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The Importance of Rainscreen Systems

Protecting Your Home From Damaging Moisture

Furring strips are vertical pieces of wood that create a ventilation cavity when placed between the insulation and siding. They are part of an overall rainscreen system preventing moisture from damaging a home.

The Importance of Rainscreen Systems

While we all want a home that is comfortable and beautiful, we also want a solid structure made of durable materials that will last for years to come.  But the durability of our homes is threatened by environmental factors, especially wind, rain, heat, and humidity.  Incorporating a high-performance rainscreen system will help protect your home from the damaging effects of moisture.

What is a rainscreen?

A rainscreen is not actually an individual product, but part of a wall construction system.  Its overall purpose is to protect the wall sheathing from moisture that gets past the siding.   Rainscreen systems typically consist of the following components:

  • Exterior cladding (siding)
  • Ventilation and drainage cavity
  • Insulation
  • House wrap (drainage-plane material)
  • Air barrier
Rainscreen is an wall construction system that prevents moisture from damaging a home's wall sheathing.
Diagram of rainscreen system. Image by Tom Diamond and Garland Industries 

Perhaps the most important component is the ventilation and drainage cavity which provides space between the siding and the house wrap. This space is typically created by applying vertical furring strips (called strapping) over the drainage-plane material. The siding is then nailed to these wood strips.  

Furring strips are vertical pieces of wood that create a ventilation cavity when placed between the insulation and siding.  They are part of an overall rainscreen system preventing moisture from damaging a home.
Furring strips. Image by Ryan McCoon and Habitat for Humanity

Newer rainscreen products, such as Slicker, achieve the same effect by using a three-dimensional matrix with vertical channels.  These products come in a roll and are laid over the entire surface of the wall, providing a continuous space for drainage and drying.  When compared to a product like Slicker, wood strapping is generally less expensive from a material cost but is more expensive to install from a labor standpoint. Other drawbacks of strapping include the creation of hot spots along studs and trapped moisture from wood-to-wood contact, which can lead to reduced air movement and a greater potential for mold.

Slicker rainscreen provides three-dimensional matrix with vertical channels to provide a continuous space for drainage and drying.
The Slicker matrix provides airspace and vertical drainage channels across the entire wall. Image by Benjamin Obdyke/Slicker

Why would you want a rainscreen?

A rainscreen is important because the ventilation cavity promotes residual water drainage and airflow.  Any moisture held in the siding, or that seeps underneath due to wind-driven rain, will diffuse and evaporate.  If there are ventilation openings at the top (as opposed to only a weep holes at the bottom), the rainscreen provides a path for rising air.  According to homebuilder Martin Holladay, research shows that this type of ventilation is a powerful drying mechanism.   Because airflow is promoted, rainscreens have the added benefit of keeping your siding cool which prevents premature failure.

Homebuilder Mark Averill Snyde suggests the airspace provided by a ventilation cavity is especially important to prevent “capillary action.”  He compares this process to a grade-school science experiment during which a stalk of celery is placed into a glass of colored water and the water is observed to move quickly upwards. The same thing can happen to homes without proper ventilation and house wrapping. 

An example of capillary action, where water is drawn quickly upwards. Rainscreens help to prevent this.
An example of capillary action, where water is drawn quickly upwards. Image from Wikipedia.

Isn’t house wrap sufficient?

Some builders and homeowners believe house wrap (such as Tyvek, Typar, and #15 or #30 felt) provides a sufficient barrier.  But for many homes, especially those in wetter climates, it’s not enough.  The primary function of house wrap is to drain water that penetrates the siding through leaky joints or capillary action.  However, house wraps lose their water repellency over time and do very little to reduce air infiltration due to heavy winds.  Once water penetrates the house wrap into a wall, peeling paint and rotten siding often follow.  According to Joseph Lstiburekis from Building Science Corporation, back-priming wood cladding and trim and adding a ventilation cavity reduce the impact of moisture.

In addition to a rainscreen system, other methods to protect your home from water damage include:

While a rainscreen system is important for most homes, it is especially vital in climates that are wet and hot.  Some experts advise rainscreen installations for all houses in areas with an average annual rainfall of 50 inches or more.  Many coastal areas get that much rain each year, so if you’re planning to build a beach home make sure you discuss rainscreens with your contractor.


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

The key to attracting renters to your vacation property is to balance comfort and style, designing a retreat that people dream about living in.

Design Tips for Vacation Home Rentals

The vacation rental market has exploded in recent years.  After the economic downturn in 2008, many owners decided to rent their properties rather than sell.  Around the same time, Airbnb was established, and they now boast over two million listings worldwide!  With so many vacation home rentals entering the market, owners must design properties that stand out from the rest.

Unfortunately, many owners either don’t invest in interior design or create spaces that they would like (but may not appeal to others).  The key to attracting renters to your vacation home is to balance comfort and style.  As interior designer Mercedes Brennan argues:

“People do not want a home away from home on vacation.  Absolutely not.  What they want instead is the home they wished they had away from home.”  

In order to rise above the competition, you must provide the kind of vacation retreat that people dream about living in.  After all, vacations are precious and people want to feel pampered.

Here are the Coastal Cottage Company’s top five tips for designing vacation home rentals that will draw in vacationers:

Timeless Design

Too often, vacation home owners decorate according to their tastes and preferences.  But it’s unlikely you’ll be staying in your property very often (at least that’s the hope if you want to make a profit!).  Therefore, focus on classic, timeless design.  According to Andy Moore of Gulfcoast Property Management, “while interior design trends will come and go, your rental properties will not need remodeling for many years when you successfully start with a timeless look.”

Now, timeless does not mean boring!  Adding character and style is important.  But avoid choosing styles that are overly ornate, trendy, or offbeat.  While you may love the look of Roman columns and marble statuary, your guests may not share your vision!

Use classic and simple designs in your vacation home rentals, such as this dining room in rustic wood and cream color.
Incorporate classic and simple style, such as in this dining room. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

Local Design

One way to add character to a vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor.  Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere.  Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products.  This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house! 

Durable Design

With so many people coming and going, vacation home rentals can suffer a lot of wear and tear.  For beachfront properties, this is especially true as sand gets everywhere, air conditioners run constantly, and families with children often are renters.  Hardwood and tile floors are much easier to maintain than carpeting, while throw rugs can warm up a space and be tossed into the washing machine.  For countertops, quartz and granite are both sturdy and stylish.  Avoid materials that scratch easily such as soapstone and laminate.  While you don’t want your rental to feel institutional, you do want it to last without frequent repairs. 

Decorate to reflect the location of your vacation home rentals, such as this bedroom with rustic wood and green walls. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.
Decorate to reflect the location, such as this bedroom with rustic wood and green walls. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

Luxurious Design

Vacations are intended to be relaxing and pampering, something that transports guests away from the mundane.  So while durability and timeless design are important, your property should look and feel like a retreat.  Focus on comfort and try to anticipate your guests’ needs.  For example, provide plenty of high quality linens, rainfall shower heads, plush rugs, and throw blankets.  Depending on your budget, consider adding unique elements that will make the property memorable like a cozy reading nook or extravagant outdoor kitchen.  If you’re on a tight budget, small details can lead to a high return on investment.  For example, install lighting dimmers, provide eco-friendly bath products, or add electrical outlets with USB ports to charge mobile devices.

Kitchen Design

Often, guests choose vacation homes over hotels for the extra amenities they provide.  One of the top five amenities that motivate guests to book a property is the kitchen.  Cooking is a fantastic way for vacationers to save money and spend time with the friends or family they’re traveling with.  So if you’re deciding where to spend your money, the kitchen is a good bet.  As interior designer Mercedes Brennan said, people want to stay in a home they wish they had, so adding a luxurious kitchen can be a good investment.  If pricey upgrades are out of the question, ensure you have provided everything guests will need to cook and enjoy a meal.  For example, provide small appliances like blenders, utensils like can openers, seating for multiple people, even cookbooks that feature local cuisine.

Provide a kitchen that has everything your guests will need, especially enough seating.
Provide a kitchen that has everything your guests will need, especially enough seating like at this fantastic counter. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

We hope these tips will help you design a vacation property that looks like it belongs in Condé Nast Traveller and puts you on track to get more bookings!  And if you’re interested in building a vacation home to rent (or to enjoy yourself), we’d love to chat with you!


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

Build a Custom Home

5 Reasons to Build a Custom Home

There’s something special about walking over the threshold of a home you designed yourself.  Just like Cinderella’s slipper, a custom built home fits your lifestyle and your needs perfectly.  

While there are numerous reasons to purchase a pre-owned home, today’s newly-constructed and built-to-suit homes offer more benefits than ever before.  So these are the top five reasons to build your own custom home:

Design your dream home 

A home built before 1990 is unlikely to reflect the current needs and desires of most home buyers.  Modern trends such as open floor plans, resort-style bathrooms, professional-grade kitchens, and home theatre rooms just don’t exist in most older houses.  So the biggest benefit of building a custom home is your ability to design it to be exactly what you want.  

Open floor plan in custom home
Open floor plan and vaulted ceilings in a custom home built by the Coastal Cottage Company

“Green” products and construction  

Building codes require higher energy efficiency standards than ever before, which translates to lower utility bills and less impact on the environment.  New homes now feature tighter-sealed building envelopes, energy efficient windows, thicker insulation, and better air filtration which can alleviate symptoms of those who have asthma or allergies.  New construction also allows homeowners to take a whole-house approach rather than adding in elements piecemeal, saving significantly more money in the long run.

Lower maintenance and fewer surprises  

We’ve all heard horror stories of older homes that passed inspection but then a year or two later, the roof leaked or the HVAC needed to be replaced.  New construction has fewer of these costly surprises.  Not only are improved construction methods and cutting-edge engineering implemented, but you also get to choose the best building materials and appliances you can afford.  And many of these elements come with warranties and other guarantees, such as 30-year roof warranties.

Reasons to Build a Custom Home

Improved safety

More stringent building codes and advancements in technology mean that new homes tend to be safer. Hard-wired smoke detectors, garage doors with infrared beams, air conditioners with environmentally-friendly coolants, and materials with fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) keep your family healthier and safer.  Safety is especially important when building near the coastline.  Building a custom home allows you to take advantage of the latest innovations in high-wind zone home design and construction.

No renovation costs  

Pre-owned homes can be modified to meet your standards, but each alteration will cost you.  While changing paint colors and cabinet hardware might not be a big deal, removing walls or laying down new hardwood floors definitely are.  For example, the average kitchen renovation costs between $20,000 and $40,000!  So it’s not unusual for a custom home to actually be more economical than an older home that requires extensive renovations and repairs.  

Custom homes offer the latest designs and the safest construction methods, all tailored to your family’s lifestyle.  Why endure the stress and cost of renovations when you can enjoy a home that fits you like a fairytale glass slipper?  

We’d love to talk with you about making that fairytale a reality.  


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

Drawer Joints

Kitchen Drawer Joints and Slides

Great kitchens are both beautiful and functional.  But the best kitchens are designed around each homeowner’s unique needs.  Island or no island?  Open shelving or cabinet doors?  Granite or quartz countertops?  Electric ceramic or gas burner stovetop?

With so many options, it’s easy to overlook something as basic as kitchen drawers.  But think about how frequently your drawers are used and how much wear and tear they experience.  Thus, choosing high quality drawer construction is key to designing your dream kitchen.

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of choosing solid cabinetry materials, so we won’t belabor that point.  Instead, let’s focus on another essential element of quality cabinetry construction: drawer joints.

Drawer Joints

There are a variety of joinery techniques and many ways to combine them in order to construct a drawer.  As with most aspects of homebuilding, each technique has its strengths and weaknesses.  According to Bill Hylton, master carpenter and author, the strongest joint needs to be between the front and sides because that area experiences the most impact.  Dan Cary, from Woodworker’s Journal, concurs:  “when suddenly opened, the corner joints are pulled and when closed, the abrupt stop puts several pounds of stress on the joints, especially on the front.”  After years of pushing, pulling, and slamming, your drawers can begin to come apart.

Drawer Joints
Box joint, Image: Startwoodworking.com

Two of the strongest options are box joints and dovetail joints.  A box joint (also called a finger joint) is a corner joint with interlocking pins that are cut at 90 degree angles.  In contrast, a dovetail joint uses wedge-shaped pins.  

Drawer Joints
Dovetail joint, Image: Finewoodworking.com

Both types provide a large area for gluing and the interlocking pins provide a lot of support.  According to Lee Valley Tools, for hundreds of years, dovetailed drawer joints were valued because they provided a form of mechanical lock when glue failed. With today’s much stronger and more durable glues, the joint has become more decorative than functional but is still a favorite of carpenters and homeowners alike.  However, drawers with dovetail joints can be more expensive because, even with the help of modern equipment, more skill is required to construct a finely made dovetail joint.

Drawer Joints
Left: Rabbet, Right: Dado, Image: DIYadvice.com

Another strong option that requires less skill to make (and therefore can be cheaper), is the dado-and-rabbet method of joinery.  A dado is a three-sided slot cut into the surface of a piece of wood.  A rabbet is two-sided and open to the edge or end of the surface into which it is cut. The dado-and-rabbet joint locks together, providing strength and stability, without the intricate cutting required by dovetail drawer joints.

There are many other types of joinery that will help your drawers last.  Ultimately, you want to avoid the simple butt joint, which is the weakest form of joinery, as well as stapled drawer fronts.  Both will likely cause your drawers to split, crack, or fall apart much too soon.  For a fantastic explanation of drawer construction (and lovely illustrations), check out this excerpt from Bill Hylton’s book Chest of Drawers

Drawer Slides

Now that you understand the importance of solid drawer joinery, let’s explore slides which help drawers open and close smoothly. Drawer slides typically are made of stamped metal and operate with plastic or metal ball bearings.

Drawer Joints
Side-mount slides, Image: Rockler.com

When choosing a drawer slide it’s most important to consider load ratings which range from 50-pound to 100-pound capacities.  Drawers that will hold heavier items, such as utensils or dishes, should use slides with higher load ratings.  

You should also consider how far the drawer opens.  According to Elizabeth Beeler from HGTV, quality drawer slide options range from three-quarter-extension slides that allow most of the drawer to be pulled out, to full-extension slides which allow access to the entire drawer. Under-mount slides are more costly than side-mount slides. However, they also tend to warp and sag less, which saves on repairs down the road.

Drawer Joints
Undermount slides, Image: Rockler.com

Make sure the slides you choose are produced from heavy-duty materials that won’t rust over time and have easy-gliding rollers or ball bearings. When testing models, open drawers fully to ensure they move smoothly and quietly, and that they don’t tilt or feel unstable when fully extended.  For more great advice on quality cabinetry, check out HomeStyleChoices.com published by engineer Rob Levesque.

Finally, if you’re seeking a worth-the-investment upgrade, look no further than self-closing drawers.  Sometimes called soft-closing or feather-touch, these slides retract with a gentle push and include shock absorption that prevents drawers from slamming shut.  Not only will this save your eardrums but will also reduce the stress placed on the drawers, increasing their longevity.


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company 

Cabinet Boxes: Particle Board vs. Plywood

The Coastal Cottage Company’s last post focused on choosing a design for your kitchen cabinets – Shaker, inset, flat, or beadboard.  When building or remodeling, figuring out your style is the fun part.  But as important as style is, cabinets are worthless if they aren’t made of sound materials.  

Particle Board or Plywood?

One of the most important considerations to ensure your kitchen cabinets will survive typical wear and tear is choosing the right material for your cabinet boxes.  Because the box is mostly hidden, folks often don’t worry about its construction.  But much like your skeletal system keeps you upright and stable, the box keeps your cabinets sturdy.  Think about the abuse cabinets endure — they’re weighted down with dishes, their drawers are slammed, and their doors are kicked.  Thus, cabinet boxes must be strong.

Typically, homeowners choose between plywood and particle board.  Each has its own benefits and weaknesses but, generally speaking, plywood is considered the better option.

What’s the difference?

Particle board (sometimes called “furniture board”) is a wood product manufactured from wood chips, sawmill shavings, or sawdust, and a synthetic resin, which is compressed.  In contrast, plywood is made of thin layers of wood veneer, called “plies,” that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated 90 degrees.  This alternation of the grain is called cross-graining and has several important benefits: it reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed; it reduces expansion and shrinkage; and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across all directions. There are usually an odd number of plies which helps to reduce warping.

Cabinet Boxes: Particle Board vs. Plywood
7-ply spruce plywood. Image from Wikipedia.

But not all plywood is created equal.  Jim Mallery, from Old House Web, recommends the following:

  • The wood should have many thin plies — at least 7-ply for ¾-inch plywood (including the veneer), but you can go as high as 13-ply.
  • When you look along the edge of the plywood, you should not see any voids or gaps in the plies.
  • And if you see any warping in a sheet of plywood, it is not suitable for cabinetry.

According to Kelly Gallagher, of Boston Building Resources, particle board quality depends on the size of the particles, the glue that holds it together, and the density of the board. Smaller particles make the board denser and heavier while polyurethane resin makes it more moisture resistant. One of the best kinds of particle board is medium density fiberboard (MDF), but it can be very heavy, making it difficult to hang large cabinets.

Cabinet Boxes: Particle Board vs. Plywood
Particle board of different densities. Image from Wikipedia.

How do you decide?

The biggest strengths of particle board are its lower price and smoother finish, but plywood tends to be more durable, less susceptible to moisture, and holds glue joints better.  When deciding, consider your budget and even ask your contractor if it’s possible to use both.  For example, choose plywood for areas where there may be more moisture (such as around the sink and next to the dishwasher) or use particle board just for shelves.  Whatever your decision, select the highest quality materials you can afford to ensure your cabinets will last for years to come.


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company 

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

The Four Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

The holidays are quickly approaching. This means our kitchens will experience an increase in traffic as we host parties and welcome family into our homes.  This is also the time of year we complain about our kitchens and dream of spaces more amenable to entertaining.  The Coastal Cottage Company is here to help, whether you’re considering a remodel, building a vacation home, or just writing a wish list for the future.  This month and next, we will feature posts to help you achieve your dream kitchen!


First, let’s talk cabinetry.  Cabinets are more than utilitarian; they’re the face of your kitchen, communicating style and personality.  They’re also something that can be changed without completely remodeling.  New cabinet doors and fixtures can invigorate a tired kitchen, but the number of options is overwhelming!  So here are four of the most popular kitchen cabinet door styles to get you started.

Shaker

Shaker kitchen cabinet doors get their name from the Shaker furniture style characterized by clean and functional design.  According to Gabrielle Di Stefano, contributor at Houzz.com, Shaker cabinets are made using rail and stile construction (four pieces make the frame and a single flat panel sits in the center).  

Rail and Stile: Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Image: Robert Robillard, from A Concord Carpenter


This style has been popular for decades due to its versatility and simplicity.  Homeowners can choose from a variety of finishes.  If you want a more contemporary look, a painted finish looks fresh.  Or, use a glass insert for the center panel.  For something more “shabby-chic,” consider a burnished finish or maintain the natural woodgrain for a rustic style.  Check out this photo gallery for inspiration:
http://www.houzz.com/shaker-style-cabinet-door

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Image: Kitchen Cabinet Kings

Inset

The inset style is characterized by the doors sitting inside the cabinet frame, as opposed to resting outside the frame.  This style is very attractive, but also tends to be the most expensive option because it requires extremely precise measurements to ensure the door sits perfectly inside the cabinet frame with enough room for the wood to expand and contract.  

According to Shane Inman, principal interior designer of The Inman Company, inset doors with exposed hinges is often a nice combination.  Homeowners can choose hinges that reflect the style of the kitchen, but keep in mind that it will add an additional cost (in contrast, hidden hinges are often included in the price of the cabinet box).  This photo gallery includes beautiful examples of inset cabinets with exposed hinges: http://www.houzz.com/inset-cabinets

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Image: Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers

Flat

Because there are no frames or inset panels, flat cabinet doors look clean and minimalist, making them especially attractive in contemporary homes. Flat doors typically come in wood or laminate, with a variety of colors and finishes to choose from.  Some homeowners avoid cluttering their cabinet surfaces with hardware while others choose modern options like stainless steel or brushed nickel bar pulls.  Check out this gallery for examples: http://www.houzz.com/flat-cabinet-door

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Image: LDa Architecture and Interiors

Beadboard

If the flat kitchen cabinet style is just too plain, you may like the look of beadboard.  Beadboard is made of rows of vertical planks with an indentation or ridge–known as a “bead”–in between each plank.  This gives the cabinet door texture and looks fantastic in country farmhouse or cottage style kitchens.  It can look crisp and cheerful when painted or rustic when the wood is left more natural.  Peruse this image gallery for ideas: http://www.houzz.com/white-beadboard-kitchen-cabinets

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Image: The Coastal Cottage Company

Shaker, inset, flat, and beadboard are a few of the most popular styles of kitchen cabinet doors.  Each reflects different interior design styles and even homeowners’ personalities.  What style would go in your dream kitchen?


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company 

Apples to Apples: Comparing Contractor Bids

Building a custom home can be both a rewarding and overwhelming experience.  But this process doesn’t have to be challenging if you’re armed with the right information.  The Coastal Cottage Company is here to help!

In a previous post, we offered advice about the benefits of choosing a design-build contractor.  This post will help you compare “apples to apples” when evaluating multiple contractor bids.  Many folks base their final decision on price, but there are numerous factors that should be considered before signing a contract.  

Comparing Contractor Bids

Communicate Clearly and Consistently.  It’s not uncommon for two different contractors to look at the same project and deliver bids that are quite different. Thus, our first suggestion is to ensure you have provided the exact same information to each builder.  It’s vitally important to be clear and consistent about what you expect to ensure that each of your quotes are based upon the same scope of work.  So do your research and have a specific plan, sketches, and budget to present to each builder.  Otherwise, it will be impossible to compare “apples to apples.”

Evaluate Material Quality.  Builders quote prices using different specs, so if you receive a bid that is quite lower than another, it’s recommended that you dig deeper to determine why.  One way builders underbid each other is to use lower-quality materials.  Every bid should include a list of specific materials and the grade of those materials.  For example, will they be using sheetrock or blueboard and plaster?  Will they lay down sod or just seed and straw?  Everything from support beams and insulation to floor finishes and siding come in different grades, so make sure you know exactly which materials will be used.

Check for Licenses and Insurance. Builders can also underbid one another by using uninsured labor.  This puts the homeowner in jeopardy if anything happens on the premises.  So when comparing bids, make sure that every involved party has liability insurance and there is a workers compensation policy for every person who will be working on the project.  It’s also important to ensure you’re working with only licensed contractors.

Ask About Subcontractors.  Speaking of liability, you should also inquire about the use of subcontractors.  Who will actually be completing the work?  It’s not uncommon for the person making the bid to not be the one completing the project.  So ask about who will be the on-site labor and how frequently the builder will be present.

Assess Workmanship.  You should also scrutinize the reputation and workmanship of the contractors you are comparing.  How long have they been in business?  What do previous clients say about them?  Have they completed projects similar to yours?  Make sure you look through their portfolio of previous projects and check the references of everyone involved.

Get an Itemized List of Costs.  Finally, get a clear breakdown of all proposed charges.  Does the estimate include taxes, permits, and other fees?  Make sure you understand exactly what resources will be needed to complete your project so there will be no surprises later.

Even though price must be considered when building a home, it doesn’t have to be the determining factor in choosing a builder.  Make sure you investigate the backgrounds of the builders you are considering and gather all the necessary information about materials, insurance, subcontractors, and permits.  With all this information, you should be able to compare “apples to apples” and decide upon a builder who is right for you.


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

The Benefits of Design-Build

The Outer Banks are consistently rated as one of the most desirable places on the East Coast to vacation. Once you visit, you’ll want to return, so there’s no better time to consider building your very own home away from home.  But with so many options for architects, engineers, builders, and subcontractors, the process can become overwhelming.  Choosing a design-build contractor may be exactly what you need to make your homebuilding experience fun and stress-free.

WHAT IS DESIGN-BUILD?  Design-build is a construction delivery method that provides owners with one contact point for both the design and construction phases of homebuilding.  One company holds the contractual responsibility for the entire process of building, including coordinating subcontractors.

WHY USE A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR?  In traditional building projects, the owner serves as the middle-man, managing multiple companies and contracts.  Synchronizing schedules, resolving disputes, and coordinating communication can quickly become exhausting and frustrating.  With a design-build contractor, the owner communicates with only one entity.  The designer and builder are on the same team (or are the same person) and handle all aspects of the build.  This not only relieves stress for the homeowner, but also can result in a smoother, more cost-effective construction process.  

Design-Build

When architectural design is completed separately, designers and contractors may not be in sync, or may even disagree, which can result in unforeseen delays and costs.  In contrast, packaging design and construction allows a single team to know the project inside and out, adhering to a defined budget and timeline.  In addition, design-build firms tend to use their own carefully chosen construction crews and subcontractors who they have worked with extensively and, therefore, trust to complete outstanding work.

HOW DO YOU SELECT A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR?  To limit risks, you’ll benefit from using a qualifications-based selection process.  Rather than choosing a contractor based solely on lowest bid, qualification-based selection involves choosing the company that has the best credentials, expertise, and reputation.  It’s important to hire a licensed and insured company who offers an experienced team and has a satisfied client base.  

On the design side, you want someone whose tastes are compatible with your own.  Ask to see their portfolio of designs and talk with former clients about how responsive and open they were to suggestions.  On the contractor side, you’ll want to ask about the types of jobs they’ve completed, how much work is completed by employees versus subcontractors, and any speciality expertise (such as green building).  To read more tips, click here.

Homebuilding should be a rewarding and exciting experience, not a nightmare of delays, miscommunication, and surprise costs.  Design-build can help alleviate these stressors.  Contact the Coastal Cottage Company to learn more about design-build and custom vacation homes!


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

The Currituck Club


Corolla, NC is known for its breathtaking ocean views, lush wetlands, and pristine shoreline enjoyed by wild Spanish mustangs. What you might not know is that amidst this natural paradise is an award-winning golf course and gated community with endless amenities.

The Currituck Club, originally built in 1857, was one of the first hunt clubs in the Outer Banks.  During that time, the Outer Banks were revered waterfowl hunting grounds popular with wealthy industrialists from the north and east coast.  Today, the Currituck Club is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands on a 15-acre Audubon Society Cooperative Sanctuary.

The same landscape that attracted 19th century steel and railway magnates also appealed to Rees Jones, 1995 Golf World Architect of the Year.  He designed an 18-hole golf course that blends seamlessly into the coastal terrain, which includes sand dunes, maritime forests, and the Currituck Sound.

“At The Currituck Club, Rees Jones has brought to life his philosophy of golf course design – to create an environment for the game of golf that is challenging, fair and aesthetically pleasing, using as his canvas the type of land where golf began.”¹

The championship course was rated one of the “10 Best New Places You Can Play” by Golf magazine and one of the “Top 25 Courses in North Carolina” by Golf Digest

The-Currituck-Club-Bunker
Image courtesy of Club Corp

While golfers will find the Currituck Club heavenly, there is so much more to enjoy!  Take a leisurely bike ride, play a rousing game of tennis, or watch a movie on the big screen at the pool.  The Club offers amenities to entertain any vacationer, including five pools, seven tennis courts, fitness center, lawn games like bocce, and beach valet service.

Residents will also find daily living relaxed and easy with many conveniences. A Harris Teeter Grocery Store is located within the neighborhood, along with restaurants and retail shops.  A complimentary trolley will even pick you up at the foot of your driveway to take you to the beach!

Currituck Club Pool Deck
Image courtesy of Village Realty OBX

So whether your ideal vacation is jam-packed full of activity or simply enjoying a book on the beach, the Currituck Club’s blend of Outer Banks’ history, unspoiled landscape, and modern comforts has everything you’re looking for.

See what the Coastal Cottage Company could build for you and come home to the Currituck Club!

Click here for home plans!
 

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Blog by Jessica T. Smith

 

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Ocean Lakes – Corolla, NC

Ocean Lakes – Corolla, NC

Home Packages starting at $478,400 


Ocean Lakes – Corolla, NC

Ocean Lakes is an oceanfront community located at the north end of Ocean Sands in Corolla, NC. Ocean Lakes was planned for homeowners and vacationers alike seeking an array of amenities to complement the natural environment of the Outer Banks. This oceanfront outer banks community boasts over 580 feet of beachfront with stable dunes, Oceanfront and Oceanside home sites, central water and sewage, a stocked fishing lake, private beach access, Olympic size outdoor pool and community tennis courts.

Ocean Lakes is the newest development within the Ocean Sands community and the home sites are selling fast. With over half of the lots sold, now is the time to grab up a great deal before they are gone. Click the home site map below for a larger view. 

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The Coastal Cottage Company provides unique custom home packages designed specifically for the Ocean Lakes community starting at $478,400.00. In addition, if you don’t see a home package that’s right for you, simply let us know and we will custom design a build package specifically for your home site for free. Below are a few of the custom home packages we offer.   


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ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-home-sites-construction-7bedroom

ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-home-sites-construction-8bedroom

ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-home-sites-construction-9bedroom

ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-home-sites-construction-10bedroom

ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-standard features

  • Pella Windows & Exterior Doors
  • Lennox 40″ Gas Fireplace
  • CertainTeed Asphalt Roofing – 30yr/130mph
  • Galvalume Raised Seam Metal Roofing (where applicable)
  • James Hardie ColorPlus Fiber-cement Siding & Trim
  • Kohler or eq. Plumbing Fixtures
  • Rinnai On-Demand Tankless Water Heater
  • Trane 14-SEER HVAC Systems
  • Solid Core Interior Cottage Doors
  • Coastal Cottage Interior Trim package
  • Custom Marsh Cabinetry with Dovetail Drawers
  • Granite Counters in Kitchen, Vanities and Wetbars
  • Hardwood Flooring in Living, Dining, Kitchen, Stairs and Halls
  • Ceramic Tile in all Baths & Custom Showers
  • Stainless Steel Appliances

ocean-lakes-corolla-nc-optional-features

  • OPTIONAL; Residential Elevator (if applicable)
  • OPTIONAL; Swimming Pool & Patio
  • OPTIONAL; Pool & Yard Fencing
  • OPTIONAL; Hot Tub – Spa
  • OPTIONAL; Landscaping
  • SITE SPECIFIC; Site Prep, Fill and Clearing not included – (optional)
  • SITE SPECIFIC; Septic System and/or fees not included – (optional)

**NOTE: Pricing and Specifications updated January 1, 2015 – Pricing and Terms subject to change without notice. Building site not included in price. Site Prep and Septic Requirements are priced according to building site and location requirements. Optional items are priced separately.**

 –The Coastal Cottage Company – Outer Banks Custom Builders 

                    Call us today to learn more  (252) 573-9342


 

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