Friday, April 26, 2013

Durham is Happening and Making

We are fortunate to sit in what is now one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown, gazing through our windows at a city that is “happening”. Last weekend I visited The Parlour which serves up some incredible ice cream. As of April 3 their food truck spawned a permanent downtown storefront as Durham’s population has grown to fuel abundant non-chain business. I’ve also been enjoying a regular caffeine boost from Cocoa Cinnamon who has a similar story. With downtown booming and the surrounding areas feeding off the energy, the city is glistening.

Two weeks ago at the Rock & Shop Market, it was reassuring to see the talent available among North Carolina residents. People still know how to make things. If you ever come to question it, go visit Elijah Leed in Liberty Arts. From American Tobacco to the Hosiery Mills to the packaging plant at Golden Belt, Durham has a history of making things.

Our city is shining in the national spotlight. We just won the South’s Tastiest Town award from Southern Living magazine and were featured in the New York Times’ 36 Hours series. Both point out we are talented people with great taste and a drive to support each other's endeavors.

Just yesterday after originally typing this blog, we learned that the Durham Chamber won Best Unconventional Project in the world (yes, in the world) from the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation Competition for the Smoffice – World’s Smallest Office concept.

There are questions of whether Durham will keep its small town quirkiness as it continues to grow. How do we manage it? We show up. We frequent downtown and surrounding venues, we go to a show at Motorco and a movie at the Carolina Theatre, we depend on the Farmers’ Market frequently. We challenge everything that isn’t serving the community and we support everything that does.

Where will BuildSense be? You’ll find us right here under our turbines on Rigsbee, encouraging the growth, the creativity, the making of things, and the support of our local community.

What's "Happening":

Friday, April 19, 2013

Green Homes and Baseball?? Huh??

I was recently at a Durham Bulls game and got wrapped up in a discussion of the statistics that dominate the sport. Armed with all that information, one still cannot predict the outcome of the game. There are too many variables. A consistent hitter may have an off night. Some nobody jacks a grand slam. Who would have known the flu went through the clubhouse and all the stars are sick? We often get the question, “How much does a green house cost?” Like the baseball game, armed with the statistics from all the world’s green design and build, one may provide the cost of “a green house.” However, what about all the variables that your team, your family, brings to the game? How does one put a price on “your green home?” That can only be achieved once the plethora of variables has been qualified with you. Where is the site? What’s the program? What are the most important spaces for you and your family? Is there a basement or garage? Are you interested in energy efficiency, water efficiency, or resource efficiency? Do you wish to pursue clean energy generation? This list goes on for quite a while. Designing and building your custom home can be overwhelming and exhausting at times, but the result and reward of personal comfort is worth the effort. The great thing about custom building is just that: it is custom. We help to craft a custom home that is a reflection of you and your values. We can provide you with a wealth of design options and input to make your home all that you want and need. Something to ponder at your next baseball game. Enjoy the Spring!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Little Helpers

During a recent home improvement project I was impressed by my children’s interest in helping. They were highly motivated and very helpful, which is not always the case when it comes to helping out around the house. Their interest did not fade after the first 30 minutes; they stuck to it for days and are still involved. 

This got me thinking about the importance of children working with their hands and being involved in projects. In this digital era, being involved in producing something three- dimensional by hand is becoming a rare experience. Obviously, as a builder, I am a little biased on the value of working with your hands. There are many benefits to getting your hands dirty. First and most important, it can be fun. Children and adults can benefit by learning a new skill and completing a project. The experience of working on a specific task can help them become better problem solvers. They may be able to use some of the skills they learn to apply to other projects. Instant gratification is often associated with digital entertainment. It is also prevalent in many building projects. Children get immediate results and can see the progress of their hard work. There are many more benefits of building and working on projects, and almost all of them boost self- confidence, yet another reason for children to get their hands dirty.

So the next time you have to work in the garden, put down a new kitchen floor, or some other project around the house, don’t hesitate to invite your children to help. They may just find an exciting alternative to the tablet, computer, or TV. They will have a great time completing a project with their grown-up, and gain skills, self-confidence and a sense of pride and accomplishment in a job well done.

Always make sure that the project is safe and appropriate for the age of the child.