March 19th, 2012
We all know that it only takes a few seconds to make a long lasting impression. Wilmington new home builder, Mark Johnson Custom Homes, would like to share with our readers and article courtesy of RealtyTimes.com that gives tips on how to make the entryway of your home one that will leave a positive impression on your guests.
We all know the power first impressions has over our society. We make snap-judgements of books, homes, and people in the first few moments of meeting. This makes it even more important for homeowners to get entry-ways looking their best.
According to a recent national home valuation study conducted by Therma-Tru, even the simple update of installing a new entryway door can increase the perceived value of a home by more than $24,000 on average!
When it comes to entry doors, the sky is the limit these days. Manufacturers know the power of a showstopping door. This is why, according to Therma-Tru, “manufacturers offer a wide array of choices for entryways incorporating decorative glass doorlites, sidelites and transoms. These choices allow homeowners to create a custom look for the home while making a statement about the homeowner’s personal sense of style.”
More and more homeowners are choosing to stay in their homes to wait out the down market. Home prices have fallen across much of the nation. This has amped up remodeling across the nation.
Decorative glass entry doors are a great way to bring light into your entryway as well as add a spark of class to the exterior of your home.
Aside from updating your front door, a great tip for your entryway is to keep it organized. If you’re not careful, your entryway can be come a dumping ground for keys, phones, paperwork, bags, coats, and other often used items. The key it to have a place for everything.
Invest in a suitable entry table that can house a docking port for phones as well as a hidden area for keys.
If your entryway has a coat closet be sure that it is cleared out to make room for daily use and for guest coats. Put in a shoe rack or bin for shoes, boots, and umbrellas. There shouldn’t be anything cluttering up your space.
Add a few warm touches to this space by including an entry rug, which can also reduce slippage on tile floors. Place a warm lamp and some simple artwork on top of the entry table. Think about first impressions when you choose colors and styles. This space should make guests or prospective buyers feel warm and welcome!
If you’re looking for a simple way to capitalize on your home’s first impression, then consider adding a touch of class with some decorative glass as well as organizing your space.
Article written by: Carla Hill, RealtyTimes.com
November 9th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers an interesting article courtesy of ConcreteNetwork.com.
Concrete is a friend of the environment in all stages of its life span, from raw material production to demolition, making it a natural choice for sustainable home construction. Here are some of the reasons why, according to the Portland Cement Association and the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations:
Resource efficiency. The predominant raw material for the cement in concrete is limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth. Concrete can also be made with fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from power plants, steel mills, and other manufacturing facilities.
Durability. Concrete builds durable, long-lasting structures that will not rust, rot, or burn. Life spans for concrete building products can be double or triple those of other common building materials.
Thermal mass. Homes built with concrete walls, foundations, and floors are highly energy efficient because they take advantage of concretes inherent thermal massor ability to absorb and retain heat. This means homeowners can significantly cut their heating and cooling bills and install smaller-capacity HVAC equipment.
Reflectivity. Concrete minimizes the effects that produce urban heat islands. Light-colored concrete pavements and roofs absorb less heat and reflect more solar radiation than dark-colored materials, such as asphalt, reducing air conditioning demands in the summer.
Ability to retain stormwater.Paved surfaces tend to be impervious and can block natural water infiltration into the soil. This creates an imbalance in the natural ecosystem and leads to problems such as erosion, flash floods, water table depletion, and pollution. Pervious concrete is a special type of structural concrete with a sponge-like network of voids that water passes through readily. When used for driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other pavements, pervious concrete can help to retain stormwater runoff and replenish local water supplies.
This parking lot installed in 2001 at Bannister Park, Fair Oaks, Calif.,
is the first in the state to use pervious concrete. The Sacramento Cool
Communities program was a partner in the project, which used pervious
concrete for stormwater management and to reduce the urban heat-island
effect. In about 10 years, the trees will shade more than half the lot.
Minimal waste. Concrete can be produced in the quantities needed for each project, reducing waste. After a concrete structure has served its original purpose, the concrete can be crushed and recycled into aggregate for use in new concrete pavements or as backfill or road base.
Article Written By: Anne Balogh, ConcreteNetwork.com
October 5th, 2010
Campus of UNCW – Athletic Field
May 3rd, 2010
New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share the following article courtesy of RealtyTimes.com.
This season brings with it its share of rainy days. And while you and other homeowners may not be able to work in your yards, clean out gutters, or install that new walkway, a stormy day can be a perfect time to settle in to enjoy family and the home you’ve put so much effort in to.
1. Plan a Scavenger Hunt. Hide a prize, such as a movie to watch or a treat to eat, in the final location, and then leave a succession of clues and riddles around your home for the kids to investigate and follow.
2. Go Camping. If you have the space, consider setting up your camping tent in a large room, such as your family room. If you don’t have a tent, use chairs and a large blanket to mock the structure. Make smores in the microwave and tells scary stories against the backdrop of rain and thunder.
3. Talent Show. Set up a “stage” in your family room, and then let everyone take their turn showcasing what they do best. This is a great confidence booster, and can provide even more entertainment years down the road if you take video proof! Your family is probably full of musicians, dancers, comedians, and artists, and now is their time to shine.
4. Arts and Crafts. Let your inner Picasso shine forth. From crayons, to paints, to Popsicle sticks, there is no limit to what projects you and your family can tackle.
5. Baking Cookies. There’s a reason that home stagers light cookie scented candles during showings; nothing is homier than an oven full of baking cookies. Pull out your dusty Betty Crocker cookbook and make the delectables from scratch. This can be just as educational as it is fun.
6. Bocce Socks! Bocce ball is a classic Roman sport, but a rainy day calls for a new twist. Use rolled up socks as substitutes for the wooden balls.
7. Card games and board games. One great thing about board games is they are offered for a wide range of ages. From “Chutes and Ladders” to “Risk,” there is a little something for everyone.
8. Reading aloud. Before the age of iPods, DVDs, and even Television, there was a family activity that brought a story alive. Reading aloud can be a great activity, and “research and practice show that …. reading aloud is the best way to prepare children for learning to read and to keep them reading as they learn and grow. ” (Reading is Fundamental.org)
9. Puppet shows. Dig though your dresser drawers to find old socks that need new life. Assemble the glue gun, markers, scrap fabric, yarn, and construction paper and make hand puppets.
10. Movie-a-thon. It’s a rainy day classic. Fix a tray of snacks, such as popcorn, “ants on a log” (that’s celery, peanut butter, and raisins!), or some of those cookies you made in number five. Have everyone pick out their favorite movie, new or old, and then settle in for an afternoon of classic cinema.
Use some of these tips and have a great rainy day!
Article Written By: Carla L. Davis, RealtyTimes.com
March 4th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes realizes that many of our clients have homes to sell before they can build a new home or move to our area. Consider these tips when selling your home.
Home buyers and home sellers have the same goal: an exchange of property. Buyers want to pay as little as possible for the nicest house they can afford; sellers want to earn as much as possible on their property. They may seem like conflicting interests, but they aren’t. Buyers and sellers goals, at bottom, are both about making a fair trade.
Interior design professional Emily Spreng, who holds degrees in interior design and historic preservation, says working with just two elements of your interior design can reap huge benefits in the overall feel of your home.
“Lighting is one of the most important elements in interior design,” Spreng says. “By changing lighting you can instantly change the mood of a room.”
Whether you’re showing your home day or night, pay close attention to the mood being created by your lighting. In the bedroom, Spreng recommends creating a relaxing, ambient feel by turning off your overhead light and adding lamps with opaque shades to your bedside tables.
For cramped or dim spaces, Spreng says mirrors can make a room feel larger and warmer. “Put a mirror on the opposite wall of yours window to bounce the light around,” she says. By reflecting the sunlight, mirrors create the illusion of a second window.
You should also pay attention to your choice of window dressing to use the daylight you have, Spreng adds. “Use blinds that open and close and go up all the way, so you can let in a little bit of light or a lot—it’s just another way to control your lighting.”
“Your accessories are the cheapest thing to change if you’re working on a budget,” Spreng says.
Accessories are the stuff you put in the room to make it more interesting, things like vases, candlesticks, pottery, flowers and wall hangings. For Spreng, the thing to remember about accessories is: less is more.
“I think the most important thing to remember when accessorizing your home is that one very interesting accessory is better than six or seven knickknacks,” she says. “If you want to emphasize the design of your home, it’s important to remove as much clutter as you can.”
Spreng advises home sellers to focus especially on area rugs, paintings or photos and throw pillows to spruce up a room. “An area rug is probably the best way to warm up a room,” she says, adding that it will bring a room together and make it feel cozy. Paintings and photos are a good way to add color and character to your room, and you can liven up drab furniture with cheap, colorful throw pillows.
An extra tip: if you have a big room with an empty corner, folding screens are a great way to round out the space and bring the focus back into center of the room.
Courtesy of: Drew Johnson, RealtyTimes.com
February 4th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC remodeler Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an interesting article written by By Stephani L. Miller with CUSTOM HOME Magazine on how to detect problem drywall.
Following up on months of research into complaints of imported drywall causing corrosion in homes, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently released a set of guidelines to help contractors and builders identify problem drywall in homes. Developed by the Interagency Task Force on Problem Drywall, the two-step guidance requires a visual inspection to detect the presence of metal corrosion followed by collection of corroborating evidence.
”This guidance offers homeowners, contractors, and state and local authorities a course of action for knowing if they’re dealing with problem drywall or not,” said Jon Gant, director of HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, in an announcement about the guidelines.
To determine whether a house has been negatively impacted by problem drywall, the initial Threshold (visual) Inspection, performed by a trained inspector, must show a) blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils; and b) the installation of new drywall (for new construction or renovations) between 2001 and 2008.
After establishing both of these conditions, individuals evaluating affected homes should move forward in gathering evidence of conditions in the home that confirm the presence of problem drywall. The task force notes that collecting this evidence may require contracting with professional assessors and possibly analytical laboratories for testing.
Homes that display the characteristic metal corrosion and had new drywall installed between 2005 and 2008 must also show at least two of the following corroborating conditions; homes that had new drywall installed between 2001 and 2004 must show at least four of the corroborating conditions:
- Proof of corrosive conditions in the home by the formation of copper sulfide on copper test strips that have been placed in the home for two weeks to 30 days, or by confirming the presence of sulfur by the blackening of the grounding wires and/or air conditioning coils.
- Confirmation of drywall bearing Chinese origin markings in the home.
- Drywall core samples containing strontium levels that exceed 1200 parts per million.
- Drywall core samples containing levels of elemental sulfur exceeding 10 parts per million.
- Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and/or carbon disulfide emissions from drywall samples tested according to ASTM chamber tests.
- The formation of copper sulfide on copper metal during chamber testing using drywall samples from the home.
CPSC is continuing its testing and studies and will refine and update this preliminary identification guidance as necessary. Full details and rationale for the identification methods is available at www.drywallresponse.gov, the task force’s Drywall Information Center website.
CUSTOM HOME previously reported on the task force’s research findings that linked Chinese-manufactured drywall to metal corrosion in homes in December.
Courtesy of: CustomHomeOnline.com
January 27th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC Green home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers a recent blog post from Michael V. Copeland, a senior writer for FORTUNE Magazine. In the post he examined the growing popularity of LED lights for both residential and commercial use. Below is an excerpt from the article and to read more, click here!
“The $100 billion global lighting industry is undergoing radical change: New office buildings and retail outlets are abandoning fluorescent lighting in favor of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, those tiny, energy-efficient, long-lasting, and blindingly bright points of light. Giants such as GE (GE) and Philips are shifting production from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Even the local Home Depot (HD) — which today probably stocks only a couple of LED lighting products — will soon carry a bouquet of LED bulbs, ultimately edging out fluorescents and halogen lamps. By the end of the decade, analysts predict, LEDs will be the dominant source for commercial and residential lighting.
LEDs, which are based on a technology similar to that of computer chips, have more in common in their design and manufacture with your laptop than with the incandescent bulb that Thomas Edison patented almost 130 years ago. As lighting goes digital, the industry is likely to encounter some of the same upheaval that took place when television, music, and other businesses shifted away from analog technologies.
Lighting is dominated by three enormous global companies: General Electric, Germany’s OSRAM (makers of Sylvania products), and the Dutch company Philips. But with LEDs coming on strong, the industry is now opening up to companies such as Samsung, LG, and Panasonic (PC), which have expertise in semiconductors.
‘From where I sit, lighting is undergoing the same transition that the film business did when digital cameras first came out,’ says Chuck Swoboda, CEO of Cree (CREE), a publicly traded LED manufacturer and lighting-systems company based in Durham, N.C. ‘I think the writing is on the wall for older types of lighting technologies. It’s just a question of how quickly we make it happen.’”
Courtesy of: CNNMoney.com
January 26th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC luxury home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a press release from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and MetLife Mature Market Institute. A survey conducted by the organizations found interesting data on the housing preferences between 55-to-64 year olds and the 65+ age group. Below is an excerpt from the article and to read more, click here!
“The data uncovered a strong similarity in housing preferences between the two groups, with a few exceptions. The younger age group showed more interest in technology-heavy features, while the older group expressed a stronger preference for a single-story floor plan or one with a first-floor master bedroom, and a variety of universal design features.
One striking difference, according to John Migliaccio, director of research at MetLife’s Mature Market Institute, related to the desire for home services and community services.
‘Very telling,’ said Migliaccio, ‘is that the younger group of mature consumers reported enthusiastically that they want services like home maintenance and repair as part of their next home purchase, along with services typically connected to older homeowners, such as housekeeping, onsite health care and transportation,’ noted Migliaccio.
According to Migliaccio, all of the aforementioned were ranked higher than the desire for organized social activities – a surprise, inasmuch as social activities and amenities have been thought to be valued quite highly by this group. This finding, he said, supports an emerging trend among builders to look for ways to partner with providers of such services to the residents of their active adult/lifestyle communities.”
Courtesy of: HousingZone.com
January 18th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes encourages both locals and visitors to attend the Fourth Friday Gallery Walks. These monthly walks are self-guided tours through several downtown Wilmington, NC galleries and studios featuring exhibitions of various artistic genres including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, photography, sculpture, woodwork, glass, metals, ceramics, mixed media and more. Showcasing art and art-related events, Fourth Fridays also include opening receptions, artist discussions, live music, wine tastings, food sampling and other traditional and non-traditional art-based activities. The next Walk is January 22, 2010 and goes through November 26, 2010. For more information call 910.763.3737, visit www.WilmingtonFourthFridays.com, or become a Facebook Fan of Fourth Friday Gallery Walks!
January 18th, 2010
New Hanover County, NC luxury home builder would like to share an article from Wilmington’s WECT news station. Gavin Johnson reported that the Animal Planet network will feature Wilmington Fire Station Number Seven for their life-saving efforts for pets in house fires. Below is an excerpt and to read more, click here!
Producers with Powderhouse Productions heard about the story and felt it was important to share it with the world.
‘We found the story through an online search,’ said producer Ann MacMullan. ‘Often we’re searching and searching for these wonderful stories and they could land us anywhere.’
More than 40,000 pets a year die from smoke related causes. Wilmington’s Fire Department is one of the few fire stations in the country with oxygen masks for dogs and cats.”
Photo Courtesy of WECT.com