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Kitchens are, and remain, the centerpiece of every home. It isn’t just the place to prepare food. It is also where family and friends congregate and celebrate. Cabinets are what essentially make a kitchen and at David James Homes, we are known for our custom cabinetry. When potential buyers see the standard cabinetry in our homes, they almost always are impressed. In the next series of blogs, we’ll tackle the various aspects of our kitchens. In case you weren’t aware, Full Overlay Cabinet doors come standard in all upper cabinets. The doors are flush to the bottom of the cabinet, as well as close together snug for an overall, cleaner look. Upon opening one, you may not notice it at first, but something is missing–the center style. Most cabinets use particle board shelving and need a support on the back of the center style to help support the shelf so it doesn’t sag. David James Homes’ cabinet shelving is made from ½’ thick plywood and will not bow. Additional support is not needed, so no center style. This allows larger dishes to be easily stored with no obstructions. Hidden hinges, adjustable shelving and an option to upgrade to mullion glass doors are other advantages that come with these upper cabinets. Come to one of Design Centers to see for yourself. Visit www.davidjamescustomhomes.com/locations/ to find a location near you.
David James Homes’ hand crafted custom cabinetry has been the topic of the last several blogs. One of the most recognized signs of quality not yet mentioned is the fact that that dovetail drawers are standard and do not require a cabinet upgrade. Cabinet drawers are some of the most used items in your home. Kitchen cabinet drawers are opened and closed around 7 to 10 times a day or up to 3,500 times a year.
Dovetail joints are wedge-shaped cuts at the end of a wooden frame that fit into each other from each side, forming a box. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the dovetail joint interlocks, thus securing the sides of the drawer with its front. These joints are considered the strongest you can use in cabinet making and make for a sturdy kitchen cabinet drawer. Lower quality cabinets use joints that are stapled and glued. In addition, all David James Homes drawer compartments are made of solid wood. When selecting cabinets, make sure you’re picking a drawer joint that will be able to withstand everyday use.
Come and see all the possibilities with your next kitchen. Stop by one of our conveniently located Design Centers. Visit www.davidjamescustomhomes.com/locations to find one near you.
The topic of the last blog was that David James Homes offers only custom cabinetry in their homes. An illustration of this is that you can choose where you want your doors and drawers to be placed within the lower cabinets in your kitchen. That means you can select whether you want a bank of drawers for table settings, for pots or pans or if you want a door for easy under-counter storage in specific locations. At David James Homes, you design your kitchen the way you want it to fit your natural work flow.
Another example of customization is picking your door style. In the David James Homes’ standard cabinet selection, you can choose from flat or raised panel in oak, or you may select a flat panel style in maple in any stained color combination. Also standard is a painted raised panel MDF cabinet. These are just a few of the customization opportunities that empower you to create the kitchen that is just right for you.
Start designing your dream kitchen today by stopping by one of our conveniently located design centers. Visit www.davidjamescustomhomes.com/locations/ to find a location near you.
Did you know that all David James Homes come standard with with custom kitchens? All kitchens in David James Homes are constructed to order, one at a time, through a trusted cabinet maker. Frequently other builders use what is called box cabinets. Box cabinets are usually ordered from large cabinet manufacturers and are remotely shipped to homebuilders where they are assembled and installed in a home. Typically the boxes are particle board with vinyl wood grain skins. David James Homes uses ¾ inch thick stained plywood boxes for superior strength and durability.
Because of this fact, most builders will limit the choices of colors or stains in their cabinet selections. But at David James Homes, there is virtually no limit to those choices. When you select a color or stain, you get to look at the entire swatch book from Sherwin Williams. The Sherwin paint section includes more than 1,500 colors alone. Not only that, there are six glazing choices that also come standard. To see for yourself, visit one of David James Homes’ design centers near you. Visit www.davidjamescustomhomes.com/locations/ to find a convenient location.
When you plan a custom home, you have a wide array of choices. Sometimes, though, all the choices can feel overwhelming. Many of these choices come as you plan your kitchen. You may know how you want it to look and feel, but the most useful upgrades may not immediately present themselves.
The following kitchen upgrades are aesthetic or utilitarian upgrades that are worth the cost.(more…)
It is obvious why the James David B is one of the most popular floor plans available from David James Homes. Besides its handsome Cape Cod appearance with large porch and stone accents on the exterior, the home packs so much living space into 2,332 square feet.
One of the more prominent features is the first-floor master bedroom. The master bedroom features a trey ceiling, a separate sitting area, as well as a 42 -inch shower, a 5-foot soaking tub with ceramic surround, a double bowl vanity and a walk-in closet. Two well-sized bedrooms with a convenient full bath also exist on the first floor of the home.(more…)
Building the custom home of your dreams starts with finding the right piece of land to put it on. However, with a variety of choices available, how can you know you’ve chosen the right lot? This guide lists three steps you can use to make sure you’ve chosen the right lot.
1. Identify Your Needs
If you end up disliking the location of your new house, then getting a good price on vacant land isn’t going matter to you as much. Start by understanding what you need from your home’s location. You should consider a few things as you make your decision.(more…)
The Anna Elizabeth B takes advantage of its 2,815-square -foot, four bedroom, two and one half bath, two-story floor plan. The first thing that strikes you about the home is its plentiful windows and an elegant exterior. The foyer opens to a formal dining area and then a great room with cathedral ceiling and rear two-story windows. Another attractive feature is its large, first-floor master bedroom suite complete with his and hers walk-in closets, a 5-foot shower, a 6-foot soaking tub with ceramic surround, and a double bowl vanity with two sets of drawers. A U-shaped kitchen and dining area faces the open great room. Adjacent to the kitchen is a convenient half-bath, laundry and access to the two -car garage. Throughout the entire first floor are 9-foot ceilings.(more…)
The Patrick Henry is a custom-drawn plan by renowned architect Frank Betz. Well-suited for the suburbs, the home has a combined square footage of 2,510 in its four–bedroom, three-bath, two-story floor plan.(more…)
Inviting and convenience are two words that come to mind when describing the Summerwood C. At first glance, you’ll notice this home’s warm, welcoming curbside appeal. A large covered front porch with railing and a handsome gable, enhance the home’s hospitable charm.(more…)
The Timberlake showcases three bedrooms and two baths in a 1,824-square-foot, open concept floor plan. The contemporary ranch home is characterized by two picture windows and two trapezoid windows that bathe the interior in natural light, thanks to a cathedral ceiling. The spacious great room leads to the dining room and kitchen at the rear of the home. The kitchen features a large island perfect for eating and food preparation. Chores are made easier with an accessible adjacent first floor laundry.
The split bedroom floor plan showcases a luxurious master bedroom suite with spacious walk-in closet luxury bath, a double bowl vanity with two sets of drawers, a 5-foot shower and soaking tub. For future home expansion, the Timberlake also includes an additional 1,824-square-foot unfinished basement with walkout capabilities.(more…)
You could have a striking architectural design for your home, and your consultant may come up with the most polished décor, but it all would not matter if you end up with colors that are off. Color is the thread that will weave together every detail in your new home. The right color can transform a beautiful structure into a warm, stylish, and outstanding home.
Here are a few mistakes home builders make when selecting paint colors and how you can avoid them.(more…)
The Chatham C features 1,568 square feet of finished living space. The home has an additional 1,568 square feet of basement that could be finished into additional living space. Craftsman porch columns with a cultured stone base and a handsome front porch with gable add craftsman charm to the exterior of this country-style ranch home.
Upon entering, the spacious main living area is open and inviting with large windows that allow natural light to flow in. The kitchen boasts a large work island and the adjacent dining area accommodates leisurely living. Conveniently located just off the dining room is a laundry room and a patio door allows for easy access to the backyard.(more…)
David James Homes offers more than 108 homes in its collection of floor plans. You can also customize any these floor plans to your needs, as well as you may supply your own floor plans.
It goes without saying that the best selling homes are the most popular. But what makes a home a best-seller? As it turns out it is a combination of many factors.
- Home style and curb appeal. Homes can come in all shapes and sizes (for example, there are ranches, cape cods, split levels and two stories). Homes can also be detailed to a particular style, such as traditional, colonial, contemporary and Victorian. Does the home fit your family’s needs? What is the initial exterior attractiveness of the home? Does the home fit with its surroundings and neighborhood setting?
- Floor plan layout. The floor plan of a home has everything to do with you and your family feeling comfortable in your home. Look for the overall configuration of the spaces and if they are large enough to accommodate your needs. Pay attention to bedrooms, baths, kitchen and dining areas. If the plans don’t already show measurements and dimensions, ask for them.
- Regional interest. Some home styles have regional appeal. Particular areas lean toward styles due to preference and by property size and availability. Rural areas may have sprawling ranch homes while those in suburban areas may have two or more stories due to smaller lot sizes.
- Square footage. Ask yourself if the home accommodate future family growth? Additionally, with more space you have the more the upkeep. Compromise and budget awareness is always needed when judging these situations. In addition, always factor in total square footage, such as unfinished basements, bonus and storage areas, as well as outdoor living space.
- Price point. Home price is definitely a factor, but consider this: other than entry level homes for first-time homebuyers, price may be less of an issue than you think. Yes, you need to be able make the mortgage payments, but interest rates still are historically low and with a fixed long-term loan; you may be able to afford more than you first thought you could.
- Specifications and standard features. What are the base specifications of the home? While they may meet all applicable code requirements, are they what you need and want? Be sure you also understand the standard features of your new home as it relates to interior finishes, such as flooring and appliances. Go through the specifications and standard features of your home in detail with your builder.
Visit the David James Homes floor plan gallery to find the home that’s right for you. In this next series of blogs, we will spotlight David James Homes’ best-selling homes.
The simple answer to this question is no. In fact, it may work in your favor to not purchase land before you engage a builder. Many times your builder will be able to help you acquire land. Whether you have purchased property or not, your builder’s feedback can be helpful in accessing the viability of your home site. Your lot choice affects your home a great deal. A lot can impact your home’s orientation, square footage, as well as your home’s style. When visiting your lot, your builder may bring along an excavating professional to assist in assessing your land.
As your builder walks your home site, he or she will note the property’s directional orientation, its terrain, and proximity to roads, as well other other factors. A surveyor will be utilized to determine exact property lines, the setback of the home in accordance with the square footage, as well as the position of the home.(more…)
A home is the sum of its parts. Therefore, it goes to reason that the overall quality of a home is largely the result of its materials. Getting an understanding of your new home’s specifications will lead to greater satisfaction. A home with good specifications eliminates the need for many upgrades, which will in-turn save you money.(more…)
Building or remodeling your home? Make sure that you optimize storage potential with carefully constructed closets. Use these closet design tips to organize and maximize your home’s closets, creating more storage and less clutter in your new home.
The closet in a foyer, mudroom, or entry to a home can get messy. The closet often becomes a catchall for the overflow of coats, shoes, and belongings in your house. Use pocket doors or accordion-style folding closet doors to save space, and consider adding art that doubles as storage in this typically cramped area of the home.(more…)
- Experience matters. There is probably no bigger determining factor than experience. Building can be complicated so you want someone who has the experience to deal with any circumstances that might arise.
- Customer satisfaction. Research the BBB (Better Business Bureau). Ask for references of builders from past home buyers. Check them out on social media. What are people saying about them? Just be aware that the social media world can be questionable at times, so take posts with a grain of salt.
- Is the builder is licensed? Ask a builder for his or her credentials as to what class of builder they are and whether they able to execute your building project. Inquire as to whether he is insured. (more…)
Many times, the details in a home can make substantial improvements in our everyday life. Once overlooked as design features, today’s mudrooms and kitchen pantries have become focal points that are on the “must-have” lists of new home buyers.
A mudroom does not need to be a room at all. It may be a hallway, and it may or may not include laundry facilities. Often, this space acts as a secondary entrance to your home and is usually attached to the garage. The mudroom is there to protect your home from clutter and mess. It is where boots, coats, dog leashes, and the untidiness that comes with items such as those are meant to reside.
Recently, designers have gotten very creative with this space. Using inspiration from your grandmother’s old hall tree, the contemporary version of the mudroom may include built-ins with bench seats, cubby holes for gloves and other essentials, and pegs or hooks for your coats and rain gear. Some sophisticated versions of the mudroom even have mobile charging stations and dog baths.
What would we do without kitchen pantries? Pantries used to be simply thought of as closets with shelves, but in homes today, they have become sophisticated organizational spaces that are most sought after by new home buyers.
Pantries are life-savers when it comes to de-cluttering your cabinets and keeping your most needed foodstuffs close at hand. Also, pantries help to keep coveted counter space clear by providing storage for less used appliances. In recent years, pantry spaces have become much more refined with specialized organizer units, pull-out shelving, and full extension drawers that allow for easy view and effortless access. Aside from efficiency’s sake, pantries are seen as a bonus to home buyers that give your kitchen extra style points.
David James Homes has numerous home plans that include mudrooms and pantries, and since they are a custom builder, whatever you have in mind, David James Homes can accommodate. To see home plans with these and more amenities, go to davidjamescustomhomes.com/home-plans/.
Brian Wescott, Davis James Homes’ sales manager in the Roanoke office has made an observation about some of the customers that come through his door: Many times, mainly younger buyers’ wants exceed their budgets. Brian explains, “Having never built or purchased a home before, many first-time homebuyers have high hopes about what some popular features actually cost… a lot of them are coming directly from living at home with their parents, and they want to surround themselves with the amenities their parents had, forgetting that their parents have worked 20, 30 years or more to get that home. Often times, I need to work with them and separate their “wants vs. needs.”(more…)
Like almost everything else in today’s era of rapid change, new home construction styles evolve quickly. If you are planning to build a house in the near future, then you should be aware of the cutting edge trends that define new home styling and features. The last thing most people want is to build a home that will be dated before it’s even finished.
That’s why you will want to spend time researching some of the newest trends and styles and incorporate them into your new home plan. Below are four trends you will want to know about before you turn a shovel over.(more…)
The David James Homes presence in the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake area of Virginia is in the Lakewatch community just off Booker T. Washington Highway in Moneta, Virginia. On-site in the development, a charming model home by David James Homes showcases the possibilities of building a home in the Lakewatch development. Within Lakewatch, you have the opportunity to build in several ways:(more…)
In a world of mega corporations, it’s refreshing to encounter a family-owned company with its priorities in the right place. Large publicly owned companies also have their priorities; however, these priorities are not necessarily always in the best interest of their customers. Instead, these companies are focused on keeping their shareholders happy by increasing profitability and return on investment.
David James Homes is not one such publicly owned company.
Rewind to 1995 when Merle Heckman, already a veteran of the housing industry, started David James Homes in Roanoke, Virginia. With his custom-home building experience, Merle wanted to test a different business model, one that was more customer-focused.
David James Homes’ mission is to provide affordable custom housing for average families. Controlling costs allows homeowners the option to have the amenities you expect at an affordable price. Purchasing building products in volume from vendors to secure better pricing, allows customers to choose products through in-house design centers rather than offering allowances for YOU to venture on YOUR own to seek out products that often drive up home prices by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Customers love the convenience and the savings.(more…)
The phrase, “one-stop-shop,” leaps to mind when you describe the experience of visiting a David James Home Design Center. With so many choices to choose from, it is hard to know where to begin.
One example is the newly-created design center at LakeWatch near Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
“Our model can go only so far when it comes to representing all the finishes that David James has to offer,” explains Michel Kordich, sales representative at the LakeWatch location of David James Homes Sales. The amount of finishes can seem almost limitless. That’s because, if you have specific products in mind for your home, David James Homes will gladly order them for you. Everything from cabinets and flooring options to faucets and shingles are represented in the Design Center, whereas with other builders waste precious time and money by having you traveling to other vendor locations with allowances, in hopes of finding your desired product. In comparison to other builders, we make it easy.(more…)
When building with David James Homes, you have two options when it comes to choosing a type of foundation for your home, a crawlspace or basement. Both will support your home adequately, but before you make a decision, it might be worth considering the advantages of each.
A crawlspace foundation will save you money, but it won’t necessarily save you time. Both basements and crawl spaces will take roughly the same amount of time to build. With David James Homes, a full basement is included in their homes but a crawlspace foundation can save between $6,000 and $15,000 to your home construction costs.(more…)
When planning your custom home, the layout of the kitchen can be a big decision. There are many variables to consider and a lot of options. In addition, choosing the wrong layout can diminish your enjoyment of this important room.
So, how can you choose the best design? Here’s a short guide to get you started.
1. Know Your Needs
The first step in finding the right style of kitchen is to understand how you will use the room. Try asking yourself questions, for example, is there usually one cook in the kitchen at a time, or does your family tend to congregate there? How often do you entertain large groups versus small parties? Do you like formal entertaining or are you a casual type of host?
You could also analyze the traffic trends in your current kitchen for clues as to what you want in a new one. Answering these and other questions – as honestly as possible – will help you determine a list of priorities for your kitchen long before you start hammering.(more…)
Becoming better, is most likely a 2018 New Year’s resolution that we can all agree upon. The New Year brings with it new beginnings, as well as things that we might like to change. Everyone has different priorities in their lives and according to your particular circumstance, better can mean different things to different people. One change for the better could mean getting into a new and better home.
- Better may be not settling for other people’s choices and building the custom home you have always envisioned and dreamed of owning.
- Better might be getting those kitchen amenities such as custom cabinetry, marble countertops and new appliances that you have been fantasizing about all these years.
- Better could mean getting into a home that has a family-friendly floor plan that accommodates your family’s needs and lifestyle. Whether it is upsizing or downsizing, having more square footage or a home with one level or two.
- Better may mean being in the location you most desire, maybe nearer to family, friends, in a good school district or simply closer to life’s conveniences.
- Better could be defined by being rid of the drudgery of the repair and maintenance of an older home, with antiquated mechanical systems and appliances.
We are currently in the midst of a housing boom. Consumer confidence in the economy is up and mortgage interest levels are still comparatively low. With this increasing demand, existing housing inventories are very low, which is causing real estate home prices to soar. As an alternative to purchasing an existing home, homebuyers are now realizing the affordability of custom building.(more…)
When understanding the value that David James Homes offers, you must first understand the difference between true custom building and production building.
Custom-built homes are built uniquely, one at a time. The custom building process requires collaboration between the homeowner and the custom builder, and may involve other parties such as construction supervisors, project managers, estimators, and other tradesmen and subcontractors. The lot is a key factor in building a home. Often the homeowner already owns a building lot or has found a lot for sale. In other circumstances, the builder may provide a building lot. Custom builders tend to be associated with high quality work and to focus on specific geographic areas where acreage is readily available.(more…)
Often in our David James Homes Selection Centers, we encounter people exclaiming that they never dreamed they could really afford a custom home. If we are only hearing this from the people who actually take the chance on coming in, you might imagine how this misconception may be widespread. The fact is, most people can afford a custom home from David James Homes. If you are in the market to buy a new home, chances are David James Homes has a custom home option that is just perfect for you.(more…)
Two of the things that make David James Homes different from the rest are the facts that we are good listeners and we love transparency. This means that we are here to listen to your needs, and that we will answer your questions with complete honesty. If you are considering building a new home, it is never too early to start your investigation. Even if your homebuilding dream is in its infancy, starting to assemble information is your first step towards home ownership.(more…)
To some, undertaking a building project may feel overwhelming, but in fact, David James Homes makes your homebuilding dream easily attainable. Their success comes from helping you to know your costs up front. David James Homes breaks down the homebuilding process into the simplest possible terms. The company knows that there are three basic costs, also referred to as buckets associated with the overall expense of building a new home – land cost, land improvements cost, and home cost – and it strives to help you understand these costs to make the best decisions possible.(more…)
Brian Wescott, our sales manager in Roanoke, Virginia, has a unique perspective on buying and building a home from David James Homes. After years of experience helping other people realize their homebuilding dreams, Brian recently built his own custom David James home. He offers these insightful suggestions for the new home buyer to consider.(more…)
The Lynchburg Selection Center office of David James Homes is experiencing an interesting trend. Lynchburg is the hometown of Lynchburg and Liberty Universities and Randolph College. There are also several other institutions of higher learning in the surrounding area. Each year, thousands of students from those institutions graduate and find jobs, and many decide to plant roots in and around their adopted city of Lynchburg. With plentiful land and communities in the area, many young adults there have come to see building a custom home as the way to meet their housing needs. Also, when factoring in the high rental costs of the area along with the opportunity to grow equity, building a new home has become the most favorable option.
Sales manager Don Fortney explains, “With local housing inventory low and younger adults acquiring good, well-paying jobs, we are seeing quite a bit of this activity.” Also, he notes that these individuals and couples are looking to build starter homes and are very excited to see what they can build for the money, as compared to renting.
Don sites these factors for this interesting trend:(more…)
Deciding on a floor plan for your new custom home is certainly an exciting project. But starting from scratch and having so many choices can also be a little overwhelming for many homeowners. Here are five questions to help you pick out the right house design for your family.
How is Your Family Changing?
Assessing your future plan and the future of your family can help you decide what you need to include in your custom home. If you plan to have this house the next ten years, for example, a lot could change in your life and family. You may want to have kids or an elderly parent may eventually need assistance.
If you already have kids, how long do you anticipate they’ll live at home? With young people increasingly returning home, it may be best to have a plan that includes room for growth and room for adult family members.(more…)
Welcome to the David James Homes blog space, entitled “Hammer and Home.” Our blog is basically an online journal where we will be sharing interesting stories about David James Homes that we believe will be of benefit to you. The mission of this blog is to bring you valuable information regarding your next new homebuilding purchase. We believe that getting good information is the first step towards making wise and sound decisions. Our job with the “Hammer and Home” blog is to deliver transparent, clear, concise and relevant information to aid you in your homebuilding journey.(more…)
The first thing you need to know about David James Homes is that we are unlike any builder in your area. What distinguishes us from the rest is that we combine all the best aspects of custom building in pursuit of giving you a personalized and gratifying home-buying experience. The phrase small enough to listen and large enough to perform has been our assumed motto throughout the years. In other words, we are small enough to cater to your individual needs while also having the breadth and organization to get the job done. Two guys in a pickup truck, we are not. We are an efficient, well-run company with over 22 years of experience in the building of quality homes on your building lot.(more…)
The real estate market is a massive collection of homes being bought and sold, and by all rights, you could probably find a house available that you could settle with among the more than 3.55 million available. However, there is another option that ensures you end up in the house you really want, and that is having a custom home built specifically for you.
Custom home building is often thought of as something only for the wealthy. However, with the availability of custom home packages designed to suit the average family or consumer, it is easier than ever to pick a plan that works with your budget. Take a look at some of the advantages of building a custom home over buying a home that’s already been built.(more…)
- Our 15-year basement waterproofing warranty
- Our 10-year structural warranty
- Our 5-year workmanship/craftsmanship warranty
- 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.
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)
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
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
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
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
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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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 bad 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.
- Have a game plan.
- Invite early.
- Be organized.
- Plan your menu sooner rather than later.
- Spruce up guest rooms and public spaces.
- Cook in advance.
- Make sure the house is well-lit – inside and out.
- Set the table(s) in advance.
- Offer snacks before dinner.
- Keep the kids busy.
- Store mowers and prep snow removers.
- Store summer tools and prep winter ones.
- Put away patio tables and chairs, grills, and kids’ toys.
- Damaged walkways, driveways or steps can be dangerous in icy weather. Fixing crumbling asphalt or cracked cement now can prevent expensive headaches later.
- Check for window and roof leaks. Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk. Repair any damaged roof shingles.
- Cut trees and shrubs away from your home, especially if snowfall might cause them to bend and rub against the house.
- Clean the gutters. This is crucial for surviving freezing and thawing cycles.
- Remove garden hose from all outside faucets. If not removed, water will lay and freeze.
- Turn off outside faucet and sprinklers. Close shut-off valves, then open the outside faucet to drain the line.
- Have the furnace inspected by a professional. Replace all filters.
- Get the chimney cleaned. Make sure all fireplaces or wood stoves are thoroughly inspected.
- 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.
- In a tasty soup. Pumpkin lends itself so well to warm, creamy soups. (And heartier fare like chili, too.)
- In baked goods. Still have lots of pumpkin puree? Turn it into pie, cake, cookies or bread.
- Stuffed and baked. It’s remarkably easy. Stuff the hollowed-out cavity of the pumpkin with bread, roasted garlic, spices, and a little cream. Then put the lid back on and roast it.
- In pasta. Lasagna, ravioli, you name it. You won’t miss the meat in a roast pumpkin & spinach lasagna, or pumpkin ravioli.
- As brunch. Fat, fluffy pumpkin pancakes are a fabulously indulgent brunch treat, and a great way to start off your weekend.
- The Process. If you find the right builder, building your forever home can be a really great experience. When you’re searching for a builder, look for one that has experience, and has a tried and true process for everything. How long things take, what to expect at different stages, etc.
- Choice. You have the power to not only pick the appliances, but to design the custom cabinetry around them. You pick the trim, the paint colors, the floors, the lot. You make every decision from the foundation to the doorknobs. And, we don’t use allowances. You know your total cost up font before ever signing a contract.
- Uniqueness. It’s a rare thing to be able to design something that is truly unique. A custom home is personal, one-of-a-kind. It’s built from scratch just for your family.
- Your Lot. Finding that perfect piece of land is amazing. Being able to perfectly site your new home on it is even better. You have the opportunity to take advantage of the view, or tuck the home into a private corner.
- Quality. Custom builders are usually known for the quality of their work. They work with trusted craftsmen and take great pride in building homes that are masterpieces.
- Flexibility. Do you need space for multiple generations of your family? Do you want the house to have Universal Design features? Are you a fitness nut who wants your own gym? Does your car collection need a new home? Custom building means you can adapt to any or all of these!
- The best part about decorating for the fall is that it doesn’t take much effort or money. Pinecones, acorns, crabapples, and leaves are just outside waiting to be collected. And it seems like pumpkins and gourds are available everywhere. Whether you paint them or leave them natural, you can create an interesting seasonal tableau in minutes!
- The colors of fall – reds, oranges, yellows and browns – can make an immediate change to any space. Whether you put orange pumpkins and yellow mums on the front porch or red placemats and golden sunflowers on the dining room table, you’ll be surrounded by autumnal warmth.
- Besides cooking up a pot of your favorite cold-weather soups and stews, you can infuse your home with autumn scents via candles, essential oils or simmer pots. Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and other spices are instantly Fall-y and festive!
- Speaking of candles, votive candles are an easy way to add a little more light and sparkle. Tie fall leaves around votive holders with string or twine. You can use artificial leaves and battery-powered candles for both safety and long-lasting beauty.
- The cooler months are all about feeling cozy, warm, and comfortable. Change up your textiles for a little more warmth. Find yourself a cuddly – or even furry – blanket for the sofa. Give your throw pillows a velvety cover. Change out your bed linens with a heavier down comforter. Buy a thick and fluffy area rug.
- Have It Your Way. One of the most appreciated benefits of building a new home is customization. You have a say in the cabinets, flooring, carpets, light fixtures, etc. With new construction, not only can your home be custom tailored to your style, it can be custom tailored to your budget. In older used homes, this isn’t the case. You have to renovate – or get used to what’s already there.
- All New and Under Warranty. Another pro to building a new home is that it is far less likely to need repairs. And, if or when there is an issue, there’s no need to fret since the home is under warranty that will cover you for years. Now, if this were a previously owned home, there would be a strong chance that you would be responsible for 100% of the repairs.
- Speaking of Warranties… A brand new David James home includes an unprecedented Warranty Protection Plan, which includes a 10-Year Structural Warranty that covers most major mechanicals for the first two years and structural elements for 10 full years. More importantly, we also include a 5-Year Standards of Performance Warranty, which means that David James Homes warrants your new home against any defects in workmanship for five full years. Many resale homes don’t come with a warranty included in the price. If a warranty is available, you may have to pay extra or negotiate with the seller to pay the cost.
- Style & Storage. A new David James home offers floor plans designed to fit the way you live, with convenient features like walk-in closets, kitchen pantries, spacious garages, and flexible spaces that provide plenty of room for growth. With resale homes, especially older models, you may find that the storage space is limited or has been customized to someone else’s preferences.
- The Green Factor. These days, builders know that homeowners are more green conscious. As a result, most new homes offer better insulation, low-E windows, energy efficient appliances, and high-quality heating and cooling systems. These features provide comfort as well as cost savings, compared to an older home. If you buy a resale home, keep in mind that you could end up with poor insulation, drafty windows or an old furnace, all of which may need to be replaced.
- Maintenance Issues. A new David James home is practically maintenance-free! The cost of maintaining an older home is something many homebuyers overlook, but it should be a prime consideration when establishing your buying budget. Roof replacement, plumbing renovations and other emergency repairs add up quickly!
- Safety First. Safety is a concern for any homeowner, whether buying new or old. And while it is at the top of the list, in an older home, it can unfortunately be an expensive proposition. But if you build a home from the bottom up, you save yourself from this worry since everything is brand new and uses the latest, safest components, allowing you and your family to feel safer and not worry about updating.
- Pride In Homeownership. Building a new home is a very special and unique experience. A brand new home means that you are the first to own it, to live in it, to make it your own. It gives you a sense of pride. After all, you’ve been here since day one, had your style incorporated into the home, and made it yours every day since then. It really is YOUR home.
- Recruit a Team. Let’s face it; cleaning out your garage is not anyone’s idea of a fun weekend. We recommend a labor exchange with neighbors or friends, where you tackle your garage one weekend and theirs the next. This makes the chore more of a social event and can minimize how overwhelming the task may be. Order a pizza and grab some drinks, and it’s not sounding so bad already!
- Rent a Dumpster. People tend to underestimate just how much junk they really have. Renting a dumpster is fairly inexpensive, and will be able to handle all the large, heavy and odd-shaped items you discover in your garage and want to toss. Just Google “dumpster rental” and shop around for a place closest to you at the best price. You’ll be glad you did.
- Remove As Much as You Can to Start. The best way to get started is to remove as much as possible from the garage so you can start fresh. This makes it a lot easier to visualize the area as a blank canvas to decipher how to best use specific wall space or shelves in certain ways. It also helps you group your items based on what you’ve found and figure out what simply needs to go.
- Decide What Should Get Thrown Out. Try to limit most of your garage storage to items that get used outside. Remember that your garage isn’t meant to just be a giant hoarding space for all your belongings. This is how you ended up with a messy garage to begin with! For items that you’re having trouble deciding whether or not to keep, ask yourself these questions:
Do I love it?
Do I need it?
When was the last time I used it?
Would someone else benefit from it if I donated it?
Don’t hold on to stuff you’ll go another year without using. It’s time to let go.
- Break Up the Space. Think about the best possible way to divide up the garage to be used for different purposes or store specific items. Group similar objects together, so they’re all easier to find when you need them, and try putting things in places where they’re most useful. For example, shoes and coats can go by the main door leading inside the home, while bikes and toys are closer to the garage door. If you also have other ideas for the space like a craft or tool area, these “zones” will come in handy in keeping everything organized.
- Think Vertical. You probably won’t be able to get everything up off the floor, but remember you have four walls and a ceiling worth of space to utilize as well! Consider sheets of particle board or fiberboard hanging from rafters to create a whole additional loft area for storage, while pegboards can be great for hanging tools and other more frequently used items. Bike racks and vertical storage sheds and containers work great as well!
- Go a Little Green. Instead of buying all new storage bins and containers, try getting a little resourceful by repurposing some of your worn-out items. Use old jars to store screws and nails, and attach them to the undersurface of existing shelves to save space. Recycle the ends of old gardening tools by screwing them to the wall to hang new tools or drill holes in the bottom of old metal garbage cans to store bags of fertilizer, and let the contents breathe. Get creative with your old items before you toss them.
- Oaks. These majestic shade trees include more than 60 species native to the United States, so you can find an oak to suit any region of the country. They are versatile, durable and dramatic.
- Lindens. Slow-growing and stately, lindens come in a wide variety of types. The heart-shape leaves provide dense shade, and produce a pale yellow color.
- Maples. These glorious trees are everyone’s favorites for fall color. There are a wide variety of maples which will grow almost anywhere, and which make great shade providers.
- Tulip Trees. One of the largest trees in North America, the tulip tree is named for cup-shape orange, yellow, and green flowers that appear in late spring. And it has a stunning golden fall color.
- Elms. While Dutch elm disease decimated these gracious shade trees in North America from 1930 to the late 1980s, new disease-resistant varieties mean it’s time to start planting them again.
- Hawthorns. These unique trees have white flowers in spring, glossy red fruit in late summer, and leaves that unfurl with a red/purple tint changing to deep green then orange, red or purple in fall.
- Eastern Redbuds. This North American native has red buds that open to pink flowers. The dark green, heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in autumn.
- The lifestyle. LakeWatch Plantation is a 479-acre, self-contained Village Center in Franklin County. It offers a wide variety of lifestyle options, commercial services and community activities.
- So many choices. There are waterfront lots, carriage lots, and estate lots available. David James Homes owns 22 carriage lots and 18 estate lots, so take your pick.
- The unique homes. David James Homes has designed four distinctive homes for the narrow carriage lots, including ranch models and a two-story model. Five new models are being designed for the estate lots, which are on ½ to ¾ acre settings.
- The gorgeous details. 9-foot ceiling heights. Oak hardwood floors. Craftsman-style stone columns. Reverse gables with shakes. Cozy porches.
- The kitchens. Our kitchens feature an open floor plan, with a big island, and solid wood custom-built cabinets with crown moulding.
- Customize all you want. At David James Homes, we’re passionate about building you the custom home of your dreams. Not only can we give you what you want, but you won’t pay for what you don’t.
- The lake. LakeWatch is located in Moneta, adjacent to Smith Mountain Lake, a 20,000-acre manmade lake with 500 miles of shoreline.
- The convenience. There are restaurants, a bank, and shops in walking distance. The Franklin County YMCA is within LakeWatch. And there are dozens of shopping, entertainment and recreation opportunities within a mile or two.
- Flexibility. David James Homes can build any house on any lot at LakeWatch whether we own it or not.
- Energy-efficient materials. All of our homes have high R-value insulation, whole house wrap, vapor barrier and sill sealer.