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How Plants Help You Sleep Better

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In a high-stress world, it can be tough to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep. However, design and decor can go a long way to creating the relaxing atmosphere you need to rest well. Houseplants can be used in an infinite number of ways to not only accentuate the layout of your bedroom but also give you maximum health benefits.

Natural Stress Reliever

Nature has a way of relieving stress while relaxing the mind and body. Studies have shown that spending time outside decreases activity in the prefrontal area of the brain, where anxious or depressive thoughts begin. Bringing nature into your bedroom can have a similar effect.

Everything from the shape of their leaves to the color of their leaves contributes to stress relief. They bring in the comforting scents of earth while naturally giving your bedroom an organic element. The touch, feel, and the smell of a plant isn’t something you can duplicate through synthetic flowers.

Cleaner Air Equals Better Sleep

Plants do more than look beautiful. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, cleaning the air inside your home. Through this process, they can rid your home of dangerous chemicals like:

Trichloroethylene: This toxin makes its way into the air from printing inks, paints, adhesives, and varnishes.
• Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is found in paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, particle board, and paper towels.
• Benzene: Dyes, detergents, and plastics may contain benzene.
• Ammonia: This chemical is commonly used in cleaners and fertilizers.

Though most of these toxins are found only in trace amounts in the home, they can build up without proper ventilation. That’s one reason that people recommend airing out a mattress before sleeping on it. Many mattresses release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when new. To minimize these effects, look for GreenGuard or CertiPUR-USⓇ certified mattresses and furniture marked as low emissions.

The Best Plants to Use

NASA  conducted a study to find the plants that work best to remove biotoxins from indoor air. A few of their recommendations include:

• Dwarf date palm
• Chinese evergreen
• Peace lily
• Florist’s chrysanthemum

How to Choose

Your first consideration should be your climate. Some plants do well in dry climates while others are more sensitive to moisture levels. Do a little research, so you know what kind of plants thrive in your environment.

Maintenance should be your next concern. Some plants need water every few days while others don’t need it for weeks. Whatever type of plant you choose, be sure you know how often it should be watered and whether or not it tolerates direct sunlight.

When it comes to decor, consider the size and shape of the plant. If you have an empty bedroom corner, a tall, thin plant might be what you need to fill the vertical space. On the other hand, if the only space available is a windowsill, a small pot of English ivy might work best.

 

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Article written by Samantha (Sam) Kent of SleepHelp.org

Update: Bayview Demolition

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Van Manna Homes has just completed this beautiful custom home in Bayview; a complete demolition, rebuilt from the foundation up.

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AFTER

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Bayview is a small luxurious residential neighborhood located in the south-west quadrant of Calgary right on the southern shore of the Glenmore Reservoir. Bayview boasts stunning views, vast green space, parks & pathways and features a playground, marina with boat docks, a mall, and skating rinks for the community. This neighborhood is perfect for anyone looking to settle down in a small, quiet community.

Ready to build your custom home with us? Contact us today!

Mud Rooms: What Are They and How to Best Utilize Them in Your Home

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Mudrooms are old-school spaces that are definitely back on the rise. The mudroom is typically a home’s secondary entrance, used for keeping the house clean and organized. It’s one of those rooms that many of us yearn for, and rightfully so; it’s great for keeping the family tidy and efficient. Here are the crucial elements to utilize an efficient mudroom in your home.

1. Coat Rack & Hooks
Jackets, hats, scarves, umbrellas – they all need somewhere to hang. Having a row or multiple rows of hooks maximizes wall space.
2. A Bench
The first thing you want to do when you get home is sit down and take off your shoes. Add a boot tray underneath to keep the mudroom extra clean & tidy, and for extra storage, use a bench that has a flip up seat.
3. Cubbies/Cabinets
The ultimate element to optimize your mudroom is a set of open cubbies or cabinets. Having one for each family member lets everyone have their own designated space for storage and organization.
4. Closet
A mudroom is basically one giant closet, but having a designated closet in the room is fantastic for storing bulky outerwear, sports equipment, utilities and cleaning supplies, or any items you just want out of sight.
5. Laundry
Quickly and simply throw dirty clothes and linens straight into the wash without dirtying up the rest of the house.
6. Utility Sink
Having a sink right in the mudroom is perfect for gardening, cleaning up after painting/crafts, or quick washing of a stain in your clothes.
7. Tile Floor
Tile is the most sensible flooring option for a mudroom as it is durable and easy to clean. Add in-floor heating in your mudroom for those cold winter days.

Thinking of a mudroom addition for your home? Contact us today for more info!

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Finding the Right Neighborhood for Your Custom Home

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Mt Pleasant

Calgary is a city often referenced for its suburban sprawl and accompanying lifestyle; however, urbanization is on the rise with a multi-demographic nod towards more central living as the city begins to cultivate an urban center that boasts increasing levels of arts presence, cultural significance, and lifestyle vitality. The appeal of building a new home on an inner-city lot within a neighborhood with established infrastructure and more readily available amenities has caught the interest of both home owners and builders in Calgary. Van Manna Homes thrives in this environment and salvages any opportunity to bring modern style to richly proven neighborhoods. VMH is building custom homes primarily in inner-city communities in Calgary, so we’ve summed up some of our favorites below that we’re sure you and your family would love to live in.

Mount Pleasant: Formerly sleepy wartime neighborhoods like Mount Pleasant are becoming the new neighborhoods on the rise, with an increased presence of new art and lifestyle features and business. What was Rembrandts on 4th street and 23rd Ave NW for years has now become The Block, and is currently one of the most talked about restaurants in central Calgary. This area also boasts 4th Spot, Shigatsu, Sura, Flavours, Velvet Café and John’s Breakfast making it an area rich with density of culture.

Bridgeland: As one of Calgary’s oldest inner-city neighborhoods, Bridgeland boasts an energetic yet small town feel with tons of new, trendy restaurants, shops & boutiques. People have always been attracted to the area and its old charm, and this growth will continue with all the nearby amenities and new trends coming to this neighborhood. Read more from Avenue Calgary here: http://www.avenuecalgary.com/City-Life/Neighbourhoods/Best-of-Bridgeland/

Currie Barracks: Currie Barracks embodies the classic inner-city lifestyle, with all your must-have amenities just a few steps away. And of course, downtown Calgary is just a short drive away! Another huge perk to living in the Currie Barracks community is easy access to tons of trails and pathways, with amazing views and gorgeous new homes. Visit www.currielife.ca for more information on this amazing neighborhood.

Killarney: Killarney is a beautiful Southwest Calgary neighborhood located very close to a variety of amenities and all the conveniences of classic inner-city lifestyle. Another huge appeal of this neighborhood is the short trip into downtown Calgary. With quick access to shopping, groceries, great restaurants & pubs, Killarney appeals to many families looking for the perfect neighborhood to build their next home in.

Crescent Heights: Boasting one of the most famous views in the city, Crescent Heights is one of the best candidates for inner-city custom home building. Large lots and established infrastructure appeal to custom home planning while the neighborhood itself promotes a genuinely unique personality. Bound by several key NW and NE thoroughfares, Crescent Heights features the busy business districts of centre street and the Trans-Canada, gorgeous strolls like McHugh Bluff which runs beneath Crescent Road, and permanent fixtures like the famed Peter’s Drive-in. Read more about Crescent Heights in our blog: http://vanmannahomes.com/neighborhood-profile-crescent-heights/

Renfrew: The northeast inner-city community of Renfrew is slowly but surely growing in popularity and development. Some amazing restaurants that are a huge attraction to Calgarians include OEB Breakfast Co. for brunch lovers, Diner Deluxe for some delicious comfort food, or the world-famous milkshakes from Peters Drive-In; right on 16th Ave NE! As well, downtown Calgary is only a short 3km trip away for access to tons of shopping, restaurants, boutiques, services and much more.

Marda Loop: One of the most appealing inner-city neighborhoods in Calgary is the hub of shopping and café life that is the Southwest’s Marda Loop. What was once a bustling turnaround point for the Marda streetcar line in the mid-20th Century has grown in the last decade into a high-profile lifestyle area for home-owners. Fully self-contained with amenities like grocery stores, a post office, gyms, major drug stores and retailers, Marda Loop also features signature touches like quality record stores, pet boutiques, café’s, deli’s and even local mechanics. The area is also well established with parks and green spaces, situated a short walk away from the sprawling and popular River Park. The community of Altadore claims the south side of the Marda Loop district, bordering the Elbow River and surrounding Sandy Beach Park and River Park — both perfect spots for a nice walk or picnic on a relaxing day off. Read more about Marda Loop on our blog here: http://vanmannahomes.com/neighborhood-profile-marda-loop-2/

 

Think you’ve found the perfect neighborhood for your next home? Contact Van Manna Homes today and let us build your custom dream home!

What to Expect When Building a Custom Home

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Your Step-By-Step Guide From The VMH Team

Building a home can be both an exciting and stressful experience for all home buyers. Van Manna Homes prides themselves in the support that they provide their customers at every stage of the building process and believe that their team and trade partners are second to none in excellence and customer service.

1. Building Decision & Initial Steps
One of the biggest decisions of one’s life is deciding to make a move and build a custom home. Once you and your family have decided when the right time is, and you’ve done your due diligence in selecting your builder, the first steps would be nailing down which type of build you’d like to do, the planning stages, arranging your mortgage financing and finalizing the Purchase Agreement.

2. Planning, Design & Permits
Next, it’s time to determine the interior and exterior look of your home. During this stage, you’ll meet with one of Van Manna’s preferred architects and designers, or opt to use your own. Now, you would be introduced to your client liaison who helps guide you through the steps. This process can take weeks or months with many informative consultations along the way. Once the design has been completed, the permits and planning with the City or County begin. At this time, you will be set up on the Van Manna Homes customized software which is accessible by your smart phone, mobile device or desk top computer. This software keeps you current with real time information from all trades, your project manager, the progress of the home, design selection, ideas and your budget. This software is complete with photos and options as well. This is one of the key features to help guide you through the stages of activity and ensure that your budget stays intact with any custom selections or changes throughout construction.

3. Construction Process
Once your city approval, permits and the blueprints are complete, construction of your new home begins. The construction process unfolds in five main stages: excavation and foundation, framing, drywall, finishing and lastly occupancy. Throughout construction, Van Manna Homes hires a third party licensed home inspector which completes detailed reports from the start of your build right through completion. As well, with your own scheduled visits, you’ll get to experience our hands-on approach of exploring the build site, meeting the trade partners and designer, and watching your custom home come to its glory.

4. Nearing Completion
At this stage, the finishing work on your home is underway, the home inspector is completing their last inspection, and you’ll also receive written confirmation of your possession date. This means it’s time to arrange completion of your finances, book your moving company, update your mailing address, and wrap up any final design and landscaping details. You will also get to attend your homeowner walk-through with the Van Manna team. This is your pre-occupancy meeting, during which time we’ll familiarize you with your new home and all its key features.

5. Possession Day!
On the date of possession, you will be given the keys to your new home along with your welcome package and fully completed home inspection. Now and during the final possession walk-through Van Manna Homes will go through any seasonal items left to be complete and if there are still items to attend to, a “trade day” will be set up that works with your schedule. All that’s left for you to do, is move-in, pop the champagne and enjoy your brand new custom-built Van Manna Homes Dream Home!

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Why Build with Van Manna Homes?

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Why VMH?

With nominations, awards, and a fantastic reputation, Van Manna Homes has become a household name. Their legacy – born from hard work, a devotion to quality and outstanding customer empathy; is built on very humble beginnings which leads true in the craftsmanship and attention to details in every step of a custom-built Van Manna Home.

Van Manna Homes understands that purchasing a new home is a large decision and are dedicated to ensuring your home building experience is a positive one. The Van Manna difference consists of:

– Extensive selection of home designs to choose from or the elect to work with an architect to design the best home for you.
– Exceptional value and quality craftsmanship with flexible building specifications.
– Over 10 years of award-winning home building experience.
– Consumer Login access to a state of the art software to help with your custom home design, budgeting, and communication.
– Preferred financing rates and terms through preferred Brokers.
– Extensive home owner guide provided upon possession, completed by a licensed home inspector throughout your build.
– A thorough orientation of your new home prior to taking possession.
– Detailed demonstration of the features in your home and maintenance reviews.
– Personal client liaison and in-house Designer partnered with you step by step from the design stages, through development, selections and occupancy.
– Proud member of the National Home Warranty program.
– Proud Member of the CHBA (Calgary Home Builders’ Association)

 

Ready to build a custom home with VMH? Contact us anytime – we’d love to start building your dream home with you!
Also – find us on Instagram to follow the VMH story & stay up to date with our latest projects and news!

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VMH Sponsors The Heavy Horse Pull – Stampede 2017

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The VMH Team sponsored The Heavy Horse Pull at The Calgary Stampede this year to support its favourite charity Community Key. Horses Ginger & Bailey pulled a huge weight of 10,600 lbs and came in 7th place this year!

Click here to see the results!

Community Key helps families that are caring for a seriously ill or critically injured child in paying their mortgage or rent payments, allowing them some relief from one of their largest financial burdens. Their aim is to ‘key’ as many families in need as they can, so those families can focus on what’s truly key — family.

Read more about our favourite charity here!

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CHBA – Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing

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Van Manna Homes has proudly entered one of our beautiful custom homes into the 2017 CHBA – Alberta Awards of Excellence in Housing competition! These annual new home awards celebrate the most creative and professional work in the Calgary home building industry. Last year, Van Manna Homes was a finalist out of over 380 entries from builders across Alberta!

Stay tuned – finalists will be announced on CHBA – Alberta’s website and in a news release to media at the end of July!

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3 Advantages of Building a Custom Home

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Thinking of Building a Custom Home?

There are many reasons to build your brand-new custom home rather than buy an existing home, but we’ve summed up three huge benefits of building your own custom dream home with us. To Van Manna Homes, “custom” means our team works one on one with you to make sure your home fits your lifestyle so you get exactly what you want and more.

1. It’s Custom
The title says it all. The main advantage to building a custom home is that it is customized to exactly what YOU want to make it your dream home. What are the chances of finding your dream home – the EXACT home you want – on the market? Slim. When you choose to build a custom home with Van Manna Homes, you have input in every aspect of the building process; we work one on one with you so your home is perfect to you. You could buy a home on the market that you LIKE, but chances are you will end up renovating or upgrading the home to make it a home that you LOVE, which can add up quickly and end up being quite costly. You get exactly what you want – no ifs ands or buts. Your custom home should be unique to you and your family; a place designed and built specifically for you, where you create new memories and traditions over the years.

2. Low Maintenance
Another huge advantage to building a custom home is that everything is NEW! All the materials and appliances will be brand new, and our team uses the most cutting edge building methods and up to date safety codes. A custom-built Van Manna home is worth every penny spent upfront; it prevents you from spending money on costly renos and improvements down the road. When buying an existing house, there is always the uncertainty of the state of the home, whether that is the condition of the original foundation, structural integrity, or quality of the materials and appliances originally used. When building a brand-new home with us, you also have the option to build energy efficiently and use materials that will save you tons of money in the long run. Building a custom home means less time spent on maintenance/retrofitting and more time enjoying your home!

3. Choice of Location
A huge benefit to building a custom home is that you can build it wherever you want! There’s no need to sacrifice an ideal neighborhood or a school district which you likely would when buying a home on the market. Location is everything! Whether you choose to be a little more secluded for maximum privacy, you want to enjoy all the amenities of a trendy inner city neighborhood, or anything in between – the choice is yours, and there is something very satisfying about that. At Van Manna Homes, we can build your new home OR if you are already in a location you love, we can renovate your current home to make it exactly what you want.

The Van Manna Homes team always provides one-on-one service and we are devoted to perfecting your custom home. Ready to build your dream home? Contact us today!

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Building Energy Efficiently

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Building Energy Efficiently

Fact: Everyone can take part in being more energy efficient. At Van Manna Homes, we are always searching for the most energy efficient options and effective ways to build. With having your home completed with energy efficient options, there are government rebates available and mortgage insurer programs available to put cash back in our buyer’s and renovators pockets. For example, when your new home is built or renovated, an inspector can come to the property from Energy efficient Alberta and confirm the EnerGuide rating of the property. This is often based on the lights, high-efficiency shower heads, power bars, self-adjusting thermostats, windows, and various other building materials. As well, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, if your mortgage is insured, then depending on the energy efficiency of your home or a willingness to improve your home’s energy efficiency, you may be eligible when using insured financing for a 10% mortgage loan insurance premium refund and extended amortization

Tips & Tricks from Van Manna Homes to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

At Van Manna Homes, we are always using premium quality insulation, windows, lighting, and everything else that affects the efficiency of a home. Using only quality products benefits not only the home owner but greatly conserves energy and the demand for non-renewable resources. Contact us any time with questions or to get started on building your energy efficient custom home!

 If you don’t have proper insulation, you could be letting a lot of heat out during the cold winter season, which will cost you and of course, the environment. As well, making sure you have quality windows installed in your home is huge on saving on energy costs. Your windows can let out a lot of heat through the winter and cool air through the summer. Switch to fluorescent bulbs for lighting in your home to drastically save energy and money. Fluorescent bulbs last way longer than the typical incandescent bulbs. And finally, make sure your appliances are energy efficient before you purchase them. Look for the Energy Star symbol or an EnerGuide label. These appliances may cost more up front, but they are worth the investment as they use much less energy.

Check out Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Instant Savings campaign running from April 18 until June 11! Click here for all the info!

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