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Create pet-friendly space in your home

Categories: Buying a New Home, Homeowner tips | Posted: February 21, 2018

Pet-Friendly Space

We love our pets and want to return their unconditional love with pet-friendly spaces in the home. If you’re looking for a new home in the Columbia, South Carolina, region, talk to us at McGuinn Homes. We have experience in accommodating special features—including pet-friendly ones—in our floor plans. We’ll build on your lot or you can browse our new home communities We currently offer a selection of move-in ready homes ready right now.

Anyone who has ever shared their life and their home with a pet knows that this companion is really a family member—and deserves to be treated like one. While you probably resist setting a place at the dinner table or opening up the pantry for free exploration by a hungry critter, you can create pet-friendly space in your home (assuming they don’t need to be caged).

Pet Cubbies

Dogs and cats like their privacy when it’s time for one of the many naps that fill their days and nights. The family dog might like your company at night, but often looks for other places for daytime breaks. A dog bed placed out of the way of foot traffic is a good solution.If you want something that fits into your décor, encase the pet bed in a wooden frame or box, maybe adding your pet’s name or a design that complements your décor.

Cubbies are great for smaller dogs and cats. Repurpose a drawer or crate by adding a bed, fluffy blanket, or pillow. Convert the bottom shelf of an end table or nightstand to welcome a little snooze from your furry friend.

Cat Shelves

Cats generally fall into one of two categories: bush dweller or percher. The bush dweller likes to hide under things, while the percher prefers to observe from above. If your feline likes the aerial view, consider installing cat shelves that are deep and sturdy enough to support a leaping, sprawling cat. Windows are a preferred spot, so expanding the sill with a shelf will allow your cat to bask in the sun, give the death stare to birds and squirrels in their view, and possibly stay off your good furniture.

Pet Feeding Station

When house-hunting, a true pet lover instantly identifies where the feeding dishes will be placed. It needs to be easily accessible but out of the way of passersby. Pamper your pet with a feeding station that incorporates the dishes with storage. For large dogs, elevate the dishes so they don’t have to bend as low for their food and water. Cut holes in the top of a nightstand or small chest to hold the dishes and use the bottom drawer to store the food. For smaller animals, pull out the bottom drawer for the dishes and stash the food in the upper drawer. If you’re building a new home, talk to your builder about incorporating the pet feeding station into the floor plan.

Dog Grooming Tub or Shower

Homeowners with dogs are more frequently incorporating a designated grooming area in their new homes. The laundry room is an ideal space for installing a tub or shower with a pull-down faucet. Add tile to the enclosure so the area is more attractive. A nearby or overhead shelf, cabinet or cubby allows for storing the pet shampoo, towels, and other products you’ll need.

Litterbox

Every cat lover struggles with finding the ideal location for the litterbox. You don’t want it in an obvious location and the good news is you’re your cat wants a private spot, too. You can tuck a litterbox under the utility sink in the laundry room or a vanity in the bathroom. You can buy a litterbox enclosure that looks like a piece of furniture, or build one yourself. As long as it’s easy to get to and filled with clean litter, your cat has no preference about the décor or design.

Pet Door

If you have a cat or dog that is allowed outdoors unsupervised, a pet door frees you up from monitoring the entry (and potentially cleaning up an “accident”). A doggie door requires cutting a hold in your existing door, and it’s hinged so the pup or cat can enter or exit from either side. Some doors are designed to blend in with your door, for a subtler look.

Pet Gate

Inside your home, keep the family pet out of the forbidden zones with a gate. There are many decorative designs—from plastic and wood to metal, fabric, and wrought iron—so you can incorporate this boundary without interrupting the flow of your interior design.

Fence

The safest way to protect your pet and your family outdoors is to fence in your yard. Be sure that the fence you choose is tall enough to keep your pets on your side. Picket fences, while attractive, can be dangerous to small children as well as allowing unwanted animals into your yard. Your dog or cat is curious, so any opening in a fence is an invitation to peek or poke through!

2018 color trends: The top paint colors for your home

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: February 13, 2018

If you’re considering an even bigger change-to a new home-and looking in the Columbia, South Carolina, region, McGuinn Homes is a local home builder that offers a variety of new home communities, many with move-in ready homes. We’ll also build on your lot. Get in touch with McGuinn Homes so we can start the conversation!

Color trends for the home are like fashion. They change from year to year. You don’t have to keep up with what the designers recommend, but if you’re ready for a makeover-either one room or your whole house-here are the 2018 color trends, according to the designers and leading paint manufacturers. Browse the top paint colors for your home and see if you feel inspired to make a change!

Every year, Pantone Color Institute chooses its Color of the Year. As the authority on color, their choice carries great weight in the design industry, both fashion and products. Last year, they designated “Greenery“, a vibrant green. For 2018, Pantone has once again gone bold with its selection: Ultra Violet.

“Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets,” the Institute explains about this blue-based purple shade. “Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world.”

Not feeling the purple phase? Look at Pantone’s eight color palettes for 2018 combined to reflect a variety of energies, like “Resourceful” “Intricacy”, “Discretion”, “Playful”, and even “Far-fetched”. The color palettes will help you combine colors for your walls, furnishings, and décor.

If you lean toward neutral tones in your home decorating, you will enjoy this year’s “new neutrals”. These colors are a bit stronger, but still quite neutral. You’ll also see a shift toward metallic accents among the current trends in home colors.

Benjamin Moore is right on track with vibrant colors. The radiant red “Caliente” is its 2018 Color of the Year. Ellen O’Neill of Benjamin Moore & Co., describes Caliente as “the signature color of a modern architectural masterpiece; a lush carpet rolled out for a grand arrival. The eye can’t help but follow its bold strokes. Harness the vitality.”

Sherwin Williams reflects the trend toward statement-making color trends for the home. The paint company chose “Oceanside” as its 2018 Color of the Year. Described as a “collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green”, the teal shade can work well as an accent wall or entire room. It would also make a striking statement on your front door!

For the first time in the company’s history, Behr has joined it competitors in choosing color trends. Behr’s 2018 Color of the Year is gentler than the other hues, a subdued blend of spruce blue, lush green, and soft gray, called, “In the Moment“. Behr says the color “crosses multiple design styles-global, coastal, modern” and recommends it for interior and exterior paint.

Color is a personal choice. From creating a relaxing environment to energizing the space, your choice of color can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to try something different!

The top 5 New Year’s resolutions you can actually keep!

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: January 2, 2018

new years resolution

You’ve flipped the calendar to a new year. It’s a fresh start. If you’re like many people, you’ve made at least one New Year’s resolution—something to start, change, eliminate, or do better.

And, like many people, the resolution fades away soon into the new year. Only about 8 percent of people who make the declaration will actually follow through to meet their challenge. These changes you want to make are the result of habits that have built up over years. Your very first resolution should be to accept that it’s not easy to make improvements. Then, give yourself a short list of the most important resolutions and create a plan that will help you stay on track.

Here are the top 5 New Year’s resolutions—and suggestions for how you can actually keep them.

#1. Eat healthier.

Whether you want to lose weight, reduce your cholesterol, improve your heart health, or simply benefit from better nutrition, this life goal is the most popular new year’s resolution.

How to keep the new year’s resolution:

  1. Ask yourself why you want to make this change. What do you want to gain? Write it down. Post it on the refrigerator. Hang a note in your pantry.
  2. Avoid the temptation. Walk right past the aisles in the grocery store that pose the biggest threat to achieving your goal. It could be the snacks, cookies, candy, soda, or bakery.
  3. Search for and try new recipes. Set a goal of at least one new recipe each week—entrée, snack, dessert, maybe a smoothie or more appealing salad.
  4. Share your goal with your social community. Use your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and other social media networks to keep you motivated. Let them know your goals, ask for advice, and post your progress. You’ll find the support you need to keep going when you begin to waver.

#2. Exercise more.

While the goal to exercise more is a valiant goal, it’s a tough one to stick with. First of all, you’re busy, and it’s hard to find time in your schedule, particularly with all the catching up you need to do after the holidays are over. Secondly, you’ve made this resolution in the dead of winter, when it’s much harder to get out and enjoy recreational pursuits.

How to keep the new year’s resolution:

  1. Define what “exercise” means. Is it going to the gym, taking aerobics classes, or walking every day? Exercise is anything that gets you moving and elevates your heart rate. Don’t think of it as a burden because this mindset automatically presents an obstacle to keeping the promise to yourself.
  2. Find fun alternatives to workouts. You could take a dance class, walk up the stairs at work instead of using the elevator, park farther away from the entrance, or play more vigorously with your kids or grandkids. If you regularly get together with friends for coffee or lunch, switch to meeting for a walk. Turn housework into an energy routine by dancing to music as you go through your chores.
  3. Track your progress. Buy a fitness tracker (e.g. FitBit) or download an app on your smartphone that allows you to track your activity and keep a record. Check it daily. Set weekly goals.

#3. Try something new.

This resolution sounds like fun, so why is it difficult to keep? There are so many opportunities to try something new that maybe you need a push, a reminder, or just a little help in pinning down the ideas and getting started.

How to keep the new year’s resolution:

  1. Make a list. What do you want to try? What has been on your list of “one of these days, I’m going to…”? Sit down and think about some activities you’d like to explore, and give yourself a monthly challenge. You can start simply, with a new food, for example. You might want to go to a local attraction that you haven’t yet experienced. That’s an easy one to check off your list!
  2. Ask for suggestions. Not sure about new things to try? Ask. Post a question on your social media network. Maybe you want to read more so request recommendations of books. Find out about hobbies that people enjoy and places to visit. You can also search online for groups to join and classes to take. If you’re in the Columbia, South Carolina, area, join our McGuinn Homes monthly bingo game, held the first Tuesday of every month.

#4. Budget better.

Some people want to save money—actually stash it away—while others are focused on reducing debt. It all starts by budgeting your income and expenses with more care.

How to keep the new year’s resolution:

  1. Examine your cash flow. There are two ways to improve your financial situation: increase your income and reduce your expense. Take a good look at where the money comes in and goes out. What changes can you make? Can you live more efficiently, by reducing your energy bills, for example? Maybe you can prepare more meals at home to save on dining at restaurants. When you have a clear vision of your income and expenses, you can make changes that deliver the results you need.
  2. Set a monthly goal. How much do you want to save? Set a target for improving your financial situation. You could use an online selling app to have a virtual garage sale that turns trash into cash. Also, establish a monthly goal for putting savings into your account.

#5. Enjoy life to the fullest!

This seems like a tough item to follow if #4 is also on your list of New Year’s resolutions. But enjoying life isn’t an expense. It’s an investment in your long-term happiness. When you accomplish the first four resolutions, you’ll discover that #5 comes naturally. You’ll feel better, have more energy and motivation, and have the financial stability to support your more fulfilling life!

If enjoying life more fully brings you to the conclusion that you need a new home that better fits your lifestyle and goals, talk to us at McGuinn Homes. Explore our new home communities throughout the Columbia, South Carolina, region. We have a wide selection of quick move-in homes if you’re ready to move now. We can also build on your lot.

Happy New Year, and good luck with your resolutions!

Save money and stay warm in an energy-efficient home

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 28, 2017

Save money and stay warm

Winter is here, and homeowners in the chilly climates are thinking about the ever-rising cost of home heating. Are you going to sacrifice your comfort to save money on your heating bills this winter?

With an energy-efficient home, you don’t have this worry. New homes are built with higher standards for conserving energy. The construction materials and methods have advanced significantly in the past decade, with more ways than ever before to build a home that delivers a comfortable environment without driving up energy costs.

Increasing your Home’s Quality

McGuinn Hybrid Homes invested in understanding how to build to a higher standard—not just because our homeowners want this feature, but because it’s also the right thing to do for the environment. We’ve explored every opportunity to increase the quality and value of each home.

Here are some ways that McGuinn Hybrid Homes gives homeowners every advantage to conserve energy and live comfortably.

Radiant barrier sheathing

An engineered roof system incorporates reflective barrier sheathing that reduces air leakage and directs more efficient heat flow. The system reduces the transfer of heat through the roof by up to 97%, and lowers your attic’s temperature by as much as 30ºF. The radiant barrier sheathing also prolongs the life of your HVAC system and increases the efficiency of your home’s air ducts.

Insulated thermal envelope

McGuinn Hybrid Homes installs high R-value insulation in your ceiling and walls to keep you warm in the winter. The house wrap we use protects your home against air leakage, which helps to lower your energy bill. We also apply a spray sealant to any unsealed areas, and mastic caulk to all HVAC connections, giving you a protective thermal barrier.

Natural gas heat

This clean-burning renewable resource is an eco-friendly choice for heating your home. The delivery of natural gas is 90% efficient—compare that to electric heat, which is only 27% efficient.

Low-maintenance vinyl siding

Vinyl siding has improved dramatically over the past decade. Today’s siding provides lasting beauty without the need for re-painting, giving you a durable exterior that is easy to clean.

Low-E vinyl windows

Low-emissive (Low-E) windows feature a Low-E coating that lowers energy consumption. McGuinn Hybrid Homes uses Low-E glass in all of the windows and doors in the homes we build, which can cut the energy loss by 30% to 50%. The low-maintenance vinyl window frames resist rotting, corrosion, salt air, termites, and air pollutants,

14 SEER air conditioning system

Our homes include the 14 SEER heating and cooling system because it provides a greater level of comfort and energy efficiency.

Programmable thermostats

Smart technology lets you control the temperature in your home, even when you’re not there, so you don’t waste energy.

Tankless water heater

The ENERGY-STAR-certified tankless water heater provide energy savings by heating water only when you need it, providing a continuous flow of hot water. The units last longer than traditional water heaters, with a life expectancy of about 20 years.

ENERGY STAR appliances

By installing only ENERGY STAR-certified appliances in your home, you have the peace of mind in knowing you’re getting the most energy efficiency.

CFL bulbs

CFL light bulbs last 10 to 25 times longer and use about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. They also generate about 75% less heat, so CFL bulbs are a safer choice. It might seem like a minor detail, but these small savings add up—and demonstrate that we seek out every opportunity to conserve energy in your home.

Greater Return on your Investment

Homes that are being built today are more energy efficient than existing homes, an average of 30% more efficient! Your investment in a new home delivers a greater return because you can save on energy bills, as well as the security of a home warranty, new appliances, and structural integrity that will not require the cost of replacement any time soon!

If you’re dreading another long, cold winter and the rising cost of heating bills, talk to us at McGuinn Homes. We have new home communities, including quick move-in homes, throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area, and can also build on your lot.

Tips for hosting your first holiday

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 19, 2017

Hosting Holiday Parties

The holiday gathering is coming—soon. Are you in charge of the get-together? Whether it’s your first time or it’s been awhile, you can reduce the stress by staying organized. Here are some tips for hosting your first holiday.

Do a head count

Yes, it seems like an obvious detail, but some people don’t pay enough attention to this critical point. The number of guests affects how you handle the seating, serving, and quantity of food. Knowing dietary restrictions—like diabetic, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan—helps you plan a menu that includes items for every guest. You also should know how many children will be attending, and their ages, so you can accommodate their needs, including beverages.

Create the menu—and stick with it

Are you planning a traditional dinner or introducing a new take on the holiday meal? Don’t feel you have to stick to “what we’ve always done”. Even if you want to prepare a traditional feast, try adding new holiday recipes, whether it’s an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. Take a different approach on a conventional holiday dish, like the stuffing or vegetables. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a piecaken, with layers of pie and cake in one devilish dessert.

Once you have chosen your holiday menu, don’t let yourself be diverted by recipes you see on television, online, or in magazines. The distraction will only elevate your stress with confusion.

Write a detailed menu and post it on your refrigerator as a steady reminder. Keep a grocery list on your phone so that you can pick them up when you see them on sale.

Decide on your party floor plan

Your day-to-day interior layout can be changed to accommodate your party plans. Whether you need to set up a buffet for a large crowd or make room for overnight guests, look objectively at your spaces. Shop the rooms of your house to look for furnishings that can be repurposed for holiday entertaining.

Prepare a schedule

Give yourself the luxury of staying on track by mapping out the holiday preparation schedule, day by day, leading up to the celebration. For Christmas day, make an hourly schedule so that your dinner’s menu items are ready at the desired time. Make a list of the cooking temperatures and times so that you know what goes into the oven and when.

Get a head start

There are many chores on your Holiday To Do that can be completed in advance of your holiday party. Set the table and cover it with a cloth or clean sheet. Prepare casseroles and refrigerate or freeze them, depending on when you are going to serve. Wash your linens and holiday serving ware, and keep it tucked away where it will stay clean until you need it.

If you’re giving gifts to your guests, make sure everything is wrapped and ready to share. It’s also a good idea to have a few generic gifts ready for those unexpected visitors. A bottle of wine, box of fine chocolates, a gift bag with something decorative or scented, or a gift card is always a welcome gift.

Be your own DJ

Music is often overlooked, but a steady song stream enhances the ambience. You can build a playlist to play continuously throughout the holiday. If you have a personal digital assistant (Siri, Alexa, Google Home), you can simply ask for holiday songs.

It’s holiday time—festive and fun

Don’t let details and deadlines create unnecessary stress. From everyone at McGuinn Homes we hope your holiday entertaining is a success, and you can enjoy lasting traditions, start new ones, and create lasting memories. In the year ahead, if you’re ready to make the move to a new home to host more holidays, talk to us about in our new home communities, including quick move-in homes, throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area. Contact us to learn more!

Homemade holidays: DIY decorations

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 6, 2017

Holiday decorating can be fun, if you let it. You don’t need to spend outrageous amounts of money to purchase sparkling new decorations for your home. Instead, make your own! There are so many readily available supplies and ideas (thank you, Pinterest!) that you can craft your own homemade holidays.

Here are some easy projects that produce eye-catching results.

Gift-wrap your wall art

Surround yourself with the beauty of festive wrap, ribbons, and bows. Take down your framed artwork and wrap it up like a gift. Then place it back on the wall. If you have young children, give them a roll of plain paper and let them put their artistic talent to work with handprints, drawings, and maybe even a list to Santa. Use that artwork to wrap up and re-display your wall art over the holidays, or to cover a door.

Light up your glassware

Fill mason jars, wine bottles, stemware, and other glassware with miniature lights. You can create a centerpiece by placing them in a wreath or garland on the table. This soft light is a wonderful way to add a decorative touch to any space in your home, including your powder room and foyer.

You can also make a festive luminaria using just some mason jars, frosted glass spray paint, and adhesive letters or designs. Then add LED tea lights, which you can buy in bulk at a dollar store!

Fill ‘er up

Purchase clear ornaments (plastic or glass), remove the top with the hanger and fill them with anything that is meaningful to you. You can start with fake snow and draw on a snowman’s face, or stuff the ornaments with colored paper shred that is used in gift baskets. Sprinkle with glitter, if you like. Do you have children who love Lego? Put some blocks in a ball. Use anything that will fit into the ornament’s opening: jingle bells, crystal beads, pom-poms, and even tiny marshmallows or colorful cereal! Or how about a hot cocoa ornament?

Hang your ornaments differently

Those colorful, sparkling holiday ornaments can go more places than on your tree. Hot glue an assortment to a wreath or craft an ornament topiary. Hang them from an empty picture frame. If you don’t have any frames, visit your local thrift shop to find affordable frames, then spray paint the frame in your favorite holiday color. Fill a large jar, bowl, or hurricane lamp with an assortment of ornaments in different sizes and the color palette you choose.

Recycle your literary genius

Here’s an idea for the book lover. Remove pages from books that you no longer want, or purchase them from a thrift shop or library. Tear the pages into small pieces and decoupage them on a plastic ornament. Embellish with raffia or holiday tags. You can also print out maps and decoupage them to make ornaments that showcase special places in your life.

Once you get the hang of ripping pages from a book (and it can be hard for a book-lover), you can repurpose the paper and make a leaf wreath or “well-read wreath”.

Here are some simple DIY holiday decorations you can craft with supplies from your local craft or dollar store!

Turn your creative endeavor into a festive event by bringing together friends and family

Set out the supplies and instructions for each project and let your guests pick and choose. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish with a little glue and creativity!

If all this holiday spirit sparks your wish for a new home to decorate, please talk to us at McGuinn Homes. We build new home communities throughout the Midlands and surrounding areas. If you plan to move soon, check out our quick move-in homes.

Happy holidays from McGuinn Homes!

How to thrive in the season of giving

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying, Homeowner tips, Hybrid Home | Posted: November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving is done for this year. I hope you have some good memories and didn’t add too much to your waistline with all the feasting.

Now that we’ve had that day to reflect and give thanks, we launch right into the season of giving. Before you forget all the kindness and good thoughts that were shared at the Thanksgiving table, think about what the weeks ahead really mean. You don’t need to wipe out your bank account to pay for lavish gifts, or even moderate gifts to a lengthy list. Slow down and make this year one where giving comes from the heart, not the wallet. Be kind to yourself, as well as others. Do some things for yourself so you don’t become exhausted before the big day arrives and your home is flooded with guests and all the activity that comes with it.

At this point, you’ve survived Black Friday, perhaps supported Small Business Saturday, and found some online deals on CyberMonday. Here are some tips for not just surviving the holidays, but thriving!

Give in a different way.

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday was created to kick off the charitable season at the end of the year. The organization’s website offers a wide variety of ideas for giving back to a charitable cause. Make a contribution or volunteer your time—or both. You can do it on behalf of someone on your list and let them know how you’ve chosen to “give” this year.

Haiti Children’s Project

At McGuinn Homes, we continue to support Haiti Children Project—Next Generation Program. This charitable organization was started by Wade and Janet McGuinn after they traveled to Haiti on a mission trip in 2003. This group actively raises money to pay for Haitian children’s education, as a means to steer them out of poverty.

Learn more about this great cause: www.haitichildrenproject.org

Give yourself the gift of a home makeover.

Another way to enjoy the season of giving is by sprucing up your home. A little makeover, de-cluttering, and repair can do wonders to your spirit! After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors over the coming winter, so make your space a home sweet home for the holidays and beyond.

While you’re adding festive decorations to your home or maybe moving furniture around to make room for a tree or a gathering, take it a step further. Pick a space and do a room makeover. You can shop from your own home to find furnishings that will refresh this space. Change the window treatments and light fixtures. Add a new area rug. Replace the wall art. Consider this a gift that no one else could give you!

Rethink your giving process.

It can be exhausting—physically, emotionally, and financially—to shop for everyone on your list. Make this the year you shop differently. Ask yourself why you’re buying a gift for someone on your list. Is it kindness, a show of love, or an obligation? Each one has a different shopping purpose. When you can categorize the gifting objective, you can shop for one group at a time.

Consider paring down that list and finding different ways to give.

  • Give an experience, like a gift certificate to try a new hobby or activity. Make it a two-for-one deal so you can go along! Check out Groupon for ideas.
  • Donate to a charity that matters to you, in the name of your gift recipient.
  • Give of yourself. Offer to share your talent, skill, or time. You can offer to give busy parents a night to themselves by watching their kids. Bring someone a fully catered meal you have prepared. Teach someone who is interested in learning your craft. You can create your own redeemable vouchers and wrap them up in a box.

Complete a home maintenance checklist.

Plan some time this season to make sure your home is safe and comfortable. You can avoid repairs later by spending some quality time with your home right now.

  1. Start by having your chimney cleaned and inspected before you use it for the season. Creosote can quickly build up inside your chimney and it’s highly flammable.
  2. Check your doors, windows, and any areas that expose your home to the outdoors. Look for cracks and caulk them to prevent drafts.
  3. Inspect your roof and repair or replace any damaged shingles. The dead of winter is a terrible time to suffer through roof repair!
  4. Have your furnace serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently so you can avoid higher fuel bills than necessary.
  5. Check your home’s insulation (e.g., attic, pipes)

If all the prep you’re doing is prompting you to think that a new home is in your future, McGuinn Homes can help. We build throughout the Columbia, South Carolina region. Contact us to learn about our quick move-in homes, new home communities, and floor plans.

Bring the change of seasons indoors

Categories: Buying a New Home, Homeowner tips | Posted: November 7, 2017

Daylight savings time has ended for this year. Yes, we gained the hour we lost back in March, but in return, the days get shorter, the air grows colder, and here in Columbia, South Carolina, thoughts are turning to heading back inside.

Bringing the Outside, In

That doesn’t mean we have to abandon our enjoyment of the great outdoors. Just bring it inside with you. There are many ways to bring the change of season indoors. Here are just few ideas for using natural elements in your fall and winter décor.

  • Pumpkins and gourds are plentiful. Hollow them out and insert a potted plant, like mums. Use smaller pumpkins and gourds in a mix of colors as a seasonal centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table, or the fireplace hearth or mantle.
  • Gather long, narrow twigs and place them in a tall container. Add a splash of colorful branches, like bittersweet, or even a string of battery-operated mini-lights.
  • If you’ve been lucky enough to have hydrangeas in your garden, gather up the blooms before they wither, and dry them out. You can even retain the color if you dry them correctly. Use your dried hydrangea blossoms as a floral decoration or make a wreath.
  • Collect pinecones and dip them in melted wax that is scented with essential oils (like cinnamon) to make fragrant fire starters to use all winter.
  • Convert a log into natural décor by slicing it into segments of varying heights. Use a wood-boring drill to make a hole and create a set of tree stump candle holders.

Using your Kitchen to Create Fall Scents

  • Were you a bit over-zealous with your apple-picking? Slice and dry them, adding the wonderful fragrances of cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Make a wreath, add them to a garland, or craft ornaments.
  • Create a simmering potpourri of your favorite fragrances and let them fill your home with seasonal scents. Add fresh pine needles to enjoy that pleasant aroma, too.
  • From spiced cider and soups to savory soups and stews, a slow cooker lets you take it easy in the kitchen while preparing tasty treats.

Harvest Glenn’s Popular Floor Plan

In a home like the Edisto, you can bring these decorating ideas inside to your foyer and throughout the open floor plan, as well as add curb appeal to your covered front porch. But don’t forget to include these fragrant accents to areas like the bedrooms and bathrooms, too.

Find Your Perfect Fall Home

McGuinn Homes wants you to enjoy the months ahead, no matter what the weather brings. When you’re ready to make your move to a new home, consider one of our hybrid homes in the Columbia region that provide you with comfort, style, and energy-efficiency. Contact McGuinn Homes to learn more.

Tips for the Perfect Halloween

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: October 31, 2017

Whether you’ve just moved in to your new home or are looking to take on your annual spooky celebrations, we’ve collected our favorite tips for having your best Halloween yet.

Set the Stage

It all starts at home! Before you head out with your children (or get ready to welcome wandering trick-or-treaters to your own home), make sure you’re giving off the perfect vibe.

The first place to start? Your front porch! The entrance to your home, this will set the tone for all visitors. Try out one of these ideas for decorating your front porch:

  • For a twist on the typical carved pumpkin, try creating a pumpkin vase! Start by carving out the inside of your pumpkin as if you were going to carve a Jack-o-Lantern. Then, pour in some potting soil and plant in some flowers!
  • Or, try painting pumpkins! Stick with typical spooky silhouettes, or paint them with patterns, your monogram, or simply one solid color.
  • Pick up witch hats and small bats from your local Halloween pop-up or dollar store, then use fishing line to string them across your porch for an eerie, floating vibe.
  • Store your candy in a cauldron for a simple yet decorative way for trick-or-treaters to scoop up their treats.

Stay Safe on the Streets

While escorting your children on their trick-or-treating adventure, there are just a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Decorate costumes with reflective tape or stickers so your children don’t disappear in the dark and can be easily seen by passing cars
  • Remind children to always walk on sidewalks and check both ways before crossing the street
  • When driving, drive slowly and keep an eye on your surroundings

And even if you aren’t trick-or-treating, be sure to keep your eyes out if you’re out and about between 5:30 – 9:30 P.M. These are the prime hours for trick-or-treaters.

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project

Ever seen those painted blue pumpkins on people’s doorsteps? There’s actually a hidden meaning behind them!

Called the Teal Pumpkin Project, these blueish pumpkins are meant for raising awareness for food allergies. The color of food allergy awareness, placing teal pumpkins on your doorstep originated in Tennessee and launched as a national campaign in 2014. The end goal? Making sure all trick-or-treaters are included in this Halloween tradition.

So how can you participate in the project? Simple! Here are a few steps to get started:

  • Provide non-food options for trick-or-treaters.
  • Place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to indicate you have non-food options available.
  • Display a free printable poster or flyer from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to explain the meaning of the pumpkin.
  • You can absolutely still pass out candy – just keep the candy and non-food items in separate bowls (or cauldrons).

Non-food options are an incredibly affordable option – think inexpensive items like glow bracelets, pencils, or stickers.

Visit a Halloween Event

Of course, Halloween isn’t just about those trick-or-treaters! There are plenty of events in the Columbia, SC area perfect for families of all sizes to visit during this spooky season.

Here’s just a taste of the many local events available:

  • Visit the American Farmer corn maze at Clinton Sease Farms. Tickets cost $12, with children 2 or under able to get in for free.
  • Check out the free Scarecrows in the Garden exhibit at the Gardens of the Robert Mills House! Handcrafted by local families, businesses, organizations, and classrooms, these scarecrows are all unique and range from historic to ghoulish to simply charming.
  • Need a corn maze perfect for pint-sized children? Try the one at Wingard’s Nursery and Garden Center! Only $3 per ticket, this corn maze offers children the chance to explore the maze and win a pumpkin at the very end. Tickets must be purchased in the Fresh Produce Market at Wingard’s.

Of course, this is only a taste of all the events available! Check around your local area for more fun autumn happenings to head to this Halloween season.

Bring Halloween to the Kitchen

Don’t just snack on candy this season – there are plenty of other spooky treats to munch on while waiting for trick-or-treaters to stop by.

Even better, turn cooking into a fun family activity! Host a caramel apple decorating contest, for example. Hand out prizes for the most creative or the most hilarious apple before digging into all the sweet goodness.

Or, turn on the oven and whip up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes. And no, we aren’t just talking about pumpkin flavoring. Go crazy with the orange icing and make the perfect pumpkin topper! Even better, use icing to create Jack-o-Lantern faces for each cupcake.

Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes? Share them with us on Facebook! We love to see what our residents are cooking up.

Have Fun!

Most important of all, make sure you’re having fun! Whether you’re out wandering from house to house with your children, waiting to see all the adorable costumes in your own neighborhood, or heading out to an event as a couple, you’re sure to have a blast.

Happy Halloween from McGuinn Hybrid Homes!

Breaking Down Energy Efficiency Terms

Categories: Buying a New Home, Energy Efficient, Homeowner tips, Hybrid Home | Posted: September 19, 2017

Energy Terms

Going Green and Energy Efficiency

In your home buying search, you’ve probably come across the “green” trend. Going green, hybrid homes, energy efficient – these terms are everywhere, but what do they actually mean?

Much of the energy in the U.S. is wasted in transmission, heat loss, and inefficient technology – costing you money and worsening the environment. Builders constantly advertise that they are energy efficient or use green building standards, but they don’t always go into details.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the most popular energy-efficient terms here so you can decode what a builder means when they list out all their features.

Air Sealant

To reduce the amount of air leaking into or out of your home, you can use an air sealant. Air leakage happens when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your home through unsecured cracks or openings. To reduce this happening, a spray sealant can be applied to unsealed areas. At McGuinn, we apply this sealant around window and door frames, exterior framing, attic stairs, knee walls, as well as any exterior utility penetrations.

CFL Bulbs

Electric lighting accounts for up to 25% of a home’s total energy budget. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL bulbs) are miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents that work with standard light sockets, allowing them to give off light similar to the common incandescent bulb. The benefit? CFL bulbs are four times more efficient and last ten times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Although initially more expensive to install, a CFL bulb will end up using less than a third of the energy – saving you money on energy bills.

Energy Star Certification

This one appears everywhere! You’ll often see homebuilders touting their “Energy Star” ratings – we do it too. If an appliance is Energy Star Certified, that means it is a government-backed certification identifying it as a quality choice for energy efficiency. If a home earns the Energy Star, it’s 15%-30% more efficient than the typical new home. With either, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be saving money on utility costs while also benefiting our environment.

House Wrap

It may sound like a diner sandwich, but it’s actually a space-age synthetic material that helps keep your house dry and insulted! Acting as a water-resistant barrier, house wrap works with other insulting measures to keep your home safe and temperature-controlled. Overall, this contributes to lowering energy costs by helping your AC system to work more efficiently – without worrying about air seeping through the cracks.

Hybrid Homes

Hybrid homes are designed with the environment in mind. A hybrid home focuses purely on the sections of the home that will offer the most in savings and energy efficiency, without wasting money on the sections that won’t have much impact.

Low-E Windows

Often used when describing windows, the “E” here stands for emissive. A Low-E window is one that is treated with a low-emissive coating, allowing it reduce energy consumption, decrease fabric fading, and increase the overall comfort inside your home. A Low-E window helps reflect heat and can actually help reduce energy loss by as much as 30%-50%!

Low-flow or Low-flush Plumbing

Toilets alone are responsible for about 40% of water use in a home, and in older models, as much as six gallons of water is used for each flush! If a plumbing fixture is classified as low-flow or low-flush, it’s been proven to reduce the amount of water released when used. Not only does this save money on your water bill, but it also reduces the amount of water normally wasted.

Low-VOC Paint

We’ve all heard of lead paint, but what about volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? For years after application, paints and finishes have been releasing low-level toxic emissions. A Low-VOC paint is not only more cost-effective, but it also is less harmful to both your family’s health and the environment.

Radiant Barrier Sheathing

Installed in the attic, radiant barrier sheathing reflects up to 97% of the sun’s heat, allowing your home to stay cooler. In some cases, the attic temperature reduced as much as thirty degrees due to the sheathing! Radiant barrier sheathing in your new home saves money on energy costs, makes attic ductwork more efficient, and prolongs the life of your AC system.

R-Value Wall Insulation

When talking about home insulation, the R-Value measures the resistance to the flow of heat into or out of the home. The higher the R-Value, the better it insulates. The better the insulation, the cooler your home will be in the summer and the warmer it will be in the winter. We use high R-Value wall and ceiling insulation to ensure your home is prepared for any weather.

SEER Air Conditioners

In AC terms, the higher rated a system, the less power it uses. Standing for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER simply measures the ratio of cooling capacity as compared to the power used to do so. It all boils down to this: the higher the rating, the more bang for your energy buck. Our homes use 14-SEER Efficient AC Systems, which meets the EPA standards set in 2015.

Tankless Gas Water Heaters

With a life expectancy of 20 years, tankless gas water heaters last much longer than any conventional water-heater model. Save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of a tankless model with a heater that only heats water when you need it. Bonus: the risk of tank leaks and water damage is no longer an issue.

The Takeaway

Of course, these are only a few of the energy efficiency terms in play in the world today! Each builder handles energy efficiency uniquely, and we encourage you to ask each builder what makes them different. Here are just a few of the items we offer that weren’t already mentioned in this post:

  • Programmable thermostats
  • Use of natural gas heat
  • Engineered roofing systems
  • Low-maintenance vinyl siding

If you have questions on how a McGuinn Hybrid Home uniquely serves your energy efficient needs, please feel free to contact us!