Inground vs. Above Ground Pools

As we continue to face summers that are hotter, dryer, and longer than years past, you may consider adding a pool to beat the heat from the comfort of your home. This week, we’re outlining the key differences between inground and above-ground pools. 

An inground pool is built directly into the ground as a permanent fixture, usually using concrete as the primary material for construction. An above-ground pool is a semi-permanent structure made of steel, aluminum, or resin. Here are the factors to consider when deciding which type of pool is right for you:

Cost

The most apparent difference between above-ground and inground pools is price. Almost 100% of the time, an inground pool will cost more than an above-ground pool because inground pools require excavation, professional installation, pricier materials, and permits that above-ground pools do not. 

Even above-ground pools with a deck attached cost tens of thousands of dollars less than inground pools. According to HomeAdvisor, Above-ground installation ranges from $3,500 to $15,000 on average, while in-ground varieties run $20,000 to $65,000 not including fencing, patios or other extras

Safety

When it comes to safety, above-ground pools are typically the better option, especially when it comes to pets and children. This is because above-ground pools are more challenging for pets and children to wander into mistakenly, however both types of pools can be made significantly safer with fencing and pool covers.

Customization

Above-ground pools have much less opportunity for customization than in-ground pools do. Inground pools can be designed with any depth, shape, layout, or features. Above-ground pools are not customizable outside of diameter and can only be about 4 feet deep. 

Value

In-ground pools are viewed as a major perk to buyers, who are reported to pay 5 to 8 percent more for a home with an inground pool. Above-ground pools are less permanent, harder to maintain, and not as aesthetically pleasing, and as a result, will not add nearly as much value to a property. 

Conclusion

Trying to decide what kind of pool will work for your home? Contact us today!

Most Desired Home Features of 2022

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conducts a survey to determine what design features are deemed essential by homebuyers across generations. This year, there has been a significant increase in the desire for bigger homes, suburban locations, and more outdoor amenities. Here are a few key takeaways from this year’s survey. 

Buyers Want Bigger Homes 

Across generations, the ideal home is around 2500 square feet. In addition, there has also been a significant increase in the number of bedrooms homebuyers want. On average, buyers are most interested in homes with 4+ bedrooms and at least three full bathrooms. The National Association of homebuyers attributes these shifting priorities to the pandemic.

Outdoor Living is Back in Style

According to NAHB, the percentage of single-family homes with patios has risen to 63%. It’s clear that much more emphasis has been placed on outdoor living. Millennials, in particular, have expressed a significant interest in having a front porch. Home shoppers have also expressed an interest in exterior lighting features and patios. 

Updated Home Design is a Must

Millennials and Gen Xers have started prioritizing homes with contemporary or modern exteriors. It’s speculated that this trend comes from a desire to keep homes in the family for multiple generations, on top of the general increase in popularity of these styles.

Energy Efficiency Remains a Desirable Money Saving Tool

Homebuyers have continued to prioritize energy-efficient features during the home search process. Energy star appliances, whole home certification, and energy-efficient lighting are all features that incentivize the current buying pool. After so many months spent at home, it’s clear that people want to cut heating and cooling costs as much as possible. 

Most Essential Home Features

Overall, homebuyers consider these five features to be essential in their next home:

  1. Laundry rooms 
  2. Exterior lighting 
  3. Ceiling fans 
  4. Patios  
  5. Walk-in pantries

Conclusion

Have questions about starting a renovation project of your own? Contact 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.

Turning A Spare Bedroom Into Something Useful

Do you have a spare room that is not suitable for a bedroom? You’d be amazed by the endless possibilities that could come from transforming a bonus room. Turn it into something useful! Here are a few ideas to start with.

Storage Room

Typically, homeowners who decide to downsize their homes own more furniture, clothes, etc. Whether they are of a sentimental nature or being saved for a future use, it is hard to completely purge yourself of a whole house full of goods. Storage units became a viable option for people in this predicament, but those tack on an additional monthly fee. Transforming your spare room into a storage room to house all your overflow can be a solution to help keep costs down.

Using bins, baskets, and shelves you can manage to organize all your possessions in a thoughtful way and you will likely find yourself able to keep minimizing when the stuff is more present in your day to day. 

Private Office

If you value your moments of silence or getting away from all of the activity that runs throughout the house, then remodel your bonus room into a private reading room or office. Give yourself a secluded area with sensitive lighting and soundproof walls to keep you undisturbed and focused. 

Install a private library and invest in office furniture like a corner desk or a few modular seats to make the room more comfortable and accommodating.

Game or Sports Room

If you have children, giving them room to run free is always a good idea. As we all know, kids can be messy. Giving them a play or game room can keep that mess away and unseen. You’d be surprised how many kids value having space to play that doesn’t require much clean-up afterward. 

If a few arcade games or a big flat screen tv to watch sports is more your speed, then a sports room could be of service. Adding a dry bar and a lazy boy recliner to the center of it all would make it the perfect private sports arena. 

Fitness Room

Not interested in paying for a gym membership? Then invest in the necessary equipment and turn your bonus room into an at-home fitness center! Work up a sweat and get pumped up from the comfort of your home instead of having to share the equipment in a public setting.

A huge plus to installing a gym in your home is never having to wait your turn or constantly having to change the settings/add weights to your equipment. Many people avoid going to the gym because of intimidation or packed capacities. Working out from home is safe and much more relaxing. 

Vanity Room or Walk-In Closet

A vanity room or “glam room” is a pivot we are seeing as a new trend in homes in 2021. Using appropriate lighting and mirrors, you can easily set up a place to pamper and maintain self care. Vanity rooms can be remodeled any way but typically carry over a more classic and chic look. 

Move your clothes in, start hanging up shelves, and give yourself a grand walk-in closet. This is typically useful for those who choose not to part with their favorite clothing items or married couples who need the extra space. Turning your bonus room into a walk-in closet could be an excellent opportunity for an ROI and can accommodate more than one person. 

At-home Theater

Depending on the size of the room, one of our favorite ideas is an at-home theater. Add surround sound, a projector with screen, and the seating arrangements of your choice! 

This allows for flexibility in your own showtimes, as well as a place to gather with friends and family. The nature of a space like this would provide a more intimate and cozy atmosphere for your next movie night.

Do you have an idea of what to do with a spare room? Drop us a comment and share it with us!

The Multipurpose Garage

Many people are underutilizing their garage to just park their car and store their rarely-used or seasonal items. Garages have the potential to be a wonderful add-on to your living space when organized and used creatively. 

When done right, repurposing your garage can add a fantastic bonus room to your house! Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Why the Garage?

There are several reasons that garages are a great space for a multipurpose room. They are usually large, making them suitable for a variety of different uses. Opening the door can provide you with great ventilation for messy projects, or cases where you are dealing with dangerous fumes. Garages can also allow you to be noisy without disturbing the rest of your household. Best of all, if you already own a home with a garage, you don’t need to build a costly addition to expand your home. Your garage is a spacious bonus room just waiting to happen!

How to Prep Your Garage as a Multipurpose Space

If you’re going to use your garage for something other than just storing your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure to add these features:

  • Make sure it is well-insulated and install a heating and cooling system, so that it can remain a comfortable temperature year-around. 
  • Install good lighting, and have it equipped with plenty of electrical outlets. 
  • Consider more comfortable flooring for your feet, as most garages are made of concrete.
  • If you want the convenience of a sink while getting your hands dirty on a project or prepping some snacks, have appropriate plumbing installed.

You will also want to make sure to optimize storage space with creative storage solutions. It is important to find ways to minimize clutter to make the most use of your garage space for other purposes.

Multipurpose Garage Ideas

Now that your garage is prepped, here are some fun ways to use your new living space:

  • A Workshop or Art Studio – Your garage is a great place to get messy! Outfit your garage with workbenches to do your art, crafting, or construction projects. 
  • A Home Office – With work-from-home situations becoming more common nowadays, you might be struggling to find a suitable workspace in your home. Have you considered a home office in your garage?
  • A Home Gym – A garage is a great place to get sweaty, especially when the weather is nice and you can open up the door to get some refreshing air.
  • An Entertainment Room – You can create the ultimate entertainment space in your garage. Consider a game room, arcade, or even a home movie theater!
  • A Lounge or Guest Room – With the proper insulation, lighting, electrical, and flooring, you can even repurpose your garage to be basically another room in your house – perfect for lounging or hosting guests.
  • A Kid’s Playplace – Tired of seeing your kids’ toys strewn all over the house? Turn your garage into the ultimate playroom for your kids.

There are so many creative ways to make the most of your garage space. What does your dream garage look like?

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!

Top Locations for a Laundry Room

The laundry room may not be the most glamorous space in a home, but it’s a room that most homeowners want. 

A laundry room appears at the top of the list of NAHB’s 2021 most essential home features. While most people are happy to have dedicated space to do laundry at home, being able to pick the perfect location for a laundry room is even better. 

If you are building or remodeling your home and have the option of where to place your laundry room, we recommend considering the following:

Basement

Often, laundry rooms are found in the basement. This can be a great option for those who prefer a laundry room that is out of the way. You may also find you have more space to dedicate to a laundry room on the lower level of your home, which may be preferred if you have children or pets, or want to create space for sorting, ironing, and folding within the laundry room.

However, some people dislike going up and down the basement stairs for every load of laundry. This is especially true if the basement is unfinished, and the only reason you go downstairs is for laundry. 

Main Level

A laundry room on the main level of the home is another great option. This location is more convenient for those who do not want to go up and downstairs. It also often offers easier access if you are coming inside from the backyard, and want to drop off dirtied clothing without dragging them through the rest of the home. 

There are some downsides to this type of placement as well. If located on the first level, the laundry room is located in close proximity to your main living areas: the kitchen, living room, and dining room. If not tucked away, the laundry room can be noisy or become an eyesore. 

Some people have a dedicated mudroom on the main level where they place their washer and dryer. This is an ideal location, as it is convenient to where you spend your time on the main level, yet far enough away that it is not a distraction. 

Top Level

If you have more than one floor, you can also opt to place a laundry room on the top level of the home, which is generally where the majority of the bedrooms are.  This location is extremely convenient for dropping off dirty items and putting away clean clothes, as you only have to walk a short distance to each room.

On the downside, a laundry room on the top level means you have to go upstairs every time you need to sort or switch out clothing. As most people spend the majority of their time on the main level, this can become cumbersome. In addition, you likely won’t want to start a load at night or early morning, as the noise may interfere with someone’s sleep. 

Any space can become functional for laundry with some planning and organization. Finding a location that is out of the way yet convenient to get to is ideal for a laundry room.

Choosing Your Master Bedroom Location

The master bedroom is one of the most important rooms a prospective homeowner should consider when buying or building a house. The location of the room is important, and should accommodate your lifestyle needs and personal preferences.

Here are the top things to take into account when thinking about the location of your master bedroom!

Mobility Concerns

According to an AARP study, 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. This number is 71% among the 50-64 age group. When you consider that four of the top ten states with the highest aging population are New England states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut – these statistics are vital to many of our clients.

How does this relate to the location of the master bedroom? Well, with more homeowners choosing to age-in-place, many seek to build or buy a home with a first-floor master bedroom. That way, they do not have to go up and down the stairs multiple times a day.  The bedroom will also be in close proximity to other rooms that they use daily, like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, or garage. 

Making age-in-place considerations when buying or building a home also increases the resale value, as more and more homeowners are looking for a first-floor master suite.

Horton Group construction at the Residences at 66 High Street.

Lifestyle and Preferences

A homeowner should also consider their lifestyle and personal preferences when choosing the location of the master suite. 

Someone with young children may prefer a second-floor bedroom to be closer to the kids. Or perhaps they prefer to have more quiet and privacy on the first floor away from the children’s bedrooms. Keep in mind, a  first floor bedroom can be noisy if placed too close to the kitchen, living room, or any place with heavy foot traffic.

Someone who values privacy or is a light sleeper will probably want a bedroom located towards the back of the house – away from street lights, noisy roads, and peering neighbors. On the other hand, this might be a bad location for someone who prefers to be closer to the other bedrooms in the house, or wants a view of the front yard.

A first-floor master bedroom can be a money saver if children have moved out of the house and the second floor is largely unused. In this case, homeowners can choose to spend minimal energy heating or cooling the second floor and focus on keeping the first floor comfortable. 

Another factor to consider is access to outdoor space. Do you dream of being able to get out of bed in the morning and stroll right into your garden or step outside for beachside views? Then perhaps you should consider a first-floor bedroom with direct access to your outdoor space. For others, having such easy access to the bedroom from outside could be a safety concern.

Horton Group construction at 77 Palms

Conclusion

The location of the master bedroom is a big decision, and several factors should be considered including mobility, resale value, lifestyle, family size, and personal preference. Depending on all these factors, a homeowner may choose a master bedroom on the first or second floor, towards the front of the home, or the back of the home. 

There is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to choosing a master suite location, but prospective homeowners should consider these pros and cons to make an informed decision they will be content with in the long run.

Ready to discuss your dream master suite with us? Get in touch today.

Outdoor Kitchen Design Tips

There’s a reason why outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Not only are they practical, but they add a luxurious feature to your home. 

An outdoor kitchen also increases your square footage for entertaining, allowing you to stay engaged with guests while limiting foot traffic in and out of the home. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, keep reading to learn how to design your dream outdoor kitchen.

Plan And Select A Layout

When designing an outdoor kitchen, personalization is key. Factor in space for seating and appliances, while still allowing plenty of room for walking and cooking. You’ll want to consider space for prepping, cooking, entertaining, and dining when planning your kitchen. 

Once you have the exact measurements, explore possible layouts for your kitchen. 

Here are some of the most common layouts:

  • L-Shaped: This shape works well for small to medium-sized spaces and fits perfectly in corners.
  • Linear: An excellent option for small spaces and small budgets. A linear layout can either run along the side of the house or be freestanding like an island. 
  • Galley: In a galley layout, appliances and cabinets face each other along a rectangular line divided by a central walkway.
  • U-Shaped: This layout is lined with appliances and cabinets on three sides, forming a U-shape, with an open space in the center. This works best for large outdoor kitchens and offers more space for appliances and countertops.

Personalize Accessories and Appliances

To elevate your outdoor kitchen and make it fit your needs, consider accessories. A fire pit adds a cozy element to your outdoor kitchen, helps keep the night lit, and extends patio season into cooler months.

Not much of a cook? Make a bar the focal point of your kitchen. If you’re a master chef, purchase the bells and whistles such as a pizza oven or grilling station. 

Furniture and Decor

Once you have your layout and appliances, you can begin to have fun with the design! Remember, this space is an extension of your indoor living areas and brings together dining, entertaining, and relaxing. 

Choose outdoor furniture that meets your style and is comfortable, with enough seating for all. If you have one seating area, make sure the space can accommodate dining and conversing. If you have multiple seating areas, you can incorporate furniture for lounging and separate furniture for eating. 

Finally, some type of protection is vital for an outdoor kitchen, whether it’s a pergola, retractable roof, or canopy. This helps weatherproof the space and allows you to use it whether the sun is blaring or there’s a light rain. 

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