May 2015

6 Tips for Indoor Fun This Summer

by Shea Homes on May 29, 2015

indoor activities for summerNOAA’s National Climatic Data Center called the summer of 2014 the hottest on Earth to date, so unless you enjoy sweating like you’ve just run an ultra-marathon, you might want to prepare some indoor entertainment this year. With epic board and card games galore and quality TV at an all-time high, you can actually look forward to spending time in the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Below, we’ve shared six fun indoor activities to help you stay cool this summer:

1. Netflix Night

Between its array of movies and ever-burgeoning list of binge-worthy original programs, Netflix is on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days. Pop some popcorn (the real stuff, please, we suggest the DIY movie theater popcorn recipe below), grab your beverage of choice, cozy up to your loved ones, and binge away.


 

2. At Home Beer (or Wine) Tasting

With so many craft and microbreweries popping up all over the country, it’s a great time to gather with friends (who are of age) to taste test some of them – plus, cold beer on a hot day is always satisfying. Pick up a few new-to-you beer varieties at a specialty store and ask your guests to do the same. When everyone is over, pour small tasters (about 4oz.) for everyone to try. After everyone has tried a sip, vote on your favorites! Not a beer person? You can host a similar wine tasting event, too.  

3. Game Night

Already a tradition in many homes, resurrecting Game Night can be an absolute blast. Whether you gather the fam for a night of Monopoly or Apples to Apples or organize a more adult evening (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?), time together laughing is always a big hit. Game Night can be well-planned with dinner included, or it can be done on the fly. Don’t have any board/card games? Write down silly scenarios or topics and start an impromptu game of Charades – it’s just as fun!  

4. Arts & Crafts

If you’ve got kids who are antsy since they can’t play outside on a sweltering day, arts and crafts can be the perfect solution. Head to your local craft store and stock up on coloring books, markers, paint sets, and clay. Set down some newspaper (kids are messy creatures by nature), put on their smocks, and let ‘em go to town. Adults can do their own version, too. You’ve likely seen the Wine & Paint nights that have gotten popular across the U.S. Bring the idea to your own home with a few easels, some friends, a nice bottle of wine, and some basic art supplies. You might even discover you have Picasso potential you never knew you had (and a nice painting for your wall!).    

5. Themed Dinner Club

If you’re miserable from the summer heat, chances are your friends are, too. Start a rotating dinner club. Whether it’s a Mexican fiesta at your pad with tacos and margaritas or a down-home BBQ at a friend’s house with Mac ‘n’ Cheese and burgers, everyone gets their chance to host (and clean up!). If you need meal ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest board.

6. Indoor Campout

Kids are often the ones who suffer from cabin fever most, so it’s important to be creative when coming up with ways to entertain them indoors during the hot summer months. An indoor campout is just the solution. Set up a tent in your living room, tell ghost stories, and make some indoor s’mores. One added bonus: indoor plumbing (not to mention the air conditioning)!

 

While all of these activities are guaranteed to bring on the fun, one guaranteed party pooper is the skyrocketing energy bill as you run the A/C all summer long. If you live in an energy-efficient Shea home, you’re lucky enough to have a home that was built with energy efficiency in mind. Either way, there are things you can do to make sure you’re making the most of your A/C. Check out these 5 tips to keep your air conditioning bill affordable:

  • Avoid the initial panic you feel about cooling off your house after it’s been locked up for a period of time. You might be tempted to set it to a really cold temperature thinking it will cool off the house faster, but this isn’t the case. Air conditioners deliver cool air at a consistent rate until it reaches the set temperature. Rather than cool your home faster, you’re more likely to leave the air on longer, resulting in a higher bill than expected. Instead, just set the temperature you’d like your home to reach.
  • Consider having an interior fan installed to help evenly spread the coolness throughout the hottest rooms in your home.
  • Set your thermostat to the highest temperature with which you are comfortable, as your bill will be lower if you keep a smaller difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures.
  • Maintain your cooling system with regular pre-season check-ups.
  • Be aware of when you need to replace your cooling system. If your energy bills are rising, it needs frequent repairs, and it’s more than 10 years old, it’s likely that you need a new one to keep monthly bills more affordable.

Do you have activities that help you stay cool when the summer months warm up? Share them with us below!

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We love our industry, so when Olympic High School asked if we’d give their students a look at what it takes to build a home, we couldn’t say no. We’d like to see more kids target homebuilding for an occupation and collaborating with Olympic High School seemed like a great way to do that!

This year about Olympic High School Students35 students visited The Palisades where we have two new neighborhoods, Briarcliff and Morningside. The students got to take a look at two of our quick move in homes that were in different stages of construction as well as our Redwood model that will open the 1st of June. While walking through each home the students learned about the different stages of the building process, the importance of safety on the job site (of course each student got a Shea hardhat to keep), and what goes into building a quality home.

Vice President of Sales and Marketing Michele Scott, Designer April Gilmore, and Neighborhood Superintendent Chase Lowder shared information about their roles at Shea Homes. These three roles represent the before, during, and after parts of the building process and prove to be helpful in illustrating the amount of work required to get the job done well. As usual April Gilmore’s job as a designer was a popular one. “April’s job seems to be their favorite” commented John Shea “they always ask how they too can become a designer.”

Some of our trades came out to explain their businesses, their roles, and the opportunities available. Companies represented included Griffin Masonry, Price Brothers Plumbing, and Custom Features.

After a day full of learning the students gathered at the clubhouse to enjoy lunch catered by Toast and have the opportunity to ask questions, and talk to each presenter individually. “It’s a really great group of kids, if we can inspire just one child to take an interest in an industry that will help them stay on a positive track, then we feel good about that” said John Shea.

If you ask us, the best part of it all was theOlympic High Schooler's Thank You Cards Thank You cards we received!

We’d like to give a special thanks to all of our trades that came out, as well as Angela Petros, Ms. Robinson, and other teachers with Olympic High School for taking the time to make this a great experience. We look forward to next year!

 

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Do you suffer from HGTV Syndrome? Take our Quiz to find out.

by Shea Homes Arizona on May 27, 2015

How much do you think it costs to remodel a used home in your area? If you are like most, thanks to reality TV, your guess may be short by several thousands of dollars—not to mention the cost of the extended time it often takes to complete a remodel.

A new phenomenon called HGTV Syndrome is sweeping the nation.

HGTV Syndrome is the term that real estate agents, homebuilders, contractors and designers are using to describe what happens when consumers base their expectations of home buying and remodeling on what they see in HGTV shows like House Hunters, Flip Flop, or Property Brothers.

Now, we know that these shows are fun to watch! They may actually be a great way for you to get a sense of what kinds of home features you really love. But, consumer beware… they rarely tell the whole story.

Brittany and Ray bought a used home and hoped to remodel it over time, doing it themselves in order to save on labor costs. They started by gutting their kitchen and quickly found that they were in over their heads.

Unfortunately, Brittany and Ray are not alone. Even buyers who don’t plan to remodel their used home, can run into a laundry list of repairs that they didn’t expect.

Reality TV is quickly becoming most consumers’ primary point of experience with home buying. And unfortunately, many of these TV shows deliberately alter the viewers perspective of a home buying or remodeling experience by not showing the weeks of planning and preparing that take place before the “one-week” of filming.

The shows that focus on do-it-yourself projects very often emphasize lengthening the time a project takes by weeks in order to shorten the budget, a trade off that is not realistic for the majority of homeowners. Did you know the shows that depict inexperienced friends and family “flipping” a home in a short amount of time actually use trained crews right alongside them?

Just like you might expect from “reality” shows like The Real World or The Bachelor, what you see on HGTV and other networks like it are just not reality.

So what does that mean for you? It means you may need to double check where your expectations are coming from.

Here is a quick quiz to test yourself:

  • Do you think it is easy to find a used home that doesn’t need to be renovated?
  • Do you look at black and white appliances and think they are old, even if they are brand-new?
  • If you don’t plan to remodel, do you expect a used home to be move-in ready with no repairs or that the seller will lower their price or accept an offer that requires them to pay for repairs?
  • Is your budget for a full kitchen renovation (demolition, new cabinets, new flooring, appliances, backsplash, lighting, accessories and labor) $10,000?
  • Do you think flipping a house for profit is easy without many pitfalls?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you might suffer from HGTV Syndrome. Fortunately, the cure is simple. Buy new.

Want to see how a new home and a used home measure up?

 

If a remodel is more of a hassle and expense than you thought, the answer is to buy new. Want to see what it’s like to buy a new home from Shea Homes? Check out this link to learn more. 

(Sources: InMan, New Home Source)

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4 Spring Gardening Ideas to Liven Up your Home

by Shea Homes on May 26, 2015

spring gardening ideas 2015Warm, fresh air and sunshine. Flowers in bloom. Vegetables growing in abundance. Spring is here! So, how can we take advantage of Mother Nature’s bounty at home? It’s time to start gardening.

Whether you’re growing a vast, flourishing garden in your back yard, or simply potting some plants on your patio or window sill, incorporating nature into and around your home adds a sense of rejuvenation and growth. Gardening in any shape or form is a fun way to let your personality shine. Create a bright flower arrangement that speaks to your bold state-of-mind, or plant a special herb that’s scent brings you a sense of nostalgia. Depending on the amount of space in your home, your level of commitment to the activity, and objective for having a garden in the first place, no two gardens will ever look the same – unless you want to copy one you found on Pinterest (we wouldn’t blame you).

Maybe you’ve dreamed of having a flourishing fairytale garden leading to your home? Or, you’re content with a simple succulent on your desk that adds just the right amount of natural sophistication to your home office. Whether you have a green thumb or not, everyone should be able to have a garden. Welcome spring to your home with these 4 ideas for making Mother Nature the guest of honor.

4 spring gardening tips for your home{Click to tweet this gardening quote!}

1)    Bring the outside indoors with potted herbs and flowers

One way to embrace the freshness of spring indoors is with homegrown herbs. The scent of a favorite herb transports you to the place of their natural origin – why not take a trip from the kitchen to the Italian or French countryside? When it comes to prepping cuisine, growing herbs also speaks to the inner Le Cordon Bleu chef we secretly aspire to be. When grown directly on your countertop or in your garden, fresh herbs reinforce the farm to table feel and local farmer’s market flair of your house. While growing and caring for the herbs provides a relaxing, fun pastime for you, their delicious taste and smell benefits everyone in your home.

To start your herb garden, first pick a location — keep in mind that herbs need at least six hours of sunlight, so look for sunny spots. The kitchen is often a prime location for herbs, keeping them close by to suit your cooking needs. You will need to place your indoor herb garden into a container that holds the soil and allows the root system to thrive. Plastic pots, ceramic containers and even reusable mason jars or tea cans can serve this purpose! Creating cute labels to identify your herbs will also increase your kitchen’s countertop appeal.

Growing herbs indoors offers two distinct advantages over growing outdoors: 1. Herbs are less likely to get eaten by bugs 2. Herbs can be maintained from the convenience of your countertop. Once you’ve chosen your spot, decide which herbs you would like to grow and what one’s will most likely  succeed under your growing conditions (click here to see which herbs grow best indoors).

2)    Pair function and fashion with a pallet garden

 

Vertical gardens are making a big statement in yards big and small. Not only are pallet gardens fashionable, they are a functional way to grow your favorite flowers, herbs and even veggies within a limited space.

If you’re set on growing fresh veggies, try planting squash, tomatoes, beans and peas, which grow well vertically. These veggies take advantage of the upward support, allowing them the space they need to grow healthy vines, without taking over the entire pallet. Another advantage of pallet gardens is that they are easily reusable. Once you’ve harvested a crop for one season, you can start planning another one.

Pallets are relatively inexpensive (sometimes even free!) and you can find them in many different places. Check at a small garden or hardware store, or ask a small business that receives regular shipments if they have any pallets you can take home. Try to find pallets that are in good condition so you can decrease the time cleaning or repairing them. If you want to further customize your pallet and give it a fresh spring feel, paint it with a vibrant color!

 

3)    Increase curb appeal with a window box or unique planter

Window box gardens are another option for growing fresh herbs or flowers and also add curb appeal to the exterior of your home. Conveniently located on your window sill, there is no need to go outdoors to maintain your garden, because all watering and harvesting can be done by simply reaching through the window (assuming you have a removable screen, of course).  Your flowers or herbs are also protected from extreme temperatures and are exposed to an ideal amount of sunlight as the sun changes its position throughout the day. Besides herbs from Mediterranean climates such as parsley and thyme, which require hot, sunny sites, most herb varietals flourish in the shade as well.

Window boxes come in an array of materials and range in size and price ($20-$100+). They can be found at most hardware stores or you create the actual box yourself. Instructions for assembling and hanging the actual box on your window sill will vary based on the type you create or purchase, but it typically takes one hour and is fairly straightforward.

You can also achieve a similar look with little dirt required, by potting your garden in a unique planter and placing it in your yard or front porch. There are several creative garden container ideas, such as painted used furniture, paint cans, shipping crates, wheelbarrows, and even old shoes. These original planters serve as fun, inventive flower pots, giving your flower garden personality and charm.


 

4)    Impress with terrarium gardens

Hanging terrarium gardens may appear daunting to produce, but don’t let the ornate nature fool you; they are surprisingly easy to create! To start, choose a space for your terrarium garden. Keep in mind that these types of gardens do best in diffused light – if it’s too bright the plants might overheat – consider placing on a table within a small conversation area. Then, select the glass container type, such as open dish, in a jar, or hanging glass, for your garden. Terrarium glass can be found in a quick online search, ranging in price ($10-$100) depending the shape and size. Next, grab the key materials including, rocks (pebbles, sea glass or marbles work too), sheet moss and soil, and then pick your plants! While humidity loving plants, such as ferns and ivy, work best for terrarium gardens, cactus and succulents are best for those of us who desire little maintenance work. Ready to get started? See how easy it is to build your own terrarium garden in our helpful DIY.

Keep in mind that these gardens are more ornamental than functional, so if you are looking to harvest your next meal from your garden, this may not be the option for you. Terrarium gardens add a simple elegance to any room and bring a sense of balance and calm to a household. They also provide health benefits by purifying the air and removing pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, from your home. Finally, maintenance is minimal with terrarium gardens. For most plants, a light misting of water every 2-4 weeks will do the trick!

At the end of the day, if gardening sounds more stressful than relaxing, pick up some fresh blooms at your local flower stand. Peonies and ranunculus are both in season right now and come in muted or bright buds – just arrange in a vase for instant beauty and spring infusion. Which gardening style is most attractive to you? Share your comments and any other gardening ideas below!

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Mini Hero: Toni Overman, resident of Marbella Vineyards, chairs this year’s Christmas Idea House

May 22, 2015




Why did you move into a Shea Home and what appealed to you about this home? We started our search for a home two years before we found the Shea Home we purchased.  We have two children that will be leaving home soon, so we were looking for a home that had a spectacular master […]

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Become a Backyard BBQ Master in 5 Easy Steps

May 20, 2015




Memorial Day weekend typically marks the unofficial, “official” start of barbecue season. Since you’re probably raring to spend as much time outdoors in the summer sun – which includes your meals, it’s time to study up on how to become the master of your backyard BBQ! If you’re ready to brush up on your grilling […]

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New Shoreline Homes at Summer Lake

May 20, 2015




  New homes are available at Summer Lake… sooner than you think. Two Shoreline homes at Summer Lake are available now for purchase, and they will be move-in ready shortly! Homesite 2020 is an elegant Plan 3 home located on the lake and featuring 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3,124 square feet of living space, and a 2 car garage. […]

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Arizona MAME Awards

May 15, 2015




The Home Builders Association of Central Arizona Major Achievement in Merchandising Excellence (MAME) Awards returned on Saturday night, May 2.  The elegant black tie event was held again at the beautiful Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.                       This prestigious awards competition recognizes the exemplary efforts of builders […]

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Eat Clean with these Fresh & Simple Spring Recipes

May 14, 2015




Ready to ditch the squash and potatoes and lighten up the menu? We certainly are! It’s natural to fill our bellies with hearty foods that warm our insides during those cold winter months. But as temperatures heat up and fresh fruits and vegetables reappear on the culinary scene, our palette prefers a lighter, more vibrant […]

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May Open House at Shea Homes Everly in El Cajon

May 13, 2015




Come find your happily Everly after home at Shea Homes’ new community in El Cajon. A family-friendly neighborhood ideal for setting down roots, Everly was designed with brand-new amenities, features its own community park, and is centrally located to Westfield Shopping Mall, elementary schools and various outdoor recreation areas in San Diego. On Saturday, May […]

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