Advance Design and Construction shares custom home building trends for 2017. Part One
It's been a wild winter up in the Lake Tahoe area. With all that time spent by the fireplace during the extensive snowfalls, we looked at some current home building trends. One of the leading trends continuing into 2017, is the environmental trend of sustainability. Even with the current snow levels, an eye towards water conservation and energy efficiency are important areas to address when building or remodeling your home. Some of the most important areas of sustainability are as follows:
1. Tankless Water Heaters. According to Energy.Gov, tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. The tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water thus eliminating water waste running the tap to get from cold to hot water. However, a tankless water heater's output limits the flow rate. To overcome this problem, you can install two or more tankless water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances -- such as a clothes washer or dishwater -- that use a lot of hot water in your home.
.2. Windows. Multi-pane wood clad windows offer the best insulated window value. Several of our recent projects have used Sierra Pacific Windows. Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation, family-owned and operated forest products company based in northern California and the state of Washington. Sierra Pacific Windows are manufactured from kiln-dried preservative-treated Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir. The windows have an advanced glazing system (spectrally selective, low emissivity coating) featuring a 100% polymer structural foam spacer by Quanex, (the world’s only NO-Metal Warm Edge insulating glass spacer) paired with high-performance, spectrally-selective low-E glass. With the cold Tahoe winters along with the hot Tahoe summer sun, a well-insulated wood clad window is an essential piece of your building budget.
3. Insulation. All insulation has an 'R' value that is listed prominently on the package. An R-value is a calculative method referring to thermal resistance. It is also a thermal measurement unit for particular materials in relation to how they insulate. Theoretically, a higher R-value means more heat resistance, which also means greater insulative qualities. The R-value is a somewhat complicated calculation, but all you need to know is what R-value you need, based on where you live and what type of space you are insulating, and choose a type of insulation accordingly. In general, those who live in colder climates need products with a higher R-value, while those in warmer climates need less R-value. According to the Department of Energy, In the Tahoe area, attic insulation should have a minimum R-49 value. For the walls, R-5 to R-6 wall sheathing and for the floor, R-25 to R-30. Closed cell foam insulation has been a popular choice for a lot of our clients.
Along with sustainability and energy conservation, natural elements and a comfortable, relaxing living space also top the 2017 list. We'll look at those next time.
Snowmaggedeon 2017: With the multitude of storms we've had since the beginning of the year, many homeowners are concerned about the amount of snow on their roof, more commonly called the 'snow load."
One of the first things to do is be aware of your surroundings:
-Is your roof sagging or leaking?
-Do you see cracked or split wood members, cracks in your walls or masonry, sprinkler heads that have dropped down below ceiling?
-Have your doors or windows 'popped open' or are they difficult to open?
-Are your utility pipes or conduit attached at ceiling bowed or bent?
-Have you heard creaking, cracking or popping sounds?
If your home is showing any of these stressors, it's time to clear off your roof.
Another area to look at is how much weight is actually on your roof:
If you have fresh snow:
10-12" of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 1 lb. per square foot of roof space, so you might have up to 4 ft of new snow before your roof becomes stressed.
If you have packed snow:
3-5" of old snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 lb per sq. foot of rook space so anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be too much for your roof to handle..
Total accumulated weight:
2 Ft of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could weigh as much as 60 lb per square foot of roof space which is beyond the typical snow load capacity of most roofs
Ice: 1 inch of ice equals one foot of new snow
Take a look a your roof from the street and factor in the above types of snow on your roof. If you are above any of the stress points, it's time to get your roof cleared.
According to the Placer County Building department, new homes must be able to withstand the following loads:
ELEVATION ABOVE SEA LEVEL MAXIMUM ANTICIPATED SNOW DEPTH (Dg)
5,001 - 5,500 ft.*** 9.7 ft.
5,501 - 6,000 ft. 11.7 ft.
6,001 - 6,500 ft. 12.7 ft.
6,501 - 7,000 ft. 14.3 ft.
7,001 - 7,500 ft. 16.0 ft.
7,501 ft. up 16.8 ft.
Here are some additional tips to keep your home safe this winter:
-Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
-Check outside fuel and dryer exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed by snow or ice.
-Clear snow away from furnace and dryer exhaust vents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
-Clear snow away from fireplace flues to also prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
Lastly, ice dams can cause major damage to a home or building. Ice dams occur after a heavy snowfall, followed by several days or even weeks of very cold weather. An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, usually at the gutters or soffit. When it forms, the water backs up behind the ice dams and creates a pool. This pool of water can leak into your home and cause damage to your walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
With a little attention to the clues that your home is giving you and taking care of those details, you can spend the rest of this winter out enjoying all that Tahoe has to offer!
One of the many recent trends in homebuilding is the use of reclaimed wood. Along with the inherent beauty of the wood, there are four strong arguments for using reclaimed wood, says Chad Beatty, vice president of Elmwood Reclaimed Timber, which collects and sells used wood.
1) It's environmentally friendly. Reclaimed wood isn't grown on farms, which often cultivate only trees that grow fast, but aren't supportive of an ecosystem. Yes, it represents a tree that's been cut down, but at least it's getting another life in your home.
2) It has an age and character that cannot be mimicked. Old wood likely grew in a natural environment where it had to fight for nutrients and sun, making the wood strong and durable. Aging also brings out the color in the wood.
3) Most old-growth wood is no longer available. Regulations prevent many species of tree from being harvested, so Mabry couldn't buy new redwood for his siding, for example.
4) It has its own history. Out here in the west, your wood may have been a part of the Gold Rush, the Orgon Trail or a part of the Manifest Destiny that called Americans west throughout the 1800's.
Up in the Tahoe area, reclaimed wood is a natural partner in homes that want to create a link between the natural beauty of the Sierra Nevadas and the interiors of a beautful new home. Currently, Advance Design and Construction is working with Montana Reclaimed Lumber, a company that has been providing reclaimed beams, antique boards, historic paneling and trim for discerning clientele for over a decade. Advance Design and Construction will be installed the Montana Reclaimed Lumber siding on a new Martic Camp cabin this winter. With the addition of the reclaimed siding, this Martis Camp cabin will showcase the best the early west with all the updates that a current home demands.
5 Products Advance Design and Construction wants you to consider before planning your remodel or new build home in Tahoe.
Congratulations! You've decided to take the plunge and are either building a new home or remodeling a current home in the Lake Tahoe Region. Whether this will be your primary home or a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of your 'every day life', here are 5 items that Advance Design and Construction believes will make your home truly a place you never want to leave
1. NanaWalls. Tahoe is a place to be savored. From the stunning sunset colors over Lake Tahoe to the breathtaking beauty of a stand of Aspens, you want your home to showcase the beauty of the outdoors. The NanaWall system folds completely to the side and creates a seamless integration between indoors and out. With the NanaWall, you can fully enjoy your surroundings while at the same time keeping your home warm and comfortable when a snow storm rages outside.
2. Lutron Electrical Systems: In this age of technology, having a 'smart home' should be at the top of every new build or remodel list. The Lutron system has the power to transform any space with light and sound as well as security, at the touch of a button. You can control the light, shade and sound levels in a single room or throughout your whole home using a hand-held remote, wall-mounted keypad, tabletop control, iPad or Android. Your security system can also be connected into one easy to use system along with your lighting and sound functions. In addition, as of the first of 2017, the Lutron system can be connected with Amazon's Alexa or Sonos wireless speakers. All from the comfort of your seat in front of the fireplace.
3. Smart Appliances: Along with your Lutron system, you'll want to look at the new smart appliances hitting the market. Sharp is introducing a new line of smart appliances called the "Next Gen Smart Zone": Not content with simple notifications or a remote on/off button, Sharp's giving its new smart appliances at least one unique smart feature. Sharp rolled out a new oven, dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine, each with Wi-Fi connectivity that goes beyond the basics of checking statuses and hitting start. LG has also entered the fray with the Smart Instaview Door-in-Door Fridge with a translucent door panel that doubles as a fully loaded Windows 10 tablet, complete with Cortanavoice controls.
4. Warmly Yours Radiant Heated Floors: Unlike the smart technology noted above, in-floor radiant heating is not new to home building. But, radiant floors are an unsung hero, especially in a four season climate. There is nothing better then coming home from a day of skiing, your feet chilled from those uncomfortable ski boots and being able to pad barefoot onto your warm bathroom floor as you head towards the shower. From the end of your ski day to those first cold steps the next morning, your radiant heated bathroom floor is worth every penny.
5. An outdoor fire pit: The outdoors is the places to be in Tahoe. With over 300 sunny days a year, spending time outside is always a highlight. You can continue your enjoyment into the evening and throughout the winter with a fire pit. Snuggled under a blanket with a fire pit warming your surroundings your fire pit creates a conversation are and is the perfect way to enjoy your company and unwind under the stars.
Building a vacation home is an exciting process. But along with that excitement, comes the extra responsibility of getting the home you want--long distance. Here are some tips from Advance Design and Construction that will make the process easier.
1. Hire the right contractor: Make sure your contractor is licensed, experienced and has a good reputation and track record in the area where you are planning to build your vacation home. A local contractor knows the unique challenges of the area and often has strong relationships with area subcontractors so that your job will not stall while waiting for that all important sub.
2. Communicate: Make sure you and your contractor are talking via telephone, text or email on a consistent basis. Most problems can be solved or eliminated altogether by having open lines of communication. Decide whether you would like a weekly telephone meeting or if you prefer immediate contact when there are questions about the job. A mix of these two options makes a job go smoothly and stay on track throughout the building process.
3. A picture is worth a thousand words: Have a 'look book' of the finishes and items you want in your new home. Pull pictures from magazines or on-line that show the finishes or ideas that you want to see in your new home. Communicating via pictures takes the guesswork out of "I think I want that tile to be laid in a 'brick formation' when the tile installer calls that same installation 'broken-joint' and the interior designer noted 'staggered 1/3'. Additionally, a picture is a great way for you to approve light placement or confirm a fireplace mantel from afar.
4. Plan a trip to visit the construction site. As well as you and your contractor are communicating, you still need to come up and visit. Plan your trip and set a time to walk the project with the contractor. This will give you the ability to talk through the project and notice any small details that you might want to address. No matter how well you plan, there will always be a couple items that need to be changed throughout the building process. The on-site visit also gives you a chance to envision your choices and ask any questions you may have for your contractor that may come up as you are walking the job together.
5. Plan your budget and then add 20%. You may have made every decision possible prior to starting your job. The finishes have been picked, the appliances ordered and the guests invited to your open house next summer. But, you may get a snowstorm in October--causing your contractor to need a building permit extension, your favorite tile may be backordered or the excavator might encounter a bed of granite that was not on the original plans. Or while you planned as well as possible, you now need that extra bathroom that was originally scratched from the plans. Having that extra 20% budgeted keeps you in the drivers' seat of your home construction and gives you the piece of mind that you will not run out of funding just as you are in the final stages of building your home.
Building a vacation home can be a wonderful experience. A vacation home brings friends and family together to create wonderful memories and lifetime family traditions. With attention to the above details, your new home will be all that you anticipated and hoped for. Advance Design and Construction's 15+ years of experience in North Lake Tahoe working with local homeowners as well as vacation home buyers can create the warm and relaxing environment that you'll want to visit again and again.
Building a new home in Lake Tahoe? Advance Design and Construction has 5 things for you to ponder.
1. What are your favorite outdoor pursuits? Are you a big skier? Or a bigger boater? Would you rather spend your days hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail or playing 18 holes at one of the fine golf courses around the lake? Zeroing in on the way you will actually spend your time as opposed to how you THINK you will spend your time can go a long way to making your purchase a successful one. Let your passions guide your home site decision and you will always find joy in your Tahoe home.
2. Will you be hosting many family gatherings in your new home? The ‘bunk room’ is a feature seen in many new homes in the Tahoe area. A great addition to any second home, (or first home in a vacation area), the bunkroom can easily sleep 6 children with plenty of room left over for play. With two bunks, a twin over queen set-up (with built in drawers underneath) there is room for everyone and their stuff.
3. Where will your store your outdoor gear? While the mudroom got its start in the east, it is truly a necessary luxury in Tahoe. With lockers to store skis, clubs etc. and a bench to sit and pull off boots, ski gear and bike shoes the mudroom is one of the most used areas of the house. Even better is to have that laundry room tucked alongside so that those trail encrusted socks can go right into the wash.
4. Where will you seat all your guests? While there has been much press over the last 10 years about the demise of the dining room, the dining room is alive and well up in the Tahoe Basin. With a Tahoe home, more times than not, you will be hosting friends and family on a somewhat regular basis. Whether it be having a large family gathering at Thanksgiving, Christmas and even the Fourth of July or the group of friends coming up for some fresh powder in the winter and fabulous hiking in the summer, these days often end with dinner together—at the dining room table.
5. Will there be more than one cook in the kitchen? With the addition of all those houseguests (see above) the kitchen needs to hold more than one cook. A prep area, often on an island with a second smaller sink, is the perfect area for your guests to help prep some hors d’oeuvres, toss a salad or even plate a wonderful dessert. After that wonderful meal, the prep area often leaves room for a second dishwasher—leaving more time to enjoy the great outdoors.
Building a new home (or remodeling a current one) gives you the chance to create a sanctuary that truly fits your lifestyle. Let Advance Design and Construction help you create the home of your dreams.
Pouring a Hillside Foundation
Advance Design and Constructions' new build on the shores of Lake Tahoe is moving quickly. Already the first pour of the foundation has passed. Within a few short hours, five Tatarek Construction concrete trucks deftly backed down the picturesque one way street and poured the base of this Elise Fett & Associates designed dwelling.
The concrete pour is a multi-step process and must take into account temperature, altitude, and regional building codes. Up in the Sierra Nevadas, the high altitude, cold winters and the threat of earthquakes and forest fires create the need for a home that will stand strong against the elements.
As this future home is nestled on the edge of the hillside, the base of the home is several floors below street level. To that end, the concrete must be pumped down through many feet of of hosing and then leveled into the forms that were set the previous week. As the cement surges out of the pipe, Mike Tatarek's crew swiftly 'screeds' the concrete using a large wood board. The screeding process helps compact and consolidate the concrete and begins the smoothing and leveling of the top of the concrete. Once the surface has been screeded, the concrete is floated. The surface is floated to further compact the concrete, even out any depressions or high areas, and create a smooth finish on the surface. At the same time early finishing takes place, joints and edges are worked into the concrete with special hand tools.
As soon as the forms are filled, the Tatarek crew is quickly on their way, leaving the concrete to cure in the fresh mountain air. They will be back to pour three more times as this structure takes shape.
The late summer sun hangs over the job site at Martis Camp while a symphony of construction noise wafts over the valley. At the Advance Design Construction site, the crew is creating a stunning new home designed by Scott Gillespie and Sandbox Studio.
The Advance Design and Construction crew is hard at work, with the efforts of their labors shown daily in changing landscape of the home site. After a few short weeks, the concrete forms, poured by Tatarek Construction, already show the outline of this Lake Tahoe sanctuary within the luxury community of Martis Camp.
Once the concrete is poured, the ADC crew marks ‘plumb lines’ all along the perimeter of the new home. While the concrete pouring is done within a carefully constructed set of forms, the ADC crew states that concrete has a ‘mind of its own’ and a plumb line is needed to make sure the vertical lines of the home raise straight and true up towards the crystal clear Tahoe sky.
All around the perimeter, the crew goes with the plumb bob, carefully marking each section of walls, calculating and leveling to make sure the walls will be as straight up at the top as they are at the base.
It is this attention to detail and this expectation of excellence that imbues every job that ADC undertakes. From the first excavation scoop to the sweep of the broom at the close of a project, the plumb bob is a reminder of the careful and meticulous attention shown in the building of this home.
On the north shore of Lake Tahoe, a former 1938 summer cottage is being replaced with a stunning year round residence for a local family. Working with the award winning architectural/engineering firm, Elise Fettt and Associates, Advance Design and Construction is building a dream home that celebrates the beauty of Lake Tahoe throughout every step of the construction process.
From the street, the home will settle quietly into the neighborhood, with wood and stone accents that honor the natural beauty of the majestic Tahoe forest. From the backside, the home will be a virtual window to the soul of Lake Tahoe with a multitude of windows along the side and back of the house. From each vantage point, the colors and textures of Lake Tahoe will be integrated through the use of wood flooring, steel and stone finishes within the new build.
On the main floor, the open living, dining and kitchen areas are built to create a cohesive and warm family feeling. Yet within the openness, there are still spaces for the owners to steal away to catch up on work related matters with offices for both owners tucked unobtrusively out of sight.
The kitchen will feature top of the line appliances while the bathrooms will also be showcased in nothing but the best. ADC ‘s top-notch team of carpenters and tile setters along with top construction supervisors will ensure a smooth and easy building process with excellent workmanship throughout the entire process.
With a completion date of November 2017, check back often to see the on-going results of the Lake Tahoe masterpieces as it rises from it granite floor.
Jeff Miller, President of ADC and his team of fine home builders and partners