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Many studies over the last several decades have shown that most seniors (ages 65+) prefer the idea of aging in their own home – or aging in place – rather than moving into a nursing home. Research indicates that the majority of seniors (about 94%) still wish to stay in their home as long as they are able. It’s no secret that Covid-19 has likely strengthened the desire seniors have to age in place. With the change in “life as we knew it” since March of 2020, we couldn’t help but wonder how Covid-19 may have affected the elderly’s living landscape now and into the future.

This was the case for D&B Elite Custom clients, Janet and John, whose parents/in-laws decided to age in place by adding an addition to the couple’s home. “We sat down with my father David to talk about options since the current plan of just taking care of Mom himself at their own home was no longer adequate,” reflects Janet. Although Janet’s father had been leaning towards moving into a senior living facility, his mind was swayed after the pandemic hit.

Janet reflected on the positive impact that aging in place had on her father: “It gave him a sense of ownership and privacy. He knows his money paid for the addition. For him that was a plus. My Dad made a business decision to sell his home and build something smaller onto our house. He knew he came out ahead financially, which gave him a sense of ownership and a boost.” Hear more from the family about their experience adding an addition here!

 

 

In a senior living facility, you’re not gaining a sense of ownership. Meanwhile, the way the addition was constructed allows Janet’s father to feel that he still has his own home. He can come and go using his own walkway, and he can sit outside on his own porch with his wife. All of these actions give him a sense of privacy and strong sense of identity, allowing the couple to be who they are while still having the overall safety needed.

According to a Pew Research study, “living with an extended circle of relatives is the most common type of household arrangement for older people around the world. But in the United States, older people are far less likely to live this way – and far more likely to live alone or with only a spouse or partner.” However, the pandemic may be changing these views in the United States. More families may be inclined to take in their seniors rather than putting them in senior facility homes. According to a Forbes article, students in a School of Aging Studies class at the University of Maryland Baltimore County gave their opinions on what they would do with their families’ living situation in the future based on Covid-19: “More families will think about adapting their houses and lifestyle to accommodate older people living with them because living in those nursing facilities is risky.” There are a scattering amount of home improvements that prove to be worth adding to your home to accommodate seniors. Improvements are not only for your parents, but are for yourself as you continue to age. Instead of looking into a retirement community or nursing home, consider making your home suitable for the needs that one develops as they age.

 

Ways to Accommodate Your Home to be Forever not Just Temporary:

– Install electronic stair lifts if you have more than one floor or a basement

 

– Improve sidewalks and pathways to ensure they are flat and have a ramp if needed for wheelchair accessibility

 

– Update your floor

  1. Replace carpet with hardwood floor to make it easier to move around with a wheelchair
  2. Widening your doorways for wheelchair and walker access
  3. Putting all essential rooms on the first floor

 

– Replace toilet

  1. A raised toilet seat alleviates pain and makes it easier for aging adults

 

– Replace bathtub with walk-in shower to provide an easier and safer entry and exit

  1. Add grab bars (horizontal and even small vertical ones)
  2. Add shower chairs
  3. Extendable shower head

 

– Remote control lighting

  1. This keeps areas accessible with easy access

 

– Easy thresholds and transitions

  1. Increases safety for those with difficulty walking, walkers or wheelchairs

 

– Open floorplan

  1. Easy to get around, especially if wheelchairs are needed

 

– Install a main floor drain and no-slip materials on floor

 

– Make simple purchases to enhance safety around your home

 

 

As a result of the pandemic, many families are more cautious when it comes to housing their elderly loved ones in a nursing home. The fear of them becoming ill couples with the fear of possibly not being able to see their loved ones if quarantining is needed. According to Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide, “it is typically cheaper to build an addition than to buy or build a new home.” John explained that for his family it was cheaper to add an addition instead of building another home close to them. Hear from John and Janet on what their experience was like working with the Elite team here!

Learn more about additions here on our website. With five currently in the works for this year, we have a handful of tips to offer, so reach out today for your free consultation!

Construction on your home is an inconvenience – we get that. Unforeseen issues will inevitably arise. As our Vice President of Residential Construction, Larry Adam, says, “A project well planned is a project half complete.” Here’s five tips on how to streamline your home remodel project:

 

Timing is everything!

Plan ahead (especially with current extended lead times, supply chain difficulties, and wait on inventory). If you want to enjoy a new outdoor living space by next Summer, you should really be starting today.

 

Be prepared with an idea board.

Houzz and Pinterest are great places to gather inspiration of the style, look, and feel you are going for.

 

Look for a general contractor that follows a pre-construction process focused on value engineering.

This will get you quality work on time and within budget. A builder that is willing to start active construction right away without ensuring every little detail of your project is thought of may be a red flag. They should be completing a pre-construction walk through to review points of access, location of dust protection and more to ease the process.

 

Be realistic when it comes to financials (unlike the budgets you see on HGTV!)

A good construction partner will advise you on where you can adjust specifications to save money. They will help you come up with a plan that gets the look you desire to fit within a reasonable budget.

 

Ask how involved all vendors and trades will be in your project.

Your general contractor should be making them a key part of the process. They should have an intimate knowledge of your project before they meet you. This makes all the difference.

 

Meeting selection deadlines will make a project run smoothly without delays.

Look for a construction partner that makes a point to clearly communicate and invests in construction management software to help manage project selections and deadlines.

 

Learn more about floor plan remodels here!

 

Learn more about Basement renovations here!

 

Learn more about Bathroom renovations here!

 

 

Learn more about Kitchen renovations here!

 

Learn about other specialty areas of the home here!

 

 

Contact D&B Elite Custom for your free consultation today! See why we were named 2022 People’s Choice in Home Contractor and New Home Builder.

Color, pattern and texture – oh my! The versatility of wallpaper makes it easy to find a design that complements the room in your house, no matter what style you are looking for.

 

Did you know wallpaper is a key trend this year? Hand-painted wallpapers are very much “on trend” and growing in popularity. Wallpaper helps us to individualize our rooms and make them cozier, which makes sense after staring at the same four walls for quite some time throughout the pandemic.

 

Although wallpaper has tended to be more common in living spaces and bedrooms in the past, today’s technological advances have allowed for the creation of many designs able to tolerate humid conditions. As a result, there are many suitable options for kitchens and bathrooms.

 

Ten Creative Wallpaper Ideas:

  1. Double Trouble: Who said you can’t use the same design in two different colors? Not us! In fact, we encourage you to give it a go. When you use the same print in two contrasting colors, it really adds design detail and maximizes the magic of one’s wallpaper. Try this for the perfect way to give some edge to your space in need of a renovation.

 

  1. Spruce Up Your Entryway: The entryway of your home is your first opportunity to set the tone and style of your home, so be sure to not overlook this space and give it the personality it deserves. Wallpaper is a fun, easy, and relatively inexpensive way to brighten things up when you first step into your home! Entryways are often a narrower space that sometimes get overlooked, so it may be worth considering embracing the fun patterns and color that wallpaper has to offer in this space. A repetitive pattern will create a rhythmic motif that helps to widen and elongate the smaller space typically found in an entryway. Consider wallpaper that features a good stripe; the linear quality will help add character to your entryway. This design also helps to add height if the lines are vertical or space if the lines are horizontally placed.

 

 

  1. How to Soften Busy Wallpaper: There’s nothing wrong with being bold and featuring “busy” wallpaper, however many get nervous at the thought. A simple way to break it up? Consider painting the woodwork surrounding the “busy” wallpaper in a color that matches the wallpaper design. Don’t forget: It is best to stay away from oversized prints in rooms where windows, mirrors and pictures are frequent. Choosing smaller repeat pattern in an area where such items are breaking up the design is best.

 

  1. The Perfect Way to Add Personality to Your Home Office: Re-imaging the walls of the office at your 9 to 5 job may not be on the table, but the possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to your own home office! Busy, patterned wallpaper may be too distracting in a home office where you are likely wanting to concentrate. Opt for gentle, impressionist-style wallpaper to add interest to your space while creating a feeling of Zen.

 

  1. Use the Same Print on An Accent Wall and Piece of Furniture: A simple concept that can leave a big impact! It’s as easy as getting an armchair upholstered in the same print as the wallpaper you are using on an accent wall near the furniture piece. Using only an accent wall instead of every wall in the room will keep you from overdoing it with the same design and really leaves a WOW factor.

 

  1. Make Various Shades Your Friend: Consider using one color across three individual pieces through different shades. Doing this adds depth while also creating harmony and cohesion through all individual elements.

 

  1. Don’t Forget the Ceiling: Sometimes it’s as simple as looking up! There’s no rules when it comes to wallpaper. Who says you can’t wallpaper the ceiling?! Whether this means including the ceiling as you wallpaper the four surrounding walls or only wallpapering the ceiling to really make a dramatic pop, you’ve done it right.

 

  1. Wallpaper Things You Normally Wouldn’t: No rules apply here; think outside the box! From wallpapering your staircases to your headboard, the possibilities are endless. Such spaces are great opportunities to finally put wallpaper scraps that may be laying around to good use. Interior doors and closets are another great place to try. Coating your closet doors with the same wallpaper as the walls of the room can trick your eye into making the closet disappear and essentially opening up the room.

 

  1. Experiment With Your Powder Room: Small rooms, such as your powder room, are great places to start with a bold, fun wallpaper. Why? If your taste changes down the road, it isn’t the most expensive area to redecorate given the small space of a powder room. Pro Tip: Go for bold large-scale prints in these small spaces. Don’t be afraid to choose something dramatic that you absolutely love but know you couldn’t live with forever in a well-trafficked hub like the living room.

 

 

  1. The 411 on Relaxing Wallpaper: If you are looking for the most relaxing options, try wallpaper with a fabric-look! These create a feeling of enclosed comfort. Textured wallpapers like cork, grasscloth, or paper backed silks add depth, along with a touch of luxury. You can never go wrong with pastel and neutral shades for the ultimate relaxation. Stay trendy with walls that embrace floral and foliage prints. Wallpaper with vivid colors like reds and yellows may be too stimulating to promote rest.

 

The History of Wallpaper:

Wallpaper has been elevating rooms as early as 200 B.C., where it is believed Ancient Chinese would glue rice paper onto their walls. Egyptian papyrus, the earliest known for of “paper,” was first introduced around 4000 B.C. in China.

 

By the 10th century, Arabians were creating a finer sheet of paper through higher quality materials like bamboo and wood, and during the 12th century papermaking spread throughout Europe.

 

A French engraver by the name of Jean-Michael Papillon is credited with inventing wallpaper as we know it today in 1675 when he started making block designs in a matching, continuous pattern. It wasn’t until 1739 that wallpaper made its way to America when Plunket Fleeson started printing wallpaper in Philadelphia, PA.

 

In the roaring ‘20s wallpaper took the spotlight with some 400 million rolls being sold during this period, which became known as “the Golden Age of Wallpaper.” After World War II, plastic resins revolutionized the industry, offering stain resistance, washability, durability, and strength.

 

Today, advances in digital, photo and printing technologies make wallcoverings much more affordable, and it is easier for companies to replicate wallpaper styles from any period of history.

The start of the new year often inspires people to renovate and make some changes, whether in their routine and habits or their living spaces. A home renovation is a big undertaking, so it is best to not rush into. That’s where the color of the year can come into play. Paint is an easier, cheaper way to spice things up in your home. A little bit of paint can go a long way in transforming a space without having to worry about the hassle of completely remodeling your space. Since it requires less commitment – both in time and money – this is a great alternative if you are not yet ready to tear down your walls or have your home fully under construction. Here are some creative DIY ways to animate your walls:

 

Color of the Year:

Pantone’s color of the year was announced on December 9 as Pantone 17-3938 Very Peri. Described as a “symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through,” the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, explains how the color “brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family” while also displaying a “spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions.” Be sure to check out the four color palettes Pantone has created to help bring the color of the year into your designs here.

 

 

October Mist was reported as the 2022 color of the year by Benjamin Moore and Breezeway was announced as the color of the year by Behr. Both colors having tones of green are perfect for the new year since green represents new beginnings. October Mist brings life to a room through being an earth shade of green. Green is meant to represent health, prosperity, and wealth. This color is said to make you feel optimistic and refreshed. Breezeway induces feelings of coolness and peace and is very similar to October Mist, as it is also a silvery green shade with cool undertones.

 

October Mist

 

Breezeway

 

More color trends of the new year from Benjamin Moore include:

 

Paint Stencil Rollers:

One way to draw attention to your walls is to take a stencil roller to them with the color of your choice. These rolls come in all different designs and patterns, and you can find them on cheap sites like Etsy, Amazon, or Wish. This is great way to add a custom pattern that stands out without having to invest in wallpaper. Typically, standard wallpaper runs between $25 to $50 per roll, which covers about 30 square feet. Given this, you can expect to pay between $1 to $2.50 per square foot. If you are in the market to buy designer or custom wallpaper, these options can run as high as $5,000 per roll. In comparison, stencil rollers can cost anywhere from $5 to $30. Best of all they are reusable, making them very cost-effective.

 

Accent Walls:

If you are in love with a certain wallpaper or paint color but don’t want to commit to the cost of decorating the entire room with it, you can always opt for creating an accent wall. Accent walls have made a comeback once more. They not only give you the chance to show off the wallpaper or paint color you love, but they also function as a way to help define your living space.

 

For example, you can use an accent wall to indicate different zones. Designer Emily Henderson recommends making sure your “accent walls are done with a purpose.” Check out her ideas for making this happen here, where she shares great tips such as recommended sticking to a light color accent wall to keep your space from feeling smaller. “Accent walls painted or wallpapered in dark colors can make walls visually advance, which can make them feel smaller,” she explains.

 

DIY Painters Tape Designs:

Using painter’s tape to create designs and bring your wall to life has become a huge trend in the past couple years. It is a low-cost, good looking, and fun way to give a room an instant lift. According to Bob Vila the best overall painter’s tape to use is Scotch Blue Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape. This also would be a fun project for the whole family to get involved in. For example, you can have the kids help choose where to put the painter’s tape or paint within the lines.

 

 

 

Interior Wall Paneling

Wall paneling is used to decorate walls and give the wall a bit of texture. Who knows… This could be what is missing from perfecting your wall. Finding wall paneling is easy as well. It’s at almost any home improvement type store including Home Depot and Lowes. Paneling has been around since the 1950s and still popular and used today. Some trending wall paneling today includes shiplap, board and batten, bead board, raised panels, and many more.

 

We hope these tips provided you with some ideas for your own home as we enter the new year. One of the most difficult steps to creating your dream wall is narrowing down your color options. It is important to consider what the right color can do to a room. Color Psychology, or “the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior,” can play a huge roll in this. Learn more about what mood and feelings each color can invoke here. For example, if you are looking to make your at home office more relaxing to counteract those stressful Zoom calls, consider painting your office a shade of green since it is “regarded as the most restful and relaxing color for the human eye.” Symbolizing harmony, tranquility, and peace, this color helps to enhance stability and endurance – great options for those looking to stay motivated during long WFH hours.

 

What’s your DIY goal for the New Year? Do any of these trends to boost the look of your walls catch your eye? We’d love to see the visions you bring to life in your living space.

For a fleeting few seconds in mid-October, it sounded like the Fourth of July in Sinking Spring, PA. Why? Blasting had to take place in order to break up the rock and move forward with excavation at the site of this new build. Click here to watch the blasting on site.

 

John Werner, Site Superintendent for D&B Elite Custom who is managing this 7,000 SF custom home build, explained that two days’ worth of drilling had to take place before the blasting could occur. “This was the first step in getting the foundation in,” he explains.

 

 

Grant Wise was the man on the scene monitoring the seismograph and making sure everyone was safe. His dad started J. Roy’s Inc., which he now operates out of Lancaster County, back in the 1970’s. He has completed many interesting projects over the years, including recently dropping an entire metal bridge with stone piers into the river off Route 23 just outside of King of Prussia.

 

 

“We got here at about 8 AM on the day of the blasting. There was approximately 3.5 hours of prep work that needed to be done before we could blast everything. This included laying 120 blasting caps out, laying out the boosters, and filling them with ammonium nitrate, a common chemical used as explosives in the construction and mining industries,” Wise explains.

 

 

The ammonium nitrate solution creates an emulsion explosive commonly referred to as “toothpaste,” which it looks exactly like. Wise explains that J. Roy’s Inc. has approximately 50,000 pounds of this on hand. “For this project in particular we injected 2,000 pounds into the hole on top of the green booster box,” he explains.

 

 

After the blasting took place, our Trade Partner Gruber Excavation removed all of the 73 cubic yards limestone rock and lay the foundation of the house. “Because of blasting, we could dig this large foundation in just two days,” explains John. “About two weeks prior to blasting we drilled a series of probes and used the intel gathered from that to determine where exactly we needed to blast.”

 

 

“In areas where blasting couldn’t be done due to it already being excavated, we completed something known as ‘Swiss Cheese.’ Essentially, this involves digging five-foot-deep holes, which allow us to break the rock with a hydraulic breaker. There were also some instances where the cost of blasting would have exceeded that of conventional rock breaking.”

 

 

Once blasting and digging occurred, approximately 200 yards of concrete were poured shortly after by our Trade Partner, Zimmerman Masonry. Below are some recent progress shots of what this $1.5 million-dollar custom home, which should be completed around April 2022, currently looks like. “At the turn of the month we began framing,” concludes John. Stay tuned for more updates on this custom home!

 

Outdoor living spaces are a great addition to your family’s home for more reasons than just aesthetics. It should come as no surprise that your mental and physical health can also benefit from spending more time outside. Sometimes what the doctor orders is a simple prescription to nature.

As Jamie Ducharme explains in an article, “Spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces, is one of the fastest ways to improve your health and happiness. It’s been shown to lower stress, blood pressure and heart rate, while encouraging physical activity and buoying mood and mental health.”

Speaker and Forbes contributor, Luke Fitzpatrick, explains that “Outdoor spaces are therapeutic simply because being outdoors in nature reduces stress levels, making us feel more relaxed. The time spent outside contributes to reducing depression & anxiety, improving your immune system, promoting good vision, and acts as a sanctuary to get away from everyday life and work stressors.” Spending time outside can even prevent nearsightedness, improve your memory, and reduce inflammation.

Despite these many known ways that nature boosts your health, it is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency that Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. As Winter nears and the number of hours of daylight shortens but our number of hours in the office stays the same, there is only a small amount of time left to enjoy the benefits of sunshine. The cure? An outdoor living space.

An outdoor oasis creates the ultimate addition for your home. Design a retreat in your very own home to look out for your overall wellbeing. Outdoor living spaces also supply a location to entertain guests and give your family a spot to relax outside in the comfort of their own space.

Aside from these health benefits, did you know that outdoor living also benefits your home’s bottom line? Our Director of Residential Construction, Larry, explains that outdoor living is one of the biggest returns for your dollar, with about 70 to 80% return.

Penn Stone is a Trade Partner of D&B Elite Custom who has been in business since 1914 and provides our stone and flagstone. John McGrann, Owner/President of this family-owned company located in Lancaster, agrees with Larry about how much outdoor living spaces increase a home’s value. He explains that “a survey of industry professionals, including realtors, interior designers, landscape architects and garden designers found the following: 90% of industry professionals agree that having a well-designed outdoor living space differentiates one home from another for resale, 60% say an outdoor living space adds a great deal/considerable value to a home, and 60% say an outdoor living space should represent approximately 10% to 30% of the value of a home.”

There are many features of outdoor living that can increase a home’s value. Outdoor renovations include everything from patios, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, swimming pools, outdoor sound systems and WIFI, to name a few. All of these features help magnify the up sale of your home. Here’s how:

 

Patios and Decks

Patios are a desired amenity for most homes. John at Penn Stone explains that even a modest patio can expand the living area of your home without incurring the expense of an addition.

“If the project looks like you skimped on quality to get it done, you’ll lose big time. But if you spend the time and money to make it a feature of the home, you could potentially add 8% to 12% of value to the home and an ROI of over 80% or more for you,” explains Heather Skyler, a writer for supermoney. One way in particular to increase your ROI is by looking into outdoor A/V systems, WIFI, surveillance, and lighting control.

Kyle Angstadt, owner of Elements Integration System out of Leesport, PA, has worked in the industry for 21 years and is a trusted Trade Partner of D&B Elite Custom. His company offers installation of many types of home systems for both indoor and outdoor use, ranging from simple TV installs to entire home theaters and audio systems. Kyle installs “approximately four large projects per year that involve outdoor A/V and usually around 12 other installs that involve adding a TV to the porch or some speakers to a deck.” Although installing outdoor speakers is a more common project for him, he notes that outdoor TVs are slowly becoming more common. “With the price of outdoor TVs dropping and the ‘wow’ factor of having a TV that can be next to your pool patio with no roof, it is greatly appealing to more clients,” he explains. Another common project that Kyle completes is adding WIFI access points to expand WIFI to the outdoors. He most enjoys installing systems that make it easy to entertain outdoors.

“I can say from experience even with my own home that by having quality outdoor A/V you can increase the use of your deck or patio,” Kyle explains. “My outdoor speakers are some of the most used speakers at my home from May to September. For many jobs I complete, having speakers outside is not just for parties, but it provides the ability to block out background noise from things like a nearby highway or city noise.  Having music playing softly can also set the mood for you to relax and enjoy your backyard.”

Kyle’s tips for someone thinking about getting outdoor A/V added to their outdoor living space? “The tip that is most important is to plan for wiring.  So many clients think that it can all be done with wireless equipment. Which in some cases is possible, but wired equipment can cost less and will provide for better quality of sound and picture.”

 

Outdoor Kitchens

President of Penn Stone, John, explains that “an expansive outdoor kitchen project can feel like an entire new wing, with designated areas for cooking, dining, and entertaining.” Best of all, it is estimated that homeowners who invest in kitchens throughout their outdoor living spaces will break even on the investment when they sell their home. It is even possible to see an ROI between as much as 100% to even 200%, although keep in mind that higher return is likely to be found in homes in warmer climates where outdoor kitchens can be used more often.

Mike Burkholder, the Sales Manager for Martin Appliance’s Reading location (another one of Elite’s trusted Trade Partners), agrees with the above statement. “We are in a unique area of the country only because of our weather,” he says. “The southern climates often get a little more return/usage from their outdoor living spaces.”

Mike, who has been in the business for 18 years, explains that outdoor living spaces have become much more popular in our area over the last two seasons “due to people spending more time at home and enjoying the extended living space.” He explains that having an outdoor space, such as with a kitchen, can make it possible to host a party that may be impossible otherwise. “It is a great way to gain that space without a much greater investment of actually adding to the house,” Mike says.

For those thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen space, Mike offers the following advice: “I would recommend a partially covered space, first of all. I also always ask how close the space is to an interior storage area. Outdoor dry storage cabinets are an option and a great plan for paperware, utensils and spices if you are not located right off your kitchen. The other item that tends to be overlooked is an enclosed trash bin.”

 

Our trusted crew at Penn Stone also recommends planning for sufficient storage and countertop space. “The more storage you can accommodate in your outdoor kitchen, the fewer trips you’ll have to make indoors. And, when you’re transporting food, drinks, dinnerware and other items outdoors, having ample counter space will allow you to relax while you cook and entertain without having to frequently shuffle items around.” When considering what appliances to get, John recommends thinking carefully about what items you’ll really use. “A grill is essential of course. Other outdoor appliances such as refrigerators, side burners, and sinks might sound enticing, but sometimes go unused. But do add a pull-out trash drawer – this is an easily overlooked amenity that you’ll be glad you included in your outdoor space.”

Of course, one of the big decisions when completing an outdoor kitchen is selecting what appliances to use. So are there any specific brands that are recommended more than others for outdoor kitchen projects? Mike says that Martin Appliance works a lot with Wolf and Lynx. “I also will always recommend a USA built product since many of the drills on the market use inferior stainless steel that will eventually lead to rusting. Another concern is having an item that will be able to be serviced in the future,” he explains.

Penn Stone has explored many options for outdoor kitchen cabinetry, and they recommend using cabinets from Challenger Designs. “In our opinion, they offer the best combination of quality, design flexibility, functionality and price. Some other brands may offer fancier door styles, or a wider range of finish colors, or a vast library of down-to-the-inch cabinet sizes, but Challenger’s product line is simple, durable, and provides enough flexibility for any project. Plus, Challenger has an excellent support team and their layouts and renderings make it very straightforward for our customers to clearly see and approve their cabinetry design.”

 

Fire Pits and Other Stone Work 

One of the easiest ways to increase your home’s resale value outdoors is by adding a fire pit. The National Association of Realtors estimates that homeowners recoup about 78% of the costs associated with building a fire pit, especially one that has natural gas running to it.

Sounds easy right? Until you get to choosing what stone to use. Penn Stone gives the following advice: “Use the best natural stone veneer that fits the budget. When selecting stone for an outdoor living project, it’s important to recognize how this is different from selecting stone for a new home project. When you’re selecting stone for a new home, it’s important for the stone to be beautiful, distinctive, and something you’re proud of, but mostly, you’re viewing that stone from a distance, and often only briefly as you enter and leave your home. With outdoor living projects, there are two important differences: you will spend time in much closer proximity to the stone, and you’ll spend a lot more time in the outdoor living environment. Because of this, you want to choose a stone that you really love. Furthermore, the square footage of stone required for outdoor projects is usually not significant, so upgrading to a more expensive stone may only add hundreds of dollars to the total cost of the project.”

 

Remember: Other Factors Affect Your Project

Before you start excavating your backyard, be sure to do your research! City ordinances are a big factor that can get in the way. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to build certain structures or add specific features you want without permits and permissions. For example, a pavilion will have a different number of setbacks when connected to the house as an addition than when it is separate from the house. Our Director of Residential Construction, Larry, explains more about this here on our first blog in the series.

Amy Bitar, Penn Stone’s Design Advisor, works closely with our clients in Penn Stone’s outdoor and indoor showrooms. She is currently working on two outdoor kitchen projects with D&B Elite Custom’s team, and she emphasizes the importance of thoroughly planning your outdoor living space at the inception of the project. “Surprisingly, this doesn’t happen enough! However, D&B clients come into the selection process having already been well-informed by the team at D&B. This is evidenced by their knowledge of what materials are going to ‘fit’ their project in terms of budget and feasibility. It makes my job of assisting with aesthetic decisions all the more fluid and effective. Everyone at D&B is communicative and thorough, and we operate as a team to come up with the best selections and solutions.”