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Advantages to Using LED Lighting in Your Home

Categories: DIY Home Projects, New Home Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: April 23, 2021

LED lighting is a class of products with numerous advantages over traditional light bulbs. The term stands for “light emitting diode” — a modern innovation that features energy efficiency, longevity and enhanced safety along with several other benefits.

Hallmark Homes Group recommends using LEDs in your new Bucks County home. These types of bulbs can be installed in any type of lighting fixture, indoor or outdoor.

Do LEDs Save Energy?

LEDs use far less energy to create the same results as incandescent bulbs — consuming about 50% less electricity per unit. According to Energystar.gov — a government-backed data collection agency — LEDs offer 60 – 75% greater energy efficiency by consuming up to 90% fewer watts per second. These are important distinctions if you are a homebuyer who is interested in reducing your carbon footprint.

Do LEDs Last Longer?

LEDs are designed to last up to 40 times longer than incandescent bulbs, resulting in units with a potential lifespan of 60,000 hours as opposed to the usual 1,500 or so hours of older types of bulbs. LEDs can be expected to produce light for as long as seven years before needing to be replaced. Plus, LEDs are built far sturdier than traditional bulbs, so they do not break easily while being handled or from overheating. These bulbs contain tiny computer chips encased in tough, semiconductor material rather than fragile filaments set within brittle glass.

Does Using LEDs Help Save Money on Electric Bills?

Greater efficiency and durability means big savings on bills. Low usage of watts across an entire property can cut down on monthly utilities. Meanwhile, bulbs that last for a long time save money on materials by not needing to be replaced as often as fluorescent and amourex bulbs. This means you can spend your free time enjoying your new home rather than replacing burned out bulbs.

Do LED Bulbs Get Hot?

LED bulbs offer enhanced safety because they are set in what is known as a heat sink — a feature that reduces the amount of heat that a bulb can generate. This ensures safety from burns for anyone who may be adjusting fixtures that are currently in use — because unlike incandescent, fluorescent or halogen bulbs — LEDs are not hot to the touch. This feature also reduces fire hazards for free-standing fixtures.

Enjoy High Performance

Another advantage to using LED lighting in your home is that these bulbs can be dimmed to as little as 10% light output to suit a homeowner’s aesthetic preferences. Also, rapid cycling (frequently turning on and off) does not affect the life of the bulb. Plus, when turned on, LEDs emit 100 percent brightness almost immediately — providing the luxury of having dark spaces completely lit up in an instant.

While you’re choosing the best options for your new home – right after the countertops and carpet – start using LED bulbs and fixtures right from the start. You will be amazed by the results. Reach out to the experts at Hallmark to learn more about energy efficient homes that are perfect for you and your family.

Simple Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Categories: Bucks County Homes, DIY Home Projects, New Home Tips | Posted: April 16, 2021

As the warmer months approach, seasonal cleaning and upkeep of your home is a time-honored homeowner tradition. This is a great opportunity to open up the doors for some fresh air and get in touch with all aspects of your home after the winter months.

Routine spring home maintenance is also a great way to keep your house tidy and to ensure that it continues to increase in value. These checklist items are perfect for a sunny weekend afternoon, and can fortify the lasting durability of your home.

It’s Not Called “Spring Cleaning” for Nothing

Spring is a great time to clean areas of the house that often get neglected. Dust or wipe chair rails, window casings, tops of wall-mounted cabinets and ceiling fans. Clean any fabric drapes and use a damp cloth to clean wood or vinyl blinds. Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses. Clean your hardwood floors by sweeping or vacuuming. Anything you can do to remove any dust, mites and allergens will make for a cleaner, and healthier, home.

In the kitchen you can consider washing cabinets, backsplashes and walls with warm water and mild detergent. You can do the same in the bathroom, where soap residue and fluctuations in heat and humidity combine to create the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Helpful Hint: Consider using a carpet cleaner if you would like an even deeper clean on upholstered furniture and mattresses.

Make Sure To Keep Your Gutters Flowing

Rain gutters and downspouts can become clogged with debris from falling twigs and blowing leaves. To keep the rainwater flowing downward, a thorough cleaning every spring is a great idea. You can hire a professional, or if you have a ladder and gloves, you can do it yourself.

Helpful Hint: Organic matter taken from rain gutters makes excellent topsoil for your flower beds and vegetable gardens.

Don’t Forget To Check Your Roof

Have a good look at the condition of the roof. Hail, wind and flying debris can damage the shingles, making it easier for water to seep in and cause damage. This sort of wear and tear is rare on a new home, however — especially a property built by a highly regarded home builder such as Hallmark Homes Group.

Helpful Hint: Moss on roof shingles can be easily cleaned with a solution of half bleach and half water that can be applied and rinsed off 15 minutes later.

Keep Away the Pests

Termites tend to become active in spring, so an inspection of the basement and the exterior of the house is a good idea. If you see winged insects exiting from small holes in the wood, it is time to call an exterminator in order to protect the integrity of the structure.

Helpful Hint: There are nontoxic methods of dealing with termites including the use of heat or electricity. Plus, routine gutter cleaning is also one way to prevent termites.

Inspect Your Windows

The caulking around window exteriors can become warped by wind and sun, causing it to eventually crack and leak air. This can cause the house to lose warm or cold air — depending on the season. Removing old caulking and re-sealing the windows can save money on utility bills.

Helpful hint: When condensation gathers inside double-paned windows, it means there is a leak in the seal.

Take Care of Your Yard

New construction homes in Bucks County, PA are perfect for cultivating breathtaking lawns and landscapes. If you purchase a home from Hallmark, we are able to put down grass seed, plant trees, flower beds and add natural accents to your exact liking. All you have to do is mow, water and trim.

If your home has a sprinkler system, checking your sprinklers or irrigation in the spring can save water – and save your plants as well. Make sure none of the heads are broken or damaged. Adjust the angles of the sprinklers to make sure they are watering what needs to be. If you are unfamiliar with sprinkler maintenance, you can call a professional to take care of it as well.

Helpful hint: Keeping tree branches trimmed away from the side of the house can reduce gutter debris build-up.

Spring is a great time for a few simple home maintenance routines. Contact the experts at Hallmark to learn more about new homes that are a joy to care for year round.

Basement Customization Ideas for Your New Home in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Customized homes, DIY Home Projects | Posted: May 13, 2020

The basement of your home can extend beyond a large empty room that’s used to store boxes and paperwork. It’s one of those free-for-all spaces that you can transform in a number of exciting ways to fit your specific needs – a place that you and your entire family can retreat to and enjoy.

When designing the basement level in any of Hallmark Homes Group’s new communities in Bucks County, Hallmark is willing to consider any customization request – so you can let your imagination run wild. A movie theater, play space for the kids, or even a mini pub are just a few ideas that can transform it into an exciting, usable, and enjoyable space reflecting your ultimate lifestyle.

Below are just are a few ideas that can add life to an otherwise dreary space and make designing your new basement a fun and exciting process.

 

The Open Concept Basement

The open concept basement is a popular new trend in home design. Unlike the kitchen, living room, or laundry room, your basement doesn’t have a required purpose. This means you have a blank canvas from the start. Considering how walls are used to separate the various rooms in your home, an open concept basement has a barrier-free environment that can accommodate a number of activities.

You can layout one section as a home gym, add a home movie theater to another corner and dedicate a central gathering area for conversation and relaxation. This concept can integrate a number of activities while allowing friends and family to freely pass from one area to the other.

 

Movie Theater

A home cinema is a popular basement customization because it appeals to a wide range of age groups and interests. It can become a place where family and friends gather to watch the latest movies in stunning high-definition. If you’re into sports, a home cinema can also double as the perfect place for friends and family to gather and cheer on their favorite team.

Best of all, because you’re in the lower level, you don’t have to worry too much about noise levels. You can even customize your ceiling to accommodate the very latest in-home theater projection technology and have all wiring hidden from view.

 

Wine Cellar

Perhaps you have a taste for the finer things in life. A separate room in the lower level of your new residence can be transformed into the perfect place to store your treasured collection of wine. Add custom plumbing and refrigeration features to help ensure the wine stays at the perfect temperature.

A dedicated tasting room with comfortable chairs centered around a wooden table (or empty wine cask) will give you and your friends a place to relax while sipping your favorite vintage. Finishing touches like a wood or gas fireplace, large screen television and authentic stone floors will create the perfect atmosphere for entertaining.

 

Home Gym

With an at-home gym, you won’t have to worry about crowded facilities, wait times to use equipment, dirty machines or other distractions that are sometimes experienced in a public gym. A home gym offers both convenience and privacy that fitness-minded individuals want when they are working out.

In addition to the exercise machines, adding a kitchen, sauna, and shower will provide the ultimate all-in-one workout area. Inspirational sayings written on the walls, full-length mirrors, and an adjustable sound system will help keep you motivated to stay fit and healthy.

Many in-home gyms also have storage cabinets and even a small kitchen and refrigerator for drinks and to make post-workout protein shakes. An air filtration system is also helpful to ventilate potential musty gym smells to the outside environment.

 

Kid’s Playroom

A kid’s room is the perfect way to keep younger family members and their friends entertained at home. Brightly colored walls, ample lighting and shelves to store their favorite games and toys will help transform your basement into a usable, flexible space where younger family members can gather to have fun.

You can get creative with exciting features like a treehouse (without the tree), drawing table, kid-sized furniture, computer stations and more so the kids have an inspiring play space to let their imaginations roam. In rain or cold weather, the lower level provides a dedicated place at home for children to spread out while they wait out bad weather. Best of all, it is a separate space that keeps the messes kids make while they play, hidden from view on the main level.

 

Game Room

Transforming the basement of your new home into a retro arcade or the ultimate gaming area will make a sensational impression on friends and family. With exciting elements like free-standing video game cabinets, pinball machines, a pool table, and ping pong table, a vast basement space can be transformed.

Tables, comfortable seating and snacks are a must to ensure fun and successful events. Add a full-sized bar complete with draft beer taps and your lower level will quickly become a mini-pub and popular hangout for friends and family. Complete the environment with a mini kitchen to serve up piping hot snacks and keep clean-up all on one level.

 

Home Office

If you have the flexibility to work from home, dedicated space in the lower level can assure both the privacy needed for calls and minimal distractions to help your focus. Of course, a desk, computer and chair are basics to start the design, while the rest will depend on your specific area of work.

When planning the size space, keep equipment in mind (printers, monitors, etc.) as well as storage for paperwork and office essentials. Carefully plan wiring and Wi-Fi connections, both of which will be important for uninterrupted work flow. Adding a wall of built-in cabinetry will provide ample storage and can double as a home library for off hours.

 

Family Room

If you have a growing family or regularly entertain lots of guests, you can turn your new basement into a second family room. High definition television, surround sound system, and a large comfortable wrap-around couch will transform the basement into a cozy place to entertain or unwind. A mini kitchen adds a level of convenience and can help prevent accidental spills as people move from the main kitchen down the stairs into the basement. Don’t forget to make sure that the Wi-Fi reception is good for smartphones and computer access.

 

Basement Customization

We hope we’ve provided you with some great design ideas that will help you create the ultimate custom basement in your new home. Hallmark Homes Group welcomes your most imaginative ideas to totally customize your lower level. If you want to take your new basement to the next level, give us a call at (215) 416-0036 and learn how we can help you design and build the home of your dreams!

How to Make the Most of Your Laundry Room

Categories: DIY Home Projects | Posted: December 19, 2019

For most people, a laundry room is viewed simply as a place to throw clothes into the washer and then transfer them to the dryer. No matter where it is located, more and more people nowadays are reclaiming that boring, unused space, and transforming their laundry area into a utilitarian room that improves the quality of their home life. When designing your new home in Bucks County you should consider whether it is best for the laundry room to be placed upstairs or downstairs, depending on your lifestyle preferences.

 

The best way to go about this is to start from scratch, as it offers you more leeway and leaves room for creativity. While it may seem like an easy decision, there are a few distinct benefits you’ll get by choosing a first or second floor option.

 

Laundry on the First Floor

Choosing to put your laundry room on the 1st-floor comes with several benefits. Options are available at all of Hallmark Homes Group’s communities including the Monrow Floor plan at The Arbors at Hilltown and Highfield Estates. Here are a few things to consider when picking the first floor for the laundry room for your new home in Bucks County:

 

Create a Multi-purpose Room

How often do you do laundry? If only once every few days, the rest of the time your laundry room is being underutilized. You can take advantage of the extra floor space by creating a multi-purpose room.

 

A mudroom is an optional way to expand the function of your laundry room. As an alternate entrance to the home, it provides a place to store shoes and coats before transitioning into the main living area. You could also add a secondary function, such as a pantry to the laundry room for the baker/chef in your life or arts and crafts storage for the creative members in the family.

 

Peace and Quiet

No matter how state-of-the-art your washing machine and dryer are, they still tend to make a vibrating noise when running. If your bedrooms are located on the second floor, it can be a distraction to when you’re sleeping, studying, or otherwise trying to relax. A first floor laundry room enables you to wash as many loads as you like without disturbing the rest of the occupants, relatives, or guests.

 

Accessibility

Walking up a set of stairs to do a load of laundry can prove challenging to those with busy lifestyles and needed to do laundry often, or for older adults. A first floor laundry room offers residents and guests of the home easy access to the washer and dryer.

 

Many families will do their laundry on the weekends—when all family members are usually home. The time-consuming chores of rounding up dirty clothes, loading/unloading the washing machine, putting everything into the dryer, and then folding and ironing on the first floor enables you to keep an eye on the kitchen stove or chat with everyone when they’re in the living space.

 

Laundry on the Second Floor

Many people are opting for a second floor laundry, available in the Jackson floor plan, when buying a new home in Bucks County. Locating your laundry room on the second floor may seem counterintuitive, but there are several good reasons why people prefer just that.

 

Increased 1st Floor Square Footage

A 1st-floor laundry room takes up extra square footage that could be better allocated to the living room, kitchen, or even a half bath. Considering how most people tend to put the bedrooms on the second floor, it makes sense to maximize the amount of living and entertaining space available downstairs.

 

Convenience

If all of your bedrooms are located on the second floor, it’s much easier to round up the towels, clothes, and bedding and then walk a few short feet to the laundry room. Otherwise, you’ll have to make repeat trips down the stairs with cumbersome baskets of laundry. Having your laundry room on the second floor also eliminates the need for hampers. Nobody wants their dirty clothes and towels to reside in their bedroom.

 

Make the Most of Your Laundry Room

 

No matter where it is located, a laundry room in your new home in Bucks County does not have to be limited to just a laundry room. Here are a few other ideas that you can do to make the most of it.

 

Create a Pet Area

If your pet loves to track mud into the house or enjoys wallowing in the dirt, you can create a designated area in your laundry room to wash, clean, and even bathe Fido. A floor drain, basin, and some easy waterproofing will allow you to create a custom dog or cat bath!

 

Add a Platform

Raise up your washer and dryer by adding a 6-inch to the one-foot platform underneath. It’s much easier to load and unload a front-loading washer and dryer that’s been raised off the ground. It can also help reduce vibrations when your laundry room is located on the second floor. As an added bonus, it will create some extra storage space underneath the platform for your new home in Bucks County.

 

Add Racks and Hooks

A sturdy set of racks and hooks can help with the overall laundry process. You can store an iron or an ironing board safely and securely on the wall. Hooks also allow you to hang coats, towels, and other heavy linens for easy spot-cleaning. You can even use the racks to hold some common household tools such as a broom/dustpan, electric drill, or a mop and bucket.

 

A cupboard is another excellent idea for your laundry room. You can place it directly above your washer and dryer. If you have young children in the house or curious pets, it will safely store your cleaners, detergents, and other dangerous chemicals.

Where to Place the Laundry Room?

No matter if you place it on the first or second floor, your laundry room should reflect the type of lifestyle that you live. At Hallmark Homes Group, we provide our buyers with ample choices to completely customize their new homes—including placement and design of the laundry room. If you’d like to learn more or are ready to start designing your perfect dream home, give us a call at (215) 416-0036.

 

 

 

 

Creating the Ideal Flex Room for Your New Home in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County Homes, DIY Home Projects | Posted: June 26, 2019

All too often when looking at a home, the function each room serves seems pretty inflexible. The kitchen is where food is stored, prepared, and served. The bedroom is where you sleep and dress.

 

However, builders of new homes in Bucks Countyand beyond are offering home designs with extra space to be used for one or multiple purposes, called a flex room. Floor plans are specifically designed with flex rooms to give homeowners the opportunity to create a fun or functional element to their new homes. Transforming a spare bedroom is also another way that extra space can be used for special interests.

Determine the Purpose

From a painting studio or music room, to man cave or indoor playground, there are countless ways to use flex space depending on a family’s particular needs.

 

Before you begin designing, you want to figure out how you are going to use your space. Some homeowners opt for a flex room that has one main purpose while others find it helpful for the area to play multiple roles. Some of the more popular uses are:

 

 

  • Home office
  • Playroom
  • Craft Space
  • Guest Bedroom
  • Additional Dining Area
  • Den or Family Room
  • Home Library
  • Workshop
  • Exercise Room
  • Home Theater

 

 

Many of these ideas can also work well together. A home office with a library or some exercise equipment is a great multi-purpose use of the space. A craft room can double as a children’s playroom for young ones who are particularly creative.

 

A den can easily transform into a guest bedroom by simply investing in a comfy pull-out couch and a chest of drawers. Those living in a new home in Bucks Countyfind that multi-purpose flex rooms add much-needed utility to their humble abodes.

 

Sit down and discuss with your family what the best use of the flex room will be, so that everyone is onboard. If you have friends and family that visit often, a guest room is probably ideal. If you work from home regularly, an office will fit the bill. If you love binge-watching Netflix or consider yourself a movie buff, a home theater is absolutely the way to go.

Prepare the Room

Most homeowners of new homes in Bucks Countyfind it very helpful to invest a lot of thought in this portion of the design process. The right plan lays important groundwork for how well your flex room will serve your needs and ensuring it will be enjoyable over time.

 

Once you’ve decided how to use the flex room in your home, you have to get ready to furnish and implement your design. For example, if you are turning your flex room into a craft space, it makes sense to cover hard to clean flooring (such as light-colored carpeting) and add some bright lights so you’re not straining your eyes while working on projects. On the other hand, a home theater would require dimmable lights so you can set the perfect atmosphere for your movie-watching experience.

 

This is also the time to consider any built-in storage options. A home library will require many shelves for your literary collection. A children’s playroom should lend itself to easy access to toys and games of all shapes and sizes. A guest bedroom would be well-served with a closet for visitors to hang clothes as well as a dresser and nightstand.

 

Additionally, you want to consider how you are using the walls. A home office or craft room might benefit from a giant corkboard wall to pin ideas, calendars, notes, inspiration, and so on. A home gym might need a mirrored wall. For a home theater, you can install a large flat-screen TV or a screen that you project movies and TV shows on to for your viewing pleasure.

Outfit the Space

Many homeowners enjoy finding all of the items needed to make their flex room area perfect in their new home in Bucks County. Furniture, supplies, accents, and more are all necessary to complete the ideal space.

 

So if you’ve chosen to use your flex room as a home office, what do you need to be productive in this space? A traditional desk or a standing one? Muted colors with minimal accessories to keep you focused or a bright, eclectic design aesthetic to inspire your creativity?

 

For a home theater, what kind of seating would you like to use? Do you want cabinets or a refrigerator to keep snacks and drinks? How will you store your extensive collection of CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and other media formats?

 

For an exercise room, are you going to need cardio machines? Free weights or weight systems? Or an open space to do yoga, pilates, or other fitness routines? Do you want to include a TV or sound system to provide entertainment while you work out?

 

Or maybe you want an area for your family to hang out that isn’t as formal as your standard living room. Decorate with family fun photos or artwork, furnish the space with extra cozy furniture, and stock up on fun activities to do together (board games, simple craft projects, etc.).

Homeowners are finding unique ways to transform their flex rooms into functional, high-purpose areas. With space to spare in your new home, the options for using it are endless.

 

Are you and your family looking for a home with extra space that you can make your own in the Philadelphia area? Peruse our new home floor plansas well as our quick delivery options. Hallmark Homes Groupprides itself on building high-quality houses for families with the flexibility to customize to your every need. Let us help you make your dream home (with a flex room) a reality today!

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