Advantages Of Living On A Corner Lot

When buying a home, the location is a key consideration in the decision-making process. While factors like the neighborhood or proximity to schools and downtown areas are a common topic of conversation, the lot placement is also an important aspect to consider when shopping for a home. In recent years, plenty of drawbacks of living on a corner property have become apparent to buyers, but many people overlook the feeling of openness and light that a corner property brings to the table. We’ve outlined some of the benefits of living on a corner property to consider in your home buying process.

More Parking

In busy urban areas, extra parking is a huge advantage of owning a corner property. There are many more parking spaces available when your property is surrounded by twice the amount of street space than a traditional lot. This hidden benefit is especially useful if you plan on entertaining large groups of people in your home.

Great Lighting

Corner homes in densely settled areas are distinguished due to the amount of sunlight they get through extra windows. While most homeowners look to maximize any bit of sunlight they get, inhabitants of corner lots have ample light to utilize when decorating the interior of their homes.

Reduced Costs

Corner lots tend to be noisy, especially ones on busy roads. The benefit of the possible increased noise pollution is that you may find a house that’s perfect for you AND affordable. Corner lots on busy roads tend to be priced lower than surrounding homes, so if you can deal with a little noise you’ll likely save a considerable amount of money. 

There’s also a significant chance that you’ll save money on insurance rates when it comes to a corner property. If you live in an urban area, your city may use your corner as a place to put safety features such as fire hydrants. The proximity of safety features may decrease your home insurance.

Extra Space

In general, corner lots are larger in yard size and home size. For a similar price to surrounding homes, you’ll get a more spacious house as well as room outdoors to utilize for gardening, a pool, or entertaining. If you’re looking for an investment property, consider landscaping the yard to perfection and adding fun outdoor features to increase the home value.

Conclusion

When you consider all the benefits of a corner home, it may mean more to you than noisy traffic and extra yard work in the spring. Recently, corner properties have started to become more sought after by homebuyers. If you’re wondering about the potential projects for your home on a corner lot, reach out to us today!

Should You Include a Skylight in Your Home?

If you’re looking for more natural sunlight in a living room, to heat up a bedroom, or have better ventilation in your home, you’ve probably thought about installing a skylight. You might not be sure if a skylight is the right investment for you. We’ve created this guide of benefits and drawbacks to take into consideration when deciding whether or not a skylight is a good fit for your home.

Pros of Skylights

Improved Ventilation For Your Space

Skylight windows can be opened to let in fresh air, which aids with cross ventilation. Especially in stuffy rooms, skylights can cool down the space and freshen up the air without the costs of other ventilation methods, such as air conditioning

Saving on Energy Costs

Skylights can be useful in both the heating and cooling of your space. They can warm up areas of your home that are cold and stuffy due to inadequate lighting as well as provide heat during the daytime. Energy costs can pile up quickly, so a skylight is a great alternative. Just make sure the skylight you choose to install features laminated glass and is leakproof!

Aesthetic Changes Increase Home Value

Skylights are a popular and sought-after cosmetic enhancement. They can add value to your home if you ever decide to put it on the market, as they provide a natural light that creates a beautiful ambiance.

Make a Room Feel Bigger

Skylights often have the potential to make a room feel more spacious. They also allow for beautiful views of the night sky.

Cons of Skylights

Improper Placement

The placement of a skylight is crucial to its effectiveness in the aforementioned benefits above. Make sure to consult a professional about the placement of your skylight

Too Much Light

Sometimes, the placement of the skylight brings in too much light or heat during the day. Proper consultation could help fix this potential problem, making sure you install a skylight in an area that will fit your needs without letting a space get too hot or cold.

Cleaning Issues

Skylights can be difficult and sometimes downright unsafe to clean. From the inside, you’ll likely have to use a ladder to clean. From the outside, you’re likely to have leaves and branches fall on the skylight from time to time, and getting on the roof to brush them off can be a pain.

Conclusion

There are several compelling arguments for and against skylights. Here at the Horton Group, we’re here to assist you with considerations to make when deciding to install a skylight as well as proper installation techniques.

Install a Spiral Staircase

Many homes can benefit from installing a spiral staircase. They’re a versatile design option that can work well in homes with open floor plans as well as ones without extra space to spare. Installing a spiral staircase can add a simple yet sophisticated element to any home. We’ve outlined a couple of reasons that you should consider investing in a spiral staircase.

Seamless Installation

Spiral staircases are a lot more affordable than one might think. Some people even choose to order the materials in a kit to install them by themselves! They are easier to assemble than regular stairs and often much cheaper.

Add Value to Your Home

Spiral staircases are very attractive to architects and homebuyers alike. While they are relatively inexpensive to install, they are one of the most desired elements that boost the value of a home.

Save Space

Spiral staircases can be put in where other types of staircases may not fit, such as cottages or apartments. Even when it’s not a top priority to save space when selecting a staircase, they can make the largest of rooms feel even more spacious.

Versatile

Spiral staircases are known to compliment almost every interior. The material and color used in the construction of spiral staircases can vary greatly while still preserving the aesthetic of your space. Wood, glass, and iron are all elements that you can feature in your spiral staircase.

Conclusion:

Spiral staircases have stood the test of time and have continually stayed popular in a variety of different home styles. If you’re looking for a customizable and aesthetically pleasing update to your home, a spiral staircase might be the perfect option for you. Want to start a project with us? Get to know some of our skilled professionals and give us a call at 203-624-6873.

The Benefits of Recessed Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important things to consider when renovating or updating a home. Apart from improving the way a home looks and feels, the right lighting can increase the value of a property. While chandeliers,  wall mount fixtures, and track lights are all right for certain spaces in your home, recessed lighting is the right choice for anyone looking to brighten up a space without installing a fixture that extends into a room and changes elements of its decor. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of adding recessed lighting to your home.

Increase the Value of Your Home

Recent data from the most popular U.S. home trends suggests that homes with recessed lighting receive around 1,110 views per listing on real estate websites, which is higher than any other top 10 home trend. It’s also been reported that on average, homes with recessed lighting are more likely to sell above list price.

Illusion of Space

Recessed lights naturally make a room feel bigger because there is less physical space being taken up with light cans being set into the ceiling. Different types of trim can also cast more light around the room, especially when spaced further away from the wall and other fixtures.

Highlight Aspects of Your home

When installing recessed lighting, you’re able to highlight specific designs or aesthetics of your home. Use a recessed light to shed light on an art piece, unique structural feature, or special collection. Recessed light can also act as a spotlight in a home office or kitchen.

Safety

The casing of a recessed light keeps it safe and out of reach of children and pets, as opposed to hanging light fixtures.

Versatility

Recessed lighting has many options that you can choose from to customize your lighting setup. A few things you can consider when customizing your recessed lighting:

  • Fixture sizes:  based on the height of the ceiling & size of the area you want to light.
  • Light Bulb Type: control temperature, cost, lifespan, and intensity of light. 
  • Trim styles: an eyeball trim can help with wall-wash lighting, while a flat trim is ideal for a minimalist finish.

Conclusion:

Recessed lighting allows you to upgrade your home in a way that’s both stylish and discreet. The Horton Group has been serving the Northeastern United States for over 20 years, and we’d love to help you, too. Want to start a project with us? Get to know some of our skilled professionals and give us a call at 203-624-6873.

Increase Your Home Security

While burglary rates have steadily declined over the last decade, a burglar still strikes every 25.7 seconds in the United States. In order to avoid becoming an easy target for break-ins and feel safer in your home, consider the following home security tips.

Common Sense

Most break-ins that occur are crimes of opportunity, where burglars are able to walk right through the front door. While always locking doors is easy enough, also be sure to secure mail slots, use deadbolts as reinforcement, and avoid doors that have glass near the handle. Be sure to always change your locks when moving to a new place.

Security Systems

A security system isn’t a guarantee to keep burglars out, but it does make the task riskier. Security systems can serve as a deterrent as well as proof of a crime after the fact.

Outdoor Lighting

Anyone looking to break into a home will want to avoid being in the spotlight. Using motion-activated lights around the perimeter of your home will likely deter criminals in the initial casing of the property or even when they’re attempting a break-in.

Secure Valubles

Technology, cash, and jewelry are the main things burglars look for. Make sure to keep valuables in a safe or out of plain sight.

Plan for Vacation

Another way to ensure your home’s security is to avoid advertising when you’ll be away from your home for long stretches of time. If you know your neighbors well, ask them to keep an eye on your place. Have your mail held at the post office and save posting on social media about your trip until you get home.

Conclusion:

increase your home security

Securing your home doesn’t always have to be costly or time-consuming. By using a few of these tips you can feel safer and know that your home is unlikely to become a target for burglary.

Protect Your Home From A Fire

As discussed in the past, we’ve gone over how to protect yourselves from a flood. But what about other disasters, like a fire? While achieving a fireproof house is difficult, there are ways to prevent a small fire from growing and potentially engulfing your entire home.

The Roof

A roof can often make the difference between if your home survives a fire or not, as many fires begin when embers find their way onto the roof. Make sure your roof is constructed of a non-flammable material like asphalt, metal, slate, or tile. Keep your gutters clean of leaves, and pine needles, as these can be the perfect kindling for any embers that land on your roof.

Cover Openings

Your home is full of flammable items, and it is vital to keep embers out. You’ll want to cover any openings into your home with hardware cloth to prevent embers from entering the house and sparking a flame. Also, invest in double-paned, tempered-glass windows that will withstand high temperatures better.

Defensible Zone Around Your House

In the event of a fire, you’ll want to keep highly flammable objects at least 30 feet away from your home. These are items like any firewood or fuel that you store outside. Mulch is also highly flammable, and stone or gravel is recommended for landscaping instead if you live in an area prone to fires. Water your outdoor plants regularly, and trim any low-hanging branches near your home. Keep your property as debris-free as possible.

Be Prepared

As with any disaster, preparedness is key. Create a disaster plan well before you ever need it. You should know exactly which flammable objects you’ll need to relocate away from your home and where you will meet up with family if separated. Make sure your house is well-stocked with several functioning fire extinguishers in easy-to-access locations. All fire extinguishers should be inspected regularly, and everyone in your household should know how to use one.

Conclusion:

Don’t be caught unprepared when faced with a fire disaster. Remember these vital tips to protect your home. Ask us about fire-resistant materials in your next construction project.

Aging-in-Place: Accessible Housing Tips

According to a 2018 AARP report, 76% of Americans ages 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence and 77% would like to live in their community as long as possible. In order to make this wish a reality, homes must be designed with age-in-place features to help older homeowners stay comfortable and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. 

Here are some of the top features to include for aging in place:

Overall Design

Your home should be designed in a way that even as you get older, you’ll still be able to navigate the entirety of the house, or at least the areas you use most often. 

The simplest way to do this would be to choose a one-level house with an open concept. If you do have a house with more than one floor, try moving everything to the main floor. That way it is much more accommodating to get to your everyday needs as you grow in age. If you’re looking to move, keeping an eye out for a first-floor master bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom should be top priority.

If you regularly need to access the second floor of your home, we recommend a motorized stairlift. Some homeowners are even installing elevators in their homes.

Build wide doorways (36”) and halls to accommodate wheelchairs or other walking aids. The home should have a level walking surface. This means no areas that you have to step into and no tripping hazards like thick throw rugs.

Doorknobs should be replaced with easier-to-grasp levers, and lighting should be ample to accommodate failing vision.

Smart home features are also great for aging homeowners! Any process that can be automated or controlled by the push of a button will save a mobility-challenged homeowner from straining or possibly injuring themselves.

Bedroom

Your bed and bedroom furniture should be low and easy to access. Install handrails near the bed. In the closet,  install lighting and pull-down rods.

Bathroom

Bathrooms can be dangerous for elderly homeowners. Avoid step-in tubs and opt for a shower instead. Install a shower seat and handrails in the shower and near the toilet.

Kitchen

Make sure everything in the kitchen is within reach. Low storage options are preferred rather than storing items in high cabinets. Install chair-height countertops and appliances and touchless faucets. Choose appliances with buttons on the front so you will not have to struggle to reach towards the back.

Outdoor

As you get older, it may become difficult to maintain your outdoor space. Choose low-maintenance plants and install a sprinkler system. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask any younger kids in the neighborhood to help out. They’re great in company, and affordable. 

Financial Assistance

Aging-in-place modifications can be expensive, but there is financial assistance available. Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurances may cover some modifications. You can also check with your local state Aging or Housing agency for assistance.

Conclusion

Aging in place is certainly possible with careful planning and the proper home modifications. If you have more questions and would like to speak with a remodeling expert, please reach out.

Must-haves in the Kitchen and Bathroom

Homeowners of the future are not what they used to be!

In a recent study by NAHB, it was found that homebuyer preferences for kitchen and bath features can vary significantly because generations have different needs from one another. 

The study, What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition, compared what millennials, Gen X, and Boomers find most desirable in the kitchen and bathroom. Keep reading to learn what each generation wants!

Kitchens

The study reviewed different kitchen features, with respondents deeming what was essential in a new home. Millennials and Gen X’s scores were often close, but Boomers have a much different view of what is desirable in the kitchen.

A double island is essential to 53% of Millennials and 55% of Gen X, but only 27% of Boomers. On that same note, 63% of Millennials and 64% of Gen X would prefer a central island with an oven rage, but just 37% of Boomers wanted this. 

More than 50% of Millennials (with Gen X not far behind), also value a steam oven, trash compactor, and wine cooler in the kitchen, while Boomers don’t seem to have strong desire for any of the these features.

Bathrooms

The results for the bathroom yielded similar results, with Millennials and Gen X on the same page, and Boomers looking for other features.

A skylight is one of the most desirable features in the bathroom overall, with 60% of Millennials and Gen X stating it is essential, and 35% of Boomers agreeing. Millennials and Gen X also desire ‘His & Her’ baths, with only 28% of Boomers on board with separate bathrooms. 

Other features looked at in the bathroom were bidets and dual toilets, both of which hovered around 50% for Millennials and Gen X, but between 20-25% for Boomers. 

Do any of these features make your ‘must-have’ list for the kitchen or bathroom? Let us know in the comments!

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.

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.

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