Lemel Homes Scouts for Future Homebuilders

When searching for hard-working, industrious kids looking to build something with their own two hands, working with the Boy Scouts of America would seem to be a natural fit. With the shortage in the construction labor pool that doesn’t seem to have any end in sight, Todd DeLonge of Lemel Homes saw an opportunity to sell youngsters on a career in the skilled trades with a fun program.

“I wanted to do something that would give us as much construction-type stuff to do and make it as grandiose as possible,” said DeLonge, who serves as construction manager for Lemel Homes. “In construction in general with the labor shortage and as little as kids know about construction, I wanted the older kids to work with tools and get as exposed as possible.”

The homebuilding industry certainly could use a boost in interest if labor demands are going to keep up with the housing boom. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 200,000 construction jobs are unfilled in the United States – an 81 percent increase in two years.

DeLonge is doing his best to alleviate the situation, one scouting event at a time. For the annual Family Day Camp for Cub Scout Pack 175 out of Sussex this June, DeLonge organized a doghouse-building project to expose the scouts and their siblings to different jobs in construction.

The scouts – and their siblings, parents and anyone involved who wanted to learn about construction – built the doghouses to benefit the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha. The society will auction off the houses, which will be decorated in a variety of themes this fall, to raise money for its mission.

Aside from helping the Humane Society, DeLonge chose doghouses for the project because it would give the 100 or so participants an opportunity to experience as many aspects of homebuilding as possible on a smaller scale.

DeLonge also organized other building projects for the camp that exposed kids to different skills. For example, scouts and their family also built a trebuchet, which is a type of medieval catapult. Once the trebuchet was complete, the campers, armed with about 300 tomatoes, took aim at DeLonge and another scout leader who were floating in kayaks on Lake Michigan.

Along with stations for the doghouses and the trebuchet, four groups of 20 or so people were rotated through stations to learn about plumbing and knot-tying, fishing, fire building and boiling eggs in paper cups as well. DeLonge organized the event – his fourth and final day camp as his sons are moving on from this pack to Boy Scouts and another Scout Pack – but he and the pack had immense support from a variety of sponsors, including Lemel Homes, Drexel Building Supply, Able Plumbing Supply, Pick N Save, Meijer and Piggly Wiggly.

“I take great pride in putting on a program like I did,” DeLonge said. “The only way I’m able to pull it off is through the support of so many people, especially from Lemel Homes. They back me and make our events a home run.”

Based on the reaction from those in attendance, kids and parents alike were plenty excited to learn something new.

“The kids were getting engaged with the projects they were working on,” DeLonge said. “In my eyes, this was the first step in what I can bring to the table as far as events to help promote the skilled trades among the youth, and it’s a small stepping stone toward many more events like this for many different youth groups that I can be a part of.”

Interior Paint Colors Homeowners Lives with Sense of Individuality

lemel-paintingBlog---03Although interior painting typically represents just 3 to 3 ½ percent of custom home’s construction budget, it is an important aspect of the homebuilding process that requires careful consideration from homebuyers. Selecting the interior paint colors is part of the homeowners’ overall design concept, ensuring the ceilings and walls match other finishes in the home like cabinetry, countertops and flooring.

lemel-paintingBlog---01“This gives the homeowner the opportunity to match their wall colors to the design pallet they have envisioned,” says Todd DeLonge, construction manager for Lemel Homes. “There is a plethora of paint colors to choose from, so once they have other stuff hammered out, it is easier to choose paint.”

Among Lemel Homes’ clients, grays are most popular right now, and homeowners often adding a random accent color that “pops” on its own. Lemel Homes offers their clients the services of a color specialist, who can suggest accent wall and field colors to help homeowners achieve the feel and look they desire.

How it’s Done

lemel-paintingBlog---02From the builder’s standpoint, interior painting typically takes place once the drywall has been erected and has been sprayed for texture, such as a sand or orange peel finish. The painting subcontractor takes over from here, applying one coat of primer on all the walls and ceilings throughout the home.

Once the ceilings and walls have been primed, the finishing carpenters and other trades return to complete their work before the painting begins. According to DeLonge, this may seem out of order, but working in this manner eliminate the need for too many touchups later.

“If you prime everything, let it be and come back to paint it, it makes for a much nicer job,” DeLonge says. “It would be easier to paint right away, but it’s not worth it in the long run for the quality that you get.”

Prepping to Paint

lemel-paintingBlog---04Interior painting subcontractors do not have to deal with the elements like their outdoor colleagues, but special conditions must be put in place before painting begins. For example, DeLonge says the house must maintain a temperature of at least 45 degrees for interior painting. Also, the humidity level must be at a moderate level, and care must be taken to control humidity.”When it’s really hot in the summertime, humidity could be a problem, so you need to get the right amount of ventilation to get the humid air out,” DeLonge says. “But if humid air is getting in, you need to get the air conditioning up and running, and sometimes that isn’t installed in a home until the end of a project.”

The interior painting process typically takes two weeks to turn around. Painting subs also return to a home a few days before closing for any touchups that might be necessary.

Making Dreams a Reality

Lemel_Joe_Desk_smMeeting expectations means more to us than just delivering a home on time and within budget. For us at Lemel Homes, we make sure you – our customer – is at ease with the process of custom home building every step of the way.

We take pride in providing you with personal service, from the moment you walk through our doors to the moment you step inside your new living space.

Our mission is to meet your expectations.

Your personality will be on display in every detail, from the floor plan to the counter tops and light fixtures. And our quality construction will assure that your home will remain beautiful and comfortable for generations.Lemel_Brochure_Point_sm

We help our customers determine their wants and needs by starting each project with a “target meeting” – the first step toward bringing their vision for their home to reality. This dedication to upfront planning and customer satisfaction gives us the ability to meet every demand our clients have, no matter the size and scope of a project.

Lemel_family_1_smWhen it comes to building the home of your dreams, we are the custom home builder you want handling your project from start to finish. We’re only limited by your wildest imagination, so dream big and leave the rest to us.

After all, your favorite place on earth should be the place you call home.

Winter weather and construction

winter-construction_02Many home buyers might consider the harsh weather conditions that come with Wisconsin winters as a reason to put off construction until the state thaws out. We at Lemel Homes think there’s no better time to start building the home of your dreams – if the right precautions are in place.

Today’s construction industry has been winterized to the point where it is an advantage to work through the cold months. It’s just a matter of preparation for what is to come – one more step in Lemel Homes’ exhaustive pre-planning that ensures your home is delivered on time with every amenity you desire.

In other words, there is no reason to let the cold and snow keep you from getting the jump on your dream home. The best way to determine a start date is not the changing of the seasons – it’s your desired move-in date, working backward from there.

If that start date lands in winter, so be it – Lemel Homes will have your home ready when you want it.

Planning for What’s to Come
winter-construction_04There are plenty of precautions we take to make sure building a home through winter is a successful endeavor. For instance, we never start a job until we see a forecast calling for the right temperature to excavate and pour the footings and the walls. And once construction begins, we use hay to keep the ground insulated as well as special attachments on our excavators to help dig through frozen ground.

One might think potentially freezing materials would pose a problem for wintertime home building, but we have considered all possibilities to avoid such trouble. For example, concrete remains heated as it is delivered to job sites, so pours maintain the same consistency as they would in any other season. Large blankets are used when the extremely cold temperatures descend upon us to control the heat concrete releases as it cures, preventing it from freezing and delaying a project’s progress.

Also, many of today’s materials are designed to withstand the elements of a harsh winter – roof shingles, for instance, are fabricated to be installed during any season. Ice and snow that has accumulated is chiseled away, allowing roofers to climb up to perform their work.

When the home is enclosed, our wood-wall sheathing and wind barrier will keep the wind out of the house so conditions are comfortable for the mechanical contractors. Once the insulation is in place and the drywall is hung, the house will have a furnace that will be able to keep the home at an inhabitable temperature.

Functional in the Frozen Tundra
winter-construction_01Much of the construction equipment needs to be kept warm, as well, so it will function properly in the cold. Cordless tools require batteries, which often have shorter lifetimes as temps drop. To combat the elements, new batteries and chargers are often kept inside a running vehicle on-site to be ready at a moment’s notice.

Glue and caulk are two major components of the home building process that also must be kept warm at all costs. These adhesives typically are kept inside a warm truck until needed, as well, to avoid freezing. That means exterior siding installation is usually scheduled near the start of spring.

Don’t Put Home buying Plans On Ice
winter-construction_03With plenty of planning and materials and equipment designed to withstand the elements, Lemel Homes is ready to build dream homes on job sites that can withstand the most brutal conditions Wisconsin’s winter can throw at us.

Let it snow and get going on your dream home today! Contact Lemel Homes to get started!

The selection process: Choosing the look of your home

planningBuilding a new home is exciting. It’s a chance to design your house so it functions well for your family’s everyday life, and the design options mean you can pick out finishes and paint colors so the house looks exactly like you want it to.

Clients often have fun with the selection process. A lot of clients come to our initial selection process meeting with general ideas of how they want their house to look.

We offer a variety of customization options, and we’ll work with you throughout the selection process to ensure all of your design choices come together into one great package.

The exterior process

exteriorThe selection process always starts with the exterior decisions. Our team will meet with you in our selections office, which is filled with samples of everything for your home. Exterior materials include doors, windows, siding and roofing.

We walk clients through exterior selections before construction begins to ensure these decisions are finalized before the build.

Clients often enjoy the exterior part of the selection process. When you’ve been dreaming of building a home, it’s often easy to visualize what that new home will look like.

If you’re not sure what you want your new house to look like, we recommend driving by our homes and around different neighborhoods to take note of roofing and siding colors of existing houses you like.

The interior selections

flooring_windowsOur selection office is also filled with interior samples, including plumbing, cabinets, countertops, hardware and flooring. We also have photos of home builds and remodels we’ve completed so you can see the products in action and how they blend with other finishes.

Clients often make a lot of their interior decisions, such as plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware and interior trim right in our selections office. If we don’t have a sample of what you want in our office, we’ll direct you to a nearby showroom where you can see a specific countertop, cabinet or flooring detail.

The impact of trends

roofingWhile current interior design trends sometimes factor into clients’ design decisions, we find that a lot of buyers are interested in a classic, timeless look. After all, many building their home plan to live there for a long time.

We recommend buyers use Houzz to look for ideas before we meet to review decision selections. Sometimes we include something exactly as a buyer found it on Houzz, and other times, we match things up as best as we can to achieve the look they want.

Indecisive? We’ll help out.

While many clients come to us with ideas of how they want their finished home to look, some customers can’t decide on certain finishes and materials.

We’re happy to step in at those times and help clients pick finishes that fall within their price range and general color scheme of the house.

Depending on how far along we are in the process, change orders are issued if customers change their mind on a certain finish. We’ll work you to make this your perfect home!

The selection process is a lot of fun. It’s your chance to customize the home of your dreams.

Urban Infill: Rebuilding a Community While Building a Home.

blog-urbaninfill_01Over the past several years, Lemel Homes has come to specialize in a type of building project with the awkward name “urban infill.” Also called “land recycling” or “redevelopment,” it simply means new construction in an urban environment. The term “infill” comes from the fact that much of this kind of redevelopment happens on undeveloped land in the middle of developed communities, and that the new construction “fills a gap” between the older buildings.

blog-urbaninfill_02We’ve discovered that many of our customers love the convenience and charm of living in an established urban area, whether that’s a bustling city center or a quaint old neighborhood. The National League of Cities reports, “Urban Infill is gaining in popularity as intown or close-in locations become more attractive to prospective home buyers.” View Report

In many cases, our urban infill customers have hired us to blog-urbaninfill_03build a new home on a vacant lot. But we’ve had other customers who already owned a home in an urban community, a home that simply didn’t meet their needs. In those cases, they hired us to tear down the existing home before building their dream home in its place.

Of course, urban infill doesn’t just benefit the homeowner. According to a 2015 report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it can have a positive impact on the community as well: “Infill development can bring many benefits, including financial savings for municipalities, increased property values for residents and businesses, easier travel, reduced pollution, and economic stabilization of distressed communities.” View PDF

blog-urbaninfill_04If you’re considering building your dream home in a city or another established metropolitan area, be sure to contact Lemel Homes first. We’re Southeastern Wisconsin’s urban infill specialists, and it’s our mission to help you live “anywhere you want to live.” We’ll maximize the unique opportunities that your urban lot provides while creating a home that will uplift your established community.

Open Floor Plans

The Bridgeport, built by a Wisconsin home builder, has an open floor plan

The Bridgeport has an open floor plan

Creating the Home of Your Dreams

Designing a new home or remodeling an older one gives you a chance to choose a floor plan that suits you perfectly. Similar to a road map, it shows where you want to go and how to get there. A floor plan lets you create a design for your home that provides comfort for your family and friends. Making an investment in a set of floor plans requires a small expenditure, but it helps you design a dream home that a Wisconsin home builder can create for you.

Choosing an Open Floor Plan

Living without walls can give your home a spacious feeling, but it can deprive you of privacy. Your lifestyle, tolerance for noise, desire for tidiness, and the age of your children can affect your choice of a floor plan. Continue reading

Four Tips for Building a Focus on Energy Certified Home

A Focus On Energy certified home can be built for you

A Focus On Energy certified home can be built for you

For the past 20 years, the energy conservation experts at Focus on Energy have provided certification options for custom home builders and home buyers in the state of Wisconsin. The energy-saving features of these Focus on Energy Certified Homes can provide added confidence for you and your family and increased comfort for as long as you own your home. Here are four of the most important tips for individuals and families interested in living green-friendly in their new homes:

1. Invest in High-Efficiency HVAC Systems

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling can add up to nearly half of your energy expenditures in a typical year. Finding ways to increase the efficiency of these systems and to reduce your monthly heating and cooling costs can provide you with a more comfortable and affordable home for your family. Custom home builders in Wisconsin can provide accurate guidance regarding the best options for your new home and can deliver high-efficiency HVAC systems designed specifically to meet your needs now and in the future. Continue reading

Four Green-Friendly Features to Include in Your Custom-Built Home

Builder Fitting Insulation Into Roof Of New Green-friendly HomeIncorporating the right energy-efficient features in your new home can provide real benefits for you and your family. Working with a reputable Wisconsin home builder is essential to ensure high-quality craftsmanship and solid performance for many years to come. Here are four of the best green-friendly additions for your new custom-built home. All of these are standard features at Lemel Homes:

1. Insulation

Insulating your home is not a new concept. Thousands of years ago, ancient civilizations used mud and straw to thicken the walls of their houses to keep out the cold and wind. Today, GreenGuard certified insulating materials offer superior protection against extreme temperatures to reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home. Investing in insulation around your foundation, exterior walls and attic spaces can keep indoor spaces comfortable while lowering your utility bills and reducing your energy consumption during every season of the year. Continue reading

Four Important Benefits of Custom-Built Homes

Lemel Homes, a great Milwaukee home builder

The Milwaukee home builders at Lemel Homes can build a custom home just for you

Designing and building your own home can be an exhilarating experience for you and your family. A Milwaukee home builder like Lemel Homes can deliver a wide array of customization options designed specifically to suit your needs perfectly. Here are four important benefits of choosing to build your own custom-built home in the modern real estate marketplace.

1. Tailor-Made Just for You

Working with an established builder to design your new home from the ground up can allow you to incorporate your own personal flair into your construction project. Added closet space, built-in shelving and other amenities can easily be integrated into a custom home design. This added degree of choice can allow you to enjoy the home of your dreams from the lighting fixtures right down to the flooring options. Creating and constructing your own custom residence can provide you with real pride of possession in your new home. Continue reading