilled to perfection? 

Not sure whether a patio or deck is the best option to achieve this dream? 

Here are nine questions that you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether a patio or deck is right for you.

Deck at Horton Group’s 66 High Street luxury condos.

1) What is the difference between a patio and a deck?

A patio is level with the ground, while a deck is on a raised platform. Typically patios are made of concrete, but can also be made of brick, pavers, stone, or tile. Decks are usually made of wood, composite wood, or vinyl. Decks are required to have railings while patios often do not have railings.

2) What is my budget?

If you’re on a tight budget, then a patio will typically be your cheaper option. Since patios are level with the ground, there is no added cost to build a platform. However, decks will typically have a higher return-on-investment (averaging 72% in 2020). If you are concerned with the resale value of your house, it is worth considering paying more for the deck.

3) Do I want to DIY it?

For safety and building code reasons, deck construction is better left to the professionals. If you want a DIY project, you’re better off going with the patio, but hiring a professional is still recommended.

4) Is my property sloping or hilly?

If your property is not on level ground, a deck will probably be a better option for you, especially if you want a deck that you can access through an interior living space. If your heart is set on a patio, you can always level out the land – but keep in mind this requires additional time and cost to complete the project.

5) Do I need to get a permit?

In many places, you need a permit in order to build a deck, as you are adding an additional structure to your home that must be safely built up-to-code. It depends on the location, but you often don’t need a permit to build a patio. Always check with your municipality to ensure you are following guidelines. 

Covered patio at Horton Group’s 21 Palms construction.

6) Do I want my outdoor entertainment space attached to my house?

Decks are almost always attached to the house. Patios can be attached or located anywhere on your property. It’s up to your personal preference whether you want a structure attached to your home or something a little farther away.

7) How much maintenance am I willing to do?

Typically there isn’t much maintenance to perform on a patio other than to keep it clean and repair any cracks. The amount of maintenance you will need to perform on a deck is dependent on the material. Vinyl and composite decking are long-lasting and should not need much beyond cleaning. Decks made out of wood will need to be sanded and resealed regularly.

8) What kind of view do I want?

Since decks are raised, they can provide an awesome view of the landscape, but if you do not want any rails blocking your view, a patio might be a better option for you. A patio is also the better option if you prefer your outdoor entertainment space to be immersed in your landscaping, such as surrounded by gardens, fountains, or simply nature.

9) What about a pool?

If you have or want a pool in your outdoor space this will be a huge factor in determining whether a patio or deck makes more sense for you. A patio can easily make a great entertainment space around an inground pool. If you have an above-ground pool, you can build a deck around it.

Conclusion

There are many factors to consider when choosing between a patio or a deck for your home. These include budget, ROI, local building codes, typography, personal preference, and other features that you want to include such as a pool. It’s important to ask yourself these nine questions to make the best decision for you.

Commercial Construction in 2021

The residential housing market isn’t the only sector of real estate that has transformed over the past year. 

Commercial real estate has undergone a lot of changes, in part because businesses are rethinking how much commercial space they need after many employees have adapted to working from home. 

If you are considering opening a commercial space in the next year, consider the following:

Look for High-Demand Locations

If your business is dependent on consumers, make sure you are keeping your search in locations that are in high-demand. Consumers are already in these places, making your business easy to get to. 

High-demand areas attract other businesses as well, naturally creating more traffic (and business) than areas that are becoming vacant.

Repurposing a Building vs. New Construction

If you are deciding between repurposing an old building and new construction, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each. 

Adaptive reuse projects can often be completed faster and cheaper than building new. Like we stated above, however, you will want to take location into consideration, as well as the needs specific to your business. 

Low Interest Rates

Low interest rates extend into the commercial sector for those who own their commercial building. Low rates equal less interest paid over the course of a loan, saving a significant amount of money. 

New Features

Consider what features are important to your business, your employees, and your clients. Many businesses are finding value in an increase in outdoor air ventilation, more space for distancing, and other measures specific to people’s health. 

Are you looking for a new commercial space?

Final Phase at 66 High Street

The Horton Group is now entering our fourth and final phase at The Residences at 66 High Street with the build of The Chittenden!

Since the start of the project, a total of 38 units have been sold, completely selling out the first three buildings: The Mill, Whitfield, and Leete Buildings. 

The Residences at 66 High Street is a luxury condominium community in Guilford, Connecticut. Each unique residence features an open floor plan highlighted by high ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, finely appointed baths, and high-end finishes. 

In addition to masterful craftsmanship, 66 High Street also has an incredible sense of community. Located within walking distance to the Guilford Green, residents enjoy heading to their favorite shops and restaurants and meeting up with neighbors. 

Award-Winning Luxury Development

Over the years, The Residences at 66 High Street has garnered the attention of residents and builders alike. The development has won numerous awards, including:

2019 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium

2018 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Condominium Community 
  • Best Condominium Unit
  • Outstanding New Haven County New Commerical for 350 Goose Lane
  • Outstanding Vacation Remodel for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

2017 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Outstanding Luxury Condominium
  • Best Luxury Townhouse

2016 HOBI Awards:

  • 2016 Project of the Year
  • Best Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium Unit
  • Best Historic Rehab Overall

In addition to all HOBI Awards, the Residences at 66 High Street has broken every single New Haven County record for luxury condo sales!

The Final Phase

Now in the final phase, the Horton Group is constructing the final building: The Chittenden Building. With a planned completed date in 2024, this building will have the same level of craftmanship, with individual units tailored to the preferences of residents. 

Are you interested in learning more about The Chittenden Building at 66 High Street?

Choosing Your Master Bedroom Location

The master bedroom is one of the most important rooms a prospective homeowner should consider when buying or building a house. The location of the room is important, and should accommodate your lifestyle needs and personal preferences.

Here are the top things to take into account when thinking about the location of your master bedroom!

Mobility Concerns

According to an AARP study, 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. This number is 71% among the 50-64 age group. When you consider that four of the top ten states with the highest aging population are New England states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut – these statistics are vital to many of our clients.

How does this relate to the location of the master bedroom? Well, with more homeowners choosing to age-in-place, many seek to build or buy a home with a first-floor master bedroom. That way, they do not have to go up and down the stairs multiple times a day.  The bedroom will also be in close proximity to other rooms that they use daily, like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, or garage. 

Making age-in-place considerations when buying or building a home also increases the resale value, as more and more homeowners are looking for a first-floor master suite.

Horton Group construction at the Residences at 66 High Street.

Lifestyle and Preferences

A homeowner should also consider their lifestyle and personal preferences when choosing the location of the master suite. 

Someone with young children may prefer a second-floor bedroom to be closer to the kids. Or perhaps they prefer to have more quiet and privacy on the first floor away from the children’s bedrooms. Keep in mind, a  first floor bedroom can be noisy if placed too close to the kitchen, living room, or any place with heavy foot traffic.

Someone who values privacy or is a light sleeper will probably want a bedroom located towards the back of the house – away from street lights, noisy roads, and peering neighbors. On the other hand, this might be a bad location for someone who prefers to be closer to the other bedrooms in the house, or wants a view of the front yard.

A first-floor master bedroom can be a money saver if children have moved out of the house and the second floor is largely unused. In this case, homeowners can choose to spend minimal energy heating or cooling the second floor and focus on keeping the first floor comfortable. 

Another factor to consider is access to outdoor space. Do you dream of being able to get out of bed in the morning and stroll right into your garden or step outside for beachside views? Then perhaps you should consider a first-floor bedroom with direct access to your outdoor space. For others, having such easy access to the bedroom from outside could be a safety concern.

Horton Group construction at 77 Palms

Conclusion

The location of the master bedroom is a big decision, and several factors should be considered including mobility, resale value, lifestyle, family size, and personal preference. Depending on all these factors, a homeowner may choose a master bedroom on the first or second floor, towards the front of the home, or the back of the home. 

There is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to choosing a master suite location, but prospective homeowners should consider these pros and cons to make an informed decision they will be content with in the long run.

Ready to discuss your dream master suite with us? Get in touch today.

Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Building an addition to your home can be both an exciting and harrowing process. 

If you are considering a home addition, here are some pros and cons that you should be aware of before you start.

Pros of a Home Addition

Your Own Design

When building an addition, you can design it specifically to your needs. A home addition is a custom-tailored solution to an issue with your current home. Perhaps you need more kitchen space, more storage, or maybe an in-law suite. Whatever your needs, with an addition you get exactly what you want.

Increase the Value of Your Home

When done correctly, a home addition can be a financial investment that increases the value of a home. Adding square footage to your home like an extra bedroom or bigger kitchen will make your home more attractive to buyers. However, be sure not to over-improve beyond the average value of your neighborhood. Hire the best contractor you can afford to ensure the new space is sturdily-built and well-designed.

No Stressful Move

Perhaps you have one or two issues with your house, but otherwise you love your home, your neighborhood, and your current life, and you don’t want the stress of uprooting everything for you and your family. If this sounds like you, it’s probably better to consider building an addition rather than moving! 

Save Money

Depending on the scope and budget of your home addition project, it could be cheaper than buying a new home.

Cons of a Home Addition

Cost

Home additions are an investment. Depending on the project, you can expect to pay at least $30k-80k and possibly more. You can often make some of this money back when you sell, but it is not guaranteed, a real estate values are always fluctuating. You should also be wary of over-improving your home beyond that of the average house in your neighborhood, as this can actually devalue your house or make it a tough sell.

Let’s not forget unforeseen additions to the budget that inevitably arise. Projects on your home could uncover previously unknown issues that are costly to fix and delay the process.

Stress

Building a home addition can come with a lot of stress. You have to share your home with a building crew for weeks or months. Sometimes you might even lose access to an important room (such as a kitchen) while construction is underway. Alternatively, you can choose to live off site at a hotel or with family, but this too can be costly and stressful.

Making sure you hire a reputable, professional contractor is an important step in alleviating some of this headache. 

Loss of Yard Space

Unless you’re building an addition on top of your current home, you will inevitably lose some yard space. This could be a downside for your family, and is something you will need to take into consideration. 

Conclusion

A home addition is a huge decision and likely one of the costliest a homeowner will ever make. Before beginning a renovation, the pros and cons of such a project should be carefully considered.

3 Ways to Lower Your Air Conditioning Costs

With summer almost here, air conditioners start to run all day and night. In most homes, this accounts for the biggest share of energy consumption in summer. 

While your AC may keep you comfortable in the hot and humid months, costs can add up if you don’t have an efficient system. 

Keep reading to learn three tips to reduce air conditioning costs this summer. 

Upgrade Your Air Conditioning Unit

Old air conditioning units are inefficient, which means they consume more energy and cost more to run. By replacing window units with an efficient mini-split system, you can gain up to 70% energy savings.

Upgrading your HVAC system does come with a cost, so make sure you budget the project, and speak with a professional about the options available for your home. 

Smart Controls

Leaving the air conditioning on full blast is a waste. Just like you program heat in the winter, you can program your air conditioning to ensure your home is comfortable while saving you money. Program the air conditioning to your comfort level for the times of the day when you are home. When working or away, increase the temperature by 7-10 degrees to reduce costs. 

Mini-split systems also enable you to cool down the rooms you use the most. You can set the temperature for the main living areas to one level, and another level for rooms more seldomly used. 

Reduce Air Leakage

A home with poor insulation or air leaks enables cool air to get out and hot outside air to get into the home. The opposite is true during cold winter months, so this tip can help you save all year long!

Some easy ways to improve insulation are by caulking and weatherproofing all windows and doors, replacing any worn-out or drafty window treatments with new ones made of insulating materials (such as cotton drapes), and closing off unused parts of an attic when possible. You can also go an additional step to improve your home’s insulation by adding spray foam insulation throughout your home.

Your air conditioning unit is a major factor in your energy bills, and these tips can help reduce those costs. Do you have other tips? Let us know!

What to Look for in a Professional Remodeler

May is NAHB’s National Home Remodelers Month, and the past year has been a busy one when it comes to remodeling! 

With so much time spent at home these days, chances are, you are thinking of making changes to your home. Perhaps you’re thinking of pulling out your toolkit and DIYing it. 

However, large remodeling projects usually call for an expert. Here’s how you can find the right contractor for your home project!

Why You Should Hire a Professional

  • Property Value

Remember that your house is a valuable asset. All upgrades need to be of professional quality to increase the value of your property.

  • Safety

A professional contractor knows how to bring your remodeling dreams to life in a way that is safely constructed and up to code. As a trained expert, a remodeler has a firm grasp of the requirements to meet city ordinances, regulations, and permits. 

  • Expertise

You are not just hiring a professional remodeler for their labor; you are hiring them for their expertise. Through years in the industry, they know where to get the best prices on labor and materials, and how to design the best solutions for your needs and your budget. 

How to Find a Professional Remodeler

  • Search for Remodelers in Your Area

The National Association of Home Builders has a Directory of Professional Remodelers that you can search to find professional remodelers in your area. Search the internet or social media for remodelers in your area and pay attention to reviews from previous customers. You can also reach out to friends in your community to see who they recommend. 

  • Reach Out for Quotes

Contact a few of your top picks to discuss your project and your budget. A professional remodeler can provide you with work samples to prove their expertise, and a detailed proposal on how they will achieve your vision within your budget. Do not immediately go for the lowest price offered. A price that seems too good to be true can mean poor quality work or a lack of professionalism.

  • Check Their Credentials

Do some background research on your potential remodelers to make sure they are running a legitimate business. They should have the proper licenses to conduct their work, and general liability insurance in case of accidents on the jobsite. It is also great if they are part of a trade association. A remodeler who meets all these criteria should be reliable and knowledgeable about all the newest industry trends and legal requirements.

Are you interested in learning more about the remodeling process?

Outdoor Kitchen Design Tips

There’s a reason why outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Not only are they practical, but they add a luxurious feature to your home. 

An outdoor kitchen also increases your square footage for entertaining, allowing you to stay engaged with guests while limiting foot traffic in and out of the home. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, keep reading to learn how to design your dream outdoor kitchen.

Plan And Select A Layout

When designing an outdoor kitchen, personalization is key. Factor in space for seating and appliances, while still allowing plenty of room for walking and cooking. You’ll want to consider space for prepping, cooking, entertaining, and dining when planning your kitchen. 

Once you have the exact measurements, explore possible layouts for your kitchen. 

Here are some of the most common layouts:

  • L-Shaped: This shape works well for small to medium-sized spaces and fits perfectly in corners.
  • Linear: An excellent option for small spaces and small budgets. A linear layout can either run along the side of the house or be freestanding like an island. 
  • Galley: In a galley layout, appliances and cabinets face each other along a rectangular line divided by a central walkway.
  • U-Shaped: This layout is lined with appliances and cabinets on three sides, forming a U-shape, with an open space in the center. This works best for large outdoor kitchens and offers more space for appliances and countertops.

Personalize Accessories and Appliances

To elevate your outdoor kitchen and make it fit your needs, consider accessories. A fire pit adds a cozy element to your outdoor kitchen, helps keep the night lit, and extends patio season into cooler months.

Not much of a cook? Make a bar the focal point of your kitchen. If you’re a master chef, purchase the bells and whistles such as a pizza oven or grilling station. 

Furniture and Decor

Once you have your layout and appliances, you can begin to have fun with the design! Remember, this space is an extension of your indoor living areas and brings together dining, entertaining, and relaxing. 

Choose outdoor furniture that meets your style and is comfortable, with enough seating for all. If you have one seating area, make sure the space can accommodate dining and conversing. If you have multiple seating areas, you can incorporate furniture for lounging and separate furniture for eating. 

Finally, some type of protection is vital for an outdoor kitchen, whether it’s a pergola, retractable roof, or canopy. This helps weatherproof the space and allows you to use it whether the sun is blaring or there’s a light rain. 

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