Archive for September, 2009
Brock Builders was the general contractor on the construction of this home in Biltmore forest. Together with architects ACM Design we held an open house construction tour for some Asheville REALTORs. This home is not for sale, we just wanted to show off this spectacular project. Check out the fantastic details in this home. Enjoy the video.
Imagine the luxury and convenience that comes from enjoying a long shower and not having the water run cold halfway through. One of the most in-demand appliances in custom home construction and home remodeling is the tankless hot water heater. Perfect for families who constantly run out of hot water or those looking to save energy costs, tankless hot water heaters qualify for a $300 federal energy tax credit and supply an endless demand of hot water.
Just as with any large purchase for the home, it is important to research the products available and understand the way in which tankless water heaters operate. An expensive purchase, tankless hot water heaters are not necessarily simple, over-the-counter systems. There are several factors involved with purchasing and installing an on-demand hot water heater and familiarizing yourself with the following basics will make your decision much easier.
How they work
On demand hot water heaters don’t store hot water, but rather create it as soon as needed. In tank-type water heaters, hot water is sent from the heater to your appliance, like a faucet or shower head. Hot water sits in the pipes and tank waiting to be heated and cools off when not used.
A tankless water heater works by heating the water directly. While it does not necessarily instantly produce hot water, it will not later run cold. There is no storage tank where water heats and stands by, ultimately cooling over time if unused. That waste of water and energy is what makes tankless water heaters more energy efficient, as they avoid standby heat loss.
Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heater
Depending how you want to use the tankless water heater, you’ll want to decide between whole house heaters or a point-of-use system. Point-of-use tankless water heaters provide hot water for small sources, like a cup of tea. Less expensive than whole house tankless water heaters, point-of-use heaters cost a few hundred dollars, minus installation. The point-of-use tankless water heater is relatively small and will usually fit inside a sink cabinet or in a closet.
Whole House Tankless Water Heater
Although more expensive than point-of-use heaters, whole house water heaters have higher gallon per minute flow rate capacities and can supply enough water for more than one fixture. For larger families, more than one whole house water heater might be necessary, as it is important to have a water heater that can handle the maximum flow of the appliances or fixtures you plan to use simultaneously. Whole house units are available in gas and electric varieties, however there are several additional expenses that come with the installation of whole house electric tankless water heaters due to the large amount of electricity required for operation.
Whatever option you choose, tankless hot water heaters add luxury to any household but also require professional installation and additional research. Working with a qualified general contractor is advised to learn more about choosing the right tankless water heater for your next home.
Custom kitchen design often tops the list of importance when building a new home or remodeling a current one. Altering the look of the kitchen with new products or creating a completely new kitchen design layout becomes an exciting process for homeowner and builder alike. While consulting a general contractor and kitchen designer can bring any kitchen design ideas to life, having a better understanding of the various layouts is the biggest help.
When beginning the initial kitchen design, it is important to ask how you plan to use the room and what is to be achieved. While some families cook five nights a week, others only need a few cabinets and counter space for take out food or homework. A condominium’s kitchen might equal less room, but a professional small kitchen design can still provide adequate space for those who enjoy cooking on a regular basis.
Once the kitchen’s functions are decided one should next consider the layout. When building a new home, this is often determined during the design of the floor plan with a custom home architect and builder. But a kitchen remodel will often undergo a large transformation with the removal of walls and cabinets to create a truly new layout.
There are several kitchen design layouts and each offer something different to the amount of available space. The number one goal in any custom kitchen design is to incorporate the essential work triangle. The work triangle includes the refrigerator, stove/oven and sink, and aims to create a short, unimpeded distance between the three with the work surface, prep sink and refrigerator never more than a few feet away from one another. Once the amount of available space and the work triangle are determined, the next step is deciding what style layout to use.
For those in a small space, such as a condo or townhome, the single wall design is the best use of space. This allows the chef a long work surface for the countertops and appliances, typically with a microwave overhead.
Corridor or galley kitchen design is a second option for smaller, rectangular spaces. This layout provides additional cabinetry not found in the single wall design and also promotes the work triangle more efficiently than a single wall layout.
The L shape is a very popular kitchen design that proudly displays the work triangle. The longer countertops usually include the range and refrigerator, while a sink might be in the shorter part of the L shape.
The U shaped kitchen is one of the best examples of employing the work triangle and will often include kitchen island designs. Larger in surface area, the U shaped kitchen will typically have an abundance of countertops and cabinets and is a perfect choice for any home chef.
Once the layout is decided, the true fun begins with kitchen cabinet design, countertop and color selection. Determining the appliances, flooring, hardware and décor can be a bit overwhelming, but a custom home builder or kitchen designer will often assist with the overall look. Stay tuned for additional information on kitchen appliances and the role they play in the design and function of your new space.