Refrigerators Trends for Function and Style

When we work on residential units, we pay attention to every detail of the build, from the blueprints to the appliances. Advances in technology and new styles are making kitchen appliances more efficient and easier to use. 

The refrigerator is one point of the kitchen work triangle – a design principle stating that the fridge, sink, and stove should all be in close proximity for a streamlined workflow. 

As one of the most prominent items in the kitchen, it’s essential that the refrigerator doesn’t just keep food items fresh, but that it blends with the style of the kitchen. 

In recent years, refrigerators have upgraded in both style and functionality. Take a look at some of the options for your next kitchen renovation. 

Finishes

Stainless steel appliances have been at the forefront for years, due to the sleek look, easy maintenance, and ability to match any style. Stainless steel remains a popular choice, even while other finishes are beginning to appear in the kitchen. 

As one of the larger appliances in the kitchen, different refrigerator finishes can change the look of the room. 

Some popular options for refrigerators include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Black matte
  • Custom panels to match cabinets
  • Front window

Refrigerator Configurations

We’ve all had to reorganize the refrigerator after a grocery haul. Different food compartments, shelving, and drink storage make organization much easier. Full-size refrigerator units now include many different configurations. These include:

  • Side-by-side
  • Freezer on the top
  • Freezer on the bottom
  • French door refrigerators

Additional, smaller refrigerators can also be installed to make either the kitchen or adjoining rooms more functional. Wine fridges are popular in dining rooms or as part of a wet bar, while refrigerator drawers can provide extra storage in the kitchen. 

Food Preservation

Without functionality, style won’t matter. Upgraded technology ensures that proper humidity, temperature control, and air quality preserve foods. Airtight crispers, along with endless shelf and storage options, means you can get a refrigerator that best suits the needs of your family. 

 

4 Types of Construction Contracts 

A construction contract is a legal agreement between all parties involved. Construction projects have numerous people involved both on and off-site: the project manager, owner, designer, contractors, subcontractors, and more. To ensure all parties involved are protected, the contract must be clear and agreed upon by all. 

Construction contracts clearly state project compensation, responsibilities of all involved, and risks assumed by all parties. 

The following contract types are used in construction projects and are customized to meet the needs of each new build. 

Lump Sum or Fixed Price Contract

A lump sum, or fixed price, contract includes a total fixed price for the entire project. The contractor estimates the total cost of the project, including costs associated with overhead and risk. With a lump sum contract, the contractor assumes all risk. Incentives or penalties can be included in the contract for timeline adjustments.

Cost Plus Contract

With a cost plus contract, the contractor is paid for actual purchases and labor costs. A pre-negotiated amount to cover the contractor’s overhead is also included. All expenses are classified as either direct or indirect. 

In this type of contract, the owner assumes all risk and is involved in construction administration. In addition, there is no incentive to reduce labor costs by finishing ahead of schedule. 

The most common variations for a cost plus contract are:

  • Cost Plus Fixed Fee
  • Cost Plus Fixed Percentage
  • Cost Plus with Guaranteed Maximum Price Contract
  • Cost Plus with Guaranteed Maximum Price and Bonus Contract

Time and Materials Contracts

With a time and materials contract, the owner and contractor agree on an hourly or daily rate. Similar to a cost plus contract, all fees must be included and classified as direct or indirect. Overhead and markup costs also need to be added, and owners can put a cap in place. Time and materials contracts are most often used for a small scope of work. 

Unit Pricing Contracts

For larger scopes of work, builders and federal agencies will often use a unit pricing contract. This contract determines the payment for a specific task (i.e., the number of residential units), which is multiplied by the quantity of that task. With unit pricing, the exact price will not be known until the project is completed. 

The type of project you are working on will determine what contract you will need. Always review your contract in full and discuss any questions with your builder or project manager. 

 

2019 HOBI Awards

Last week, we attended the 2019 HOBI Awards. We are proud to announce we left with two new awards for the Residences at 66 High Street

Best Luxury Condominium Community

and

Best Luxury Condominium 

The HOBI’s, or Home Building Industry Awards, are prestigious awards given by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut. For 25 years, awards have been given to builders, developers, architects, and construction companies for outstanding work.

This is our fourth consecutive year taking part in the HOBI awards. Each year, we look forward to the awards ceremony, where we connect with other industry members, learn about projects in the state, and celebrate the hard work of everyone on our team. 

Additional HOBI Awards given to The Horton Group include:

2018 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Condominium Community 
  • Best Condominium Unit
  • Outstanding New Haven County New Commerical for 350 Goose Lane
  • Outstanding Vacation Remodel for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

2017 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Outstanding Luxury Condominium
  • Best Luxury Townhouse

2016 HOBI Awards:

  • 2016 Project of the Year
  • Best Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium Unit
  • Best Historic Rehab Overall

As we reflect on 2019, we want to say thank you to all who support our work. Keep following along, because exciting things are coming in 2020!

Benefits of a Hot Water Recirculating Pump

Most of us like to step into a hot shower to begin or end the day. How many times have you turned on the water, and then proceeded to brush your teeth or lay out your clothes as you wait for the water to get warm? 

In the average household, the shower uses two gallons of water per minute. If you and the other members of your home wait just two minutes for the water to heat up before every shower, it adds up to a significant waste of water. Hot water recirculation systems instantly provide water at a comfortable temperature, increasing comfort and optimizing energy consumption.

What is a Hot Water Recirculation System?

In systems without a recirculation pump, water sits in the pipes and must be pumped out of the faucet or showerhead. If the faucet has been off, this water will come out cold.

With a recirculation pump, cooled water is pumped through pipes back to the water heater to get heated, and a dedicated hot water line pumps water to faucets. The water is continuously recirculated, which means you don’t have to wait for hot water; it comes out instantaneously. 

A recirculation pump can be easily installed to the point of water distribution, without the need for additional piping. Of course, hot water doesn’t need to be recirculated all day long. To improve the efficiency of your recirculation pump, you can put the pump on a timer or use a hot water demand pump. 

Benefits of Hot Water Recirculation

The most apparent benefit of hot water recirculation is comfort. Recirculation pumps allow for more precise control over water temperature. Water instantly comes out to your preferred temperature, and remains steady throughout the shower, so you don’t finish rinsing off in lukewarm water. In addition, you don’t waste time checking to see if the water is warm enough.

Recirculation pumps also save water from being wasted. Each time you wait two minutes before stepping into the shower, you waste four gallons of water. A hot water recirculation pump eliminates the need to wait for the water to become warm, saving time, water, and energy. 

 

Recycling Construction Materials

Sustainability and green living is becoming more evident in homes and workplaces. It’s one thing to create a green finished product; it’s just as important to make the construction process environmentally friendly. 

Construction & Demolition Materials

Many of the materials used in construction can be recycled. Construction & demolition (C&D) waste comes from building and tearing down houses, buildings, roads, and bridges. C&D materials can be recycled in the following ways:

  • Concrete rubble can be reused in new projects. 
  • Wood can be recycled into mulch, compost, animal bedding, wood pellets, and more.
  • Gypsum drywall can be recycled into new drywall, in the production of cement, and as an additive to composting operations.
  • Asphalt can be recycled an endless number of times, as it never loses quality.
  • Metals can be sent to metal scrap yards and reused.

Additional materials that can be recycled include glass, cardboard, and paper.

Many C&D materials can be reused. During a demolition or remodel, items that can be reused in new projects should be removed carefully before tearing anything down. Items that can be reused include:

  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Appliances
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Windows
  • Brick and masonry
  • Excess insulation
  • Paint
  • Packaging materials 

Benefits of Recycling C&D Materials

In 2015 alone, 548 million tons of C&D debris was created, with 90% coming from demolition, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling construction materials has both environmental and economic benefits. 

When recycled materials are used, the consumption of natural resources is decreased, saving energy. By reusing materials, less waste goes to landfills. Since landfills are filling quickly, it often costs more money to dispose of materials than it does to recycle them. This can help to reduce the building project expenses. 

Whether recycling of reusing materials, planning is essential to fulfill rules and regulations. Local recycling centers, landfills, and waste departments all work with construction companies to reduce waste and achieve green building practices. 

 

What is daylighting?

“Look at those windows!”

It’s a line people often say when in front of wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling windows. When paired with a spectacular view, like at the Residences at 66 High Street, it’s no surprise that people love grand windows. Large windows have more benefits than highlighting beautiful views, however. Continue reading to learn what daylighting can do for your home or office.

When builders use windows and skylights to light up a home or building, it is called daylighting. This process requires careful planning, but when done correctly, it has benefits for both residential and commercial properties. 

How does daylighting work?

For daylighting to work to its full potential, window placement is critical. The correct placement allows the right amount of natural light to enter each room, without excess heat or glare. 

In the United States, windows facing South and North are best. Windows facing South let in ample light during the winter months, and little direct sun in summer, when too much direct sunlight creates too much heat. North facing windows let in an even amount of natural light with little glare. 

East and West facing windows are not ideal for daylighting. East and West facing windows let in plenty of light in the morning and afternoon, but along with that comes glare and excess heat, which is especially cumbersome in summer months. 

Enlarged windows, glass doors, and strategically placed skylights optimize natural lighting from the sun.

Window Technology

With the advancement of window technology, daylighting is becoming more common. 

In the past, a wall of windows meant drafty winters and stuffy summers indoors. Now, windows are insulated, which helps to keep interiors cool in summer and warm in winter while providing loads of natural light. 

Tinted windows can be used to help reduce the glare from the sun. Electrochromic windows, or smart windows, go one step further, changing the darkness of the tint with the brightness of sunlight. Electrochromic windows have a variety of control options, which include an automated system or user control. 

Benefits of Daylighting

In buildings and homes with daylighting, windows and skylights provide most of the light you need, so overhead lights are not often necessary during the day. A light-colored ceiling enhances daylighting even more. 

When electricity is not being used for lighting, utility costs go down. In commercial buildings, where lighting accounts for a significant portion of electrical energy consumption, daylighting saves both energy and money. 

In addition, daylighting creates a more comfortable atmosphere both at home and at work. Sunlight boosts positive moods and increases productivity. This is particularly helpful throughout the winter, when shorter days means people have fewer chances to be outside during daylight hours. 

Daylighting fulfills the needs of some of the top needs in residential and commercial buildings: sustainability and employee health. Where would daylighting benefit you most?

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. 

What is an HVAC Zoning System ?

Have you ever been so cold in one room of your house that you jack the heat up, only to realize the rest of the rooms are now too hot? Or is one person in your family continually turning the AC on high and freezing out everyone else?

HVAC systems heat and cool an entire house, but a single thermostat can make it challenging to maintain a comfortable temperature for every room in the house.  HVAC systems controlled by one thermostat have just that – one thermostat. This means that it only reads the temperature in the room it is located. If the thermostat is in the main living areas, it can lead to the upstairs being too warm, or a room next to the garage too cold. 

In a home with varying degrees throughout the house, a zoning system may help to solve the heating and cooling issues. 

How an HVAC Zoning System Works

An HVAC zoning system uses multiple thermostats, a control panel, and dampers in the ductwork to regulate airflow. The thermostats read the temperature for different areas of the house, and the control panel takes those temperatures and signals the dampers. From there, the dampers either open or close, depending on if that room needs heating or cooling. 

Comfort at Home

In the heat of the summer and during winter’s freezing temperatures, it can be difficult to find a temperature where everyone in the household is comfortable from all areas of the house. Some people like it warm, while others prefer cooler temperatures. With a zoning system, each person’s preferences can be accommodated for different areas of the house. 

For houses with multiple levels, large windows, or rooms that you prefer to be cooler (like a workshop or home gym), zoning reads and maintains the appropriate temperature for each area. 

Sustainable Energy

There are usually areas in the house that are used less frequently than in other areas. With three to four different zones, you can avoid overheating or overcooling rooms that are not in use. The efficiency of zoned HVAC helps to lower your monthly bills, lengthen the life of your system, and decrease the amount of energy used in your home. 

The added comfort and energy savings you can achieve by installing a zoning system is worth considering, especially if you have already taken care of any air leaks and insulation issues. To determine if HVAC zoning is a good fit for your home, work with a certified HVAC contractor. 

 

Signs your Commercial Space is ready for a Remodel

Your office sets the tone for your business. The physical space you work in each day can either add to productivity and climate or detract from it. Just like your home, an office needs to be well-maintained and updated throughout the years. Below are five signs that it’s time to remodel your commercial space. 

Employees are Distracted

Employees spend a large portion of their day inside the office. The work environment should cater to their comfort and productivity. Elements like green space, collaborative meeting areas, and an efficient floor plan can help set the tone for a dynamic office.

If employees are dealing with issues such as poor lighting or a leaky faucet in the bathroom, they will become distracted from the tasks at hand.  In short, the office should assist, rather than get in the way of employees’ work. Even seemingly small issues are a signal to consider remodeling. 

Outdated Technology

If the technology in the office is outdated, chances are everything is obsolete. Any technology being used by employees should keep up with the demands of their work. Determine what is proficient and upgrade the rest. 

No Space

Are you squeezing in more people and furniture into the same space your business started in? Businesses grow over the years. It can get quite uncomfortable working if you feel crowded. Take a look at the current floor plan to determine if you need to rearrange the space, expand, or move into a new office. 

Deterioration of Furniture

Depending on how many people use the furniture in the office will signal how long it will last. From couches to desks to chairs, make a note of the condition of the furniture. 

Meetings take place Outside of the Office

When you schedule meetings with prospective clients or employees, do you invite them to meet you in the office or a nearby coffee shop? If you are not proud to welcome people into your office, it’s time for some upgrades. 

Once you decide it is time for a remodel, the possibilities for a modern and productive work environment are endless. 

 

Steel: A Sustainable Construction Choice

Steel is one of the greenest materials in construction. With a high recycling content and an industry committed to reducing emissions, steel surpasses other construction materials in regards to sustainability. 

Steel in Construction

Steel has always been a popular choice of material. Steel framing is used in Type II-B construction because of its strength and durability. When framing out a building, steel is lighter than a structurally sound wood frame, and because steel is pre-engineered, it cuts down on time needed to build.

In addition, steel is flexible and can be molded into almost any shape. The non-combustible material has a long lifespan, combined with the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any construction material. This gives steel the ability to withstand all types of inclement weather.

Steel Manufacturing

Steel is made of iron, one of the most abundant elements on Earth. Even though iron is plentiful, the steel industry continues to work toward sustainable practices. Manufacturing plants use steel scrap to make new steel, which helps to conserve energy and resources. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, the industry has reduced energy intensity by 31% per ton of steel shipped, and emissions by 36% per ton of steel produced since 1990. 

Recycling Steel

Steel is one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet, with 80 million tons of steel recycled in North America every year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. All steel can be recycled, and because it is magnetic, it is quickly sorted from waste at recycling plants.

Recycling steel does not affect the strength and durability that is crucial to building with the material. This allows steel to be recycled an unlimited number of times without compromising the product. 

Due to its strength and sustainability, steel is a natural choice in our building developments, where we utilize Type II-B construction. 

 

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