Blogs

How to Safely Decorate the Exterior of Your Custom Home for the Holidays

The Holidays are right around the corner and even if your décor style isn’t like the Griswold’s you still might want to do what you can to protect your custom home while decorating. We have compiled some best practices and tips in hopes to help keep your custom home the way you intended it to be, custom for you!

‘Nailed It!’ …Maybe Not So Much

It might seem quick and easy to nail a decoration to your home but using nails, or even staple guns, can leave behind holes and penetrations to the exterior of your home. It might seem like a hole that smallwould be insignificant but it potentially could lead to larger issues. What else can you use instead? Check out our next two tips!

Manufacturers Know Best

We encourage people to use the recommended clips that come with your lights and decorations. If you don’t have the manufacturer provided clips, extra clips that are specifically designed to attach decorations to either roof shingles or gutters can be purchased at your local hardware store.

Commander Says…

Command strips are highly recommended to secure your favorite decorations to your custom home. They are a temporary solution to fit your need, are strong enough to complete the task, and leave little to no marks once they are removed.

Bullhorns are the New Holiday Need?

Another way to protect your roof and gutters while decorating is to make sure that you have a standoff ladder stabilizer, commonly known as a bullhorn. This feature on a ladder not only helps make sure that the ladder is secure for your personal safety but also so that the weight of the ladder is properly distributed and not placed on your gutters or shingle overhang.

The Lighter the Better

Lighter weighted decorations, such as blow-ups, are ideal to put on your roof. Heavy decorations can easily add up weight and put too much stress on your roof than it’s designed to withstand. When it comes to your roof, the lighter the better!

Light Show!

Hologram lights are easy to shine onto the exterior of home. Typically, there are just a few holes in your lawn, leaving no mess on your home!

Would You Use… Wood?

J&J Custom Homes recently had a project where we used a very special type of wood for the exterior as well as an interior accent wall. This extremely beautiful wood is called IPE (pronounced “ee-pay”) and to some extent can be compared to Mahogany.

Never heard of it? Most haven’t! It’s a South American, rich brown stunning exotic wood with red and amber hues and the color varies considerably from board to board. It’s very dense and up to five times harder than most woods. Guess what else? It is naturally resistant to weather, rotting, abrasions, and insects. A wonderful selection for durability as well as beauty!

Official Rendering of Laburnum Ave
Official Rendering of Laburnum Ave

This fantastic, contemporary home is located in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte, NC at 2120 Laburnum Avenue. Could this be YOUR next dream home?

What about actual mahogany? It’s famous for its coloring and durability with high-quality furniture, but did you know that it’s also perfect for decking? It doesn’t rot, shrink, or warp due to weathering and it tends to have a lifespan of 20 years with little to no maintenance. Mahogany wood polishes well so, with proper maintenance, the lifespan of a mahogany deck can last even 40-50 years! The possibilities with mahogany seem to be almost endless for both interior and exterior spaces.

Lastly, we wanted to showcase a type of wood that is notorious for its benefits, cedar! It’s commonly known for its unique scent and the fact that it deters pesky moths, but what else? Due to its durability and resilience to rot, it is an excellent wood that can be used for exterior areas including shingles or alongside decking. Cedar is also an excellent selection inside your home for your ceiling or cladding. With all its advantages, please be aware that it does require maintenance, may be susceptible to scratches and has the potential to be flammable.

We’ve only scratched the surface of the many types of unique and beautiful wood selections that can bring a great aesthetic as well as a physical benefit to your home!  Selecting the right type of wood for your custom home is important and we encourage homeowners to do additional research to find the type of wood that meets their specific needs and budget.

We hope that we have inspired you, and that you can now answer our question “Would you use….wood?”

The Science of Rain Chains

Is it decoration? Is it a wind chime? No, they’re rain chains! But what are they?

Who is a good candidate for rain chains?

Any homeowner who wants to have a modern look to their house! Each set is completely customizable with different designs and patterns to custom fit your home and to help make it look unique and interesting. It’s a wonderful alternative to a traditional downspout.

How are they designed?

The styles are either of a chain link style with the second most popular being of a cup-like style. The style affects how the water runs down from the gutter system. If you want a waterfall-type look, then you would want the chain link style but if you favor more of hearing the sound of water dripping with less splash then you would go with the cup style.

How do they work?

The chain link style creates a surface-tension as the water falls with the path of the least resistance, ending up with a stream-like effect. The cup style will catch the most water for a heavy flow, which is why they are typically paired at the bottom with either river stones or a decorative basin with a drain.

Where are they a better option than gutters on a house?

The front porch is a popular place for rain chains because they serve a more aesthetic purpose and are easily viewed and enjoyed from the common area, whether it’s for the visual or sound effects.

J&J Custom Homes 2021 Accomplishments

It is hard to believe that another year came and went in what feels like the blink of an eye! While the pandemic continued to affect the world in many aspects, other elements of life were able to gradually resume a sense of normalcy. No matter what the case, J&J Custom Homes did not slow down! 2021 was an amazing year, let’s recap all of the exciting projects that were completed during those busy 12 months.

Parson Street Project

This beautiful home was completed in an amazing location between Noda and Uptown Charlotte. It stood apart with its exquisite craftsman kitchen and included a 2-sided fireplace. This is also where we first introduced a new closet system that brought functionality and luxury to our homes.

Sardis Lane Project

This one-of-a-kind home was such a special project for our J&J family. This was a custom creation for a customer, and it was memorable by the wonderful relationship that we enjoyed with the owners through the process. This gorgeous home features elegant and modern designs while still tying in traditional and exotic elements. Something that stands out about this home was the strong tile work and distinguished kitchen appliances that are both esthetically pleasing and functionally top of the line.

Greyson Ridge Lot 9 Project

This lovely home holds extra sentimental value as being the first home sold in our Greyson Ridge subdivision. It is the largest home in this J&J-built neighborhood and has stand-out finishes. Between the impeccable granite selection, multiple owner’s retreats, and a modern open design concept, this home was not only memorable to build, but even more memorable to sell to its new owners.

Simpson Drive Project

This striking home is situated in the downtown Charlotte area and possesses many unique features that we were proud and excited to reveal. If the double-sided fireplace wasn’t exciting enough, it boasts its smart home features, stunning owner’s retreat bathroom chandelier, and a large spacious laundry room that would get anyone excited. It was the first of five of our downtown projects possessing J&J Custom Homes’ new modern design.

2021 was an exciting and noteworthy year for the J&J Custom Homes family. However, 2022 is only looking to be even more thrilling and we can’t wait to continue to reveal our new and innovative projects. Stay tuned and don’t forget to reach out to us and let us know how we can make your custom homes dreams come true!

Redesigning Your Kitchen Layout

It’s often said that “The Kitchen is the Heart of the Home” and don’t we know how true that is! The majority of families around the world would agree that the kitchen is easily the most important room in the home. It is the center that everything revolves around and is often where most of the families’ hours are spent together. However, are you starting to feel like this important hub in your home (or your future custom home) can use a revamp? Let’s talk about some concepts to consider in redesigning your kitchen layout.

Countertop Layout

A good option for upgrading your countertop situation is by figuring out if an Island or a peninsula is a good opportunity for adding a practical yet stylish piece to your kitchen. What are some things to consider when deciding which way to go? The difference between an island and a peninsula are that an island is free standing and give access from all sides, whereas a peninsula is attached on one end and has three open sides. With an island, you have room to be creative because you can have contrasting colors and materials for a fun accent. When it comes to a peninsula, you might want to match it to the rest of your countertops and thus can create a very elegant, classic and cohesive look. A peninsula also requires less floor space and thus is ideal for a smaller kitchen. If you have more space to play with then an island is a great way to add extra seating and storage.

Pantry

We can likely all agree that there are few things better than an amazing pantry! Storing your food in outdated high-up cabinetry is a thing of the past. One way to update your kitchen and make your life easier is by designing the pantry of your dreams. Walk-in pantries are a game changer for a family home, providing you with plenty of space to keep food well-stored and organized. Built-in shelving, floating shelves, custom door storage and organizer systems are great avenues to go with to maximize your space and also keep things tidy and uncluttered. Another trending idea to really modernize your pantry is to use glass-door panels. If you prefer a more inconspicuous look, a hidden pantry in which your walk-in pantry is disguised as cabinet drawers is certainly a good direction for refreshing and upgrading your kitchen storage without detracting from the simplistic look.

Lighting

A seemingly small way to make a big difference is by upgrading your kitchen lighting. Adding some fun new pendants, sconces, or chandeliers can give your kitchen a new ambiance. These fixtures can become a showpiece to the room and also help create symmetry as well. On the other hand, recessed lighting can provide increased practicality by giving more illumination to the room while doing it in a minimalistic and understated fashion. Also, consider switching to energy efficient lighting to cut costs, conserve energy, and become more environmentally friendly.

Flooring

The type of flooring you choose can make a huge difference to the esthetic, as well as provide functionality and durability to this high-traffic area of your home. Some options for materials to choose between for an upgraded floor would be wood, tile, stone, and ceramic tile. The flooring style you select can also help contribute to the overall look you’re hoping to achieve, whether it be farmhouse, contemporary, industrial, or anything else. As far as color goes, cool and light colors can really give your home the more natural and earthy feel that is popular right now. Darker, more traditional floors can make a large kitchen feel warmer and cozier, as well as provide a modern style and provide distinction from lighter colored walls. Pattern and texture choice is also a way to get creative with your design. Patterns like herringbone and chevron are trendy in new homes and give a unique fun style to a once ordinary looking floor. Tile is also a way to give some originality with shapes and movement and can be good for either a modern or vintage style home.

Whichever design trends or ideas you choose to implement in your new kitchen should only enhance the love your family has for this sacred space. By creating the kitchen of your dreams, your family can continue to have a space for gathering and making memories that will last a lifetime. If you are creating the home of your dreams with J&J Custom Homes, the options are truly limitless! Just give us your vision and let us help you make it a reality.

Making Your Home’s Exterior as Pretty as the Interior

The times of backyards being a separate part of the home are long gone! We are officially living in a period where our home’s exteriors are simply an extension of its’ beautiful interior. More than ever before, families are wanting to spend more time outdoors in the fresh air and feeling more connected to nature while still enjoying “homey” comforts. Are you looking to revamp your outdoor living area this year? Here are a few ideas to consider!

  1. Backyard Seating Areas

This may seem like a given, but a backyard seating area goes far beyond just some outdoor furniture. In order to have a space that you truly want to use, an outdoor seating area is just as much about comfort as it is about functionality. For example, look into an actual structural design that will make your backyard seating area more practical. This could include pavers, multi-purpose furniture, or even a gazebo. On a simpler wavelength, even a hammock with a unique design or a hanging cocoon chair can bring that touch of simplicity and comfort that your backyard is missing. The more thought you put into the seating areas, the more likely your family is to actually use it on a regular basis.

  1. Backyard Fire Pit

Changing weather and seasons does not need to be a dominating factor of your home’s exterior and how usable it is. By implementing fun accessories such as fire pits, outdoor heaters, and dreamy outdoor lighting, your family will want to use your backyard just as much on cooler days as they do on summer days. Modern designs such as smart lights or electric pits also make these gadgets so simple and easy for all members of the family to use with ease. Not only will this become a family favorite, but it will also provide more opportunities for entertaining friends in a casual and comfortable outdoor setting.

  1. Backyard Kitchens

It is no secret that in every culture, nothing brings people together more than food! So, what better way to make your outdoor space a more inviting place to gather than by implementing some culinary elements. Some ways to do this could be by building a small outdoor kitchen, a bar area, or even a pizza oven! These are long-term investments that will provide you with years of opportunity to entertain guests or even simply enjoy family meals outdoors. Whether it’s a grill, a smoker, an icemaker or a brick oven, choose the appliances that fit your family’s style best… and enjoy!

These are only a few popular ideas to consider when revamping your home’s exterior. Remember, it’s all about practicality and functionality. Don’t forget to personalize it so that your backyard is something beautiful and perfectly fit for your family’s style! Really, there is no reason why your home’s exterior shouldn’t be just as beautiful as the interior.

Looking to customize your entire home? Give us a call for a consultation for J&J Custom Homes to build your dream home at 704-234-8202

Give Your House a Summer Facelift!

We officially made it to the day everyone’s been waiting for… the start of summer!

No surprise that this season is a fan favorite, full of sunshine, long days, warm weather and time off with the family. Did you realize that it’s also the best time to give your house a “summer facelift”? Let’s talk about the things you should check on to maintain your house and take advantage of summertime!

Gutter Cleaning

Cleaning out your gutters is definitely a perfect task to accomplish during summer months. Why are gutters such an integral part of your house and roof? The purpose of gutters is to collect water and move it away. However, because the water comes with other particles, they can become clogged and have dirt build-up. By cleaning your gutters, you can avoid mold, mildew, nest formation, flooding, corrosion, and water damage. It is definitely an important chore that, unfortunately, goes forgotten. Don’t forget it this summer!

Check Siding Around Windows

The nice summer weather is also the perfect time to get your siding checked. An especially important place to check your siding is around your windows. Why is that? The caulking by the siding is what makes sure that water does not get behind your windows. Additionally, over time siding can become loose and damaged just by normal wear and tear, or also by previous storms or harsher weather. Why not use this summer to get your siding checked?

Roof Inspection and Repair

Another perfect item to attend to in the summer is a roof inspection. The roof is the literal protection over our heads, so its’ condition is absolutely crucial! Many people wait until it’s too late to discover that their roof was no longer in good shape and has resulted in missing shingles, leaks, a sagging roof or bad insulation inside your home. Another thing to keep in mind during the summertime is if you need roof ventilation. The point of roof ventilation is to help with the moisture that builds up in the roof that can lead to rot, mold and even malfunctioning insulation. Catch any roofing issues before it’s too late and becomes more costly!

Repainting

Changing the exterior color of the home is definitely something that many find themselves itching to do. What better time than during sunny summer months? Not only is it a perfect revamp to your homes’ style, but it may also be a great time to match a new color to a new roof and knock out a complete exterior makeover!

Look at all of the tasks you could check off your house facelift checklist in just a few short months! Not only will these modifications make your house feel rejuvenated during summer, but it will also be a proactive move to protect your homes longevity. Yes, if you act now, you can save later!

If you’re ready to go beyond the house facelift and start your next chapter with a completely new custom-built home, J&J Custom Homes is here to make that happen! Give us a call and find out what gorgeous homes we have available this summer season. 704-234-8202

Home Help Post-Pandemic

Entering summer 2021 with more hope on the horizon than ever before for a post-pandemic resuming of life, it’s a good time to look at the thing transformed by Covid that will not be changing: Our Attitude.

Yes, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the attitudes of Americans has been duly noted since early 2020. While the pandemic situation is hopefully changing and lifestyles may change, one thing not predicted to change is the modification to our thought-process that resulted from staying at home this past year.

The situation of most people working, studying, and recreating from home with their families has given this generation a new mindset for what a home means and what they want for the future. In order to attain it you will need help from the experts. We are happy to help!

One of the most noticeable adaptations that has been occurring, and will continue to grow in our post-pandemic world, is the desire to own instead of rent. The percentage of renters who now feel more motivated to own their own home has increased, coming as no surprise based on how much emphasis was put on our residence becoming our safe haven during the past year.

Another adaptation that has occurred is what homeowners want out of their home now. Houses have become more than just a building to sleep in at night, they have transformed into a multipurpose sanctuary to families. A home is not just a kitchen, living room and bedrooms anymore. It is now a home-office, a gym, an arts-and-crafts room, a movie theatre, a bakery, a backyard park, and so much more! The more time people spend at home, the more they realize the need to make sure their house is functional for all their familial needs.

A third change to our thinking that will surely be long-lasting is our view to health and safety in our home. This pandemic has made us all eerily aware of things being clean and sanitary. This trend is especially true within the home, which is now a place where families want to have touchless technology, antibacterial surfaces, and multiple entrances to name just a few.

Accomplishing all of these things in this post-pandemic world may seem very daunting to most, especially first-time homeowners and home builders. However, these hopes and dreams for your own home do not need to intimidate you! That is what we are here to help with. Everything from finding the location to own, designing the interior layout to fit your needs, and even picking materials that help you feel safe and clean is all a part of our process of helping you design your dream custom home.

If you are ready to build your families’ new safe haven, let J&J Custom Homes make the process smooth and comfortable in this new chapter we are now entering together.

Spring Cleaning: Home Exterior Edition

Spring is in full bloom and we are loving it! There is a lot to look forward to when spring rolls around. Flowers in bloom, extra sunshine, and maybe even the refreshment of spring cleaning!

Did you know that this is also the perfect season to do some “spring cleaning” on the exterior of your home? There are several things we recommend homeowners to look for on the outside of their house to make improvements and maintain its beauty and quality. Let’s take a look at a few!

Siding: Over time, siding can crack, rot and have a detrimental effect on your house. If left unfixed, water can seep in and damage the layer beneath the surface. It can also infiltrate the interior because this moisture can cause paint and wallpaper to peel and even lead to mold formation.

Trim: The trim around your doors and windows that border the roof and siding can also decay and fracture over the years. Repairing this doesn’t only have an effect on the aesthetic of the house but also can help prevent moisture from penetrating past the trim.

Pressure Wash: No matter what your home exterior is made of, it is important to pressure wash the outside of your home because it helps rid it of any mold or dirt before it accumulates and rots. It’s extremely important to check it after winter passes because the harsher weather can stain the outside and, when left too long, will lead to mold and damage to the finishes.

Roof: It probably comes as no surprise that one of the most important things to maintain in good condition is your roof! It is the literal protection over your home and is also the part that gets the most exposure to nature’s elements. Therefore, you will definitely want to get it inspected to see if there are any signs that it needs to be repaired or potentially even replaced, depending on its condition. When gone unchecked, your roof can gradually decay, deteriorate and lead to a much scarier situation on your hands in the future.

Yes, spring is here and so is your opportunity to inspect your homes exterior! May you take advantage of this time to make sure your home is in good shape. If this spring season brings on the inspiration to start the process of getting your own custom home, we are here to help you make that dream a reality!

Questions About Solar? We Have Answers!

In the early 2000’s, two words took off in popularity that changed the scene of the world forever. What two words were they? Solar Roofing.

Yes, while the concept of solar energy wasn’t new, the idea of using solar panels on roofs to produce electricity and save money or energy became a concept that marked history. Despite this remarkable discovery for the industry, almost 20 years later and many people still have so many questions and misconceptions about solar roofing. Let’s try to tackle some of those and show you what makes solar roofing so amazing!

What are some misconceptions about solar roofing?

“Solar roofing only works in places that have hot climates.”

WRONG! Solar energy works in ALL weather types, EXCEPT at night. Panels may be even more efficient in places with a lot of direct sunlight or longer hours of sunshine. HOWEVER, solar energy DOES WORK on cloudy days. Just like how you still can get a sunburn while skiing, the sun is still powerful and fully beaming on overcast days. Fun fact: Solar roofing can even be used in Antarctica, the coldest location on Earth!

“Solar roofing isn’t a good idea in places with harsh weather conditions like snow, heavy rain and heavy wind.”

WRONG! With GAF Energy solar, the panels are specifically created to lay flush with the roof in order to allow snow to easily slide off. They are also built to withstand very high winds and strong rains. Not only that, but the panels can HELP reinforce the roof itself to withstand such weather conditions!

“Solar panels are not esthetically nice. They look weird.”

WRONG! You might be picturing the clunky, block-looking solar panels that stood out a lot. However, the styles of solar panels have evolved tremendously for the better. GAF Energy solar panels are attractive and low profile. They lay flush with the roof, giving it an overall smoother and blended look; especially when you see it from a street-view.

Alert: Also stay tuned because these nice-looking solar panels are about to get even better looking with an upcoming release that everyone’s going to love… Stay tuned!

“Solar roofing is very expensive, and it doesn’t save enough money to make it worth it.”

Each homeowner has to decide whether they are willing to invest in solar roofing, but many will be surprised to find out that they actually will be saving by using solar roofing. First of all, GAF Energy is considered a premium-level product for quality and affordability. Also, the long-term savings for a family is definitely worth mentioning. The average savings on electricity for a standard family home in the Carolina’s using solar energy is calculated to be about $1800 annually. Another advantage is that, while utilities increase each year, if someone is using solar financing, solar energy remains the same price during the term. Also, in NC there is a government incentive for using solar roofing. Actually, 26% of the cost of the system can be deducted from your taxes AND that provision has been recently extended through 2021.

Some states, such as South Carolina, also offer a rebate to solar energy users through energy companies. Also, many have found that their solar roof produces more energy than they actually need for their home, so they are able to get credits for the excess energy given back to the local utility! This process is called Net Metering. The options for saving are numerous and worth investigating.

“We can’t use solar panels because we have a metal roof.”

Wrong! Solar panels can be used on different types of roofs, the only thing that will change will be how they are mounted. For example, on a flat metal roof, they will be angled. This is very popular in the world of commercial roofing!

“The legalities of using solar panels on my roof are very complicated.”
GAF Energy only operates in places where they are licensed. While the process for getting licensed is a rigorous one, the good thing about going through us is that GAF Energy actually will manage all the permitting and licensing for the homeowner! So, you don’t even have to worry about going through that trouble, its handled for you.

While we could go on about other ways solar roofing is a great idea for so many homeowners or landlords, it wouldn’t be complete without also mentioning that one of the greatest advantages of solar roofing is the positive environment impact it has. Yes, by using solar energy you would also be contributing to using clean energy and reducing the use of limited and toxic emissions, elements, fossil fuels and gasses.

J&J Custom Homes has the option available to add a solar system to your next new dream home, the choice is yours!