We recently attended a Custom Builders Council of the Austin Home Builders Association meeting. The guest speaker was Rusty Shelton talking about his book "Mastering the New Media Landscape." One of the things that he impressed upon us was that if you are not presenting an active website, people may think you are out of business.Read More
Are you thinking about building a home? Buying a home? Renovating your existing home?
You owe it to yourself to stop and think ahead. What if this were your last home? How would you live in it as you age? Could you navigate the shower?
As a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, I appreciate the point of view of financial columnist Liz Weston and her concerns for everyone. And so, I wanted to share her article with you: How to buy the last house you'll ever buy
My mom provided the motivation to seek my Aging-in-Place certification from the National Association of Home Builders. Here's a post from our Solluna blog archive that explains: Universal design
What does it mean to build affordable homes in Austin?
- Does that mean it costs less to build?
- Does it mean building homes for an income-sensitive population?
- What about the investor who wants to offer affordable rents, but also wants appreciation gains on their property?
- What about the Austin homeowner who needs the long-term rental income an “accessory dwelling unit” can provide?
Lots of questions and not always lots of answers.
I want to share this article I read in the Austin American-Statesman: A home away from home may aid city affordability.
For years, Solluna has tried to balance building homes that are market competitive to own but also affordable to operate. In upcoming blogs, we will talk more about these challenges.Read More
Once again this year the Solluna team was met with a constant stream of enthusiastic tour-goers visiting our Rosedale Rebuild home during the 19th annual Austin Cool House Tour held on Sunday, June 7. This home also earned 5 stars from the Austin Energy Green Building Program. As always, we had a blast meeting folks on the tour, answering questions, and showing them around. Here are just a few of the questions we answered most often.Read More
While researching for a blog topic this month, I spent some time looking back at all the past articles we’ve written. Do you know we’ve been writing and sending out these newsletters for almost five years? Five years! That’s a lot of material on the same general topic of sustainable home building. But -- as Monty Python would say – now for something completely different.Read More
As a follow-up to my blog post Building in a Boom Town, I want to talk a little bit about working with the environment. Now I’m not going to go all Al Gore on you and start preaching about how building green is good for the environment. Nope, I’m going to talk about the specific space where you will be building, or about the house you will be remodeling.Read More
Recent discussions with prospective clients have got me thinking about a problem we face here in Central Texas: a shortage of lots for custom homes. I’ve heard from clients who want to be within walking distance of a certain school. Others want to be located in a certain Austin neighborhood that was built 60 years ago. Others want to build a “tiny house” in a subdivision of McMansions. I get it. These are all nice ideas. We’re still seeing impressive growth in Austin. They tell us 100 to 110 people move to the Austin area every day. Due to this explosive growth, any larger tracts of land are quickly snatched up by developers with deep pockets as soon as the land comes on the market. And do we really need another high-rise condo building?Read More
Last week, we met with representatives from Green Mountain Energy, who asked to tour the net-zero energy home we built in Round Rock a few years back. Their company is the electrical provider for the home. They’re interested in helping their customers find ways to live more sustainably and reduce their energy costs at home, so they asked lots of questions about what motivated the homeowners to invest in energy-efficient features, in the geothermal heating/cooling system, and in solar photovoltaics.Read More
Thinking about building a new home? Thinking about building a green, energy-efficient home? Just dreaming about it but don’t know what to dream? Let me tell you why I like the new book Green Home Building: Money Savings Strategies for an Affordable, Healthy, High-Performance Home, and why you need it on your bookshelf.Read More
As I prepare for my much needed vacation, I’m reminded of the times our family would load up the Vista Cruiser station wagon and take off on a road trip. With three boys in the back seat, it quickly became a chorus of “Are we there yet?” So I would like to ask the same question about sustainable home building. “Are we there yet?” The answer is quite simple, “Yes, no, maybe.” Let me throw out a few tidbits to gnaw on while you think about that answer.Read More
A sizeable, enthusiastic crowd of curious tour-goers visited our Blissful Oaks custom home during the 18th annual Austin Cool House Tour on Sunday, June 8. This home earned 5 stars from the Austin Energy Green Building Program, and it won the 2014 Max Award for Best Green Home. As always, we had a blast meeting folks on the tour, answering questions, and showing them around. Here are just a few of the questions we answered most often.Read More
As a home builder, I’m a general contractor. A GC is responsible for the overall coordination of a project. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of “10 things” lists -- they’re all over the web, newspapers, and magazine. Here’s my own list of 10 things general contractors aren’t telling you about home building. Enjoy.Read More
What would happen if you broke a leg and had to hobble around on crutches? Stop and imagine: What level of independence can you expect? Can you navigate in your own home? Worse, what if you needed a wheelchair for a while? Can you get from the driveway into your home? Can you fit through the door into your bathroom? How will you use the toilet? Take a shower? Scramble an egg?Read More
In today’s faster and cheaper world, a lot of the most important decisions are based solely on price and how fast we can get it. Sometimes faster and cheaper is just that. When you’re comparing remote controls, you might stand there for 20 minutes looking at all the options before you decide. You pride yourself on finding the most bang for your buck, and move on. Maybe later you realize that you should have taken a little more time, and bought that one that was $5 more. We all do it, and usually end up buying twice.Read More
When planning a new custom home, most folks come to me with their builder already in tow. In fact, I'm surprised when a new client doesn't already have a builder as part of their team. The builder is often the single, most important person who will have the longest, closest contact with homeowners throughout the construction process, possibly even years after construction is done.Read More
In late March, as we neared completion of construction on their new home, the sisters --Candy and Sue -- began to fret just a bit. “There’s been no rain. Should we go ahead and buy some water for the tank?” Wayne shook his head. “Wait,” he told them. “Let’s see what happens. April showers, right?”Read More