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For today’s homeowners, landscaping has become an important and often expensive priority. Experts note that more than $40 billion dollars are spent every year on equipment, design, plants, and maintenance for our yards. While any residential real estate developer or home builder will attest to the importance of landscaping for potential buyers, there are great ways for homeowners to reduce this maintenance with better planning.
Not too long ago, the people who talked about the importance of “sustainability” in the construction of homes or commercial buildings were a distinct minority of the population. Now, several factors have catapulted them from the fringe to the mainstream. One of the most important of these factors is the simple economics.
Lessons learned from “the year of the pandemic,” like those from the Great Depression, will likely affect us for decades to come. One particularly powerful new trend is the appreciation for the family home. Every family, of every size - couples, those with children, those with multiple generations in the same residence and empty-nesters - all have discovered the simple but sublime joys of home. This is especially true with regards to the outdoor entertaining spaces.
It seemed like a good idea, at the time. Until the relentless Texas weather showed everyone - the architects, the construction company and the building's owner - exactly who is in charge! In the end, the wood siding facade of a six-month old, beautifully designed office building had to be replaced with a material that was as tough as it was stunning.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Back in the 1950s, many manufacturers and companies who needed a warehouse decided to move away from their buildings in large cities such as New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and others, and move to (cheaper) industrial parks in the suburbs. These former industrial spaces began to be repurposed for residents who loved their open, uncluttered, barebones look and the inexpensive rent! The “loft” became a hit, especially for those who would be described as “creative types” - artists, writers, designers, media, and knowledge workers of all stripes.
For many, this time of year feels like Christmas, or that they have won the “teeny tiny” lottery. Somehow, getting a tax refund feels like found money, even though it was really your money, that you overpaid the federal government. The recently enacted “COVID Economic Stimulus” payments, on the other hand are, in fact, unexpected funds. The recipients are so happy that the check from Uncle Sam has earned a cute nickname - “stimmy.”
For anyone who was around 130 years ago, 1891 was rough and rowdy.
The “Gilded Age” was coming to an end. Railroads were the major growth industry with the factory system, mining, and finance increasing in importance. Two years later, every industry got an economic “wake-up call” in the form of the “Panic of 1893” which led to serious social and political upheaval.
1891 was to see many “firsts” in the United States.
When the coronavirus first began to be noticed by physicians and public health experts in early 2020, few were concerned. Unfortunately, it was to become a once-in-a-century pandemic and, in the process, heightened the awareness of the potential dangers of all air and surface borne microbes. The partnership between science and business began working on ways to prevent this virus and the other highly contagious germs, such as those from bacteria, from spreading.
Why can’t I free your doubtful mind, and melt your cold, cold heart.
~ Hank Williams
In Texas, on Valentine’s day, 2021, there were many cold, cold hearts, not to mention more than a few cold, cold fingers and toes. Unfortunately, the next day it would be worse. A serious electrical failure was coming fast. An epic winter storm would turn the “Lone Star State” into a dangerous deep freeze that would leave residents in their homes for more than a week.
Home renovation projects are an important part of the “new normal” that we’ve all been hearing about in the year of the pandemic. For example, recent research notes that appliance sales and aesthetic upgrades to both indoor and outdoor kitchens have never been this robust. Why? This is because cooking, dining, and entertaining at home haven’t been this popular since President Franklin Roosevelt offered his “Fireside Chats” during the Great Depression.
Homeowners who have decided that 2021 is a great year for a new look in their residence have an abundance of opportunities, especially as they relate to new designs for both floors and walls. While these two categories may not receive the kind of attention that is given to the most popular paint colors, furnishings, kitchens, and other frequently changed elements of a home, product innovations for these two areas are pushing them to the forefront for both interior designers, homebuilders, and owners.
While there has always been an influx of seasonal products, the pandemic has dramatically inspired a new trend that has affected demand like never before: Cooking and entertaining at home and outside has never been as popular as it is now.
As it was in the latter part of 2020, working, learning, entertaining and living will be laser-focused on our homes in the coming year. The “once-in-a-hundred-years” health and economic explosion has assured this. As many may have predicted, all the design trends in 2021 will be based on this reality.
Don’t look now but the largest demographic group in history - those under-40-years old - is leading the charge for change in homeownership. The grandchildren of the fabled “baby boomers” are now married with children of their own and are redefining what “luxury” living is all about. For many reasons, including the effects of the pandemic, historically low mortgage interest rates, and their goal of having quality education for their young children, these young families are “so over” urban living or long commutes to sleepy suburbs.
The weather might be chilly, but for many, the outdoor grilling must go on!
One of the unintended consequences of social distancing, which occurred in response to concerns about the COVID virus, is decidedly positive. More people than ever before have discovered that cooking at home, rather than going out, might be a safer, healthier, and more delicious alternative. Not only that, but many of these DIY chefs have found that entertaining, cooking, and dining outside is even more fun.
The effects of the COVID pandemic have dramatically changed - perhaps forever - the building, buying, and selling of homes. When these are combined with some of the lowest mortgage interest rates in modern history, it makes the opening lines from the classic novel by Charles Dickens -“A Tale of Two Cities”- more relevant than ever before.
While there is nothing more durable than brick for home construction, some homeowners are considering steel siding for their homes. This can be due to several factors, including the lower cost of siding versus that of brick. Acme Brick is proud to be one of the distributors of what many builders consider to be one of the best steel siding products - MAC Metal Siding.