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.

 

Kitchen Renovations: Where to Splurge

A well-designed kitchen can make an entire house feel more luxurious. The heart of the home, the kitchen is where families and friends gather to prepare food, discuss their days, enjoy meals, and unwind with a drink.

The Horton Group knows how important the kitchen is to most people, which is why we incorporate the best quality and design into the homes we build. For the luxury condominium units at The Residences at 66 High Street, we called on Bender to design the kitchen cabinetry with designer Daryl Zorn.

Bender has six Connecticut locations, with national recognition for their award-winning showrooms. For the model units of the Whitfield and Leete buildings, Zorn worked closely with our interior designer and Nicole White from One + Company Real Estate, the listing company for 66 High Street, to make selections.

“The rest were custom units where I worked directly with the buyers and got a feel of the styling they liked. The styles range from traditional to somewhat farmhouse with distressed cabinets to transitional,” Zorn said.

Kitchens continue to be the most desired room to renovate. The average kitchen renovation costs over $20,000, according to Home Advisor, and can easily go much higher. Because Bender focuses on function, budget, and innovative design, we reached out to them to determine which items are worth the splurge in the kitchen.

1. Cabinet Box Construction

A quality-built cabinet is essential for new kitchens. Pay attention to both the material of the cabinet box and the way it is built. Some manufacturers claim all plywood construction, but with poor assembly. Paying more for the build of the cabinets will go a long way in your kitchen.

2. Qualified Contractor or Installer

Spending money on the quality of the cabinets will go to waste if not installed correctly, and it is not the best time to try out your DIY skills. Find a contractor or installer who is an expert with cabinetry. They know what screws to use, how to level cabinetry, and how to adjust drawers and hinges. A quality installation job will last a lifetime and makes it easier for other contractors in your kitchen, including plumbers, electricians, and countertop installers.

3. Appliances

High-quality appliances not only add to the design of your kitchen but, more importantly, better your cooking experience and the food you eat. With advanced technology, high-end appliances give you more control over how you cook and make cleanup easier.

4. Cabinet Hardware

Hardware allows for endless customization options in the kitchen. Mixed metals, including brushed brass, chrome, and matte black, are trending in kitchen designs. Bender recommends choosing two or three metals that complement each other and play off of one another in cabinet hardware, light fixtures, and faucets. The “jewelry” of the kitchen, cabinet knobs and pulls can make the difference between a nice kitchen and a fabulous kitchen.

No matter what you decide to spend your budget on in the kitchen, you cannot go wrong with quality products installed by a professional.

Should associations allow dogs?

Dogs are great companions, but should they be allowed in condominium communities? We’re taking a look at both sides of the question below.

Yes, dogs should be allowed.

Dogs can be integral parts of any family. Fun-loving and compassionate dogs can positively contribute to life within a condominium community, especially if many of the residents have dogs. Neighbors at The Residences at 66 High Street often gather to walk their dogs together. Some pet-friendly associations do more than others by incorporating dogs parks or pet washing stations on the grounds. Based on data from the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36% of households own dogs. For this reason, allowing dogs can significantly increase the buyer pool.

No, dogs should not be allowed.

There are liability issues that associations face when dogs are allowed. Almost a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims are due to dog bites, which is why associations must generate rules if they decide to allow pets. In addition, if not properly cared for and cleaned up after, dogs could be a headache for members of a condominium association. Without adequate training, any dog, large or small, can be disruptive and unruly.

If an association does allow dogs, there will be guidelines that must be followed. Pets are required to be registered, and when out of the residence, dogs need to be on a leash and promptly cleaned up after by owners. If you are looking to buy in a pet-friendly community, ask the following questions:

  • Is there a weight limit?
  • Are there breed restrictions?
  • Are there restrictions on how many pets you can have?
  • What rules are in place for pet owners and their pets?

Are pets allowed in your community? If so, what restrictions are in place?

Leete Condo sells at the Highest Price Per Square Foot in New Haven County

With sweeping views of the salt marsh and Long Island Sound, the stately Leete is one of the newly constructed buildings in the luxury development at the Residences at 66 High Street. While this award-winning development continues to grow, The Horton Group remains dedicated to providing residents with luxurious amenities and masterful craftsmanship in the heart of historic Guilford.

Two closings in the Leete building took place in the past month, including Unit 39, which became the highest price per square foot in New Haven County this year when it sold for $1,985,275. With more units under contract, we can’t help but reflect on the history, work, and community that has made this possible.

The History

The Horton Group took on the development of the Residences at 66 High Street, beginning with the transformation of the historic Mill building. Originally built in 1884, the building served many purposes, including a factory in World War II era. During this time, women were employed to assemble ball bearings for military vehicles, while the rear portion of the building doubled as a school for the children of factory workers. When renovating the building into 15 luxury condominiums, many original features were left intact, with units showcasing antique brick, steel, and exposed beams, paired with high-end finishes and modern day amenities.

The three new buildings on site, including the Leete, feature Type II-B construction with reinforced concrete and steel, which is high above the standard for new construction in the area. Each unit is thoughtfully laid out and designed to capture the most breathtaking views on the Connecticut shoreline.

The Work

As each year passes, the Residences at 66 High Street continue to showcase some of our best work. The development has received Home Building Industry Awards, or HOBIs, every year since 2016, including Project of the Year, Best Condominium Community, Best Historic Rehab, and Best Luxury Townhouse. As each new building goes up, we continue to pay attention to every detail, choose top quality products, and work with the best industry professionals. This work has allowed us to build a development we are proud of.

The Community

While the accolades are a perk, the community at 66 High Street is why we really love this work. Walking distance to shops, restaurants, and the Green, it is easy to enjoy all that downtown Guilford has to offer. Residents often gather together to walk their dogs, complete a workout in the fitness room, or enjoy an evening sharing laughs over a meal. When we first started this project, we envisioned a neighborhood feel, but never expected such a strong and welcoming community.

The community, combined with Guilford’s rich history and the quality work put into every unit, allows us to continue to create and sell luxury homes on the Connecticut shoreline. We are honored to have our work recognized, both by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut and by the people who chose to call 66 High Street home.

The recent closings and the units under contract, exclusively listed with One + Company at William Raveis Real Estate, speak to the work we have put in, and we are excited to watch as this community continues to grow.

Car Charging Stations at 66 High Street

Tesla has experienced massive growth in the past six years. The plug-in electric car models allow people to charge their cars rather than fill up at a gas station. Not only are these luxury cars cheaper to run, but they are also better for the environment.

With the increase in sales, more charging stations are being opened throughout the country. People need to be able to charge their cars, and charging stations at home or work are the most convenient option, as it can take between 1 and 12 hours to charge, depending on the charger (Supercharger Stations the fastest option, though not available for home use). Being able to get home, plug in your car, and charge overnight is most convenient for Tesla cars.

Connecticut is one of the states where Tesla has installation services, making it possible for residents at 66 High Street to have home chargers installed through Tesla or an independent electrician. The quickest home charging option is the Tesla Wall Connector, although owners can also use the Mobile Connector included when purchasing a new model.

In a multi-unit dwelling, Tesla owners need to speak with either the board, manager, or owner of the complex before installation. Tesla provides a template letter if you need approval to install a charging station. At 66 High Street, some of our residents already have charging installed in the underground parking garage.

As more charging stations appear in New England, Tesla automobiles are becoming an option for more people every day. The Horton Group strives to make the communities we work with both luxurious and sustainable, and are available to help residents who own a Tesla set up a home charging station.

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