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Blueprint the House of Your Dreams

Dreaming up the dream kitchen… Building the dream bathroom… Designing the dream living space that reflects your values and your aspirations. It seems the only thing holding you back from your dream home, is simply how BIG you can dream!

Your architect’s job is to take all your little pins on Pinterest, your bookmarked photos on Houzz, and those torn out pages of paper they use to make magazines out of, and blueprint all that together into a living, breathing expression of your dreams.

It’s SmithBuilding Company’s job to build it. But that’s not all we do.

Your Dreams Have Dreams

SmithBuilding Company has been building and renovating Vermont dream homes for over 30 years! There’s a pretty good chance that at some point in that time we’ve seen and built a tangible manifestation of your dreams, and have the experience you need to help adapt that idea to the life and lifestyle you aspire to.

Imagine yourself and your family in 5, 10, or 20 years… How old will your kids be? Will they need a room of their own? A separate bathroom? Are you planning on moving your business into a home office? Is your mother-in-law going to need a place to stay a bit longer term? How great would a wraparound porch be? How can you be more efficient and environmentally friendly down the road?

We’ve walked and talked through these and countless other home design and essential life decisions with all of our clients over the years, in part because it’s our job to help build these dreams and decisions into their new home, but also because it helps us understand exactly what you’re looking for, and how you want to live and grow there; we’re a big part of that process.

Active and Interactive

Today’s home design hasn’t entirely retired the compass, tracing paper, and tape measure, but they have taken a bit of a back seat in the 21st century to the innumerable consumer and professional software programs that allow you to achieve a level of three-dimensionality and rapid manipulation architects and designers of the past could only dream of.

The way we see it, these modeling and design tools are simply an extension of the work you’re already doing dreaming and designing your new home in your head, and they can be a great collaborative way to communicate your ideas to your architect and builder so they can see what you’re really trying to get at.

At the same time, we can help you adapt your most innovative design concepts into the traditional and classic architectural models that define the Vermont landscape, and that you’ve literally built a lot of these dreams of yours in.

The Fine Blue Print

Start with a vision. Imagine how and where you want to wake up every morning, where you want to relax with your family, what your landscape looks like and how it makes you feel. Your vision will help guide your entire design process, and keep you focused on what you really want.

Tour the surrounding area. Drive around the hills and towns where your property is, or where you’re looking for property to buy, and take in the architecture and atmosphere of the place. We live in more than just a home when it comes down to it, we live in a community, and that community can help inform the course of our stone walls, or the shape of our barn roofs.

Build a portfolio. Whether it be online, in a photo app, or in a traditional scrapbook, take a lot pictures, bookmark a ton of pages and images, scour the internet and the real world for ideas and gather them all together in your dream house portfolio.

Consult an architect. You and your architect will put all that scheming and visioning down on paper, draw up a floorplan and develop a design. Your home will reflect all of the time and energy you’ve put into dreaming it, and your architect, with their vast professional experience, can help you make sense of your dreams and design a home that reflects them.

Hire a custom home builder. Eventually you’ll want to build it. You’ll want a custom home builder with that is dedicated to seeing your dream home become a reality, with an unrivaled reputation, and someone you can see yourself building a real relationship with.

Truth is, wherever you are on your design timeline, you can contact SmithBuilding Company today and we can jump right in, help you gather your work to this point, and guide you through all the necessary steps in your dream home building process; that’s what we do best!

Contact Smith Building Company today and build your wildest dreams with us!

Housing Styles Around the Country

The United States is one of the largest countries in the world (it’s actually the third largest, to be precise). With a land area as substantial as that of the US, we know that there is incredible diversity across the country. From climate and weather, to flora and fauna, to mountains and beaches and more, traveling from one state to another can mean an entirely different scene—and oftentimes, packing a completely different wardrobe!

As this incredible diversity affects practically all aspects of life, housing styles around the country are no exception. The homes we often see in Vermont are drastically different from other homes in other places around the US. Smith Building Company knows houses, with over 30 years experience in the home building and renovating industry. Check out some of these unique house styles from different states across the country!

Vermont

The state where we are proud to call home, Vermont first saw European explorers enter the region in 1609, with English settlers establishing Fort Drummer in 1724. We’ve been around since the original 13 colonies, and much of our classic house style reflects a lot of the colonial style the east coast is known for. Traditional wood frames and siding remain as relevant today as they did back in the 18th century. If you visit some of Vermont’s most historic homes, you’ll see how they have some of the same features as modern styles! As long as it protects against the cold and snowy winters, we’ll go for it.

Florida

Our favorite peninsula juts into both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and the housing styles accommodate the location. With the tropical storms that can occasionally rock the area, Florida homes are sometimes iconic for resting on stilts. Not every home is built in this style, just as varying home styles and designs exist in every state. Yet the stilts have acted as a barrier against flooding and water damage for centuries.

Even before settlers arrived, housing had been built on stilts and raised above ground by the Seminole Tribe. Their houses, called “chickees,” have components that can still be found in modern housing today.

Arizona

The southwest corner of the United States largely utilizes adobe to construct their houses. Arizona is known for being a part of the Sonoran desert, where temperatures can rise past 120 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the summer. The scorching heat of the desert makes adobe an incredible material to work with.

Adobe is comprised of mud, dirt, and other organic matter. In some places, adobe was made into bricks, which would dry very quickly in the heat of the desert sun. Modern uses of adobe often involve reinforced steel walls, which adobe is then poured over and dried. We often think of adobe as primarily a housing style with Spanish influence, as it was largely utilized in Mexico and the southwest United States. Yet adobe is actually used all over the world! Adobe structures can be found in Yemen, Romania, Peru, and many other countries, and it has been used for thousands of years. One example is the citadel of Bam in Iran, which is a massive city comprised entirely of adobe, and dates back to around 500 BC!

Adobe has been used in hot and dry climates because the materials are easily available and houses can be constructed relatively quickly. The other main reason it’s an incredible resource is that it naturally keeps homes cooler in summer. Adobe walls essentially store heat for a long time, releasing heat as temperatures begin to drop at nighttime.

Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is famous for its beautiful and vast forest landscapes. The same can be said for many states in the north and northern parts of the midwest, which is where we see some incredible log cabins. To be fair, log cabins have somewhat taken a back burner in terms of permanent housing, and are oftentimes symbolic of vacations designated to escape the city. But log cabins are still a housing style that have been in place for centuries, and still remain in place today!

Even in today’s modern log cabin homes, there’s still something incredibly rustic about leaving the wood (or logs itself) exposed to the world. With westward expansion, this started becoming the housing style of choice, as it was relatively easy to construct with the woodland resources available. Oregon was no exception, where, not one, but six national forests can be found just within the state! Indigenous tribes like the Chinook were some of the first to construct longhouses made of cedar planks.

 

From sea to shining sea, the US is home to some amazingly diverse housing styles, which are by no means limited to this list alone. No matter what style you’re considering for your home, Smith Building Company is here to help! For premiere homebuilding and renovating services, call Smith Building Company today!

 

Is It Time for a Renovation?

You’ve been in your house for some time now, you love having a place to call your own, and yet, there seems to be this little nagging thought in the back of your mind: is it time to renovate my home?

Home renovations come about for a variety of reasons and happen in a number of ways, but at its core, renovating means restoring, redecorating, or refurbishing an existing room or building. It can seem intimidating to start this process, because in some ways, it almost feels like starting over. And despite what the many HGTV renovation shows indicate, we know home renovation will take a considerable amount of time.

Smith Building Company has been in the home building and renovating business for over 30 years, and we are happy to talk you through the process of renovation. Our comprehensive list will give some prime examples of why renovating your home is a good idea. Trust Vermont’s renovation experts, and read on to see if renovation should be in your future!

You Should Renovate If…

You Bought a Fixer-Upper.

So many of us have been intrigued by (or attempted) the art of working with a fixer-upper. Buying slightly to moderately outdated homes has become a more recent trend, as it is offers a potentially cheaper alternative to building (though this is not always the case). Another component of the trend has involved trying to renovate without the help of professionals, in the hopes of a renewed sense of pride in calling a home truly your own.

That being said, your benefits will be tenfold if you look into working with a renovation company. At the very least, considering a consultation will be crucial, especially if your renovations include electrical and plumbing work (which very often is the case). Working with electricity is highly dangerous work, even for experienced electricians. Studies show that over a third of deaths caused by electrocution happen to electrical workers, and this does not even account for electrical deaths of construction workers.

Making your fixer-upper your own is so important, but frankly, it will mean nothing if you’re not around to enjoy it. If you feel strongly about doing some of your own work, tackle the DIY renovation strategies that are better suited for your wheelhouse. Work with Smith Building Company to build out a game plan for your home renovation.

 

Your Family is Growing

Maybe you and your spouse started out with a quaint three-bedroom, and now you’re expecting some new additions to your family. Maybe your amazing mom is at the point where she’s needing more consistent care, and instead of putting her somewhere, you want to be able to take her in. Or perhaps you yourself purchased a modest two-bedroom because you were tired of paying rent that seemed to just keep getting higher and higher. Change can happen quicker than we think, and for whatever the cause may be, a growing family makes for a great time to renovate your home.

Smith Building Company can offer any number of renovating services to best serve a family that’s growing! We offer home renovation in both a high-quality and efficient manner, meaning you will be ready to welcome and accommodate the exciting changes happening with your family.

Your Lifestyle is Changing

It doesn’t matter how old you are, a new job opportunity could present itself at any moment. If all of a sudden you’re diving into the freelance world, or are able to continue working as a consultant from the security of your own home, now might be a great time to start thinking about renovating. It might seem like a lot of changes at once, but sometimes it’s better to ride the waves of change instead of letting them knock you over.

You could keep working in the kitchen or the living room, always searching for an outlet for your laptop and trying not to get distracted by other family members using these rooms. Or you could think about contacting Smith Building Company to work at renovating a room into the perfect home office for you and your business. Imagine the serenity from being able to disengage from the liveliness of your family when work is calling, while also being able to jump back in whenever you want. Match your changing job and lifestyle by renovating a home office!

You Want to Keep Up With the Times

For many of us, when we buy or build a home, we’re in it for the long haul. Our houses and decor can stay pretty much the same through the years, but that doesn’t mean everything else does. Styles change drastically from generation to generation, and keeping up with the trends not only benefits the overall look and feel of your home, but adds value to your home as well.

In the past few decades, we’ve seen increasing popularity with trends such as kitchen backsplash, muted tones, understated decor, open air concepts, and environmentally friendly homes. Like all trends, we will see continued evolution with these styles throughout our lifetime. Keeping up with a certain concept that seems to have a foreseeable lifespan ahead of it is a great way to stay modern.

When your home looks desirable, it becomes desirable. This is huge for the eventual day when you might be looking to sell your home. Many homeowners eventually downsize, saving money after their kids move out by taking advantage of a smaller space. Maintaining a home that’s always in style is crucial for maintaining your home’s value.

You’ve Wanted to Renovate for Awhile

Maybe you’ve been wanting to update your kitchen for the past several years, and the timing just wasn’t right. Things like replacing the dishwasher, updating a fireplace, buying a new washer and dryer— these are the prices we pay for owning and trying to upkeep our homes. In terms of priorities, sometimes renovating tends to fall to the wayside; it’s not as high of a priority as fixing the garbage disposal or reshingling the roof, for example. If you are finally at a point financially where renovating your home is in the ballpark, start moving it up on the priority list!

The fact that you’ve wanted to renovate for a while and haven’t indicates you probably are a thoughtful decision-maker, with some fiscal intelligence to boot. You’ve been dreaming of home renovation for some time: take this as your sign and get planning!

Need some renovating ideas to get you started? Take a look at our list of how to update your home in style!

  • Expand your closet by building a walk-in
  • Convert a closet or other space into an extra bathroom
  • Finish your basement to create a guest bedroom
  • Renovate part of your basement to build a workout space
  • Update the flooring, countertops, and cupboards in the kitchen
  • Retile the bathroom and give it a makeover
  • Change the spare bedroom into an office

No matter what you’re hoping to do for home renovations, Smith Building Company is the place for you! We’ve been working with Vermont homeowners for over 30 years, and our customers speak to the success of our company. When you work with Smith Building Company, you’re working at making your dreams for your home a reality. For house building, home renovation, and more, call us today!

6 Ways to Build an Environmentally Friendly Home

Building a home can be such an exciting process! Getting to choose the look and style of your home goes into everything from the layout, to appliances, to windows, and more. In 2017, one of the best things about designing a home is the technology available to create an environmentally-friendly home. There are so many benefits to creating a sustainable home, and the positives help more than just the environment.

Take a look at Smith Building Co’s list of ways to create an house that both you and the environment will love! And when you’re ready to take the plunge on building your eco-friendly house, call Smith Building to provide you with the guidance you deserve.

Why Build an Environmentally Friendly Home?

Before diving into some amazing resources to make a home environmentally friendly, it’s important to acknowledge the reasoning behind this decision. Trying to start up an eco-friendly home might seem like a bit of a challenge, but the rewards make it so worth it.

    • It Helps the Environment. For starters, investing in energy-saving technology is immensely helpful to the environment. Global warming has been intricately studied and watched for many decades now, and there are several scientific observations that serve as evidence to the planet’s changing climate. One example is how our atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have skyrocketed in the past 60 years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, meaning it’s a gas that traps heat in our atmosphere. This has significantly negative results, such as melting the polar ice caps or causing a rise in sea levels, both of which affect the ecosystem.

      Some carbon dioxide in the environment is totally natural, but the current amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is unnatural, and largely comes from manmade sources. Many of these emissions come from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, or gas, which produce enormous amounts of carbon dioxide.

      By being environmentally conscious with your home, you are working to eliminate the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere. This might not seem like it makes a big difference, but it does! When you are committing to using less fossil fuels and carbon dioxide, you are not only making a contribution, but you are increasing awareness for others around you to do the same. Your choice to build an environmentally friendly home is such an honorable decision, and you are completely making an impact.
  • It Saves You Money! Building an environmentally friendly home means you do not have to pay nearly as much to the industries which create energy, because your home will be sustainable. Your energy bills will decrease substantially, and many of the following methods to be eco-friendly will eventually pay for themselves! Even something as simple as fixing a leaky faucet can save you 10 percent of your water bill.

    Not to mention, the fossil fuels that so much of society relies upon are going to run out. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable sources, meaning that once they’re gone, they’re gone. By investing in eco-friendly home-building techniques, you are staying preventative in the undeniable rising costs of using fossil fuels.

By taking an eco-friendly approach to building your home, you’re helping save both the environment and your wallet. What more can you ask for?! Take a look at some amazing ways to build an environmentally-conscious home that you and Mother Nature will be proud of.

1. Install a Skylight

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits of including skylights in your building plan. With skylights, natural sunlight is let in, which brightens the room without needing to turn on a light. By not turning on lights, you’re not using electricity, thus saving your energy bill and lessening the demand for the burning of fossil fuels. Imagine only having to turn on a light when it starts getting dark out— with skylights in your home, you’ll save so much energy!

2. Energy-Efficient Windows

Installing energy-efficient windows are kind of the coolest thing (literally). The right types of window treatments can help keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, which is fairly impressive if you are looking to work with existing windows. However, installing storm windows can reduce heat loss by 10-20 percent. Some types of windows can actually filter out 40-70 percent of the heat that normal windows would take in (great for warmer climates). The proper windows can result in using A/C and heat less than normal, who knew?

3. Sustainable Flooring

Flooring is a significant factor in contributing to your home’s overall value. Hardwood usually is seen as a way to increase home’s value, but there are other ways to ensure your floor still adds worth to your overall home. Bamboo is a sustainable option for flooring, which can still be stained to your liking, and is actually harder and more durable than most North American hardwoods! For an even more eco-friendly option, look into recycled options (cork flooring has such a unique texture!) or repurposed wood. As the shift towards environmentally-conscious housing grows more and more in popularity, your house will still retain value as you shift away from hardwood.

4. Solar Panels

Once upon a time, solar panels were this new thing that seemed ideal for sunny climates. Fast forward to today, where the technology has advanced so significantly that a home in practically any location will reap the benefits from solar panels. Reports show that in cloudy places like San Francisco, people with solar panels are saving $2,000 a year on utility bills! Talk with your home builder about installing panels with your new home!

5. Low-Flow Plumbing

Did you know that flushing toilets make up 30 percent of all indoor water use? With a low-flow toilet, you can conserve your water usage by almost a third! Additionally, you can install a low-flow showerhead for your bathroom. These showerheads are awesome, because they maintain the necessary water pressure while saving water (and money, too!) Look into these options when building your home!

6. Think About Location

One of the best ways to get your house environmentally friendly before building even starts is considering the location for your new home. Try to avoid building a west-facing home, as this will impact the sun’s exposure and heating in your household. Many places recommend windows being installed on the south-facing side of your home, which is great for helping heat your Vermont home all winter long. Windows facing the south can reduce heating and cooling costs up to 85 percent!

Some other placement things to consider are simple, like where your refrigerator will go. By keeping your fridge in a shaded location, it actually doesn’t have to work as hard to keep things cool. This in turn saves you energy as well. If possible, also consider building somewhere near public transportation, as this will be an excellent way to continue reducing CO2 emissions both in and outside your home.

Vermont is known for its beautiful seasons, and we definitely experience a vast range of temperatures and weather all year long. Through building an environmentally friendly home, you will be well-equipped to deal with all that our seasons bring in both money-saving and eco-saving ways! Consult with Smith Building Company today to build the perfect eco-friendly home. Together, we can help the planet (and your budget, too).

Let the Light Shine In – Living with Skylights

There is little disagreement on the aesthetics of skylights in your home. The profusion of natural light spread throughout your indoor environment is virtually unmatched, as is the play of leaves and clouds like living pictures on your wall.

What IS up for debate, and has been for a long time, are the pros and cons of skylights, specifically with regards to energy efficiency.

The Pros of Skylights

Let’s start off with the easy stuff. Contemporary homes with flush or recessed skylights tend to make almost everyone smile. The health and emotional benefits of natural light are widely lauded, and the effects are almost instantaneous, as almost anyone who’s walked into a home awash with sunlight through to skylights can attest.

Rooms in the middle of your home that otherwise may not have a window, or rooms that face north, or are right up against a tree line, can come to life with skylights where natural light can be hard to come by.

Skylights also mean less need for electric lighting, especially in those north-facing or “landlocked” rooms and hallways. Placed thoughtfully, skylights can provide natural light in your home all day long, allowing you to keep those light switches turned off far longer.

Venting skylights are a great way to let fresh air into your home, creating incomparable air flow from your open windows to your skylights. Venting skylights also allow you to vent hot air that rises in your home and replace it with cooler air coming in from windows, lowering the temperature of your home naturally, making it more comfortable for everyone.

The Cons of Skylights

Now for the cons. First and foremost is the argument that as with any glass surface, there will be some amount of heat loss, especially in the winter when you are actively heating your home, and that heat is always rising to the highest point.

Skylights can also leak or create snow and ice build-ups on the roof above them if not installed properly. The risk alone is often enough to scare off architects and homeowners from considering skylights at all.

Skylights also have the potential to overheat your home in the summer when a bright, high sun can beat down for over 15 hours a day. Windows on the side of your home will invariably be out of the sun’s direct glare at some point as the sun moves across the sky, while skylights will see much more of the sun’s rays throughout the day.

Debunking the Myths

While it’s almost impossible to argue the pros of adding skylights to your new home, it’s rather easy to reject a few of the most pervasive cons.

Yes, skylights do create the potential for some amount of heat loss, but improvements in glass technology including triple glazing and UV protection, are making skylights more energy efficient every day. Beyond that, most skylights can be outfitted with automatic or manual shades that can combat heat loss when those winter nights turn especially cold.

It should also be noted that on those particularly sunny winter days, a few skylights can actually help heat your home, compensating in some part by reducing your energy costs during the day for what increase there may be overnight.

As far as leaks and ice build-up go, professional installation puts that argument to rest right away. If you hire a fly-by-night contractor to do your installation, by all means, worry! But if you work with professionals who guarantee their work and have the experience necessary to back that guarantee up, leaks should never be a concern at all.

Let the Light Shine In

For our part, we’d be hard pressed to try to convince you one way or another, but if you’re designing and building a new home, you will absolutely be considering light and windows, and the way that light will be treated in your design is essential to how you will live and grow in your new home. Beyond that, skylights provide unparalleled light, and add a natural beauty and serenity to your home that is often convincing enough.

Contact Smith Building Company today and see the difference!

Everything Old is New Again: Bringing Traditional Craftsmanship Into Your New Home

By / Custom Built Homes Vermont / Comments Off on Everything Old is New Again: Bringing Traditional Craftsmanship Into Your New Home

If you are a house junkie, you could probably spend all day touring houses constructed in eras past. The amazing love, detail, and craftsmanship that went into some of these vintage homes is what makes them so unique and beautiful. If you are thinking of building a new house, but don’t want to be stuck with a boring beige box, a custom home will be right up your alley. Imagine bringing the classic details you love together with all of the modern conveniences and amenities you need. If you are wanting a truly unique home, a custom built home with traditional craftsmanship is the answer.

Custom Trimwork

A common theme runs through the trimwork found in most new construction: narrow, boring pieces of engineered MDF. The houses of old always let their trim shine with large pieces of beautiful wood that really stood out as design elements in a room. With a custom built home you can control the size, type of wood, and amount of trim in a room. Maybe you love crown molding with ornate corner pieces and very detailed design such as dentil or egg and dart. Or perhaps you would like an extra thick base trim to highlight or complement a beautiful hardwood floor. With a custom home, the sky’s the limit with trim choices. The trend with new construction has moved away from these details that make a home really special; bring them back with your new custom home!

Natural Materials

As with the choices for trim, there has been a movement away from quality materials in new home construction. The focus has become what is cheap, easy and not too complicated for the builder. Natural materials in the home bring a warmth, value and timelessness that synthetic materials can’t match. When you have seen the beauty of marble in a bathroom, a vinyl shower can never compare. Kitchen counters of soapstone or granite can be showstoppers that make every visitor remark on the beauty of your kitchen. Hardwood floors emanate a classic luxury that vinyl or laminate just can’t duplicate. Choosing the best materials will keep your home from quickly seeming dated, and the upkeep will be much less than with cheaper products.

Wonderful Windows

As the trend has moved away from quality materials, there has also been a movement away from a large number of big windows in a home. Windows let in the light, and help you really fall in love with your home. If you are wanting to control the amount of windows, where they are, and what kinds of windows you have, custom building can create the home of your dreams. Round windows, arches, unusual configurations or wraparounds can all be designed and built. Don’t wrap your beautiful new windows in vinyl, let them shine will that custom millwork! Let the light into your custom home with an abundance of windows!

So even if your home is going to be brand-new, it can still have the quality and beauty of houses constructed with the craftsmanship of the past. Smith Building Company can help you achieve your dream home with a custom built home in Vermont.

Building the Dream Bathroom

By / Custom Built Homes Vermont / Comments Off on Building the Dream Bathroom

Your dream home should have all of the comforts of… well… home! Your abode is, after all, the place where you’ll spend a huge chunk of your time. So, every room counts. You’ve dreamt up the dream kitchen (decked out in marble, sleek tile, porcelain fixtures, and a stainless steel, double-door refrigerator). You’ve also settled on the perfect bedroom (equipped with a walk-in closet, plenty of room for the king bed, and a private deck for morning coffee). But there’s something missing, something crucial to fully capture the soul of your home. What could it be?

The Master Bathroom

While a bathroom is just that – a bathroom – it can be so much more. If you’re custom building your home, or renovating it to meet your every whim, you have all of the freedom that a blank canvas offers. So why not seize the opportunity? What would you like in your custom master bathroom? Let’s dig into the various crucial components of a bathroom:

The Shower

You absolutely love your shower time. You demand an expansive shower. Two shower heads are a must. Slate tiling would feel quite good underfoot. And frosted glass will do to form the boundaries of your shower. Perhaps there should be a bench surrounding the exterior. The soap requires a shelf. The shampoo requires another shelf. Oh, and don’t forget the conditioner, room for a scrubby, and a loofah, and that moisturizing facial mask stuff. Where is your razor going to sit? OK, now where will the towels go? Wait, what about a steam shower? Yes, you’ve always wanted to install a steam shower in your dream home; now is the time to do it. Shower… check.

The Spa

Next, it’s onto the tub. We face some similar issues, but the first thing that matters is size. You simply must have a two-person spa. Jets? Absolutely. You also want to have plenty of shelf space for candles. Once again, where are those towels going to go? Alright, that’ll do. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few plants nearby? Succulents don’t need much light, and they’d look great beside the tub (we’ll have to leave some shelf space in the corner then, I suppose). Speaking of lighting, you’ve always wanted a skylight above the tub. What material will the fixtures be made out of? Brushed nickel? Copper? Stainless steel? You know best.

The Vanity & Sinks

Are you content with just one sink? No? OK, we’ll go with two sinks. Now what about the mirror? Would you prefer two stand-alone mirrors? Or just one wide vanity? What about the cabinetry. You’ll need more than just enough space for a toothbrush. Set aside some room to store all of the cleaning supplies. Do you want shelves for your q tips? Your hair products will have to go somewhere. Also, allot some space for your hand and skin lotions.

The Loo

It may be the last thing on your mind, but the toilet deserves some thought, just the same as the rest of your bathroom. You’ve always wanted an efficient toilet; better check out the low gallon per flush units. And it’d be best to match the color of your loo to that of your tub and the sinks.

The Closet

Onwards. It’s time to consider the closet. You need extra space to stow towels. Also, you’ll need a bit of space for extra toilet paper. Don’t forget about backup toiletries. Do you keep your vitamins in the bathroom closet? What about medicine? Where are those bandaids going to go? Perfect. You’ve found a spot for each item that you’ll need.

Custom Home Designs from Smith Building Company

If you have a dream home in mind, we have the builders to bring it to fruition. We specialize in providing custom home builds and renovations, including, of course, bathroom builds. So, when you’re ready to build the dream master bathroom to match the dream master bedroom (all within your dream home), you can count on the Smith Building team. Feel free to take a look at our portfolio of completed projects, or learn more about our building services. Ready to get started? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Smith Building Company representative to take the first steps toward the home of your dreams!

Barbecue Season – Trends in Decks and Outdoor Living

By / Custom Built Homes Vermont, Homes Built On Your Lot Vermont / Comments Off on Barbecue Season – Trends in Decks and Outdoor Living

 

While not an official Vermont season alongside the likes of Sugaring Season, Mud Season, Black Fly Season, Foliage, Hunting Season, Stick Season, and the standards you’re much more familiar with; Barbecue Season comes as soon as the snow’s off the deck, lasts well into late fall, and is defined not so much by what you’re eating, but by how and where you’re eating it.

Sure, there’s your die-hards out there that’ll be huddled in front of the grill all winter long, but to truly enjoy Barbecue Season for all it has to offer, you need to not only be able to bundle up, fire up the grill, and cook outside, but enjoy the meats and veggies of your labor at the table on the deck with the whole family.

Undersized? Not on Our Watch!

Seriously, what’s the point of building a house without a deck; and then, what’s the point of building a deck you can hardly spread out on?

Size your deck accordingly to accommodate all the family and features you want to be entertaining out there. Make sure there’s room enough for the dogs to lope around safely and comfortably when the gate is shut, and the family to spread out and enjoy themselves.

In fact, make sure there’s room enough for all your outdoor furniture from chaise lounges and Adirondack chairs, to that handmade picnic table and iron clad bistro table in the corner.

All Shapes and Sizes

No one ever said your deck had to be a rectangle attached to the back of your house like a tag on the back of your t-shirt. Complement the nuances of your home and environment with custom curved faces, arcs, and angles that play into and counterbalance the unique shapes, styles, and design features that define your home and landscape.

For that matter, why not build your deck right into your landscape by incorporating instead of eliminating what’s already there. Build your deck around the trees, having them come right up through the deck itself, adding a living canopy to your entire deck experience.

Sticks and Stones

Traditionally you’d see decks built of wood, often pressure treated lumber to hold up to the elements, or patios of blue stone, field stone, or concrete; but there is nothing holding you back from incorporating all kinds of materials and motifs into your new deck that redefine the way we think and feel about outdoor spaces.

Why not have intricate stone steps leading to a post and beam arbor that opens up to an expansive hemlock deck inlayed with a fieldstone island, on which a copper bowl is set for outdoor fires, surrounded by benches of composite, recycled lumber? Seriously, why not!?

Natural birch balusters supporting a smooth maple handrail? Boulders defining corners where dead ends used to be? Multiple levels of different shapes and materials? The possibilities are virtually limitless, so long as you don’t limit your imagination.

The Barbecue is Just the Beginning

Sure, you’ll make room enough for the barbecue grill of your dreams, but you could also build the grill right into a complete outdoor kitchen: sink, countertops, wet bar, the works!

And why stop there, when just off the deck, or on the deck itself for the matter, a nice cedar outdoor shower… because nothing says summer like eating, cooking, entertaining, and showering outside!

Whatever you do, don’t limit yourself. The way you live outside your home is just as important as the way you live in it.

Smith Building Company will make sure you’re not holding back simply out of convention or tradition, but rethinking the way we look at our outdoor lifestyles, and firing up your imagination just as you will your grill.

Contact Smith Building Company and build the deck of your dreams, today!

Focus on the AC in HVAC – Air Conditioning

By / Air Quality, Custom Built Homes Vermont, Energy Efficiency / Comments Off on Focus on the AC in HVAC – Air Conditioning

It can be hard to trust that winter is truly on the way out, and spring on the way in, but even if it doesn’t happen this week, it is coming eventually, that much we know.

We also know that the last three years have been some of the hottest years on record across the country, with record breaking temperatures and stretches of muggy, hot days.

Whether you attribute that trend to climate change or simply cyclical weather fluctuations is really irrelevant when the temperature in your home becomes almost unbearable!

Vermonters have long relied on opening windows overnight to let the cooler air in, and closing everything up during the day to keep it there. That may be a great solution when we’re talking about a couple hot days a year, but as those days add up, you may want to consider a more 21st century approach to climate control – air conditioning.

Ductless AC or a Traditional Centralized System

Most people are familiar with two of the most common air conditioning systems: the centralized system that is ducted into all the rooms of your home; and the single window air conditioning units.

A third option is the ductless air conditioning system. Ductless AC units are decentralized like the traditional window units, where each smaller unit is responsible for cooling a single room or area of your home, and can be adjusted independently of any other units.

Ductless AC units are flexible, sleek, and unobtrusive, and can be installed in any home where accommodating for bulky ductwork isn’t really an option.

Energy Efficiency Through Personalization

The days of setting the thermostat to 75°F and walking away are over. Centralized, ducted systems require you to cool your entire home to the same temperature even when half that space may be unoccupied most of the time.

The ability to customize how and when you cool your home, room by room, each according to the preference of anyone in those rooms, is virtually unequalled with a ductless system.

Not only that, but losses from leaky ductwork can account for more than 30% of energy consumption; by retrofitting to a ductless system, and cooling individual rooms on demand, the energy savings alone will be pretty darn cool.

The AC IQ Test

Ducted or ductless are really part of the question; the real question is: How smart is your home climate control system?

“Smart Homes” are quickly changing the way we think of cooling, heating, and overall energy use in our homes. There are all kinds of smart home technology systems on the market these days, with associated applications for our smart phones and computers.

These technologies allow you to control your home cooling and heating systems in ways that were unthinkable even a few years ago. Today, you can control your AC from anywhere, not just when you’re standing in front of your thermostat. You can be sure to use less energy during peak hours when energy is most expensive, and rely more on those times of day when energy is cheaper. You can even set your AC to start cooling your home an hour before you get home from work, saving tons of money and energy in ways we just couldn’t conceive of before these innovations came along.

Plan Ahead with Smith Building Company

Whether you’re thinking about renovating and updating your existing home, or building your dream home from scratch, we’re pretty sure your dream probably includes the climate control system that will save the most energy and money, while providing unparalleled climate control and comfort for your whole family.

Smith Building Company specializes in innovative solutions to all your home building needs including finding the best climate control solution for your building project and helping you stay cool as the snow melts and the sun starts shining.

Contact Smith Building Company and control your climate future, today!

Dreaming Up the Dream Kitchen

By / Custom Built Homes Vermont / Comments Off on Dreaming Up the Dream Kitchen

Everyone ends up in the kitchen. That fact is further true with a Smith Building Company kitchen. That’s why our custom kitchens and kitchen renovations are designed to cater to your unique tastes (pun intended). So let’s get down to brass tacks with some essential considerations for a great kitchen design. Let’s discuss some considerations for your upcoming dream kitchen as well as its aesthetic appeal…

Cooking

Cooking is the first and foremost use of your kitchen. You need a gas range. A pair of stoves (one big enough for a 30-pound turkey). A microwave too, sure. Then there’s the barista station. You can’t seize the day if you don’t “carpe” coffee first. Set aside some space for a wine cooler (which is barely second in importance to the fridge). When you’re establishing the programming (the utilitarian components) of your kitchen, cooking comes first.

Entertaining

You’re constantly entertaining guests. You tend to host a barbecue once a week in the summer, host the family for a reunion once per year, and have friends over just about every night. And inevitably, as we mentioned, everyone ends up in the kitchen. Will you opt for a peninsula for your countertop space? Or would you like an island instead? Regardless, you’ll need a few bar stools and some high-top counter space. How about custom lights that operate on a dimmer? Check. And you’ll need a bar too. And a place to hang all of the stemware.

Cleaning Dishes

As the evening draws to a close, you’ll find that it’s time to hug the sink, open the tap, pour in some suds, and get to work. After an afternoon of scarfing down a homemade meal, noshing on sweet desserts, and polishing off the whole conquest with a cocktail, you’re left with a mound of dirty dishes. Fortunately, your kitchen is designed to handle such occasions. You’ve had a deep basin sink installed in the countertop. Plus, you’ve built a specialized drying rack into the wall to hold your plates (and gracefully display them). There is, of course, a dishwasher in the vicinity, and a garbage disposal installed to take care of the dirtiest items. OK, so you’re content with the flow of your kitchen; you can cook, entertain, and clean.

A Bit About Aesthetics

So now it’s time to consider the aesthetics of your new kitchen. Do you opt for light and clean? Perhaps you prefer warm and inviting? Is the sink porcelain or stainless steel? The appliances are, of course, stainless steel – you’ve decided it’s the most timeless material. You’ve always wanted a ceiling hung pot rack – wrought iron ought to work. Maybe it’d be best to go with an island over a peninsula after all. Now on to the wall tiles; there are so many to choose from. Will it be natural stone tiles? No, no, they’re too difficult to clean – especially behind the sink. Porcelain and glass tiles it is. What about the cabinets? You’re a fan of that clean, uniform look. So you decide to install wood cabinetry that’s coated in a clean coat of eggshell white paint. No, no, that’s too clean. How about a robin’s egg blue instead; yes, that’ll do the trick.

From Dream to Design to Build

With each of our custom home builds, it’s our goal to deliver the home of your dreams. We work closely with our clients to meet their specific demands and desires, from project conception down to the last detail. Learn what sets Smith Building apart from other home builders, and count on us for your next renovation or new construction! Get started today!