Blog

Maintenance: Keeping Your Dream Home in Dream Shape

maintenance

When Eastmark Construction completes a project, one of our goals as a builder is to maintain a relationship with our client families. One way that we do this is through future building whenever there is a need or desire to further improve the home. Another is to continue providing maintenance for the home. We built that dream home, and we want to help keep it in dream shape so that it maintains its beauty and legacy status and our clients remain happy and satisfied.

Eastmark does not build average homes. We build extraordinary homes. Those homes include many amenities that work to increase comfort and luxury in both the indoor and outdoor living space. In order to keep the building structure and the amenities in tip top condition, routine maintenance must be done and done on schedule. The following are systems or areas in a luxury home that would need regular oversight: 

HVAC – It’s typical for our homes to have HVAC systems that consist of multiple furnaces, air conditioning units, and boilers in order to fully heat and cool in a way that maintains continuous comfort within the home. All of these should be serviced every year in the spring prior to summer use. 

Plumbing – Certain aspects of plumbing need regular care. For instance, the hot water recirculation pump should be unplugged when not in use, and outside all hoses should be disconnected from the exterior hose bibs in the winter. 

Septic System – Septic tanks should be pumped every 5 years or as needed depending on use. We recommend completing this in the spring or fall. 

Irrigation – The irrigation system needs attention in the spring and the fall because of the break in use during the winter. Sprinkler heads should be adjusted and parts inspected and repaired as needed. 

Generator servicing – Many of our homes have backup generators to ensure against a total power loss. These should be serviced annually in the spring. 

Security System – Security systems require periodic maintenance. Also the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors were installed and are monitored by a security company, and they should be inspected and cleaned per their recommendations. 

There are also many aspects to maintaining the beauty of a luxury home inside and out.

EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE

Staining and painting – Re-staining of the siding and painting of the trim will be required on 3-5 year intervals depending on sun exposure. 

Insect spraying – Spraying should be done annually in the spring to keep bugs, webs, and debris off the siding and moldings. 

House washing – We recommend annual power washing of the home and decks to keep things looking at their best. This should be done before spraying for insects. 

Deck maintenance – Wood decking should be washed and sealed annually. 

Landscaping – In Northern Michigan deer will damage landscaping elements such as arborvitaes if the proper actions are not taken to protect them. Deer repellent or fencing should be put into place in the fall after perennials are cut back and then maintained throughout the winter. 

Natural stone patios and walks – These should be re-sealed annually in the fall to protect against moisture and freezing effects. 

Hot tub maintenance – If there is a hot tub or a pool on site, they will have to be opened in the spring and winterized in the fall as well as serviced during the summer based on usage. We recommend servicing them at least once per week during peak use and 1 to 2 times per month when not in use. 

INTERIOR MAINTENANCE

Interior woodwork maintenanceDoors, windows, built-in shelving, and other woodwork may need care periodically due to seasonal movement within the wood structure and use. We recommend an annual paint and caulk touch up on the interior along with door and cabinetry adjustments. 

Window cleaning – Window screens should be removed, cleaned as necessary, and stored for the winters. The windows should be cleaned in the spring as needed. 

If the above list seems daunting, that is a good reason to leave it to the professionals. Our team and subcontractors work together to take care of all the details necessary to keep a home looking and functioning impressively. This allows our clients to enjoy their lives without the worry or hassle. We have the knowledge and relationships to really care for their home and keep it well-maintained to ensure the integrity of all the systems and amenities for many years. 

The value in good maintenance, beyond the enjoyment of every aspect of the home, is that it helps these properties to hold and appreciate in value. These homes are significant investments for our clients, so allowing damage from the elements or use to take hold and cause further decay is not advised. 

If you would like help in caring for your dream home throughout the year, please contact Eastmark Construction with questions or to schedule any routine maintenance. We would be happy to discuss with you a plan for keeping your home in perfect shape so you can fully enjoy it now and for many years to come. 

 

Incorporating Reclaimed Materials in Your Dream Home

reclaimed materials

One of the trends Eastmark Construction has seen in home building recently is the use of reclaimed materials for interior finishes. There is an authentic charm to old salvaged materials that make them ideal centerpieces for the rooms in people’s dream homes. Reclaimed materials can be more challenging to incorporate into a home, but we have been able to make them fit and function both artistically and practically.

Searching out Vintage Treasures

One of the most enjoyable aspects to building a house is selecting the design elements to incorporate within and without. When you use reclaimed materials, this process turns into a treasure hunt. It’s best to keep an open mind and look for materials that will complement the overall look you are envisioning. This will give the time you spend perusing architectural salvage a feeling of serendipity. You don’t know what you will find – or what will find and speak to you – making the hunt more intriguing and meaningful.

Wood is an especially warm material to work with. Vintage wood, like that taken from old tobacco barns in the South, has a character and patina that cannot be recreated with any modern construction technique. Every nail hole, scratch, or smoothed place adds visual charm and depth wherever the wood is used, whether for flooring, paneling, ceilings, or trim. Wood mantelpieces are a common element many people like to incorporate. They center a new home and give it a connection to history. Old factory bricks are another material people are using for their kitchen floors, interior walls, and outdoor patios and walkways. The results can be stunning.

reclaimed materials

Some salvaged pieces may be wonderful – but large or oddly shaped. This is where working with an experienced builder pays off. A builder who is comfortable working with reclaimed materials will be able to give you ideas on how to incorporate them within your home or recommend places to search for additional pieces. He will also be able to tell you when working with new materials such as energy efficient windows makes more sense than using old windows with glass panes.

The Challenges of Reclaimed Materials

There are a few complicating factors to selecting and using reclaimed materials in your dream home. The first is that the materials can be harder to find and sometimes more costly. You may find it difficult or even impossible to locate the exact porcelain bathtub you saw online for your bathroom, for instance. Reclaimed materials have to be sourced. There is a finite amount of vintage wood and bricks available, and it often needs to be treated in order to be safe to install in your home.

The installation of vintage pieces is often more complicated as well. It’s harder to incorporate vintage plumbing or lighting fixtures with modern plumbing and electrical systems and make them compliant with current safety codes. Again, this is where working with an experienced contractor makes a real difference in navigating red tape and facilitating your build.

There are challenges inherent in incorporating reclaimed materials in your dream home, but vintage materials and fixtures give a home a unique and interesting look and feel that cannot be duplicated by other people. They also lend a maturity and dignity to a new home. Those old pieces have a history and a presence. They connect the stories of the people who used them with the new story you are beginning by building your dream home. That’s why so many people are making the choice to use reclaimed materials today.

 

Under Construction: Winter Hasn’t Slowed Us Down

under construction

We are in the heart of winter now, and Northern Michigan is under a blanket of snow. Storms crop up every so often and make life more challenging, but Eastmark Construction is still at work. Winter hasn’t slowed us down. Here are some pictures of our work. These are the homes we have under construction currently.

As you can see, we are framing one of our projects, establishing the foundations of this home carefully within its gorgeous setting so it will fit in and complement the beauty of the surrounding nature.

Our other project is much further towards completion. The sturdy roof we are putting on this beautiful home will see it through many more snows and winters.

With the weather being what it is right now, it’s a good time to give a reminder about HVAC equipment. It’s important for homeowners to have their HVAC equipment serviced regularly so that it will operate well when they need it the most, whether that’s the furnace in February or the air conditioner in August.

Many of our clients also install standby generators in case the electricity is knocked out by storms or fails for any other reason. They will add generators to segments or sectors of the house so that appliances like refrigerators can continue to run, areas of the house will remain comfortable with lights and heat, and the garage doors will still open and close. It’s not practical to run an entire house on gasoline run generators, but adding one or two standby generators that run smoothly and quietly on natural gas or propane is a very forward thinking measure and simple to do during the construction process.

If you are thinking of building your dream home in Northern Michigan, these are things to consider. The winters here are gorgeous, and there are many winter sports and activities to keep you busy, but you will want your home to remain cosy no matter how cold it gets or how much snow falls.

 

Custom Cabinetry Makes a Home Stylish and Original

custom cabinetry

Does your dream home feature custom cabinetry? Whose doesn’t? So many of our clients include custom cabinetry and built-in features on their wish lists. This is because unique built-in carpentry is both functional and fabulous. Cabinets help organize a home and create spaces that encourage creativity and productivity, all while being stylish and cool. Let’s talk about the ways that custom cabinetry enhances a home and increases its value to its owners.

Custom Cabinetry Adds Beauty

The most obvious way that custom cabinets and built-ins add value is aesthetic. Woodwork naturally attracts people’s attention.  People enjoy looking at well made wood products and furniture because they can see the effort and skill that went into their creation. Custom-made products are more cherished because they are art made specifically for your home. They display what is most important to you: from your glassware to your curios to your books. They make what you love into a visual feature for you and everyone in your home to enjoy.

  • Kitchen cabinets are the highlight of any kitchen. Custom cabinets allow you to hide practical equipment behind beautiful woodwork while displaying your china and objets d’art behind glass.
  • Bookcases show off any kind of collection you have in a way that can be easily organized, arranged, and rearranged.
  • Window seats invite passersby to take in a beautiful view in comfort.
  • Entertainment centers make watching television or movies more of an audience experience.

Custom millwork blends into the architecture of your home, tying its features together and enhancing its overall look. The consistent use of wood, from ceiling beams to stair rails to mantelpieces, gives a home a seamless flow and assists visually in the transition from room to room.

Custom Built-ins Add Functionality

Many of our families have added custom built-in features to help with their day-to-day goals and everyday living. Mudrooms with individualized cubbies let them organize what they need and grab it on the way out the door. They also add storage and keep muddy shoes or wet towels out of the more formal areas of the house. Adding a study nook to a kitchen or other family area of the house can help busy parents make sure their kids get their schoolwork done every day.

Custom built-ins add storage, whether that’s closet storage or under-the-bed storage. Who doesn’t dream of being able to better organize their clothing and shoes so they are more visible and accessible? Built-ins can also hide unsightly elements or allow for easy storage of bulky or odd shaped items.

Several of our families have designed bedroom built-ins as an invitation to family members to visit more or bring their friends and children along. Built-in beds can take a beating and create a playful and festive atmosphere for kids.

Eastmark Construction’s master finish carpenter is Mark Andres. Many of our clients mention his work when they’re asked to name things they love about their new dream homes. Our Garrison and other Glen Arbor homes prominently feature his beautiful custom cabinetry and other built-in features. Eastmark is very proud of the work we do on the homes we build. Please take a moment to look through some examples of Mark’s custom cabinetry while you’re in the process of making your design wish lists. You may see something you’d like to add to your own dream home!

 

Why Build a Cottage or Home in Glen Arbor, Michigan?

outside of a beautiful glen lake mansion

The breathtaking scenery and relaxing lifestyle of Northern Michigan is something everyone should experience at least once. The region is full of open spaces, beautiful lakes and rivers, forests, farmland, orchards, vineyards, and other natural wonders. One of the jewels of Northern Michigan is Glen Arbor. This year MONEY, Time Inc.’s publication, selected Glen Arbor as one of its 20 best and most affordable places to visit. Why is Glen Arbor, Michigan such a wonderful place to be and to live? We’ll go some of the reasons here.

To begin with there is the setting. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America viewers in 2011. It’s undeniably gorgeous. This is where Glen Arbor is nestled, on the Leelanau Peninsula between Lake Michigan and Glen Lake. The big lake and the dunes are an undeniable draw, but visitors and residents can also swim, sunbathe, waterski, or boat in the warm turquoise blue waters of Glen Lake. For river enthusiasts, fly fisherman, and kayakers there is the Crystal River which weaves its way in between the two lakes. The lake life here is slow and easy, known for its long days and warm nights, campfires, hiking, sunsets, and time spent with friends, family, and neighbors.

In the summertime Northern Michigan’s weather is beautiful and warm, and people come from all over the state as well as from Chicago and elsewhere in the Midwest to enjoy it. Many of them make it an annual tradition and spend weeks or months in this lovely place until the days shorten and the nights cool. In the autumn, the leaves on the trees change colors spectacularly, and M-22 becomes Michigan’s most scenic highway.

There are also plenty of local places to visit, including vineyards, wineries and restaurants like Art’s Tavern. Glen Arbor is a destination place – “a place to gather and get away.” If you want an alternative to the stressful city life, Glen Arbor is where you can find it. Compared to many “must see” destinations, the Leelanau Peninsula is surprisingly affordable and undiscovered.

And for some it’s not enough just to visit Glen Arbor. They decide to build or buy a summer house so they can enjoy the region for years to come. Have you ever thought about what you want your life to look like moving forward and considered making a big change – at least for part of the year?  Have you considered putting down some roots in a place with a slower, calmer, more healthful lifestyle for you and your family? You are not alone. Eastmark Construction has built numerous legacy homes in Northern Michigan.

Glen Arbor home

Eric Darooge and Eastmark Construction have been creating dream homes in Glen Arbor and other destination places in Michigan for years. They know how to make a home that is a reflection of hard work, personality, and creativity, a place to gather and to get away. If you’ve been dreaming of building something beautiful that will nurture your family and last for generations, call us today. We would love to help you build your dream home in Glen Arbor, Michigan.