Most Popular Housing Trends for 2017

The past few years have seen a rise in several housing trends that we predict will continue on through this year and even 2018.  Many millennials are buying and building homes and they are looking to make a smaller footprint and simplify.  The architectural features that were important to older generations are no longer needed or are out of place in the modern home.

Green Living

Energy efficient appliances and windows are a must for any new homes, long-term savings and the environmental implications are something that most people consider now.  With the onset of low-flow faucets, solar heating, tankless water heaters, and duel-flush toilets, it’s becoming easier to make every aspect of a home save time, money, and resources.

Disappearing Living Rooms

Livings rooms as a separate room are becoming less and less common, instead what homebuyers or homebuilders are looking for is a “great room”.  This is an open floor plan that combines that family, kitchen, and dining rooms into one huge common room.  This room has space for homework to be done, meals to be eaten, parties to be had, and more.


Walk-in pantries and huge islands are on their way out while recessed lighting and large farmhouse style sinks are becoming increasingly popular.  Resell value is a big thing with the more transient millennials, and therefore the modern sleek kitchen is making way for the cozy and comfortable kitchen which has proved itself popular through many different kitchen trends. 


Copper is the new hot metal for fixtures, and mixing copper or gold with wood is becoming even more popular, though gold and bronze are also becoming more sought after.  Grays and blacks are making their way up to the top of most desirable neutrals as well.  All of these colors work well together or separately, and also mix well in many different mediums, shades, and materials.

Raw Materials

Materials such as stone and wood are making their way back into homes in place of stainless steel and tile.  Featuring the raw organic beauty of nature (whether manufactured to look like nature or truly from nature) is the way to go; everything in its natural form.

Pros and Cons of Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are quickly becoming more popular; whether they are DYI concrete counters or you pay a professional, they can be arguably cheaper and more durable than other countertop material choices.

Pros of Concrete Countertops

Durability Concrete countertops are very durable; they are not only heat resistant but also scratch resistant as well. Cost The ability of concrete to be molded into any shape and dyed or stained almost any color as well as endlessly customizable with colors, designs, embedded objects such as fossils, tiles (whole or pieces), recycled glass, rocks, and much much more.  The organic look and feel of concrete draws most people to it, when you can’t find the perfect shade of granite, or right pattern for Corian, you can create it in concrete.  Whatever shape, whatever color, and whatever size you want, concrete can be that for you.

Cons of Concrete Countertops

Maintenance Applying a sealer is the key to maintaining a concrete countertop, because concrete is naturally porous and when is a lighter color, it will readily show blemishes when not properly sealed. Don’t wait until there is a problem with your counter to start taking care of it, you should be sealing the countertop regularly and caring for it in order to prevent problems from occcuring It is also important to clean concrete counters right away when there is a spill on them, this will help prevent staining.  Make sure that the cleaner and sealer that you are using are made for cleaning concrete countertops as using other types of cleaning products can end up damaging your counters in the end. Imperfections It is very difficult to pour a perfect concrete countertop, stains or other imperfections are usually present in any concrete whether it is a do it yourself project or a professional job. Hairline Cracks Concrete countertops that are poured in place instead of precast may develop hairline cracks as a result of your house shifting or settling, or other issues such as your kitchen faucet being screwed in too tightly.  Larger cracks are easier to fill and fix, hairline cracks are not so easy to fix and may require a professional.

The Best 5 Things to Raise Home Value

Raising your home’s value, whether you are in it to stay or are looking to sell, is always a great idea.  Here are our top 5 improvements that will raise the value of your home.

  1. Insulation

One of the easiest and quickest things you can do yourself (it will probably take you a weekend or two), insulation can save you money on utilities while you’re in the home, and be a nice asset for homebuyers.  Attic insulation is the best place to start and can prevent up to 30% of your cool or heated air from literally flying out the roof, but even just caulking around windows and doors will help insulate your house.

  1. Lighting

Recessed lighting has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason; kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces can all benefit from good lighting.  Track lighting is another good solution to really brighten up rooms and show off the home’s character.  Good lighting is always a sure investment to spring for when improving your home.

  1. Lawn Care

Updating your walkway with pavers or buying some grass seed/sod for your front yard adds great curb appeal.  Opinions are formed from the second a person drives up to your home and your lawn is one of the first things that they will see.  Be sure to keep up with edging and mowing your lawn and consider investing in a few large planters with some cheery flowers.  A little goes a long way and you don’t have to spend very much to make a difference.

  1. Remove popcorn from the ceilings.

This is the major thing that dates most homes, no one likes popcorn anymore and though it can be a pain to DIY or a bit pricey to have it done, this is one improvement that is worth paying to have done.

  1. Kitchen

The number one thing to consider in your kitchen is the layout; most people refer to the most important area in your kitchen as “the triangle”.  This is the place where your stove, dishwasher, and sink are located ideally allowing for a seamless workspace.  Before making any surface adjustments, consider if you should make a major overhaul of your kitchen space to remove any obstacles in this area.  Appliances, colors, even countertops will all go in and out of style, but the layout of a kitchen, good or bad, will last a lifetime.

Dream Kitchen Design Ideas

The kitchen is the heartbeat of the home and as such the design is incredibly important.  Your custom dream home should come with a dream kitchen 8where you can gather with your friends and family to converse and make food together.  If you’re trying to decide what a dream kitchen should have then keep reading some of our favorite tips to spark your imagination.



If your kitchen is large enough for an island, this is an essential part of a smoothly functioning kitchen, not just as a station for preparing food but also as a storage space.  In a small kitchen, the island can be mobile with wheels that can be locked and unlocked and wheeled out of the way when necessary while a larger kitchen can have a more traditional fixed island with much more storage space.  Perhaps you might even consider a raised bar on one side where your kids can grab a quick breakfast or after school snack.


Think about the counter placement, often when you bring groceries home, you’ll want to place the items that need to be refrigerated near the fridge.  This counter can be either across from or next to the refrigerator.

Choose a countertop that is durable and easy to clean, this will make your life much easier.  If you’re curious about which counter materials to choose, you might want to check out our article on granite vs corian countertops.


Where do you plan to keep your appliances, utensils, dishes, pots and pans?  Think this through while designing your cabinet space and be prepared to think creatively.  Are you an avid coffee drinker?  A drawer located just under where your coffee maker will sit with all your mugs neatly stored inside could save you time and energy when brewing your morning cup.  Maybe you want to keep your counters free of clutter and plan to store your appliances, are the cabinets tall enough?  Have you decided whether you will be installing custom or prefab cabinets?

Trash & Recycling

This is not something that most people think about when designing their kitchen, but where you keep your trash and recycling bins is very important, will it be a drawer that slides out from beside your fridge?  Under the sink?  In the pantry?

Talk over your ideas with your custom home designer or architect, they will be able to point out problem areas as well as give you great ideas.  Have you considered using Pinterest to help you design your kitchen?

Custom vs Prefabricated Cabinets

When planning your custom South Texas home, the kitchen is one of the main areas to which great attention must be given; a lot of your family’s time will be spent in this room and it is important that the design is conducive to easy clean-up and simple usage.

As a homeowner deciding whether to install custom or prefab cabinets, you will need to consider your budget, needs, and preferred design.  After you have thought about these considerations, the next step is to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both types of cabinetry.

Prefab Cabinets

Manufactured or prefab cabinets are cabinets that are already almost complete, they just need to be installed and a few finishing touches added.  Installation is simple and prefab cabinets don’t require a lot of time from ordering to finishing the installation.  They tend to be cheaper but do not offer a lot of customization options.  The factory finish offered on most prefab cabinets is a tempting bonus on an already inexpensive option.  Most factories typically allow semi-custom options such as soft-close cabinet doors and drawers which will add to the durability and luxurious feel of your kitchen.

Custom Cabinets

These cabinets will be built exactly to your desires and the possibility for customization is endless, however, the huge drawback is the amount of time that custom cabinets take from drawing up the plans to choosing the material to actually building then installing the cabinets.  In light of all of the skilled labor that is required, custom cabinets can be quite expensive but if your kitchen has special specifications or size requirements, custom cabinetry can offer exactly the solutions that your dream home kitchen needs.

When making up your mind about which to choose: prefab or custom kitchen cabinets, it can be helpful to not just speak with your custom home builder but to also get a detailed quote for custom and prefab cabinets.  This can help you better understand the differences between the two and your different options for your dream kitchen.  Have you read our post comparing Corian and granite counter tops?  If not, we highly recommend it as a follow-up read.

Home Building 101: Major Phases of Construction Part IV

We’ve spent the last few weeks walking you through the process of home building, from foundation to the final inspection, if you haven’t read our blog posts from the previous weeks, you can find them here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Mechanical Trims Finished & Bathroom Fixtures Installation

After your flooring is installed, your contractor will finish the mechanical trims and complete installation of the light fixtures, power outlets, light switches, and if the electrical panel hasn’t already been installed, it will be installed now.  Equipment for the HVAC is installed and faucets, sinks, and toilets in the kitchen and bathrooms are installed as well.

Miscellaneous Installation & Flooring

Shower doors and mirrors are installed next, they are installed at this point in the construction phase in order to keep them from being damaged during the actual construction and painting of the house.  Carpet is also installed now for the same reason and the house is cleaned of all debris and construction material leftovers.

Exterior Landscaping

At this point, the exterior of the house is also cleaned up and shrubs, grass, and trees are planted as well as any other exterior items that are left.

Final Inspection

An official will come to do the final inspection to check that everything follows your area’s building code.  If any issues come up during inspection that need to be addressed, the building-code official will have to conduct a follow-up inspection to ensure these have been addressed.  When everything has successfully passed inspection, the official will then issue a certificate of occupancy (C.O.) which means that you can legally live in the domicile.

Final Walkthrough/Pre-Settlement Walkthrough

Now that everything has successfully passed inspection, your builder will walk through the entire house with you to show off all of the house’s features, explain how to best maintain your home.  This is the time for you to look for any problems, mistakes, or areas requiring adjustment.  Your builder will be able to help you decide how to handle or fix these areas, she or he should also help you look for them but it’s important to be observant yourself.  Some areas to watch out for are: floors, walls, countertops, fixtures, and any glass such as mirrors, windows, etc. these parts are more prone to damage from construction.  It’s imperative to point these things out before you move in because after you move in there’s no way to prove that the damage was pre-existing before the movers came through.

That’s it!  Your home is built and ready to move-in!  Do you have any questions or comments about the process of building a home from the ground up?  If so, drop us a line below!

Corian vs Granite Counter Tops

When choosing the material for a countertop, the choices may seem overwhelming; we have so many options available to and the pros and cons of each choice might not be immediately obvious.  Let’s take a look at a two popular choices and learn about their differences.


Corian is a synthetic nonporous and homogenous surface that is stain resistant and available in over a hundred color options including ones made to look like natural materials.  DuPont, the same company that brought us products such as nylon, starting making Corian in the 1960s.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Corian

Because Corian is nonporous, it can be made without seams, this means that there are no cracks or holes where food or liquid can be caught and trapped.  For this reason, Corian is very hygienic, extremely easy to keep clean as well as durable and easy to repair. Thorough cleaning and drying is necessary to prevent water stains which will otherwise cause your counters to become dull.  Minor scratches and nicks can be removed with a scouring pad, and Corian can also withstand heat up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit though sustained contact with high temperatures can cause discoloring.


Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen and bathroom counters, it will always be in style and is a great choice when it comes to durability.  Granite is a rock formed from cooled molten lava, it is cut from quarries and then cut into slabs and polished for use as countertops.  It is available in many different and beautiful colors and because it is a natural stone, each piece of granite will be unique.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Granite

Granite is a porous rock which means that it will absorb any liquids that are spilled on it, despite this, damaging granite is not very easy.  Granite is heat resistant and scratch resistant.  Over time, with hard usage, granite is likely to crack or chip and replacement can be expensive.  Because granite is porous, that means that it should be cleaned well daily or else it can lead to mold or bacteria growth.  Any cleaning solutions containing acidic ingredients (such as citrus or vinegar) should not be used as they can dull the surface of the granite.  For granite countertops that are in regular use, it is recommended that you reseal them at least every two years to keep your countertops stain free.

Corian and Granite are both beautiful choices for any home and the perfect fit for your South Texas home should be discussed in more depth with your interior designer who will know just how to help you choose.

More Custom Home Luxuries

Building a custom home comes with many perks, one of which is being able to incorporate what are considered “luxuries” into the design and many times paying considerably less than if you installed the luxury into your existing home.  We posted another blog post a few weeks back about our favorite luxuries to consider for your South Texas home, here are a few more that we also love.

Self-Closing Drawers and Cabinets

Your dream kitchen and bathrooms will be all the better with this tiny improvement; not expensive to add, you will love how softly everything closes and how tidy this makes your home.

Underfloor or Radiant Heat Flooring

A subtle addition to your dream home, you’ll definitely notice the difference in the winter months.  Imagine stepping out of your shower, or poking your feet out of bed and being met by a soft warmth instead of ice cold.  Now that would be a luxury worth paying a bit extra to obtain.  The great thing is that radiant heat flooring can be energy efficient as well.  You can read more about radiant heat flooring here.

Double Dishwashers

We’ve all heard the hype about double ovens, but have you considered double dishwashers?  They’re just the thing for entertaining or large family gatherings.  You can install the second one in a bar or in your island, or just about anywhere you find convenient.

Pullout Cabinet Shelving

Pantries and cabinets can benefit from having pullout shelves that help you access those difficult to reach spots in the back.  This way you won’t be losing cans of soup, or buying two hand mixers because you can find one.  These are easy to install and won’t cost you much more, but we guarantee that you’ll love the convenience of them.

Light Switch Dimmers

Whether you’re installing lights in your new custom home, switching out existing lights, or just want something to combat the harsh lighting in your home, dimmers might be an excellent option for you.

What are your top dream home luxuries?  Drop us a line in the comment section, we’d love to hear from you!