News from David James Homes

Consult With Our New Home Builder in Afton, VA

If you want to build a beautiful home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, count on David James Homes. We’ve built custom homes throughout Virginia for 22 years, including in the community of Afton. Our custom home builder in Afton, VA can help you get your dream home in your dream community. Why Choose David James Custom Homes? We are unique among custom-home building companies. Rather than looking at custom home building as a luxury most people can’t afford, we strive to make custom home building affordable for as many American families as possible. We can give you a set price before we even start on your home so you won’t have any unwelcome surprises. To ensure the quality of our work, we also offer several unbeatable warranties. These include a 15-year dry basement warranty, a 10-year structural warranty insured by the Professional Warranty Service Corporation (PWC), and a craftsmanship/workmanship warranty in continuation with 5 years of your structural warranty. At David James Custom Homes, we’ll create a home that fits your preferences. You can even visit our selection center to choose the exact materials you want for your home. Our slogan is “Bringing Families Home,” and we hope to bring your family home here in Afton. Call our new home builder in Afton, VA, today to start planning for your custom home.  

Custom Home Builder in Bluemont, VA

Whether you’re moving within Bluemont, VA, or you’re coming to the city for the first time, you want a home you can grow into and love for years. Luckily, it’s easy to get in touch with a custom home builder in the Bluemont, VA, area. The David James Custom Homes team is dedicated to our clients’ complete happiness with their new homes. Your Reliable Custom Home Builder When you’re building a new home, you want to work with someone you can trust. At David James Custom Homes, we have decades of experience building custom homes for clients—in fact, we’ve been in business since 1995. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know the industry inside and out. We can offer you excellent prices and a high standard of workmanship. Plus, when you work with us, you can benefit from our superb warranties, which include:
  • Our 15-year basement waterproofing warranty
  • Our 10-year structural warranty
  • Our 5-year workmanship/craftsmanship warranty
Let us start construction on your beautiful new home today. Call any of our nearby locations or stop by our selection center to look at our products. At our selection centers, you can view everything from roofing to flooring and everything in between. Make your choice and let us assemble the perfect home for you.

Have a couple of days off? We have some projects to fill the time!

If you’ve got some time off during the holidays, it’s a great time to get some projects done around the house. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas…  
  • Organize stuff. Always a “go-to” project at this time of year, organizing is a great way to kick off the new year. Whether you clean out closets, sort through books, or finally categorize your printed or digital photos, pulling order from chaos will make you feel amazing.
 
  • Put up picture shelves. Now that you’ve sorted the photos, you can frame the ones you want to hang. No gallery wall? No problem! Get the look of a picture wall without the headache of figuring out how to hang all those frames by putting up long horizontal shelves. You’ll be able to use different size frames and switch them around without having to drive nails into the walls!
 
  • Paint the bathroom or powder room. Whether you’re tired of white or have been waffling on a color switch, just go ahead and paint. It’s a small room and if you don’t like it, you can re-paint. While you’re at it, replace the cabinet hardware for a quick facelift.
 
  • Install a kitchen backsplash. There are so many options – colors, styles, sizes, materials – you can really make a dramatic transformation. Choose something that reflects your taste but isn’t too trendy. You want to like it – and not have it to look outdated – for years to come.
 
  • Insulate the attic – or basement or crawlspace. Not an especially fun project, but it doesn’t take long. And it has immediate, long-lasting, and money-saving results.

Start some new holiday traditions in your new David James home!

Every family has its traditions for the holidays – taking the annual photo of “the kids”, decorating the house, traditional Christmas Eve dinners, eating Chinese food and going to the movies on Christmas Day. We wandered through the internet and asked around, and came up with even more holiday traditions. Maybe you can add one or two of these to your family’s holiday celebrations in your new David James home! 1. Sitting by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and telling stories from years past 2. Making cookies / latkes / gingerbread from secret family recipe book 3. Choosing a new tree ornament or decoration every year 4. Lighting the menorah together 5. Hosting a holiday open house 6. Reading a favorite holiday story together 7. Video chatting with relatives who are far away for the holidays 8. Staying in your PJs all day on Christmas 9. Letting the youngest (or oldest) member of the family open presents first 10. Watching favorite holiday movies snuggled together on the couch 11. Lighting luminaria 12. Hiding one present for each child

David James Home’s Favorite Holiday Home Cooking Recipes

The holidays are a seemingly never-ending parade of dinners, get-togethers, pot-lucks and open houses. Having a few go-to recipes can make home cooking a snap during these hectic days!   1.) Always make a salad. Salad is light and filling, and can be as festive as you want to make it!

Cherry, Almond and Herb Salad (Food Network, Aida Mollencamp)

 

INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves 5 ounces washed and dried lamb’s lettuce, stemmed

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup dried tart cherries

DIRECTIONS In a small skillet, toast the sliced almonds until just browned; set aside. Combine the herbs and lettuce in a bowl and toss to combine; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed. Top with the cherries and almonds and serve immediately.

2.) Break out the slow cooker. From chili to brisket, you can double whatever recipe you’re making to feed a crowd or to have another meal ready and waiting in the freezer for the following week.  

Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker

Makes 16 servings (about 4 pounds of cooked meat)

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons kosher salt, preferably smoked 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons dry mustard 2 teaspoons garlic powder (no salt) 2 teaspoons onion powder (no salt) 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon celery seed 1 pork shoulder or pork butt (7 to 8 lbs with bone, 6 to 7 lbs if boneless) 2 medium onions, quartered 1 1/2 cups cane-sweetened cola (not diet) 1 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

DIRECTIONS Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 500°F. (Use convection if you have it.) Fit a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

 

Make the rub: Place the salt, brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cornstarch, cayenne, and celery seed in a small bowl and mix to combine.

 

Roast the pork: Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Evenly coat the meat with rub. Reserve the remaining rub. Place the meat on the wire rack fat-side up if possible. Roast until the meat is sizzling with a bit of char on the edges, about 10 minutes, but don’t let the spices burn and turn acrid.

Prep the slow cooker: Meanwhile, place the onions in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle with the reserved rub. Pour in the cola, vinegar, and Worcestershire.

Add the meat: Carefully transfer the meat to the slow cooker. (Try stabbing a fork into each end to use as handles.) Cover and cook on LOW until the meat is soft enough to pull apart with a spoon, 14 to 16 hours.

Shred the meat: Transfer the meat to a large bowl and let stand until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat apart into large chunks or shred with a fork, discarding any bone, connective tissue, and large clumps of fat.

 

Strain the liquid: Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl and discard the solids. If you are serving immediately, spoon off as much fat as possible from the surface. For best results, refrigerate until the fat solidifies and collects on top, then scrape off and discard the fat (keep the meat covered and refrigerated during this time).

Moisten the meat: Toss the meat with enough defatted cooking liquid to moisten. Serve the meat warm, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate to use in other recipes.

Make ahead: The spice rub can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few months.

 

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

  3.) And of course, there must be dessert! The holidays call for decadent confections of all kinds. Here’s one of our favorites!  

Festive Red Velvet Cake

Makes: 12 to 16 servings

Prep 50 mins

Bake 25 minsred-velvet-cake-with-vanilla-cream-cheese-frosting

INGREDIENTS

2-layer size package German chocolate cake mix 8 ounce container dairy sour cream 3/4 cup water 1/3 cup cooking oil 3 eggs Red food coloring (2 tablespoons) White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows) 1 1/2 cups coconut shards, purchased coconut chips or flaked coconut, toasted Sugared cranberries (optional)

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×1-1/2-inch round cake pans or two 8x8x2-inch square baking pans or coat with nonstick spray for baking; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, and food coloring with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat mixture on medium speed for beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake cakes for 25 to 30 minutes for 9-inch pans or 30 to 35 minutes for square pans or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks.

Spread White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and over sides and top of cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Cover and chill cake to store. If you like, garnish with sugared cranberries. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

 

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces white baking chocolate 1/3 cup butter, softened 1/2 8 – ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1 tablespoon milk 4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, melt white baking chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently; cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a very large mixing bowl, beat butter, softened; cream cheese, softened; and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds or until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in 1 tablespoon milk. Gradually beat in an additional 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in melted white chocolate until well combined. If needed, beat in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make frosting spreading consistency. Makes about 2-2/3 cups.

  4.) Don’t forget the kiddies!

Quick kid-friendly “gingerbread” houses

INGREDIENTS

1 box of graham crackers

3 egg whites, room temperature

4 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. of cream of tartar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Assorted candies for decorating

 
  • Start with a stiff cardboard base covered with aluminum foil for your “lot.”
  • Out of the graham crackers, cut two long pieces and two short pieces, each with points on the end.
  • Make “glue” (royal icing) by beating egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla for 7-10 minutes, or until very stiff.
  • Glue two whole graham crackers on top for roof after gluing the four pieces above together to form base of the house.
  • Use glue to attach gumdrops, peppermint drops, chocolate sandwich cookies, M&Ms, etc.
  • For a shingled roof, add rows of vanilla wafers or dried banana chips.
  • Make a front porch with additional graham crackers and candy canes as posts.
  • Licorice works well for trim, and you can add a dusting of snow with coconut.

What’s Your Home Style?

One of the most exciting times in your life can be choosing to build a new home. Here at David James Custom Homes, we know that choosing the right floor plan depends on how your family will use your home and how it fits with your lifestyle. From the size and shape, to where the rooms are located in relation to each other, every part of the home can affect your experience, so knowing what you really want is crucial. We have some tips for choosing the right home style for your family.  
  1. Figure out what size of home will best suit your family.

Sprawling estate home or cozy two-bedroom bungalow? Choosing a floor plan should start with how large a home you need to fit your lifestyle. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are enough for you and visiting guests?

covington-c
  1. Choose a floor plan based on your design style.  

Everyone family has their own style and choosing a floor plan that meets your needs is essential. Are you more traditional and prefer a compartmentalized floor plan where walls separate rooms or do you have a more modern style where an open floor plan concept would suit your needs better?

 
  1. Know your home styles.

At David James, we offer 5 home styles – ranch, cape cod, bi-level, split-level and 2-story. We also offer Craftsman style exteriors that can be incorporated into any of these 5 home styles. Each style has its pros and cons.

Ranch-style homes typically have a long, low profile and large windows. These simple, rectangular homes usually feature one-level living, so they are considered excellent age-in-place designs. Ranch homes will work on any type of lot, but a down-sloping lot gives the advantage of having a “daylight basement”. Cape Cod homes have great visual appeal, with high roof lines and attractive dormers. They are usually designed with one or more bedrooms on the first floor, with possible additional bedrooms on the second floor. Capes are best suited to level or down-sloping lots.

Bi-level homes are popular because they offer plenty of space for expansion in the future. The finished area in the lower level is much more comfortable than typical finished basements because it has full windows just like upstairs. The foundation walls are half concrete and half framed, making it easier to finish. Bi-levels are well-suited to a level or up-sloping lot.

Split-level homes give the advantage of traditional 2-story living with fewer steps to the upper level. Like the bi-levels, they offer room for expansion in the lower level with full windows. Split-levels work well on a level lot, or one that slopes from side to side.catawba-a-b-color-final-copy

2-story homes have the lowest price per square foot. To take advantage of the lower square foot price, we have 2-story homes with first floor masters that give the convenience of single level living, with the economy of a 2-story. Two story homes are suited to any type lot.

 
  1. Trust your instincts on what “feels” right when choosing a floor plan

All of us know when a space feels comfortable. Take these instincts into consideration when looking at different floor plans. A family with small children may love that the master bedroom is up with the other bedrooms. On the other hand, a family with teenagers might prefer for the master bedroom to be separated from the other bedrooms by public spaces instead.

 
  1. Be honest about your needs and lifestyle. Lifestyles and family needs differ depending on what stage of life you are in. Features that young couples look for in a home are vastly different from the characteristics that a retired couple might find important. Before choosing a house design, ask yourself… Are you newly married? Do you have plans to start a family? How many children do you plan to have? Is there room in your plan for expansion as your family grows? Will you need guest rooms for overnight guests? What about additional living space in the future to possibly care for elderly parents or grandchildren? How do you plan to entertain? Do you want a formal dining room and traditional living room, or do you prefer small, relaxed get-togethers?
  2. Don’t forget “work space” considerations. Where would you prefer the laundry room to be located – downstairs or upstairs? Do you have any hobbies or special interests that might require special rooms to enjoy them?  Do you enjoy gardening? You may want to include a mudroom or utility room for easy cleanup. Are you a “pack-rat” who needs lots of attic or storage space to store your treasures?
  3. Before you purchase your lot, make sure it’s large enough for the house that you want to build. Check with the local building department prior to purchase to determine what restrictions might be in place for the lot. There may be code restrictions limiting the precise location upon which the actual house can be built. And if your chosen house plan necessitates a particular side or location for a driveway or garage, you need to determine how much space you will need for clearance and turn space and allow for adequate distance on one of the sides.

Featured Home of the Month – The Cape Cod Style

At David James Custom Homes, we build homes in a variety of styles. One of our most popular is the Cape Cod Style. Though the style is quintessentially American, the first Cape Cods were developed by early settlers from England in the 1600s. Partially inspired by the simple, thatched cottages common in Britain, the settlers adapted the simple symmetric design to keep out harsh New England winters. In fact, everything about the Cape Cod style was adopted for its function rather than its form. catawba-a-b-color-final-copy A Cape Cod-style house is a low, broad, single-story frame building with a moderately steep pitched gabled roof, and very little ornamentation. It usually features a central front door flanked by multi-paned windows either singly or in pairs. There may or may not be shutters or a front porch. Cape Cod-style homes have always been popular for the visual appeal of their high roof lines and attractive dormers, as well as their efficient floor plans. They may be designed with one or more bedrooms on the first floor, with additional bedrooms on the second floor. Conversely, the space above the first floor may be left unfinished. Capes are particularly well-suited to level or down-sloping lots. Our Cape Cods here at David James Custom Homes come in a variety of sizes, from a compact 936 square feet to a positively palatial 2,601 square feet. And we can customize them to fit your family to a T!

Tips For Planning & Designing Your David James Dream Home

Building a custom home is your dream come true. But it is also months of planning and decisions. Not to worry… David James Custom Homes will be with you every step of the way!   Here are some things to think about as you plan your new home by David James.  
  • Take a hard look at your budget. Take stock of your finances: net worth, income, expenses, investments, and debt before you meet with your builder. Determine how much you can afford to spend based on the down payment you have saved, and the monthly payment (based on current interest rates). If you are not a 100% comfortable with an amount that will allow you to build your dream home, then find ways to cut your budget, lower your debt, etc.
 
  • Visit other homes. You think you know what you want your dream home to be, but do you really? Drive around and visit other homes. Take pictures, make notes about what you like about them, what you don’t like, and how you feel about the construction. Deciding to change things halfway through is the single most expensive mistake most people make.
 
  • Think long-term. Do you have children? Do you have aging parents? If so, you’ll need to think about accommodating family members in different scenarios, such as returning college students, visiting grandchildren and/or grandparents, caring for elderly parents. Will you be working from home? You’ll need an office. Are you less likely to drive to the gym in ba20357_325868119576_7639537_nd weather? Plan for a fitness room. Flexible spaces are a good long-term solution for our ever-changing lives.
 
  • Prioritize. Once you brainstorm your “wish list”, start prioritizing. Custom home design can easily exceed a budget if you let things run amok. With so many amenities to choose from, it’s important to prioritize the most important items on the list.
 
  • Know what you want. Start looking through design magazines and websites to get inspiration. You will not only be picking your appliances, but designing the cabinetry around them. You’ll have to choose the trim, the paint colors, the floors, even the doorknobs. Do you have a style you like? Are there definitely things you don’t like? If you have some ideas when you come in for your concept and design meetings, the process may be less overwhelming.
 
  • Embrace the opportunity. It’s a rare thing to be able to design something that is truly the only one of its kind. A custom home is a personal, special opportunity. It’s built from scratch just for your family. Make sure you work in some unique elements or features that are distinctively yours. At David James, we will build whatever you want.
  Most of all, we want you to be excited! We might be a little biased here at David James Custom Homes, but we believe we’re the best – and we look forward to helping you build your dream home!

10 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

You look forward to Thanksgiving each year. No matter who hosts, it always seems to go off without a hitch. But now you have your own home, and you’ve been picking up some subtle vibes that maybe, just maybe, you should host this year? Well, don’t sweat it. You can do it – and make it look effortless.  
  1. Have a game plan.
Before you invite guests, think about the space that you have. Do you have room for people to mix and mingle comfortably? Togetherness is a nice, but no one wants to be squished. Do you have enough tables & chairs? Do you need to borrow or rent them?  
  1. Invite early.
The key to a stress-free Thanksgiving is planning. Once you commit to hosting, you need to invite every person you want to come. Even if your friends and family are spur-of-the-moment types, they very likely commit to Thanksgiving plans early in November, so start putting feelers out there ASAP. And don’t make assumptions, actually invite. Invite anyone you would want to have at dinner, a54ebb2a680d12_-_thanksgiving-centerpieces11-xlnnd then let them tell you if they can make it or not.  
  1. Be organized.
Planning and organizing isn’t just nice, it’s imperative to make sure you don’t find yourself with missing ingredients, a house that’s a mess, and three hours of cooking still to be done when your guests arrive. That means making lists of everything you need to do for your dinner, preparing a schedule for the weeks leading up to dinner, and writing shopping lists before you head to the store for ingredients and supplies.  
  1. Plan your menu sooner rather than later.
Thanksgiving will be here before you know it, and you need a plan of attack. Figure out what’s on the menu. And decide if you’d like your guests to bring something. Chances are they will want to… you just have to tell them what you need. And when your vegan niece asks what you’re serving, tell her she’s welcome to bring a vegan dish to share with the group.  
  1. Spruce up guest rooms and public spaces.
Give these rooms a through going over. Clear off all tables, counters and ottomans. No stacks of mail, magazines, newspapers, etc. Clear out the front hall closet for guests’ coats. Make sure all of your bathrooms are spotless.    
  1. Cook in advance.
Don’t stress out by trying to cook everything on Thanksgiving day. Create a timeline, and figure out what can be made ahead of time. Casseroles can be pre-made. Vegetables can be chopped and ready to steam. Obviously some things can’t be cooked early, like the turkey, but almost everything else in the meal can be prepped and ready to just pop on the stovetop or into the oven.  
  1. Make sure the house is well-lit – inside and out.
You may be familiar with all of your dark corners, but your guests aren’t. Make sure all outdoor lights are working. Inside, make sure area rugs are either safely fastened or pull them up. Remember to child proof if little ones will be visiting – matches, medications, etc.  
  1. Set the table(s) in advance.
As long as you don’t have to worry about pets or small children destroying your dining room table, set it several days before the holiday. That way you won’t be scrambling to find the best china that’s somewhere in the basement; cleaning the dust off the wine glasses that are on that high shelf in the kitchen; or counting the flatware only to discover you don’t have enough right before the first guest rings the bell.  
  1. Offer snacks before dinner.
Tasty appetizers benefit the cook as much as the guests. They stay busy munching while you finish up in the kitchen! Try nuts, crackers and cheese, crudité or hot apps.  
  1. Keep the kids busy.
For children, it seems like Thanksgiving dinner takes foreveeeer to land on the table. Keep ’em occupied with cute and crafty projects they can assemble with a favorite relative.   Most of all, remember to have fun. Enjoy the day and the time you spend with family and friends!

Helpful Home Maintenance Tips for Fall

No matter where you live, there are things you do in the fall to prevent costly repairs and keep your home in good condition throughout the winter. What tasks are most important to tackle right now?
  1. Store mowers and prep snow removers.
  2. Store summer tools and prep winter ones.
  3. Put away patio tables and chairs, grills, and kids’ toys.
  4. Damaged walkways, driveways or steps can be dangerous in icy weather. Fixing crumbling asphalt or cracked cement now can prevent expensive headaches later.
  5. Check for window and roof leaks. Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk. Repair any damaged roof shingles.
  6. Cut trees and shrubs away from your home, especially if snowfall might cause them to bend and rub against the house.
  7. Clean the gutters. This is crucial for surviving freezing and thawing cycles.
  8. Remove garden hose from all outside faucets. If not removed, water will lay and freeze.
  9. Turn off outside faucet and sprinklers. Close shut-off valves, then open the outside faucet to drain the line.
  10. Have the furnace inspected by a professional. Replace all filters.
  11. Get the chimney cleaned. Make sure all fireplaces or wood stoves are thoroughly inspected.
  12. Get an emergency kit ready. Include items you may need in the event of an emergency: water, flash lights and batteries, first aid kit, whistles to signal for help, basic tools, manual can opener, small supply of food, radio, candles, lighter, blankets and rope.
Performing these fall maintenance tasks can prevent costly repairs and help your home and belongings survive the long winter days ahead.
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