How to: Walk Through a Model Home

Model homes are a great way to see what your builder can do for you. But buyer beware: All builders are not created equally. While a model home might be beautifully decorated, you’ll need to look deeper if you really want to assess the builder’s quality and commitment to detail. Before you visit any model homes, make sure you have the process down:

Step One: Take a Ton of Pictures

Don’t worry, builders are used to it: Pictures help you recall details and make sure you remember which builder you liked best. Start by taking a shot of the home exterior, making sure to get a builder logo in the picture so you don’t forget which home was which. Then, take plenty of pics as you walk through.

Step Two: Check Out Finish Quality

Almost all model homes will be perfectly decorated, but look past those decorative touches to the actual finish work. How does the crown molding look? Do all the doors line up? How do you like the finish work and fixtures? This says a lot about a builder’s quality – not the color of paint on the walls.

Step Three: Ask What Comes Standard

You’ll have a Realtor nearby, so take advantage and ask about standard and upgraded options. Model homes are often build with top-of-the-line upgrades, so you’ll need to know which features cost extra to get a more realistic picture of what a basic home will look like.

Step Four: Consider Your Stuff

Sure, the model home is packed with amazing furniture – but it’s not yours. Before you swoon over that coral couch, consider the home with your furniture inside. Unless you plan on purchasing an entirely furnished home, you’ll be moving your things in.

Step Five: Check Out the Neighborhood

Considering a move to a new development? Check out the rest of the neighborhood before you’re done your model home tour. You might be able to see some of the finished homes and how they’ve turned out in “real life” before you make your final decision. Builders want to put their best feet forward, which is why model homes are more than they seem. Look past the amazing furnishing and you’ll be able to determine quality, upgrades and how much you’ll really get for your money.

Excited to start shopping? Check out our model homes here.

4 Ways to Prep Your Landscaping When it’s Cold

Baby, it’s cold outside! Okay, it’s not too bad for a Utah winter, but cooler temps still leave us itching to get outside, plant flowers, mow the lawn, and do all that stuff that gives our homes major curb appeal. And while it might still be a little too cold to actually get planting, there’s no reason to swear off landscaping until May. Start now, and by the time April showers bring May flowers, you’ll be ready for them.

1. Make Some Plans

If it’s warm enough, head outside and take a survey of your property. What items need to be done this year? Are there landscaping repairs that need to be done? Checking out your grass, garden, and property can help you prep a budget and make plans for the spring.

2. Clear the Beds

The fall and winter have a way of clogging your gardens with twigs, leaves, and other debris, and the perfect time to clear is now. Clearing before shrubbery and flowers start to grow makes it easier to rake, pull, and otherwise prep your beds for planting in the spring. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that clearing out your beds makes your landscaping look better, too,

3. Trim Shrubs

Over the winter, your bushes and shrubs probably have grown a few inches. Now is the perfect time to bust out the garden shears and trim your shrubs back in preparation for the inevitable growth spurt come March and April. Tidy up your shrubs and you’ll be ready for sunnier days ahead.

4. Get Organized

After a few months of being in “survival mode,” your shed and garage are probably looking a little worse for the wear. Spring landscaping will be here before you know it, so get organized: Rotate out the snow shovels and snow blowers and replace them with rakes, your lawn mower, and gardening tools.

Why Your Home Designer Says “No”

While we definitely try and accommodate all of our homeowners, in an age of Pinterest and Houzz, sometimes an item on your wishlist simply isn’t feasible. Luckily, you’ll be working with a team of designers to create your dream home – inside and out – and you’ll have a combined 30 years of experience in your corner.

Occasionally, your designer might have to tell you “no” during the process, but we promise it’s for a  good reason! It’s why we work from a catalog of gorgeous home plans: They’re a jumping-off point for your own customized, safe, and happy home. Understanding why you might not be able to get everything you ask for is key to working with a qualified, experienced designer who is committed to building the best home possible.

1. It’s Against Code

Each city in Utah has a unique set of building codes by which any owner has to abide. Those codes govern everything from the color of your exterior to the size of house, where it sits on your lot, and the various components inside. Sometimes, a designer can’t give you certain features simply because it’s against what the city dictates.

2. It’s Not Applicable

If you saw a house that you love, but it’s on the Eastern seaboard, you should know that it’s a house built specifically for the climate and building codes there. If you don’t need a specific type of siding because of Utah’s climate, your designer will definitely let you know.

3. It’s Over Budget

A good designer always keeps your budget in mind, and certain features can push your budget higher. He or she might not be giving you an enormous fireplace simply because your budget doesn’t allow. Of course, you can always re-prioritize your budget to allow for upgrades and features, and your designer should be happy to accommodate the changes.

4. There’s a Better Solution

A designer has years of experience, so when you suggest a feature, material, or layout, he or she might be better able to give you what you want with your budget and for your family. After all, with years of designing homes specifically for families, your designer will have learned a thing or two about making sure your home is perfect for you – not for someone you found online.

Trust your designer and you’ll be able to cultivate a relationship that helps you get exactly what you want in the most economical, convenient, and stylish way.

Happy designing!

Common Bathroom Blunders to Avoid When Designing Your Home

We always say that the kitchen is the real heart of the home, but anyone who has survived with a less-than-functional bathroom can tell you that it can make all the difference in quality of life. Whether it’s too small, too big, lacks the components you want, or just has poor design overall, a bad bathroom can completely sour your morning. That’s why we work with our designers to create bathrooms that are as functional as they are beautiful. They know that you should always avoid these common bathroom blunders.

Skipping the Windows

You might think that going windowless means more privacy, but it can also mean a less functional bathroom. After all, natural light is ideal in bathrooms, which can sometimes feel dark and small. A few well-placed windows can give you the privacy you crave, but still let in the light.

A Bad Sightline

You never want the toilet to be the main feature of a bathroom, but it’s the first thing you see all too often in poorly-designed bathrooms. Make sure your designer tucks the toilet out of sight, whether it’s in a small room or behind a wall, so it’s not the first place your eyes go when you enter the bathroom.

Going Too Big

There can definitely be too much of a good thing when it comes to designing a bathroom. Bigger isn’t always better, especially because bathrooms are one of the more expensive parts of your home. Rather than focusing on square footage, focus on design: Talk to your designer about must-haves and make sure all the components fit in a way that makes sense to you, regardless of size.

Not Planning Ahead

Hey, you won’t be a spring chicken forever. That deep spa tub might be great for now, but if you’re planning on your “forever home,” you’ll need to plan for the future and ensure that your bathroom is as accessible in 30 years as it is right now. A separate tub and shower, for instance, can be a great compromise between the you of today, and the you of tomorrow.

Your kitchen might be the heart of your home, but the bathroom makes the most difference when it comes to livability. Make sure yours is designed perfectly for you – click here to get started on the ideal bathroom and home for your family.

How to: Define Spaces in an Open Concept Home

We love open concept homes: They’re bright, inviting, and offer tons of space. But they can come with one drawback, and that’s when it comes to defining spaces. After all, if your dining room, great room, and kitchen are all technically one big room, you might struggle with defining each. Luckily, we have some design hacks that make it super easy to easily create defined, yet open, spaces in your home.

Use Your Furniture

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If you’re worried about creating flow from your great room into your kitchen, try using your furniture as pseudo-walls. They’re much softer than putting up actual walls and screens, but a well-placed sofa table can clearly denote the difference between great room and a hall or dining room.

Add an Area Rug

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Area rugs are an inexpensive way to warm up your home decor while defining your spaces. A colorful rug placed under your dining room table can make all the difference, particularly if your dining room is in essentially in the same room as your kitchen.

Use Overhead Elements

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An oft-forgotten way to define floor space might actually be up in the air: Using pendant lighting and chandeliers can help show one part of the home as formal dining area versus a more casual breakfast nook. Be thoughtful about the type and location of your overhead lighting to really make each space pop.

Change the Flooring

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A change in flooring is a clear sign that one space is flowing into another. Having tile in the kitchen and beautiful hardwood or carpeting in your living area is a great way to break up the space without making your open concept home plan feel choppy or disjointed.

Open concepts are definitely the way of the future, as families simply live their lives together. What can we say? We definitely approve. By using clever design to define each space, you can have the best of both worlds: An open concept and great interior design.

This Just In: New Renderings for Future Projects

At Arive, we’re always looking to the future, so we’re proud to announce 3D renderings for some of our future products, planned for both Springville and Spanish Fork.

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The addition of 3D renderings makes it easier for our homeowners to envision the finished product and really make their home something unique. And we’re excited to begin offering more and more of these high-quality, 3D renderings in the future.

Using the latest in design software and techniques: It’s just another way that we set ourselves apart and make sure we’re consistently offering the best for our homeowners.