QuietFiber Soundproofing materialWilmington, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes understands the importance of soundproofing certain areas of a home during construction. We would like to introduce  our readers to a product that has only been used in commercial building in the past, but is now being used in homes.

Engineered specifically for maximum noise absorbency and used extensively in the industrial and commercial field, QuietFiber is now being successfully introduced into non-industrial environments where reverberant sound and echo is a problem, including:

  • Restaurants, clubs, bars
  • Hotel lobbies, pool areas, dining areas
  • Single family homes, condos, apartments
  • Kennels, etc., veterinary offices, pet stores
  • Churches, hospitals, schools

Non-fiberglass QuietFiber is rated at the highest noise reduction level of “NRC 1.00″ (noise reduction coefficient, higher the number the better).

Areas of high noise levels including sound reverberation can be resolved easily and economically by introducing QuietFiber into as much of the area as possible.  The amount of noise reduction in highly reflective rooms will be directly relative to how much of the QuietFiber material can be installed into the room.  QuietFiber is available in 4 ft. x 6 ft. sheets x 2 in. thick. Ceiling tiles may also be replaced with QuietFiber.

Unlike other fibrous materials or fiberglass which does not have the high NRC ratings that QuietFiber has, QuietFiber is “hydrophobic,” meaning it will not absorb nor combine with water.  This is an obvious attribute should the material become wet, humid or need steam cleaning.  Marine noise reduction applications are endless.

Check out how QuietFiber has been used successfully to solve many types of noise problems.

Additional benefits:

  • Highest noise absorption rating of NRC 1.00 (exceeds fiberglass sound attenuation).
  • Black or white faced version can be used to replace ceiling ties to significantly reduce internal room noise and flanking from adjoining rooms.
  • Highest quality acoustical insulation in the building industry.
  • Hydrophobic, will not combine with water.
  • Will not support mold.
  • Easy installation.
  • Full outdoor weather and U.V. tolerant.
  • Easily used in conjunction with a high STC barrier material such as Acoustiblok.
  • Shows significant STC benefit when used  in wall or floor assemblies vs. fiberglass.
  • High temperature capable for high temperature sound abatement, i.e. generator enclosures.
  • Comprised of up to 90% recycled material.  100% recyclable.  Non-fiberglass.
  • QuietFiber® material is virtually fireproof.   Having a U.L. rating of “0 smoke” and “0 flame,” it more than meets any fire code (faced version has flame spread of 25). Both versions tested to ASTM E84.
  • **Entirely made in USA**

Article courtesy of: Acoustiblok.com

The Nest Thermostat

January 31st, 2012

NestWilmington home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers a brand new innovative product that we’ve recently installed in a custom home.

It’s a thermostat called Nest from iPod inventor Tony Fadell’s new start-up, Nest Labs. And like Apple, Nest Labs has taken something you use every day and made it simple and delightful to use.

Nest operates with the same genius wheel user interface as the original iPod, with a digital screen in its center. It connects to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control it remotely via an iPhone app or the Web. And its stylish design made of brushed stainless steel is a showpiece.

What makes Nest stand out from other programmable thermostats is that it learns your behavioral patterns and creates a temperature-setting schedule from them. Nest has six sensors that can determine things like when you’re away from home. People with more than one thermostat in one home can use more than one Nest and they’ll all communicate with one another, though each can be adjusted to different temperatures. People with multiple homes can put all of their Nests on the same account.

Nest can get automatic software updates that the company says will let it do things in the future like adjusting temperatures according to current local weather and showing how much money temperature adjustments will save on utility bills.

Moving During The Holidays

November 11th, 2011

The holiday season is quickly approaching and we all know the challenges we sometimes face when juggling multiple activities this time of the year. Wilmington, NC builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers an article courtesy of RealtyTimes.com that gives great tips on how to make moving during the holiday season extra special for your family.

It’s the holiday season! For many readers out there this season is taking on a whole new meaning.

Cold weather, rain, and snow doesn’t keep a good buyer down. There are great deals to be had all year round. Buying doesn’t always happen on schedule. It can take weeks or months to find the perfect house, you may need to move suddenly to follow a new job opportunity, or move to be closer to ailing parents.

Buying happens for a myriad of reasons and during every month of the year. Yet, buying during the holidays can be challenging, especially if you’re a family with lots of traditions or with children.

If you have children, then here are some tips to make a move during the holidays a big deal in a good way!

First, children follow the lead of their parents. If you are depressed about missing out on Aunt Sue’s famous turkey or daily noting the bad luck of buying during the holidays, your children will likely pick up on this. So start by adjustingyour attitude first. Focus on the positive aspects of the move. Try to keep a cheery, upbeat attitude.

Will a child be getting their own room? Will their new room be “awesome”? These can be reasons to celebrate! Talk up all the great new area parks, restaurants, and kid-friendly attractions.

Older children may be a harder sell, especially if you’re moving them away from their school or friends. Do a little research and find out more on area malls, sports teams, or youth groups that your child may be interested in.

Also consider rewarding children especially well for their good behavior during a move. Maybe now is a time for that allowance raise (if it doesn’t seem too much like a bribe), to let them select the new decor for their new room, or to have one extra pizza night this week.

Communication is key for getting through a move, regardless of the season. Have a family meeting to discuss concerns and fears, or have one-on-one talks with each kid to assess their feelings.

Finally, make every attempt to keep traditions alive. This is important for adults and children alike. If your family loves having a fully decorated tree, then you might have to set it up twice this year — once at your current home and then quickly again when you first arrive in your new home.

Boxes and chaos aside, you can still sit down for a fun family dinner or for an evening of singing songs and opening presents. Keep your traditions alive and your move this holiday season will be an easy one!

Article written by: Carla Hill, RealtyTimes.com

Wilmington, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share a video of a custom home we recently built for a client in the Birkdale Community of Landfall.

Simply click “Birkdale at Landfall” below to view the video,

Birkdale at Landfall

Wilmington builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes recently completed The Savona Cove Plan by Sater Design Collection. To experience the complete building process from foundation to interior finishes and landscaping, click The Savona Cove Plan – Bald Eagle Lane.

We encourage our readers to view recently uploaded photos of our projects, both past and present, on our Flickr page.

Wilmington Builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes

Wilmington builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers an article written by Carla Hill with RealtyTimes.com that gives tips for increasing the value of your home.

It is no secret. 2010 was a hard year for home values. According to Zillow.com, homes were expected to lose $1.7 trillion in value. This is an even greater loss than what was seen in 2009.

They report that “the bulk of the total value lost during 2010 was in the second half of the year. From January to June, the housing market lost $680 billion. From June to December, Zillow projects residential home value losses will top $1 trillion.”

Some of the largest losses in value were seen in the West. Los Angeles’ values fell by $38,000 over the course of 2010. And they are down a whopping $676,000 from the peak in the second quarter of 2006. Phoenix, Arizona, saw values falls by $36,000 in 2010. This is down $222,000 from peak times.

There were exceptions to this loss trend. The Boston metropolitan statistical area (MSA) gained $10.8 billion in value, while the San Diego MSA gained $10.2 billion.

Now, while you cannot protect yourself against market corrections such as these, you can take small steps to help increase your home’s value and make it more marketable. The following tips are meant to inspire and motivate you to treat your home like the investment it was meant to be.

1. Make Repairs: Homes require regular maintenance and repairs are a necessary component of homeownership. Procrastination gets you nowhere when it comes to home value. Stay on top of repairs as they are needed. And be sure to address large projects before placing your home on the market. For example, roofs are expensive to replace or repair. Many buyers will pass up your otherwise wonderful home when faced with roof issues.

2. Curb Appeal: Curb appeal is about first impressions. It is also about neighborhood values. Drive down a street lined with manicured lawns and well-maintained homes and the values are sure to reflect the care their owners take. On the other hand, streets with overgrown trees, junky yards, and chipped and faded paint are fighting an uphill battle in the values game.

3. Community Involvement: The classic quote from Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu says, “A journey of 1,00 miles begins with a single step.” This is especially true for improving the health and wealth of a community. Change starts with yourself. By becoming an active member of your community, you can inspire the change you desire. Family, friends, and neighbors will follow your lead of civic duty. How can you get involved? Run for city council, join the PTA, volunteer, and help organize fund raisers and events that inspire community togetherness.

4. Updated Kitchen: Kitchens are a real selling point. Outdated cabinets, counters, and appliances will stick out like a sore thumb to buyers. Be sure, however, that you research your comparables before beginning a remodel. You don’t want to price yourself out of the running. This means if while you love granite and travertine, other homes in your area are selling with laminate, you will probably not be able to ask for a drastically higher price that covers the price of the granite.

5. Updated Bath: Bathrooms also hold much of a home’s value. New low-flush toilets cost as little as $100. And tubs and showers can be easily replaced or resurfaced. Be sure, above all else, that your bathrooms are clean for showings.

6. Energy Savers: Buyers are looking for homes that are energy efficient. Low-flush toilets, solar panels, water filtrations systems, and insulated windows are all inexpensive fixes for energy zappers.

Consider these simple tips and decide for yourself what may help your home retain its value.

Article courtesy of: RealtyTimes.com

Lighting With Style

January 27th, 2011

The right light – the right touch

Wilmington builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article courtesy of GEAppliances.com about lighting for your kitchen.

Good light helps make any kitchen safe and comfortable. Natural light is important, but think about the places that natural light won’t reach or light well. Consider cloudy days, and remember that much of the work will be done in the evenings.

That means artificial light is key. Multiple light sources and different modes of lighting will reduce shadows, glare or blind spots, and put enough light right where it is needed for kitchen activities.

As a rule, you should provide a mix of three lighting modes.

  • Ambient light – For overall room illumination, typically provided by ceiling, track or recessed lighting fixtures. The number and placement of fixtures should provide even illumination without dark spots or “hot” spots.
  • Task lighting – For shadow-free, concentrated lighting of food preparation and other kitchen work activities. Typically comes from under-cabinet fixtures or strips, or hanging fixtures such as pendent lights.
  • Accent lighting – Contributes a decorative element and helps create focal points such as a dish display, a favorite painting, or an eating area. May come from high-intensity recessed or track lights, or hanging fixtures.

Each of these modes should be separately controlled, so the proper mix of lighting can be selected for each activity in the kitchen. Dimmers for ambient and accent lighting will enable you to alter the mood or look of the kitchen, as well as the overall lighting level.

And of course there is a choice of light type. Often a combination of these types is the best plan, utilizing the advantages of each.

  • Incandescent – The traditional choice for its warm effect. Produces quite a bit of heat.
  • Halogen – A brighter, “whiter” light for the same or lower wattage. Longer life than standard incandescent.
  • Fluorescent lamps – Now includes a variety of colors and warmth, to create the same effects as incandescent. Lamps are available for use in all types of fixtures, as well as the traditional tubes. These use less energy; produce less heat, longer lasting.

Architect Sarah Susanka on designing houses that feel spacious but don’t waste space.

Wilmington, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share with our readers a helpful article written by Evelyn Royer in ECOHOME Magazine that gives tips for “rightsizing” your home.

Dream homes designed by noted architect Sarah Susanka used to include grand foyers and formal dining rooms-spaces often vacant but for the dusting of the cleaning lady and the rush of air conditioning. But as the author of the Not So Big House book series, Susanka now advocates for “rightsizing” the American home.

“Oftentimes, when people hear the words ‘not so big,’ they assume I mean we should all be squeezed into little shoeboxes,” said Susanka during a webinar she recently conducted for the Journal of Light Construction, a sister publication of EcoHome. “Far from it.”

In her equation, homes built one-third smaller than the homeowner’s original design scheme routes square footage dollars into more purposeful space. For example, combining the dining room with the kitchen omits an entire room, while installing proper lighting can transform the space into an elegant dining area for entertaining.

Susanka shared several other simple tricks for building and remodeling a right-sized house:

Make it feel spacious. Walls make homes feel smaller but removing them is not the only answer for creating a spacious feel. To avoid a large, amorphous area, differentiate ceiling and floor levels, and add a column, a beam, or an arch.

Ceilings are like commas in a sentence, she said. “The commas break up the phrases into segments so you can understand the meaning; a lot of times architects will use ceiling height in the same way.”

A lower ceiling over a bed adds charm and character and a heightened one in the center of a living room makes the space feel larger. But don’t make it too high: “A 40-foot-high ceiling is wonderful for a state capital but it’s not exactly what you want in the evenings in which to watch television,” she notes.

Light it right. Adding a window at the end of a dark hallway or a lighted painting in a basement stairway transforms the experience for as little as it takes to install a recessed can.

Build to scale. A smaller room, designed to the scale of its occupants, is more comfortable and saves square footage, money, and wasted space.

Make it personal. Small touches such as beautiful tiles in a kitchen backsplash turn a generic space built for resale value into one that feels like home. And people stay in “homes” far longer than “houses,” the architect says. “If you don’t allow yourself to make your home personal, you’re actually going to want to move,” which isn’t as green of an option as staying put, says Susanka.

Remodel it small. Instead of adding a standard 20-foot-by-30-foot addition out back, “you may well be able to solve the problems of your existing house by staying within the footprint,” says Susanka. Look for places to redistribute space, remove a wall, or alter traffic flow.

If eliminating obstacles in the original design does not solve the problem, build a small bump-out to accommodate a necessary space, such as a shelf for shoes instead of entire mud room. And if there’s no way around it, build the smallest addition possible and make every square foot count.

Make it green. Green retrofits impact the environment more than most people assume, according to a study by the DOE’s Energy Information Administration. “A very little known fact is over 20 percent of all carbon emissions from all sources in this country come from existing housing stock,” Susanka quoted.

Evelyn Royer is assistant editor of Building Products magazine.

Article Courtesy of customhomeonline.com.

New Home in Landfall

November 19th, 2010

If you are considering building a new home or purchasing a resale, Wilmington, NC new home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes has a great deal for you to build a custom home on our lot. A new custom home built on our prestigious lot in Landfall could be yours for $619,000!

Lot 2DI

 2016 Deer Island Lane: half acre lot backing up to wooded conservancy for privacy, also close to the Arboretum Gate of the Landfall community.

Click to View Larger Image

The Forestdale II Plan: 2500 sf, 20%-30% more efficient than a code-miminum home, brick veneer or painted hardiplank siding, 3 bedrooms and 3 baths downstairs, bonus room over garage, screened porch, 2×6 construction, 10′ ceilings and a lot of storage space.

Wilmington, NC home builder Mark Johnson Custom Homes would like to share an article courtesy of Yahoo! News that gives 9 things to consider when deciding whether to build a new home or purchase a resale.

As the mortgage crisis continues to inundate the market with distressed properties, today’s house hunter has no shortage of cheap, foreclosed homes to pick through. But despite all those deals in the previously-owned home market, consumers shouldn’t overlook the potential benefits of building a new home.

1. Customization: Many home builders allow buyers to participate in the process of designing their property, which helps create a living space specifically tailored to the consumer’s tastes.

2. Building Envelope: Newly constructed homes use energy more efficiently. They tend to have a tighter-sealed building envelope that helps prevent conditioned air–cool air in the summer, warm air in the winter–from escaping.

3. Green Appliances: More energy-efficient mechanics of the house help reduce utility bills.

4. Fewer Repairs: The features of newly constructed homes will hold up better than those of existing homes, which may have experienced years of wear and tear.

5. Less Maintenance: Today’s new homes are engineered specifically to minimize maintenance requirements and many products on the market promote less maintenance requirements.

6. Warranty: Builders agree to take care of the repair work that becomes necessary in newly constructed homes for at least the first year.

7. Fire Safety: Newly constructed homes often include fire safety features that may not be present in properties built years ago.

8. Concessions: Especially in today’s sluggish housing market, buyers may be able to squeeze more concessions out of a home building company than an individual seller.

9. Financing: New home buyers may be able to take advantage of mortgage financing perks.