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How Important is Indoor Air Quality?

How Important is Indoor Air Quality?

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" width_tablet="" width_phone="90%" width_last_edited="on|desktop" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_blurb title="How Important is Indoor Air Quality?" alt="Indoor Air Quality" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" header_level="h1" header_font="||on||||||" header_text_align="center" header_text_color="#58a618" header_font_size="36px" background_image="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Indoor_Air_Quality.jpg" custom_padding="315px||||false|false" custom_padding_tablet="200px||||false|false" custom_padding_phone="||||false|false" custom_padding_last_edited="on|phone" box_shadow_style="preset4" box_shadow_horizontal="0px" box_shadow_vertical="-3.5em" box_shadow_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.76)" box_shadow_position="inner" box_shadow_vertical_tablet="-3em" box_shadow_vertical_phone="-5em" box_shadow_vertical_last_edited="on|phone" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" header_2_line_height="1.4em" header_2_font_size_tablet="" header_2_font_size_phone="24px" header_2_font_size_last_edited="on|phone" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"]Green Certifications Part 2 (Read part 1 here) Homebuyers today are increasingly concerned about the indoor air quality of their homes. Issues like mold, radon, carbon monoxide and toxic chemicals have received greater attention than ever as poor indoor air quality has been linked to a host of health problems. A Wellness-Within-Your-Walls (WWYW) certification is a good way to ensure healthy indoor air. WWYW is an informational resource group created to provide education and guidance on chemicals commonly found in living environments. Check out the Ready Residence, which is soon to be the first WWYW certified home in N.C.Many years ago we built a home for Steve and Betty. Like all of our homes, it was certified and very energy efficient. Steve and Betty told us that they wanted to provide their own cabinets from a company that is known for “do it yourself” because it was less expensive. We tried talking them out of this decision but they had their hearts set on it. On the day that the cabinet parts were delivered to the site, we asked Steve who was going to put together the cabinets? (The cabinets came unassembled in flat boxes and reeked of formaldehyde). Steve was shocked, he hadn’t thought about who would put them together (or install) his cabinets. Once he realized how heavy they were, he decided to have our trim carpenters do it for him. After the cabinets were assembled and installed, it cost more than if they had gone with a decent quality wood/plywood cabinet. Not only that, but the home was now filled with off-gassing particle board. It was only a few years later that I remember Betty was diagnosed with cancer. Obviously we cannot prove the causation, but the correlation is certainly reason for alarm. If you're building a custom home, you are likely not planning to sell it any time soon. Aging-In-Place certifications are also important if you're building your forever home.New homes are much tighter than homes built before the first energy efficient legislation in 1978. However, even if your home is built and certified Energy Star, there is no documentation for the quality of the contents pertaining to air. Homes built to earn the Indoor airPLUS label include features to reduce contaminants that can lead to poor indoor air quality, including mold, moisture, radon, carbon monoxide, toxic chemicals and more. Unfortunately, homeowners are not taught of the dangers that home furnishings can present when brought into the home after completion.   A few things to consider regarding indoor air quality when building your new custom home: Up to 90% of our time is spent indoors 750,000 new asthma cases per year in the U.S. alone Childhood asthma has increased 600% in the last 30 years Homes built today are much tighter than just a few years before and fresh air is hard to get into the home Danger Level 1 Contaminants (in a home) include toxic compounds such as: Building materials Furniture Carpets Paints Cleaning chemicals Flame retardants and other chemicals have been used for decades in the production of commercial and residential upholstered furniture as a method for achieving fire protection. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has classified formaldehyde as a Toxic Air Contaminant, based on its potential to cause cancer and other adverse health effects.What is formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is a colorless gas. At elevated concentrations it has a strong, pungent odor and can be irritating to the eyes, nose, and lungs. Formaldehyde is released into the home from a variety of indoor sources. Some resins, or glues, used to bind wood chips or fibers into plywood, particleboard, and other pressed wood products, contain formaldehyde. Cabinetry and some floor and wall materials are often made from such products. Formaldehyde is also used in fabrics to impart wrinkle resistance or to fix color, and in some consumer products it is used as a hardening agent or preservative. Also, formaldehyde is a by-product of cabinetry, and gas appliances are common sources of two combustion processes, such as wood burning, gas appliance use, and cigarette smoking. Formaldehyde is usually present at lower (but not necessarily healthful) levels in outdoor air; it is emitted in some industrial sources, and is also created from chemical reactions in the air among combustion pollutants, such as those in automobile exhaust. Some common sources of formaldehyde indoors: Pressed wood products: particleboard, plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF); often used in cabinetry, and wall and floor materials Consumer Products: fingernail hardeners, nail polish,
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Should I Go Green?

Should I Go Green?

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||||false|true" custom_padding="||||false|true" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" width_tablet="" width_phone="100%" width_last_edited="on|phone" custom_padding="9px||10px|||" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_blurb title="Should I Go Green?" alt="Design Forever Home" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" header_level="h1" header_font="||on||||||" header_text_align="center" header_text_color="#58a618" background_image="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Featured-Images-1920-×-900-px.jpg" custom_padding="200px||||false|false" box_shadow_style="preset4" box_shadow_horizontal="0px" box_shadow_vertical="-55px" box_shadow_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.76)" box_shadow_position="inner" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"]Green Certifications Part 1 (Read part 2 here) Today many builders and home buyers are concerned about preserving the environment. With increased attention on the condition of our planet, “green building” has become a sought after choice for homeowners, especially in our market. But what does green building mean? In its simplest terms, green building is making your home the best it can be. It means increasing your home’s efficiency so it makes better use of things like water, energy, temperature control, and construction materials. It’s about using resources effectively so you reduce the impact of your home on the environment, buying local, and creating a healthy indoor air environment. While building an environmentally friendly home sounds good to most people, they usually want to know two things: what can I do and how much will it cost me? Let’s address the last question first. You may have heard that building green is more expensive. While that may be true in some instances, it doesn’t have to be. In today’s market some elements of green building can cost more initially, but many do not, and some even cost less. Factor in energy savings over time and the increased durability of many of the green building products, and any additional up- front cost becomes much easier to justify. Also, some mortgage companies now offer reduced mortgage rates to homes built green, and green homes are worth more than non-certified green homes. To answer the other question, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to make your new home more environmentally friendly. Heating and Cooling Equipment: One of the most important things you can do to make your home more “green” is to carefully consider your choice of heating and cooling equipment. The heating/air conditioning system should be built and installed with the highest SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating possible. The greater the SEER rating, the more energy efficient your unit will be. The system should also be sized appropriately to effectively cool or heat your home without being oversized. In fact, it is often better to err on the side of being undersized by half a ton than oversized. (Note: A “ton” is a unit of energy used to measure output. Typically you need about one ton of output for every 400 square feet of your home.) Many builders don’t recommend that you oversize the tonnage of your home’s AC system. The most efficient homes often run on a system designed to be 10 percent smaller than typical installations. A good air system should also be installed with as few bends and connections in the duct work as possible to minimize the risk of gaps and voids. Insulation: If it’s within your budget, one great option is to have your home insulated with a CARB II complaint foam product. When installed correctly, foam can be quite effective. On top of the good R-values (a term used to measure how well insulation resists the flow of heat or cold through it) foam can fill cracks and crevices in ways that traditional insulation can’t. If a foam product can’t be used, great care should be exercised to make sure the installation is done to eliminate as many gaps and penetrations as possible. Home Orientation: To reduce energy loads, it’s important to design and position the house in such a way as to minimize exposure to the hot sun while taking advantage of cooling breezes. Whenever possible, the front door or the house’s longest wall should be set to within 5 degrees of true south. It may also be important to landscape in such a way to create wind breaks for the home or create shade to increase efficiency. Good window placement can increase natural light while reducing the need for electric lighting. These decisions are taken into account when designing a home for passive heating and cooling. Windows and Doors: Windows help make a home beautiful, but they can also waste a lot of energy if they let in heat in the summer, cold in the winter, and drafts anytime. To get more energy-efficient windows, select ones with good insulation values. Some have special coatings that can help repel heat. Others are double- or triple-paned which helps insulation. Some energy- efficient windows have non-toxic gas between the panes such as argon or krypton that provide better insulation than air. Even the window frames can affect how efficient they are. For example, aluminum frames typically provide lowest insulation level. Wood,
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Resources for Radon-Resistant Construction

Resources for Radon-Resistant Construction

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" disabled_on="off|off|off" admin_label="Post" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" z_index="0" custom_padding="34px|16px|10px|16px|false|true" hover_enabled="0" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}" custom_padding_last_edited="on|phone" custom_padding_phone="34px|0px|10px|0px|false|true" sticky_enabled="0" custom_padding_tablet="34px|16px|10px|16px|false|true"][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.17.4" _module_preset="default" background_enable_color="off" hover_enabled="0" global_colors_info="{}" use_custom_gutter="on" gutter_width="2" width_last_edited="on|phone" sticky_enabled="0" width_phone="90%"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text admin_label="Title" module_class="chronospro-heading green-heading" _builder_version="4.16" background_layout="dark" module_alignment="left" custom_margin="18px||15px|||" border_style="solid" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"]How to Ensure Your Home is Radon-Resistant[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" header_font="QuestaGrande Reg|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Radon is a naturally occurring odorless, colorless gas and is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer overall. Nearly 1 out of 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/02-18-Wolfe-Cove-Rd-Asheville-2.jpg" alt="Living Stone Design+Build The Modern Farmhouse Yard Landscaping" title_text="asheville modern farmhouse yard landscaping" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Untitled-design-22.jpg" title_text="Untitled design (22)" disabled_on="on|on|off" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" header_2_font_size="30px" global_colors_info="{}"]Homes built using radon-resistant construction techniques helps builders and contractors to better serve their clients by helping to reduce buyers’ risk of lung cancer from exposure to radon in indoor air. Using common materials and straightforward techniques, builders can construct new homes that are resistant to radon entry.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" header_2_font_size="30px" global_colors_info="{}"]Below are several resources provided by the EPA to help educate about radon, and ensure that more homes are radon-resistant Builder and Contractor Resources for Radon-Resistant New Construction Radon-Resistant Construction Basics and Techniques  Radon Standards of Practice A Citizens Guide to Radon: The Guide to Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Radon  Building Radon Out: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build Radon-Resistant Homes Find a Radon Test Kit or Measurement and Mitigation Professional Radon FAQs  [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/rosenburg_68-scaled.jpg" alt="Living Stone Design+Build Rosenberg Porch" title_text="weaverville modern barn house porch" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/unnamed.jpg" _builder_version="4.16" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Radon Infographics

Radon Infographics

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" disabled_on="off|off|off" admin_label="Post" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" z_index="0" custom_padding="34px|16px|10px|16px|false|true" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.9.0" _module_preset="default" background_enable_color="off" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.8.2" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text admin_label="Title" module_class="chronospro-heading green-heading" _builder_version="4.10.7" background_layout="dark" module_alignment="left" custom_margin="18px||15px|||" border_style="solid" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"]All About Radon[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="QuestaGrande Reg|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Did you know radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the leading cause among non-smokers? It's odorless and colorless too, so testing is the only way to find out if your home has radon. Below you will find some information that can help ensure your home has good indoor air quality.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/lung-cancer-radon-v2.jpeg" alt="Custom_Home" title_text="lung-cancer-radon-v2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" hover_enabled="0" global_colors_info="{}" disabled_on="on|off|off" sticky_enabled="0"][/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_gallery gallery_ids="26870,26869,26868,26867,26866,26865,26864,26862,26856" fullwidth="on" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_gallery][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Sean’s Why

Sean’s Why

[et_pb_section fb_built="1" disabled_on="on|on|off" admin_label="Title Desktop" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" background_image="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Untitled-design-1.jpg" parallax="on" custom_margin="0px||||false|false" custom_padding="0px||0px||true|false" hover_enabled="0" global_colors_info="{}" width="100%" sticky_enabled="0"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" background_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.94)" width="500px" custom_margin="|auto||51%|false|false" custom_padding="5.6%|58px|62px|58px|false|true" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text admin_label="Title" module_class="chronospro-heading green-heading" _builder_version="4.10.7" header_text_align="center" header_2_text_align="center" header_2_text_color="#727272" text_orientation="center" background_layout="dark" module_alignment="left" custom_margin="18px||15px|||" border_style="solid" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"]My Why by Sean Sullivan[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_2_font="|||on|||||" header_2_text_color="#727272" header_2_font_size="42px" header_3_font="||on||||||" header_3_text_color="#58a618" header_3_font_size="27px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Sean Sullivan shares insight into the driving force that's kept our company on track through the years of growth from the ground up.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" disabled_on="off|off|on" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text admin_label="Title" module_class="chronospro-heading green-heading" _builder_version="4.10.7" header_text_align="center" header_2_text_align="center" header_2_text_color="#727272" text_orientation="center" background_layout="dark" module_alignment="left" custom_margin="18px||15px|||" border_style="solid" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"]My Why by Sean Sullivan[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_2_font="|||on|||||" header_2_text_color="#727272" header_2_font_size="42px" header_3_font="||on||||||" header_3_text_color="#58a618" header_3_font_size="27px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Sean Sullivan shares insight into the driving force that's kept our company on track through the years of growth from the ground up.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" disabled_on="off|off|off" admin_label="Post" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" z_index="0" custom_padding="34px|16px|10px|16px|false|true" locked="off" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.9.0" _module_preset="default" background_enable_color="off" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.8.2" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_2_font_size="33px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Creating Healthier Happier Homes and Lives   Two lessons stick out to me of all the things that my father taught me when I was growing up. The first is patience, patience, patience. He had so much patience and grace with me while I was growing up, especially as a teenager and a young man. The second is the idea of Kaizen. These two lessons have led me my whole life, influenced me, and been foundational concepts for how I’ve built my companies.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_code _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" background_image="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Sean_and_dad.jpeg" min_height="320px" height="100%" custom_margin="||6px|||" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_code][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]My dad & I on the left, and my dad next to his F-4 jet.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" disabled_on="on|on|off" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_image src="https://www.livingstoneconstruction.com/img/Untitled-design-23.jpeg" title_text="Untitled design (23)" disabled_on="on|on|off" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||5px|||" global_colors_info="{}"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" text_orientation="center" custom_margin="2px|||||" global_colors_info="{}"]That's me, a long time ago![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_2_font_size="33px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]One Step at a Time I have tried to tie everything that we do at Living Stone into this idea of Kaizen. Not just with our business but also mentally, spiritually, and physically. How can we always be better? How can we take better care of ourselves and our community? That question has been behind every decision I’ve made and helped me forge this organization into what it is today. When I first started, I partnered with two other guys, and we did sub-contracting work. That was in 1995 but I quickly realized that partnerships were difficult and I really wanted to get into renovations, additions, and eventually become a general contractor. That’s when I started what is now Living Stone Design + Build.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_2_font_size="33px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Adapt and Grow We’ve gone through many changes since that time. Many iterations and transitions, both big and small, have taken us from the start to what we are today. One of the first transitions we made was changing from renovating to building new homes. When the Energy Star program started in NC we quickly began certifying all of our homes. While we were happy with what we had done around energy efficiency, we kept asking ourselves what else we could do so that the end product is better for our clients? That's when we learned the importance of building with healthy products for indoor air quality and began certifying all of our homes green through the NC Green Built Alliance.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_2_font_size="33px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]The Great Recession During the Great Recession, we looked around the building industry and saw a broken system. People would buy a lot to build, but there was no collaboration between the architects, builders, and designers. It was an inefficient, unenjoyable system, and clients were not happy. In 2010, we decided to partner with other building professionals as a collaborative design and build firm so that our clients wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of a disjointed process and the repeating problems. It was risky to change a proven formula in the middle of an economic crisis. Still, we embraced that challenge by remembering that we must have constant process improvement.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row column_structure="1_2,1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_column type="1_2" _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" global_colors_info="{}"][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.10.7" _module_preset="default" header_font="|300|||||||" header_text_color="#7BADB6" header_font_size="42px" header_2_font_size="33px" header_3_font="QuestaGrande Reg||||||||" header_3_text_color="#7BADB6" header_3_font_size="48px" text_orientation="center" global_colors_info="{}"]Design Green, Build Green, Live Green Our sister firm, (owned by my wife, Laura Sullivan) IDology Interiors & Design, is one of our partners and works with our clients to choose the many design selections for their home. They have also been sourcing green, non-toxic furniture for our clients for the last 10 years. We realize that while not everyone will build with Living Stone, our community should
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Why Building In The Mountains Takes So Long

Why Building In The Mountains Takes So Long

Why Building In The Mountains Takes So Long   MANY PEOPLE DREAM OF BUILDING A HOME IN THE NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS, AND NO WONDER. The seclusion, the exceptional views, the tranquility, and the direct connection to nature make the area an idyllic place to live. However, prospective homeowners are often surprised to find that building in the mountains is a longer and more complex process than building elsewhere. Sean Sullivan, owner of Living Stone Design + Build, has built hundreds of homes in and around Asheville, and he knows all too well the delays this specific locale can create, and the reasons why.   RULES AND REGULATIONS  Many of the delays in building mountain homes occur in the planning stages. “There are a lot of municipal rules and regulations to contend with,” Sean observes. “In addition to those, the planned communities we build in have rules and review boards we have to comply with.” “Because we build custom homes, there’s a complex sequence to the whole process. We have to design the home, evaluate preconstruction services, and submit plans for approval. We need to get permits for septics, wells, retaining walls, and the site design. It’s a lot of legwork. We can’t start construction until everything is approved.”   SLOPING LAND The most significant cause for the delay on the construction end of any project is a sloped lot. “Building on a slope creates several different challenges,” Sean explains. “Parking can be an issue; sometimes there’s insufficient room for materials on the lot, so you have to shuffle things around. A sloped lot means the back of the house might be 20, 30, 40, or sometimes even 60 feet off the ground. When you have guys installing windows and siding at that height, safety is a significant issue. We have to go slowly and ensure that we’re taking all of the appropriate precautions.”   SOIL SURPRISES When it comes to mountain building, the very soil itself can cause delays. “Sometimes we’ll excavate and find organic matter, like trees for example, have been buried in the lot, whether due to development issues or a natural landslide. Sometimes we’ll find rock, an underground spring, or alluvial soils, which are loose soils deposited by moving water. If we find any of these things, we need to excavate and replace them with gravel. There’s no way to know if these types of issues are there until we excavate, and correcting them takes thoughtful planning.” The great news is, if you’re willing to invest the time, money, and patience, you can have your dream home, no matter which way your lot slopes. “Every lot is buildable,” says Sean. “It’s just a matter of cost, engineering...and sometimes out-of-the-box thinking!”   MORE NEWS/BLOGS