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. 

 

Tips for an Eco-friendly Bathroom

Bathroom remodels are one of the most sought after renovations. A simple update can make a home feel more luxurious. 

Although small in size, the bathroom can also waste more water and energy than other areas of the house. When the time comes to renovate your bathroom, follow these tips, so it is eco-friendly, as well as visually appealing. 

Be Water Conscious

It’s no secret that a lot of water is wasted in the bathroom. Flushing the toilet, taking a shower, drawing a bath, and using the sink each day adds up. Inefficient water fixtures can add up to hundreds of gallons of wasted water each day. Some people are opting to ditch a tub altogether and use the extra space for a beautiful walk-in shower. When selecting new items for the bathroom, pay attention to:

  • Toilets. A conventional toilet uses 1.6 gallons for every flush, but an old model could be using up to 7 gallons per flush, according to the EPA. A low-flow toilet works with less water and has dual flushing options. One button flushes liquids, using under one gallon of water per flush. The second button flushes solid waste, using the full 1.6 gallons per flush.
  • Faucets. Many people leave the water running when brushing their teeth, washing their hands, or washing their face at the sink. Consider motion-sensor faucets to cut back on water waste.
  • Showerheads. When installing a new shower, select an environmentally friendly low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage. Look for the EPA WaterSense Label to be certain you are purchasing water-efficient products. 

Install an Efficient Water Heater

A lot of energy is used to heat water in the home. Replacing the water heater can aid in making your showers and baths more eco-friendly. There are several options to choose from: heat pump water heaters, tankless water heaters, solar water heaters, and condensing storage water heaters can all help to save energy. ENERGY STAR ratings can help you determine which equipment is most efficient.

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials

Eco-friendly materials are not only sustainable, meaning they last a long time, but they also do not harm the environment. Often, eco-friendly materials are renewable or recyclable. Many tile options are eco-friendly. Other eco-friendly materials include glass, metal, bamboo, and cork. You can take it a step further than flooring and cabinetry and opt for eco-friendly towels and shower curtains. 

Install LED Lighting

If you have not brought in LED lighting to your home yet, it’s time to make the switch. ENERGY STAR LED lights use up to 90% less energy than standard bulbs and last at least 15 times longer. 

Opt for VOC-free Supplies

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, emit gasses and chemicals into the air. If you have ever gotten a headache from the smell of your cleaner, chances are it was filled with VOCs. Select paint and cleaners that are VOC-free. 

Do you have more tips for becoming more eco-friendly in the bathroom? Let us know in the comments!

 

What is Transit-Oriented Development?

With a pressing need for sustainable metropolitan and suburban growth, a trend toward transit-oriented development, or TOD, has become increasingly popular among planners and developers. Particularly in the United States, where most people are reliant on automobiles, TOD can help create more sustainable communities.

What is Transit-Oriented Development?

Transit-oriented development is a mixed-use development that includes commercial, residential, office, and entertainment properties. The development is also located near a transit station for easy access to transportation.

When successfully designed, TODs bring together people, activities, living space, and public space. Walking paths, cycling lanes, and easy access to transit services eliminates the need for daily vehicles and increases nearby resources for residents. 

Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development

TOD can positively impact lifestyle, the environment, and economic factors. Here are some of the benefits of transit-oriented development, according to the Transit-Oriented Development Institute

  • Reduce dependence on driving
  • Allow residents to live, work, and play in the same area
  • Reduce the area’s negative impact on the environment
  • Provide access to better life services
  • Stimulate the local economy
  • Provide better access between urban and suburban areas
  • Provide access to better entertainment and recreational services
  • Provide access to better jobs
  • Revitalize urban areas

Is Transit-Oriented Development only for large cities?

Trends toward TOD extend beyond the urban center. In cities, TOD can provide more affordable housing and connect people to resources in the area. In Springfield, Massachusetts, the Overland Lofts is a part of the revitalization efforts of the city, providing market-rate housing and commercial space downtown.

Development in suburban towns can play an integral role in building a more vibrant, safe, and sustainable community. The Residences at 66 High Street are located in the heart of Downtown Guilford and are only a half-mile from the Shoreline East Train Station. Residents love being a part of a larger community, the ability to walk to shops and restaurants, and easy access to the train station. 

What lifestyle factors are essential for your next move? Let us know in the comments!

 

4 Benefits to Nest Thermostats

Smart and green.

More and more aspects of the home are becoming advanced. Smart appliances coupled with sustainable products allow homeowners to increase efficiency, decrease energy usage, and save money. 

Thermostats and heating systems are a major player in the home’s energy usage and costs. Nest Thermostats take the guesswork out of saving energy, making it the first thermostat to become ENERGY STAR certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s why we decided to install Nest Thermostats in all the units at the Residences at 66 High Street

No Programming Required

Programmable thermostats help you become more efficient with energy and save money. The problem is they can be complicated to figure out, and only allow for 2-3 changes throughout the day.

Nest Thermostats learn your schedule, your preferences, changes in the season, and even your home’s heating and cooling system. After a few days, the thermostat knows when to turn the temperature up or down. Once it learns your preferences, you don’t have to make any adjustments. The best part? You start seeing your monetary savings right away. 

Control from Anywhere

Let’s say you are off of your typical schedule – you are working late, or are getting home earlier than expected. You have the ability to control the temperature from your phone. This ensures energy savings when the house is empty and comfortable temperatures when you arrive home. 

Proven to Save Energy

Heating and cooling a house account for nearly 50% of all energy usage. Studies have shown that Nest Thermostats saves homeowners 10%-12% on heating and 15% on cooling. In addition, an Eco Temperature setting takes over when Nest Thermostat senses you are away for an extended time. This helps save even more, without the hassle of changing the programming. 

Nest Leaf 

The Nest Leaf collects and analyzes data from your home. Based on that data, Nest offers ways for you to save even more energy. A Green Leaf that appears on the thermostat is your signal – simply press it to learn about ways you can save. 

This type of technology is the future of the Smart Home: saving energy and money, without the need to program. 

Do you have a Nest Thermostat? Tell us about your experience with it!

 

5 Tips to Prepare for a Remodel

You’ve met with your contractor, set a budget, and are excited to see the vision for your updated home come to life. 

Now you have to live through the remodel. 

Remodeling your home is a thrilling venture, especially if it is something you have been working towards. Knowing the changes you want is the first step, and it is exciting when construction gets underway. If you plan on living in the home while renovations are taking place, you need to prepare for life in a work zone.

Here are some tips to make the construction phase as seamless as possible. 

Prepare Emotionally

By preparing mentally to live in a home that is being remodeled, you will ease into the mindset needed. There will be a certain level of mess (after all, things are being ripped up and put back together), noise, and workers entering and exiting. Find a contractor who communicates clearly and plan extra time outside or visiting loved ones. Remind yourself that though things may get hectic, it is just a phase!

Pack Up

Pack up your belongings as if you are moving. This helps the workers, as they will not need to work around any of your things. This step will also be beneficial to you because the space you are living in will not be overcrowded. Keep your essential items, and put the rest in storage.  

Establish Living Zones

Where will you be spending your time when you are in the house? Decide how you can repurpose the rooms that are not being worked on to help you live as comfortably as possible. Perhaps the master bedroom becomes more like a studio apartment, with an area for sleeping and a space for a living room. If your kitchen is being remodeled, set up a countertop with a coffee maker, small fridge, microwave, and toaster oven for use at home. You will need to be creative when creating living zones, but it will help make the transition easier. 

Seal the Work Zone

Work zones are full of dust, construction materials, and tools. If possible, make a separate entryway for construction workers, and tape off the work site from your living space. 

Prepare to be Flexible

During a remodel, unforeseen issues may arise. Your contractor works to make sure everything runs smoothly. Plan to communicate with your contractor regularly, so you understand the progress of the project. This way, if a surprise does pop up, you can calmly decide what your next step is. 

Renovations do not have to be extremely stressful, but they do require preparation, communication, and flexibility. Are you ready to complete a remodel?

Inside the Residences at 66 High Street with Designer Maryellen Sullivan

It was an easy decision.

Four years ago, Interior Designer Maryellen Sullivan was asked to help design units at The Residences at 66 High Street. The development would break ground around the corner from her own home, and she immediately knew she wanted to assist in creating a community as distinct as the town of Guilford. 

“When I got involved, I felt it was important to help make it the best that it can be. I want the level and quality of it to be something that can be maintained throughout the years,” Maryellen explained. 

During those initial stages, Maryellen worked with us at The Horton Group to select materials and elements to attract people and remain timeless over the years. 

She continues to move forward with this vision in every unit she completes.

The Old and The New

The Residences at 66 High Street masterfully blend historical features of the town with brand new luxury design. The Mill Building was the first to be renovated. Initially built in 1884, the Mill once made everything from lollipops to torpedo switches. 

The Mill at the Residences at 66 High Street

Many of the original features, including antique brick, steel, exposed beams, mill trusses, and refurbished factory lighting remain in the units. These unique features allowed Maryellen to be creative when designing each residence, pairing the industrial elements of the building with luxury finishes to create functional living spaces.

“As a designer, I’m seeing things years ahead,” Maryellen stated. “No matter the style, there is still a range of what will be relevant in five years.” 

In every unit she completes, Maryellen selects home finishes that have staying power. With the rustic elements inside the Mill Building, it was essential to highlight the uniqueness of each living space, while ensuring the finished product would outlast a trend. 

The Leete, The Whitfield, and The Chittenden (currently being constructed) are new buildings with an entirely different style than The Mill. These modern luxury units feature thoughtfully laid-out open floor plans, high ceilings, crown molding, and high-end finishes. 

The Leete at the Residences at 66 High Street

The beautiful architectural features and an abundance of windows allow the incredible views of the marsh and Long Island Sound to be a central feature. In these units, Maryellen works to ensure the living space is laid out seamlessly, so residents feel like they are part of the exquisite landscape. 

Up next: Unit 27

As one of the two residences left in The Whitfield Building, Unit 27 is Maryellen’s current project. With each new space, her goal is to create a unique unit that fits with the rest of the building.  

How is Whitfield unit 27 going to stand out among the already completed units?

It begins with the floor plan. All residences have the highly desired open floor plan in the main living areas. In unit 27, Maryellen is working to create more defined spaces that naturally flow from one area to the next.

“I wanted to design a floor plan that is unique to itself yet as dynamic as the other units,” explained Maryellen.

Inspiration for Unit 27

For materials, Maryellen is mixing elements to create a fresh look. Classic mahogany instead of rustic wood used in The Mill, brass and gold fixtures, and the contrast in flooring and cabinet colors are creating a unique kitchen. 

The unit also has incredible geometric fixtures that give it great style. 

“In my mind’s eye, it looks awesome,” Maryellen says. “I hope when people walk in, they will see the qualities that highlight it as fresh.”

Working at 66 High Street

While Maryellen is continually inspired by the features and views at 66 High Street, she is most impressed with the community. 

Having lived in Guilford for more than 20 years, Maryellen feels a deep connection to the town. As new residents move into 66 High Street, she watches at how fascinated they become – not just of the luxury development, but of how special the shoreline town is. 

In turn, the people who live in the Residences are uplifting downtown Guilford in new ways. 

“66 has built a community that is changing the town. It is breathing a new energy: it’s a refreshing outcome to see how it is branching out into the community and the town center,” she said. 

More than Location: Why 66 High Street Feels like Home

“Our feeling for Guilford was that is was warm, accessible; and it’s only been reinforced by the people that we’ve experienced here at 66 High Street,” says Tom Conforti, who now lives at The Residences at 66 High Street. 

First drawn to the location of Guilford, after settling into 66 High Street, Tom has noticed it is more than the setting that makes the Residences feel like home. 

Warm and Friendly

A coastal town, Guilford has historical roots and prides itself on community. Residents of 66 High Street can walk to the Guilford Green, where a community event is usually taking place, or pop into one of the shops or restaurants downtown. 

Back home at 66 High Street, people feel engulfed in a beautiful, secluded landscape, with views of the marsh and Long Island Sound. The scenic setting is perfect for quiet evenings on the balcony or when gathering with loved ones. 

In addition to the beautiful landscape and coastal living downtown, the people at 66 High Street have made Tom feel welcome in his new home. Everybody is friendly and willing to help each other out. 

“We’ve been struck at how engaging the embrace was from current residents of 66 High Street,” said Tom. 

Luxury Accommodations

With the beautiful scenery and close proximity to downtown Guilford, The Horton Group knew luxury living was the only option when planning the residences. 

Like the Horton Group, Tom shared the same vision for his next home.

 “We wanted luxury accommodations in a scenic setting; and of course we were able to design the house according to our specifications,” he stated.

The Horton Group works with each resident to make sure their home is ideally situated to their tastes. Each unit begins with top-of-the-line features and attributes, and can be altered to fit the taste of the homeowners. 

Easy Maintenance and Worry-Free Travel

In addition to superior craftsmanship, the Residences at 66 High Street are secure and hassle-free. Whether residents travel for a couple of weeks, or spend months away at a second dwelling, there is nothing to worry about when away from home. 

“When we leave to return to New Jersey,” Tom explained, “we realize we are leaving behind a home that’s secure, easy to maintain for us.”

Security provides peace of mind that cannot be measured. Knowing that when you return home, you will come back to a fully maintained home and property eliminates the stress of travel. 

“We would have not purchased a home that didn’t provide us this level of luxury, convenience, and accessibility like 66 High Street does,” Tom said. 

 

How Drones are Changing Construction Sites

Drones are becoming increasingly popular at construction sites. These small, easy-to-maneuver cameras are controlled from a remote on the ground. They are proving to be useful during every stage of construction, from mapping out a worksite to monitoring safety and timelines. 

Construction sites are large areas where a lot of people and machinery are coming in and out daily. Missing even one detail on the job could cause complications for weeks. Communication, attention to detail, and timeliness are essential to making sure a build happens correctly and on schedule. Drones are being used on construction sites to aid in the process. 

Design and Pre-Construction

When planning to build on a new site, it is necessary to survey the land and prepare plans for the build. Drones quickly and accurately survey the job site. This cuts out surveying tools and human error, which means drones can save both time and money in the initial stages on construction.

In addition to surveying, drone photography gives a clear birds-eye view of the land, which you can use to map out the site. Project managers can then use this real data and merge it with the virtual design of the project. This can help owners visualize the project, making it a useful tool when bidding on a project or explaining your vision to your client. 

During Construction

During construction, drones can collect data to see the progress of the build. Again, this can be useful when meeting with clients to discuss the phase of development. In addition, it helps the project manager to stay on track with the schedule. 

When equipped with streaming video, drones make it possible for the project manager to monitor the work site from another location. Management can instantly communicate needs based on video happening in real-time. This decreases delays that occur when workers need an answer, or a project manager notices an issue that needs to be resolved. Video streaming with drones also allows managers to track materials on the site and acts as a 24-hour surveillance system, keeping the worksite safer. 

Inspections

Rigorous inspections can be done almost instantly with drones. These small flying cameras can fit pretty much anywhere, without the need for workers to climb to the roof or below ground. Flying a drone to one of these hard-to-reach areas of the structure saves time, gives a close-up view, and eliminates safety concerns.

Project Completion

Once the project is complete, drone photography and video can show a timelapse of the build from start to finish (as long as the entire project was streamed). Giving your client aerial views of the full project can help with marketing and show the entire site in one photograph. 

Drones, along with other advanced technology, continues to change the construction industry, helping to make worksites safer and more efficient.

 

How to Make Any Size Bathroom Feel Luxurious

Hearing the phrase “spa-like bathroom,” we envision a spacious bathroom, complete with a soaking tub, separate walk-in shower, double vanity, and space for lounging.

If you are building a custom home or completely renovating a house, you can create space for a large bathroom. But, if you are doing a remodel, in most cases you need to stick to the size that you have.

Luxury can be incorporated into any bathroom – large or small – by paying attention to the details. So even if you can’t have a large tub and a separate shower, you can still feel like you just stepped into a spa.

Christina Fay, Bathroom Designer for Bender Showroom, shares tips on how to make any bathroom feel luxurious.

Organization and Color

A well-organized space with a clear direction for the flow of traffic can open up a small space. A floating vanity allows you to see the floor all the way to the wall, while a glass panel shower opens up every bit of square footage.

“Coming from the paint industry, I can tell you that the fastest way to feel a change is to change the colors involved. A new feel, a new energy, and a new start for a room starts with a change in colors,” said Christina.

For smaller bathrooms, white or neutral colors help to make a room feel airy. Light and bright colors are reflective and can mimic the effect of natural light, making the room feel larger.

Custom Cabinetry

To upgrade a bathroom, custom cabinets with slow closing drawers offer sophistication. Bender worked on the cabinetry in the kitchens and bathrooms at The Residences at 66 High Street, providing each unit with high-quality cabinets. Adding in mixed metals by selecting pewter, graphite, gunmetal, or chrome hardware creates the industrial look that is now trending in bathrooms. In order to ensure the bathroom invites in warmth, Bender recommends mixing metals by adding in traditional finishes, such as antique brass.

Temperature Control

No one likes stepping out of the shower onto a cold tile floor. Towel warmers and heated floors evoke spa-like comfort. You can opt for a portion of the floor to be heated, such as space right in front of the shower, or the entire floor.

Connectivity

Advanced technology is seeping into every room of the house, and bathrooms are not excluded.

“Connectivity has become the demand for luxury for those willing to invest in it,” explained Christina.

Popular options included vanity mirrors with options like illumination, defogging glass, Bluetooth speakers. Personalized controls for the shower, body jets, rain head, a waterfall panel in the ceiling, times steam generators, Chromatherapy (colored lighting for mood setting) and aromatherapy controls are all possibilities for a dream bathroom.

“The sky is the limit when you can build a package of systems all linked to one digital interface,” Christina said.

Bathrooms can instill a sense of peace and relaxation. No matter what size your bathroom is, you have endless options for creating a space that is both luxurious and practical.

 

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