February 26th, 2014

Building a New Home: Gas vs. Wood Fireplace

Categories: New Home Design |

Gas Fireplace

One popular option in new homes is a fireplace, and often my clients will wonder if they’d rather have a real wood or gas.  I’ve lived in homes with both and there are advantages and draw backs to each.

Let’s start with gas or “gas-log” fireplace:  This is the most popular option because it offers so much simplicity in operation.  It will turn on with the flick of a switch and requires no wood pile.  It is clean and easy to operate and offers a great ambiance to the home.  You will find yourself using the fireplace more often because it is so convenient.  It is also less expensive and will have less code-related concerns during construction.

Now let’s look with a real wood fireplace:  The real wood fireplace is still preferred by many homeowners because of the look, smell, and sound of a real fire.  The gas fireplaces come close, but nothing can match the real thing.  Of course, this points out one of the drawbacks – you have a real fire inside your home!  When we build, we need to be careful to ensure proper shielding and spacing to combustible materials.  Also, you will need to start the fire each time, which makes having a fire a bigger project and typically less often enjoyed if you have a busy lifestyle.  You will also need to cut or buy firewood, and bringing the firewood into your home, which can bring in some mess and sometimes a few bugs.

I don’t actually have a recommendation for my new home building clients because it comes down to your own personal preferences.  I like to explain the advantages and disadvantages and let you decide.

February 19th, 2014

Housing Starts and Home Building at the Beginning of 2014

Categories: Construction Industry News |


Jan 2014 Single Family Housing Starts

Jan 2014 Single Family Housing Starts

The home building industry appears to be seeing continued gradual improvement in single family new home construction.  In January, we started 573,000 (SAAR) new homes in the US.  This month’s number is actually a little disappointing, but many builders are citing the harsh winter as part of the reason (and here in Ludington, we can agree with that!)  The overall trend is positive, and we are still well below peak levels.  Most builders and industry analysts believe the housing market will continue to improve in 2014, but no one is predicting another housing boom this year.  Here’s my post from 1 year ago.  Note that we’re below January of 2013 and there is some concern that the market is showing some underlying weakness not weather related.  Right now, I am seeing 2014 in the Ludington area about the same as 2013.  Only time will tell…

February 3rd, 2014


Categories: Maplewood Homes |

We are seeking a hard-working, non-smoker to join our new home construction team.  The ideal candidate will have a “can-do” attitude and take pride in a job well done.  There will be heavy lifting, some local travel, and we work outdoors in all types of inclement weather.  Reliable transportation required.  Construction experience helpful, but not required.  You must be willing and able to learn new skills.  Applications available at Maplewood Homes, 5492 W US-10, Ludington.

January 21st, 2014

Building a New Home: Built In Appliances

Categories: New Home Design |

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of builders and homeowners (especially on nicer homes) like to design the kitchen with built-in, high-end appliances.  I see this frequently during the parade of homes and other home tours I’ve taken.  Double wall ovens are especially popular right now!  I, of course, have a different opinion and I believe in using standard-sized appliances.  The reason is that the home and the kitchen will typically outlive the appliances.  Also, appliance preferences can be trendy with styles that come and go over the years.  If you plan to stay in your home, you will eventually be replacing the appliances and it will be much easier with standard-sized openings in the kitchen cabinetry.  I have seen homes where the appliance replacement required an entire kitchen remodel.

As always, though, it’s your home not mine!  And we would be delighted to design your kitchen exactly how you want it!

December 30th, 2013

Building a New Home: Lever Handle Door Knobs

Categories: New Home Design |

Lever Handle

We builders are always learning and I think that part of the value I bring to our clients is sharing my own personal experiences in the home building process.  I never thought that something as simple as a lever handle door knob would make me so happy. While moving into our new home, I couldn’t help but grin as I carried a heavy box up to the front door and nudged it open with my elbow.  Wow, that was easy – wish that I would thought of that sooner!  This is the fourth home I have build for myself and the first time I’ve lived with lever handles.  They are a little more expensive then regular knobs, so I don’t typically recommend them unless my homeowners specifically ask.  That is likely to change – just think how often you’re returning home with a carload of groceries to haul inside!  But for me, just moving in justified the investment.

November 5th, 2013

More Information on Riverview Estates New Home Building Sites in Ludington

Categories: Ludington Real Estate News, Maplewood Homes |

Riverview Estates New Home Building Sites in Ludington

We are now building in Riverview Estates.  This new home community is located just north of Ludington Avenue (US-10) off Jebavy Drive.  This community is well established, with nice homes, but still has several great building sites available.  In September of 2013, Maplewood Homes acquired the remaining 15 lots from the original developer.  We purchased the remaining home sites as a package and are passing the savings along to you as long as we are selected as your builder.  Each wooded lot has water, sewer, and natural gas.  Also, everyone has access to the Lincoln river, a pond, and large areas of undeveloped wood lot.  Please call us today for more information.  (231) 206-2743

November 1st, 2013

Our 50th New Home Built in Ludington

Categories: Maplewood Homes |

We have just broken ground on our 50th New Home in  Ludington.

Maplewood Homes has been in business since 1996.  I live in Shelby, and Maplewood started out building homes in Oceana County and also to the south in the northern part of Muskegon County.  In 2001, we built our first home in Ludington on Palmer Blvd.  Since that time we have built more and more of our homes in the Ludington area.  We even moved our office to town in 2011 in recognition of the importance of the Ludington community to our company.  So thank you Ludington for 12+ years and 50 new homes.

October 23rd, 2013

Custom Master Builders Meeting in New Orleans

Categories: Maplewood Homes |

2013 Fall Builder 20 Meeting

2013 Fall Builder 20 Meeting

Last week we held our biannual Builder 20 club meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Our hosts and builder-members, Mike Martin and Mark Malkemus of Martin & Malkemus, LLC, treated us to a great tour of some of the amazing homes they are building in the New Orleans area.  We had two speakers give presentations related to sales and marketing for home builders and review a of each member’s website.  As usual, we spent most of our time discussing our home building businesses and helping each other with various issues and ideas.  It was a great meeting and I brought home several ideas that we can implement here in Ludington to make us a better builder.

October 7th, 2013

Water / Moisture Management in New Homes

Categories: New Home Design |

When you build a new home, you have a one-time, unique opportunity to ensure a dry basement and healthy indoor air.  By properly managing moisture, you will prevent mold, mildew, rot, and decay in the home for generations to come.

This topic could fill a book – and there are books on the subject – but I can simplify it here.

There are two main issues:  1) Keeping out water that is trying to get in; and 2) Removing water (usually water vapor) that is introduced into the home.

Maplewood Homes included features that keep water out of the homes we build:

Rubberized waterproof membrane on the foundation walls
4″ pea stone under concrete basement floor
Perimeter footing drain with sump crock
6 mil vapor barrier under concrete basement floor
Rain gutters with 5′ downspout extensions
30lb roof felt and 2 rows of ice and water shield at eaves
Special flashing at all windows
Sill pans under all entry doors

Maplewood Homes included features to manage water vapor inside the home:

Rigid foam insulation in foundation walls prevent moisture condensation on basement walls
Spray foam insulation in the band joist prevents moisture condensation at the floor system perimeter
Bath fans with insulated exhaust pipes
Range vent extends to outside of home
Mechanical air exchanger prevents moisture build-up of indoor air
Soffit and ridge vents prevent moisture build-up in attic spaces

September 19th, 2013

Maplewood Homes Acquires 15 Building Lots in Riverview Estates

Categories: Ludington News & Notes, Ludington Real Estate News, Maplewood Homes |

We will be closing soon on 15 great home sites in Riverview Estates in Ludington.  This subdivision has been around for a little while, but there were 15 lots still unsold with the original developer.  By agreeing to purchase all 15 lots, we were able to negotiate great pricing that we will be passing along to home buyers who select us as their builder.  There will be more details coming soon, but all these building sites have natural gas, city water, and city sewer.

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