4 Hot Kitchen Trends


As the old saying goes, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” But, what if that’s where all the hottest trends are occurring – not to mention, where all the coolest family members and guests naturally gather?

In that case, you’ll definitely want to stick around to find out more about the interesting trends that are cropping up in kitchens across the country, including in our Maracay homes throughout metro Phoenix and Tucson. Take a look:

Kitchen Trends in Maracay Homes

1. Just say no to white walls. According to Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor and author of “Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life,” color plays a role in eating behavior. Kitchen wall colors that trigger eating: white, cream and bright colors. Instead, he recommends going neutral, with lighter shades of gold, green, blue and tan. 

Gray Cabinets in Kitchen at Layton Lakes

2. 50 shades of gray (cabinets). White is still the most popular kitchen cabinet color choice for homeowners undergoing a recent remodeling project, according to a recent Houzz survey, but gray is making a respectable showing in new and remodeled kitchens this year. Approximately 10 percent of respondents said they chose from this soothing color palette.

Kitchen Trends Black and White

Kitchen Cabinets at Verrado Palisades

3. It’s universal. As the population ages, home features are becoming more accommodating of individuals with differing height and mobility needs – a concept known as universal design. In the kitchen, universal design is expressed in counters with varying heights and double wall ovens that can be used from either a sitting or standing position. 

USB OUTLET

4. Life in the digital age. Considering the kitchen is the hub of the home, it only makes sense that it would serve as Technology Central, as well. According to Houzz’s kitchen trends poll, 22 percent of homeowners who recently remodeled their kitchens opted to install handy USB charging stations, similar to the ones we have in our newest Maracay kitchens.

Need further inspiration? Check out our Kitchens Ideabook on Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/5883394/thumbs/kitchens

Industry Update – Millennials


millenials

Other than the Baby Boomers, you would be hard-pressed to find a more-studied demographic in history than the Millennial generation. From retailers to employers, to newspaper publishers to homebuilders, it seems just about everyone has taken a crack at dissecting the moves and motivations of this influential group of consumers born in the 1980s.

Like each generation before them, Millennials have no shortage of preferences unique to them. But, now, we’re learning they might have more things in common with their Gen X and Boomer predecessors than we previously thought – at least in terms of where they choose to live.

According to a recent nationwide study completed by TriPointe Group in conjunction with our Responsive Home partners and Ketchum Global Research and Analytics, the preconceived notion that Millennials overwhelmingly prefer the city over the ‘burbs is — pardon the pun — an urban legend. Of the 500 who participated in the study, 53 percent said they prefer suburban living to urban or rural living, and 83 percent said they’d rather have more space in a less populated community.

This jibes with an Urban Land Institute report released earlier this year, which found that only 13 percent of the Millennials surveyed live in or near a downtown area. “Therefore, even though in-town Millennials are much discussed by journalists, they are not representative of their generation, as a whole,” the report authors wrote.

Additional observations have noted that while Millennials are moving out of the city, they’re not necessarily settling for a quiet rural or suburban life. Instead, they are making their mark on smaller communities outside the urban core that have similar qualities to downtowns – density, mass transit, walkability, and great places to hang out – without the high price-tag of city housing.

There’s no doubt that as this generation continue to age and mature, just like their parents before them, we will see even greater shifts in their preferences across the board as they forge their own version of the American Dream.

Summer Energy Saving Tips


Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

Taking a nice, long vacation this summer? Before you lock the front door and head out of town, be sure to check on appliances and household items to make sure they’re doing their part to maximize efficiency and protect your home while you’re away. This simple act will help reduce energy usage and save you money in the long run.

Best of all, the planet and your wallet will thank you as you keep these energy-saving tips from SRP in mind for your short and long trips:

Windows

Make sure all windows are securely shut, curtains are closed and blinds are drawn. This will help keep sunlight out and help prevent your house from getting too warm while you’re away.

Lights

Check each room and turn off any unnecessary lamps or lights. Make sure to keep a few lights on for security purposes; those are typically best placed in the front and back of the house. It’s also a smart idea to put these security lights on a timer.  This will not only reduce your energy usage, but will act as an extra layer of security for your home, giving you even more peace of mind while you’re on vacation.

Electronics

Take a moment to unplug alarm clocks, toasters, the coffee maker and any other small appliances that won’t be in use while you’re away. There’s no need for them to be plugged in if you’re not going to be using them.

Refrigerator

Give yourself a little extra time to clean out the refrigerator and throw away any items that might spoil. You would hate to come home to a stinky house. If you are leaving for a lengthy amount of time, it is wise to throw everything away from the refrigerator, clean it out and unplug the entire appliance. If you’re only going away for a short period of time, simply throwing away the items and turning the temperature up a few degrees will save you energy.

Also, don’t forget to turn the air conditioning up before you leave. SRP recommends setting the thermostat at 85 to 87 degrees, unless something in your home might suffer heat damage.

Enjoy your vacation! 

Eastmark Ranking


KineticPoint-Exteriors

We’ve always known Eastmark is a special place to live, and now, a mid-year ranking of the nation’s 20 top-selling master-planned communities confirms others are starting to take notice, too.

In a report released earlier this month by RCLCO, a real estate advisory group, Mesa’s Eastmark new-home community ranked at #8 on the top sellers list – and was the only Arizona master-planned community to crack the top 10.

Top Selling MPCs Mid Year

Maracay Homes’s two Eastmark neighborhoods, Kinetic Point and Lumiere Garden
— with their thoughtfully designed floor plans from the New Arizona Living Collection, their EnergyStar®-certified homes and the opportunity to customize using the handy, online FlexDesign® tool — have been thrilling buyers since the community opened in June 2013. What’s more, our Kinetic Point and Lumiere Garden residents join the 1,200 people, so far, who call Eastmark home, and have a front-row seat to the residential and commercial growth and amenities that continue to open as the community evolves.

In addition to the Eastmark Great Park and a three-quarter-acre Orange Monster play structure, the community’s amenities include 25 neighborhood parks, a lake, splash pad, event pavilion, ramadas and a new community pool scheduled to open early next year.  A burgeoning commercial core, featuring an Apple facility, a highly ranked charter school and other businesses, also is emerging.

Want to see what all the buzz is about? Read the recent news coverage here and here. Then, swing on by and visit us at 4813 and 5023 S. Quantum Way, Mesa, 85212 (Kinetic Point and Lumiere Garden, respectively), or at http://www.maracayhomes.com.

Custom Homes – FlexDesign® Program


Flexdesign

Whether you’re shopping for new clothes, reading a menu or looking for something to do, the more choices you have, the better. At Maracay Homes, we believe the same can be said for buying a new home. That’s why we continue to provide customizable options to fit every family’s needs and lifestyle through the Maracay Homes FlexDesign® program.

The online format makes it easy to choose from a variety of design options, including adding French doors or an alternate master bath, and incorporate them into the existing floor plans located on the Maracay Homes website. The fun doesn’t end there. Options also are available for moving or adding furniture, installing ceiling fans, placing wall speakers or even locating and moving electrical outlets.

Here’s how to check it out for yourself. Simply visit www.MaracayHomes.com, select a your neighborhood and home, click on the floor plan and start experimenting. Who knows? In a few minutes, you just may create the home of your dreams. Once you’ve created your perfect floor plan, print it out and take it to your nearest Maracay Homes Design Studio, where you can work with Maracay’s designers to complete your vision. Choose from an extensive offering of flooring selections, granite, lighting, plumbing fixtures, closet organizers, cabinet styles and much more.

For more information on all of the choices available at Maracay Homes, please visit www.MaracayHomes.com

Swimming Season: Pool Maintenance Tips


Layton-Lakes-Pool

We know there’s nothing better than jumping in a clean, sparkling pool. To ensure your investment stays pristine, it’s important to check and clean your swimming pool on a regular basis. The extreme summer heat can be draining on your pool for multiple reasons; here are a few pool maintenance tips to keep in mind this season and throughout the year:

Pool Cleaning: The water, pool pump and pool deck all need your attention this season. Skimming the pool for dust, leaves and other debris a few times a week is vital to the overall health of your pool and pool pump. Experts recommend checking your filter once a week, emptying the basket a few times a week and inspecting your pump’s pipes about once a month for blockages or excess debris that can cause the system to backup.

Sunscreen and tanning oils can leave a glistening film over your pool, Freshome Magazine suggests letting a tennis ball float in the water, the fibers on the outside of the ball will absorb the oils.  Don’t forget to sweep and spray down your pool deck about once a week too, this will help to make sure pet dander and other outdoor dirt doesn’t make it’s way into your pool.

Pool Water: Keep a close eye on your pool’s water level; water levels that are too low or too high can throw your chemical composition off balance. Your water level should sit in the middle of the top tile. If your pool level is too low, use your outside hose to refill your pool to the appropriate height. If you have too much water, perhaps from heavy rainfall, you can rent a pump to get rid of the excess water. This is not often necessary in Arizona, but it’s always good to be prepared for the occasional heavy flash flooding.

Pool Chemicals: Crystal clear pool water is always the goal and it’s easy to achieve. You can buy a pool testing kit at your local pool store to assess the current state of your water and learn how to get your pool’s chemical composition in balance. According to Freshome, you should test your chemical levels once a week. A series of extremely hot summer days, hosting a pool party or a big summer storm can throw off your pool’s pH level. Be sure to test and adjust the pH balance weekly, especially after events like this to make sure you’re always swimming in crystal clear water.

While many homeowners take pool maintenance into their own hands, it is also important to trust the experts. Having a professional inspect the pool once a year, usually before summer starts, will set you up for a successful swimming season.

Interested in adding a pool to your Maracay Home? Please contact us online at www.maracyhomes.com or in person to learn more about our trusted pool partner, Blue Wave Pools & Spas.

The Best of Queen Creek


Homes For Sale in Queen Creek

It’s not often people get to experience the best of both worlds. But for residents of Queen Creek, Arizona, it’s an everyday occurrence. Located on the southeast edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the charming town of only 31,000 offers easy access to Phoenix’s big-city amenities while still allowing residents to enjoy the perks of a relaxed rural lifestyle.

With a tight-knit community, locally owned farms and businesses, and countless festivals and events, Queen Creek is the quintessential all-American town. And, it happens to have quite a selection of dining and entertainment options, too.  But you don’t have to take our word for it. We asked the locals at our Queen Creek neighborhoods – Villagio, Montelena and the Preserve at Hastings Farms – about their favorite spots around town and here’s what they came up with:

Food

Rachel’s Bake Shop: This shop may be small but it has a national following. Offering a wide selection of desserts, including custom cakes, gourmet cupcakes, cookies, signature brownies, croissants and pastries, Rachel’s Bake Shop is a one-stop shop for all things sweet. Not to mention, they also offer a tasty breakfast and lunch catering menu.

Queen Creek Olive Mill: A unique, family-owned olive farm and mill, the Queen Creek Olive Mill produces Arizona’s only extra virgin olive oil. And, it’s also home to an Italian-inspired eatery that uses only locally sourced ingredients to create a healthy and delicious cuisine.

Queen Creek Café & Sports Lounge: A local favorite since 1995, Queen Creek Café and Sports Lounge offers a perfect blend of east coast and west coast fare, including homemade chili con carne, meatloaf and soups. Residents love the gourmet coffee, too. Looking for a place to watch the game? They’ve got plenty of big-screen TVs and a full bar, as well.

Family Fun

Founders Park Splash Pad: The Town of Queen Creek recently created this 4,000-square-foot water park to give families a fun place to go when the heat just won’t quit. Families enjoy water cannons, a dumping bucket, rain curtain and much more.

Schnepf Farms: Enjoyed by more than a quarter of a million people every year, Schnepf Farms is one of the largest agri-tourist farms in the county and hosts some of Arizona’s best events, like the Peach Festival and Pumpkin & Chili Party. Visitors enjoy farm tours, hayrides, bonfires, hands-on farming, great food and a country store & bakery.

Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre: Fun for the whole family, the Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre is home to some of the best horse shows and rodeo events Arizona has to offer. Check out its calendar to see what’s coming up next.

Summer-Proofing Your Home


Sendera-Coconino-Patio

When it comes to summer readiness, we know Arizonans are pros. From making sure to stay hydrated to loading on the sunblock, Arizonans know exactly how to prepare for all that summer brings. But what about your home?

With June and (monsoon season) right around the corner, we want to make sure our homeowners are prepared, comfortable and save money all year-round. Although Maracay Homes are energy-efficient and designed for maximum comfort and sustainability, there are ways that homeowners can go the extra mile when it comes to having a home that is exceptionally safe, clean and comfy, specifically for summer.

To start, prepare your home from the outside, in. Spend a little time outside patching up or painting any unsightly cracks in the exterior of your home before it gets unbearably hot. Not only are they visually unappealing, but they can cause rotting and allow unwanted heat to get in. For monsoon preparedness, make sure your rain gutters and drains are cleared and ready for flash floods, and trim tree branches so they don’t fall in the event of a storm.

Invest in ceiling and floor fans, if you haven’t already. Cranking up the AC to near-arctic temperatures may sound heavenly, but it will also rack up your energy usage and utility costs. An average residential AC unit running for 12 hours a day can cost more than $150 a month to operate. A ceiling fan costs less than a penny an hour to operate, that's around $3.50 a month!

While fans do their part to create a cooler living space, they pose no match for the 110+ degree weather. During summer, it’s almost impossible not to turn on your air conditioner, but to ensure that you get the most out of your system, make sure to change the air filters regularly. Keeping your air ducts clean and unblocked will not only give your home as much airflow as possible, but also keep your AC system from working on overload and wasting more energy than needed.

Don’t forget to prep the pool! Check the levels, inspect the pumps and change the light bulbs. Do a little upkeep now to make sure everything looks and operates as it should before you jump in later! 

Tri Pointe Group Honored as 2015 Builder of the Year


 

TriPointeLogo

Smart, successful, innovative. Those are just a few of the adjectives BUILDER Magazine used to describe our parent company, TRI Pointe Group, in presenting it with the 2015 Builder of Year Award earlier this week.

TRI Pointe received BUILDER’s highest yearly honor during the magazine’s annual awards program held on Monday, May 11, at the Housing Leadership Summit in Aventura, Florida. While all awards are great, this one tops the list, as it comes from one of the most trusted sources in the residential construction industry.

Recognized for its excellence in successful business strategy, its numerous achievements and its respected corporate leadership, TRI Pointe also was named the fastest-growing homebuilder in the country by BUILDER, with the most year-over-year growth in home deliveries of any other homebuilding company.

Originally founded as TRI Pointe Homes in 2009 by building veterans Doug Bauer, Tom Mitchell and Mike Grubbs, during one of the building industry’s worst recessions, the company went public in 2013. As growth continued and new markets were added, TRI Pointe purchased Weyerhaeuser’s homebuilding subsidiary, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (“WRECO”), in 2014 – including Maracay Homes.

Additional accomplishments last year included the creation of TRI Pointe Solutions, a suite of homebuyer services that provides end-to-end support throughout the closing process. The suite is made up of “TRI Pointe Connect,” formed as a joint venture with imortgage, which provides mortgage related services, and “TRI Pointe Assurance,” a wholly owned TRI Pointe company, which acts as a title agency for First American Title Insurance Company.

Please join us as we congratulate TRI Pointe Group and look forward to another year of building beautiful Arizona homes tailored to fit every family’s lifestyle. 

Valentine’s Day at Home


love and housing
 
It’s been said that home is where the heart is, and for obvious reasons, we couldn’t agree more. This Valentine’s Day, why not forego the crowds and spend the holiday celebrating the ones you love without ever leaving your house? Stumped for ideas? Not to worry! We’ve channeled our inner Cupid to come up with three suggestions for creating the perfect Valentine’s Day date night.  Whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, family fun time or a Singles Awareness Day celebration with the girls, read on for inspiration.
 
For the Couple
Going out on Valentine’s Day can definitely be a hassle. Between parking challenges and crowded restaurants, the hurried chaos can take away from the romance. This year, take your time, skip the traffic and enjoy a romantic evening at home. Share a candle-lit dinner and pop open some bubbly, dip strawberries and sweet treats in chocolate fondue or go all out and plan a scavenger hunt or outdoor movie theater in the backyard.
 
For the Entire Family
Since Valentine’s Day is the day of love, why not spend it with the entire family? Spend some time making memories and enjoying a few laughs together. Build a pillow fort, cook a meal together or grab your favorite board game. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, grab a giant bag of marshmallows and have a marshmallow gun fight!
 
All the Single Ladies
Celebrating Singles Awareness Day this year? Host a “Galentine’s Day” party! Grab your favorite gal pals and make a night of it. Make some festive “love potion” cocktails, pamper yourself with a DIY spa day or blast Beyoncé and have a dance party! Need additional creative motivation? Check out our Valentine’s ​Day Pinterest Board!