Protect your Home from Termites

Termites have been around for millions of years. While the insects are small, they can cause major damage to the structure of homes. Since they work from the inside out, the destruction begins without you knowing it. Cindy Mannes, vice president of the National Pest Management Association, said,

 

“Termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage in the U.S. annually, which is typically not covered by homeowners’ insurance.”

We know this sounds scary, but don’t worry! There are numerous things you can do to prevent termites in new builds and existing homes. As you prepare complete spring home maintenance tasks, make sure you add in preventative measures against termites and other insects. 

 

New Homes

If you are building a new home, termite prevention begins with the foundation. Termite mesh, a termite barrier, and concrete can be packed beneath a house, making it impossible for termites to pass through the ground and into the house. Pressure-treated wood is also highly recommended for termite prevention.

 

Existing Homes

Homeowners can take measures to prevent an infestation in existing homes as well. Create a barrier between your home and the ground, so only the concrete foundation of the house touches mulch, plants, and soil. The siding should begin at least 6 inches above the soil, making it difficult for termites to reach. 

 

Tips to Protect against Pests

  1. Reduce moisture in and around the home.
  2. Repair leaky faucets, pipes, and exterior HVAC units.
  3. Repair rotted roof shingles. 
  4. Replace weather-stripping around windows and doors. 
  5. Check to ensure gutters and downspouts divert water away from the house.
  6. Inspect your home throughout the year for evidence of termite waste, patterns in wood, or mud tunnels leading up the house. 

You can also get a yearly inspection completed by a pest professional, who can treat both the yard and structure of the wood, should there be evidence of termites. 

The trick with termites? Prevention! Take the time each year to check for signs of termites so you can get ahead of any damage they may cause. 

10 Tile Trends of 2020

Before events were put on hold, Coverings led the fourth annual National Tile Day celebration in January. Now that people have spent a couple of months indoors, many are considering ways to add new life to their homes.

Tile is a timeless design element, as it is both durable and beautiful. While the trends and colors vary throughout the years, tile remains a popular option for flooring and backsplash in residential and commercial design. 

As the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, Coverings gathered with sponsors Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America, and Tile of Spain to report 2020’s top 10 Tile Trends. 

If you’re considering new flooring, check out what’s trending this year:

1. Mixed Color Palettes

Classic blues, blush pinks, sage green, and dusty oranges create a calming environment. 

2. Refined Natural Wood Looks

If you prefer a natural look, wood continues to be prominent in interior design. Digital printing technology has made excellent advances, making it possible for tile to mimic natural wood. 

3. Precious and Gemstone Style Made Sustainable

Precious materials are beloved, but not sustainable. Similar to wood, the evolution of technology allows for tile to look and feel like rare marbles and semi-precious stones. Onyx, agate, and Akoya pearls can all be emulated with tile. 

4. Mixed Geometrics

There’s more to tile than the color and finish. Non-rectangular shapes, including trapezoid, rhombus, and diamond shapes, allow for attractive layouts. 

5. Counter Culture

Flooring, backsplashes, and don’t forget about countertops! Tile is durable and stain-resistant, making it an excellent choice for counters. 

6. Psychedelic

Bright colors and psychedelic patterns will be making a comeback this year. This trend is for the bold!

7. Industrial Chic

Concrete and stone create an industrial vibe. Just like tile that resembles wood or gemstone, this trend can replicate the look of concrete, or add in variations on color and patterns. 

8. Modernized Marble

Ceramic materials, which in the past were inspired by traditional marble design, are being modernized for people who love a contemporary look. 

9. Speckled Surfaces

Technicolor dots and specs, along with modern terrazzo styles, will make an appearance in 2020. 

10. Large-Scale Patterns

Ceramic tiles will be used to create bigger, bolder patterns. 

The versatility of tile allows it to be used in any room, no matter your style. Which of these ten trends are you most likely to bring into your home?

How to Choose a Supplier

Building and restoring top-quality residences begins with the materials we work with. From concrete to siding to lumber, the right building material is essential in our business. 

Over the years, The Horton Group has built trusted relationships with product manufacturers to ensure we are getting quality materials on a timeline that works for our clients. As we continue to work through these challenging times, we are more grateful than ever for trusted suppliers who are willing to go the extra mile for their customers. 

When selecting a supplier or product manufacturer, look for these qualities to ensure you are getting quality resources from a reliable company:

Experience & Knowledge

What experience does the company have in the field? Learn who has used their materials, look at finished projects, and read client testimonials. Years in the business can indicate a business that has built trust, but it is not the only evidence of knowledge in the field. 

Quality

You need to be on the same page as the manufacturer when it comes to quality. Do you have the same expectations? You can also visit the production floor to see how they treat the goods they handle on a daily basis. 

Product Diversity

It’s good to have options. How many different selections does the supplier have on hand? If they don’t have something you are looking for, inquire about how they can source your desired materials.

Accountability

Timelines are often tight in our industry. Make sure you find a manufacturer you can trust, not only for the quality of the materials, but also the timeliness and delivery of those materials. 

Communication

Excellent communication is a must between the supplier and the buyer. Determine how reliable they are with answering questions and responding in a timely manner. 

Training and Education

As the world advances, so should our materials. Ask your supplier how they stay on top of new technology, green materials, and best practices. 

Warranty

Does a warranty back the materials? Learn about the standards of the material and the supplier. This way, if something goes wrong, you know what your options are.

It’s always exciting to work on a new project, pick out materials you love, and watch your vision come to life. Remember there are many working parts to any home construction work, and working with the right people will make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Working from Home? Design a Productive Home Office

With a sudden shift to working from home, many people created make-shift work environments. Some have the luxury of a complete home office, and others are utilizing their kitchen tables or living rooms.

 

While these temporary home offices have played their part in the short-term, they may not suffice for people who continue to work from home.  According to Global Workplace Analytics, many people will continue to work remotely, even after offices start to open back up.

 

“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”

– Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics. 

With this rise in remote employees, home offices are becoming increasingly important. It’s essential to have a place that signals it is ‘working time,’ where you can focus and stay on task. Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing a home office: 

 

Natural Light

Whenever possible, maximize natural light. Natural light boosts mood, increases productivity,  and creates a feeling of openness. When arranging your desk and office furniture, place it so you can see out the windows, but out of direct glare from the sun. Ideally, you should be able to work all day with blinds open. 

 

Add Lighting Options

Natural light isn’t always enough. Add a variety of lighting options in your home office so that you always have plenty of light for work tasks. Overhead lighting, combined with lamps at your working space, is often plenty of light. If you want to add in more, you can incorporate a floor lamp and recessed lighting in the ceiling. 

 

Storage

Storage is needed in any work environment. Whether you need a filing cabinet, a bookcase, or a closet with shelves, make sure you have a system in place to stay organized. 

 

Ergonomics

Ergonomics aims to design the workspace to improve performance and productivity. Often, seemingly small adjustments make a huge difference to how we feel physically and mentally after the workday. Set up your computer and keyboard so you eliminate the hunched over stance and find a chair that is both comfortable and supportive. If you have enough space, create a couple of working areas, including a place to stand, a place to sit, and even a small couch to change things up. 

 

Office Nook

Not everyone has an entire room that can be dedicated to a home office. You can create an office nook that contains most of the above elements. Select a corner of a room that is seldom used, and add in floating shelves, a desk, and lighting. Some people even transform a closet into an office space. 

 

If you are going to continue working from home, we recommend taking the time to design a space that fits your needs. Your home office should reflect your style, be a place that you enjoy, and an area where you can tune out distractions to accomplish your work goals. 

Spruce up your Outdoor Living Space

We’ve all been spending more time at home, and many are making the most of this time to clean, organize, and even complete some DIY projects. 

Now that the weather is warming up, we can all start utilizing our decks, porches, and patios, giving us a change of scenery and making out homes feel more spacious. 

Keep reading for tips to spruce up your outdoor living space. 

Replace hardware. 

How old are your doorknobs, house numbers, and outdoor light fixtures? Dingy fixtures can bring down the entire curb appeal. Replacing hardware creates a new style at a low cost. 

Add some color. 

Sometimes all it takes to spruce up an outdoor living area is to add a pop of color. This can easily be done with some fresh flowers and planters, which are readily available this time of year. If flowers aren’t enough, consider repainting your doors, or add a colorful outdoor rug to your space. 

Power wash your deck or patio. 

Winter elements can leave your deck or patio looking dingy. Power wash your outdoor living space for a quick revival. You can also give a fresh coat of paint or stain to the deck if needed. 

Clean up your patio furniture.

Don’t stop with the deck and patio – clean up your patio furniture. A deep clean might be all it takes to brighten up a table and chairs. Want to add a bit more comfort? Get new seat cushions or opt for some bright pillows that make seating more comfortable. 

Set the mood with outdoor lighting.

Efficient lighting allows you to use your outdoor space after the sun goes down, adds security, and can change the entire vibe. Accent lighting highlights beautiful landscaping, while bistro string lights set a fun mood. 

Add in some fun.

What does your dream backyard look like? Yard games, a new grill, outdoor bar, or firepit can all be easily incorporated into your living space. You can involve the whole family by taking on some DIY projects and designing the space together. 

Working on your outdoor space now will give you time to enjoy it during the summer. What outdoor projects are you taking on right now? 

How Builders are Responding to Changing Times

Connecticut, like many states, has deemed construction as an essential business. Builders and developers have quickly adapted to make worksites and client interactions safe for all. 

According to a recent survey of NAHB members, several measures are being implemented that allow the construction industry to continue to build and sell homes. 

The majority of those who responded stated that non-construction employees are working from home during these times. Also, instead of open hours for tours, 59% of those surveyed are scheduling private showings. 

Though not mentioned in the survey, many builders are also implementing virtual options. At the Residences at 66 High Street, interested parties can either schedule a private showing (two people per showing), or a virtual showing. We are able to utilize technology to best fit the needs of every individual. 

Even with an essential business status, not all construction jobs have continued. Of those surveyed, 48% have halted construction projects, or will do so in the near future. Fortunately, however, only 25% have needed to lay off or furlough workers. 

At The Horton Group, we continue to make adaptations and follow CDC guidelines so we can continue to move forward safely. 

 

31 Home Maintenance Projects to Complete Now

We all have a list of home maintenance projects we would love to take on “when we have more time.” Now that many of us are spending more time at home, we can begin to tackle those projects. Some of you may have already started your spring cleaning and organizing, while others may be overwhelmed with the thought of doing all the tasks you usually put off.

Either way, you can use this checklist to help you get started. No need to do everything at once – pick one or two small projects to get started, and determine where you want to go from there.

Deep Clean

Spring is synonymous with cleaning and airing out. After you complete your basic cleaning routine, dive into these projects to make your home feel brand new. 

  • Clean vents and baseboards.
  • Wipe down blinds
  • Wash windows, window tracks, and screens.
  • Wash curtains.
  • Scrub tile grout. 
  • Wipe down light fixtures and fans.
  • Sanitize garbage cans. 
  • Clean under your furniture.
  • Clean cabinets and drawers (inside and out). 
  • Clean the inside of your dishwasher and oven. 
  • Descale faucets and shower heads. 
  • Wipe down doors and walls.
  • Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator and freezer.

Organize

If you tend to hold on to everything you’ve ever gotten, now is an excellent time to sort through your belongings and get rid of what you do not need or want. Here is where you can start:

  • Closets
  • Drawers and cabinets
  • Entryway
  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Attic
  • Shed
  • Pantry

Rearrange

All of the cleaning and organizing may get you in the mood for a whole new look. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend money on new furniture and decor. Try rearranging what you have to change things up.

  • Furniture layout (in any room!)
  • Books on bookshelves
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Wall art

Landscape and Property

You can also give some attention to your property and outside living space. Here are some outside projects to work on:

  • Clean up the lawn from leaves and winter debris.
  • Sweep or power wash patio and deck. 
  • Prune shrubs.
  • Clean patio furniture.
  • Wash siding of the house. 
  • Prep for planting.

Are you doing any home maintenance projects right now? Let us know what they are in the comments!

Community Spaces in Development: More Important than Ever

We’re all seeing it: the Zoom calls, car parades, and balcony gatherings. People are supporting local businesses, showing thanks to those on the front lines, and donating to those in need. 

Even though we are physically separated, our communities are growing stronger than ever. It’s made us think about the growing trend we have seen in new developments – one that will likely continue long after this has passed. 

Master Planned Communities

From developments with single-family homes to mixed-use construction, developers have been focusing on incorporating more community spaces over the past few years.

At 66 High Street, the pool, once installed, will be a gathering place in summer. Before the current health crisis, residents often walked downtown together, and met up in each other’s units for a glass of wine and some conversation.  

At Overland Lofts in Springfield, community spaces will be available for residents only. Since the building is mixed-use, there will also be stores, cafes, and restaurants that people from all over downtown can enjoy together. 

Developments all over the country have already started adding in more community spaces. Why? Because it brings people together. Now, more than ever, we see how important connection is. 

What to Watch For

One thing we’ve all learned recently is that connection can still happen when we are separated. While we know developers will continue incorporating spaces for gathering in person, we anticipate that builders will also start thinking about how to integrate technology. Here are some things to watch for in development, according to Best in American Living:

  1. Personalized concierge sales experiences, including a mix of technology and human interaction.
  2. New ways to access amenities so people can gather utilizing technology. 
  3. Tech-enabled events and participation, such as online book clubs, art classes, or movie nights.
  4. Greater integration between homebuilders and community developers throughout real estate transactions, including virtual tours for potential buyers. 
  5. Doubling down on outdoor spaces for walking, biking, and gathering. 

 

What would you like to see in a residential development? Let us know!

Virtual Updates at 66 High Street

When we broke ground for The Residences at 66 High Street, in 2015 we had a vision in mind:  

To become the premier destination for luxury living and make every unit a work of masterful craftsmanship.

The past five years have been filled with adventure and connection. Now, as we face this unprecedented time, we are more grateful than ever for the unparalleled community that surrounds us.  

Keep reading to learn updates for the community, and how we are able to assist residents and clients during this time. 

Model Unit 33

 

Unit 33 is complete! Due to the vision of a talented team of people, we are able to make every unit at 66 High Street unique and awe-inspiring. Nicole White, one of the real estate agents representing 66 High Street, designed the interior, and Madison Furniture Barn staged the entire unit. Watch the video above and take the virtual tour here. Tell us your favorite design elements in the comments!

Virtual Tours

Technology allows us to set up virtual tours for any unit. We can utilize FaceTime or Zoom to show you a completed unit, progress in space that is being constructed, or new materials that arrived to the unit. When required, we are also able to set up in-person showings for up to two people at a time.

Communication and Safety

One thing that hasn’t changed is our level of communication. We continue to talk daily, connecting with our team, our suppliers, and our clients every step along the way. Every group that we work with is going above and beyond to meet the needs of the moment while putting strict safety measures into place. 

As we continue with our ongoing projects, the people that make up 66 High Street and the shoreline communities continue to share their generosity and support, proving once again what a special place this is. 

 

3 Ways to Help Right Now

How can I help?

It’s a question going through the minds of many right now. As we practice social distancing to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe, many want to do more. If you are in the position to donate your time or money, here are three local organizations that are assisting people in Connecticut right now. 

If you find yourself needing support in these times, reach out to these same organizations to learn how they can assist you:

The Gift Card Project

The Gift Card Project launched last week in response to the desire of so many people asking how they can help. 

We have all been affected by the current situation in some way: small businesses are temporarily closed, individuals are facing layoffs, and healthcare professionals and essential workers are bravely working overtime. 

The Gift Card Project aims to help in more than one way: supporting local businesses, while at the same time supporting someone who could use a boost. Simply buy a gift card from a small business, send it to The Gift Card Project, and it will be distributed accordingly. 

Learn more about The Gift Card Project here.

Guilford Cares, Ethan Miller Song Foundation & Town of Guilford Senior Programs

Guilford Cares is teaming up with the Ethan Miller Song Foundation and Town of Guilford Parks and Recreation Senior Programs to provide assistance to Guilford residents. 

To ensure that the elderly and immunocompromised are not going out in public more than absolutely necessary, you can volunteer to help deliver pre-ordered food from a local grocer. 

Learn more about the program here

Cilantro Specialty Foods & Coffee Roasters

Cilantro Specialty Foods & Coffee Roasters have not only turned their restaurant into a grocery store, but have also turned the kitchen into a place to prepare meals for the homeless. 

Working with the Columbus House in New Haven, meals are being prepared at Cilantro Specialty Foods. With so many regulations changing, food pantries and shelters will need access to a commercial kitchen. 

Learn more about what co-owner Cindy Wallace is doing here, or drop off your canned goods right in front of Cilantro’s. 

Do you know of other local organizations that are accepting donations? Let us know in the comments. 

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