The Here, Now and Future of Smart Homes

Intrigued about a smart home? Do you want your new custom Florida home to be equipped with the latest remote-controlled, digital and electronic capabilities?

Smart homes are one of the hottest trends in the home-building industry, but like any trend, they come with many options, cautions and positives. The technology for smart homes evolves constantly, which means opting for one can be daunting.
What a smart home is
You probably know the term “smart phone,” right? Sometimes it may feel like all-purpose magic at your fingertips — a computer, search engine, camera, games, live streaming video — rather than a mere phone.

A […]

Why Having a Community Garden Can Be a Good Thing

Interested in founding a community garden or becoming involved in an existing one? It’s a great way to meet neighbors and new friends, plus grow your own salad ingredients!

But the community-garden concept is more layered than the actual gardening aspect — although that’s the reason most of us love dabbling in the dirt to begin with, right?

First, you must find the ideal location. Second, you must get all the necessary approvals, permitting and paperwork taken care of, if applicable. Third, you must prepare the site. And fourth, you must have enough support — meaning other equally enthusiastic gardeners — […]

ICI Homes Featured in St. Augustine Record – Home Designs for Aging in Place

Don Wilford, Northeast Florida division president of ICI Homes, said with the Baby Boomer generation so active in the new home market, it’s important for builders to give them options to suit their needs now and into the future. Those options can range from something as significant as an elevator to something as simple as a walk-in shower.
“We as a builder, maybe one out of five houses we’re doing something that makes their lives easier,” Wilford said. “Over the next few years, I think you’re going to see a lot of single-family homes that are going to have aging […]

Have Info, Will Buy: Millennials’ Influence on Homebuilding Industry

Over the last 100-plus years, each generation of U.S. home buyers has exhibited specific preferences and behaviors when buying and selling their homes. Millennials — generally thought of as folks who reached early adulthood in the early 2000s — are no different.

Like Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers before them, Millennials are shaped by the cultural, economic and political trends of their era. But, what are their tendencies when they enter the housing market?

We’ll give you a big hint: they’re not let’s-drive-around-and-see-what-we-see types. To them, serendipity happens only after extensive research.

Are these ironclad traits? Of course not; we’re all different […]

Things You Can Do in Today’s Smart Homes

So you’ve decided to go all-in with a new custom smart home, and you want to automate it like the alternate reality of your favorite science-fiction novel. Just think — inanimate objects will spring into action at the sound of your voice while a robot pours your morning coffee.

We wish, but it’s not quite yet so. Until science fiction truly becomes reality, you’ll have to continue to clean out your closets yourself. But here’s the takeaway: today’s home automation is muchfurther along than you might realize.

Depending how smart you’d like your new custom home to be, you can cue […]

What Millennials Seek in a Home Buying Experience, Part II

In Part I of our series on what Millennials seek in a home-buying experience, we discussed some non-interpersonal aspects of how this generation tends to pursue their daily lives and business.

If you need a reminder, Millennials are the youngest major generation in the U.S. They achieved early adulthood in the 2000s, and generally are in their 20s and 30s as we speak.

They’re also the largest sector of U.S., home buyers — 34 percent, according to a recent National Association of Realtors survey — so it’s wise for Millennial home buyers and homebuilding and real-estate pros to understand each other.

In […]

What Millennials Seek in a Home Buying Experience, Part I

Are you a prospective Millennial home buyer or know someone who is? In the U.S., Millennials are today’s youngest signature generation. Their spending power, cultural influence and priorities are impacting how many industries conduct business nowadays, and the home-building industry is no different.

Millennials, by definition, are those who began their early adult years in the 2000s. Think those with birthdays in the 1980s and the 1990s. Per a recent National Association of Realtors report, millennials now are the biggest home-buying group — a whopping 34 percent.

Let’s examine what we know about how Millennials approach buying a home. We at […]

Not a Fad: Community Gardening a Modern Tradition

If you’re settling into a new custom Florida home and would like to get your hands dirty — but not in your own backyard — consider becoming part of a community garden.

Here’s why: Florida homeowners tend to have swimming pools, hot tubs, summer kitchens, patios and terraces in their backyards. Lovely, flowering tropical shrubs placed by landscapers? Likely. An extensive vegetable garden? Unlikely.

Of course, the above is a generalization. People who love to garden will tend to fruitful pots of tomatoes and peppers on their patios, and sprawling summer squash and zucchini plants can masquerade as ground cover. But […]

Behind the Walls in Today’s Smart Homes

Since more of us than you’d think might have difficulty figuring out why we should want to remotely activate our washing machine via a command from our smart phone, let’s take a look behind the scenes at what makes smart homes, well, smart.

We see you, all you folks who admit you need the process broken down. It’s not necessarily easy!

Still, it’s “smart” to get acclimated to the smart home concept because it’s a future that’s here to stay in the home-building industry. We’re more digitally and remotely connected than ever as a society — social media, anyone? — and […]

Pluses and Minuses of Community Gardens, Part II

In Part I of our series on the pluses and minuses of community gardens, we discussed the positive reasons to participate in such an endeavor. The good far outweighs the bad, as referenced in a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

But, since nothing’s perfect, here are few potential negatives to guard against.
Don’t be exclusive
You know that “clique” thing that many of us endured in grade school? When we may not have been part of the “in” crowd at times? Oh, the perils, right?

But, like any group — formal or not — community gardeners […]