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News from David James Homes

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.
  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!