Author Archives: dsquared

Installing home insulation

Getting The Right Home Insulation

Insulation is a key component in home maintenance, and the practical reason is twofold. First of all, it’s a matter of comfort. In South Florida, home insulation determines how much cold air is let out, as well as how much hot air is let in. It’s also an economic concern (as well as an environmental one), as insufficient insulation will undoubtedly cause your energy bills to rise.

How Home Insulation Works

To find the right insulation for your home, you need to know about its “R-Value.” This is the standard measure of an insulating material’s resistance to heat flow, defined as heat transfer (difference in temperature) divided by a period of time. Simply put – higher R-Values translate to better insulation. And whether or not you know it, each room in your house has a recommended R-Value, so be sure to check with your contractor or maintenance/repair man on whether you have the right one.

Different Types of Insulation

When finding the right home insulation, another factor to consider is the type of insulation. As a jumping off point, here are the types utilized in homes accredited by the nonprofit Energy Star:

Batt Insulation

  • What: Made of fiberglass or another mineral fiber , which are then fitted into blankets of different thicknesses.
  • Where: Installed within walls to fill in any gaps or crevices.

Blow-In Insulation

  • What: Made of cellulose or fiberglass that is blown in with a hose.
  • Where: Completely and evenly fills the walls in an attic.

Sprayed/Injected Foam Insulation

  • What: Synthetic insulation that is generally composed of polystyrene and/or polyurethane foam that is expanded or fashioned into large sheets after manufacture. It is also available as a spray foam.
  • Where: Can be injected in basements, crawlspaces, and walls outside. As a sprayable foam, it can also be used to fill insulation cavities anywhere throughout the house.
First step in the South Florida remodeling process

South Florida Remodeling: A 5-Step Process

South Florida remodeling entails many things, from home additions to basement finishing to kitchen and bathroom renovations. Regardless of which service you require of us, the renovation experts at Complete Construction & Management, Inc. will always treat your remodeling project on an individual basis, customizing your plan to meet your needs. Here is exactly how we do that!

The Process of South Florida Remodeling Projects

Each project comprises about 5 steps, and while each step is tailored to your desires as a client, organization and professionalism dictates that your home remodeling project be handled step by step as such:

1. Planning & Design

We begin by listening attentively to the entire description of your project, taking notes on each detail and dividing them into what you’d like to have and what you need. This helps us to maintain a good idea of the overall scope, as well as the individual products we will need to buy in order to make your dream become a reality.

2. Budgeting

Next, we will give you a free estimate of what your South Florida remodeling project will cost. If and when you decide to go through with it, we will discuss and determine your budgetary needs, using the notes we took in Step 1 as a reference. We always make sure to show you how home remodeling gives you the best bang for your buck, causing your home value to appreciate and giving you a bigger return on investment at resale.

3. Removing the Old

In South Florida remodeling as well as many other areas of life, destruction precedes creation. We remove the old before we build the new, and this necessitates getting rid of such components as old rugs, chipped paint, wiring, etc. This step often gets quite messy, and we make sure to remove anything fragile before we begin.

4. Building the New

We proceed with the construction phase of remodeling. Oftentimes, this step is quite intrusive. For instance, a contractor for kitchen remodeling will often work on your kitchen during the day, creating noise and perhaps even shutting off the power for safety reasons. We recommend that, for such projects, you look into staying at a hotel or with a friend or family member. We are always willing to be held accountable for on-site construction in the absence of homeowners, and we would be happy to install cameras for your peace of mind.

5. Cleaning & Completing

Finally, we make sure to remedy any messes we have created in the process (and there are often many). It is CCM’s guarantee that you find no chipped paint, no loose nail or screw after we are done. You will only remember us by the craftsmanship of what our South Florida remodeling services have left behind!

Panoramic window design

Finding the Right Window Design for Your Home

Window design often gets lost somewhere in between roofing, electrical engineering, HVAC, and everything else that custom home building entails. Nevertheless, it is an extremely important part of the overall design process. Windows are not only practical, providing the right insulation and security. They are also aesthetic and have the potential to add a unique style to your house.

The Right Window Design

Windows come in all different shapes and forms, and the importance of finding the right one for you cannot be overstated. According to the House Designers, about 10-15% of home building budgets are spent on windows and doors alone! While factors such as size and color will vary according to your individual preferences, we can help you determine the right style of windows for your custom home.

Awning window designAwning Windows

Awning window designs (pictured on the right) take their name from the sheets of canvas that stick out from stores and hotel buildings. They are hinged at the top, swinging vertically outward from the bottom whenever a crank or lever is turned. They generally open out to a 30o angle, which enables them to ventilate houses without letting rain in (wind notwithstanding).

Casement Windows

Casement windows are much like awning ones, except they are hinged at the side and swing horizontally (rather than vertically) outward. In general, casement windows open from the center and can be opened all the way. They are one of the more basic window designs, being quaint, simple and generally less expensive.

Fixed/Picture Windows

Fixed windows are the most basic, simpler than even casement ones. They are not hinged, meaning they cannot be opened at all. Often called “picture windows,” they can offer scenic pictures of the South Florida coastline in the right custom beach house. They are the least expensive and most energy efficient, but are generally accompanied by other window designs such as casement or hung windows.

Double-hung window designHung Windows

Hung windows (pictured on the left) are probably the most popular design for household windows. Unlike casement or awning windows, they are not hinged to swing outward. Rather, when unlocked their panes glide vertically (or sometimes horizontally). They come in two types: single-hung (with one movable pane) and double hung (with two movable panes).

Sliding/Rolling Windows

Finally, there are sliding window designs. These are generally thought of as windows that function as doors, but they can be proper windows as well. Sliding (or rolling) windows are not hinged, but rather slide laterally. They do this by incorporating two or more panes, with one fixed and others movable, each about half the width of the window frame. They are considered a very contemporary design, as well as the most practical because of the insulation and security benefits they offer.

Installing paving stones on concrete

How to Install Paving Stones on Concrete

How to Install Paving Stones on Concrete

There is no doubt that, when it comes to custom paving in South Florida, paving stones reign supreme over both asphalt and concrete. However, you don’t have to rule out either of these materials completely. You can install paving stones on concrete, and here’s your guide on how to do it.

Why You Should Install Paving Stones on Concrete

On its own, concrete may be inferior to pavement hardscapes. However, it can actually provide a surface that is remarkably stable when paving stones are installed over it. In fact, it is much more stable than installing paving stones over asphalt. This benefits you as a homeowner. Pavers remain stable for much longer, meaning you won’t have to replace them.

What You Will Need

  • Concrete padding
  • Bucket (about 10 quarts’ volume)
  • Mortar
  • Water
  • Trowel (preferably one that has margins/notches)
  • Paving stones
  • Rubber mallet
  • Dry cement
  • Cement sand
  • Broom

Step-By Step Instructions

  1. To install paving stones on concrete, first lay them on your concrete padding.
  2. In a bucket, mix your mortar with water until it becomes nice and thick.
  3. Use your trowel to spread a 0.25″ deep mixture on the padding, using the dimensions of your paving stones as a guideline.
  4. Starting in one corner, start to lay the pavers down. As you install each paving stone, make sure it is flush — both front to back and side to side.
  5. Pour dry cement beginning at the center and moving outward. Make sure this is a thin depth, about 0.25″ which will raise the central pavers to be level with the ones on the edge.
  6. Begin placing paving stones on the other corner, installing them the same way as in step #4.
  7. Secure the paving stones by tapping them with your mallet. Make sure they are all at a level depth.
  8. The last step to install paving stones on concrete is sprinkling concrete sand over the entire paving structure. Brush the sand off the stones themselves and into the crevices to make sure there is no excess.
Using home automation to set temperature

Home Automation & Custom Home Design

2015 is well under way, bringing with it exciting new innovations in custom home construction. And it all has to do with one aspect: technology. Technology is constantly making advances, providing homeowners with new avenues for luxury, comfort and convenience. And nothing epitomizes this fact more than the technological advances that have been made in home automation.

Technology, Design & Home Automation

In their list of top 10 homebuilding trends, Dallas Culture Map sums up their predictions with a single motif: technology. First on their list is home automation — what is this aspect of custom home design? How does it work, and how might you incorporate it into your new custom home?

What is Home Automation?

First of all, what is automation? Automation means setting something up to do something automatically. Most people think of computers — your computer can automatically back up, notify you of tasks, shut off at a certain time, etc.

Imagine that your home is a computer. That means you can set it up to do something automatically: anything from dimming the lights to playing music to altering the air conditioning.

How Does Home Automation Work?

With automation, the possibilities are endless. And if that doesn’t already sound exciting, here’s more: due to amazing advances in home automation technology, it can often be controlled from your phone, tablet or computer!

It works by connecting each automated device through a centralized network, often a house’s local area network (LAN). This allows homeowners to access their automation settings from electronic devices that are connected to the internet. At the same time, it provides the same level of security as accessing your bank account online.

Custom Home Design With Automation

The great thing about home automation is how complimentary it is with custom home design. The spirit of custom home building means customizing anything in your home to your own needs, and nothing accomplishes this more than automated housing components. You can use them for:

  • HVAC: automating temperature, humidity, and (with many automated HVAC systems) shutting windows.
  • Lighting: Scheduling lights to turn on/off, dimming lights, or using motion sensors to turn on/off when someone enters the room.
  • Intercoms
  • Security: cameras, codes, and alerts for security breaches.
  • Home Entertainment Systems: audio/visual automation, surround-sound and stereo customization, and automatic shutdown/startup
  • Outdoors: automated pool and hot tub heating, jet-stream bubbles, cleaning, and lighting.
  • Others: watering plants, feeding pets, and specialized automation to make life more manageable for the disabled and/or elderly. The possibilities are virtually limitless!
3D rendering of a modular home

What are Modular Homes?

Modular homes are a subtype of prefab home that is constructed out of “modules” (as opposed to sections or panels). Each module comes mostly or completely pre-built, but like prefabs they differ from mobile homes. They are transported differently, governed by different building codes, and — most importantly  — are much more amenable to the art and science of custom home building.

What You Should Know About Modular Homes

What are modular homes? What are they used for? What does the construction and manufacturing process entail? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of these types of manufactured houses, especially with regard to custom home building in South Florida?

Modules & Modular Houses

Modular building is a subset of “off-site construction,” wherein part or all of a house is constructed in one location and then transferred to another for completion. This clearly distinguishes it from on-site (informally referred to as “stick-built”) construction, and the degree to which modular homes are completed off-site also distinguishes it from other types of prefabs.

Modulars can be thought of as a balanced approach to building prefabricated houses. The modules themselves are rooms, the primary component of a house. Other components of off-site construction are much more minuscule (panels) or more comprehensive (sections, entire wings of homes that comprise two or more rooms and motifs).

Modular Construction

Modular homes must abide my the local codes of the municipality in which they will be completed, so the construction process is marked by tightly scrutinized inspection. The most important stage of manufacturing is design, wherein constructors must utilize automated computing and 3D models to ensure modules’ compatibility with other rooms or sections. After the modules are manufactured, they are transported to the construction site via a flat-bead truck to be installed.

Modular Homes & Custom Home Building

What are the pros and cons of using modules, as opposed to proverbial “sticks,” to custom build a home in South Florida?


  • More affordable than traditionally-built luxury homes
  • Quicker construction process means a more immediate return on investment, one of the primary concerns in home building
  • Easier to implement extensions, remodeling and home additions
  • More environment-friendly construction
  • Since it is built to withstand rigorous transport, modules are usually inherently more sturdy (very apposite to the coastal, hurricane-prone areas of South Florida)


  • While construction itself is much quicker, the transport of modules can be very slow
  • May not be fully accepted by buyers, which may lead to undervaluation at resale (although smart design may disguise the fact that a home is modular)
  • South Florida custom home builders are extremely limited in their ability to customize using modules, as the market favors minimalization
Make your house stand out like this one!

3 Ways to Make Your House Stand Out

In a dull, boring black-and-white world, you want to fill your house with vibrant colors — in other words, you want to make your house stand out. No one wants to be a part of the “Stepford” community where everything looks the same. For many people, one single house is all they get in life. So make it different — make it count!

How to Make Your House Stand Out

You don’t have to be a professional designer or landscape architect to do this. All you need is ideas, and herein the possibilities are endless. Here are 3 jumping-off points for you to get started.

Paving Stones

Let’s start with the outside: your driveway and the path leading up to your house. Here, custom paving stones offer you a tremendous opportunity to make your house stand out. Both concrete and asphalt are banal. Moreover, paving stones can be customized to your exact wants and wishes. What pattern do you want them installed in? What color or colors do you desire? Pavers are guaranteed to add value and beauty, plus they are crack-resistant and last for a lifetime!

Landscape & Gardening

Another outside feature all too often neglected is the landscape. Here, too, the possibilities of a custom design are almost without limit. If your front lawn boasts only a few trees and shrubs, consider the following:

  • Natural garden stones to create a unique focal point for your landscape
  • Retaining walls to segment your gardens and trees
  • A coy pond and bridge for an extra hint of luxury

Blur the Line Between Inside & Out

In most houses, the demarcation between inside and out is fairly clear. You can make your house stand out by blurring these lines a bit, installing a courtyard, arcade, or open air patio complete with uniquely designed columns and arches. The Sunshine State is made to be spent outdoors, and these components are all part of the rich tradition of South Florida luxury homes.

Custom home or model home?

Custom Homes vs. Model Homes

Custom homes are great, and of course we as South Florida custom home builders are not without our own opinion on this subject! But are they for everyone? Between the time, cost and energy of building a custom house, some may lean toward model homes instead.

Deciding Between Model & Custom Homes

Thanks to for providing the inspiration for this article with their own, “Buyers decide between custom or model homes.” It’s a great and unbiased piece that weighs the pros and cons of each through the real experiences of homeowners. Here’s our own extra two cents.

Model Homes

“Model homes” here refers to homes that are built from a set of pre-designed (i.e. “model”) plans. They can be just as luxurious as custom homes, while not being as time-consuming or even stressful to build. Model homes are a particularly good option for those who don’t see themselves as creative or innovative enough to dream up their own design. There’s no shame in this, although sometimes your own creativity is locked away rather than completely absent. Don’t sell yourself short — we’ve seen many potential homeowners surprise even themselves!


  • Easier, takes less time and energy
  • Standardized designs make both costs and scheduling explicit and easier to understand


  • Sometimes the land to be built on won’t allow certain home models
  • Anything your model home comes with that you don’t like, you must either live with or deal with yourself

Custom Homes

Homes that are custom built are exactly what they sound like: the designs, floor plans and engineering are all based on the customer’s personal wishes.


  • Homeowners get to customize everything — down to even the details that may seem mundane
  • Highly adaptable to any factor — be it the land or interior of the home


  • The prospect of 100% customization from the bottom-up may seem daunting
  • Often takes more time and investment than model homes
  • Fear — i.e. of the unknown, such as building something that later makes resale difficult

A Middle Ground?

The lines between building model homes and custom homes are not always so clear. For instance, model home builders still allow homeowners some flexibility in customizing the interior of their home. Indeed, even prefab homes have a part to play in custom construction.

In the news-press article, one resident expresses her fear that “We didn’t want to have to choose where every light switch goes.” Her unease is understandable. However, we know from personal experience that quality home building doesn’t put that burden on you. The best custom home builders will balance your creative vision with their expertise.

Home remodeling with fiberglass doors offer the best bang for your buck

Home Remodeling in 2015: The Best Bang for Your Buck

We’ve made our predictions about what custom home construction will look like in 2015, but the other side of the coin is home remodeling. Even after homeowners have designed and built their dream house, chances are they will need some kind of post-construction service. Whether it’s for repairs, additions or whole redesigns, these services serve the same function as custom home building: giving homeowners exactly what they want.

The State of Home Remodeling in 2015

More so than in the initial construction process, people are considering resale when they go about the remodeling process. Remodeling is an investment, a means to an end, whereas custom home building is an end in and of itself. This leads to the pertinent question of “which remodeling projects will offer me the best return on my investment?”

The Best Bang for Your Buck

The Chicago Tribune has actually already answered this question. Once home value appreciation, materials, and labor costs are factored in, only 5 home remodeling projects offer the best bang for buck:

  • 20-gauge steel front doors
  • Fiberglass front doors
  • Garage doors
  • Mid-price roof replacements
  • Vinyl siding

The Worst Bang for Your Buck

What about the worst returns on investment (ROI)? In 2015, they are deemed to be:

  • 2-story home additions
  • Bathroom remodeling (57% ROI)
  • Composite decking (72% ROI)
  • Major kitchen remodeling (69% ROI)
  • Master suite remodeling

Why the Difference?

Many will notice something peculiar about this report: the worst returns on investment actually have the highest demand, while the best ones are hardly appealing to the average homeowner. Actually, this is not an anomaly. The cost of these projects — the worst returns, incidentally the most luxury home remodeling projects — has long exceeded their value, and the lack of momentum in the real estate market has only made it worse.

Why don’t housing prices increase with gorgeous, luxury kitchen or bathroom remodeling? People simply aren’t interested in home remodeling without practical value, it seems. Contrast these with garage doors, for instance. Garage doors are a frequently needed home repair, but new ones delay this inevitable cost by a few years. The same can be said for roofing, siding and door replacements.

Doors, roofs and house siding may not be the most luxurious parts of remodeling, but they are the most pragmatic. At the same time, don’t let this discourage you from seeking out the luxury home you desire. You may get only a fraction of your investment back, but you cannot put a price on living in the house of your dreams.

Custom Beach House in Highland Beach, Florida

Designing Your Custom Beach House







Take the art of custom home building, combine it with beautiful sunny South Florida…and the result is a custom beach house. These houses, both primary homes and “snowbirds'” second homes, populate the whole Atlantic shoreline up and down route A1A. Everyone in Florida dreams of owning one of these marvelous domiciles…so why not make it a custom home as well?

Ideas for Designing Your Custom Beach House

Why not only a beach house, but more specifically a beach house that is custom designed to your needs and desires? For one, nothing puts the “luxury” in luxury home building more than a cool salty breeze and a gorgeous view of the ocean. Moreover, custom homes and luxury homes are one in the same, more often than not. So, these two concepts naturally merge and become one.

Building luxury homes in South Florida is at once an art as well as a science, and there are both practical and instinctual considerations to be made. With that said, here are a few for designing your custom beach house:

Practical Considerations

Windows & Doors

One thing home builders must not ignore is the elements, which are especially strong near the beach. Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but to residents it’s also the Hurricane State. Being so vulnerable to storms during the annual hurricane season, well designed beach houses will always incorporate impact windows and doors.

Why impact windows and doors? For one, they are superior to hurricane shutters not only in appearance but also in function. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials that can be customized to your house, while at the same time providing the following benefits:

  • Anti-theft security
  • Temperature insulation
  • Sound insulation
  • Appreciated home value


Humidity near the beach is just as bad (if not worse) as inland Florida, which is the number one factor that causes wet basements. The problem of condensation is not limited to basements, and can easily lead to mold and mildew throughout your beach house. So, be sure to have all the proper insulation installed.

Aesthetic Considerations

  • Installing a dock nearby or on your property if you own a boat
  • An outdoor residential area with a grill, bar, etc.
  • Balconies
  • A wraparound deck
  • Paving stones and custom landscape treatment
  • Open concept designs to let the ocean breeze in
  • Sunlights installed in your roof
  • And so much more — it’s your custom beach house, and the sky is the limit!