Category Archives: Home Building

Home Features Designed for Summer Fun

Picture this, you wake up in your dream home on the beautiful coast of North Carolina every morning this summer. Do you enjoy a cup of coffee overlooking the water? Take a morning swim? Pull out a kayak? Or plan a cookout with loved ones?

Whatever your heart desires, take a look at some of these home features! Including them in your coastal home can make summertime that much sweeter.

A Dock

If you live on a beach or waterway, a dock is the perfect way to enjoy it every day! You can sit out with a good book in the morning or evening, plop a kayak into the water and take a quick lap, or enjoy a swim! If your dock is larger, you can even have family dinners on the water when the weather is nice. This is a fun feature you can enjoy most of the year.

An Outdoor Kitchen

Barbecues and family dinners on the menu? An outdoor kitchen makes summer entertainment easier and more inviting. Instead of trekking in and out of the house with things to put on the grill, an outdoor kitchen allows you to stay with your guests and enjoy the party while you prep and cook. You can even include your guests and designate them as sous-chefs! It’s inviting, entertaining, and smells delicious. This feature is great for the summer and can be enjoyed the rest of the year, too.

A Pool

You can still enjoy the water… even if you don’t live on the water! A pool is a coveted feature in any home. Become the envy of your neighborhood with a gorgeous in-ground pool, complete with all the most stylish and comfortable loungers, umbrellas, and more. Lounge or play with your family and guests all season long.

An Outdoor Shower

Coming out of the ocean, a river, or a pool, you’ll likely want to rinse off before heading inside. Instead of a garden hose, you can choose to have an outdoor shower included in your home plan! Make sure it’s well covered, and opt for a rain shower head for the ultimate luxury experience.

A Fire Pit

Gathering around a fire in the evening is always a nice way to decompress and catch up with your loved ones. Make s’mores and hot dogs in the summertime while watching the sunset, and cozy up during the fall and winter to stargaze. It’s sure to be a hit any season of the year.

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

When choosing kitchen cabinets, there are several key factors to consider. You want to make the best selection for your space and your family. Here’s a checklist of key features to consider while choosing cabinets for your dream kitchen.


Shaker, flat, raised, made with glass panels… the style of cabinet doors can make a statement by being simple or very ornate. Consider timelessness, ease of cleaning, and, in the case of glass, your level of organization.

Color and Material

Cabinets come in every color of the rainbow and can come in a variety of woods with different stains and textures. There are a variety of materials to choose from, like classic wood, sleek laminate, and even shiny stainless steel — each of which comes with its own set of colors. Remember to choose your color and material with the bigger picture in mind. Don’t forget to pair your cabinet finish with your backsplash and countertops.


While hardware is certainly a style choice, it’s also a functional choice! Think about how easy it would be for a belt loop to snag on drawer cabinet pulls or for your baby to grab onto them. Choose a shape and finish keeping in mind how they will complement the cabinet color, overall kitchen design, and traffic flow for your family in the space.


Don’t forget to consider adjustable shelves, drawers, pull-out trays, and specialized storage solutions for pots, pans, spices, and utensils. You may opt for a trash can drawer or big drawers sturdy enough to hold your counter top appliances when not in use. These solutions can make your kitchen much more functional for everyday use.

Aside from choosing the style and features of the cabinets themselves, you’ll also keep durability and affordability in mind. Cabinets and hardware come in a wide range of colors, materials, finishes, styles and price points. You’ll be happy you spent the time selecting just the right cabinets for your dream home.

Benefits of Being a Homeowner

Happy National Homeowners Month and congratulations to every homeowner living in a Horizons East home! June is dedicated to celebrating the joys, benefits, and advantages of homeownership. It’s a chance to recognize the value that owning a home brings to individuals, families, and communities. In this article, we will explore a few of the many benefits of home ownership.

1. Stability

Rent prices, can be changed at will if neighborhoods become more popular or if the market shifts. Your mortgage will be more stable, varying slowly over time as insurance rates or property taxes change. You don’t have to worry about your landlord selling the building or a noisy upstairs neighbor. Your home is yours, and living in your own home is a great way to protect yourself financially over time.

2. Personalization

Owning your house gives you the freedom to do whatever you’d like, to make it feel like home for you and your family. Your decor, fixtures, and features can all be tailored to your
personal style! From paint colors to appliance choices, you call the shots instead of a landlord. You and your family can truly make it your dream home.

3. Investment and Equity

Owning a home is a long-term investment. Over time, as you pay down your mortgage and build equity, you are putting money into an asset that typically gains value. This can provide financial stability and serve as a source of wealth accumulation across the years.

4. Community

Owning a home fosters a sense of community and pride. When you own a home, you become part of a neighborhood, and part of your town or city. This sense of community provides stability for families, offering children an opportunity to grow up in a consistent environment, participate in local events, and get to know families who live nearby. If you’re taking the leap to become a homeowner, consider Horizons East to help you build your
dream home. Here’s what some of our homeowners have to say about us:

Jacksonville, NC Homeowner: 

“Custom built by Jennifer Morton at Horizons East and her great team, our vision of a home was brought to life by the skill of some great people after many years of dreaming and planning. It is not the materials we posses but the people that call this home that are the most valuable. It sure does feel good to have a place for our loved ones to gather together.”

Maysville, NC Homeowner:

“The house is AWESOME… All I want to do is stay home!!”

Stella, NC Homeowner:

“After walking through the same home you built in another location and after hearing our agent’s affirmation of your family and your skill as a builder, we were pretty confident. Upon our first meeting with you, we both knew you were our builder… We endorse you every chance we get and everyone that sees our home love it and asks who the builder is.. We tell people what we liked best about working with you was your very relaxed demeanor. If we suggested a change it was never a big deal and you would even expand on what we were going for. Would we do it again with you at the helm? Absolutely!”

Hubert, NC Homeowner:

“I currently have the Brookstone and I can’t speak highly enough about how much I love it!! I am always telling people what a great quality company you are and how you include all the additional personal touches that make it not just a house but a home… Thank you!!”

Home Features You’ll Love for Pets

Pets are an integral part of our families. We love them, so it’s natural to keep your fur-babies in mind when planning your dream home. Here are a few pet-friendly features to love when building and designing your new Horizons East home.


Doggy Door

Tired of letting the pups in and out every time they have to go outside? Wish they could let themselves out early on a chilly morning? A doggy door may be the solution for you! Ensure it opens to a fenced in yard or area to keep your neighbors happy and your pets protected.


Built-in Gates

Adding a removable barricade can be an inconvenience and an eyesore when you want to keep your pets out of certain areas. Instead, use built-in gates or a pocket door to contain your pets when needed. These can double as a baby-proofing addition, too!


Home Grooming Station

Dogs can get muddy and shed a lot, which may not be something you want to track into your bathtub or shower. A home grooming station keeps dog hair out of your luxurious human bath and can be built to meet the individual needs of your dog or cat. 


Pet-Proof Flooring 

Potty accidents happen, and claws can scratch hardwood floors over time. Make sure to consider your pets when choosing your flooring! A rule of thumb is to minimize carpet in high-traffic areas, and hard, impermeable materials are best, like tile, laminate, waterproof vinyl planks, cement, etc. 


Enclosed Patio 

Build the “catio” of your kitty’s dreams or add a screen so your fur babies can experience the often gorgeous weather in Coastal Carolina while still being “indoors” officially. 


Fenced in Yard 

Let your pups (and kids) run wild inside the safety fence around your yard. A good fence will help deter wild critters and will keep your pups and children from meandering out into streets, woods, or other areas where they might get lost or injured. 


Pet Bedroom 

Building a bedroom just for your pets isn’t as crazy as it may sound! Even if it’s just converting a closet under the stairs, your pets will have a private space of their own to escape to when you have lots of guests, a thunderstorm rolls into town, or when they’re tired and want a nap. You can also plan to include pet toy storage, easy leash access, and other pet-specific use needs.

Man drilling hole in wood

DIY Don’ts to Avoid at Home

Making sure your home uniquely reflects your own style is part of what makes it YOU. Your budget or your passion for projects may leave you wanting to attempt DIY projects. How hard can it be, right? Well, some projects are best left to professionals. Between safety concerns, retail materials costs, and the potential to have to pay to correct a mistake, it can be wiser and more budget-friendly to hire a trusted expert. These are a few DIY projects you should definitely leave to professionals.  



Electrical projects can be both difficult and dangerous. Wiring is not always easily accessible and may require you to go into crawlspaces or remove drywall. Permits or inspections may be needed for some projects and it can be dangerous if electrical repairs or installations are done incorrectly. Electrical issues are the third biggest cause of fires in the home. Without expert knowledge, you can accidentally lose power to your whole home, too! Unless you have the training and experience, leave this type of project to the experts to ensure things are safely and correctly installed. 



Big plumbing projects should also be left to experts. You may be able to replace your shower head or a faucet, but for anything more significant it’s recommended to call a licensed plumber. Water damage from incorrectly completed projects is expensive.  A weekend project gone wrong can turn into a costly, long-term problem.  



Laying tile in any part of your home is another project that may seem simple, but may be best left in the hands of professionals. From cutting the tiles to perfectly fit nooks and crannies to ensuring the correct consistency of grout, there is room for error. Without the proper saws and tools, the project becomes more difficult. And depending on your skill level, it’s possible the whole project may have to be redone. Consult an expert to get the job done right the first time. 



Even on a single-story, small home, replacing or repairing your roofing can be dangerous due to the risk of falls or other injuries. Roofs have a slope for runoff and can be slippery if wet or covered with loose materials. It’s also easy to be distracted by a task or misplace heavy materials and lose your balance. Beyond the obvious danger, potential errors could leave you with a leaking roof and water damage.  


If you have been in your new home for less than 1 year, be sure to check your Warranty Manual before getting started on any projects to make sure you are not unintentionally voiding your warranty.

What Home Floorplan is Right for You?

Every family is unique and their home should be, too. One size fits all just isn’t ideal. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a floor plan for your family.



If you have small children, stairs may present a safety concern for a while but once your children are older that changes.  Separate spaces for the kids and adults can be a valuable benefit in your home. For example, kids’ rooms may be upstairs with a game room, while the main floor is reserved for the master suite, living areas and kitchen. Kids value their own space as they enter their teens.


Elderly Family Members

As with younger children, stairs can be a challenge for older family members who may visit often, or live with you. If your heart is set on a multi-level home, splitting the bedrooms between levels or installing a small elevator may be ideal for your floorplan. If you have aging parents and anticipate you’ll need a living space for them now or in the future, a guest suite on the first floor can easily become an accessible space for them. Consider including enough space for accessibility options and a walk-in shower to make life easier in the future.


Active Lifestyle

Those with active lifestyles are frequently on the go and may prefer a home that is simple, open, and functional. A single level home with an open floor plan is perfect for those who want easy living and upkeep, but still want a beautiful space to enjoy. Remember to plan extra space for storing sports gear and outdoor toys like boats, boards, or bikes.


Busy, Big Family

Larger families with active kids have specific needs for sleeping spaces, play space and storage space. When selecting a floorplan for big families, small changes in the floorplans can make a big impact in the function of your home. The location of your laundry room, a mudroom, space for homework, and more storage for toys, games, sporting equipment can all be important things to consider when choosing your floorplan.


You know your family best.  Think about your needs today and what you think your family will need in the years to come.  Then talk to your home builder about those special needs that will make your home a dream home for your family.  You’ll have a better idea of which floorplans to start with as you customize your dream home.

Value of a Mudroom

A mudroom is the perfect place to keep extra dirt and clutter from finding its way into the rest of your home. It provides a specific location for dirty shoes to be removed before dirt or mud is tracked onto your living room floor. Backpacks, coats, and sports gear can be stored, instead of tossed on the couch or in the dining room. It can make your life so much easier! Here are 5 valuable benefits of having a mudroom in your home.


1. More Useful Storage

Winter gloves? Coats? Rain boots? Extra shoes you don’t want in your closet? Having a mudroom is like having an extra-large coat closet. It’s the perfect place to stash seasonal items, keeping them out of your bedroom or coat closet. They’re available when you need them, but not in your way everyday.  With built-in storage options, your mudroom will stay tidy, too.


2. Everything in One Place when it’s Time to Go

Many families can have a hard time getting out the door. Everyone’s shoes are in different places, someone left their backpack in their room, you can’t find your coat, etc. A mudroom makes it easier to get everyone ready to leave in one place and at the same time. All the shoes, bags, car keys, everything you need to leave the house can be safely stored in one place! A little bit of planning can make your morning routine “grab and go.”


3. Everything has a Place, too

Giving kids a dedicated place to hang school bags, or sports equipment, means there is less chance that it will end up in the middle of the floor. Everything should have a home, and a mudroom is a great home for a lot of things. And when they are stashed on the way in, life’s a little easier for everyone.


4. Functional Space

Many mudrooms have a bench to make putting on shoes a breeze. It’s also right by the door, so the perfect place to take things on and off as soon as you leave or enter the home. No more stomping around the house in your boots! Use this space to create functional storage that fits your family’s lifestyle and needs.


5. Keep it Clean!

Rain and mud are part of daily life in eastern North Carolina. Mudrooms help ensure muddy shoes and dripping raincoats don’t make the whole house messy. Consider adding a sink to your mudroom.  It’s a great place to clean muddy shoes, dry umbrellas or soak a stained uniform. Some families even plan for laundry rooms to be near a mud room for easy access. Talk to your builder about your options.


A mudroom helps preserve your home’s interior, flooring and well… maybe Mom’s sanity.  We think that’s a great investment.

Clever Storage Options for Your Home

You want to be able to enjoy every single space in your home. Here are a few clever storage solutions, some big and some small, to help you make the most of your home.


Clever Kitchen Spaces

Adding a pull out spice cabinet will save space by utilizing small vertical spaces between cabinets and appliances.  Wall spice units leverage space over counters and spice drawers keep spices handy and save cabinet spaces for other uses.  In any case, they add and create a practical way to store all the tiny bottles used for spices.

Add a Lazy Susan in a corner cabinet or shelves that pull out like drawers to utilize every inch of useful cabinetry space.  Use stacking shelves, wall shelves or other creative storage ideas in pantries and kitchen spaces to increase storage capacity and ease of access.



A Christmas Tree Closet

Does your Christmas tree take up a lot of space?  Do you dread assembly before the holidays and disassembly in January? Plan a large closet for your tree in or near your living room. Then just roll your Christmas tree out in December and back into the closet in January.  Done.


Mirror Mirror on the Wall

You’ve heard of barn doors? Well how about a barn door mirror?  Extra storage can be tucked behind a sliding vanity mirror or full length mirror in bathrooms, closets, bedrooms or virtually anywhere you want to hide shelving for small storage.


Virtues of Going Vertical

Don’t forget to utilize vertical space! You may need to invest in a ladder or a good step stool, but using vertical space can help with space and efficiency in living spaces, storage spaces and garages. Items stored vertically are take up less space overall and are easier to access.

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While you’re thinking vertical, also look for high points in closets, nooks or walls that can be leveraged with wall shelves or other forms of storage to keep items you don’t use everyday up and out of the way.


Clear as Mud (Rooms)

Finally, a great place for families to add storage is in a well-equipped mud room. Having a place for coats, hats, gloves, shoes, backpacks and purses to live when not in use will keep this clutter out of your own closets. It’s also easier to grab everything that everyone needs in one place, rather than stopping in several bedrooms and closets looking for each item. This can be as simple as a bench that doubles as storage with hooks hanging above it, or as elaborate as a small room with shelving, a shoe rack, coat closet, etc.


Budgeting for Building Your Home

When it comes to building your dream home, you want to get all the “must have” features and beauty.  You also want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.  Sometimes, that’s as simple as knowing which features to splurge on and which to keep economical.  Let’s take a look at a few key areas worth investing in as you build your new home.


Where should I make premium investments?


1. Insulation

Insulation will not only impact how comfortable your home is, but how much you spend on utilities every month of every year.  Remember, summer heat and humidity in Eastern North Carolina is no joke.

It is difficult to add insulation in the future if you need to, but it’s recommended and most cost effective to do so when building.  Investing in high-quality insulation during your build will save you money for years. Ask us about the different types of insulation available for your build.


2. Foundation

Anything that is considered permanent, or essentially permanent, merits a good investment. An experienced foundation contractor who uses quality materials is essential. Choose a slab foundation instead of a crawlspace or basement, but don’t skimp on quality materials or workmanship. Any of these can be good options if you use quality materials and contractors. A monolithic slab tends to be more cost effective than a raised foundation, or crawl. However, since you cannot raise your house after pouring the foundation really consider the investment at the beginning of your home build because it cannot be changed later.


3. Framing

A highly qualified framing contractor will save you in time, frustration, waste materials and repairs down the road.  If you can, consider 2×6 exterior walls instead of 2×4. This makes walls thicker, allowing more space for more insulation against weather and noise.


Where should I skip the splurge?


1. Appliances

Don’t panic!  Of course, you want great quality appliances.  But unless you’re a gourmet chef, you probably don’t need to invest in professional grade ovens and a blast chiller.


2. Countertops and backsplash

These are important to the aesthetic of your new kitchen. But keep in mind, they are cosmetic.  You can always change out a countertop or backsplash if styles change or you want a makeover in the future.


3. Paint Variations

Painters often charge based on the number of colors used throughout your house. Stick with one color for the majority of the home, using accent walls or varying colors sparingly at first.  Keep in mind, walls will be painted again over the years.  You can always add more color later to save a little expense now.

Winterizing Your Roof

Winterizing your roof can prevent damage from icy conditions and make your life easier in the long run. Prevention costs less than repair and replacement! Here are some ways to keep your roof intact all winter long.


Clean Gutters, Downspouts and Roof Areas

When rain and snow hit your roof, they leave through your gutters if applicable, as we don’t typically install gutters. Keeping gutters and downspouts debris-free prevents poor drainage.  Proper drainage prevents damage to your roof, landscaping and siding.  To protect your foundation, ensure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Good practice is to drain into a splash block.

Additionally, debris has a habit of getting trapped in valleys on the roof and can prevent water, snow and ice from draining, which causes damage.


Insulate & Vent Your Attic

Insulating and ventilating your attic will prevent heat loss and money loss in energy bills.  They can also help prevent ice dams and icicles from forming. Check with a local roofing expert for their recommendations on your roof’s insulation.


Check for Damage

Before winter starts, inspect your roof.  Pay special attention to any areas where you have had repairs before and make sure all shingles are intact. This can prevent leaks and further damage.


Trim Your Trees

When snow falls, it can weigh down tree branches.  Heavy branches can break and fall onto the roof of your home. Remove and trim the branches that extend over your roof to prevent limbs from landing on your home.

These tips will help you get through winter and protect the roof over your head.  However, if you detect a leak, do not walk on the roof while it is wet. Shingles are very slippery when wet and walking on the roof is potentially harmful to the roof itself.  If you are able to go into the attic space, it is recommended to install a bucket or container to prevent excessive damages. If this is done, be sure that the container is placed on a SOLID surface and is empties periodically depending on how bad the leak is, and how fast it will fill the container. Take note of where the leak is located and call a professional or inspect it yourself once the shingles are dry.