Designing a new space

How to design a new space and what you should consider when creating a vision board.

Green Building

Ecofriendly construction products that can help save money and energy while also making your home healthy for your family.

Selecting A Contractor

Top mistakes that homeowners make when choosing a contractor for their project.

First Time Homebuyers

There's more to think about than square footage when you're debating about moving into a home, especially in this market


A money saving water preserving alternative to traditional landscaping.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Room Envy: Man Caves

Any guy would be lucky to call one of these dude spaces their own. Want to see some more check out Man Caves on the DIY Network where they chronicle the ultimate of man caves and even show you how to create your own.

"To the Bat Cave"... no literally-

Your own personal Sports Center, complete with rotating couch, so you can catch every single one of the games on all of the tv's!

Well who wouldn't want a hot rod in the middle of the living room...

A poker palace for a guys tournament night

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Room Envy: Outdoor Pergola

Double Function- deck on top
This one comes from the folks at A gorgeous display of 16 "not your average pergola" patio cover ideas. Think outside the box when it comes to designing your own outdoor retreat, there are a million different options even with something as basic as a pergola patio cover. Check out these for inspiration... some of our favorites, head over the the DIY Network to see more. And if you're feeling extra handy, here's a great basic intro to building a simple wood pergola.

Angled- Japanese style
Urban- incorporating the walls
Arched top outdoor room

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When Extreme Weather Comes A Knocking! How to prepare yourself and your home

Mother nature has a tendency to keep you on your toes. Here in the Denver area we're no strangers to bizarre weather. We see our fair share of wildfires, snow, wind, rain, hail, and tornadoes! With the unpredictable weather comes the homeowner's responsibility to deal with the fallout when these acts of nature wreak havoc. Below are several things you can do to be better prepared ahead of time for these types of situations and a plan of action for dealing with the aftermath thanks to our friends over at Travelers!

Hail is one of the number one causes of house damage in the US. Not surprising if you've ever witnessed a good downpour with golfball size air debris! If you have forewarning that you may be hit by one of these storms you can start out by protecting plants and flowers by covering them. Move vehicles into garages if possible. Bring anything breakable inside like flower pots, umbrellas, etc.

Staying safe in a hailstorm
  • If there is a hail storm in your area, make personal safety your first priority. Take shelter during the storm. Large hail can cause serious injuries.
  • Hail is often accompanied by strong winds and lightning, both of which pose their own dangers.
  • After the storm passes, keep in mind that windows may have been broken and high winds may have knocked down trees and power lines. Look for broken glass, sharp objects and live wires. Be sure to wear proper shoes and gloves when walking around your property.
  • If necessary, protect your property immediately against further damage and theft. Use plywood, tarps or other materials to cover broken windows or holes in roofs. Keep receipts for reimbursement of all expenses covered by your policy.

Understanding hail damage

  • Hail is frozen precipitation that forms in storm clouds when super-cooled water droplets freeze on contact with dust or dirt in the air. Hailstones can be as small as the tip of a pen or as large as a softball. The larger they are, the more damage they can do.
  • By understanding the signs of hail damage you can be better prepared to work with contractors and your claim professional after a storm.

House fires are not as uncommon as most people would tend to believe. Fire is a year round concern as it can arise from nearly anything. You have a variety of fire potential everywhere you turn outside of the kitchen stove- bbqs and outdoor grills, dryers, space heaters, outdoor patio heaters and tiki torches, camping fires, cigarettes, lightening, etc. Obviously there are ways to prevent most of these sources but accidents do happen.

Having clear knowledge of how to use a fire extinguisher is a good place to start. Making sure your smoke detectors are functioning properly and that your family has an emergency exit plan that has been PRACTICED! Cleaning dryer vents regularly. These are good places to start. But even the most prepared can be caught off guard, especially by a wildfire. Stay safe by heeding the following advice.

  • Give your yard a good annual clean-up and maintenance. Prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home, clear away dead plants or branches, and remove pine needles, leaves, and other debris from the yard, roof, and gutters. Use caution and be careful to stay away from overhead wires. If you are not comfortable doing this work yourself, hire a licensed contractor.
  • Prepare a family evacuation plan. Have more than one escape route and designate a place for family members to meet if they are in different locations when an evacuation order is given.
  • Make sure adult family members know how to shut off utilities and how to use fire extinguishers.
  • Prepare a survival kit.


  • Listen to the radio for important reports and evacuation information.
  • Remove lightweight and non-fire-resistant curtains from around windows.
  • Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage. Move all flammable furniture away from windows to the center of the house.
  • Close windows and interior doors.
  • Connect a garden hose to the outside tap and place lawn sprinklers on the roof. Wet the roof and any shrubs within 15 feet of the house.
  • If you must evacuate:
    • Shut off propane at the tank, or natural gas at the meter, and turn off all pilot lights.
    • Turn on a light in each room of the house to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
    • Wear protective clothing, including sturdy shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and a bandana or handkerchief.
    • Advise a friend or family member outside the wildfire area that you are leaving and where you will be.


  • Stay tuned to the radio or television for updated information. If you had to evacuate, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.
  • Check for hazards such as electrical shorts or gas or water leaks. Turn off any damaged utilities, and arrange for the electric or gas company to test, repair, and turn utilities back on.
  • Check the roof and attic for smoke, sparks, and embers.
  • Throw away items such as food or medicines that have been contaminated by smoke or fire.
  • Promptly report any loss to Travelers using the toll-free claim reporting number.

First thing about floods and the #1 thing you should do after reading this, CALL your insurance company and check your policy. Most standard homeowners policies do NOT include flood insurance!!! The average cost to mediate a flood is $48,000 according to the National Flood Insurance Program. The best advice is obviously to add flood insurance to your policy.


  • Know your flood zone risk. Evaluate your flood risk.
  • Have your furnace, water heater and other permanent equipment elevated above the expected flood levels of your area.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • If you own a generator, have a licensed electrician provide a transfer switch to your sump pump so you can operate it in the event of flooding.
  • To help prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  • Keep sandbags on hand to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
  • In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
  • Learn the flood alert signals of your community.
  • Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area. These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and sandbags.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated.
  • Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
  • Plan a kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home. 
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for the latest storm information. If advised to evacuate, shut off all utilities and evacuate immediately.
  • Move to high ground, avoid rising waters and do not walk or drive through any floodwaters.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
  • Listen to the radio and do not return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do so.
  • Be watchful of snakes that may have found their way into your home.
  • Throw away all food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Remove standing water as quickly as possible, including from your basement. If your basement is flooded, pump out the water gradually. Remove about 1/3 per day to avoid structural damage.
  • Properly dry or remove soaked carpets, padding and upholstery within 24-48 hours after a flood to prevent mold growth. Discard anything that cannot be properly dried.
  • Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded. This includes walls, floors, closets, shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems.
  • Do not energize electrical or electronic equipment that may have suffered water damage without first having a qualified electrician inspect and/or test it.
  • PROMPTLY call your insurance company to report any loss
And of course I will add in that you should hire a professional to address the damage done to your home. It may be tempting to just start ripping out wet carpet but there are a million facets that go into the proper remediation of a flood including mold prevention, not something to mess around with.

Safety is the number one priority with any type of major storm. There isn't a whole lot you can do about things like tornadoes but you can prepare your home ahead of time just in case and have a plan in place in the event that something does occur. Needless to say the damage a home sustains from a major 'act of God' like a tornado should by repaired by a reputable professional.

  • Learn the warning signs and alert signals of your community.
  • Understand the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A watch means that tornadoes may develop, while a warning means that a tornado has been sighted and you should seek shelter immediately.
  • Prepare a survival kit.
  • Conduct drills with your family. Designate an area of your home as a shelter and practice what you would do should a tornado occur.
  • Move cars and other outdoor objects inside the garage.
  • At Home:
  • Seek shelter away from windows in the center of the room. Basements and storm cellars are the best havens, but if there is no basement, take cover in a bathroom, closet, or under a sturdy piece of furniture.
  • At work or school:
  • Go to the basement or an inside hallway at the lowest level. Keep away from large, open areas such as auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums. Lie low and use your arms to protect the head and neck.
  • In a car:
  • Do not try to outrun the tornado. Stop the car, get out, and if there is no nearby facility in which to take shelter, lie in a low area such as a ditch.
  • Stay in your shelter until the storm is over.
  • Listen to the radio or television for the latest storm information.
  • Check for gas leaks or electrical system damage.
  • Watch for downed power lines when going outside.
  • Report damage to your insurance company

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Multi- Generational Living, the newest trend in home construction

While the idea of living literally in the same home as the in-laws may make the majority of people cringe, the concept of multi-generational living and housing arrangements is more than practical. Plenty of families enjoy the closeness and support brought by having family there at the drop of a hat and it's no new concept. However, what is new is that home developers are realizing that more and more families are choosing to live this way for practicality while riding out the shift in our economy. We're not talking shoving the grandparents into a spare bedroom and residing in a cramped living room and kitchen. These new home plans allow both families to live privately and independently while sharing common spaces when wanted or needed. They have truly thought of everything, like the desire for families to spend time together at gatherings by offering shared courtyards and backyard living areas perfectly laid out for summer bbq's. And the plan layouts range from guest suites and "mother-in-law apartments" to 2 house family "compounds". A very unique concept on a very old tradition and a great solution for families that need the extra help and support.

With America's aging population, children staying home longer and more extended families living together, some new homebuilders are changing the designs of their homes to meet those needs. They're new home developments designed with multi-generational families in mind.

With new twins the Fajardo family is growing quickly. In fact, Lea's parents will be moving in with them, so they need a house to accommodate them all. They found the perfect place in Chino in a new home development called Charleston at College Park.
"This was an ideal situation: them having their own area where they can do what they needed to do and yet still be close enough to help with the kids, with their grandkids," said Robert Fajardo.
Lennar Homes calls it a "home within a home." A first-of-its-kind in the U.S. geared for multi-generational families.
"The home within a home basically has its own front door, its own living area, its own kitchenette with a refrigerator, convection microwave oven for some light cooking, its own bathroom with a stacked washer-dryer, its own bedroom and access to a rear yard for its own patio," said Greg McGuff, Lennar Homes Division president.
Another developer, the New Home Company, is taking the next generation of homes a step further. At Lambert Ranch in Irvine there are three neighborhoods with three unique life space designs.
"You have your own private entrance from the exterior of the home, for private going in and going out," said Joan Marcus-Colvin, vice president of sales, the New Home Company.
And inside is a private bedroom, bath and service bar, yet it is connected to the main home.
Another design incorporates a large guest house connected to the main house that buyers Jason Vitaletti and Arman Afagh find perfect for their competing work schedules.

"I'm an emergency room physician and I work nights," said Afagh. "And so having a completely separate area where I could sleep during the daytime and he can go about doing his work from home."
And the third design features two homes next to each other creating a compound estate.
"This is the shared courtyard of our family compound, our generational estate," said Marcus-Colvin. "And this is where our two families can have their coffee in the morning."
And the homes are joined in the large backyard too for family gatherings.
"We found an incredible need for families that wanted to live together, meaning sister, husband, kids, brother, his wife and kids, and joining them," said Marcus-Colvin.
And homes like these make economic sense too.
"We always say it's two homes and one payment," said McGuff.
Both builders say sales so far have been excellent so expect more developers to follow.

(Copyright ©2012 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Home Construction Industry Insight: A Recent Bolster In Business

Industry professionals are happy to proclaim that they are busier than ever, seeing the largest spike in business in years. Consumer confidence in the housing industry, real estate, et al plays a large role and, according to the latest reports, it is justified. Mortgage rates are still at record lows and the real estate market is slowing climbing all around the board in all nine census divisions.

Just published over at MSNBC, Rise in new-home sales bolsters sense of housing revival
"When blended with Tuesday’s report from the National Association of Realtors that existing-home sales touched a two-year high in April, analysts say evidence of a modest real estate revival seems to be mounting. “Things are looking good,” said Pat Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight. “These are still very low numbers by historical standards. But when combined with the NAR report, this tells us that something is going on. Prices are stabilizing after adjusting for inflation. “It’s hard to get a good picture of the housing market early in the year because (warming) weather can distort the numbers. But I think the picture emerging is a good one. The housing market is getting better,” Newport added. “We had a very good first quarter, and the numbers are telling us it was more than just good weather helping the market.”

All this spells for the housing industry, and therefore the housing construction industry, is good news. So if you're one of the many wondering what all of the construction work trucks are doing sitting all through your neighborhood, now you know why. It's as good a time as ever to jump on those home improvement projects. Although the industry seems to be rebounding, ever so slighty, contractors and professionals are still working on bare minimum contracts, so prices are definitely reasonable and often times lower than you may expect. Call a reputable local contractor and see what they have to say and see our tips on selecting the RIGHT contractor before you sign on the dotted line!

5280 At Work...

DSC_0066smallsara gulch sidetheater 2sara gulch frontsara gulch hood tilecook st entry
100_2476stock kitchenVail TiletheaterThompsons 26650 Shower
housesIMG_0505IMG_0522IMG_0523pool gazebo winterVail Bed 2 Bath small
Vail Kitchen 2 smallVail Master Shower2Vail Powder Bath smallVail Master Bath small100_2468100_2484

project photos, a set on Flickr.

A little glimpse at what we do all day at 5280...