Do-It-Yourself Renovation Headaches

hallway under constructionWe all love saving money, but did you know that do-it-yourself renovations can actually end up costing you much more than hiring a professional?

In our experience with hundreds of home renovations throughout Lancaster County, no two renovation projects are alike. Each presents its own unique challenges, so be sure to educate yourself before diving into the unknown.

Here’s a list of some things to consider before jumping into that next home remodel project: Continue reading

5 Ways to Age in Place

Home is where the heart is, so it’s no surprise that most people want to remain in their own home long after retirement. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that living independently at home can become more difficult with each passing year, especially if a spouse passes away.

If you are looking into aging in place for either yourself or a loved one, there are several ways to make it easier on everyone involved. In today’s blog we discuss some home modifications you can make in preparation for living independently well into your senior years. The good news is, these modifications are much cheaper than assisted living communities and their ever-rising healthcare costs!

Each of these modifications comes directly from a livability survey performed by the AARP, which surveyed residents age 50 and older in 11 metropolitan areas across the US, the closest to us being Philadelphia, PA (whose survey actually covered residents aged 45-plus). Continue reading

Energy Efficiency – A Top Priority?

building-plansPrior to the last several years, one of the most overlooked ways to reduce costs in the home was to improve the home’s energy efficiency. Fortunately, thanks to competition and technological advances, tax credits and rebates, and affordable financing options, there has been a much needed increase in the awareness of the value of creating a more energy-efficient home.

A variety of signs are pointing towards this trend and to the demand for more energy-efficient homes. Both homebuyers and those looking to sell their homes are beginning to see the benefits of making energy efficiency a top priority, for the reasons that we’ve outlined below, and many others. A few of the signs include… Continue reading

How To: Build Your Own Dream Home

If you’re looking to build your own home but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! As Lancaster County’s premier custom home builder, we have many decades of experience in building luxurious custom homes, and we want to share our knowledge of the custom homebuilding process for those who are interested but aren’t sure where to start their journey.

Building your own dream home is definitely a major undertaking, and following the steps outlined here will help you understand all that’s involved and move through the process smoothly. Of course, whenever  you have any questions, please contact our team and we’ll be happy to help!

  1. The most important step is to Plan – As Benjamin Franklin astutely noted, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is especially true for building your own custom dream home. Some vital questions to consider ahead of time as part of the planning process include:
    • What is our total budget? (We’ve heard stories of people who spent every available dollar on the house and wound up with empty rooms because they had nothing left for furniture.)  So as you’re preparing your budget, be sure to include land, taxes, furniture, décor, and a contingency for anything unexpected that may come up.
    • What are our goals and/or visions for this home?
    • What features do we require this home to have?
    • Do our goals and/or vision match our budget?

Continue reading

basement remodel living space

Basement Remodeling FAQs

Don’t let your basement space go to waste! It’s time to think about turning your basement into another great feature in your home. We find that other Lancaster area homeowners typically have a few reservations or questions when they begin the journey towards a basement renovation, so we pulled together a list of some of the most common questions we get in hopes we cover anything you may have on your mind.

basement remodel with reading nook, fireplace, and tvHow much does a basement remodel cost?

  • Unfortunately there’s no great answer to this question. Depending on the size of your basement, the materials required, any electrical or plumbing work that needs to be done, and what features or décor you would like (like the reading nook you see in our photo), your cost can vary substantially.

Continue reading

Spring Cleaning Tips

renovated living roomThe warmer weather is finally here and that means its spring cleaning season! Keeping a large custom home built by Norman Graham Builders in tip-top shape requires a tidying up every once in a while and spring is the perfect time to do so.

Open those windows, pull out the dust rags and brooms, and borrow a few of these spring cleaning tips from our list to get you started. Continue reading

kitchen-and-dining-room

The Most Wanted Home Features for 2016

In a recent survey conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs, a part of the National Home Builders Association, respondents were asked their “most wanted” features they hoped to see in any potential new home they might purchase.

Among the items on the list, these features ranked the highest for the survey respondents. The most wanted home features include: Continue reading

donovan exterior

5 Home Design Trends for 2016

Spring has sprung here in Lancaster, PA and the bitter cold weather may finally be behind us. To successfully master our custom home building and remodeling projects this year, keeping up with current trends is a secret to success.

If you’re curious what is trending in the home design world, we’ve put together a list of a few of the things we’ve seen in the market in the early stages of this year. You may have seen some of these ideas on popular websites such as Houzz or Zillow as well, which reinforces the trends we have seen locally. Continue reading

6 Ways to Perfect an Open Floor Plan

We are finding that businesses aren’t the only place you are seeing a surge of open floor plans these days. A large portion of the remodeling work we do now, whether it’s in the main room, kitchen, or even bathroom, is opening up space and creating a natural flow in the home.

If you’re looking for some of the best-kept secrets to defining spaces in these open floor plans, we’ve put together a list of six of our favorite tricks. By combining several ideas from this list you can create sections of your home that have that appealing look while still maintaining subtly distinct areas.

  • newell dining roomColor – Color is one of the simplest ways to define an area in an open floor plan. With a neutral wall color as the backdrop, you can use accent colors for different section groupings to create several open “rooms” within your space. Our photo here uses an example of a lighter brown area in the dining room with a white kitchen.

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Home exterior with wrap-around porch

3 Tips for Front Porch Design from the Experts

As the old English proverb goes, “First impressions are the most lasting.” This would help explain why when you look at one of the new home exteriors built by our team at Norman Graham Builders you can tell how much thought and effort was put into the front porch design.

Your front porch is where your home’s first impression is made. Not only should your front porch fit the architectural tradition or style of the home but it also can provide protection from the sun or outdoor elements for you and your guests.

If you haven’t been blessed with a front porch you can be proud of the good news is we can help! We’ve assembled a list of three professional tips that we’ve put to use in some of the Norman Graham Builders homes and you could replicate on your own remodeling project. Of course if you run into any problems or would like an experienced team of experts to help you complete the porch redesign project, don’t hesitate to contact us. Continue reading