Westmark Construction Blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 16:44

Ways the Pandemic is Still Impacting Home Design

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all spent more time at home than usual. Our homes became our safe space where we worked, got on zoom calls with family, binge watched tv and tried to make the most out of the hard times we were in. As more people within the family were forced to stay home, this led to lack of personal space and alone time. Out of all of this, we have seen some home trends that arose last year and seem to be sticking around for the long haul. 

Adding a home office or “cloffice”. Since many people were forced to work remotely for their safety, and many didn’t ever return to a traditional office, they realized that there is not proper space in their house for a quiet, distraction-free work environment. This is when a home office is needed. But some find that they don’t have enough space to turn a whole room into an office, so this is where the “cloffice” comes in. A cloffice is an office that is built into what used to be a closet. This area forms a perfect nook to build in a desk and some shelves. People are finding that work is still possible from home, and many are remaining fully remote, so we see this trend sticking around.

Putting more money into outdoor spaces. As we were all confined to our homes, we wanted to find ways to spend more time outdoors. With the standard six feet apart social distancing rule, we started getting together with friends and family outside. This drove a need for better outdoor entertainment space. We see people updating their outdoor spaces to add kitchens, dining rooms, pools, and fireplaces with lounging areas. 

Making space for a personal gym. Now this doesn’t have to be as extensive as a public gym, but even just an area where you can lay down a mat and do some ab exercises. Once gyms shut down, people needed to find a way to keep up their exercise routines. Through quarantine, people realized that you can still get a workout in despite being a member of an expensive gym.

Did the pandemic make you realize your home needs a change? If so, contact Westmark Construction Company to help with your next big project! 

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 13:48

Safety Cohabitation with Snakes and More in Nature

Being in the North Carolina mountains, it is not rare to stumble upon wildlife often. Read on to learn how to hike safely and learn to protect the wildlife while spending time outdoors. 

Common animals you could encounter while hiking trails around the area include bears, snakes, birds, and more. Wild animals are rarely a threat to humans. Just leave them be and they will typically do the same.

Wildlife Safety Tips: 

  • Don’t feed the animals.
  • Don’t get close or try to pet the animals.
  • Don’t wander after dark.
  • Don’t separate a mother from her babies.
  • DO pay attention.
  • Make noise.
  • Travel in groups.

Here’s what to do when you do happen to encounter wildlife:

  • Talk slowly and quietly.
  • Back away slowly.
  • Give the animal as much space as possible.
  • Report any negative wildlife encounters.

Here are a few species-specific tips:

  • Snakes are commonly found hidden on logs and branches so make sure to check before you take a seat on a log or step over a big branch on your hike.

  • Bears are always looking for food, so if you are carrying something with a strong smell, you could definitely attract some bears. Stay far away from any dead animals you might see along the way, because bears are likely not far off.

Don’t fear when hiking. We can cohabitate with wildlife, but make sure you are using common sense and respect your natural surroundings when hiking. After all, they were there first!

Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 13:42

Importance of Indoor-Outdoor Living Spaces

Are you big on entertaining guests and family members? Looking to maximize your square footage? You should consider an indoor-outdoor living space. This is a home trend that has been gaining popularity recently, where large folding or sliding doors connect an indoor living space to an outdoor entertainment space. The doors provide an easy way to move between the two living spaces while making the area feel more spacious.

If you love entertaining, adding an indoor-outdoor living space provides much more opportunity. Your guests can choose to sit inside or outside without feeling left out with this open concept area. Also, no more opening the door a dozen times to bring the food and dishes back and forth while you are hosting. Sounds amazing right?

Consider using your backyard more effectively by either adding an outdoor kitchen, a fireplace with lounge seating, outdoor dining area or a pool with chairs. Think about what you are missing in your current space. Not only do indoor-outdoor spaces provide more appeal to guests, but they also increase the value of your home.

Indoor-outdoor living spaces are also a great way to enjoy the fresh-air, while still sitting inside or cooking up dinner. This connection provides an open floor plan that is sought after by homeowners. Not to mention all of the natural light that comes in as opposed to traditional windows.

In order to keep the flow between the indoor and outdoor space, try to ensure that the floors are level, and use a cohesive design and color scheme throughout. 

Realize your lifestyle needs have changed since you bought your house? Westmark Construction will help you upgrade your home with a modern indoor-outdoor living space. Contact us to start designing with our contractors today

Friday, May 14, 2021 - 10:12

History of the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are among the oldest in the world, second only to South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt. As one of the premiere luxury builders in the Cashiers region, we thought we’d share a little on what came before us here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and how we pay tribute to this land 200 million years later.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the larger Appalachian Mountain system that runs along the eastern United States. It was formed hundreds of millions of years ago and spans about eight present-day states, covering parts of Pennsylvania all the way down the coast to Northern Georgia.

The average elevation ranges between 2,000-4,000 feet high – not overwhelmingly significant compared to the world’s other ranges – but what makes the Blue Ridge Mountains stand out is the unique ecosystem created along the ridgetops. The Blue Ridge Mountains are named for the slight blue hue that radiates from the ridges. The uniquely dense forest made up of spruce and fir trees among others, release hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, creating a blue tinge to the landscape when viewed from afar. This vegetation contributes to what creates such a distinctive ecosystem and community in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Humans entered the scene roughly 12,000 years ago and, much like today, praised and honored the land for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Native Americans - mostly the Cherokee, Piedmont, and Iroquois tribes – inhabited the land for many years. It later became home to migrating hunters, farmers, loggers, trappers, and other newfound Americans trying to make their way in the New World.

Today, the Blue Ridge Mountain range remains sacred ground, frequently visited and explored by locals and tourists alike. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic drive along the ridge is one of the most popular routes to explore, connecting two of the most visited National Parks: the Shenandoah in Virginia, and Great Smoky Mountains in the southern section. The age and erosions ensured by the mountain range make it one of the most accessible ranges to visit, adding to the rich cultural and geological history of the area.

Our teams continue to be blown away by the natural beauty that this region has to offer. We believe that it is not our right but our duty to preserve as much of it as we can while catering to meet the needs of our clients. Start the conversation about your mountaintop home today by calling (828) 743-4124.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 10:31

Common Myths about Home Remodeling

Myth 1: Remodeling will always increase resale value

While some remodeling projects can increase the value of your home, some do more than others. It is a common myth that all upgrades or home remodel costs will be recouped.  In reality, there are multiple factors that go into determining if projects will result in increased value. While weighing resale value can certainly be a factor when considering remodeling, it’s much more important to look at function and design that fits your needs and lifestyle. If you are considering a remodeling project, invest in quality materials while putting your needs and preferences first. 

Myth 2: Projects take longer than expected 

If you hire the right contractors, projects don’t need to always go past their projected timeline. Renovations and remodels take lots of planning and research. When working with professionals like Westmark Construction, discuss both your allocations for budget and timeline. They will do inspections and walkthroughs of your space to determine materials, budget distribution, and estimate how long the job will take. Because of experience, professionals know what problems and timeline hiccups to anticipate. That’s not to say surprises never happen, but reputable contractors will always keep you informed and be able to adjust accordingly to keep delays to a minimum. 

Myth 3: Go with the lowest bid

While it can be tempting to cut down on your budget expectations, bid pricing should not be the only determining factor when choosing a contractor for your project. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If one bid is much lower than others you receive it 

shouldn’t be a sign to choose them, but a red flag. Extremely low bids often point to future problems where contractors are cutting corners along the way, leading to future problems, sub-par work and even delays. Do your research and seek out recommendations from others who have recently used contractors you’re looking to work with. 

Myth 4: It’s cheaper to do it yourself 

While DIY has seemed to just gain popularity in recent years, its not always a cost saving measure to do projects yourself. When it comes to your home and large projects, trust the experts. Structural issues, electrical and plumbing are not things to mess with without the right experience. Often, any cost savings you might see from doing it yourself often disappear as the project goes on, takes longer and mistakes have to be fixed. Save your self time, money and a lot of headaches and work with an experienced contractor from the beginning. 

There are many common myths floating around about building a home or remodeling your current one. Do your due diligence and find accurate information before starting a project. Our team is here to help at every step, making the process easy and even enjoyable!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 10:24

Open floorplans are super popular, but are they for you?

Open floor plans are very popular and have been for a while, but it’s important to consider your lifestyle and style choices when considering an open floorplan. By definition, an open floorplan in a home refers to two or more common spaces that have been combined to larger spaces by eliminating walls or partitions. Here are five things to think about when deciding on a floorplan for your new construction home. 

What rooms would you think about combining? 

While deciding on the perfect floor plan, there are many options to consider when looking at exactly what rooms you want to combine as part of an open layout. While some modern homes seem to have no walls at all outside the bedrooms and bathrooms, there are different degrees to which you can open up a space. Is your kitchen often cluttered or hard to keep up on? Maybe that space will be more closed off and your flow lies between living and dining. Or, is your kitchen the center of your home when you entertain family and friends? Keep your dining room its own space and open up the kitchen to the living space. There are tons of options! 

Who makes up your family? 

Families with young children or grandchildren often benefit from an open floorplan. Sitelines with young children running around are important. If the adults are busy in the kitchen, it can be a great comfort to be able to see children playing in the other room without them being at your feet in the kitchen. 

How do you like to entertain? 

When entertaining, do you order food, or do you spend a lot of time prepping in the kitchen? If you’re playing both host and chef on a regular basis, it’s probably important to you to be involved in the action when you’re entertaining! However, if you prefer to keep the mess of food prep behind the scenes, maybe an open kitchen layout isn’t for you. 

Consider the costs 

Generally speaking, constructing a larger, open space can be more costly during the building process than a more divided layout. Another thing to consider is the potential for higher heating and cooling costs. Great rooms and large open spaces can result in higher energy costs, but our construction team works hard to keep homes efficient, keeping this in mind throughout each decision in the building process. 

Privacy and sound control 

Do you work from home? Enjoy peaceful time in the kitchen without hearing the TV in the next room? Open floorplans are great for many things, but keeping noise to a minimum and privacy to a maximum are not often strong suits. Again, consider your wants, needs, and lifestyle when determining what floorplan will work best for your household. 

Our team is here every step of the way to work through these decisions with you! Trust our team with your dream home construction. Contact us by phone at (828) 743-4124 or by Email or  info@westmarkconstructioncompany.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 16:36

Looking at Lots: Pros and cons of signing a builder before buying

A dream home tucked away in the mountains? Sign us up! Once you decide to start making this dream a reality, it is easy to begin looking at lots right away, but don’t jump the gun; there are many things to consider when it comes to building in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here are the top pros and cons of signing a builder before signing on the dotted line.

Up-front costs

If you purchase a lot before bringing on a builder, you will typically incur much higher up-front costs as you are dealing directly with the landowner and agency. Some builders and partners, especially if they are well-known in the area, can not only assist in this process to make your life easier but can sometimes even negotiate a lower price for you or have a process in place to help spread out major payments.

Savings

We are not only talking about money. When you bring on a builder, we will help you save time and unnecessary stress as well. This is our area of expertise; it is what we do. Building a home is a major investment and comes with a slew of decisions to make. It can be nice to have someone in your corner when it is crunch time.

Your dream lot may turn into a nightmare

Building is an extremely complex process, especially in the mountains of North Carolina. While you may have found your golden view, prime location, and are already picking out coffee table books, your builder might be running into much larger issues if you purchased your lot before signing your builder. These issues will not only delay your project, but will probably cost you more cash too.

Budget. Budget. Budget.

Many of the future homeowners we work with have a budget in mind – as is common – and while they might have a ballpark in mind, we as the builder typically will have a better idea of what the overall cost of the project will be, especially when it comes to materials. Oftentimes people will have a lot budget and a build budget. However, it is more beneficial to look at the budget of the whole project and then break things down from there. Allocate a portion for the lot, the build, materials, appliances, fixtures, and so on. However, always work with a range and allow a 10% bubble in either direction. No matter how well you plan, there can be things that pop up during the build.

Breaking ground on our mountaintop dream home should be an exciting experience. Involve your builder before you buy so that you can keep your eye on the big picture and we will take care of the details.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 15:13

Spring Brings Renewed Life to the Mountain

It’s spring in the mountains and renewed life is abundant all around The Divide at Bald Rock. The leaves are beginning to fill the trees, the Flame Azaleas are in full bloom, and mountain wildlife are beginning to roam about. With so much activity at The Divide, it is only appropriate for Westmark Construction Company to begin construction of Panther Ridge at The Divide!

This 4-bedroom, 4.5 bath, 4,488 square foot home is a gem in the making! Southwesterly views of Chimneytop, Rock, Whiteside, and many other mountains are a remarkable sight every day. Situated on lot 41 of The Divide and at an elevation of 4,300’, Panther Ridge features include a main level master suite, large open floor plan and a spacious Carolina room with an outdoor fireplace. 

Adventure awaits you and your family in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and it begins with homeownership at The Divide. You will have access to the community amenities of The Divide and Bald Rock communities including hiking/equestrian trails into Panthertown National Forest, an on-site equestrian center at Bald Rock, open-air pavilion, and the many resort amenities of Sapphire Valley Resort.

Construction of this modern mountain retreat is running ahead of schedule, but there is still time to customize some of the selections to your style! We would love to talk to you about the possibility of making this property your home. Give us a call now at (828) 743-4124 or email us at info@westmarkconstructioncompany.com. We look forward to working with you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 10:43

Down to the Details

At Westmark Construction, we are not satisfied until you are. Westmark Construction works with our clients’ architects and engineers to provide your dream home. From the foundation to the top of the roofline, Westmark Construction provides the personal attention you need during the construction process to insure the highest quality construction for your home.

Our expertise for creating unique, one-of-a-kind homes with an emphasis on the high-end, second-home recreational market has allowed us the opportunity to hone in on specific skills associated with the industry. We place a strong emphasis on customer communication, ensuring that you approve of and are satisfied with our work and decisions every step of the way.

When building a home from the ground up, there’s certainly not a lack of details that need to be addressed. However, we take care of the larger details; things in our wheelhouse like building materials, the HVAC system, foundation, and sourcing. This leaves all the fun things for you!

In our experience, the clients we’ve worked with most enjoy working on the layout of their home. They get to envision living their lives in the home we’re hand-making for them. Some picture a large entertaining space for large gatherings and family time. Others want an intimate breakfast nook where they’re able to enjoy coffee and look out over the scenic landscapes just outside their window. Whether you want a large, leather-studded study where you can work from home or a light and airy, guest-friendly kitchen, we can make your dream home a reality.

Once the larger/structural decisions are made, clients are then able to dial it down to the smaller details. Things like paint color, backsplashes, wood finishes, and appliances all come into play as we wind down construction. This doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable, though. If anything, we value these most as they bring life to the project, putting all the pieces together. And, we’re here every step of the way! With over 20 years of expertise behind us, we’re able to help guide your decisions to have the longest-lasting impact for you and your home.

Have some thoughts and ideas already in the works? Start sharing them with the Westmark Construction team now by calling (828) 743-4124.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 12:45

Conservation during Construction

Over 60% of the state of North Carolina is covered in forests. This translates to just about fourteen billion trees, and when we embark on a construction project, our teams are cognizant of how each plot of land interfaces with the larger forest ecosystem.

We know that we have construction plans to carry out and that there are certain things that have to be leveled, cleared, and prepped, but we don’t rush. We use careful consideration when choosing if and what to remove from a site. Our mission is to create the mountaintop oasis of your dreams that works with the natural landscape, not against it.

From the moss on the forest floor to the very tops of the trees, we take it all into consideration. Before removing a tree, for example, we look at the effects that it will have on the larger native environment. From the oxygen it provides the atmosphere to the shade it casts on the forest floor, each and every tree is carefully considered when we’re working on a site. We strive to make as small of a footprint as possible. We even take soil conservation into consideration. We look to see what sort of impact removing the tree and corresponding root system will have on the face of that mountain.  With all these factors acknowledged and defined, only then do we make a decision.

Conservation in the world of construction is two-fold, though: What you take out or away but also what you put in. We ensure that any sort of chemicals or materials that are present on a job site are carefully monitored to ensure the mark we leave on the land surrounding the home is minimal. Our machines don’t run longer than absolutely necessary and we try to avoid using unsustainable products when possible.

The architectural work itself is also designed to be complimentary to the landscape; we don’t want our projects to stick out, but instead blend with the native world around them. This is why you’ll see that our teams utilize natural wood accents and a neutral color palate to create a cohesive look.

Our teams continue to be blown away by the natural beauty that this region has to offer. We believe that it is not our right but our duty to preserve as much of it as we can while catering to meet the needs of our clients. Start the conversation about your mountaintop home today by calling (828) 743-4124.

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