How to Find and Choose the Best Lot for a Custom Home

In the words of a century-old real estate cliché, “location, location, location” is a huge consideration for any prospective homeowner. But when it comes to choosing a location for a custom home, additional complex factors come into play, and unfortunately, those factors are often overlooked.

If you’re in the process of choosing a lot for your home, a little research can save you a lot of trouble. Here’s how to find the best lot:

Explore the community

Photo by Srecko Skrobic on Unsplash

Just like with any home purchase, you want to make sure you’ll be happy in the neighborhood you choose. An in-person visit is well worth your time. Walk around different areas of the neighborhood. Maybe even drive around at night. Talk to people who live there if you get a chance.

Also look into any community resources and organizations you plan to use, which could include:

  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Supermarkets
  • Local clubs, groups, churches, and charities
  • Public parks and recreation areas
  • Hospitals and medical facilities

If you’re working with a real estate agent, ask them what they think of the area, or do some research online. Is the neighborhood on its way up? Does it have good schools? These are important factors to consider if you want your home to increase in value over time.

Is the location convenient for you?

Whether you’re picking land for a home in the country, suburbs, or city, a great neighborhood isn’t a great location if it’s inconvenient for you. If anyone in your family drives to work on a regular basis, consider what the commute would be like. You might even do a test drive during your usual commute time.

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani at Pexels.com

Think about other location-specific activities too. Do you love going to musicals in downtown Portland? Are you planning to start a family soon and want to be near parents or relatives?

Think about what long-term inconveniences you could run into. That winding, scenic road from the freeway to your new lot might be breathtaking the first time you drive it, but will it become a hassle after a few years of daily driving have worn away its novelty?

Choosing the right lot type, size, and shape for you

The size and shape of your lot matters. Not only does it affect your building options, but also safety, nose levels, and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Photo by Michael Tuszynski on Unsplash

If your home will be in a neighborhood near other houses, the type of lot you choose has major implications:

  • Cul-de-sacs offer diminished noise levels and a safer place for kids to play (no through-traffic). Their wedge shape tends to result in narrower front yards and wider backyards, which may or may not be what you want.
  • Corner lots typically require landscaping on more sides and might mean more traffic. On the other hand, you’ll probably get more options when it comes to your driveway and garage. You may also get more natural light.
  • Lots at a T-intersections must contend with headlights from cars at night, but they’re sometimes more affordable as a result.
  • Flag lots are set way back from the street at the end of a long, extended driveway. Homes on these lots tend to be quiet and private, but you’ll want to see if you’d own the driveway or share it with a neighbor.
  • Secluded lots in the country (away from cities and suburbs) give you more quiet, privacy, and building flexibility. But utilities might be more difficult to install, and you’re most likely setting yourself up for longer car trips.

Take your personal preferences into account too. For example, if you’re a gardener, make sure your lot will provide enough yard space for you.

Topography

The physical characteristics of the land itself can make your property beautiful, charming, and unique. Unfortunately, they can also be limiting. Is it actually possible to build your dream home on the land? Will your builder be able to run plumbing and electricity? Are there natural obstacles that can or cannot be moved? Potential obstacles could include trees, rocks, slopes, ditches, water (including ponds and creeks), and more.

Image by davidph from Pixabay

Some of these questions can be answered with an in-person visit, but you should also get a land survey to make sure you know the exact boundaries of the lot as well as its grade (slope) and elevation at different points.

It’s also important to know the soil type before you commit to building anywhere.

Check local rules

Laws, regulations, and homeowners association restrictions, can affect your ability to use your land the way you want. Check with the local government to find out what regulations you’ll need to comply with.

If there are other, undeveloped lots nearby, you may want to look into them as well, even if you have no intention of buying them. If someone else has plans to develop them, that could affect your home’s privacy, noise levels, and scenery.

Take your time

Don’t rush the process. Doing this extra research is an important step on the way to getting the custom home you’ve been dreaming of. It will all be worth it.

If you’re still in the process of choosing a custom home builder to bring your vision to life, consider working with Hamish Murray Construction. We’re experts at ground-up construction, and have built many beautiful homes (like this one) in and around the Portland area. Call us at (503) 460-7203 or send us a message online to find out more about how we work.

How to Build an Energy Efficient Custom Home

An energy-efficient home…

  • Provides a higher level of comfort
  • Is better for the environment
  • Saves you money through reduced energy use (and potentially tax credits)
  • Increases your home’s resale value

What’s not to love? If you’re getting ready to build a custom home and you’re wondering how to make your new home more energy efficient, here’s what you need to know.

What makes a home energy efficient?

An energy-efficient home construction project requires a holistic approach. Many different factors affect how energy efficient a custom home ultimately is, including:

  • Location and landscaping
  • Insulation
  • Space heating and cooling
  • Lighting
  • Water heating
  • Windows, doors, and skylights

With all these factors in mind, here are some energy-efficient home ideas and tips to help you plan the custom home you’ve always wanted:

Choose your site carefully

The climate and geography of your home’s location will determine its needs for lighting, heating, and cooling. People often ask which direction a home should face to reduce energy consumption.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Conventional wisdom says that, in the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing homes typically get more sun at the front of the house for most of the day, which makes them naturally brighter and warmer. A north-facing home is likely to have darker and cooler main living spaces, since it will get more sun at the back of the house.

The truth is, it’s often more complicated than that. Is your home on the side of a hill? That will affect sun and wind exposure at different times of day, so you’ll want to take into account which rooms will get sun at which hours when planning your home’s orientation and layout. Also consider other nearby elements, including large trees and adjacent buildings.

It starts with an energy-efficient building envelope

Your building envelope is its barrier against the outside world. An energy-efficient building envelope is one that’s not “leaky” — in other words, it effectively contains indoor temperature and humidity levels no matter what the climate is like outside.

Let’s say it’s a cold January night and you turn the heat on. If your home has a weak building envelope, all that warm air will escape outside, and cold air will continue to get in. Meanwhile, your home will keep consuming energy trying to heat itself. A home with a good building envelope has a tighter seal. It will quickly heat itself to the temperature you want and stay warm much longer before the heating system has to kick in again. The same principle applies to air conditioning in July.

What affects your home’s building envelope?

Your home’s walls, windows, skylights, doors, roof, and foundation all affect its building envelope.

Choosing high-quality products and materials will help ensure that you control how much heat is gained and lost through these parts of your home. Well-insulated walls and foundation go a long way, as do double-paned windows.

One option is a cool roof, which is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. This ultimately reduces your energy bills, benefits the environment, and keeps your home cooler in summer.

Heating, cooling, and ventilation

Did you know that heating is the most energy-intensive system in your home? It usually makes up about 42% of a home’s utility bill. Choosing ENERGY STAR certified heating and cooling products can cut down on energy use and costs. A smart thermostat can really help too.

Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

Passive solar heating is another method that, given the right circumstances, can reduce or eliminate the need for other heating systems. It’s a complicated and multifaceted approach that involves using windows and other materials to collect, store, and distribute heat from the sun in your home. These materials can also cool your home in the summer by absorbing indoor heat.

Ventilation is important for any home, but a home with an extra energy-efficient building envelope may need a more sophisticated ventilation system.

Lighting

Using energy-efficient light bulbs is one of the easiest solutions, but an even more efficient strategy is to maximize your home’s use of natural daylight with a large number of strategically oriented windows. Also look for good quality shades, blinds, and curtains so you can control the amount of incoming light (and heat) at different times of day.

You might also consider whether a solar electric system (solar panels) would work for your home. It depends on factors like:

  • Your electricity needs
  • The size of your roof
  • How much sun your roof gets and whether it’s blocked by trees
  • HOA restrictions

Water heating

Traditional storage water heaters are usually not the most energy-efficient option because they keep your water hot even when you’re not using it. But the right water heater for your home will depend on its fuel or energy source and how much water you typically use.

Here are some potentially energy-saving (and money-saving) options to consider:

Using low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient appliances will help reduce your total use of hot water too.

Ready to build your energy-efficient dream home?

At Hamish Murray Construction, we are custom home builders in Portland, Oregon. Not only do we love building energy-efficient custom homes, but we also go the extra mile to use sustainable construction methods. So if your home’s environmental impact is important to you, you can rest assured that we’re doing everything we can to be environmentally friendly as we bring your vision to life.

In addition to sustainability, we also focus on flexibility, architectural integrity, and careful planning. Every detail of your new home deserves our care and attention!

Get in touch today to discuss your project.

Luxurious Home Upgrades That You Are Missing out On

We could all use a little more luxury in our lives. Whether you’re making a few simple home upgrades or planning a larger construction project, these ideas are sure to add comfort, joy, and a high-end feel to your home. See if any of them inspire you!

Heated Floors

How would you like to never step onto a cold bathroom floor again? If you live somewhere with cold winters, heated floors might be the perfect luxury home upgrade for you.

So how does it work? Radiant heating is typically done with electric heating mats under your flooring or by installing pipes that carry hot water.

Heated floors are perfect for keeping your feet warm and comfy in any room of the house. Just keep in mind that radiant heating works best under tile and vinyl, but not as well with wood. This makes it an extremely popular choice for bathrooms, where people often walk with bare feet.

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel with heated flooring, here are some other luxury features to consider adding to your bathroom oasis:

  • Large multi-head shower with an overhead rain shower fixture
  • Deep soaking tub
  • Electric towel-warming racks
  • Seated vanity
  • Luxury design aesthetic to match your bathroom’s spa-like features

Home Additions

A home addition that truly meets your family’s needs isn’t just a luxury; it’s also an extremely convenient upgrade that gives you more space and adds to your enjoyment of your home. Perhaps that means adding a master suite, an in-law suite, a home office, or a gym. You’re adding new space, which means the possibilities are virtually endless.

Every home addition is unique. Its look and feel will depend on your individual needs and your current home’s layout. You might…

  • Build around an unused garage space
  • Build out into your backyard
  • Build upward, adding another level to your house

It’s also easy to incorporate luxury home features like high-end appliances, tasteful materials, a sleek fireplace, and plush throw rugs.

Indoor-Outdoor Living Spaces

You’re all set for winter with your cozy, heated floors, but what about warmer months? The Portland area’s temperate oceanic climate and warm, dry summers are perfect for indoor-outdoor living spaces.

A patio that connects to your kitchen or living room creates a more open, free-flowing environment that also lets in natural light and provides beautiful views of nature. These outdoor spaces can be just as luxurious as the rest of your home.

Here are some elements to consider if you want to make your patio, deck, or balcony a more connected part of your home:

  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Fireplace and/or outdoor space heaters
  • Comfortable outdoor furniture, including a place to eat
  • Pool or hot tub
  • Whole wall doors for flexibility and a more seamless transition

Built-In Appliances

Built-in appliances add a sleek, customized feel to your kitchen the way few other home upgrades can. Whether it’s a big french door refrigerator that matches your bamboo cabinets or a hidden dishwasher that blends into your kitchen island (or both!), built-in appliances make your kitchen look clean and sophisticated, while also giving you more control over colors and materials.

Another reason to choose built-in appliances? They don’t distract from the room’s real focal point the way traditional appliances do. For example, if you love your dark natural stone countertops, appliances that match your white cabinets will give the countertops center stage.

Furnished Wine Cellar

Do you love wine tasting? A wine cellar may be the ultimate high-end upgrade for you. Especially if you have a basement, garage, or other spare room you’re not currently using.

A wine cellar doesn’t have to be a dank, unfinished space either. You can make it a luxury experience by furnishing it with finished floors, countertops, places to sit, good lighting, and homey decor.

If you don’t have enough extra space for a wine cellar, how about a wet bar instead? You might have an empty wall in your dining room or other central living space that could easily be converted into a small bar area.

Walk-In Closet

Stay organized, keep your clothes in perfect condition, and never run out of places to put your shoes. What could be more luxurious than that?

A walk-in closet attached to your bedroom or master bath can simplify your life and make fashion a lot more fun.

Photo by Victoria Borodinova from Pexels

Here are some tips for designing an amazing walk-in closet:

  • Plan to have a bit more storage than you think you’ll actually need (you might buy more stuff).
  • Leave space for a full-length mirror.
  • Invest in high-quality, flattering lighting.
  • Aim for a variety of drawers, shelves, cabinets, and hanging space.
  • A walk-in closet can be a convenient place to stash your overnight bag — packing for your next weekend trip will be a breeze!
  • Consider incorporating a small seating area where you can put on shoes or just relax.
  • Decide if you would enjoy a small vanity in your closet.

Planning some luxury home upgrades in the Portland area?

No matter what kind of project you’re planning, any space can feel luxurious when you choose high-quality materials, functional layouts, and designs you truly love. At Hamish Murray Construction, we focus on flexibility, architectural expertise, and careful planning to ensure you get amazing results that you absolutely love.

If you’re interested in learning more about our work and how we can help with your next project, contact us today and ask us your questions!

The Top 10 Remodeling Trends of 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the top remodeling trends that emerged this year. Specifically, we’ll look at trends that have staying power — the ones that will continue to stay fresh into the new decade.

Let’s jump into the biggest remodeling trends of 2019!

1. High-Tech and Custom Features

It’s a trend that began many years ago and shows no signs of stopping. Smart home appliances and devices surged in 2019 when more and more homeowners chose to invest in technology and custom features that simplified their routines. Here are just a few examples:

  • Smart light fixtures and window shades that learn your behaviors and preferences
  • Luxury, energy-efficient appliances
  • Custom storage designs, like deep drawers, hidden cabinets, and specialized dividers
  • Toilets with high-tech features

2. Farmhouse

You don’t need a space-age aesthetic in order to take advantage of modern comforts like new technology. In fact, farmhouse style was the most searched home design trend of 2019, according to Google’s “Top Trending Searches” report.

Farmhouse style is all about going back to basics with a cozy, relaxed charm. Think salvaged furniture, shiplap walls, and industrial lighting.

3. Subway Tile

Simple, shiny, and easy to clean, there’s a lot to love about subway tiles. While their popularity has ebbed and flowed over time (including a huge surge in 2019) they never seem to go out of style, which makes them a great, timeless choice for many rooms in the house — especially kitchens.

Although subway tiles are traditionally simple and uniform in color and shape, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. You can choose from glass, stone, and marble tiles in a variety of colors.


4. Open Shelving

Maybe it’s because people are embracing the farmhouse aesthetic. Or maybe they just want to show off that gorgeous subway tile. Whatever the reason, 2019 saw an interesting shift away from upper cabinetry, with homeowners opting instead for alternative storage options, such as:


5. More Color

After a long stretch of minimalism and plain white, 2019 brought us hints of a return to more bold and saturated colors, like classic blue and even some warmer colors, like coral. Rich dark green was an especially big color in 2019 as well.

Neutrals always have an important role to play, though. We saw a lot of dark, sophisticated gray and muted pastels too.


6. Double Bathroom Sinks

According to the 2019 US Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, 69% of homeowners updating their bathroom sinks chose a double-sink setup, with most opting for two mirrors as well. One large mirror is another contemporary and clean-looking option.

If you have the space, this is a great, functional choice that adds convenience to your life and a beautiful, symmetrical appeal to your bathroom.

7. More Luxurious Showers and Tubs

Another notable bathroom trend from the Houzz study: Homeowners remodeling their master bathrooms were much more likely to increase the size of the shower than to increase the size of the whole bathroom.

Also, freestanding flat-bottom bathtubs increased in popularity from 41% in 2017 to 50% in 2019.

8. More Metallics like Gold and Copper

Shiny metallics have been popular choices for both kitchens and bathrooms over the past year. These materials can be incorporated through faucets, cabinet hardware, light fixtures, sinks, and even larger appliances.

Matte black accents and accessories have also been on the rise. It’s an interesting contrast to the move toward shiny metals and brighter colors.

9. Unique and Custom Sinks

Many homeowners and designers said no to humdrum sinks in 2019. Unique, custom sinks often feature metallics (like copper), hammered finishes, eye-catching details, and added functionality (like integrated pot holders and removable cutting boards).

10. Touches of Art Deco

As we approach the 2020s, it’s fitting that elements of the 1920s have made a comeback. Along with the move toward more bright colors and custom designs, we’ve seen more bold, eccentric, and ornate patterns and designs. Examples include:

  • Geometric lines and artwork
  • Nature-inspired patterns, including feathers and leaves
  • Curved furniture
  • Antique touches
  • Opulent-looking mirrors

Like farmhouse style, Art Deco had a lot of search traffic over the past year and made it into the top five in Google’s 2019 report.

What 2019 remodeling ideas do you love?

Are you planning a home remodeling project? Do any of these trends resonate with you? Your home should be all about you and the things you love. At Hamish Murray Construction, our focus on flexibility makes it easy for homeowners to get the beautiful and unique results they want.

Want to work with your own architect or designer and bring the plans to us? No problem! Need help developing your design? We’d be happy to introduce you to one of our talented, long-standing partners. We can’t wait to hear about your vision for your remodel!

Contact us today to discuss your ideas and get started!

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are Great for Portland Neighborhoods

Are you thinking of adding an accessory dwelling unit to your property? Building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a great solution for many Portland, Oregon residents who want to live close to family members, add value to their property, or supplement their income by renting.

Today, let’s look at what it means to add an ADU to your property and why Portland is such a great place to build one.

What Is an ADU?

What actually is an accessory dwelling unit, and what makes it different than a regular home addition?

An ADU is a secondary residence with its own living space, including a kitchen and bathroom. Basically, it has to function independently of the main home. An ADU can be built on any residential property as a standalone structure, or attached to the main home. You might choose to:

  • Convert part of your current house, like a basement, attic, or garage
  • Build an attached addition with its own separate living space
  • Add an entirely new building on your lot

The key is that accessory dwelling units need to be completely separate living spaces, so they can’t share a bathroom or kitchen with the main home. ADUs also need to be smaller than your main home’s living area. Specifically, an ADU’s square footage can’t be bigger than 75% of your main home’s living area or 800 square feet (whichever is less).

Why Is Portland a Great Place for Accessory Dwelling Units?

If you live anywhere near the City of Portland, you’ve probably noticed that it has become a pretty popular place to live. ADUs offer an affordable housing option for:

  • Parents and in-laws
  • Grown up children
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Renters

In today’s real estate market, some people find that building an accessory dwelling unit is cheaper than buying a new house. ADUs can provide a great, inexpensive place to live, while also building wealth for the property owner.

Portland also has fewer restrictions and regulations on ADUs than many other cities, and even offers some financial incentives. For example, you don’t have to pay system development charges (which can be substantial) for ADU projects as long as your property isn’t used as an Accessory Short-Term Rental (ASTR) for at least 10 years. In other words, if you’re going to rent out your ADU, you’ll need to rent it on a month-to-month basis or longer — otherwise you have to pay system development charges.

ADU Benefits in Portland and Beyond

Staying Close to Loved Ones

ADUs are a great option for families who want to live as close as possible but still be independent. Even if your loved one(s) won’t be living there full time, an ADU can also act as an excellent guest house when friends and family are in town.

Downsizing without Moving

If you’d prefer a smaller home but you don’t want to leave the neighborhood you love, an ADU can be a great way to downsize without having to move or sell your main home. ADUs can also be a great aging-in-place option, since it’s easy to build them with universal design principles and any specific features you choose. Plus, friends or family members can move into your main home and become your next door neighbors.

Boosting Property Value and Providing Income

When done right, building an ADU adds significant value to your property and gives you a good return on your investment when it comes time to sell. Until then, you have the opportunity to create an income stream by renting your ADU.

Environmental Sustainability

ADUs tend to be more sustainable than full-size homes, partly because they’re small. They require fewer materials to build and they tend to result in lower energy consumption over time when it comes to utilities like gas, water, and electricity. You can make an ADU even more environmentally friendly, depending on how you build it too.

Are you planning to build an accessory dwelling unit in Portland?

Whatever your reason for putting in an ADU, you probably have ideas about how you want it to look, function, and feel. At Hamish Murray Construction, we’re dedicated to your vision. We bring careful planning and architectural integrity to every project and have extensive experience with ADUs, remodels, additions, and ground-up construction.

Tell us how we can build you the ADU of your dreams! Contact us today to talk about your project and ask us your questions.

6 Design Ideas for an Unforgettable Luxury Master Bathroom

Are you trying to settle on a design concept for your new master bathroom? Whether you’re remodeling an existing space or adding a whole new room, the look and feel of your new bathroom are important considerations that will impact how you use the space, how it flows with the rest of your home, and your property value.

Here are 6 design ideas to help you achieve an unforgettable, luxury master bathroom:

1. Modern Minimalism

Opting for a minimalist bathroom design gives you a fresh, crisp look and a bright but calming atmosphere. White and other light colors will make your space look and feel bigger, and you can maximize this effect by adding large mirrors, windows, or skylights to welcome and reflect natural light.

A minimalist design with white walls and/or floors allows you to choose a few stand-out details, and your options are nearly limitless because you’ll have a clean, polished canvass as your backdrop.

Here are a few ideas for unique details that pair beautifully with minimalist master bathrooms:

  • Metallic hardware or detailing
  • Rich, natural wood
  • An ornate vase or handcrafted basket
  • Patterned towels or bath mats

2. Open Concept

One unique way to add luxury (and functionality) to your master bathroom is to opt for an open-concept design, with the shower open to the room. This allows you to extend gorgeous floor and wall tiling to your entire space and makes your master bathroom feel bigger.

This is an especially great option for opening up smaller spaces, but it will also add elegance to larger rooms, especially if you add a free-standing bathtub or walk-in closet. You could also add a curtain or frosted glass shower door for additional privacy options.

3. A Calming Oasis with Neutral Tones

Neutral tones can give your luxury master bathroom a spa-like feel. They’re warm and inviting, and they create a relaxing, tranquil atmosphere to help you unwind after a long day.

Consider pairing calming, neutral tones like browns, tans, and taupes with natural materials (like wood or stone), skylights (to let in natural light), and one or two humidity-loving plants. This combination will make you feel like you’re in an indoor-outdoor spa and can even have a positive, calming, and rejuvenating effect on your mood.

4. Bold Mid-Century

If you’re a creative person, a bold pattern or a few bright pops of color in your bathroom design may be just the thing! If you feel most comfortable surrounded by color and art, a stylish mid-century design is a great option. It’s classic enough that it won’t go out of style, but gives you a lot of freedom to be imaginative with your design choices.

Geometric wallpaper or floor tiles are great ways to incorporate this look. Or you might invest in a unique, vintage mirror! If you want something understated, consider mid-century cabinets and hardware with colorful towels, mats, or pottery.

Do you like the idea of a bold and bright design, but mid-century isn’t your thing? Here are a few other creative and distinct styles to consider:

  • Art deco
  • Bohemian
  • Scandinavian
  • Southwestern
  • Craftsman

5. Rustic, with Unique Details

“Rustic” is one of those words that can mean different things to different people, and it’s often used as an umbrella term to describe designs that invoke a connection to the past. You don’t have to live in a farm house or log cabin to incorporate rustic elements into your home.

The great thing about a rustic design is that it allows you to truly personalize your space. Do you love old clawfoot tubs, antique cabinets, or lantern pendant lighting? These kinds of unique features can add a special, old-world feeling to your bathroom that makes it instantly cozier and more interesting. Another option is to lean towards an industrial style with elements like old-fashioned metal hardware, dark wood, and contrasted colors.

Here are some more ideas to add rustic charm to a high-end bathroom:

  • Clawfoot or barrel tub
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Brick or stone elements
  • Antique-inspired light fixtures
  • Sliding barn door
  • Wicker baskets

6. Light and Airy

Light and bright bathrooms are elegant and timeless—especially ones that incorporate natural light, mirrors, glass, and other reflective surfaces. Not only do these elements make your space feel calming and zen-like, but they also make it seem larger and more open.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to whites and off-whites to make your master bathroom feel light and airy (especially if you have windows or skylights). Lighter shades of gray, blue, and green can act as perfect complementary colors to liven up an otherwise bright, but unimaginative color palette.

Planning a bathroom remodel? Want a luxurious, relaxing master bathroom?

At Hamish Murray, our team of experienced, dedicated professionals is passionate about creating beautiful spaces that our clients love spending time in. Our focus is on your unique home and vision. We’re committed to making the design and building process flexible, ensuring architectural integrity, and making sure we bring your ideas to life in a space you’ll love for years to come!

Contact us today to discuss your project or ask us your questions. We can’t wait to hear from you and look forward to working with you!

Top 5 High-End Kitchen Remodel Design Ideas in 2019

Have you always wanted a beautiful, spacious kitchen with all the bells and whistles? The kind of kitchen you love spending time in even when you’re not cooking?

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel and your budget is not a major concern, you may want to explore some fun and functional high-end kitchen design options. A luxury kitchen remodel typically combines beautiful materials, high-quality appliances, and custom designs to meet your individual wants and needs.

Here are some of our favorite high-end kitchen remodel ideas to consider including in your new space:

1. Add Seating for a Spacious, Luxury Feel

Even if you have a formal dining room, a breakfast nook or counter seating will give you more options and make your space more usable and inviting.

Built-in, booth-style seating is a great option if you have limited space, but if you simply don’t have space for any independent table seating, opt for bar stools and a dining ledge on the edge of your island. You might be surprised how often you use it to eat, entertain, or answer emails on your laptop.

2. Make it Your Own with Unique Custom Features

One of the best things about remodeling your kitchen is that you get to choose the features you want and the ones you don’t. Need extra cabinet space? Consider a multifunctional island with storage under the counter. Never seem to have enough space in your oven? Choose double wall ovens.

Details like these give your space a unique, high-end feel. You also make your kitchen feel like it’s truly yours when you incorporate beautiful, distinctive, and functional features such as:

  • Deep drawers, dividers, and other specialized storage
  • Hidden drawers behind cabinet doors
  • Energy-efficient, luxury appliances
  • Enclosed, pull-out trash and recycling bins
  • Built-in refrigerator
  • Statement light fixtures

3. Let Light in with Plenty of Windows

Nothing opens up a space like natural light. Big windows that allow sunlight to flow in will bring the colors in your kitchen to life. They also welcome the beauty of the outdoors into your indoor space, creating a serene, open atmosphere.

Natural light doesn’t just make your kitchen feel bigger and brighter. Incorporating lots of windows and skylights can improve your mood, reduce eye strain, prevent mold and mildew from growing, increase airflow, and help regulate your sleep cycle.

4. Go Big with Two Islands

If you have room in your kitchen, double islands look beautiful and create a grand, spacious feeling. They also make your kitchen more functional and dynamic, and give you more options for customizing your layout and design.

For example, you may decide to include your range and sink in one island and reserve the other for in-kitchen seating. Or you might consider adding a pot rack above one and unique pendant lighting over the other.

5. Include High-Tech Features

Smart gadgets and appliances can make your kitchen work better for you. From energy-efficient dishwashers to refrigerators that help you manage your shopping list, the options are nearly endless.

High-tech features don’t just make your kitchen easier and more fun to use, though. They can actually make it safer too. Smartphone-controlled light switches mean no more stumbling around in the dark next time someone gets up at night for a cup of tea or a midnight snack. Smart ovens can be turned on and off remotely using your phone or tablet, so you can start preheating while you drive home, and you can always double check that you’ve turned it off after you leave the house.

When deciding which smart features to use and which to skip, it’s worth thinking about what will truly improve your life and enhance your enjoyment of your kitchen on a daily basis.

Be Choosy about Materials

No matter which high-end features you choose to incorporate, it’s worth being selective about materials if you have the budget for it. While top-notch materials may be a bit more expensive, they also tend to be more durable and increase the value of your home compared to other options.

Here are a few high-quality kitchen materials that have stood the test of time and are sure to add a classic, sophisticated atmosphere to your new space:

  • Hardwood
  • Bamboo
  • Marble, quartz, granite, and other natural stones
  • Gold, brass, copper, and other metals
  • Unique or custom tiles, like porcelain, glass, or encaustic tiles

Are you planning a kitchen remodel? Want to incorporate top-quality, high-end design ideas?

At Hamish Murray Construction, we’re dedicated to bringing your ideas to life to create the perfect kitchen for you and your family. We can’t wait to work with you to build the beautiful and unique space you’ve been imagining.

Contact us today to discuss your ideas and get started!

5 Benefits of Using a Custom Home Builder

If you’re planning on building a new home, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right home builder for your project.

The right builder for you depends on what kind of home you want. Production builders use pre-developed plans, while custom builders can create a unique, one-of-a-kind house built specifically for you. If you’ve always held an image of your ideal home in your mind, working with a custom home builder can be the perfect way to make that dream a reality.

Here are a few great benefits of choosing a custom home builder:

1. Your House Will Be One of a Kind

In an age of subdivisions and tract housing, the idea of a custom home is appealing to many people. Production homes (which involve using the same design over and over again) have to be built for general use. But everyone has unique needs and desires, and you shouldn’t feel like your home’s layout or design is getting in the way of your ability to live comfortably and enjoy your space. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all home.

A custom home is designed specifically for you and your family to meet your particular needs and preferences. By working with a custom home builder, not only will your home be unique—it will be unique to you.

2. You Can Be Involved in the Design Process

Need extra kitchen space? Want a beautiful, large deck overlooking your backyard? Looking for separate living spaces for in-laws or older kids? By working with a custom home builder, you can create your designs to include exactly what you need and exclude what you don’t.

With the right custom home builder, you don’t have to settle for just being happy with the overall design of your new home, addition, or remodeled space. You can be involved every step of the way and love every detail, because you chose them all.

3. Your Dream Home, in Your Dream Location

If you’re planning on building your own home from scratch, using a custom home builder means that you not only get to be involved in designing your dream home, but you also get to choose the location!

Whether you picture a quaint bungalow in a bustling neighborhood filled with shops and unique restaurants, or a secluded lodge-style cabin in the woods, or just about any other style of home and location, your new custom home can be situated just where you want it.

4. Your Home Can Be Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

Another major benefit to choosing a custom home builder is the option to build an efficient, eco-friendly home that will save you money on energy bills and reduce your environmental footprint. A contractor who understands the ins and outs of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability can help you design the green, efficient home of your dreams.

Here are just a few ways to make your home more energy efficient:

  • Reduce your heating and cooling expenses with proper insulation
  • Limit your electricity use by taking advantage of natural light with windows, glass doors, skylights, sunrooms, and more
  • Buy LED fixtures and light bulbs
  • Use recycled building materials
  • Opt for dual-flush toilets
  • Choose energy-efficient appliances (look for the EnergyStar certification)

5. A Flexible, Collaborative Process

Building a custom home is all about understanding and executing the homeowner’s vision. At Hamish Murray, we make sure your project goes smoothly by focusing on collaboration, communication, and flexibility. Many home builders require that you work with their chosen architect, pick from their plans, and work within their parameters.

With us, you can select your own architect or designer, or choose from one of our trusted partners. You can also bring your own plans or work with us to create them. Our goal is to make the designing and building process as seamless and collaborative as possible. Excellent craftsmanship and great communication ensure that your custom home (and the process of building it) truly belongs to you.

Are you looking to remodel your home, add an addition, or build from the ground up? We build gorgeous custom homes in the Portland area.

At Hamish Murray, we believe your home should be a place you love spending time and one that meets all your needs. We specialize in new construction, home additions, and whole home remodels, as well as smaller projects. We bring careful planning and architectural integrity to every project. Let us help you build the home you’ve always wanted.

Ready to get started? Have questions about how we work? Get in touch today to discuss your project.


What Questions Should You Ask a Potential Home Builder?

Seeing your new space take shape is an exciting experience, but before that happens, you have to choose a home builder to bring your vision to life. It can be scary to put your project into someone else’s hands, especially a big project like a new home or a whole house remodel.

Continue reading “What Questions Should You Ask a Potential Home Builder?”

5 Reasons to Choose a Local Home Builder in Portland, OR

Can you picture your perfect home in your mind? A great custom home builder can bring that vision to life and meet or even exceed your expectations. But with so many national, regional, and local home builders to choose from, how do you find that perfect builder who you can trust with such an important project? If you’re trying to narrow your search, you might want to know about a few great benefits to choosing a local builder – here are our top 5.

Continue reading “5 Reasons to Choose a Local Home Builder in Portland, OR”