The Next Generation of Tech on the Job Site

It’s difficult to realize, but we are living in the future that so many science fiction films and books envisioned decades ago. To date humankind has successfully implemented life enhancing technologies like robotic protheticsstem cell therapy tissue regeneration, and 3D printed affordable housing. These and many other areas of research and technology are in their infancy now, but will enter the mainstream of our daily lives in the coming years. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, autonomous drones and vehicles, etc. will shake up many industries drastically, including the residential construction world. Check out these emerging technologies and their expected impact on the future of home building.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Perhaps our only exposure to AR thus far is Snapchat’s 3D face mapping and playful filters, or Pokemon Go, but the rapid expansion of AR/VR will allow us to see or experience anything through a virtual reality headset, and eventually through a tiny digital contact lens, including interior spaces like homes.

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A screenshot from an existing app called Building Conversation that imposes renderings over an iPad’s camera view. This is just the beginning of how AR will help us design and plan homes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/arc-by-building-conversation/id997440607?mt=8

During the planning phase, prospective home buyers will explore and walk through architectural renderings in a 3 dimensional field, allowing them to visualize and “feel” the design before it’s built. Once homes are under construction, omnidirectional cameras will likely be used to create 3D virtual representations of the progress, which can be examined with a VR/AR device. Imagine how much easier this will be for home buyers to check in on the status of their project, and to feel secure that progress is congruent with the plan and their wishes.

3D Laser Scanners

Laser scanning technology is already used to analyze material piles for estimation, and other measurement tasks. In the future this technology will be used to generate topographical maps and identify ideal siting for a home on a lot, in addition to providing real-time structural analysis. It is predicted that this technology will eventually replace building inspectors all together, as the computer integrated laser will gather and analyze more information than any human could.

Robots (AI)

The thought of robots on construction sites probably sounds scary and too sci-fi to be true, but construction labor bots probably won’t be humanoids, and will more likely look something like this:

Although labor robots will likely require human supervision and management (until AI advances further), they will undoubtedly reduce the number of people required to build a home, while increasing accuracy, time efficiency, and reducing waste.

Drones 2.0

Auto piloted worker drones on the job site will mark a tremendous improvement in efficiency and safety. Drones will be able to transport materials to the roof, apply spray on liquid and vapor barriers to external sheathing, and provide a vantage point from which to mount 3D laser scanners and VR integrated cameras. At Bost Homes we are currently using drones to inspect roofing and to assist in lot selection, clearing, house siting, and orientation. We are not alone; roughly 20% of builders report that they are experimenting with drones, and in the near future drones will be buzzing around construction sites performing tasks that are dangerous and time consuming for workers.

3D Printers

3D printers are incredible devices with the ability to quickly manufacture an increasing array of objects as the technology advances. It is predicted that by 2040, nearly every component of a constructed home will be printed on site to fit the architectural and engineered specifications perfectly. In 2014 a Chinese company made headlines by printing 10 tiny homes in 24 hours. They weren’t fully printed as one object, rather an amalgamation of large pieces joined together like a Lego set; each wall section was printed using a mix of recycled building materials and cement, making it a time and resource efficient method of building.

Considering the pace at which 3D printing has come to fruition, it’s not far fetched to say that we will be utilizing the technology on our jobsites within the decade.

Autonomous Trucks

Autonomous or self driving vehicles are already in preliminary trials, and it’s only a matter of time before we develop a self driving vehicle that is safer than a human driver. Once that happens, job site materials will be delivered by a computer driven truck, on time, and off loaded exactly where the project manager requests. For now, self driving vehicles use a combination of radar sensors and cameras to react to the traffic and roadways around them, but it’s not difficult to imagine a smart road system in the future, one where all vehicles on the road communicate with each other through a shared network embedded in the street.

New Paradigms in Lighting

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Multiple dimensions of light – overhead, recessed, inset, uplighting, and shaded – all contributing to the feel of a space. Image source: http://www.Lightology.com

Contemporary lighting design of late has drastically changed the ways we can illuminate our homes. The rapid expansion of LED and fiber optic technology has unveiled new possibilities, allowing multiple layers and types of light sources to be placed where traditionally a unidimensional approach would have sufficed. Now instead of having to design lighting around the bulky incandescent or halogen bulb, lighting designers are free to dream up wildly creative apparatuses that incorporate different sizes and colors of LEDs to achieve their vision.

This shift is allowing light to be focused onto task spaces without washing out other areas, while dimmed ambient lighting inconspicuously creates a mood. We can also add light to smaller places, and control color and functional “scenes” through home automation apps. Additionally, by leveraging fiber optics it is possible to collect and channel sunlight through walls, around corners, and into dark areas of your home. It’s arguably not practical for residential projects yet, but widespread fiber optic lighting in the future is feasible. Read below to find out more.

Tunable White

Tunable White is a fascinating LED technology that allows homeowners to dial in color tones of white light ranging from very warm 2000k, akin to firelight, to much cooler 6000k, reminiscent of sunlight, and everything in between. These tones can be selected independent of dimness and can be controlled by a touch remote or by 2 simple dimmers, one controlling tone and the other controlling brightness.

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The warm, soft glow of this master bath can be tuned to produce much brighter white light, i.e. for cleaning.

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The warm, soft glow of this master bath can be tuned to produce much brighter white light, i.e. for cleaning. Image source: http://www.Lightology.com

Tiny Lights

Tape LEDs and even fiber optics are allowing us to squeeze light into new spaces, such as small overhangs, cabinets, and drawers.

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Tape lights run above and beneath cabinets and ledges for an overall kitchen glow while recessed overhead lights provide focused lighting where it’s needed. Photos from an informative article on Lightology.com

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From the above kitchen, illuminated drawers.

Fiber Optic Day Lighting

We all know about solar tubes and skylights, but the Swedish company Parans is breaking new ground in natural lighting. The Parans Fiber Optic Skylight fills interior spaces with sunlight by utilizing solar collector lenses and optic cables that can run through walls, around corners, and into lighting fixtures. The fantastic implication of this technology is the possibility of collecting light from an exterior wall or roof and directing it through multiple floors of a building or home into a basement or interior room where there are no windows or possibilities for a skylight.

Parans developed a sun tracking collector device that focuses sunlight into optic cables. This video shows one of these devices, which is comprised of an army of lenses tracking a moving light source.

When tracking the sun, the lenses don’t noticeably move, and they use very little electricity to do so. It’s surprising how bright of light the Parans system can provide.

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Yep, that’s pure sunlight pouring through the ceiling. Image source: Parans Solar Lighting

At $7,500 for one collector and 33 ft. of optical cabling, it is definitely an expensive light fixture, but there are chandeliers that cost more and aren’t nearly as “green” – but it’s still hard to justify when thinking of how efficient LEDs are.

Contemporary Fixtures

Let’s close with some photos from one of our most recent home finishes. The client selected some very unique, contemporary fixtures that are too cool not to share!

Note: This is *in house* photography.

Tell us what you think.

Did you find this article enjoyable? Informative? Please let us know in the comments or by emailing marketing@bosthomes.com.

Craftsman Custom Home in Raleigh-Durham

Take a Video Tour of a Craftsman style Custom Home

Seven years after completion we visited our previous clients, the Duncan’s, to hear about their experience living in a Bost Custom Home and tour their house now that it has years of invested love. In this video Rex and Jim reflect on the design process and how the client’s lifestyle determined the design, functionality, and comfort of the home. The collaborative efforts between our design team and the Duncan’s resulted in a gorgeous estate that continues to accommodate their desire to entertain and host guests, and provide a refuge of comfort from day to day.

 

If you are interested in more information about Bost Homes and our building process, feel free to call us Monday through Friday at (919) 460-1983, email info@bosthomes.com, or visit BostHomes.com.

What were our Founding Fathers’ Homes Like?

Two hundred and forty years ago, the Declaration of Independence was passed by congress, which formally declared thirteen colonies independent and sovereign from their British rule. It is held that 56 delegates were present at the meeting of the Second Continental Congress when the Declaration was adopted.

What kind of homes did our founding fathers return to? British, French, Dutch, and German colonists brought to the New World their traditional architectural styles and building techniques, adapting them to the varying climates and native materials of the east coast. The results were practical and quintessential American homes, some of which are still standing. As our nation developed and prospered, so did our architecture. Let’s reflect on the establishment of our nation by celebrating the style of home our founding fathers might have lived in.

British New England Colonial (c. 1600s – 1740)

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Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington, Connecticut. c. 1720. Photo Credit: Staib/Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

English settlers of the New England colonies built rustic and pragmatic homes with architectural elements borrowed from medieval England, like diamond pane windows and steep pitched roofs. Initially they framed their homes out of timber which eventually transitioned to brick, especially further south. They often built two story homes around a central stone chimney in which the second floor protruded beyond the first with an overhang, a style sometimes called Garrison Colonial.

When families grew and needed to expand their dwellings, early colonists would build a lean-to addition on the back of the house called a saltbox roof. The saltbox roof got its name from its resemblance to traditional salt storage boxes that were hung by hearths to dry moisture out of salt and prevent caking.

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The Dagget Farmhouse built in Connecticut c. 1750, sporting a saltbox roof. Photo by Barry Winiker/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Cape Cod Colonial – Cape Cod Revival (c. 1600 – 1950)

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Photo Credit: Photo © 2005 Jupiterimages Corporation

As the name implies, this home style originated in Massachusetts and other Northeast colonies out of a need for efficient construction during short summers and easy heating in harsh winters. Cape Cod homes are simple in style, devoid of any exterior trim, details, or porches, but usually were sided with unpainted clapboard or shingles which adds to their charm. They were often single or one and a half story with a large central chimney and low ceilings for efficient heating. Steep roof pitches with little to no overhang helped shed heavy snow during New England winters.

Georgian Colonial (c. 1690s – 1780)

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The Josiah Dennis House, Massachusetts c. 1736 Photo License

At the time of the Declaration of Independence signing, Georgian architecture was hot in Britain and many prosperous colonists were pursuing the style for their homes as well. The origin of the style predates our founding fathers, stemming from Italian renaissance and classical Greek architecture. Georgian characteristics include a stately, symmetrical façade, paneled front door with ornate crown and flattened columns, twin chimneys, five over four window organization, and dentil molding.

Federal Architecture 1780 – 1830

America won the revolution and was developing its own architectural style. Federal architecture received its name from the time period in which it arose, which was indicative of a newly established federal government. The style emerged as a more ornate and embellished take on Georgian architecture and can be seen in many ‘traditional’ homes built today.

Federal architecture couples more curves to the square Georgian style, including oval windows, a semicircle fanlight window over the front door, arched recessed walls, and oval rooms. In fact, the White House began as a Georgian style structure but was later embellished with an elliptical portico and other Federal elements, as the style became the preferred architecture for most government buildings in Washington DC.

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This home we built includes many Federal architectural elements including dentil molding, oval windows, an arched dormer, and symmetry. c. 2006 – Bost Custom Homes

Tidewater Style (c. 1800 – 1890)

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Photo Credit: Photo © 2005 Jupiterimages Corporation

For early Americans in the non-air-conditioned South, the Tidewater home style would have been the norm, especially in humid coastal areas like Charleston and Savannah.  As their name implies, Tidewater homes were built on stilts to tolerate tidal flooding. They are characterized by second story living spaces, grand wrap around porches commonly on both floors, hipped low pitch roofs, and wide eaves.

The homes were designed to extend shade over the windows and keep the inhabitants cool. The over-sized hipped roof helped protect the home from heavy, sultry downpours, and shed the runoff away from the foundation of the home to limit excess water exposure.

Stately Living in Secluded Carolina Crossings

In the Triangle’s competitive residential real estate market, 2 to 6 acre homesites convenient to the area’s popular amenities are near unicorns. However, Magnolia Walk Developer’s new Chatham Co. development Carolina Crossings is filling that void with 26 stately homesites right in the epicenter between Chapel Hill, Cary, and Apex. Patrick O’Neal, owner of The Real Estate Company who is marketing Carolina Crossings, was the developer and seller for previous Chatham Co. development successes The Hills of Rosemont and Windy Hill. As was expected, interest in Carolina Crossings is growing fast; 10 of the 26 lots are currently under contract.

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between various desirable areas and attractions in the Triangle. Located off of highway 751, it is a short drive south from The Streets at Southpoint and is a 10-15 minute drive from Downtown Apex, Cary Park, and Farrington Point boat ramp on Jordan Lake. Carolina Crossings couples all this convenience to city amenities with secluded living around Jordan Lake’s beautifully wooded perimeter, making it the large lot estate neighborhood to know about in Chatham co.

Bost Custom Homes was the first member of the builder team to break ground on a home for the Fleetwood family, and both the builder and the Fleetwood’s are very excited to proceed on the project. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the News and Observer on the homestart:

“It is so hard to find a large property near Cary and Apex that is an acre-plus,” Dawn Fleetwood said. “I can’t wait to get in our new home at Carolina Crossings so we can have some space, a yard and the grandkids over to run around and play”

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The Fleetwood Residence

The Fleetwood’s home will finish just under 5,600 square feet with a big front yard and even larger backyard with a swimming pool where the grandkids can enjoy visiting from their parent’s home in Cary.

 

Other homes are quickly starting throughout the neighborhood, all built by the prestigious builder team, including another start coming soon from Bost Custom Homes on Lot 1. The first home on the left upon entering the neighborhood will be the first spec house in years for Bost and will be available for purchase from the onset. With the construction in Carolina Crossings picking up momentum, the last remaining available lots are surely not to stick around long.

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“The Nest” coming to Lot 1 – Available

Outdoor Kitchens and Dining

Few activities in life are more enjoyable than indulging in a delicious meal and relaxing with great company in a pleasant atmosphere. Many of us are inclined to pay a hefty premium to dine at restaurants that create a heightened appreciation of setting through aesthetic architectural design, an incredible view, or appealing decor. At times it’s hard to put a finger on why, but dining spaces can conjure wonderful feelings and memories, as they are one of the only places in everyday life that cater to all five senses at once.

For the past several years, outdoor kitchens and dining spaces have been soaring in popularity in new residential construction and home additions, while formal dining rooms have been in rapid decline. When afternoon weather conditions are perfect, as they often are this time of year, an outdoor eat-in kitchen is the perfect place to unwind, socialize and feast with friends and family.

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The built-in brick parilla protruding from a stucco wall give this patio an authentic spanish feel.

Following along the trending paradigm that homes aren’t designed just for the homeowner, that they should be designed with entertainment and hospitality in mind, these outdoor spaces provide a place where people naturally gather and enjoy themselves and each other’s company. Check out these inspiring examples of backyard dining havens, some of which are featured from Bost Custom Homes.

 

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A stainless grill, refrigerator, and sink accommodate culinary expression behind this stone bar, where the family can enjoy hors d’oeuvres, fantastic weather, and the calming sound of a trickling fountain. Featured from a Bost Custom Home.

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Featured from a Bost Custom Home.

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Featured from a Bost Custom Home.

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Do you have an addition to your home in mind? Been thinking of building your dream home? Give us a call to consult: (919) 460-1983

Team Member Spotlight: Staci Beard

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is being part of a team that operates efficiently and collaboratively. I think most people would agree that ambitious goals are more fun to tackle when you have a great team surrounding you to bring out the highest potential and ensure the best possible result, and we at Bost Homes have a phenomenal supportive team.

Building a top quality custom home requires working with the client through thousands of decisions and solving hundreds of little puzzles along the way. This sounds daunting, but the combination of our highly capable team members working together ensures that we finish projects in a timely manner while advocating our quality standards and delivering excellent customer service.Staci in front of Fountain

We want to recognize one individual in particular who is an integral and highly effective element of our process; Staci Beard.  Staci’s role has evolved substantially over the last 2 years, as she has taken on additional projects and responsibilities, growing her reach and impact within our company. She is our Selections Coordinator, and a vital liaison between our clients, vendors, subs and Project Managers regarding the details of each project’s selections from breaking the ground to handing over the keys.

Her professional communication and attention to detail helps our clients make the best possible choices given the many nuanced decisions required in designing a custom home.  While she engages clients and consults with them on their selections, our managers in the field are focusing on what they do best: crafting a quality house.  Staci meets weekly with every PM to debrief on the status of each home, each bringing important information to the table, promoting synergy, reducing redundancy, and keeping everyone on the same page.  Together they proactively analyze the schedules and budgets, in order to identify any potential speed bumps along the way.

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Staci's awardWe took time during one of our recent staff meetings to show Staci our appreciation.  Every team member shared their favorite part of working with her, and the comments and recognition brought her close to tears.  “You bring Bost Homes to another level – your ability to take care of our clients and get involved in the details; it brings us a step above most builders out there.” said Rex Bost during the meeting.  One of our Project Managers, Jim added, “You are a lifesaver, and I can’t imagine doing this job without you”.

Rex and Brenda shared that even during the interviewing process, Staci stood out from the other candidates in terms of professionalism, commitment, and demeanor.  They added that they are more confident knowing that she is on board and tuned in.  Pedro Martinez, one of our PMs suggested that we change her title to ‘Titanium Woman’ to surpass his own nickname of ‘Iron Man’.

Staci leaningAll in all, her attentive work ensures that we build our homes to our best possible Bost standard, and most importantly to the utmost satisfaction of our clients. So congratulations to Staci Beard for being a Super Star Employee!  Just call her “Super Stace”.

Groundbreaking: Avalaire Estate Community

IMG_1168On Wednesday April 20th, Rex Bost participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for Raleigh’s latest luxury estate community, Avalaire. Construction of the 100+ acre development has just begun, which comprises 56 gorgeous home sites in the Falls Lake vicinity, of which about a half dozen have presold. Being a member of the builder team, Bost had the opportunity to select a handful of the more private lots adjacent to dedicated greenspace, granting privacy and an expansive sense of property.

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Avalaire includes 20+ acres of pristine preserved woodlands that will host walking/jogging trails and natural water features. Its proximity to Falls Lake and I-540 provides a rare combination of nature-inspired, secluded living along with quick access to dining, shopping, and travel. Avalaire is positioned and designed to be a highly desirable locale for years to come.

 

Bost Custom Homes was honored to be selected as the builder for Avalaire’s model home, which will be the first home-start in the neighborhood scheduled to break ground mid-summer.

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Eric Sherman, Bost’s Estimator, eloquently describes how the process of designing and building a showcase home is a distinguished opportunity that allows them to excel as a company:Eric Sherman“Working on a model home is always exciting and really just a fun undertaking at Bost Homes, especially in the context of a neighborhood like Avalaire.  We form a cohesive team of experts and collaborate on a livable piece of art that showcases the best parts of what we do.  Working with clients is an amazingly rewarding process and our entire approach to building is geared towards helping our clients realize their vision.  We love it.  Building a Model Home, however, is an opportunity to put our heads together as a team; to create our vision based on our collective experiences and to fulfill our desire to try something new.  It gives us a chance to create something truly unique and innovative while giving us free reign to think miles outside of the box in our pursuit of the wow-factor.”

In addition to promoting the neighborhood and builder team, prominent showcase homes such as this serve as catalysts to push the local industry forward. This home will be a beacon of sustainable design, incorporating a rainwater harvesting and reuse system, solar PV system, recycled and reclaimed building materials, high efficiency appliances/HVAC/ insulation, and even a state sponsored radon mitigation system for education and advocacy purposes. Be sure to follow Bost Custom Homes and Avalaire on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Houzz to stay informed on the development of this spectacular community and model home.

Home Improvements & Tax Credits!

As is expressed in the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, it’s often difficult to justify an investment in the upgrade of a utilitarian component of our home that is currently functioning. Things like water heaters, insulation, washers and dryers, windows and doors; these items are not always cheap or convenient to replace so – if it ain’t broke, don’t replace it, right? Well, maybe. All of these items have a common theme: they affect your utility bill, and thus may be costing you monthly more than the latest Energy Star certified product would.

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Speaking of Energy Star, which is a program administered by the EPA, did you know that most Energy Star certified home improvements qualify for a federal tax credit? You can receive between a $50 – $500 tax credit for upgrading your water heater, HVAC, insulation, and more while also lowering your monthly utility burden and raising your resale value. Although not huge, the tax incentive may make it just economical enough to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. For more information on federal tax credits for Energy Star appliances, visit: https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits

Happy Home Improvements!

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Bost Homes Welcomes Family to the Team

Team Member Update–Rex and Brenda’s son Evan has joined the Bost Homes Team at an exciting time of growth for the company. Evan comes aboard with a background in marketing, sales, and a passion for environmental sustainability. He is quickly acclimating to the family business, applying his digital marketing experience from the IT and agriculture industries while researching the latest in advanced building materials and practices.

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2016 is positioned to be an exciting year for Bost Homes as we embark in new neighborhoods across the Triangle. We especially anticipate building the Model Home and Sales Center for North Raleigh’s exclusive Avalaire neighborhood in the back half of the year; a beautiful and technologically advanced home that will be a monumental project for the team. With a multitude of exciting new projects burgeoning, the addition of Evan to BCH is most timely.

Quick Stats on Evan:

  • Graduated from UNCW with a Marketing Degree and Psychology Minor – 12/2013
  • Worked as a Marketing and Sales specialist in the IT hardware industry straight out of college.
  • Traveled alone to Thailand for 10 weeks, volunteering at the notable Pun Pun organic farm and sustainable living learning center – 01/2015
  • Helped operate and grow a small agricultural business using controlled environment, vertical farming technology. Opened new accounts at high-end restaurants and small grocers across Raleigh.
  • Currently rocking in his 4th original band, Fonix.

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