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 include an illuminated, defogging vanity, installing speakers that run off of Bluetooth, and mood setting lights. Personalized controls for the shower, body jets, rain head, a waterfall panel in the ceiling, timed steam generators, Chromatherapy (colored lighting) 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.

New Construction: the Process of a Residential Build

New construction means you don’t have to deal with hidden issues that come with older homes, knowing you are up to code on everything, and you don’t have to compete for a highly desired home during a seller’s market. While building a new house is a process that takes time, patience, and open communication, the end result is a home built specifically for your needs and desires.

How long does new construction take?

Based on your plan, your builder or subcontractor will be able to estimate the timeline, but it’s essential to remain flexible throughout the process. The timeframe of new construction varies for every home. Factors that affect the process include the land being cleared and approved for building, the size of the house, weather conditions throughout the build, and change orders. In addition, if decisions about finishes and materials are put off, items may take weeks to arrive, pushing back the finish date.

Hire Professionals

When you choose who to work with, you can decide to hire a contractor, builder, or subcontractors for each part of the build. Contractors and builders will oversee the project from start to finish, so you don’t have to worry about hiring multiple people throughout the process. When hiring, take into consideration the experience and communication styles of the people you meet with. You will be working with these people for an extended period of time on your biggest asset, so take the time to interview and choose people you trust.

Site Preparation

Once you have a piece of property that is zoned for residential living, the first step is getting it ready for a new build. Depending on the state of the lot, this can including clearing land or tearing down an existing structure. Vacant land may also need work to reach electric, gas, and plumbing for the house.

Layout and Design

Working with an architect or builder, create the design of the home. The professionals you work with will help keep you on track so basic systems like HVAC and electrical work correctly. Communicate your overall vision, your style, and your must-have items. Once the floorplan is complete, you will be able to get into more specifics of each room. This can be a time-consuming step, as the number of options that go into the design of a home, from the layout down to the cabinet hardware, can seem endless. Be patient and begin with the overall vision before narrowing in on design elements.

Build

As the build progresses, you get to see your vision come to life. At this point, the professionals you hired take control, as they make sure the job is done correctly while adhering to code.

The build begins with pouring the foundation and framing the walls, floors, and roof of the house. From here, “the guts” are completed. This includes everything you can’t see behind the walls, including heating and cooling units, electrical work, and plumbing. During this time, SmartHome systems can also be installed. Workers will then close up the walls with insulation and drywall. At this point, you can really begin to see the vision come to life.

The next phase includes installing finishes and design elements. Starting with the floors and paint, then moving on to cabinets, appliances, and light fixtures. The final few weeks of the build include all the finishing touches.

 

Are you interested in a custom residential build? We’re happy to answer any questions. Contact us to learn more.

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.

The Benefits of Landscaping

Landscaping does more than just create beautiful curb appeal. Taking care of your property, whether a single-family residence, a condominium community, or a commercial development, has environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Environmental Benefits

Maintaining your lawn or property helps to protect you and the environment. Here are some of the ways landscaping helps the environment:

  • A lawn helps to control temperature extremes. In summer months, grass is cooler than pavement or cement, and trees that provide shade help cool down the property and home even more.
  • Grass helps to capture dust and pollutants and produces oxygen, keeping the air we breathe cleaner.
  • Pollutants and storm runoff are reduced when healthy lawns absorb water, which reduces local flooding and keeps polluted water out of larger bodies of water.

Economic Benefits

Along with helping the environment, a well-cared for property has economic benefits for homeowners and business owners alike:

  • Curb appeal is the first thing people notice when looking to buy a home. A beautiful property can increase the value of your home and reduce the time your property is on the market.
  • Residents of apartment complexes or condominiums are likely to pay more to live in a complex with grounds that are well cared for. HOA fees generally take care of landscaping, which means residents can enjoy the benefits of the property without having to care for it themselves.
  • In commercial spaces, green space encourages shoppers to spend more time at the development and increases property values.

Health Benefits

Landscaping also positively impacts health, both at home and work environments.

  • By filtering pollutants, landscaping helps to clean to the air.
  • In workplaces, landscaped areas help to decrease stress and increase positive mood, even if just looking out a window.
  • A well-planned property can provide privacy and a beautiful environment where you can spend time with loved ones.

With warmer weather approaching, now is the time to get started on your landscaping, so that you can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors for the next several months.

Benefits of Garbage Chutes

If you live or work in a building with multiple levels, it is neither convenient nor sanitary to go down the stairs or elevator carrying a bag of trash. Garbage chutes in these buildings go far beyond convenience – they are beneficial to all involved.

With garbage chutes, residents only need to walk a few steps to their floor’s chute drop off. Garbage goes down the chute, or large tube, to a central location in a building. Typically, the garbage chute has an entrance and is covered with a door for safety.  Residents do not need to worry about taking out the garbage for a certain day or time, and do not need to lug garbage bags to a dumpster.

Building management also benefits from garbage chutes. The Residences at 66 High Street have garbage chutes in the multi-level buildings The Whitfield, The Leete, and The Chittenden. This means management does not need to go around the entire building collecting garbage – it is all in one centralized location. In addition, the garbage collector only needs to go to one place to collect trash each week.

Garbage chutes may seem like a small convenience that can be overlooked when designing a building, but the benefits make it a must-have in commercial and residential buildings with multiple floors.

What is a change order?

During the construction process, it is important to address sensitive subjects to avoid future conflict. Contracts solidify expectations and help to ensure that contractors and customers understand expectations.

Once a contract is in place to specify a scope of work and the budget, change orders are essential for moving forward. A change order is a written document that records alterations made during construction and acknowledges any increase or decrease in the cost and timing of the project.

In short, change orders consist of:

  • Revisions made to the scope of work
  • Updated pricing for revisions made
  • Alterations to the existing contract to accommodate the new scope of work
  • The signatures of the contractor and the customer

For a more in-depth understanding of the subject, check out eSUB’s explanation.

The key to a successful change order is a clear, two-sided understanding of expectations between customer and contractor.

At The Residences at 66 High Street, building allowances provide a clear set of guidelines for both contractors and customers. In the event that a client goes under or over the total budget for the allowance, a change order would be necessary.

General Contractors, Subcontractors, Builders: Who should I hire?

When constructing a new home, deciding who to hire can be a time-consuming process. You want to be sure you hire someone who is trustworthy, does quality work, and sticks to budgets and timelines. But who exactly do you need?

General Contractors

General contractors (GC) can be an individual or an entire company, and oversee the entire construction site. They are hired for both residential and commercial projects. The first responsibility of a GC is to make an estimate of the entire project including the cost of materials, labor, and any subcontractors that will be needed. From there, a project manager will oversee the project, communicate with the homeowner, ensure materials are ordered and delivered on time, and oversee subcontractors. A big benefit to hiring a general contractor is they already have built a pool of subcontractors they trust. In addition, subcontractors will often consider projects for a contractor as a priority over a job for a homeowner. To learn about Horton Group as a general contractor, click here.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are typically skilled in one specific trade, such as tile, drywall, insulation, or roofing. Subcontractors fill their contract directly with the contractor, so you do not need to worry about hiring each different subcontractor if you have a general contractor. If you are only updating one part of a room, such as installing new tile flooring, you may want to hire a subcontractor to complete the job.

Builders

A builder, like a general contractor, will see the project through from start to finish. The difference is that a builder often has a crew to complete the construction work, from foundation to roof, subcontracting only for specialists like electricians and plumbers. They also manage the project and communicate with the homeowner throughout the process.

No matter who you hire, you are entrusting another person or company to carry out your vision. Be sure to communicate your vision, budget, and timeline clearly so the outcome is what you want.

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