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News from David James Homes

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.

Production builders usually construct the same home plans in repetition in neighborhoods where they are the developer and the exclusive builder. Developers usually purchase large tracts of undeveloped land and subdivide it into smaller parcels that are less than one acre in size. In circumstances where the developer is not the builder, other large-volume homebuilders may be authorized to build homes in the subdivision. These builders will be contractually allocated a certain amount of lots that they can build on and sell.

Sometimes termed as “tract homes,” these dwellings are most often located in suburban areas outside more densely populated urban settings. Production builders keep building costs down by capitalizing on efficiencies gained by building the same house or houses over and over again. With less variance, fewer mistakes occur, and time is maximized. Crews are better managed because there is less deviation in their job requirements and skills needed to perform the work. When a home is completed, no time is wasted because the crew simply moves next door to do identical work on a different home. A drawback to this type of building is that it leaves little room for customization. Some finishes may be chosen in a limited fashion, but little else may be changed. Deviation from the original plan is normally not an option in this building model.

With David James Homes, new homebuyers get the best of both worlds – custom-built craftsmanship at a production-builder price. We are a high quality and affordable custom builder who takes pride in offering our customers the ability to depart from strict standardization in order to build the home of their dreams. What makes David James Homes different from other custom builders is that our home prices are kept low. We do this by intentionally keeping our margins low and by maintaining long-standing relationships with our vendors. Keeping our margins low means that we do not profit as much per unit as our competitors. We are able to do this because we expect that you will be passing our name on to others or that you will build another home with us in the future. Maintaining long-term relationships with our vendors ensures that materials are purchased at the best possible price, and these savings are then passed on to our customers.

We encourage you to contact a sales office near you to learn more and visit

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.

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.

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)


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


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.

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?

  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!