13 Nov

Wash. Dry. Fold. Repeat.

Photo above: Custom design/build laundry unit, designed in collaboration with the homeowner to maximize function in a small space. Newburyport, MA.

It’s safe to say that any day there isn’y any laundry to do is a great day! The average household has piles of laundry at any given time, and spends hours in the endless cycle of sort, wash, dry, fold, repeat. BLB Custom Building’s design/build format allows homeowners to work collaborative with General Contractor Ben Becker to create a space (or even closet!) that functions for their laundry needs, while maintaining an appealing esthetic in their home.

Custom zebra wood counter top with backsplash, with easy access to plumbing utilities. Added storage between units. Newburyport, MA.

Additional custom storage drawers located beneath the staircase, close in proximity to laundry room. Newburyport, MA.

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13 Nov

Balancing Beams

Post and beam construction has been used for thousands of years in all areas of the world, and now it’s having a moment in the spotlight with current building and design trends. Structural beams can provide added support to load-bearing walls, while helping to maintain an open floor plan. While many homeowners opt to have these structural supports recessed into the ceiling, an alternate option is to simply highlight it. Using reclaimed or new wood, many variations of beams can add great design features to a room.

Historic Newburyport post and beam home renovation. Beams were white washed, and shiplap inlay was added to entire first floor. Full kitchen remodel. Click photo to see full renovation details.

BLB Custom Building Owner + General Contractor, Ben Becker, pictured with his family in their barn (under construction). Douglas fir beams run across the cathedral ceilings.

Rough sawn hemlock beams bring high style to the second floor of this Plum Island beach cottage. Unique lighting fixtures and railing complement the home’s design.

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02 Oct

2017 Walk Against Domestic Violence

This past weekend,  BLB Custom Building walked in the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center’s annual Walk Against Domestic Violence. The walk supports the extensive work of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, providing advocacy and support services to families and the communities within the Greater Newburyport area who are victims of domestic violence. It is their mission is to empower individuals and engage communities to end domestic violence.

The BLB Custom Building crew at this year’s Walk Against Domestic Violence.

The Center provides a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis hotline, legal advocacy, emergency and transitional shelter, counseling and support to victims of domestic violence in the communities they serve. To learn more about the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center’s mission, or to donate or volunteer, please visit their website at jeannegeigercrisiscenter.org.

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26 Jul

Newburyport Kitchen Tour

BLB Custom Building’s recent renovation on Winter Street will be featured on the 17th annual Newburyport Kitchen Tour, this Saturday, July 29th. This event raises money to benefit the Newburyport Elementary PTO helping to fund the school budget and assist with books, field trips, science fairs, and cultural events. Come by 38 Winter Street to see this beautiful kitchen renovation and addition in person, and meet the builder, Ben Becker, to answer any questions and provide insight into the design/build format of this project.
This Newburyport kitchen addition and renovation features custom beaded inset face frame cabinetry with shaker-style doors, custom 2-piece crown molding, quartzite countertops, butcher block island counter in walnut, and custom subway tiling. The luxury finishes in lighting, hardware, window selections, and custom stained glass connect to the historical home’s unique character.
To purchase tickets for this year’s tour, visit newburyportpto.com/kt/.
25 Jan

OSHA Workplace Safety Grant

BLB Custom Building was among thirty-seven Massachusetts companies to be awarded grant money by the Charles Baker and Karyn Polito Administration’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The BLB Custom Building crew will undergo a series training courses for OSHA 30 certification, fall protection, respiratory protections, and CPR/First Aid/AED training.

On Monday, January 16, 2017 the BLB Custom Building crew attended the first session in a series of OSHA 30 certification courses at the Chestnut Innovation Center in Amesbury, MA.

 

Press release from the office of Charles Baker & Karyn Polito

15 Nov

Storage Solutions

Spring cleaning is great, but fall organizing is a must before the cold weather hits and you are stuck inside. As the nation has moved toward the new trend of “tiny” homes and minimalist living, unique storage solutions have become ever more important for a functional living space.

As part of the BLB Custom Building design/build format, General Contractor Ben Becker works with the homeowner to design custom solutions for their family’s unique storage needs, and accommodate any particular possessions.

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Custom built-in laundry storage, designed by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

This custom laundry storage built-in was designed by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker in collaboration with the homeowner. The main closet houses a stackable washer and dryer, with a vented screened door to accommodate the ventilation needed while dryer is in use. The additional cabinetry feature unique functions, such as  a drop-down ironing board, a folding station pull-out counter space, and a hamper.

Custom under-the-stair storage, deigned by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

Custom under-the-stair storage, deigned by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

Inspired by a Pinterest post, this homeowner wanted to utilize space under the stairs for additional storage. This custom designed drawer unit features shaker-style cabinet doors to complement existing cabinetry in the historical home.

03 Oct

Universal Design

General Contractor Ben Becker of BLB Custom Building is participating in extensive training through the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) in their Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) program, creating accessible spaces for families looking to age-in-place or families with special needs. Incorporating universal design methods and techniques into remodeling and building plans enables BLB to create custom spaces for our clients that lend to the specific needs of each unique family and home.

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Handicap accessible kitchen design on the main floor, open to the large living and dining spaces.

BLB Custom Building’s unique 5,000 square-foot ICF energy efficient build in Newbury, MA, was designed with age-in-place living in mind. With two families living in one space, the homeowners took into consideration their changing physical needs over time, and worked with General Contractor Ben Becker to create a floor plan that would enable them to function and live comfortably. For comfortable one-floor living, their main level features a grand living space, a handicap accessible kitchen, as well as two master suites on the main floor with their own handicap accessible bathrooms. Additionally, an elevator was installed, acting as a wheelchair lift, for use in the future.

NARI’s 7 Principle of Universal Design:

  1. Design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Use of design is easy to understand regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility.

Sources: http://www.nari.org/

29 Sep

Hardwood Floors

The upgrade that every prospective homeowners wants – hardwood floors. Their durability alone makes them a great investment, but the esthetic appeal is a huge draw for many homeowners. With so many new options, techniques, and trends, it can be easy to get lost in all of the hardwood flooring choices. Here are a few of our favorites from recent BLB Custom Building projects:

19 Sep

He Shed, She Shed

Until recently, the “man cave” was the highly coveted addition to any home. But, trends are now featuring big upgrades to the sad little shed that sits out in the yard collecting dust. No longer are the days of a run down tool shed, with rusty rakes and garden hoses. These new custom luxury spaces are created to provide an escape from the house, a place of tranquility, a place to call your own. We are talking about the She Shed!

As an example of the perfect She Shed, we turn to Scituate, MA based home blogger Danielle Driscoll of Finding Silver Pennies, who describes the She Shed that she built as a “[A] special place. A place I can go to think and relax. A spot away from our sometimes hectic house filled with boys (who sometimes fight and argue, but are usually pretty good).”

Finding Silver Pennies She Shed

Finding Silver Pennies’ She Shed. Photo courtesy of www.findingsilverpennies.com.

These custom spaces can range in price, starting as low as $5,000. With a focus on product selection, General Contractor Ben Becker works with the customer to maintain a budget while adhering to the desired esthetic of the space. New multi-function products, such as this woodgrain tile (see photo below), which BLB Custom Building used in a recent bathroom renovation, lend great to the She Shed, allowing for more luxury details while also maintaining durability.

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Woodgrain tile fooring, installed in a BLB Custom Building bathroom renovation in Newburyport, MA

And just because the days of the Man Cave may be over… who says the guys can’t also take part of this trend. Check out the Custom Cedar Pool House, built by BLB Custom Building, in Newbury, MA – or as we like to think of it, the He Shed (wink, wink).

For more She Shed inspiration, check out Popsugar’s She Shed feature HERE.

10 Sep

Safety Standards

Whether we are doing a quick handyman repair, a new build or a custom renovation, BLB Custom Building believes the first step in keeping everyone free from dangers on the jobsite is being consistently aware, organized and smart with our work decisions. Our goal is to keep our customers and workers safe during the project from beginning to end.   Items such as work boots, safety goggles, gloves, hardhats and earplugs help keep our carpenters from possible sensory and physical injuries.  General Contractor Ben Becker has developed and implemented safety protocols for the crew when utilizing equipment, ladders and machinery, which are reviewed weekly and managed closely by the Lead Carpenter at each job site. Our crew seal off the construction zone areas when necessary with plastic barrier walls, use an Air Scrubber to capture and filter dust filled air, and a HEPA filtered vacuum to diminish the flow of dust into the air.  From beginning to end, our job sites remain organized and clean, to ensure the safety of our crew and customers.