Benefits of Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is a popular trend in new construction. Stepping onto a heated floor in winter months adds a feeling of luxury – not to mention warmth. 

Types of Underfloor Heating

There are two main types of underfloor radiant heating: electric (or dry) and water-based (or wet) systems. 

Electric-based systems are comprised of heating cables that are spread on the ground and connected to the thermostat before the flooring is laid on top. These are generally easier and cheaper to install, but are more expensive to run than wet systems. 

Water-based systems are typically connected to the boiler. Continuous plastic pipes are laid out on a subfloor, and the final surface is laid on top. Hot water is pumped through plastic pipes to create heat. Although more difficult to install, wet systems are more cost-effective over time. 

Regardless if you choose electric or water-based underfloor heating, they both provide benefits over traditional heating systems. Keep reading to learn what they are!

Energy Efficient

Underfloor heating saves energy compared to forced-air or radiator heat. When air is delivered from above, fan power is required to push the hot air down. In addition, more heat is needed to compensate for uneven heating throughout the room. These factors lead to more energy being used and a higher energy bill. 

Underfloor heating starts at ground level, distributing warm air using natural convection. This means less energy is used. Water-based systems use even less energy than electric underfloor systems, because heating water with a boiler uses less energy than heating with electric radiant cables. 

Improved Comfort

One of the main benefits of underfloor heating is it eliminates cold spots. Traditional heating systems can make a room feel too warm, followed by a period of being too cold. There might also be cold spots or drafts, depending on where the heat is coming from.

With underfloor systems, heat is evenly distributed, rising up from the floor. These systems are both silent and efficient, creating the perfect temperature and added comfort for all. 

Improved Air Quality

Forced airflow can have a negative impact on air quality, as it spreads dust, particles, and pathogens. In addition, forced air systems require a higher heat output due to uneven heat distribution. This dries the air, causing dust and pollutant particles to stay airborne longer, plus added irritation to eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Underfloor heating reduces air movement and even distributes heat, which helps to improve air quality. 

In new construction, underfloor heating is often a requested feature, for both comfort and efficiency. What room in your home would you most love to have underfloor heating?

Join us at the 2020 Parade of Homes

The 2020 Parade of Homes is taking place this weekend! Will we see you there? 

Twenty-three properties in central Connecticut will be showcased this year, including the Residences at 66 High Street, Horton Group’s award-winning luxury development in Guilford. Join us on October 17th or 18th for fall refreshments and a tour of the development.   

Parade of Homes

The Parade of Homes has been helping residents find housing for over seventy years. The concept started in Minnesota back in 1948. Throughout the 1950’s, this event grew even more popular due to soldiers returning home from war and looking for property. This process made property shopping far simpler and more interactive. 

The event began to transform into its more modern form in the 1990’s when an online tour option was available for use. From there, the Parade of Homes expanded in all directions of the real estate market to include different price points and different types of construction, allowing a variety of buyers and homebuilders to follow the event. 

The Central Connecticut Parade of Homes is put on by the Homebuilders & Remodelers Association (HBRA). Take the self-guided tour to learn more about the latest trends in home design and meet Connecticut’s top builders and developers. 

Home Builders & Remodelers Association

The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Central Connecticut is a team of professionals striving to protect and enrich housing opportunities for both developers and residents, creating jobs and homes. HBRA represents the very best in their industry; whether a builder, remodeler, developer, or associated trade or supplier, HBRA is committed to their clients and wishes to expand opportunities through exposure and marketability. 


The HBRA 2020 Parade of Homes is a ticketed event that will take place this weekend, October 17th and 18th from 11am- 5pm. Purchase your tickets to the HBRA 2020 Parade of Homes by clicking here!

Open Floor Plan Trends

For the last thirty years, residential architecture has been dominated by open floor plan concepts. The trendy design is accepted due to its ability to join rooms and create more of a social experience within the home. 

 

History 

 

Open floor plans are a relatively new concept in residential home design. Pre-World War II homes were constructed in a basic, one-dimensional layout, often connecting enclosed rooms with a long hallway, positioning the kitchen at the back of the house to be used for service. These configurations were not meant to accommodate modern gatherings. Throughout the 1950s, gatherings were still formal, which means the kitchen was off-limits to guests. 

 

It wasn’t until the post-war years that American families began to change their ways and reform to a more casual form of living. This slowly sculpted the open floor plan in modern construction, allowing families to grow in a spacious environment. By the 1990s, open floor plans became almost the norm for new construction, especially in suburban settings, and that trend holds true today. 

 

Innovation In Construction 

 

An open floor plan in residential architecture refers to a dwelling in which two or more common spaces have been joined to form a larger space by eliminating partition walls. Instead of interior load-bearing walls, heavy-duty beams carry the weight to create a spacious and sound living area. 

 

Simultaneous to American residential reform was the innovation of residential construction. Stronger materials and modern methods allowed open floor plans to be more practical and easier to build. Steel structural beams, central heating systems, drywall, and cinder-block construction made it easier to build larger rooms efficiently. 

 

Floor Plan Configurations 

 

  • Kitchen and dining room: Often, a kitchen and dining area share one common space. Sometimes a kitchen island or peninsula acts as a visual dividing line between the two areas.
  • Dining room and living room: A dining area and living room occupy one shared area. A visual dividing line may be in the form of thoughtfully placed furniture, two different paint colors, stairs leading to a sunken area, or a handrail.
  • Kitchen, dining, and living room: All three areas may be open in a large great room, often with a vaulted ceiling.

 

Advantages of Open Floor Plans

 

  • Better traffic flow. Without doors to open and close and no walls to hinder traffic, people can move through space unhindered.
  • Improved sociability and communication. Without walls, it’s possible to talk to one another across rooms.
  • Shared light. Interior spaces that were once without windows now get natural light from windows in exterior walls.
  • Improved real estate value. In almost every instance, an open floor plan is highly desirable and increases your home’s value to prospective buyers.
  • Easier to watch kids. Parents cooking in the kitchen or setting the dining room table can easily supervise children in the living room.

 

Disadvantages of Open Floor Plans

 

  • Costly to heat and cool. Great rooms with high ceilings are often energy drains, especially when the outer walls are equipped with large windows, as they often are. While traditional floor plans allow you to heat or cool only certain rooms, the entire space must be heated or cooled with an open floor plan.
  • Higher construction cost. Without partition walls, open concepts depend on steel or laminated beams for support. These are costly to install.
  • Poor sound control. Without partition walls to block noise, open concept homes can be very noisy.
  • Lack of privacy. Open floor plans are great for social activity, but they make it hard to find quiet spaces for private reading or study.

Hot Water Heaters

When the time comes to replace your old water heater, you’ll want to choose an energy-efficient water heater unit that will provide enough water for your household. Ultimately, water heaters provide a fast, effective method for getting hot water instantly to faucets and fixtures. If you are looking to buy a new water heater for your home and wondering what your options are, this guide walks you through the most popular types. 

 

Tank Water Heater 

A traditional tank water heater uses insulated storage tanks to hold large amounts of water, keeping it hot until needed, then releasing it through the pipes. They’re powered by natural gas, electricity, or propane, and the water always stays heated. Tank water heaters are the most popular because they are easier to maintain and repair and less expensive than tankless water heaters. 

 

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless gas water heaters or electric tankless water heaters are also called instantaneous or on-demand units. In replacement of a storage tank, the water circulates through a coil system that heats the water as needed. It saves energy by only working while you’re using hot water. Since they don’t have storage tanks, they’re usually smaller than storage water heaters. 

 

Condensing Water Heater

Condensing water heaters have a tank like a conventional storage-tank water heater, but they capture the extra gas fumes that would generally be expelled from home out of the flue. Condensing water heaters are a highly efficient water heater for homes with natural gas and are an energy-efficient option. This type of heater is also suitable for a household that requires around 55 gallons of hot water or more. 

 

Solar Water Heaters

A water heater that is solar powered draws its energy from the sun and is practical in any climate. This type of water heater features two parts: a solar collector and an insulated storage tank. The unit can be installed on the roof or even in the yard. 

 

Heat Pump Water Heater

Also known as hybrid water heaters, this design captures heat from the air and transfers it to the water. Although they are pricier than standard electric heaters, they use about 60% less energy. However, keep in mind the heat pump is placed on top of the water heater. Factor in around 8-feet of open space from the floor to your ceiling.

 

 

 

7 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

We often think of air pollution as something that could affect us outside. However, as Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, keeping indoor air as clean as possible is essential. 

You can make simple changes to reduce the number and exposure of air pollutants in your home. Here are seven things you can do right away to improve the air quality in your home:

Get Rid of Mold

In bathrooms and kitchens, mold and mildew can easily grow where moisture levels are higher than the rest of your house. Plus, the hot summer months can bring about incredibly humid conditions. Exposure to mold can lead to respiratory issues like allergies and asthma. Invest in a dehumidifier in an HVAC system to reduce humidity levels and create comfortable living conditions in your home. 

Purchase an Air Purifier

Using air purifiers is another effective way to limit air pollutants. There’s a variety of indoor air quality products on the market to combat common indoor pollutants. Place purifiers in the house’s most commonly used areas, including the kitchen, bedroom, and living room. 

Invest in Indoor Plants

Houseplants can detoxify indoor air naturally. Spider plants, Chinese evergreens, snake plants, and aloe vera are all plants that NASA recommends for the best air purification.

Increase Ventilation

Proper airflow and ventilation are crucial for good indoor air quality. Over time, dust and mold can accumulate in your ducts. Opening your windows and cleaning your ducts allows harmful air pollutants and allergens to circulate outside, thereby limiting your exposure to it. 

Clean and Vacuum 

Rugs and carpets can easily trap dust particles in their many fibers. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, strong suction, and rotating brushes to suck up all the dust and dirt. Try to vacuum once or twice a week, and don’t forget about furniture, shades, and sheets. 

Keep it Outside

People can track all sorts of chemicals from the dirt on their shoes. Put a large floor mat at every entrance. By simply wiping your shoes off, you can reduce the amount of dirt and pollutants fin your home. 

With summer nearing an end, many of us will be spending more time indoors. Determine what you need in place to keep your indoor air quality high all winter long. 

 

Penthouse Sale Breaks Two Records

Earlier this month, a contract was signed marking the sale of the Leete penthouse at the Residences at 66 High Street. 

 

It was a sale that broke two records in New Haven County. 

 

The penthouse is the only condominium unit to sell above $3 Million in New Haven County – and the second-highest also belongs to 66 High Street. They are the only two condominium units to sell above $2 Million to date. 

 

In addition, the penthouse also broke 66 High Street’s previous record for the highest price per square foot in New Haven County, at over $912 per square foot. 

 

All units within our award-winning development are unique. With attention to detail, finishing touches by residents, and differing layouts, the residences offer unparalleled luxury and craftsmanship. The 4,000 square foot penthouse encompasses the top floor of the Leete building and boasts panoramic views of Long Island Sound. 

 

“These are luxury residences in the best location with the best amenities. There’s nothing in the state of Connecticut like 66 High Street.”

– Kenny Horton, Founder and Partner of the Horton Group.

 

For us, this doesn’t just mark another sale. As we get ready to welcome another member to the development, it represents Horton Group’s vision and commitment to quality construction, exceptional luxury, and community.

 

Interested in the Residences at 66 High Street? There are currently four units left in the Leete Building, all available for immediate closing. Contact us for more information. 

Lighting for Your Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living spaces have become more popular and have moved beyond the basic deck with table and chairs. Homeowners are creating beautiful outdoor spaces with a warming and peaceful atmosphere to enjoy their backyard’s comfort. Just like inside your home, your outdoor space requires proper lighting. 

Whether your style is traditional or modern, outdoor lighting options come in many shapes and sizes. Ultimately, you will want to choose a combination of outdoor and landscape lighting to create the ambiance you are looking for. Keep reading to discover the best illumination options for a more striking backyard. 

 

String Lights

A budget-friendly option, string lights are the easiest way to create a relaxing environment in your yard. All you need is a power outlet and structures to attach the lights. If you don’t have any accessible outlet, opt for solar-powered string lights. 

 

 

 

Ceiling Lights 

outdoor fan

Ceiling lights can provide more direct and general lighting. Consider installing a ceiling fan, which will help keep your outdoor areas cool during the hot summer months. Just keep in mind many ceiling fans are required to be installed by a professional, but you don’t need an expert to help you pick one out!

 

Pendants and Chandelier

outdoor pendantIf you are looking for more decorative options, hanging a pendant or chandelier will transform your outdoor living space into a stylish and elegant backyard escape. This is a great lighting option for counters and bar areas, creating an intentional space for entertaining that you and your family can enjoy year-round. 

 

Landscape Lighting

landscape lightingHave you been working hard on your landscaping all summer long? Landscape lighting can be used to create focal points in your yard to highlight your landscape elements such as trees, plants, and flowers. Not only will this lighting option create a soft glow, but it will also provide a focal point in your yard. 

 

Path Lights

path lighting

Path lighting is designed to help navigate walkways to help you and your guests move safely and comfortably after dark. Use outdoor lanterns near driveways and deck railings and wall-mounted lanterns next to doors to create a welcoming space. 

 

 

 

Table and Floor Lamps

outdoor lighting - lamps

If you don’t have the structure to hang string lights or install a ceiling fan, a table or floor lamp is made for the outdoors too! Create a cozy reading nook or a relaxing conversation area with a wet-rated lamp or lantern. 

 

 

It is also important to factor in lighting control for your outdoor living spaces. Consider using dimmers to adjust your light level or timers to turn on and off lights automatically. Whether you are creating a relaxing escape or an entertaining space, well-planned lighting will help you achieve the ultimate outdoor experience. 

Bathroom Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’re planning to sell or trying to make your home more comfortable, a bathroom renovation is one of your best investments. While remodeling is an exciting project, it requires careful planning to ensure the space is both functional and serene. Save yourself some stress and money by learning about these bathroom remodeling mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

Mistake 1: Not Setting a Budget

Before you start remodeling, make sure you know how much money you are willing to spend. Bathroom remodeling can become expensive, so it is important to prioritize. What are the top three items on your wishlist? Factor in the cost for those items first, and then determine what you can do with the leftover budget. 

 

Mistake 2: Neglecting Layout

Before installing your new shower, take some time to consider how it will affect the layout of the bathroom. Nothing is worse than a bathroom that feels cluttered and uncomfortable. If the room is too small for a bathtub, opt for a luxurious walk-in shower. Simply changing out a swinging door for a sliding door can improve the use of the existing space. 

 

Mistake 3: Poor Lighting

By prioritizing lighting, you can transform your bathroom. Recessed lighting in the shower is mounted in the ceiling and won’t get in the way. Good lighting over the sink is essential, as that is where you spend time getting ready for your day. Wall sconces over a vanity mirror cast fewer shadows than other lighting options. 

 

Mistake 4: Not Enough Storage

Just like every room in the house, storage is essential in the bathroom. You need plenty of space for towels, cosmetics, hair care, and other bathroom essentials. Opt for a vanity drawer with plenty of space, and include some shelves in your shower for shampoo and soaps. A linen closet is ideal for extra towels and bulkier items. 

 

Mistake 5: No Ventilation 

Proper airflow will prevent your walls from peeling or growing mold. Especially if you don’t have a window in your bathroom, high-quality ventilation is critical. Don’t forget to ask your contractor how to ensure air circulation before beginning your renovation.  

 

With these tips, you’re on your way to a bathroom tailored to your comfort and budget. What does your dream bathroom look like? 

 

How to Plan Your Next Renovation

What is your plan for tackling your next renovation project? A home renovation project can be overwhelming, but with a little prep work and organization, you’ll be able to plan a home improvement like a seasoned pro. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on the work that goes into planning a remodel. 

Develop a Plan

plan for your renovation

First things first, you can’t start your project until you know what the final product will be. Begin with a clear understanding of your renovation goal. This is truly a process where you have to work backward, but once you have your endpoint in mind, you can create a step-by-step plan on how to get there. Your project plan should include blueprints or sketches of the finished project, a list of needs and wants, and a detailed list of project steps. 

Determine Your Budget

determine a budget for your renovation

Next, determine your budget. We recommend speaking to a professional contractor to help you set an estimated budget. Consider factors such as permits, materials, and expected labor costs. In addition,  plan for some unexpected costs. If your budget estimates are not what you expected, go back to your plan and eliminate project elements that are lower priority. 

Build a Timeline

timeline

At this point, you should have a solid idea of all the required project steps. Choose your desired start date and work with your contractor to schedule a projected completion date. Be sure your timeline includes time to clean out the work area and allows for shipping and delivery of materials. 

Look for Professionals

The Horton Group

The quality of your home renovation project and completion depends on the expertise of the workmanship. Discuss with your contractor what you expect of them, the terms and conditions, and notify them in advance of your expected timeline. Even if this isn’t your first time planning a remodel, don’t be afraid to rely on professional advice. At The Horton Group, we are always willing to answer any questions you have about your future remodeling project.  

Taking the time to create a solid plan before you start construction will put you on the right path for home improvements. If you have any questions, contact us!

 

Organization at Home: Make the Most of Your Storage Space

Have you ever heard someone complain about having too much storage space? Probably not. Organizing at home doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult – with a few small changes, you can tame your clutter in no time. Whether you’re dealing with a small space designated for storage, a large basement, or just reorganizing a bedroom, we are sharing five tips and tricks to make organizing a whole lot easier. 

 

Declutter

declutter

Before you get started, the first step is to get rid of items you’re not using. One of the best ways to make the most of your space is to learn how to declutter. Pull everything out of your closet or storage room and evaluate everything you have. Are there things you could give away, sell, or donate? If you’re feeling overwhelmed because your rooms are large or complicated, break them into zones. For the items that you’re ready to get rid of, there are several great options other than just throwing it away. Consider donating them to your local donation center. 

 

Picking Best Storage Options 

furniture for storage

For storage rooms, we recommend using clear plastic containers because they allow you to see inside the container, ultimately saving you time when searching for an item from storage. To keep items organized in a living space, opt for decorative baskets or pieces of furniture that double as storage. Assess how much storage space you need in each room to find the perfect fit. 

 

Label 

organization at home

If you want to take the extra step in your organizing process, label the containers for easy access later. This is especially helpful if you’re using them in a storage space like an attic or basement. A piece of tape and a marker will always suffice, but a label maker will make things a lot easier. 

 

Vertical Space

vertical storage space

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, you can instantly create more space by utilizing your vertical space. Installing a simple set of brackets and plywood is an affordable way to create shelves. Instead of having a couple of shelves in your closet, take them to your ceiling to maximize the space. If you can’t go high, go low. 

 

Think Outside the Box

storage space

There is plenty of space when you are willing to be creative. Add hanging shelves, a towel rack, or a shoe organizer to the back of a door can help cut down your clutter. The space behind your bed is usually used for a headboard or artwork, but why not shelving? Built-in drawers or cabinetry can also be added to an entertainment unit for storage in the living room. 

 

Our units at The Residences at 66 High Street are filled with optimal storage spaces in living areas, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Paired with select pieces of furniture and organization tips, and storage issues become a thing of the past.

 

What clever organization ideas do you have? Let us know! 

 

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