Our Favorite Laundry Room Ideas

Nowhere is the difference between high-end new construction/remodeling clearer, than in laundry rooms. These once simple utilitarian spaces have become large, decorated rooms incorporating many great features. Features like drying racks, built-in ironing boards, craft areas, wrapping areas, offices, and mudrooms with gleaming machines. Today, we share some of our clients practical laundry room solutions.

Hanging rod. A must for hanging clothes after removing them from the dryer or for drip drying clothing on hangers. Having the rod located above the sink is ideal. The drips from the clothing just fall right into the sink.

Pull down drying rack. A pull-down drying rack is designed for drying delicates directly on the rack, or for drip drying clothing on hangers. The pictured rack is strategically located over the sink so no messy drips to clean up.

Custom sink insert. The covered laundry sink provides space for the client to fold laundry in this small, single-wall laundry room.

Custom Cabinets

Cabinetry, cabinetry, cabinetry. Almost all of our clients want custom cabinetry in their laundry rooms. Featuring things like open shelving for frequently used products and supplies, and plenty of countertop space for folding.

Customized Laundry Room Storage

Laundry basket storage. What better way to store your laundry baskets! When a client works with a custom cabinet maker, they are able to design the laundry room of their dreams.

High-end laundry center

Master bedroom closet laundry center. What’s more handy than a laundry center in your master bedroom closet. Think of all the steps you’ll save when it’s time to put away your clothes! The master bedroom laundry center shown, features a pull-out ironing board (disguised as a drawer), pull-out folding station and his and her pull-down hampers.

Pull-out ironing board

Pull-out ironing boards. Meet the pull-out ironing board, disguised as a drawer. It’s no longer necessary to take up wall-space to have the ironing board hidden away.

Large laundry room

Multiple Appliances. Client’s with large families, are opting to build homes with large laundry rooms, featuring multiple appliances. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. also builds homes with multiple-level laundry rooms (especially in lake homes). Multiple level laundry rooms save footsteps, backs and time on laundry day.

Multi-Purpose Laundry Room

Multiple-purpose laundry rooms. Client’s often opt for multiple-purpose laundry rooms. Think offices, mudrooms, craft-rooms, study rooms, pantries and more.

These are just a few of the laundry rooms in the homes remodeled or built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. Looking for more ideas? Visit our website or our Houzz profile.

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Sunrooms That Shine

Today’s snow has us dreaming of sun filled sunrooms. We are longing for summer and it’s leaf filled trees, singing birds, bright beautiful flowers and the warmth of the sunshine. As we dream of those days, enjoy these sunrooms and the summer-filled vibes they invoke.

This sunroom addition with it’s gorgeous chandelier serves as a year-round music/listening room.

Piano room is addition by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

With it’s cozy window seat and wooded setting, this rustic sunroom is the perfect place to curl up and read a book.

Sunroom addition with cozy reading nook by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

A nautical inspired, lake-side sunroom is perfect for entertaining guests when they visit the lake. Sit and enjoy a lively conversation or a have a simple meal, there’s room for it all!

Nautical inspired sunroom in lake home built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Bring the outdoors in by having a few potted plants in your sunroom. The natural sunlight makes the sunroom the perfect place to grow your favorite indoor plant.

Sunroom in custom built home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Finally, this plantation-inspired sunroom serves as a second living room. Opening to the pool, it serves as a quiet place to watch the outdoor activity.

Sunroom in custom built home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Looking to build a new custom home or remodel a high-end home in the Michiana area? Contact Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. at 574-862-2142 or visit our website at www.MartinBrosContracting.com.

Tornado Safety Tips

The severe weather season is upon Michiana. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms — all spell danger. They can leave death and horrendous property damage in their wake. We offer this advice from the American Red Cross.

Tornado

tornado damageTornadoes are violent by nature. They are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornado intensities are classified on the Fujita Scale with ratings between F0 (weakest) to F5 (strongest). Although severe tornadoes are more common in the Plains States, tornadoes have been reported in every state.

Know the Difference

Tornado Watch – Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!

Tornado Warning – A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).

How to Prepare for a Tornado

  • During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
  • Know your community’s warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornadoes, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.
  • Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA web site.
  • Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

Watch for tornado danger signs:

  • Dark, often greenish clouds – a phenomenon caused by hail
  • Wall cloud – an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
  • Cloud of debris
  • Large hail
  • Funnel cloud – a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
  • Roaring noise

What to Do During a Tornado

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
  • If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds.
  • Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home.
  • If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately.
  • Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
  • Do not wait until you see the tornado.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

For what to do after the tornado, click on the link to see the entire article from the American Red Cross.

Custom Home

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

The dark days of winter are over and the bright sunny days of spring shine down on home maintenance projects waiting to be done. We have compiled a list of important home maintenance items that, if completed, will help maintain your home’s value.

Second Floor AdditionInspect & Clean Gutters & Downspouts:

  • Examine any gutters and downspouts. Make sure the sections are tight and the assembly is in good repair.
  • Clean leaves and other debris from inside gutters and ensure that water flows away from your home properly.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.

Service & Start Irrigation:

  • Make sure in-ground sprinkler systems—are in working order.
  • Once the ground thaws completely, start preparing new garden beds for summer plants. And take stock of your garden tools and lawn-maintenance equipment, including lawn mowers, trimmers and hoses.

Inspect & Repair Chimney:

  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration.
  • Look for efflorescence—a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it, re-seal masonry with a clear, impermeable or water-resistant barrier material. Brush it on, small areas at a time; let it absorb for 15 minutes, then reapply—it may need a couple of applications.

Inspect & Repair Roof:

  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. You don’t need to climb up there yourself; with binoculars and a keen eye, you can probably spot trouble. Do you see any shingle-shift, suggesting that some fasteners may have failed and need replacing? Any cracked or missing shingles? What about nail-pops? All will need to be addressed to keep your roof at peak performance.
  • Have a professional contractor check flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys.
  • Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified contractor.

Stamped ConcreteInspect & Repair Concrete: 

  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation.
  • Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Check the condition of your sidewalks, driveway and other formal paths and walkways such as wheelchair ramps. Seal concrete or blacktop as necessary to prevent cracking, buckling and other deterioration.
  • Stairs and walkways are some of the most dangerous areas in and around your house. Ensure they are in good repair – without uneven surfaces, moss patches or holes.

 Inspect Home’s Foundation: 

  • Examine your home’s foundation from top to bottom for masonry cracks.
  • Look for cracks and discolorations that point to a water leak or moisture source. Seal and treat as necessary. Small fissures are generally normal, but large or gaping cracks signal potential foundation failure. Consult a professional if you notice any signs of structural damage to your home’s foundation.

Ipe DeckInspect Decks/Patios:

  • Inspect your home’s deck for warped, loose or splintered boards.
  • Is your deck or balcony in good condition? Perform a thorough examination. Push on railings to test for stability and bounce on decking boards to determine solidity. Look for popping nails and missing boards.
  • Check where the deck or balcony connects to the house to ensure the flashing is in good repair and you don’t see evidence of rot or damage. Underneath, try digging into the wood with a screwdriver. Soft, spongy, easily gouged wood indicates dry rot.
  • Sweep the deck to remove any leaves and debris accumulated in the space between boards. Whether it’s wood, plastic or composite, a deck should be cleaned every year to extend its life.
  • If the finish on your wood deck is faded or worn, now is the time to clean, stain, and reseal it. If you have composite decking, follow manufacturers’ recommendations on seasonal care. The same is true for wood and composite fences, pergolas, trellises and other structures.
  • If you have a stone patio, a simple hose down may be all the maintenance required (unless you detect moss or staining, in which case a more serious cleaning may be necessary).

Inspect & Repair Home’s Façade: 

  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Is any paint chipping? Is any siding damaged from winter? Are there any holes in your brick?
  • Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains normally indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff.
  • If you have wood siding, check for openings, damaged areas or knots that have popped out, making way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other critters that may nest in or burrow through.
  • Replace missing or damaged siding.
  • Brick and masonry surfaces should also be solid, without any whitish powder (efflorescence) appearing on the surface. Freezing temperatures are particularly hard on masonry and mortar as moisture soaks in and expands. Efflorescence is a collection of soluble salts, left behind as the water evaporates. Brush the surface to remove it, and then seal the brick or masonry to prevent further problems.

Service Central Air Conditioning System:

  • Schedule a qualified heating and cooling contractor to clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.

Service Automatic Home Standby Generator:

  • Schedule a qualified contractor to clean and service the automatic home standby generator unit.

Windows, Doors and ScreensInspect Windows, Doors & Screens:

  • Repair/replace damaged window screens. You don’t want bugs making their way in because you missed a hole in a window screen. And no, duct tape doesn’t count. It can be a quick fix, but don’t leave it for long. It just looks bad.
  • Inspect caulking on windows and weather stripping on doors. Walk around each door and window, looking at caulking, weather stripping, thresholds and other transitions. Fix as appropriate; caulk, expanding foam insulation and weather stripping are simple to apply and save you significant heating and cooling dollars.
  • Clear out your home’s basement window wells of excess material. Excess material encourages animal and insect activity and could be a safety concern as well.

Check Outside Faucets & Turn on Water to Outdoor Kitchens:

  • Before using garden hoses, check outside hose faucets for frost damage. Someone should be inside to watch for leaks, while the outside faucets are turned on.
  • If you own a Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. built home the outside faucets are frost-proof. Damage should not occur, unless a garden hose was left attached during winter months.
  • Have a plumbing professional inspect waterlines to outdoor kitchens and pool houses and have them turn on water for the season.

Clean up Landscaping:

  • Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house.
  • Remove dead plants/shrubs from landscaping beds.
  • This could double as a gardening tip, but if you didn’t trim trees or shrubs in the fall, do so now. Plants can weasel their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, causing damage and shortened longevity. Nip that in the bud before it’s an issue. If you have decorative vines on the exterior, pay close attention.
  • Trim back or remove tree limbs hanging too close to your house. In spring storms, heavy limbs can do significant damage to your home.

Pool House RemodelInspect Pool Houses, Outdoor Kitchens & Outbuildings: 

  • If your gas grill has remained idle over the winter months, check burner jets for clogs and obstructions. Be sure that gas hoses and connections are sound and secure. You’ll also want to check for propane. For charcoal grill owners, make certain your grill is clean of ash and free of grease residue. It’s a good habit to adopt throughout the grilling season, not just in the spring.
  • Clean outdoor appliances and ready for the season.
  • Clean pool house appliances and ready for the season.
  • Clean pool house and ready for the season.
  • Have pool house air conditioning system serviced.
  • Walk around and through outbuildings, checking for structural issues and other damage. Roofing, siding, windows and doors along with water or pest damage are primary issues.
To download the complete Spring Home Maintenance Checklist please visit our website.

Best of Houzz 2016

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

 

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana

Awarded Best of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

BOH_Service_cmyk_cropmarksGoshen, Indiana February 4, 2016 – Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana has won “Best of Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The 51 year old custom home builder and remodeler was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Martin Brothers is excited to have won Best of Houzz four years in a row. Not only are we proud to showcase our projects on Houzz, we find that the articles on the Houzz site are a great tool for helping educate our followers about the building and remodeling process.”

“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., voted one of our “Best of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

To Follow Martin Bros. Contracting on Houzz

About Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. of Goshen, Indiana, is known throughout Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan for offering outstanding quality and service. Our award-winning custom built homes are built by the finest carpenters in Michiana using quality products and time-honored building practices.

 About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Interior of custom built home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, Indiana

Choosing a Custom Home Builder

The importance of choosing the right custom home builder for your project can’t be overstated. Your home builder will be involved in every facet of the process, so you want to establish a great working relationship and an open line of communication right up front. Here are some of the top tips for choosing a home builder:

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

Custom built estate home by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, Indiana

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

  • Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder and their staff? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home. (We recognize the investment our clients make in their homes; therefore we provide unparalleled service throughout the project.)
  • Make sure the builder provides you with a complete and clearly written contract. The contract will benefit both of you. If you are having a new home built, get and review a copy of the home warranty and homeowner manual as well. (Written contracts are provided on every project; a home warranty and an extensive homeowner manual are provided on each new construction project. Martin Brothers is an Indiana Quality Assurance Builder.)
  • Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Keep in mind that less expensive does not necessarily mean better!

Find more helpful advice on home building and remodeling at www.nahb.org/forconsumers orwww.nahb.org/remodelers

 

Tough Enough-The Ipê Deck

Deck built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, INToday we are featuring a deck made from Ipê (pronounced E-pay). Ipê originates from countries in Central and South America. Ipê decking has natural properties that make it the toughest and longest lasting decking materials available. As you read some of the features and benefits of Ipê wood decking, you’ll quickly see why architects & designers around the world prefer Ipê wood decking.

Ipê Decking Features

Ipê decking is world renowned for its superior characteristics and properties. Ipê wood decking has an extremely dense and tight grain. The grain of Ipê wood can be both wavy and straight. The color of Ipê heartwood is a rich brown with red and amber hues. Due to the wood’s fine texture and interlocking grain, Ipê offers superior slip resistance.

Ipe deck built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen,  INIpê Decking Benefits

An Ipê deck will be one of the strongest structures on your property. Its strength can be attributed to the natural oils and highly concentrated density levels contained in the wood. This combination is what will make your Ipê wood deck stand the test of time. Your new Ipê deck will be able to:

  • Provide extreme insect resistance
  • Stay cool because it doesn’t absorb heat
  • Repel wood rot & decay
  • Hold up under extreme traffic & heavy use
  • Resist mold & fungus
  • Outlast composite materials
  • Resist scratches & slivers
  • Have increased slip resistance

This particular deck has the added benefit of lighting and a fireplace. Imagine warming yourself next to the lovely limestone fireplace in the fall and winter months or taking the chill off on the chilly spring evenings. Contact Martin Bros. Contracting for your deck project or your next home building project!

1998 River Estate

Custom Built Home

We are throwing it back to 1998 for our Martin Brothers Monday feature. This 8,443 sq. ft. home along the St. Joseph River took a little over two years to build and boasts 4 bedrooms and 4 baths. This home has everything from hidden doors to custom painted ceilings. This is a true luxury home.

Custom Built Bar in Luxury Estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN  Custom crafted staircase in Luxury Estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN  Amazing details in luxury estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., Goshen, IN  Great Room in Luxury Estate built by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

For additional photos of this beautifully, crafted home. Visit the Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. Facebook page.

Boom…Out Go the Lights!

Standby Generator
Standby Generator

Power outages can happen anytime, anywhere. Typically associated with severe weather, power loss can happen for a myriad of reason. It’s easy to forget how much we depend on power, until we are without it. Electric powers your heating, cooling, security, refrigeration, lights, well pump, sump pump, garage door openers, gates, entertainment systems and many other vital components in your home. For that reason, Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. recommends to our clients that they invest in a residential standby generator.

Residential home standby generators offer many features not found on portable generators, such as

  • More sophisticated control system
  • Fully weather–protective enclosures
  • Quieter operation
  • More capacity so you can power more conveniences
  • Runs on Natural gas, propane or diesel
  • Some offer Web-based remote monitoring

It goes on automatically when you need and it shuts down automatically once main power is restored. It is connected directly to a fuel system and your home’s electrical system so you won’t have to fill a gas tank or manually transfer power from the utility to the home standby unit.

Once the unit is installed, we further recommend that the client set-up a service agreement with a local vendor so that their generator unit is serviced bi-annually.  If you are interested in having a residential generator installed in your home, please contact us at 877-862-2142.

Advantages of Using Composite Building Products

Azek Beadboard
Azek Beadboard

In both new construction projects and renovation work there are advantages to the use of plastic composite building products. They are durable, lightweight, corrosion resistant, strong and require little maintenance. These plastic materials obtain much of their versatility because they can be engineered to provide specific performance characteristics. Technically known as fiber-reinforced plastics or fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP), plastic composites generally comprise two components: a reinforcement fiber and a polymer binder (often called a matrix). For more information, please visit: Green Building Solutions. To see additional Martin Bros. Contracting projects that use composite building products, please visit our Facebook page.