Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Energy Saving Tips for Budget Friendly and Greener Living.

Winter Energy Saving Tips for Budget Friendly and Greener Living.
It’s not just about building great spaces, it’s also about making sure that those great spaces work for us, keep us comfortable and save us money. You deserve to know how to save money with the little things while you make bigger and better with your home. So here are some home energy reducing ideas that will save you money fast:

Water Heating
Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F. Water heating can account for 14 percent to 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home. For households with one or two members, set your water heater even lower to 115°F. Insulate your water heater with a water-heater blanket.

Shower Use
Take showers instead of baths. A 5-minute shower typically uses less than 15 gallons of water, while a bath can use 30 to 40 gallons.Install water-saving shower heads.
Simple sidenote: Don't let water run while brushing your teeth or shaving.

Kitchen Saving
Switch your refrigerator's powersaver to "On," if available. Keep refrigerator coils and condenser area free of dust. Set the refrigerator temperature between 36°F and 38°F and the freezer between 0°F and 5°F. Defrost manual-defrost freezers when frost build-up is more than 1/4-inch thick. If possible, locate refrigerators and freezers away from direct sunlight and other warm air sources such as ranges and heating equipment. Use your dishwasher to wash only full loads of dishes. Let your dishes air-dry in your dishwasher rather than using the drying feature. When cooking on the range, use pot lids. Food will cook faster. Use cold water to scrape dirty dishes before putting them into the dishwasher and when running the garbage disposal. Use microwave for cooking when possible.

Laundry Room
Wash laundry with less water and cooler water. About 90 percent of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for water heating. Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
Dry towels and heavier-weight items in separate loads. Clean the dryer lint trap in the dryer after every load. Inspect the dryer vent regularly to make sure it is not kinked or clogged. Clean if needed. Dry consecutive loads to take advantage of the heat remaining in your dryer from the last load.

Lighting Energy
Replace any light bulb that burns more than one hour per day with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) equivalent. Install skylights to allow more natural light. This won't be an immediate solution but will offer long term benefits. A qualified contractor would be able to install this easily. Turn lights off when not in use. Replace outdoor lighting with outdoor-rated CFL bulbs. Use outdoor security lights with a photocell and/or a motion sensor.

Simple solution:
Unique home building wants the best for you and your family. From these simple tips to larger renovation projects, Unique wants your home to bring you peace of mind and comfort. Call us today to see what we can do for you!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

How to Plan For Your Home Build or Remodel Without the Extra Stress

How to Plan For Your Home Build or Remodel Without the Extra StressAt Unique Home Building, we are experts at home remodeling and the last thing we want is for you to have a stressful nightmare of a project. All you want is to have the right home and we think you deserve to be properly prepared. The truth is, you either need to either be fully skilled, prepared and equipped or hire a contractor to take care of it for you.

So how do you go about the process and decide what to do? You have to get clear about what the result you’re looking to achieve.

Get Clear and Organize Your Wish List. Write out all the things you want to change and the updates you would like to make. Don't worry about the order, just write it all down. Think about  how long you might want to live in the house. If you're planning on selling or looking to flip, you’ll want to speak with your realtor and create a selling plan and go about it from a slightly different angle.

Know Your Budget. You can’t go in on this without knowing your budget. You need to know what your limitations are so you don’t end up with an unfinished project without the means to finish it. Plus, it gives you and/or your contractor boundaries to work with.

Do Your Research: Find out or talk to a realtor to see what sort of return on investments the improvements you’re wanting may bring. Some improvements will add considerably more value to your home than others. Then make sure you research the contractors in your area for both hiring and keeping in mind for emergencies.

Create a Timeline. Make a list of all the things you dream about doing and break down your list into sections that help you get an idea of the time each task will take. This will help you not only get but see results in real time. Make sure you schedule your projects in the time frames you can actually complete them, that fits your level of comfort and budget frames. That's a big one right there. It's important to stay within your comfort zone or else it will be stress filled and frustrating.

Be sure that you’re making the improvements that are the best to meet your needs and return your investment; not just what’s trending. The priority is to go in the best direction - not all directions at once; and a professional contractor will help you figure out the best plan for your home, desires and lifestyle.

Once you make your list, you'll know what the priorities are. That's when you'll call the contractors at Unique Home Building. If you’re ready for remodeling, we’re the ones to call.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How To Finish Up Preparing Your Home For Winter!

How To Finish Up Preparing Your Home For Winter!It’s getting cold out there so the last thing you need is to feel cold inside too! If your home isn’t ready for winter, you want to get on it so it doesn’t sneak up on you. Get prepared for lower temperatures and wetter conditions now, with these very helpful tips from Unique Home Building!
Start with your windows and doors:
If you have old, single-pane windows, you will lose a significant amount of heat in the wintertime. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient, double-paned upgrades can pay for itself quickly in heat savings. Check all exterior doors to ensure that they are insulated and that there are no gaps or cracks between the doors and the frames that could let heat out. If you have weather stripping around doors, make sure it is intact and in good shape.
Care for your rooftops:
Make sure your roof gutters and drain pipes are clear of debris so that no blockage or damage occurs from ice or snow. That’s very damaging to your roof. On a dry day, blow out all the gutters with a leaf blower or spray them down with a hose. Check for holes or any repairs that might be needed and take care them before heavy snow or rain makes them worse. It’s also a good time to take a look at the roof itself and fix any shingles that are curling or any flashing around chimneys that has come loose.
Plumbing and Pipes:
Plumbing lines that aren't insulated and are in unheated spaces have to work extra hard to heat water.  Check all of your plumbing lines to identify those that are outside or underneath the house, or are in an unheated basement or attic.  Foam wrap and insulate all exposed pipes as best you can.

At Unique Home Building, we want your home to feel safe and welcoming for you. Whether it’s remodeling, adding on, or simply taking care of your home, our contractors are dedicated to serving you. Let us do what we do best and contact us today for any of your home design needs!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Simple Ways to Avoid Conflict & Enjoy Thanksgiving With Your Family

Simple Ways to Avoid Conflict & Enjoy Thanksgiving With Your FamilyThere’s always tension in the air at during the holidays because no matter who your family is, there are things to disagree with. These things can be life choices, business, politics, health and even parenting. But this is not the time to get out the microscope on each other. It’s the time to gather together in unity and gratitude. So today, as you gather for your meal, remember that you love each other and are together to celebrate that.

To help you enjoy more peace at the table this holiday, we at Unique Home Building want to share some simple ideas that are meant to bring people together.

Play Joyful or Soothing Music: You can listen to the music or also talk about it. Not only is music a safe conversation topic, but it also relaxes the mind and body and brings back feelings of nostalgia.

Travel Bucket List: Have everyone share the destinations on their bucket list. Where do they want to go and why? Where have they already been? What do they like and dislike about travel? Encourage people to share their most memorable travel stories.

Honest Embarrassment: Almost self explanatory, have everyone share a totally embarrassing story. To make it more fun, have it be from this last year - or from when they were nine years old or similar. After the end of the story, have a show of hands of who can relate or has gone through something similar!

On a More Meaningful Note

Gratitude in a New Light: Instead of the usual “sharing what you’re thankful for”, really be in gratitude. Before or after the meal, take a deep breath. Silently look at the people sitting around you. Think of what you love about them regardless of your differences. Then allow everyone to take a turn sharing their gratitude for both the person on their left and one other person at the table or in the room. We as a society are great at sharing that we are thankful for food, shelter, clothing and such - but we fall short in sincerely sharing our gratitude for other people. When people feel they are appreciated, they do more of whatever has been noticed and appreciated. Appreciation creates a desire in our hearts to do and love well.

At Unique Home Building, we love bringing people together. We’ve spent years doing just that through for so many families through our home building and remodeling services. We stay committed to it because we know you deserve to be together in the way that feels best.

So this year, in your home, come together with love, gratitude and the intention of peace. Choose smart topics to discuss and let bygones be bygones. 

And if you’re in the Dallas, Texas area, remember to contact Unique for any and all home needs!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Table Scape for a Beautiful Holiday Experience

How to Create the Perfect Thanksgiving Table Scape for a Beautiful Holiday ExperienceThanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to get the details planned. You’ve got the food planned and people coming, but why not make the space where you’re eating just as inviting? Add the beauty of the holiday to the beauty of your home with these few simple tips to make your Thanksgiving more magical than ever.

Add candle light.
Candles of various height can be a great centerpiece for Thanksgiving. You most likely already have them in your home scattered in various rooms. Gather them all and add plain white candles or festive fall colors such as oranges, reds and browns. A simple plate with a festive boarder paired with simple gold rimmed glasses are sure to make a statement. A pumpkin can serve as a great place card holder! Either attach a label around the pumpkins stem or write the name directly on the side.

Autumn colors.

Perhaps you’re more of a minimalist and you don’t want to clutter your table with too much decoration. If that’s the case, make use of a solid and bold autumn colored table cloth and then add a contrasting color of cloth napkins to create an inviting accent. Run a gold ribbon along the middle with the dishes set on top of them. Stand back and smile. It will look beautiful!

Beautiful florals.
A simple flower arrangement will add height to your table and can be achieved in a matter of minutes. Go out to your garden and snip some greenery as your base then add flowers, berries and branches! Keep it simple. Add an elegant1 runner to draw the eye to the center of the table. Leaves can be used as name tags by simply using puff paint and glitter! This is a great project to do with the kids! Finish off your table display by adding a fresh sprig of rosemary to each white plate adding a nice contrast against the leaf.

Simple Nature.
Foraged centerpiece. Instead of raking away the leaves that are sprinkled on your lawn,  save a few and use 2-3 types of different colored leaves to create simple base for your low laying centerpiece. Add in various types of pumpkins, squash and gourdes. Enhance your farm to table look with a statement charger, paired with a simple plate. Lastly, an old tree stump when sliced into disks make for a wonderful name card!

At Unique Home Building, we love helping you with both big and small ways to bring more life and home to the space you live in. From holiday prep to major changes, we want to be of service to you. We offer top quality contracting for home remodeling, renovation and more.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Simple Decor Changes to Bring the Beauty of Fall and Winter into Your Home.

Simple Decor Changes to Bring the Beauty of Fall and Winter into Your Home. There’s something about the change of seasons that makes us want to start fresh, turn over a new page, and say, “Out with the old, in with the new!” And in the fall, we can have so much fun with it, with the colors and the mood and all the beauty in between. The best part is, that it doesn’t have to be complicated or cost a ton. With just a few simple additions and changes, you can bring the beauty of fall and winter into the comfort of your home.  
Simple Swap
Start small. Notice a few pieces around your home that you can store until spring and replace with something with a more rustic or natural feel. Think linens, wicker accents, lamp shades, throw pillows, rugs, or even wall art.
Add the Glow
Set out candles…and light them! This is as easy as getting a flatter piece of wood and setting out tealights on it. Or add votives to mason jars and line them up on banisters and mantels. Another great touch is framing windows or accent walls with white christmas lights.
Basket of Apples
While fall is notorious (in a good way, of course) for its warm, fiery color palette, the season’s arrival doesn’t mean we do away with bright, beautiful color altogether. Quite the contrary. Apple green is a perfect example – bright, cheerful, and perfectly fallish. Simply get a wicker or wooden basket and store your normal apples in it or get fake ones for the decor.
Back to the Nature
Bring the outside in by branching out. Cut and gather twigs and fallen branches and arrange in a glass vase for the look of wood and ice. You can also gather pine cones and place them in a bowl, vase or simply around your home for the same effect.
Coloring Softly
Focus on bringing in more soft, luxurious textiles with autumn colors such as rich greens, rusty orange, browns, burgundy or gold. These are the colors and textures that you want to curl up with, in, or on. Velvet, soft linen, and a variety of other touchable fabrics make for wonderful fall pillow covers and throw blankets.
It’s easy to transition your home to embody the cozy comfort of fall and winter. Try these tips today and see how it feels in your home! And remember, for bigger changes such as remodeling, design and building, Unique Home Building get’s the job done beautifully. For those in Texas, call us today for a consultation!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Need to Move? Use These Tips to Keep It Easy and Stress Free!

Need to Move? Use These Tips to Keep It Easy and Stress Free!Nobody throws a party when it’s time to move - at least not to celebrate the moving process itself. Between packing, organizing, labeling and cleaning, you still have normal life to live like working, cooking and caring for children. So is it really possible to have less stress along the way? Yes! And here’s how:
DELEGATE. Despite normal patterns, you shouldn’t have to do it all. Get a list together of your closest friends, families and kind co-workers and have each one sign up for a day or duty to help. Be sure to provide them food and comforts along the way. After all, it’s your back and mind they’re saving!
REDUCE. Get rid of what you don’t need. We tend to move many things that we just don’t use and then they stay in the box in the next house forever. The less you pack, the less you have to move and unpack. If it doesn’t have deep family meaning or if you don’t use it often, stick it in a box and drop it off at Goodwill. Other families will be wonderfully grateful.
ORGANIZE. The best places to start on organization are your junk drawers. All houses have them. Go through your drawers and put your “must keeps” in sealable plastic bags. You or your movers just can drop the bags into the box, and when you are unpacking, you can just dump it back in. Everything is together. This is especially helpful for junk drawers, utensils, underwear drawers.
GO ROOM BY ROOM.  Box things up one room at a time. Depending on how much time you have, choose one room per day or couple days or per week. Be realistic and give yourself extra time for bigger or more filled rooms. Be very clear with labels. Use words like, closet, clothes, shoes, dining room utensils..  This way, when the boxes are moved,  you’ll not only have an easier time finding them at the new house, but they’re more quickly make their way to the rooms they belong in.
SMALLER BOXES. Make sure you aren’t afraid to use many small boxes instead of less large ones. The large ones get packed with more things and can become heavy and cluttered. Smaller boxes keep things organized and specific. Easier to put away and easier to transport.
PLAN AHEAD. This one is about utilities. Utility companies need about a month notice to know you will be turning yours off, switched or turned on. Some require appointments that may be booked out 2 weeks. Don’t get stuck without phone, internet or gas, etc. Think ahead. Call your current and future providers and let them know your move date to determine the best on/off services days.
BUDGET FOR CONVENIENCE. This is not the time to be perfect. If you know you’re moving, make sure to set aside a certain amount of money during your last 30 days, especially if you have a demanding job or children to care for, to cover the cost of meals out and entertainment - because you’re definitely going to need more of it right now. To be honest, it would be best to set aside an additional 30 days of convenience money to keep things easy while you move in as well.
RELAX. Do not move and pack 7 days in a row. Every 3 or 4 days, stop. You will burn out if you just keep going. Even if you stop at noon one day, give yourself a long stretch of doing something relaxing and rejuvenating. Get a massage, go see a movie, workout, take a hike.. anything that gives you a deep breath.  
Moving doesn’t have to be another thing you dread. With the right planning and help, it can be a pretty simple and low stress situation. So whether you're buying, selling or even remodeling, Unique Home Builders are here to support you along the way.  Please contact us and let us know how we can best serve you!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Prepare Your Home for Winter Without the Overwhelm

Prepare Your Home for Winter Without the OverwhelmIt’s been a beautiful fall so far. The trees are changing color, rain is falling and you’re distracted by the coming winter and how you’re going to have time to properly prepare your home. Yikes. Do you really want to miss out on the beauty of fall because of the worry and planning filling up your mind? Probably not. So let the contractors at Unique Home Building help you prepare your home for the coming winter!

Get better windows.
If you have old, single-pane windows, you will lose a significant amount of heat in the wintertime. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient, double-paned upgrades can pay for itself quickly in heat savings. Check all exterior doors to ensure that they are insulated and that there are no gaps or cracks between the doors and the frames that could let heat out. If you have weather stripping around doors, make sure it is intact and in good shape.

Expand your space.
Fall and winter bring visitors and family together to share meals and celebrate holidays. Do you have room for everyone?  You can expand a dining or family room pretty easily and be able to fit more people into your home in a more comfortable way.  You may also think of adding skylights or other windows to bring in more light to these spaces and the sun becomes more dormant. This doesn’t have to be a big project either. Small changes can make a big difference.

Roofing and gutters.
Once all the autumn leaves have fallen, cleaning out the roof gutters will save you from building up ice dams that can damage the roof in the winter. Blow out the gutters with a leaf blower or spray them down with a hose. Check for holes or any other damage to the gutters and repair them before heavy snow or rain makes them worse. It’s also a good time to take a look at the roof itself and fix any shingles that are curling or any flashing around chimneys that has come loose.

Prepare your deck.
Decks get a lot of use during long summer days. By the time fall comes around, they can look worn out and old. Once the deck is cleaned off and all summer chairs and tables are stored away, power-wash the deck. This will remove any dirt that is stuck in the wood grain and will take away the gray color that decks fade to over time. Fall is also a good time to reseal the deck if you use a sealant or stain.

Pipe care
Plumbing lines that aren't insulated and are in unheated spaces are a major cause of power use, as the water heater must work extra hard to heat water.  Check all of your plumbing lines to identify those that are outside or underneath the house, or are in an unheated basement or attic.  Foam wrap all exposed pipes.

Preparing your home for the coming winter doesn’t have to be an overwhelming list on your wall. The key here is to make a list of most important items first and working through your list in that order. The top of the list items should include the areas of your home that are in most need as well as the things that will take the most time, effort and planning ahead.

At Unique Home Building, our contractors are dedicated to creating a home that feels like it's your very own. As fall will be here before you know it, let us help you get the planning started, so that as the seasons pass, you know you are prepared to take the best of each along with you!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Simple Design Tips to Bring More Peace & Comfort to Your Home

Simple Design Tips to Bring More Peace & Comfort to Your HomeWhen you move into a new home or simply want to bring a more welcoming environment to your living space, you might just need to make a few design changes here and there. Everyone likes to feel at home where they live and these tips from us at Unique Home Building will help you do just that. The tips below are some of our favorite interior design tips; they’re easy to follow and don't require much of a budget. Allow them to help you create the relaxing, soothing living space you desire, wherever you may be in the world.

Cluster Your Favorite Pieces
Gather your favorite objects - small pieces of art, nick-nacks, heirlooms, and plants and then place them where you can enjoy them the most — on a sideboard, windowsill, or bedside table, for example. Your display should be specific to you and can feature anything from jewelry to a vase or glass bottle with a single flower to a stack of beautiful boxes topped with a smooth stone. Don't be afraid to mix and match here! Let your heart show you what to use!

Avoid Harsh Lighting
Avoid cool and blue tinted or fluorescent lighting as they are less relaxing and can remind you of the light in a hospital, lab, or work environment. Other options beside using gold tinted LED lights would be to use string lights, candles, and small glass bottles and jars. Just add tealights and votives to the jars with the labels removed, to make the perfect candle holders.

Comfort Corners
Make sure you always have a space to return to and unwind. Make it cozy, full of cushions or pillows, your favorite books and maybe even a small table for tea and a notebook. This allows you to always have a place to go when you simply need to refuel and regroup.

Simple Scents
Make sure you have pleasant scents available around the home. Aromatherapy has been proven to lift the mood, set the mood and also kill germs and boost immune systems. Invest in some quality essential oils for the antibacterial and health benefits, with fragrances like orange, lavender and bergamot. Other simple ways to add enjoyable fragrances are through natural candles; soy candles are great - or even with naturally formed incense sticks and cones. Keep fragrances available in each room and ready to use as needed. This also helps to keep the less desirable smells of the kitchen and bathrooms from taking over your home.

Just Add Life
Be sure to have at least one living plant in each room. It can be simple, like small cuttings or gatherings from your local neighborhood or environment, or houseplants that will thrive indoors. Succulents and air plants are perfect for small places and bathrooms as they give a subtle yet still vibrant feeling of life. Larger plants are best reserved for the living room, bedrooms and office.

Don’t settle for living in a space that doesn’t feel like home to you. Try these tips out and see if they give you the lift you were needing. If that’s not quite cutting it, you might be ready for the bigger step of remodeling. And that’s where we come in. Call us at Unique Home Building today to see if we’re the contractors for you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Remodel Your Nursery Into the Perfect Playroom

How to Remodel Your Nursery Into the Perfect Playroom

You spent so much time getting the baby room just right. But now they’re getting bigger. They’re growing and their needs are different. They want to climb and explore, to touch and create. That means it’s time to ditch the crib and create a space that nurtures their growing minds and bodies. We at Unique Home Building care about your family and want to help you in exactly the way you need it!

So enjoy these helpful tips so you too can remodel your nursery into the perfect playroom.

A child’s playroom is a place of creativity and imagination. It is exciting to envision endless design possibilities as you plan the space, but it is also necessary to consider more practical matters, such as storage and layout. Rather than feeling limited by the many pieces of the playroom puzzle, view the experience as the ultimate design challenge! Creating a space that inspires kids to experience the joys of play is an amazing opportunity for whimsical decor choices. The juxtaposition of children’s motifs with efficient organization can create breathtaking results. As you begin your playroom design quest, don’t forget to consider the interests of your kiddos. Their ideas may spark the inspiration for a winning decor concept, and under your guidance, the room will take flight. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Storage & Layout
As you plan the layout for your playroom, pay attention to the space involved. Is the room large? Will it be shared by multiple children? Or perhaps the “playroom” is a section of the child’s bedroom, making compact living a must. If space is no issue, consider placing storage and seating pieces along the wall and leaving the center of the room free for creative endeavors.

Explore & Discover
Include plenty of table space, as children use tabletop surfaces for activities ranging from arts and crafts to small block building, as well as sensory activities such as play dough.

Rest & Recover
If the play area will be a part of the child’s bedroom rather than a separate room in the house, there are plenty of layout options to ponder. For example, with the bed taking up a portion of the wall space, there may not be room for tables along the edge of the room. A table in the center of the floor is a wonderful alternative. Additionally, you might consider having another corner of the room just for reading and relaxing. Perhaps a rocking chair, some pillows, a rug and a book shelf would be good.

Those are some simple ideas. Start there and move on to decor and accents. This is a fun time and we want you to have the best.

Ready for help? Give Unique Home Building a call today and let us know how we can help!