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2-8-15 Latest Virtual Tour Now Available!

Click HERE to wander through this Kirkland Contemporary!!

7-29-2014

 

Ideas For a Smooth Construction Experience


Set Clear Expectations With Your Builder
Contrary to the stories you might have heard, builders actually want happy excited clients who tell everyone about their wonderful home. To that end, making sure that your builder knows every detail is invaluable. Be sure that you lay out everything so that each side of the process, both you and your builder, know exactly what is expected of themselves and the other partner. This will also help you stay on budget and actually bring your dream home from paper to real life. Stanbrooke values this idea so much we provide each new client a “Homeowners Construction Manual” so they can become familiar with our internal processes and procedures.

 

Plan For The Future
When planning out your future home, it is imperative that you picture what life you want to have.  A home is a long-term commitment so you want to set yourself up for success.  Think about questions such as:

Will you be having children or grandchildren who will need bedrooms and play areas outside?
Will you want to have extra rooms for visitors/family?
Will you have pets and need a larger yard?

This kind of thinking is essential. After all, you will be living in your home for years to come. If you don’t have a clear picture of how you envision using the space, its going to be difficult for your builder to offer suggestions or meet your expectations and the groundwork for disappointment will have been laid.

 

Dimensions Always Look Grander On Paper
On paper, rooms may seem grand in size but in actuality, the dimensions might not be large enough to comfortably accommodate you and your family. Custom designing allows you to build to fit your needs but it’s key to have a real life visual of what you should expect before you start committing those ideas to paper. Find homes with similar room dimensions so you can begin to picture your new home room by room.

 

Build a list of Needs/Wants
When building a home, it is easy to get caught up in everything that you need to have. Make sure to balance your “wants” as well.  It will not be your dream home without those little extras like your dream kitchen, dream closets etc. Break down your lists by rooms to make sure your builder knows everything you want! Pictures of ideas from Pinterest or interior design catalogs are great for conveying your thoughts to your builder.

 

Take Your Time When Designing The Inside Of Your Dream Home
Designing the inside of your home is a very exciting task but you can very easily cause yourself extra work and heartache when jumping into it to soon. Many homebuilders find that they make final decisions on features such as hardwood floors, tile or carpeting, but when it comes time to place the order, that particular selection is no longer available. As hard as it may be, don’t get your heart set on any design features too early on! The key is to window shop and get your feet wet without diving in too soon.

 

Take Advantage Of The Free Tools To Help You Gather And Organize Ideas
Free Online tools such as Pinterest will help you to come up with creative ideas for your dream home. It will help you brainstorm and organize the masses of information you will gather throughout the building and designing process and the best part is that it is free.

 

Plan Ahead For Unexpected Road Blocks
Do not sink your entire budget on the initial home building costs. Be sure to set aside part of your budget for after completion costs. There will always be things you want to change or add as you move into your home. Your DREAM home will not be your dream home if you do not have budget left for extras.

 

 

 

7-29-2014 Builders, Contractors and Tradesmen are available…for now

When housing is strong (and it’s getting stronger every day) there is a waiting list for contractors.
At the height of the housing boom, one of the most discussed topics at builder meetings was the fact that fewer people were entering the trades and builders were having difficulties hiring enough experienced people to form full crews. Today, there is a ‘window of opportunity.’ When crews are available without long waits, homes are built and finished in less time, requiring less interest on construction loans. This favorable situation is temporary, rapidly changing – and cyclical.

7-28-2014 Materials costs are rising, and will continue to do so

Higher fuel costs are being applied to building materials, as they are to just about everything. However, many building materials are very energy intensive to produce, and so might be more impacted than most consumer goods. The largest cost in producing drywall, for example, is the energy to fire the kilns to dry it. Do you see energy costs going down in the near future? Neither do we!

7-12-2014 Building Over Buying

For those potential buyers who have been touring existing homes month after month and not landing on the home of their dreams, building a home is a solution that can sometimes be forgotten. If you truly want a home that is move-in ready and meets all your needs right away, building is the only all-encompassing solution. A new home allows you to choose a floor plan that works for your family, a location that’s most convenient and customizations that will ensure your home is perfect right from the start. The choices are endless and the bottom lines are manageable.

6-3-2014 Low Down Payment Construction Loans Available

We are seeing some things in the lending market that have not been available for some time. We have recently become aware of some new programs available through FHA that would require less cash in order to close a construction loan than previous requirements would allow. Conventional financing is also seeing some trends away from the rigid constraints of recent years. We should all understand by now that these things are cyclical. Take advantage now as history demonstrates time and time again that great opportunities come – and then are gone.

 

5-16-2014 Interest rates expected to go up.

As the economic recovery gains momentum, interest rates are expected to increase, making mortgages more expensive. Even a half-percent increase in mortgage interest can add a hundred dollars or more to your monthly payments, depending on the amount of your loan. That’s $100 dollars that could easily be spent elsewhere to pay off debt or stashed for a rainy day.

 

5-6-2014 Interest rates STILL at historic lows

Interest rates are at historic lows, according to housing analysts. Considering the ever shrinking inventory of existing homes, the interest rates for a construction loan and the 30-year rate make building a very attractive option. Everyone knows that the rates will go up. It’s only a matter of time – and that time is coming.

 

4-7-14 Home prices rising rapidly!

While most everyone was hesitant to say when the housing market would hit bottom, almost everyone is certain that we hit it and are swinging back up again – in some areas quite rapidly. It seems to be the case that if one waits to build until a year from now; they not only will be paying more for the land than ever before but will also see higher interest rates on the loan among other things. Taking into consideration the planning stages that go into building as well as the time frames involved in the permitting process, the wise choice is to get your project in the works now.

 

3-11-14 Lighting!!

Home values and desirability are influenced largely by location.  We all know that.  Perhaps the second biggest influencer is light.  Every buyer wants good light in their home and the best way to have it is to design it in.  Consider where the sun is at different times during the year; consider the landscaping and roof overhangs.  Skylights can be an attractive element in the right locations.  Light fixtures, while second to natural lighting, are best when provide even lighting throughout the space and are often more attractive subdued.  While you need more can lights to provide light throughout the room because of their directional nature, they can be a more attractive way of lighting the room.

 

2-3-14 LATEST VIRTUAL TOUR!

Is now available HERE! Most notable about this one is the contemporary design of the exterior and the fact that this is the second home we have built for this Seattle family.

 

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2-3-14 Less expensive part 3

Saving money in a home can be as easy as using energy efficient light bulbs (increasingly required in new homes) using water saving shower heads and faucets, unplugging appliances not currently being used, washing only full loads of laundry, using dimmer switches on key lights, or effectively programming your thermostat for the times when you need it.

 

1-15-14 Less expensive part 2

Did you know that new homes are less expensive to maintain?  A 2009 American Housing Survey reports that 26% of all homeowners spend $100 or more every month on home maintenance while only 11% of new home homeowners (homes built within the last four years)  spend that much.  73% of new home owners spend less than $25 per month on home maintenance.

 

1-5-14 Less expensive?

Did you know that new homes are less expensive to maintain?  A 2009 American Housing Survey reports that 26% of all homeowners spend $100 or more every month on home maintenance while only 11% of new home homeowners (homes built within the last four years)  spend that much.  73% of new home owners spend less than $25 per month on home maintenance.

 

12-17-13 Chemical Safety

Designate a safe place, out of the reach of small children to store household chemicals and cleaning materials.  Make sure medicines are kept up and out of reach; don’t store them on tables and countertops.  House guest may also need to be prompted to put medicines in secure places out of the reach of children even though they may be accustomed to leaving them in visible places to act as a reminder to take them.  Save the poison control number 1-800-1222 on your cell phone for easy access.

 

12-9-2013 Roof safety first!

When you are working on the roof or on a ladder around the home, make sure someone knows where you are, what you are doing, and can be easily summoned if you need help.  Make sure ladders are on secure footing and don’t stand on the top few rungs.  If at all possible, use fall protection when you are top of the roof.  Avoid work involving roof tops and ladders during wet or cold weather.

 

11-8-13 Know your extinguishers!

Have a few well-placed fire extinguishers in your home.  Make sure you know how to use them, for what kind of fires they are suited, and that they are replaced or recharged every few years.  Fire extinguishers typically work well for contained fires (think wastebasket), but not so well for open or large fires. Take a few moments every so often to go over the procedures on how to use a fire extinguisher with the whole family. Having some knowledge before hand on how to release the safeties devices etc. can make all the difference if one ever has to be used in an emergency.

 

11-5-14 Plan a family escape route

Plan a family escape route and meeting point.  New homes are safer, in part, because building codes require that bedrooms have properly constructed egress points in the event of necessary evacuation.  You will want to make sure that everyone living in your home understands how to escape and where to go rendezvous with you.  Understand the priorities…get out of the house first, and then call for help.  It’s always good to practice what you would do in the event of an emergency.

 

 

11-3-13 Ten fall tips

Ten Fall Tips

We can’t prevent Fall from coming, but we can provide a few ideas that properly executed will preserve your home for years to come and reduce the operating expenses.  We would also like to suggest that you regularly check here for a variety of tips.  We are starting a series on home safety that might, among other things, help prevent a fall around your home.

 

  1. The clocks got turned back this past weekend.  We are approaching that time of year when it’s dark when you get up in the morning and when you get home from a day at work or running errands.  Daylight savings time officially ended at 2am on Sunday, November 3, 2013.  Don’t forget the thermostat clock as well, particularly if you use it to program heat settings.  Plan something special for the extra hour you have on Sunday.
  2. Change the filter in your furnace.  Regularly changing the filter in your furnace makes for a healthy home and reduces your energy costs.   It will also prolong the life of the furnace.  People in the Northwest typically spend twenty to thirty more hours per week inside their homes during fall and winter.  Paying attention to the air you breathe can pay important dividends.
  3. Inspect the exterior of your home.  Look for any areas at corners, near windows or doors, or siding transition areas where the caulk may be failing or need a little refreshing.  With Northwest wind and rains, keeping the house moisture tight is important in avoiding long term headaches.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts.  With trees in the Northwest and most jurisdictions requiring more trees on private home sites, cleaning yard debris from the gutter can seem like a full time job.  Consider a cover system that prevents the build-up of leaves or needles if your home is surrounded by a number of tall trees.  It is important to make sure the water runoff from your roof is making its way into the gutters and the downspouts are draining away from the house.   Putting a $3 jet nozzle on your hose (available at your local hardware store) and running it into the downspouts can clear out most blockages.  Sleep well as the rain hits the roof and windows.
  5. Winterize the hose bibs.  New homes include frost free hose bibs which mean that the water supply is usually kept in insulated space when the faucet is turned off, significantly reducing the risk of freezing.  Be sure, however, to remove hoses from the spigot as they can trap water inside.  Even if you have frost free hose bibs, placing a $4 cover over the hose bib won’t hurt and if you don’t or the hose bib is located adjacent to an unheated space, they can save a big hassle.  You can take a stress free trip to a warmer and dryer climate this winter.
  6. Rake leaves or other yard debris away from the house.   Winds will often create an accumulation of yard debris right up against the windward side of the house.  This can become a nesting space for unwanted household pests that are always looking for protection during the winter months.
  7. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  When you change the clocks forward in the Spring or back in the fall, it is always a good time to make sure your detectors are working and it is an easy task to remember when you are moving dials or using keypads to change time.  Typically there is a test button on the device that can be depressed to confirm proper functioning.
  8. Winterize the outdoor furniture.  It’s a great idea to remove outdoor furniture and barbeques from exposure to the elements.  Put them away in a breezeway or cover them with a weather resistant tarp or cover made for the purpose.  Find a cozy seat by the window to contemplate spring.
  9. Clean out the wood burning fireplace or inspect the manufactured fireplace.  It’s a good time to clear ashes or other debris out of the wood burning fireplace and removing any combustible material (papers, magazines, etc.) that are nearby.  Also inspect the vents for gas or wood burning fireplaces for damage or obstructions.  Sit down and read a book.
  10. Inspect the grout and caulk around countertops, showers, and floors.  Repair or replace as needed to make sure moisture does not intrude into wood or other materials that might be susceptible to mold or dry rot.  Enjoy a bubble bath.

 

 

11-1-13 Maintaining home systems is important

Maintaining home systems is important to safety.  Regularly inspect the smoke detectors, clean the fireplace, change the furnace filter, inspect the dryer vent, and replace the fire extinguishers every few years.  Make sure window and door locks are working properly and provide for some level of exterior light around the home.

 

10-29-13 Home safety is becoming increasingly important

Home safety is becoming an increasingly important concern of homeowners.  Newer homes are almost always safer homes with efficient furnaces, new recently inspected wiring and plumbing, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, manufactured fireplaces, and often security systems.  You will even find a tie-off point on the roof that is used during construction to enhance worker safety and remains for your use in maintaining the home.

 

9-17-13 Impressions Of A Subdivision

I recently walked a completed home in a new subdivision (a “spec” home) and had several impressions.  On the positive side, I liked the layout, the use of multiple media in the finishes, and the color choices.  There was a nice covered outdoor space off the dining room with a wall to shield northerly winds.  On the other hand, the wall blocked most of the Mt Rainier view and I wondered if the buyer might not tolerate a little more breeze in exchange for a mountain view from the outdoor living space.  I tried to envision who might live in the space and other than thinking it might be a family with one or two school age children, I was left without much of an impression.  What the house really lacked from my experience was the character (perhaps the better term is “footprint”) that comes from a design that incorporates the owner’s lifestyle.

 

9-3-13 Construction Insurance?

Course of construction insurance is important when you build your new home.  Generally, the owner of the property and the project should carry this expense, particularly if you will be storing items on site or are preserving an existing structure on the lot.  If the builder carries the course of construction insurance, coverage may not extend to items not included in the contract because they might not have an insurable interest.

 

8-29-13 Advantages of a design/build contractor

The advantages of working with a design-build contractor can be significant.  A talented designer with extensive construction experience will build the house on paper for you several times in the process of completing the architectural drawings.  They will envision the framer getting the material to the site and cutting the studs or using a standard length.  They will envision where the HVAC and hot water heating equipment is best located and know where to put bearing walls to minimize floor deflection and squeaks. The designer should not sacrifice curb appeal for cost and ease of build without your approval, but they should be able to build value into the house.  Usually, the designer will have many years of experience working in the construction industry before taking on the design responsibility, while the experience of an architect or architect’s intern is often limited to schooling and design work.

 

8-20-13 Who’s feet are square?

Whose feet are square?  Not mine, and probably not yours either.  So, why are folks so focused on the cost of a square foot when it comes to building a new home?  Part of the answer lies with the appraisal  industry’s approach to calculations of value.  When you look at how to reduce the cost to a minimum, you can build a square box, entirely with dimensional lumber, have a 4/12 pitch room with no accents, not enclose soffits or porch lids, paint it only one color, and even use an exterior siding product that attaches directly to the structural studs.  Take it further and only have one bathroom for the house, a kitchen with minimal cabinets, and basic flooring.  The appraisal will often not end up being substantially different than a similarly sized house with more updated features and style.  But then, you might not want to live in the house, and when you go to sell it, you might have trouble finding a buyer.  Sacrificing essential or desirable features to reduce the square foot pricing may be a mistake.

 

8-17-13 Custom Building Your Way

Building a custom home should provide you with options, features, and combinations that are not available in pre-sales or spec homes.  You may want space for that family china cabinet, you may want to incorporate a tile medallion that you sourced in Italy, or you may want an office/den space that is only accessible through the master bedroom.  When you build a custom home, you decide what you want, rather than the builder deciding what you can have. Custom home building is all about listening to the client – you.
Of course we offer some outstanding stock plans, but we can and often do modify those to meet our clients particular needs. Not seeing what you need in one of our plans and have spent money with an architect? No worries. Give us those for a week and let us provide the best possible pricing in the Puget Sound area.

8-13-13 Washington State Energy Code:

The 2012 Version of the Washington State Energy Code was adopted by jurisdictions in Washington state on July 1, 2013.  The new code requires 1.5 energy credits for homes in the 1500 to 5000 square feet range.  There are several options for meeting this requirement including the use of high efficiency HVAC and water heating equipment.  The use of a heat pump electric hot water heater with an efficiency rating of 2.0 is an efficient way of meeting the new code requirement and using clean technology.

 

7-16-13

Over the years we have come to certain conclusions about who we work with and the importance of certain aspects of construction. Below is a list of professionals that we believe are vital in bringing a project together. And while everyone is “important” in that they bring something of value to each and every home, there are key positions that demand top professionals.

 


  1. Designer ­– What’s the point of building a custom home if you can’t communicate your thoughts to your builder? At Stanbrooke, we take seriously all the little notes, drawings and clippings you have collected over time. You will have ample opportunity to review plans and work with our on-staff designer to make sure we have captured of those dreams on paper. Our designer is crucial to making ideas a reality.
  2. Interior Selections Specialist – Have lots of great ideas about floor plans and layouts but are not as confident about color selections, textures and other interior decisions? Stanbrooke has a person on staff specifically for this purpose! Our Selections Specialist will work with you throughout the project to make sure you understand the choices available and even make suggestions if you get “stuck”. This is easily one of the most exciting and yet most intimidating parts of the process for many of our clients. We are here to offer as much or as little help as you want or need.
  3. Framer – A great framer is a huge asset. Getting the framing stages just right is crucial and often sets the tone and pace for the rest of the project. We understand the importance of this and have taken great care to maintain great working relationships with ours.   The framer building your home has most likely built hundreds of Stanbrooke homes before yours.
  4. Superintendent – Your primary point of contact in the field, the superintendent is in charge of making sure all the activities that take place during construction happen on time and in the right way. Our superintendents are extremely versatile and very familiar with the various jurisdictions around Puget Sound. They interface regularly with different trade partners, inspectors, homeowners and site contractors. All superintendents are overseen by our Project Manager who has been in the industry for 15+ years.
  5. HVAC – Our HVAC partners are an essential part of our professional team. They are involved from the very beginning of the project from a design standpoint right through to the end when they are installing the finish trims. Of course, the benefits of a well-conditioned home are well known. But having a company that understands the rigors of new construction from beginning to end is essential to keeping the project on time and on budget.
  6. Plumber – Often overlooked…….until something goes wrong that is. We have turned down dozens of requests from plumbing companies wanting to handle this portion of construction for Stanbrooke.  Trust us when we say, not all plumbing companies are equal! Our plumbing partners are reliable, have proven track records, are flexible, and are very familiar with different plumbing options. This particular professional is one that we are extremely picky about.
  7. Electrician – Want a low voltage package for surround systems or high-tech cabling for networking?  Or the warm glow of a chandelier in your dining room?  Or a security system that protects your investment? Then the electrician is definitely a professional you want on board.  Light fixtures and outlets are always required, but there can be a whole lot more in a 2013 home.  Our electricians are ready to make changes if you see something you need in your home during construction. We even schedule an electrical walk-through to go over everything with you and our electrician during the “rough-in” stage. Just to make sure nothing is missed.
  8. Painter – If you have not seen some of the White Painted Millwork packages we are producing, you may want to. Not too many other upgrades affect the overall look of the house like painted millwork. When done incorrectly, it is often the first thing you notice.  Done properly, it enhances everything in the room.  Our painters and millwork professionals are chosen with great care and have been with us for some time. As such, this is one of the most frequently chosen upgrades that we offer.
  9. Flooring Installer – Though you may not realize it at first, the flooring in any house can make or break the room.  That’s why having a good flooring installer on your team is essential for customizing and creating the type of flooring that will meet your every needs .  Whether it’s carpet, tile, laminate, or vinyl, you want a skilled professional  to install the flooring, countertops,  and surrounds.  Our installers are the best in the industry.
  10. Trim Carpenter – A great trim carpenter is hard to find and well installed millwork is essential to a custom home.  There are thousands of wood components that go into a finished home.  Millwork, well installed, turns commodity into custom, sticks of wood into “WOW” and transforms your home from bland to grand.

 

Latest Virtual Tour 7-8-13

 

 

One of five homes built for a single family in Seattle, this 3301 square foot Craftsman is stunning both inside and out. As always, we allow our clients to make changes to our plans such as this family did when they re-designed the kitchen to better suit their lifestyle.

 

 

 

See a plan you like on our website but need to make a few adjustments? No problem! Just make an appointment to meet with us. Bring your sketches and we are happy to give you some feedback on pricing and other concerns.

One of the many reasons we are consistently at the top of the list for custom builders in the Puget Sound area, is that we do our best to accommodate our clients needs and wishes.

To see the rest of this home, visit the virtual tour HERE!

 

Contact Us

Stanbrooke Custom Homes is located at:
4809 Pacific Highway East
Fife, WA 98424
(253) 345-5050

Home Gallery Hours:  Monday to Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5
Sales: (253) 345-5060 or 1 (877) 492-1302
Email: seanb@stanbrooke.com

Solution to Seattle’s Low Housing Inventory Problem 6-28-13

Seattle Area Map

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The 6th Most Competitive Market for Homes

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“Seattle is the sixth-most competitive market for homes in the U.S., with 67.4 percent of all home offers having a competitive bid, which is down from 74.6 percent a month earlier, according to Seattle-based online real estate company Redfin.”

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Even if the bidding wars have slowed down since last month, chances are that when shopping for a new home, buyers will still have to compete with several other offers.

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Buyers Find Bidding Wars Stressful

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Another article, posted in the Puget Sound Business Journal, shares the story of a couple who desperately searched for a home, finally found one, only to have to compete with four other bids driving the final purchase price to $6000 over the original asking price. “It was extremely stressful,” they said. One thing is certain; inventory is scarce but there is another solution.

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Build a Custom Home

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How to get started.

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FIND LAND: Contact Brad Landis at Sterling Johnson and Assoc. While working with a primary broker, working with Sterling Johnson and Assoc., ensures that you’ll have access to their entire team of specialists, seven days per week. That includes an experienced land developer. Also, many people are finding good value in land that has older homes or mobiles that need to be torn down.

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FIND A CUSTOM HOME BUILDER: Contact Sean Boatman. Sean has been involved in custom home building in the Pacific Northwest, for over eighteen years. Starting in the building materials industry, he has been involved in custom home construction for more than 15 years. Sean guides prospective custom home owners through the sales process to make sure that specifications and pricing are clearly established.

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While working with Stanbrooke buyers will have access to their entire team which includes a site superintendant, a warranty/detail specialist, a structural design specialist, and a color/design specialist. Avoid the bidding wars and call for a free, no pressure consultation.

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Contact Us

Stanbrooke Custom Homes is located at:
4809 Pacific Highway East
Fife, WA 98424
(253) 345-5050

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Home Gallery Hours:  Monday to Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5
Sales: (253) 345-5060 or 1 (877) 492-1302
Email: seanb@stanbrooke.com

 

 

Custom Home Virtual Tour 6-23-13

They Did It Their Way

 

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photo credit; http://agent-178.pages.tourfactory.com/*

Virtual Tour

Stanbrooke Custom Homes is proud to show off one of its latest custom builds located in Kirkland, Washington. This fabulous home has beautiful dark wood floors throughout. It boasts a rich kitchen with granite tops and tile back splashes, complete with the latest in brushed chrome fixtures and hardware. The open floor plan kitchen, complete with an island, large sub-zero refrigerator, and easy access to the deck and view, guarantee the success of any casual or formal gathering.

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photo credit: http://agent-178.pages.tourfactory.com/

The house also includes an enclosed covered patio with a built-in gas fireplace. On the bottom floor is a two car garage with a finished floor.

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This home shows off the home owner’s well thought out concept regarding design without compromising comfort. One gets the idea, while viewing the tour, that this is indeed a dream home that has finally come to fruition.

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What does your dream home look like? Give us a call and we will help you turn your dream into a reality.

 

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Contact Us

Stanbrooke Custom Homes is located at:
4809 Pacific Highway East
Fife, WA 98424
(253) 345-5050

Home Gallery Hours:  Monday to Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5
Sales: (253) 345-5060 or 1 (877) 492-1302
Email: seanb@stanbrooke.com

 

Too Much of a Good Thing 4-27-13

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Bell_Scott_-_Iron_and_Coal.jpg

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The Industrial Revolution

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With the Industrial Revolution came mass production. This included items like furniture and accessories, which gave homeowners greater choices than they’d had before and with all that came more choices in decorating. The interior of homes started to change, as did the homes themselves.

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The Beginning of the Interior Design Industry


There was a sharp contrast between the upper and middle class homes. A middle class home was usually very utilitarian, whereas an upper class home was typically decorated in the Victorian style where opulence, romance, and a sense of worldliness reigned. Once furniture, accessories, and textiles began to be massed produced, department stores appeared and started selling these items to the general public. What did the upper class do? They created a new niche; the interior designer. Elsie de Wolfe is generally considered to be the first person with that title. Many a rich New Yorker hired her to paint their dark walls white, and hang lots of colorful floral pictures. Thus started the practice of custom designing a living space.

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Where Have I Seen That Before?

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The Industrial Revolution was a turning point in our history and provided conveniences and goods for those who otherwise could not afford them; however, you can get too much of a good thing. Mass-produce everything and everybody starts looking alike; the same clothes, the same cars, and even the same houses, so it’s easy to feel a sense of loss of individuality. Watch any of the “how the rich live” TV shows and you will see a lot of custom designing going on.

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You Don’t Have to Be Upper Class or Rich

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Take a drive through a newly built development. You might notice that there are only a handful of floor plans. Only the exterior colors have been changed. The good news is that you do not have to be upper class to build a custom home but you can look like it! While Stanbrooke offers some base floor plans, they are merely starting points and can be custom designed to fit your taste and lifestyle. To find out how to get started, visit our FAQs page.

 

Contact Us

Stanbrooke Custom Homes is located at:
4809 Pacific Highway East
Fife, WA 98424
(253) 345-5050

Home Gallery Hours:  Monday to Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-5
Sales: (253) 345-5060 or 1 (877) 492-1302
Email: seanb@stanbrooke.com

 

 

4-19-2013

 

Top Ten Not So Popular Things….
Over the years, we have spent a lot of time in these email newsletters giving advice on what to do in building a quality home, revealing our thoughts on popular trends, giving our advice on sustainable value, and pointing out quality benchmarks.  This time around, we thought we’d take a different approach and share with you things clients tell us they don’t like or don’t want in their new home.  These are intended as food for thought.  Your home should reflect your tastes, objectives, and style; not those of someone else.

 

  • Square Boxes.  While typically the least expensive thing to build is a square box with six parallel sides, it is usually not the most interesting…either inside or outside.  Our clients appreciate design that includes arches, niches, and curves.  It makes everything more interesting.

 

  • Flamboyant Lighting.  Our clients generally opt for subtle lighting.  Recessed cans both inside and out allow for efficient lighting.  With LED options, they can be soft or task oriented.  Decorative fixtures are usually reserved only for the dining room and perhaps the entry.

 

  • Formal Spaces. Great rooms with decorative features and easy traffic flow are generally chosen over defined rooms in our designs.  Intimacy can be achieved through an alcove that is part of a larger space.  Dens or home offices are chosen to capture private work space that can be closed off from the common areas of the home.

 

  • Bargain Appliances.  Clients are always looking for values, but appliances are usually off the table as a place to reduce costs.  Higher end appliances not only have that WOW factor, but also provide useful tools for family gatherings and entertainment.

 

  • Bold, Bright Colors.  Increasingly, interior wall colors are soft and neutral, sometimes with an accent wall.   The punch and color in a room is usually added through furniture and wall art that can easily be changed out.

 

  • Stairs.  Preferences are usually expressed for living spaces all on one floor, although the size and characteristics of the lot often dictates multi-level homes.  Where stairs are included, they often become a focal point of the house with decorative and curved open railings.

 

  • Prefinished Millwork.  While many homes are built with prefinished millwork, subtle but sustainable style is often achieved with site finished and painted millwork.  The process adds a few weeks to the schedule and a few dollars to the budget, but the ending result can mightily enhance the home.

 

  • Electric Forced Air Furnaces.  Every house has electricity and while it may seem easy to use it for the primary heating source, clients will typically find it not to be a very efficient option unless a heat pump is included in the HVAC solution.  Increasingly, gas providers will bring gas to the home for little or no expense if it is available in the street and used for multiple purposes.

 

  • Fixed Windows.  While HVAC systems allow for comfort within the home, it makes sense to have a sufficient number of operable windows to provide good cross-ventilation in the main areas of the home.  Fixed windows provide maximum viewing area and are a good use for large open areas.  Combining them with operable windows in key areas will allow you to add a spring breeze to your step on nice days.

 

  • Painted gutters, downspouts, and garage doors.  While the perfect color match might only be possible when you paint features in place, the long term implications of maintaining these surfaces can easily outweigh the initial appearance.  The color is always better if it comes from the factory even if there is a slight color variation.

 

This list is intended only to be food for thought and not to pass judgment on style preferences or choices that you might have.  We would love to work with you to achieve your dream look and function.

 

3-22-13

 

Ten Energy Features you want in your New Home

With major storms, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters in the last year, everyone is wondering about the impact of energy use on the environment.  While we don’t take positions as scientists, we have some opinions on elements that might be wise to include in the design of your new home and will save you dollars on your utility bills.  This is not an all inclusive list, but it might spark a few ideas or questions:

 

  • Insulation

Adequate, well installed insulation makes homes air tight and significantly impacts utility usage.  The use of blower door testing near the completion of the project is a gauge of how well the insulation and construction methods have been implemented in your new home.  Your new home should easily pass the jurisdictional requirements and give you peace of mind.

 

  • HVAC

While there are many choices to be made, we would generally recommend using a heat pump to heat and cool your home.  You will find them very efficient and can be teamed with either an electric or gas fired back up unit.  Variable speed units will also add to overall system performance.  Change the filters regularly for comfort and energy consumption.

 

  • Hot Water Recirculation

A recirculation system will provide you with heated water throughout the home faster and longer than a traditional tank unit.  With controls, you can also set the hot water to be available during the times that you expect to use it.   While “on demand” units are popular today, you should consider the lag time between turning on the faucet and the water being hot.  A recirculation system can also be used with an on demand unit.  For residential purposes, your on demand system will need to be gas fired.

 

  • Appliances

Efficient appliances are readily available.  We recommend especially that refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers  be energy star compliant.  Consider as well the energy characteristics of televisions and computers throughout the home.  With homes being more efficient from a heating and cooling standpoint, these items can drive a major portion of the energy cost in your new home.

 

  • Smart controls

You can make this as simple or complex as you want.  Installing timers on exhaust fans and actually using the programmable thermostat with you HVAC system can have a significant impact.  Remote access to the energy features in your home is becoming a more popular feature as well.

 

  • Operable windows

Sometimes, the best air conditioning is fresh air.  Making sure you have operable windows and ideally cross ventilation in the rooms you will spend most of your time in is important.

 

  • Screens

Of course, you will generally want screens on windows and doors that you anticipate being open during warm days.  Consider the use of glass sliders in place of French doors where applicable as screens are generally less obtrusive on sliding glass doors.

 

  • Plumbing and Lighting Fixtures

Consider the use of restricted flow faucets, double flush toilets, and LED can lighting for long term benefits and cost reductions.

 

  • Conditioned space

Whenever possible, it is most efficient to locate heating equipment (furnace and hot water) within the heated envelope (conditioned space) of your home.  We generally aim to design two story homes with all the ductwork between the floors.  While ducts are generally not leaking, having the ducts within the heated space will add to the overall efficiency of your home.

 

  • Hot water heater

Electric heat pump hot water heaters can be purchased for a little more than a conventional unit now and can pay for themselves in energy savings in a relatively short time.  There are many alternatives on the market and the cost and savings will depend on the model chosen.

 

2-26-13 Home Building Dreams on Pinterest

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Dreaming on Pinterest

By now you’ve probably heard about popular sites like Pinterest. We know a lot of women who use the site to search for ideas from decorating a living room to designing the perfect bedroom or master bathroom. You can even see some ideas going viral on Pinterest. The bug has spread and it’s a fun one!

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Where do the photos come from?

Photos are gathered from all over the web with a link that takes you back to where it originated. So, how does Pinterest work? You sign up for an account, install a bookmarklet on your toolbar, then anytime you see something you like on another website, you can Pin it to a Board (or Category) you’ve already created. It’s your personal collection of things you love and can be viewed by anyone or just shared with friends depending on your settings. You can also search for specific things. Here’s an example; a search, using the terms “Stanbrooke”, reveals that the Memories model “Belmont” is already on somebody’s wish list!

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Customization Because We Love It Our Way

There are also myriads of television shows about renovating, building, and customizing anything from our homes to our landscapes to our garages. We love having it made, or making it, our way and these programs fuel our ideas and creativity. Talk to the average custom home builder and chances are they’ve gotten a lot of ideas about what they want by browsing the popular websites and watching the home shows.

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Dream Board to Reality Board

At Stanbrooke Custom Homes we know that you know exactly what you want, because you’ve spent a lot of time dreaming about it. When you’re ready to build we have a professional design team that can help you take your ideas and turn them into realities. Wouldn’t it be great to go from a Dream Board to a Reality Board? Since you’re already browsing Pinterest, try your own search for “Stanbrooke Custom Homes” and pick out your dream floor plan. Or just click HERE to go directly to our boards. We’ve all heard how writing down our goals in life is the first step in achieving them. Pinning can do the same thing!

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Stanbrooke Custom Homes was formed in 2002, to fill the growing demand for affordable luxury in custom homes in the Pacific Northwest. Visit our extensive home gallery in Fife, WA. today or give us a call at (253) 345-5030 or 1 (877) 492-1302.

2/4/13 Build a Custom Home or Renovate an Old One

Renovating is Work

 

Buying and selling real estate and renovating homes has been a part of my life for over 30 years. One of my recent projects was renovating a 1965 home. It had one owner in 47 years, was in immaculate condition, but had only been updated once (in the ‘80s). I did one walk-through with the Realtor and knew; I could not live in it without adding my own personal touch. The outdated cabinets, the faux wood paneling, and the faux wood counter tops all had to go including that old house smell. I wanted granite counter-tops. I wanted new light fixtures. Most importantly, I wanted it to reflect my taste, not the previous owner’s. I think most of us want our homes to reflect who we are.

 

 

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A Lack of Choices and Time

 

While it might be satisfying to take something old and outdated and make it look new and updated, it is a lot of work and not an inexpensive proposition. Having more choices when it came to new flooring, counter-tops, and bathroom fixtures would have been nice, too. The limited choices at the local hardware stores were somewhat frustrating not to mention the time and expense of running back and forth for supplies.

Custom orders at specialty shops were an option but almost always more expensive. Then there were the months we spent looking at houses before we found one with a floor plan we thought might work for us. Just those things alone and I have to admit that I found myself fantasizing about how easy building a custom home would have been compared to renovating. Now, sitting in a showroom and browsing catalogs sounds like Christmas shopping compared to another tedious trip to my local home improvement store.

 

 

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The Advantages of Custom Building

 

Stanbrooke Custom Homes has several floor plans to choose from and all of them can be used as a starting point and customized to fit your needs so floor plans need never be a problem. All of the plans include an impressive list of Standard Features with a large assortment of flooring, counter-top, and lighting choices; Shaw carpeting, Mohawk flooring, and Rodda paint, just to name a few.

 

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Standard Features included in a Stanbrooke Custom Home


• Site Feasibility Assessment

• Permit Submittal Service

• Engineered House Plans for your site

• Turnkey 24” foundation – no hidden charges

• Design Consultant Meetings to finalize design elements

• Fiber Cement (Hardi-plank or equivalent) Siding on all four sides

• Stylish Exterior Designs with roof pitches of 6/12 or higher, Fascia boards,
enclosed front porch soffits, and basic window wraps in front

• Gas or propane fireplace (except Canterbury)

• 30-year Architectural Composition Roof with Ridge Venting

• Fiberglass shower and tub fixtures with “tile look”

• Exterior hose bibs, electrical outlets, porch and garage lights

• Choice of decorative light fixture packages, including can lighting in kitchen

• Range, microwave/hood, dishwasher, and ice-maker box for
future hook up

• Telephone and coaxial cable outlets

• Interior paint

• 6 Panel pre-painted white interior doors with embossed mill-work trim

• Closet Shelving

• Choice of bath and door hardware

• Birch recessed panel cabinets in kitchen and baths

• And much more

 

In addition, our Autograph series includes the following:

• Nine foot ceilings on the main floor

• Exterior paint – Body, trim and accent color choices

• Insulated metal garage door with transom windows

• Tongue & Groove front porch soffit and enclosed soffits on all sides.

• Exterior concrete package per plan

• Final construction cleaning of home prior to move-in

• Centralized gas (or electric) furnace

(For a complete list of Autograph Standard Features, click here)

 


The items to be replaced or remodeled in 1965 home:

 

(Keep in mind that this home was in better-than-average condition for its age, built with quality products, and we got it at a fair price.)

• Cedar siding

• Outdated fascia boards and no porches to speak of

• Two fireplaces; one flue rusted shut

• Outdated tiny plastic shower stalls

• Had to replace all electrical outlets, porch and garage lights

• Outdated light fixtures. Installation of can lights meant a trip to the attic.

• Outdated and malfunctioning appliances. Most needed replaced or fixed.

• Telephone and coaxial cable outlets – all outdated.

• Interior paint – all outdated. Hired a painter for all of it.

• Flat doors with outdated mill-work and hardware

• Bath hardware so outdated it sang

• All cabinets ; original 1965 which meant some complications such as the cabinet housing the sink only allowed for an 8” bowl. Most sinks sold today are 9”.

• 7’10” ceilings on the main floor

• Exterior paint – Body, trim and accent color choices all outdated

• Garage doors non-insulated; not to code, no windows

• Exterior concrete repairs needed

• No A/C

• No assistance with permitting

 

 

 

 

Decision

 

Of course there are other factors to consider but if you are trying to decide between renovating an older home or building a custom home, take it from me and at least ask yourself this, “How much work do I want to do or pay someone else to do and how much time do I have to do it” and “how valuable is my time?” Then, visit the Stanbrooke Homebuilding Process page to answer any further questions you might have.

 

*Order a Free Plan Catalog with no obligation.

 

 

 

 

Rebekah Gregory Guest Blogger

 

 

 

 

January 29th 2013

 

Ten Myths about Building a Custom Home


We find that there are often many misconceptions about building a custom home.  People come to conclusions based upon what they have heard.   These conclusions often result from a good or bad experience that someone else had that might well be a unique experience for that person.  We want to de-myth a few things:

 

  • Bigger is better.   While it is true that appraisers will generally give more value to square footage than to finishes, a home is personal space and involves personal choices.  The choices you make not only impact the enjoyment you have living in the home, but also how attractive the home is to another buyer when you choose to sell.  Intimate spaces often make a house a home.
  • An architect will give you better plans and allow you to get multiple bids.  It may feel like hiring an architect puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing a builder, but it may well cost you more.  A builder that designs your home knows how the components come together and will be committed to making it work within your budget.  Often a builder will take a premium on the costs of plans, particularly if they involve pages of notes and details.
  • Don’t build in the winter.  If you are trying to avoid rain in the Northwest, you might want to move out of the area.  Rain is part of the building process as is moisture.  There is tremendous moisture in the wood used to build your home.  Even if it doesn’t rain during the construction process, the structure needs to dry out before being totally enclosed.
  • Radiant heating is wonderful. It feels great on the toes, but maybe not so much on the pocket book.  Think about $10 per square foot at a minimum and you still don’t have air conditioning.  On the other hand, radiant heating on a tile bathroom floor can be heavenly and the space is small enough that the pocket book isn’t trashed either.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned.  Ben Franklin had a point, but…being smart about where you save is even more important.  Energy features such as HVAC equipment, water heating equipment, and appliances can have a tremendous long term impact on operating costs in your home.
  • I’ll do it later.  Why do today what you can do tomorrow when you have more money?  Take granite or quartz counter-tops for example.  If you choose a plastic laminate product, you will need a sub top on the cabinets before applying the finished product.  With 3cm granite, you’ll put the granite directly on top of the cabinets.  Think about how much you have to undo when you finally choose to swap out the counter tops.
  • I’ll do it myself.  It might save a little money, but it might also add to the time to build and introduce a few unintended consequences with other elements of the project.
  • All builders are the same. Quality of finishes, communication styles, and personal commitment are often the most visible differences.  Long term, the underlying engineering and structural materials can make for the best investment or the biggest headache.
  • Inspections are performed by the building department and the bank.  Yes, they are.  But neither of these groups will be living in your house.  The best inspections are always performed by the interested homeowner.
  • Anyone can apply for a building permit.  Requirements are becoming much more stringent and so much of it now involves drainage and land use regulations.  Someone who has dealt with the jurisdiction and understands the issues and potential pitfalls can often you save you months and thousands of dollars.