Beach houses conjure up images of summers on the beach, sunlight streaming through windows, outdoor showers, relaxed meals on ample decks. And they are all of those things. But there are also structural issues to consider when building a beach house. The windows (for the view), the outdoor shower (to keep sand on the beach and out of the house), and a great deck are all important, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

When planning to build a custom beach house, it’s important to remember that the structure itself needs to be fortified for protection against the wind and waves, tropical storms, hurricanes and tidal surges. These realities are the other side of the ‘beach house coin’, so to speak. The sea is amazingly beautiful, but can also be incredibly violent, and a well-built beach house must be able to withstand its unpredictable nature. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) created the fortified home program to help protect homes from these and other natural disasters. Since you want your new beach house to be safe above all else, the builder you choose should use IBHS fortified home standards and materials. These standards are broken down into three designations:

  • Bronze addresses roofing system upgrades that guard against water entering the attic through roof coverings and/or vents
  • Silver addresses windows, doors and attached structures as well as the roof
  • Gold ties the whole structure together (roof, windows and doors, walls and foundation as one fortified structure.

The owner can work with the builder and choose the level of fortification desired, depending on personal need, preferences and budget. This ensures that your new beach house will not only be beautiful, but strong enough to withstand the worst that nature can throw at it.

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about building the custom beach house of your dreams!

A luxury green home building is more than the latest trend or fashion statement. Builders and homeowners agree, suitable building methods and eco-friendly homes are a necessity. Based on some data, nearly half of all energy and material consumption comes from buildings. Additionally, buildings are responsible for 25 percent of all wood harvested and a sixth of all water use. Therefore, green home building is common sense.

The good news is the simplistic and cold green homes of the past are gone. Today’s luxury green home building are high performance, healthy, and stylish. In the past, environmentally sensitive construction meant making compromises on lifestyle or design. However, today’s luxury green homes are dream homes. However, the benefits, of a new luxury green home, don’t end there.

Benefits of Luxury Green Home Building

Financial – The cost savings over a 20-year span outweighs the additional cost of construction. Some studies report a more than tenfold return. Therefore, an added $40,000 invested in building green design returns $400,000 over 20 years. 

Market Value – Luxury green homes sell at a higher price with sustainable components. It is a simple fact, green homes outperform traditional homes based on utility and maintenance costs. This increases buyer appeal and demand.

Health Buildings – Today’s luxury green homes do not suffer from the “sick building syndrome” of older homes and buildings. Ventilation and whole-house air cleaning systems remove the causes of indoor air pollution.

Finally, if one goes the extra step with an ENERGY STAR certified new home, there is the added peace of mind knowing the builder followed best practices. Moreover, the home passed independent inspections and testing. An ENERGY STAR certified new home provides confidence, the certification ensures the home uses up to 30 percent less energy than a traditional house.

If you would like to talk about the benefits of luxury green home building, or need more information, please contact us.

In April, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced the Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) as a pilot program to eliminate the use of illegal wood in the LEED buildings.

LEED certification has become the worldwide standard in rating the design, construction, and operation of green buildings and projects. Realizing the ability to make a change, USGBC designed the ACP credit to fill a gap in the LEED accreditation. LEED credits are given based on the percentage of wood legally source, instead of all the wood. 

Illegal logging is a worldwide problem that damages our environment, communities, and economy. Illegal wood may come from fragile ecosystems or may be removed from lands without paying the landowner or taxes. Trade in illegally harvested wood is extremely profitable and therefore very hard to prevent.

The new pilot ACP credit program rewards team who take a proactive approach to verifying that wood used in their project is legal. As a pilot program, the ACP credit will help focus attention on the need to improve the verification processes used in identifying legally harvested wood and reward project teams who verify the wood they use is legal. Rick Fedrizzi, the founder and CEO of USGBC, also states:

“With the pilot ACP, we are increasing the scope of LEED related to wood with an eye toward possibly applying what we learn to other industries. Beyond this credit, LEED v4 takes steps to reward progress related to all raw materials sourcing issues and encourage all sectors to continue to improve.” 

To talk more about LEED building construction , or anything else, please contact us

In today’s world, there is just no reason not to consider green home building when thinking about a custom home. It simply has never been easier to select an environmentally friendly design using sustainable materials. Green homes save energy and reduce a home’s carbon footprint from the start of construction to the everyday living of your family. 

The U.S. Department of Energy states, “By adopting green building strategies, we can maximize both economic and environmental performance. Green construction methods can be integrated into buildings at any stage, from design and construction, to renovation and deconstruction. However, the most significant benefits can be obtained if the design and construction team takes an integrated approach from the earliest stages of a building project.”

Here are the things to consider with green home building:

  • Energy Efficiency – ENERGY STAR certified new homes are 30 percent more energy-efficient than traditional construction.
  • Renewable Energy – Add a solar, wind, or solar/wind hybrid system to reduce the use of fossil fuel energy.
  • Water Efficiency – Install WaterSense certified faucets, toilets, and shower heads to save water.
  • Building Materials and Specifications – Make use of recycled or environmentally sustainable building materials.
  • Waste Reduction – Green builders reduce waste by recycling construction and demolition materials and remnants.
  • Indoor Air Quality – An ENERGY STAR certified new home with an airPLUS label will also meet EPA’s indoor air quality standards.
  • Sustainable Development – Communities participating in the EPA’s Smart Growth Program promote health and the environment.

If you would like to talk more about things to consider with green home building, or need more information, please contact us.

Our kitchens are the center of our homes and the source of pride for many. Is it any wonder that people spend more money on kitchen remodeling than any other home improvement? A kitchen remodel has many choices and decisions, making it one of the most complicated home projects.  

The ideal kitchen provides both comfort and function. It will be both sharp-looking and an efficient workspace. For some, a new kitchen should also cause a little envy from the neighbors. To help you, we have put together this short guide to the best way to plan a kitchen.

Kitchen Remodel Goals

  • Create a personalized area that reflects your lifestyle,
  • Have a design that conforms to your tastes.
  • Creatively increase available storage.
  • Receive the best price without cutting corners.

A kitchen remodel starts with an eye on longevity, efficiency, and function. Remember, your kitchen will be a key area of focus at resale. A recent study by the National Association of Realtors identified kitchen upgrades and complete kitchen renovations as the top two home improvements desired by homebuyers. Your kitchen remodel adds the most dollars to a sale price. It is an investment.

Find the Best Contractor

Contractors receive most of their business from word or mouth and their reputation. Nonetheless, a builder is only as good as their last job. One of the leading consumer complaints is with contractors. Here are a few tips.

  • Ensure you ask for recent references from candidates and follow-up.
  • Ask to see a job in progress to get a sense of work quality.
  • Don’t be in a rush. Good contractors are worth the wait.

Have a Solid Plan

You will save a lot of time and money if you use an experienced designer. They know all the tricks of the trade, and can make an effective use of space while creating a design that reflects your lifestyle and tastes. In order to create a great design, there are some things you will need.

  • A to-scale rendering of your existing kitchen showing all plumbing and wiring.
  • A list of goals. What is your first priority? Space, function, or style?
  • Research modern kitchen remodeling ideas and keep an idea folder.

Get the Biggest Bang

Even when the sky is the limit, we want the best price and value. A luxury kitchen is still a financial decision and an investment. The best way to control costs is understanding how you use your kitchen and organizing it for optimal performance. The second biggest saver is taking the time to get the best price on appliances, cabinets, and countertops. 

Things Not to Do

There are common mistakes that can cause a kitchen nightmare. Here are some things you don’t want to do.

Being your own contractor – There are a lot of moving parts to a kitchen remodel. Trying to do it on your own may be a costly mistake.

Hiring the wrong contractor – You need someone you can trust. No matter how low the price is or how highly recommended they come, if a contractor makes you uncomfortable than walk away.

Becoming distracted – Start with a plan and stick to it. With all the options, it is easy to add things that cause buyer’s remorse after the project is complete. 

Changing your mind – Every change in your plan will cause you time and money. Spend as much time as you need at the beginning to plan and design your dream kitchen. 

If you would like to talk about more ways to plan a kitchen remodel, or need more information, please contact us.

Homebuyers are increasingly demanding green homes, but what are they? Green home building is building houses that are resource-efficient and environmentally responsible. However, what makes a home green does not have universal agreement.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “Green building means improving the way that homes and homebuilding sites use energy, water, and materials to reduce impacts on human health and the environment. Building a green home means making environmentally-preferable and sustainable decisions throughout the building process-decisions that will minimize the environmental impact of the home while it is being built and over the many years it will be lived in.”

The main focus is with energy efficiency. In many instances, the energy used within a home comes from burning fossil fuels, releasing carbon and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. This pollution affects air quality, is the cause of acid rain, and contributes to climate change. 

When you find an ENERGY STAR certified home, it means the builder has met the very strict guidelines set by the EPA. These homes not only help protect the environment, they also have better indoor air quality and will save you money on utility bills. Some of the characteristics of an  ENERGY STAR certified home are:

  • Superior insulation,
  • High-performance windows,
  • Ultraefficient air ducts,
  • Energy Efficient heating and air, and
  • ENERGY STAR certified appliances and lighting.

The benefit many home buyers focus on is saving money. However, green homes tend to naturally stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. A green home is a more comfortable home. 

Caldwell and Johnson Custom Builders is an ENERGY STAR Partner and Certified Green Professional. If you would like to talk more about what to look for with green home building, or need more information, please contact us.

Nearly every professional person linked to real estate will say the market is better off than it was a year ago. With this improvement has come an increase in the value of many home remodeling projects. There is a demand for bigger home improvements and increased energy efficiency. Kitchen remodels are at the top of the list. 

Houzz, a leading platform bringing homeowners and home professionals together, has targeted some of the hottest remodeling trends. We have compiled a list of what is going on with luxury kitchen remodels.

Two-tone Kitchen Cabinets – The current trend is to keep upper cabinets a neutral color or white, and use deeper and darker colors for the lower cabinets. The style allows you to show off a lot of your personality.

Colored stainless-steel Appliances – As it turns out, black is the new black. Light and dark color options are available and are trending.

Deep Kitchen Drawers – A top priority for any kitchen remodel is easy storage. Deep kitchen drawers have been growing in popularity for a while, but new innovations are making them even better.

Niche Appliances – It is time to get rid of that old microwave. Luxury kitchens now have steam ovens for better, healthier cooking. How about a warming drawer for when the significant other is running late?

Workhorse Islands – Kitchen islands are no longer just about extra counter space. They now have prep sinks, deep storage, seating, and more. Workhorse islands are quickly becoming a must-have feature.

Barely a Kitchen – One interesting trend is the open design kitchen. The kitchen becomes a more fluid space that is fully functioning but with a minimalist looking design. 

Openness & Raw Materials – A feature of the before mentioned barely a kitchen design is the use of open shelves and raw materials. Start here for a great new look.

Backsplash & Countertop Combinations – Today’s kitchen trends are looking for contrasts. Think along the lines of a yellow ceramic tile backsplash with butcher-block countertops or green back-pained glass with a Caesarstone countertop.

Mixing Materials – As with the two-tone cabinets and backsplash/countertop combinations, today’s kitchen trends are about mixing it up. Consider mixing finishes, colors, and materials.

If you would like to talk more about the hottest kitchen remodel trends, or need more information, please contact us

If you’ve ever taken a stroll along the beach and admired the elegance of the homes situated on the coast, you may not have given much thought to how they were constructed. Certainly, the prime location and breezy floor plan of each dwelling would be enough to pique the interest of any buyer. However, with 48 years of experience in the home building business and a portfolio boasting over 500 custom homes, Caldwell and Johnson understands the unique challenges of constructing an oceanfront home.

While the beach may give you an overall sense of calm, a coastal climate can be a fierce force of nature. Between salty air, harsh sun, and hurricane strength winds, we ensure our quality materials will endure the test of time. The paint we use for your home and the stain we use for your deck will not only be exclusive to your taste, but will offer the needed protection from the elements particular to coastal living.

Our professionals will guide you every step of the way, encouraging your imagination to run wild, while offering suggestions stemming from years of experience. For instance, a client may not realize an outdoor shower or pier could be an option for their new bungalow, or even overlook the usefulness of a fireplace on a crisp evening. Our goal is to offer you the highest quality in luxurious beach living, and allow you to determine how to best put it to use.

Additionally, as many beach dwellers happen to be lovers of nature, we are committed to building green. High water and energy efficiency are our cornerstone, and we use only environmentally sustainable materials. We want you to enjoy not only your beach house, but the beauty of your surroundings for many years to come.

If the thought of a custom-built beach house appeals to you, contact us to speak with one of our design professionals. Together, we can create the home you have always imagined.

Did you know your kitchen is a major reason home buyers use when choosing to make an offer? A kitchen remodel has the potential to make your home irresistible. Best of all, there is an average 67 percent cost to value ratio when you sell your home. Creating a dream kitchen will appeal to home buyers.

However, the best reason for a kitchen remodel is increasing the value of the home for you. In December, the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry jointly published their first ever Remodeling Impact Report. They found after completing a kitchen remodel that:

  • 90% of homeowners said they had a greater desire to be at home.
  • 86% said they experienced increased enjoyment at home, and
  • 93% acquired a major sense of accomplishment after the project was complete.

Nonetheless, the report showed that a kitchen upgrade and a complete kitchen renovation are the number 1 and number 2 projects with the most appeal to buyers, respectively. Of projects that add the most value to a home resale, a complete kitchen renovation is in the first place, and a kitchen upgrade is in second.

A kitchen upgrade that costs $30,000 adds an estimated $20,000 to a home’s sale price. A complete kitchen renovation costing $60,000 increases the value of your home by an estimated $40,000. The only projects that come close to increasing a home’s sale price are bathroom renovations or addition.

If you would like to talk more about how a kitchen remodel can help sell your home, or need more information, please contact us.

There are two major concerns facing almost every traditional home owner in America:
  • Environmental Pollution, such as air pollution, water pollution, and our carbon footprint
  • Rising Energy Costs, such as electric and water bills, and gas prices

Here at Caldwell & Johnson we have combined our love of the environment with our love of creating homes to work towards the goal of every American family having an energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable home.

We use features such as solar panels, water-efficient appliances, high quality insulation, and environmentally friendly materials to ensure your home is as energy-efficient and durable as possible. We even go a step beyond by guaranteeing to pay you the difference in price if your energy bills are higher than your estimated energy usage calculated upon your enrollment.

Going green has been proven to lower heating and cooling costs, water usage, and environmental toxins, increases market value of the home, and provides you with healthy indoor air quality. We use renewable or recycled materials that are environmentally sustainable, allowing us to save finite resources for our children and future generations.

Caldwell & Johnson allows you to create your dream home in such a way that you are providing a clean, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly home to the family that you love while reducing the strain on our current environmental assets.

Consider investing in your future by allowing us to do a consultation for you and your family, focusing specifically on your needs. You can find more information on our website or if you have any questions, please contact us.


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