Blog & News

Thinking of Building a Custom Home? 3 Steps to Find the Right Land First

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.

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The Anna Elizabeth B

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.

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Summerwood C

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.

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The Timberlake

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.

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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting Paint Colors

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.

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The Chatham C Craftsman

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.

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What Makes a Bestselling Home?

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.

Do I Need Property Before Finding a Builder?

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.

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Optimize Closets With Custom Craftsmanship

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 Foyer

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.

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Nine Ways to Choose the Right Builder for Your New Home

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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Mudrooms and Kitchen Pantries Gain in Popularity

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/.

Great Home Expectations (Part One)

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.”

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4 Cutting-Edge Trends in New Home Design and Styling

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.

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What’s Your Building Preference?

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:

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The Benefits of Dealing with a Family Owned and Operated Business

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.

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Design Centers Make Selections Easy and Personalized

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.

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Choosing Your Foundation

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.

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3 Tips for Designing a Kitchen Layout for Your Custom Home

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.

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Make “Better” Your 2018 Resolution

Make “Better” Your 2018 Resolution

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.
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Consider Your Options

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.

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David James Homes offers the Craftsmanship of Custom-Built Homes at Production-Builder Prices

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.

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The Affordability Factor

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.

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We’re All Ears!

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.

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Three Buckets

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.

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New Home Buyer Tips

Man meeting with financial advisor in living room[/caption]

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.

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You Are Never Too Young to Build

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:

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5 Questions to Help You Pick Your Perfect House Plan

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.

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Welcome to the “Hammer and Home“ David James Homes blog

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.

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David James Homes Delivers a Personalized Building Experience

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.

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A Look at the Top Advantages of Building a Custom Home

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.

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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?

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  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.

Help us support our local community!

  David James Homes is proud to announce that we will be supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Greater Virginia throughout the month of November. We would love to have your support for this worthwhile organization!   The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Greater Virginia is a nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education. With national headquarters in Tucson, MDA has more than 200 offices across the country, sponsors some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics and supports more than 330 research projects around the world. dj-6111-mda-nonprofit-fb-graphic-b-1200-x-628We ask you to visit the David James Homes Facebook page, and LIKE the page.   For every page like we get, we’ll donate one dollar to the MDA of Greater Virginia. 74 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to research, services and education. The remaining funds go to supporting the staff and events that make the work they do possible.   Please help us support The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Greater Virginia’s mission.

6 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin This Fall

It’s hard to escape pumpkins at this time of year. The ubiquitous gourds are everywhere. Once merely the star of pumpkin pie, this sweet orange delight can be enjoyed in variety of sweet or savory presentations. Bon appétit! download
  1. In a tasty soup. Pumpkin lends itself so well to warm, creamy soups. (And heartier fare like chili, too.)
 
  1. In baked goods. Still have lots of pumpkin puree? Turn it into pie, cake, cookies or bread.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. In pasta. Lasagna, ravioli, you name it. You won’t miss the meat in a roast pumpkin & spinach lasagna, or pumpkin ravioli.
 
  1. As brunch. Fat, fluffy pumpkin pancakes are a fabulously indulgent brunch treat, and a great way to start off your weekend.
pumpkin-seeds-fb 
  1. Don’t forget the seeds! Pumpkin seeds make a great snack. To get maximum flavor, simmer them in salt water Then roast them with spices for a toasty fall snack.
  Happy Fall from David James Homes!  

6 Advantages to Building a David James Custom Home

There are many reasons why someone might choose to build a custom home over a semi-custom or production home. We’ve come up with some of the advantages we see in going custom.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 floora01s686734s, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
As you consider building a custom home, think about what you want, what you need, and what you’ve always dreamed of. We might be a little biased here at David James Custom Homes, but we believe in our process – and we want to help you build your dream home!

Decorating for Fall is Fun and Affordable!

One of the best things about this time of year is that you can change up your décor so easily for an instant shot of Fall.
  1. 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!diy-fall-decor-1-620x412
  1. 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.
  1. 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!
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
When you’re finished, snuggle up on the sofa and inhale the spicy warmth! Have fun Fall-ifying your home!  

An In-Depth Look at the History & Legacy of David James Homes

Many builders and contractors claim that they’re dedicated to customer service, but David James Homes of Virginia and West Virginia has devised almost every part of its process to serve its customers in the best way possible.   When Merle Heckman started David James Homes, he had over 20 years experience working as a cost controller for another builder. He not only knew how to control costs, but how to make the home building experience less stressful and more enjoyable for customers.   Since 1995, David James Homes has specialized in building highly customized homes at prices below what traditional builders charge. “Our concept is very unique to the Virginia and West Virginia market,” notes Merle. “Rather than pricing homes with allowances for amenities, we have showrooms where 10504887_10152653407814577_8980279261424780687_ocustomers can choose everything from flooring to roofing, and we can give them a set price for their new home. Customers love the convenience, and it allows us to purchase materials in large volume, realizing substantial savings that are passed on as lower prices.”   Speaking of selection, David James Homes has sales offices/selection centers in Culpepper, Lynchburg, Roanoke & Winchester, Virginia; and Clarksburg, West Virginia. We also build in Morgantown, West Virginia, and Uniontown & Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. That kind of geographic diversity – and a library of ranch, bi-level, split level, cape cod and 2 story homes – helps buyers from all over find the custom David James home they’re looking for. 13434911_10154322516634577_3129146529608928641_n Finding a custom home builder who is financially stable, guarantees their pricing, and offers a huge variety of floor plans, is to say the least, unusual. But, Merle Heckman has an unusual approach to building homes. And it seems to be working. The company has experienced sustained growth over the past 15 years, and Merle believes it’s because “we treat the customer right; we take care of them.”   Part of that care is David James Homes’ unparalleled Warranty Protection Plan, which includes a 15-Year Basement Waterproofing warranty, a 10-Year Structural Warranty, and a 5-Year Standards of Performance Warranty that warrants every home against any defects in workmanship.   Thanks to Merle, and the David James Homes family of employees, its customers enjoy a unique and incomparable relationship based on integrity and respect. What better legacy could David James Homes and Merle Heckman have?

8 Reasons Why Building A New David James Home Is The Best Choice

Why settle for someone else’s version of YOUR dream home? Building a new David James custom home is a much better choice.  
  1. 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.Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 9.08.25 AM
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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!
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
  Before you buy “used”, come see us. For a lot less than you think, you can build the all-new, all-you David James custom home of your dreams!

David James Homes Garage Cleaning Tips

  When’s the last time you were able to park your car in the garage? It’s not just you; this part of the house more often than not becomes a dumping ground for basically everything. If you have hopes of utilizing your garage for what it was really intended for, or maybe even something better, it’s time to get organized! Check out these great tips for how to (finally) clean out your garage.  
  1. 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!
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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 garage-clean-outnot 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.

 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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!
 
  1. 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.
  If you’re looking to clean out your garage in the near future, don’t go into it without a plan. Utilize these helpful tips to create an idea for your space, make the most of all the wall space and reuse certain items that you’d otherwise throw out. Now, just call your friends up and make a day of it! Good luck!      

5 Reasons Why Building A David James Home Is A Good Investment

  Dedicated customer service. David James Homes provides you with a consultant whose only job is to design and tailor a plan and price to fit your needs and budget. With a smaller builder, there simply isn’t the time or the resources to spend the 30-40 hours necessary to customize abenjamin-powell-greennd price a home for each individual potential homeowner.   Efficient use of time. A small builder depends on tradesmen who may be working for other builders, creating “lag time” between phases of construction. Because of the volume of work we do here at David James, we are the main, and often only, builder a contractor works with, giving us control over his scheduling. We can schedule our contractors efficiently and avoid down time.   Building on budget. Most builders will price your home on a square foot basis, with allowances for all amenities – flooring, cabinets, lighting, plumbing, etc. At that point, neither you nor your builder has selected or priced any of the materials, so there’s no way of knowing whether the budget will cover or not. And it rarely does. The average home ending up at 15% over budget. At David James Homes, we take the time to help you select everything from flooring to shingles, and price it into your new home from the start. The end result: the price at the beginning is the price at the end. Everything is handled up front so you’re free to relax and enjoy watching your dream become a reality.   Consistent quality. New home buyers are always concerned that the quality of their home will be as they expected. After all, you can’t see it until it’s done. Did the builder “cut corners” to increase his profits? Even if you’ve seen other homes he’s built, will the same people be building yours? At David James Homes, not only do you get to see and choose exactly what goes into your home, we use the same contractors on all of our homes. If you go through one of our homes and like what you see, you’re going to get exactly the same quality in your home. We want to give you the best houyorktown-b-botetourt5-300x169se we can. Period.   Service. Once you’re in your new home, David James Homes guarantees your home four years longer than any other contractor in the area. We are so confident in the home that we turn over to you, that we warrant all of our workmanship, from concrete to shingles for five full years. You’ll be hard pressed to find another contractor who will warrant his home for more than one year. We want you to ask yourself, “I’m spending more on this home than anything else in my life. It has over 11,000 different parts and pieces. What kind of contractor won’t guarantee his work for more for than one short year?”   Since 1995, David James has specialized in building highly customized homes at prices below what tract builders charge. At David James Homes, in all of our dealings with new customers and current homeowners, it becomes very clear that our one driving force, our ultimate goal, is not just building houses – it’s “Bringing Families Home.” For more information contact us at 540-563-5020 or visit us at www.davidjamescustomhomes.com.

7 Trees for Summer Shade & Fall Color!

When is a tree not just a tree? In addition to being lovely landscape elements, trees can provide unparalleled energy savings and visual drama.   FACT: A tree planted on the west side of a house can reduce net carbon emissions from summertime electricity use by 30 percent over a 100-year period.   Keeping the sun off your home during the summer can save both money and energy. And one of the best ways to do that is by planting shade trees in the right locations so they can block the sun from streaming in the windows and heating up the walls and roofs. “Shade” trees come in all shapes and sizes, for many different climates and planting zones, so there are plenty of options to choose from. Additionally, many of these trees are offer seasonal beauty, such as gorgeous fall leaf color. z8o31L
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. Eastern Redbuds. This North American native has red buds that open to pink flowers. The dark green, heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in autumn.
 

10 Reasons to Build a David James Home at LakeWatch Plantation

  DJLakewatchLogo1 David James Homes is thrilled to be building at LakeWatch Plantation, a truly special community. From the tranquil setting to the stunning homes, you’ll love living here!
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The gorgeous details. 9-foot ceiling heights. Oak hardwood floors. Craftsman-style stone columns. Reverse gables with shakes. Cozy porches.
  1. The kitchens. Our kitchens feature an open floor plan, with a big island, and soblackwater-finallid wood custom-built cabinets with crown moulding.
  1. 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.
  1. The lake. LakeWatch is located in Moneta, adjacent to Smith Mountain Lake, a 20,000-acre manmade lake with 500 miles of shoreline.
  1. 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.
  1. Flexibility. David James Homes can build any house on any lot at LakeWatch whether we own it or not.
  1. Energy-efficient materials. All of our homes have high R-value insulation, whole house wrap, vapor barrier and sill sealer.
If you’d like to visit, LakeWatch Plantation is located on Highway 122, ½ mile east of the Rt. 616 intersection, just 23 miles southeast of Roanoke, and 17 miles northeast of Rocky Mount.

David James Homeowner Spotlight – The Crosses

The Crosses have just built a beautiful custom home in Taylor County, West Virginia. And they really enjoyed their David James experience. In fact, we should probably just start sending them out to talk to prospective homeowners!13724076_10154423423969577_7227314921126808362_o Here are a few of Rick & Marlee’s thoughts on their experience with us: “We would like to thank David James Homes for building our beautiful new home. We actually just settled on it this morning! “The team at David James Homes in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was a pleasure to work with. Starting with Bill and Heather13641097_10154423424434577_5439348355859060602_o in the design center, all the way to production managers Clark and Earl in the field. “We also had the pleasure of meeting Merle and Rose. We are so thankful for their work ethic and pride, and the quality that they put into every home they build. “Everything came together to create absolutely beautiful house. Thank you to the entire staff of David James Homes.”   Since 1995, David James has specialized in building highly customized homes at prices below what tract builders charge. At David James Homes, in all of our dealings with new customers and current homeowners, it becomes very clear that our one driving force, our ultimate goal, is not just building houses – it’s “Bringing Families Home.” For more information contact us at 540-563-5020 or visit us at www.davidjamescustomhomes.com.

Choosing the right lot

In our last post, we discussed the various types of custom homes typically available today. From ranch to split-level, tract to total custom, having the opportunity to create the right home for your family is the best part of custom home building. However, what many home builders don’t realize is that finding the right property to build on is very important, too. Building lots come in various shapes, sizes, and orientations. The first step is  determining whether your style of home fits the lot correctly. To do so, you have to understand the different types of lot orientations:   Level Lot Essentially, a level lot is one that resides on flat ground. The most attractive aspect of considering a level lot is that it will work for any style home. Other Details: •Problems with drainage, as there is no elevation change for water to run-off. •Require sump pumps.which can frequently fail due to power outage during storms.   Down-slope Lot These lots are the most advantageous for home builders, even if only sloping 2-3 feet from front to back, due to the natural drainage system. Other Details: •Allows for daylight basement and walk-out door. •Solves drainage problem with footer drain to grade.   Up-slope Lot This style is a case where the home style has to fit the lot, sometimes making customization difficult. These lots work well for split-entry homes, but otherwise require a shelf to be cut out to accommodate other home styles.   Steep down slope Lot (often waterfront) Since homes need to be built on virgin (unmoved) soil and  because of the steep slope, the rear foundation walls are often twice the height of normal, requiring extensive additional concrete.  It sometimes even requires a second foundation under the first.  

Developed vs. Undeveloped Lots

In the most basic sense, developed land has been fully prepared for homebuilding while undeveloped land has not. Sometimes, custom home builders are quite eager to build their dream home and, rather than waiting for developed residential areas to open up, they build on larger plots of undeveloped land in rural or semi-rural locations instead. Though all land requires a certain number of costs (such as driveway construction, hole, water, sewer, electric), other factors can come into play when deciding between developed and undeveloped land. For example, if you’re thinking about building your home on undeveloped land, be sure to consider the additional preparation work and expenses involved, such as permits, clearing of land, well-digging, septic issues, excavation, etc. Most importantly, never, everbuy property without a percolation test, regardless of the property size! If you have any questions about building lot styles, developed vs. undeveloped land, or any other custom home building issue, feel free to contact us or join our conversation on Facebook. Thanks for you interest. Our next post will discuss custom home financing.

Different Styles Can Offer Various Affordability Options

Welcome to the David James Homes blog, an on-going monthly series designed to share our knowledge and experience by helping you avoid costly mistakes and pitfalls when building your new house. The wonderful thing about building your very own custom home are the many choices you’ll have available. Most of the time, the decision can come down to desired square footage (SF) verses style. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a 2-story can be the most economical because it affords the lowest price per SF. It’s also worth noting that some of the changes in the way homes are built these days can affect costs as well. But with the right know how, you can get the best of both worlds. Here are just some of the kinds of houses and things to think about: Ranch: Highest per SF of finished area, but they bring the advantage of one level living and potential to double finished area in basement. Cape: Very similar to building a ranch in some aspects. A good thing to know is that years ago, capes were more economical; but since most are built with rafters instead of trusses labor cost are much higher. house21 Split Level & Split Entry: Becoming very popular again. Advantage is value and equity. Inexpensive to build, because of full windows in lower level. Another point is that the finished area in lower level is considered living area by appraiser (rather than finished basement as in a ranch). Custom verses Standard Plan: Tract Homes – Lowest (usually only have 2 – 3 plans with limited options) and unfortunately have limited customization leeway. It can be the lowest because of the way they are built – in an assembly-line fashion where the builder controls the site, location, and building process. The downside is that there is very little “instant equity” and it can be quite challenging to get exactly what you want. Semi- Custom – this is where you take a builder’s plan and and then make modifications to it yourself. Some builders have few plans and typically allow only minor changes. 20357_325850684576_6022605_n Total Custom – Your highest price per SF. These are the houses that have complicated plans (lots of roof lines, “bump-outs”, etc.) and often require the builder to add a “fudge factor” (contingency pricing) for unexpected or unforeseen issues that can arise. Count on adding around a 5 -7% pad in your pricing when going the custom route. We love questions – so please feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts. Or you can join our discussion on Facebook. Thanks again for your interest. Next month we’ll cover building lots and site costs.