Friday, November 21, 2014

Remodeling Trends

This week we focused on remodeling trends.  As more homeowner's opt to stay in their homes we share what they invest in.

Monday was feature walls. All you need is one fabulous feature wall to make a statement.

This wall certainly makes a statement! Created by paneling with oak ship lap boards and painted in a 5-step process by a local artist. Designer, Julie O'Brien of Julie O'Brien Design; Architect, Helman Sechrist Architecture; Remodeling by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Tuesday was tile that look like hardwood. The look of wood floors in a home is very popular and tile that looks like hardwood is a budget-friendly alternative.

This particular tile is COBSA Albero 4 6x24 in Doma Gray. Designer, Julie O'Brien of Julie O'Brien Design; Architect, Helman Sechrist Architecture; Remodeling by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Wednesday was statement light fixtures. With more and more homeowner's opting to install recessed light fixtures we are seeing less decorative fixtures. Homeowner's are opting to invest in one or two statement fixtures.

While the rest of the kitchen is lit with recessed lighting, the homeowner opted to place two beautiful chandeliers over the over-sized kitchen island. Kitchen by Hoosier House Furnishings, LLC,; architect, Phil Jenkins of Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.,; remodeling by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Thursday was changing footprints. Changing the layout of the interior is becoming increasingly popular as homeowner's opt to change their homes to meet with the way they live.

This homeowner worked with the Architect, Phil Jenkins of Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. over several years to revamp the layout of their first floor. Above are photos of where once was the family room is now the kitchen. Kitchen by Ayr Custom Cabinetry; architect, Phil Jenkins of Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc., remodeling by Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc.

Friday was additions. Maybe you just need a little more room, a new child is on the way, a child or parent is moving back in or you always wanted a sunroom, there are multitude of reasons for an addition. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. has seen an uptick in owner's adding on.

When you have a home that has a park-like setting what better way to enjoy it then sitting by the fire in your very own sunroom?  The owner of this home chose Martin Brothers to construct a brand new sunroom complete with a beautiful fieldstone fireplace and a gorgeous full wall of Andersen windows. The ceiling boasts glass panels to open the room even further.

In addition to custom home building, Martin Brothers provides a full-line of remodeling services. We offer:

  • Additions
  • Whole House Renovations
  • Basement Finishing
  • Kitchen and Bath Remodeling
  • Exterior Renovations
  • General Remodeling
  • Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist
  • Certified Lead Renovator

With every remodeling project we complete, we consider it a privilege to work closely with our homeowners. We understand that this process is sometimes a stressful venture so we have a top-notch project management team in place to provide our clients with a stress-free experience. From design to completion of the project, we are committed to providing our clients with a personalized, five-star experience.

Licensed in the State of Michigan, we serve an area within a one hour radius of our rural Goshen, Indiana address. If you are looking to remodel a home, we invite you call us at 574-862-2142 to discuss the Martin Brothers difference

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Tribute to our Veterans

The American Anthem
by Norah Jones

All we've been given by those who came before. The dream of a nation where freedom would endure. The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day

What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? Let them say of me, I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through; America, America, I gave my best to you.

Each generation from the plains, to distant shore; with the gifts they were given were determined to leave more. Battles fought together, acts of conscience fought alone. These are the seeds from which America has grown.

Let them say of me I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart
When my days are through; America, America, I gave my best to you.

For those who think they have nothing to share. Who fear in their hearts there is no hero there. Know each quiet act of dignity is that which fortifies the soul of a nation that never dies.

Let them say of me I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through; America, America, I gave my best to you.

America, America, I gave my best to you.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. honors all Veterans today and thanks them for their service to our great nation.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Great Cabinet Design Begins at the Door.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. has been focusing on great cabinetry design features on Facebook this week, so we thought we would tackle cabinet door styles in our blog. The cabinet door style you choose can be one of the most important factors in your kitchen's new design. Cabinet doors are one of the most visible design elements in a kitchen from elaborate to simple, there's a door style for every home design. We take a look at eight door styles that are popular with custom home buyers; perhaps one will work for your home’s style.

Shaker. Shaker-style cabinet doors are the most common door style in kitchens today. This five-piece flat-panel style has a frame made from four pieces and a single flat center panel for the fifth piece.

Shaker cabinetry gets its name from the distinctive Shaker furniture style, which uses simple, clean lines and emphasizes utility. We see Shaker style cabinetry most often in basements and laundry rooms.

Shaker style cabinetry in a finished basement
Flat paneled maple custom cabinetry

Flat Panel. Simple but stylish, the flat-panel cabinet door is void of any expensive details. Its hard lines and minimalist form make it a great fit for contemporary and modern interiors. Many flat doors come in decorative laminate or wood.

InsetAlthough this style tends to be one of the most expensive on the market, it's a classic look that'll last for generations. The inset door gets its name because it is set inside of the cabinet frame — typical cabinet doors rest on the outside of the frame. The door is designed and constructed with extremely precise measurements so that it nests inside the frame and opens and closes properly, even when the wood expands and contracts.

Inset cabinetry in custom built lake home

Distressed cabinetry in custom luxury home

Distressed.    Do you like the antique look of handscraped, hand rubbed cabinets? Then you like the distressed look. Choose any door style and opt to have the corners rubbed off or have other distressing techniques done for that age-old feeling. 

Beadboard.    Love cottage style? It doesn't get more cottage chic than beadboard. The center panels of the cabinet doors in this style are made to look like traditional beadboard paneling. Beadboard is commonly used in lake homes as wainscot in kitchens, baths and living areas.

Painted black beadboard cabinetry in a custom lake home
Raised panel cabinetry in a remodeled home

Raised Panel. Raised panel doors have a decorative panel either routed into a door panel or inserted into the frame of a door.

Glass. Opt for glass-door cabinets to give a lighter and more open feel than cabinets with solid doors.

Glass front cabinetry in a custom lake home

Glass & fabric insert in custom pantry door

Unique Materials. For a unique look, you can create cabinet door inserts using unique materials like louvered panels, hole caning, patterned tin, wire grating or fabric.

Whether it’s remodeling a kitchen or your building a new home, Martin Brothers is there to serve. Contact us today at 574-862-2142 or 877-862-2142. You can also find us on the web at

Thursday, October 30, 2014

We're Fallin' Back & Learning About Fire Safety!

This precious angel had fire safety day at preschool this week. According to her mom they got a full on fire lesson at dinner.  She said

“We had to check for ‘smokin' things’ (smoke detectors)
We ‘never go back to get our blankies’
We ’don't hide from firefighters in masks’
‘There are two ways to get out, windows and doors!’
She even got on the floor and showed us how to stop drop and roll (with hands over our face so our eyes don't burn)”

Such great tips from a three year old!

The timing of this angel's story is perfect for us to remind our readers that as we set back our clocks one hour this weekend (EST), that we also must change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Home fire safety is so important, even our little ones know! For our homeowner's protection we recommend that they have the latest "smokin things" (smoke detectors) and fire extinguishers in their homes. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. leaves you with these statistics from the National Fire Protection Association showing you why.

Home fires
  • In 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to 370,000 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,910 civilian injuries, 2,520 civilian deaths, $6.9 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people died in U.S. home fires per day from 2007 to 2011.
  • Cooking is the leading cause home fires and home fire injuries, followed heating equipment.
  • Smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2012, 8 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 44 deaths.

 Smoke alarms
  • Almost three of five (60%) of reported home fire deaths in 2007 to 2011 resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.

Escape Planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
  • One-third (32%) of respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

  • U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in 34% of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for the 57% of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than being burned in a cooking fire.
  • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries not related to fires. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, two out of five of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2011 were scald burns.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.

  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.
  • Fixed or portable space heaters are involved in about 4 out of 5 heating fire deaths.
  • Smoking materials
  • During 2007-2011 smoking materials caused an estimated 17,900 home structure fires, resulting in 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage, per year.
  • Sleep was a factor in 31% of the home smoking material fire deaths.
  • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in one in five (18%) of home smoking fire deaths.
  • In recent years, Canada and the United States have required that all cigarettes sold must be "fire safe," that is have reduced ignition strength and less likely to start fires.

  • About half (48%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.
  • Electrical failure or malfunctions caused an average of almost 48,000 home fires per year, resulting in roughly 450 deaths and nearly $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

  • During 2007-2011 candles caused 3% of home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries and 6% of direct property damage from home fires.
  • On average, there are 32 home candle fires reported per day.
  • More than one-third of these fires (36%) started in the bedroom; however, the candle industry found that only 13% of candle users burn candles in the bedroom most often.
  • Nearly three in five candle fires (56%) start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Let Your Fireplace Become A Hazard!

Once a year, Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. strongly recommends that their homeowner’s have the wood-burning fireplaces in their homes inspected and have chimneys swept by a licensed chimney sweep. The chimney sweep will not only clean the chimney of built-up creosote but will alert you to defects in the flue or firebox that can be downright dangerous.

Bad things that can happen with a malfunctioning fireplace — the worst being a chimney fire that can spread to the roof structure, causing major damage.

Here’s a list of things a good chimney sweep will inspect:
  • They should check that there is a cap with a screen on the chimney to prevent rain or snow
    from coming down the chimney and to prevent birds or other critters from nesting there.
  • He or she will look at the condition of the bricks and mortar. It’s possible the bricks exposed to the weather need to be reset or the mortar needs repointing. (A mason will need to handle this repair.)
  • The sweep will check out the flue liner and note excessive creosote buildup or cracked flue tiles. If the chimney hasn’t been swept recently, he or she will recommend that it be cleaned before starting your first fire of the season. The leading cause of fires from wood-burning fireplaces is partially burned fuel (creosote) deposited on the walls of the chimney flue.
  • If the fireplace has glass doors, the sweep should inspect the gasket material around the door opening. Defective gaskets should be replaced to ensure proper operation of the fireplace. This is especially important if you have an insert, which is meant to be airtight. If an airtight fireplace is operated without these gaskets effectively sealing the openings, excess air can leak into the firebox creating an over fire condition, which may permanently damage the fireplace.
  • If your fireplace is equipped with a blower, the sweep should service it. These blowers do not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair on the blower. Excessive dirt will shorten the life of the blower and may be a fire hazard.
  • The inspection may reveal broken or deteriorated brick lining in the firebox. Replacement of the damaged bricks may or may not be necessary depending on the severity. (A mason will need to handle any repairs to the brick lining.)

When the fireplace inspection is done and the chimney is swept, there is one final task for you to perform. Test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home to ensure that they are operating properly.

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. is a true custom home builder specializing in luxury new home construction. We have been building homes in the Michiana area since 1965. Since that time, we have never built the same home twice. We serve an area within a 50 mile radius of our company’s rural Goshen, Indiana location. We build mid to large custom homes and estates with intense focus on quality of construction, craftsmanship and materials. 

Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. offers dedicated project management on your site to ensure quality, as well as personalized attention to your input, questions and satisfaction. As a client you will be kept informed from beginning to end with clear, scheduled construction meetings and financial reports. 

Your project reflects the shared vision of you and your architect. Martin Bros. Contracting, Inc. will help you realize your vision with clear communication between you, your architects and designers, and the Martin Brothers team of construction professionals. We look forward to building your new home!