Saginaw Springs: Around Town

Antares-SS-Infographic-Parks

Saginaw Springs is a great community for families who love the outdoors.  William Houston Park is a short walk away where you’ll find a great playground area and two soccer fields.  Willow Creek Park is a bit further away, but easy to bike to.  It is home to a jogging path with exercise stations, basketball courts, a softball field, an entire disc golf course, tennis and volleyball courts, and multiple playgrounds.  The city as a whole also fosters a great environment for other outdoor group activities like the North Tarrant Cycling Club.

Antares-SS-Infographic-Entertainment

If you’re looking for bigger outdoor adventures, they’re just around the corner from Saginaw Springs.  Eagle Mountain Lake as well as Lake Worth are both nearby and are home to great state parks.  The Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge is 11.5 miles away and home to all kinds of adventures!  Find out about the hiking trails, guided tours, and wildlife here.  When indoor entertainment is calling you, TCC is there to answer.  With a variety of theater programs throughout the year, you will have plenty to enjoy. If the most recent theater production doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always head down 287 into the Stockyards or Downtown Fort Worth.

Antares-SS-Infographic-Schools

Every school that your child will be a part of within Saginaw Springs has met or exceeded all Texas State Requirements.  For this district, though, that’s not enough.  EMISD is part of a select few districts participating in the Liink project to help grow and learn at the highest standards.  This district has its eye on the future, and will take your child there.

Antares-SS-Infographic-History

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a community that cares for you like Saginaw does.  What I really love about the town is the balance of historical character and modern amenities like bike lanes and public transit.  They have a city recreation center that will more than fit any workout needs, and has the most competitive pricing I’ve found.  The community even puts on a kid’s night during the school year called ‘Planet Kidz’ geared toward providing age-appropriate entertainment to children ages 8-14 years old.

Until Next Time,

Rebekah

A Little Something Extra

No stress. No worries. From extra inspections during construction to engineered steel rebar foundations to guaranteed heating & cooling costs, your Antares home will provide peace of mind.

Sometimes you just want that little bit more.  Something extra.  We get it.  And we think that little bit more is peace of mind.  With the hustle and bustle of life, you don’t need any more stress and worry than absolutely necessary.  So we go out of our way to provide our customers with a worry-free experience.  Let’s examine the ways:

 

  1. Guaranteed Heating and Cooling.  Seriously.  Not Kidding.  It’s a warranted item.  Our 3098 square foot floor plan in Garden Heights is GUARANTEED to average 907.5 kWh/month to heat and cool.  At a price of $0.084/kWh that’s $76.23 on average to run the HVAC.  Incredible, and true.
  2. Extra Inspections.  We go above and beyond to get additional third party inspections on each home.  We want to make sure that a second set of eyes has inspected our homes to catch mistakes we may have missed.  The result?  Fewer Warranty Requests from our Home Owners.
  3. Rebar Foundation.  Each foundation is tailored to the specific needs of each neighborhood.  Did you know that Tarrant County soils can vary so much that a soils test in one neighborhood can yield completely different results when compared to another?  We always take the most conservative approach with our foundations and it shows in our record with Bonded Builders — our Third Party Warranty Partner.  We have been claims free on our foundations since the company was founded in 1998.
  4. Graduate Master Builders.  Astonishing as it may be, all of our Construction Managers that build our homes are Graduate Master Builders.  Continuing education is vital for anyone who desires to be the best in their field.  We are no different.  Experience and education make a difference in the end product.  We are very proud to have such a great team building our homes, and you will be too.
  5. Top Notch Salespeople.  Our Sales Team is the best in the business.  Why?  What’s different about them?  They are highly trained in areas that make the most difference to our Customers.  They are very knowledgeable about the latest loan programs for first time buyers, repeat buyers and credit challenged buyers.  If there is a way to save you money and get you the Home of your Dreams, they can find it.  They are most concerned with helping people, not selling people.  And our Customer Service Surveys reflect their hard work.

 

And if you still want more, call one of our Sales Offices to find out what’s so special about their neighborhood!

 

Curb Appeal

7017 Meandering Creek Before Improvement

We often have buyers who have a home to sell.  The most common advice that their Realtors tell them to do to sell their homes quickly is to work on their curb appeal.  Now to some people that might sound like a huge task, but it can be pretty easy and fairly inexpensive if you are willing to put a little elbow grease into it!

We have a home for sale at 7017 Meandering Creek in Parkview Hills that has an elevation that we don’t have any professional pictures of.  We decided that we wanted to get some photographs of it, but the “curb appeal” was a little blah.  We usually save our professional photos for our model homes and they usually have a little extra landscaping, so this was going to have to be a quick project.  I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate curb appeal!

So, of course I volunteered to be the landscaper for this one!  Since it is a new home, there weren’t any dead trees to remove or major overhauling to do.  I thought that a little black mulch would stand out against the white limestone accents on the home and pairing that dark mulch with vivid pink flowers might be the most eye catching combo.  I was really excited to be able to buy beautiful sun loving flowers since my own personal garden is so limited.  I was going to live vicariously through this East facing sunny garden!

My first stop was Mike’s Garden Center.  I love Mike’s because they warranty their plants and they have early bird specials and sales all the time.  If you catch a good special you can find flowers for sale at $0.73 per 4” pot.  Amazing!  Another reason I love my particular Mike’s on Crowley Road is because they are pet friendly.  They have their own birdcage and their own shop kitty and three small dogs.  One of them accompanied me as I selected my flowers.  I loved it!

I bought Vinca and Moss Rose.  I love Moss Rose because it is a creeper.  It will fluff out and go everywhere.  Also it drops seeds like nobody’s business and you will have Moss Rose coming back every year.  And, it doesn’t need a whole lot of water.  Don’t get me wrong, it needs to be watered, but it is very forgiving of this Texas heat and doesn’t mind drying out a bit.  So I loaded up my three flats of Vincas (on sale!) and my one flat of Moss Rose and bought my black mulch.

Of course with all of these plants I needed help getting out of there.  The folks who work at Mike’s are always so nice and one guy helped me load up my car.  No, you don’t need a truck to haul plants and mulch.  I have a two door hatch back and I can get anything in there!  I laid down my seats and spread a blanket over the trunk and seats to keep it from getting soiled and me and my Mike’s buddy loaded up my car.

Filler Up!

There's room for more!

When I got to the home I quickly took a couple of “Before” pictures and got to work.   I have found that it is easier for me if I lay the plants out where I want them to go first.  So I unloaded all of my flats and got to work.  I knew I wanted the Moss Rose to go along the walkway to the entry since it would look pretty there as it began to creep out of the flower bed once it became established.  Vincas will get thick, so I also wanted to make sure I placed them far enough apart to not compete with each other for sunlight.  I also wanted to make sure I planted thickly against the ugly white washout stub in the flowerbed.  You know that thing that looks like a pipe with a lid on it?  You have got to be careful when you are gardening not to completely cover it since you need to know where it is in case you have to snake your sewer line out to the street.

Ready for planting

 

Once I had my flowers laid out, I just had to get to work!  I used a little gardening spade to dig in the earth.

Washout pipe

As I was digging I quickly noticed that the ground was very clay-ey.  When I was at Mike’s I wondered to myself whether or not I should buy some potting soil, but I decided against it.  Well, I regretted that decision!  But, since I wasn’t removing the old mulch, just adding the new mulch on top, I figured it would be ok.  In my opinion the best way to convert a clay based flower bed to better soil is to dump lots of mulch on it every Spring and Fall.  That’s what I did at my home over the past six years and now I have this incredibly rich soil full of grody earth worms!  They make for healthy plants and occasional frights while planting.

After hours of backbreaking digging and planting, the clouds parted (not really) and a ray of sunshine (it had been sunny and sweltering all day) fell on the pretty new flowerbed.  I was pooped and the thought of adding the mulch made me have a heatstroke.  So I popped on over to Mr. Bentley’s house next door to lounge on his deck and take a couple of pictures of his awesome view.  He’s going to be the subject of the next Celebrity Gossip post.

Ruby says I need a pedicure...

The next morning I was at the home bright and early to spread the mulch.  Sounds easy enough right?  Right!  Today I was wearing my heart rate monitor because I thought I needed to know exactly what my caloric commitment was to this project.  It was a day late and the majority of it was done, but I figured I could do some math and guess.  Mulching burned 640 calories!  Yay!  Ok, way off topic.

Anywhoo, I had four bags of black mulch and I laid them out near the places I thought they would be going.  I opened each one and threw the mulch out and covered up all the old mulch.  Occasionally I had to free some leaves or petals from under a little bit too much mulch, but it was pretty quick work.  The only problem was that I forgot about the tree in the yard.  That made me a bag short.  So I spread it as best I could and it was a little thin at the end.  I was regretting that I didn’t start at the entry and work my way out.  So when I was running out of mulch, I was at the most important place!  Oh well.  Since I was sooooooooo tired after I finished, I decided I would finish the mulch the next time I was at Parkview Hills.  By the time you read this, it will all be complete.  But I did manage to take pictures with what I was able to cover and from the street, you can’t even tell I ran out!

By the end, I was pretty impressed with the effect that some flowers and mulch had on the appearance of the home.  What do you think?

7017 Meandering Creek Lane after sweat equity

More Than A Label

I have been on a health kick lately and have been dieting and reading all sorts of information about what is good for you and what is bad for you.  It is amazing how much conflicting information is out there!

I have a girlfriend who only feeds her family Organic foods.  She has been doing that since her children were born and she spends a lot of time and energy and money to do this.  She tells me that because of budget constraints she has had to make some hard decisions about whether or not Organic and whole foods take priority over other things in her kids’ lives.

So since I have been trying to get healthy, I have looked into what makes Organic foods better.  Well there is a Label, The Label to look for that makes something Certified Organic.  But what does that mean?  It means a lot of different things based on the type of food.  Well since I love fish so much, especially Salmon, I looked into what it means to buy an Organic Salmon.  What I found is very eye opening.  Only farmed Salmon can be labeled Organic because they can control what the Salmon eats.  And then the Salmon is fed Organic Plant matter.  Well, that doesn’t make sense!  Salmon are carnivorous fish!  And wouldn’t wild caught fish (free range if you will) be better than farmed?  So I came to the conclusion that a Label doesn’t necessarily make things better!

And then that dawning realization thing happened and I began to think about us.  Green is the big catchphrase, The Label, in home building right now.  Every program has it’s parameters that may or may not make sense to the big picture of building an efficient home.  Also, the cost to the consumer can increase exponentially as a builder strives to meet The Label’s standard.  You may end up with a home that is out of our buyer’s price range.  Well, don’t we all deserve access to energy efficient homes?

We think “Green” in the sense of using fewer resources over all as well as consumption for the long run.  Meaning that we are not only concerned with the production of the home and it’s component elements being what is Green, but also the impact the home has environmentally.

“Our star has been green for years,” says Ron Formby, Antares president. “Antares has been quietly setting world-class benchmarks for energy efficiency, air quality, and environmental responsibility, then setting them higher. That’s the Antares Beyond Green philosophy.”

We place a lot of emphasis on our Energy Guarantee.  Our energy costs are in writing and are a warranted item.  For example we Guarantee that our the HVAC system for our 2752 square foot four bedroom, two story home will average 807.50 Kilowatts/hour per month.  On an electric plan that is charging $00.084 per Kilowatt Hour, that will cost you $67.83 a month to air-condition your home.  Isn’t that mind boggling?  People living in 900 square foot apartments pay more than that!  I am amazed every time a homeowner comes back to the office after they have moved in to show me their low electric bills.  It is one thing to speak about our guarantee to folks thinking of buying a home from us and quite another thing to see it in practice!   See for yourself, visit one of our sales offices to view actual home owner’s bills and a sample of our Comfort Home Warranty.

Our homes are more efficient than Energy Star Standards.  We have even won an award from Oncor for Outstanding Energy Efficient Construction.  We won the 2007 Excellence in Energy Performance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as their 2009 and 2010 Leadership in Housing Award.  We are Beyond Green and beyond any “Green” label.

The biggest impact our company has is on the consumer, the person who buys and lives in our homes.  Getting healthy will save me money on fewer doctor’s bills and medicines, it will lengthen my life and allow me to have a better quality of life.  Buying a home that is focused on a lower energy draw will save the buyer money on electricity bills, maximizing the potential for enjoyment of said home and the life led in it.  Isn’t that better than any label?

 

The Trials and Tribulations of a Shady Gardener

 

Shady Problems Solved!

Let me begin with the disclaimer that I am an absolute novice gardener and I have been known to have a black thumb on occasion.  I do take an interest in what goes in my flowerbed, but usually I pay someone to bring the plants and plant them.  But this year I decided to do it all myself.  I have had a really tough time with my flowerbed this spring.  You see I have a north facing home and my flowerbed is mostly in the shade.  I detest shrubbery and I adore flowers, so you can tell that I have quite a dilemma on my hands.  A few years ago I planted some Day Lilies in my flowerbed along the border where I do get patchy sun.  They are pretty big, but they are only in a few spots and I wanted more variety and color.

Daylilies and Impatiens

I Googled Texas shade plants and could find nothing that flowered and that I thought was pretty.  I went to the plant store and found nothing except for Impatiens.  Not cute.  I was yeaning for Gerber daisies and Snapdragons and all sorts of sun loving pretty blooming flowers!  I knew that I had a tiny patch that saw sun for about two hours and I did plant three little Snapdragons there.  Snapdragons, I read, were good for part sun.  I was hoping and praying that they were going to be happy.  I also planted some Lobelia in another part that gets about 2 hours sun as well. 

I knew there were no alternative to the Impatiens so I bought a few different types and tried them out.  After about a week, the impatiens began to grow on me and my Snapdragons looked very sad.  The Lobelia was droopy.  I added some Caladiums that had little blotches of red in the leaves for some variety.  No flowers, but at least they are pretty and flower-like.  But I had to dig up the Snapdragons and plant them in a container in my south facing back yard. 

Caladiums, Agapanthus, Impatiens and More

Well after about another week the Impatiens were fluffing out.  They were flowering and every time I backed in or out of my driveway I was gazing at them.  The Lobelia looked like it was dying, so I dug that up and planted it in my mom’s yard.  I gave in to the superiority of the Impatiens in a shade garden and bought more and planted more.  I also remembered that I had an Agapanthus once in a shady spot, so I bought one and planted it in a tiny, sometimes sunny, spot under my Japanese Maple.  I also got a Diascia and planted it where the Snapdragons used to be.  It was very clearly labeled “2 Hours of Sun” and I knew that would work!

So now that I have stopped trying to make my shade garden into a sun garden, I am finally happy.  There is definitely a lesson to be learned and although I think it’s kind of obvious, I have never shied away from stating the obvious!  You can’t make a shady garden into a sunny one and you can’t make things be other than they are.  The minute you give up trying to impose your will, you will find peace! 🙂

If you have any links to good Gardening Tips, I am obviously in need!  Send me some pictures of your gardening handiwork with a little back-story.  I’ll post them here and we can have a contest and vote for the best one!  Carrie.Davis@AntaresHomes.com

Ribbet Ribbet

Our Green Program is Different.

Our Green Philosophy

We start by acknowledging that building a home changes the face of the Earth for generations to come. This leads us to:

Designing the most effective and high value floor plans, and building homes which fit our customers’ budgets. We sweat the small stuff to make sure we don’t build in mistakes. We also won’t include unproven features with fancy names just to score points on someone’s ‘green rating scale’.

Using high-value, durable materials such as rebar foundations and fiber cement siding and exterior trim. This builds lasting value in homes that stand the test of time.

Minimizing wasted resources at every possible opportunity. This extends to our well-managed, ‘no-dry-runs’ construction process which means that our Trade Partners and Suppliers don’t make needless trips to any of our jobsites.

Rigorously follow EPA storm water control and jobsite management guidelines and requirements.

Most importantly, we build using the most proven energy efficiency materials and techniques which fit the budgets of our customers. Our Comfort Home™ guaranteed energy program is our commitment to what is widely agreed to be the most important of all Green features: Energy Efficiency.

We are constantly studying and analyzing developing techniques and new products to determine which are proven to perform, and proven to make economic sense to our customers. Here are some of our building practices and home features which are standard in every home, and which are recognized by the National Association of Homebuilders as required parts of any green building program:

Energy efficiency features verified by Certified, independent inspectors:

  • Thermal Bypass Inspection on every home
  • Duct-blaster HVAC test on every home
  • Blower Door Envelope Test on every home
  • Allows for the ComfortHome guaranteed heating and cooling program

Proper HVAC design and installation:

  • Use ANSI/ACCA Manual D design process
  • Use ANSI/ACCA Manual S equipment selection
  • Installation done and performance verified only by Certified HVAC contractor (NATE / BPI / RPA)
  • Ducts sealed during construction process
  • System performance @ 14 SEER
  • Ducts properly sealed and tested on every home

Water-efficient shower heads

Automatic Programmable Rain and Temperature Sensitive sprinkler systems (optional in some communities)

Energy efficient recessed lighting (per plan)

Energy Star rated dishwashers and other appliances (some appliances optional)

Avoid environmentally sensitive building sites

Timer-controlled, outside-ducted rated exhaust fans in all bath areas

Use advanced framing techniques where allowed

Provide covered entries (most plans)

Provide proper eave overhang

Provide metal drip edge at roof eave

Provide proper site drainage (min 1.20), all four sides of home

Install continuous termite and vapor barrier under foundation

Provide water resistant barrier on exterior walls

Use of recycled materials where applicable (cellulose, clay brick, OSB)

Design efficient floor plans

Thorough air-infiltration control on garage / living area common walls

Rigorously manage storm water runoff

Provide thorough home maintenance and care manual and thorough Homeowner Orientation

-J Mason

COO Antares Homes

For more information visit:

NAHB

Energy Star

Antares Homes

What is Cellulose Insulation?

If you have ever visited one of our sales offices, chances are you had a very excited sales person tell you all about our amazing Cellulose Insulation.  We have our noise and heat demonstrations and our Kilowatt/hour guarantee, but still you ask yourself: What in the world is this cellulose insulation?  Great question!  Cellulose insulation is a recycled fiber made mostly out of newspaper.  It is mixed with glue powder and various fire-retardant and insect repellant chemicals and is installed by being sprayed or blown into the wall cavity.  We choose to use this insulation because of its superior performance. 

What proof do we have of its superior performance?  Well we do a blower door test on all of our homes before they close and as a result of this test each home is certified Energy Star Qualified.  We are even listed on the Energy Star website as a company that builds 100% Energy Star QUALIFIED homes!

We also provide each home owner with a warranty through Comfort Home guaranteeing the Kilowatt per Hour usage of the HVAC.  It is primarily because of our insulation that we are able to provide this feature for our Home Owners.

There seems to be a lot of great information on Cellulose insulation on the web.    Here is a list of FAQ about Cellulose Insulation geared towards Builders.  This particular piece answers questions we often hear in our sales offices about settling, whether it is a fire hazard and if it harbors insects.  There is also a neat video on This Page called “The Big Burn” about cellulose’s performance under fire conditions.  They proved that homes insulated with Cellulose instead of fiberglass are 57% more fire resistant.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst published an article online touting the superiority of cellulose insulation. 

My favorite part of the article?

“Sprayed cellulose is an eco-friendly material that is installed at a high density. Coverage is complete. There are no voids in the walls. All wire and plumbing penetrations are automatically and completely sealed. A professionally installed application is airtight, comfortable, energy efficient, and safe. There are fewer thermal short circuits and virtually no convective currents within the wall cavities. On the whole, customers report a less drafty, more comfortable living experience. As a bonus, many people think the superior air-tightness and absorptive qualities of sprayed cellulose provides a quieter indoor environment.”

Oh yeah, did I mention its shhhh, quiet? 

CIMA has a wonderful website with lots of great information on Cellulose also.  It answers questions like, What is R-Value?  Why is cellulose insulation considered a Green Product?  Also a lot of detractors state that cellulose insulation is prone to mold and is not very fire resistant.  CIMA answers those questions Here.

If you have more questions about our insulation call one of our experts: 1-800-ANTARES.  We are definitely VERY EXCITED when we get talking about our insulation so please excuse our excessive exuberance! 😉

Green Cleaning

 

Green Cleaning Kit

As a company we have many conversations about Green Building.  We are very concerned with being Green and have made many choices about the construction of our homes based on a Green focus.  As the Green Marketplace is evolving there are lots of opinions about what makes something Green.  For us, as a builder of new homes, it means reducing the amount of energy used to operate a home

Another way that people want to be Green is to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals used in every day life.  Often these chemicals end up in our rivers and lakes as well as in our groundwater.  Rust cleaners and oven cleaners are particularly toxic.  Some folks even argue that bleach is too toxic to use on a daily basis.  I have been surfing the web trying to discover what folks are doing about this.  What I’ve noticed is a big trend towards DIY household cleaners.  I have uncovered a few Blogs and websites that I think you might like if you are also thinking of reducing the toxicity of your home!

Paige found some recipes on making household cleaners and tried some out.  Here’s what she found that works and in some cases doesn’t work!

Sometimes you can use simple solutions of one or two commonly used products such as Baking Soda or Vinegar.

1001 Uses For Vinegar

The Vinegar Institute!!!!  Wow!

The New Home Maker loves Baking Soda for cleaning.

Arm and Hammer also has a pretty exhaustive list of uses for Baking Soda.

Here are some recipes for non-toxic cleaners.

How to make a non-toxic cleaning kit.

Non-toxic Rust remover?  Really!

If you try any of these Green alternatives, let me know how they worked for you.  I am going to polish my silver jewelry with Baking Soda tonight!