Jobsite fire extinguishers used by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

Fire Extinguishers In Your Home

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. had our fire extinguishers inspected this week by Koorsen. We keep a fire extinguisher in all Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. owned vehicles, on our jobsites and of course in all of the Martin Brothers buildings.  Fire safety is an important part of our safety program. Keeping our jobsites safe is a priority. Well run, safe jobsites are important factor to consider, when determining which builder to hire for your project.

Today we would like to share with you an article written by Kidde, about choosing a fire extinguisher for your home. We thought it was a timely article, since we had our commercial fire extinguishers inspected this week.

Choosing a Fire Extinguisher for Your Home

At home, place the power to put out small fires in your hands and within your reach. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), someone in the United States dies in a house fire every three hours, averaging approximately 3,000 deaths each year. Arm yourself with the right equipment to help prevent a small self-contained fire from spreading out of control.

Kidde is world-renowned for our expertise in manufacturing reliable, high-quality fire safety products, including fire extinguishers. In fact, with a history spanning nearly 100 years, we’ve been making them for longer than any other company. Here we’ll give you some tips on how to choose them – and how to use them.

Choosing a fire extinguisher

Below are minimum recommendations for the home from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Step 1: Choose primary extinguishers for your home. These include solutions for your living area and garage or workshop, and they’re pieces of equipment that you absolutely must have according to the NFPA.
  • Living area – For your main home protection, install a 2-A: 10-B: C rated living area unit on every level of your home. No more than 40 feet apart. Class A-B-C
  • Garage/Workshop – Due to volumes of flammable liquids in the garage, you should install a higher rated unit such as the 3-A: 40B-C Garage/Workshop unit. Class A-B-C
  • Step 2: Choose supplementary extinguishers for your kitchen and areas with a higher likelihood of electrical equipment fires. These are not required, but are highly recommended.
  • Kitchen – The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire. Protect your home with a 711A extinguisher in the kitchen area.
  • Electrical – Ideal for tackling fires involving energized electrical equipment with a rating of 1-A: 10-B:C. Class B-C

(Rule of thumb is that you should have a fire extinguisher for every 2,500 square feet, Martin Brothers recommends that a home of over 10,000 sq. ft. be equipped with a fire suppression system.)

How to use fire extinguishers

Stand 5 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step PASS procedure recommended by the National Fire Protection Association:

  • P – Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
  • A – Aim low at the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to discharge the extinguishing agent. (When the agent first hits the fire, the fire may briefly flare up. This should be expected.
  • S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire.

When to use fire extinguishers

It’s important to remember that fire extinguishers are only one element of a complete fire survival plan. Only use your extinguisher after making sure:

  • All residents of the home have been evacuated to safety
  • The fire department has been notified (call 911)
  • There is a clear exit behind the person using the extinguisher

Use your extinguisher only to keep a small self-contained fire from growing, only when the room is not filled with smoke, or to create a safe pathway out of the home. Be sure to read the instructions and become familiar with your fire extinguisher’s parts and operation before a fire breaks out.

Continue reading “Fire Extinguishers In Your Home”

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8 Elements of Classic Kitchen Style

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram you know we have been sharing 8 Elements of Classic Kitchen Style. (You may read the article from Rebekah Zaveloff  that appears in Houzz by clicking on this link.) Classic kitchens are timeless and flexible. This comes with other givens, such as neutral color palettes and simple, unfussy details. We offer a short synopsis of each of the 8 elements within this article.

No. 1 White or cream cabinetry. Classic kitchens are timeless yet fresh. This is a style that almost everyone feels comfortable in, even some the modernists among us. White kitchens define this style.

No. 2 Simple architectural details. You may see legs on islands, feet or furniture-style toekicks, crown molding and even a paneled hood, but these details are often restrained in a classic kitchen rather than being over the top and ornate.

No. 3 Honed black countertops. Classic kitchens often go the timeless route with blacks or whites, whether it’s honed absolute black granite, soapstone, or cast quartz material.

No. 4  White marble countertops. Cararra marble and Calacatta marble are the two that really stand out in classic kitchens. In fact, marble countertops are often the focal point of a classic kitchen. 

No. 5 White subway tile. It really doesn’t matter what size, though the classic is 3×6. It can be glossy, crackle, beveled or square edged, handmade or machine made, or even in white marble.

No. 6 Simple door styles.  Another aspect that defines this look is the cabinet door style — often either a simple shaker door or a shaker door with a bead molding.

No. 7 Neutral palettes. Classic kitchens don’t have to be all white.Mix stained and painted cabinetry. Black and white is about as timeless and classic as it gets.

No. 8 Flexibility. Classic kitchens are like chameleons: You can take the same kitchen & completely change its look by mixing in modern bar stools or lighting … or industrial bar stools and lighting … or traditional — you get the idea. Classic can become eclectic by adding modern tile and mixing it with a vintage-style table and chairs and industrial-style pendant lights.

See Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. for your new classic kitchen today!

Custom built lake home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN

Custom Building a Luxury Home

We found this article today on HGTV.com by Annalise Burgos and couldn’t wait to share it. Ms. Gigliotti and Ms. Burgos relate so many common sense tips about the process of building a luxury custom home.

Be sure and check out a few of the custom, luxury homes Martin Bros. Contracting has built in our 51 year history at the bottom of the article.

Custom Building a Luxury Home

When you’re spending several million dollars on a home, you want it to be perfect. That’s why luxury homeowner Sharon Gigliotti chose to custom build her dream home, rather than buy an existing property.

“No matter how lovely the house was or how much I really liked it, I always thought it would be better if it had this or that,” said Gigliotti, who bought previously-owned homes in the past. “I always felt like it was lacking something.”

“If I’m going to spend X amount of money decorating or furnishing a luxury home and will live there for a length of time, I want it to really work for me,” said Gigliotti, who lives with her husband, two teenage sons and two dogs in a luxurious 9,000-square-foot home in Knoxville, Tenn.

And real estate agents say many of their luxury clients feel the same way. “You get the floor plan you want; you get the materials and quality you can afford to pay for. If you want a dream home, the only way to get it is to design it yourself,” says Judi Starliper of Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville. She says 60 percent of her clients in the $1 million-plus price range have their homes custom built.

Consider these factors when custom building your luxury home:

Choosing the Site and Builder

The Gigliottis chose a five-acre property that is both “out in the country” (they wake up to deer in the front yard) and only a short drive from shopping and the freeways.

Whether you build a luxury home or buy an existing one, location is key. “Even though it is custom-built, you always have to think about resale because things can happen even if you plan on staying there for a lifetime,” Starliper says.

As for choosing a builder, interview two or three builders because not everybody gets along personality-wise, suggests Starliper. “Pick a builder that you have confidence in, that matches your personality, that you feel like you can work well with, and then get an architect with the same qualities — somebody who can see your dream. If you can’t communicate well enough to put that down on paper, that won’t work either,” she says.

Gigliotti worked with an architect to design a “European and old-world-looking” home. When planning her dream house, Gigliotti did a lot of research, collecting and studying floor plans. She had no professional design experience, but was inspired by her passion for studying houses. She created a scrapbook of features she wanted in her dream home — from vaulted cathedral ceilings to an open, continuous one-level floor plan to exquisite detailing.

Calculate Each Detail

From the fireplace in the spa-like master bath to the exposed brick wall in the kitchen, Gigliotti focused on every detail. Several millions of dollars later, Gigliotti says she was shocked at how much she had blown her budget. “Let’s just say there are not very many homes in Knoxville in this price range,” she said.

Staying on budget is a tremendous challenge when custom building a luxury home. Though Gigliotti and her husband were able to cover the additional expenses, any homeowner planning to build a luxury property must create a budget and account for every detail, from high-end built-ins to all the electronics required for a home of a large scale. The last thing you want is a home that’s half-finished, Gigliotti said.

“It’s easy to get carried away,” she explained. “You can plan something and then when you get into the actual building, you have all these options. Spend a lot of time really figuring out how much you’ll be spending. It’s all in the details.”

Build for Function

“I’ve been in luxury homes that feel cold, where you’re afraid to touch things,” Gigliotti said. “You don’t feel like a family lives there. There are no personal photos or collections from the family.”

Not the case for Gigliotti. People who’ve seen her home often comment on how cozy and welcoming the house is for such a vast space, she said.

That’s because she made it a point to build a luxury home that’s both a family-friendly environment and a welcoming space for entertaining. Hence, the basketball court, batting cage and pool with diving board for her kids and their friends, and a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, high-tech media room and covered veranda with outdoor kitchen for the adults. “It would be silly to have a nice place if you didn’t entertain,” Gigliotti said.

“A luxury home inspires you to entertain more,” she said. “If you have such a wonderful space that flows well, you want to share that.”

Nothing expresses this more than the home’s media room. While a typical luxury home theater is a separate area from the rest of the house, Gigliotti’s media room flows right off the kitchen and living room to allow for maximum entertaining. Instead of traditional theater seats, she opted for comfy couches and chairs so guests can socialize while watching the Super Bowl or whatever else on the 96-inch flat screen.

Depending on what you want out of your luxury home, whether it’s to entertain or to showcase your art collection, design your home based on how you plan to use it.

Design to Protect

Luxury homes are owned by high net-worth individuals who want to protect their families and valuables. So when they build homes, security and privacy are major factors. Most luxury homeowners live in gated communities or high-rises staffed with security guards 24/7. But if you don’t live in this type of neighborhood, as is the case with the Gigliottis, you find other ways to feel secure. The home is set back from the road, and the Gigliottis built their own security gate with keypad and motion detection system inside the home.

“It was very important for my husband,” Gigliotti said. “He wanted to feel secure that when he’s not at home, his family is protected.”

Plan for Resale

What if later down the road, you decide to sell your dream home? Will buyers see their dream home in yours? Maybe. Starliper advises homeowners to keep universal appeal in mind when designing the home so the average person can see themselves living there.

For instance, she says, “if you put a big bonus room off the master bedroom and no one else could get to it except for the people in the master bedroom, that wouldn’t be good for resale. You might need that, because maybe you want to have an office off of your master, but the majority of people aren’t going to want a bonus room office off their master. They want it for the kids to have a playroom, so it would need to be accessible to other areas.”

Build or Buy?

If you’re in the market for a luxury home, weigh the pros and cons of building it yourself versus buying an existing one. Custom building allows you to control the home’s layout, add personal touches and choose features that cater to your specific lifestyle. But as Gigliotti cautions, costs can quickly add up. If you want more predictability in your luxury home purchase, buying a previously-owned property may be the way to go.


Custom, luxury homes built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.:

Custom built luxury estate by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
11,200 Sq. Ft. French Country Manor
Custom luxury home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
8,800 Sq. Ft. Fully Automated Luxury Lake Home
Summer Lake Home Estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.
14,200 Sq. Ft. Summer Lake Estate

When choosing a luxury custom home builder, we invite you to consider Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. We recognize the investment our clients make in their custom built luxury home; therefore, we provide unparalleled service throughout the project.

At every stage of the custom build process, we commit to:

  • Superior customer service
  • Attention to the smallest detail
  • Insistence on using only the finest building materials

From initial design to the final finishing touches, the professionals at Martin Brothers’ expects your home-building experience to be a pleasurable one. We invite you to call us today at 574-862-2142 or toll free at 877-862-2142 to discuss the Martin Brothers difference.

We at Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. respect our client’s wishes and will not share homes on social media if the client does not wish to do so. References and visits to homes may be arranged to qualified candidates.