March 12th, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Party Guide

Categories: Baking, Holiday, Kitchen | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, Grand View Builders would like to share some creative party tips with you, to ensure all the rooms in your house are fully decked out in green for the holiday and your kitchen is filled with scrumptious St. Patty’s Day treats.

DIY St. Patrick’s Day Crafts
An acorn wreath will add a pop of color to the outside of your home and show your neighbors that you are in the holiday spirit.  This pretty wreath is easy to make and buying the materials won’t break the bank either. Even better, this wreath can hang on your front door throughout the spring, too!

Acorn Wreath


Supplies include:

– Straw craft wreath
– Hot glue gun and glue sticks
– Acorns (from a tree in your yard or from your local craft store)
– Green spray paint
– Ribbon

If you choose to use acorns from a tree, remember to rinse and dry them before you start the crafting fun.  Begin hot gluing acorns to the straw wreath and do so until the entire wreath is covered.  Once the glue has dried, spray paint the whole wreath your favorite shade of green.  When the paint is completely dry, tie ribbon around the wreath and hang it on your front door for that perfect St. Patty’s Day accessory.
Decorative fabric balls will also add festive color to various rooms of your house.

Fabric Balls


Supplies include:

– Festive green fabric
– Sewing pins
– Styrofoam balls
– Scissors

Simply cut strips of your favorite green fabrics and fasten them to your styrofoam balls until the whole ball is covered. For more detailed instructions, click here. We suggest placing these decorations in glass containers or baskets and using them as table centerpieces in your dining room or on your living room coffee table.
One of the best things about festive house parties is the delicious food.  Below are some of our favorite snacks and treats to make this St. Patrick’s Day.

For appetizers and small bites try making shamrock sandwiches, pot o’gold fruit rainbow and corned beef and cabbage rolls.

If you’re entertaining a big group, we recommend the shamrock sandwiches because each sandwich can be filled with different ingredients ensuring there is something for everyone.


Sweets are a must-have at every Grand View Builders party and there’s definitely no shortage of St. Patrick’s Day sweet treats. Try these Guinness brownies, key lime bars or mini grasshopper cheesecakes to incorporate some Irish-inspired desserts into your St. Patrick’s Day get together.


With good snacks and festive decorations, you’re sure to get your guests in the holiday spirit. From everyone at Grand View Builders, we wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day and hope you’re Irish-themed party is a success! Don’t forget to wear green this Monday; we wouldn’t want anyone getting pinched.

March 5th, 2014

Organizing Your Garage and Attic

Categories: Home Organization, Home Tips | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

With spring quickly approaching, spring-cleaning is almost upon us.  If you’re like the Grand View Builders team, there are many to-dos on your cleaning list.  We want to help you get a jump-start on your spring-cleaning chores by offering organization tips for your garage and attic spaces.  Hopefully, starting your cleaning early will leave more time for relaxing and hanging out with the family at your community pool this spring and summer.

Organizing always starts with de-cluttering. Start this process by dividing items into “keep,” “donate” and “trash” piles. Once you are finished surveying your items, take everything in the “donate” pile to your nearest donation center and recycle or trash everything else you don’t want to keep.


 As you go through all of your belongings, organize them into categories, such as tools, pet supplies, decorations, etc. Separating your belongings into categories will make it easier to store each category together and to find what you are looking for in the future.

Shelving is the best way to store items to maximize your space, whether that is in your attic or garage.  You can stack your boxes to move the clutter off the ground so it doesn’t overflow into your walking or parking space. If you don’t already have shelving installed, you’ll need to either purchase or build a shelving system. Home Depot, Lowes and The Container Store all have easy to assemble shelving options that won’t break your bank account.


Now that you have cleared away any un-needed items, it’s time to purchase containers that you can use to divide and store your items neatly.  You can use sealable plastic containers, wicker or wooden baskets or open wired metal baskets depending on your aesthetic preference and the type of contents.



After you have divided all your items into storage categories, you are now ready to box these items and place them on the shelves. If the containers you are using are not transparent, we recommend clearly labeling your boxes so you know what is stored in each box.

We recommend placing the boxes with the most un-used items on the top shelves, as you probably won’t need those things as often.  Seasonal items can also be stored there, too.  More regularly used items should be stored on lower shelves for easier access.  Since bikes and lawn mowers are bulky items that can take up much space, we suggest using mounted storage racks, which can be found at places like Academy Sports and Outdoors, to mount your bikes onto the garage wall and clearing a corner to designate it as the lawn mower parking space.  Also, if you store your mops and brooms in your attic or garage, we suggest using wall hooks as a way to organize those non-boxable items.

organized garage

If you’re really in the cleaning and organizing mode, check out our past blog posts about Unconventional Spring Cleaning Tips and Transforming Your Closet from Average to Organized.

February 26th, 2014

A Houston Staycation

Categories: Family Activities, Spring | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Ashley Tucker

Spring break is around the corner and many families will hit the road to go somewhere glamorous during their time off. Houston is one of the greatest cities in America, so why not spend your spring break exploring all the things you haven’t done in your own backyard?

A staycation is a great way to save money while still having an adventurous break. There are handfuls upon handfuls of family friendly activities and destinations around the greater Houston area and you won’t have to shell out money for expensive airline tickets or hotel rooms to visit them. We’re highlighting a few of our favorite “must do” activities for your perfect staycation.

Space Center Houston
A crucial aspect of the NASA Space Program, Space Center Houston is a fantastic attraction where visitors can explore what life is like in space, see the old and new mission control rooms and learn about the important role the Houston center plays in the advancement of space training and technology.


The Museum District
The Museum District is home to more than 20 museums housing a never-ending supply of knowledge and exploration. No matter what you are interested in exploring, the museum district offers something for everyone. Consider spending a day downtown walking from museum to museum. Many of them even offer free admission during the week.

The Zoo and Hermann Park
The backyard of the Museum District is home to hundreds of exotic animals at the Houston Zoo. Not only does the Houston Zoo have an incredible variety of animals, it also has an interactive children’s zoo and African safari park. Meet the newest zoo babies, feed the giraffes and enjoy the exotic wildlife when you bring the whole family to this Houston destination. Next to the zoo is Hermann Park or what many Houstonians refer to as the Central Park of Houston. Hermann Park houses lovely trails, gardens, a train, a reflecting pool and a pond where victors can take a paddleboat ride.

A Sporting Event
Houston is home to a professional football, basketball, baseball and soccer team, so no matter what time of year you’re staycationing there is sure to be some type of sporting event taking place in the Bayou City. Depending on when your spring break falls, you could catch a Rockets game or even an Astros game during your Houston spring break adventure.

The San Jacinto Monument and Museum
The San Jacinto Monument and Museum of History are entryways to the history and culture of Texas located just 20 minutes west of downtown. Established to honor those who fought at the San Jacinto Battle Field in 1836, the museum was created to tell the story of Texas history including the reign of Mexico, Spain, France, Latin America and eventually the Republic of Texas.

Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
Galveston Island is a great escape for the family. The weather should be perfect this time of year which will make a trip to Pleasure Pier that much more enjoyable. Featuring waterfront fun and entertainment, the newly constructed pier includes family-oriented attractions including rides, games, a wide selection of eateries and shopping. If you haven’t visited Galveston since the pier opened in May of 2012, it is a site to see!

The Blue Bell Factory in Brenham, TX
Who doesn’t love a cone of the “unofficial official” ice cream of Texas? Hop in the car and head northwest toward Austin until you reach the quaint Texas town of Brenham. Tours of the original Blue Bell Factory are only offered during the week, so spring break is the perfect time to head that way for a taste of this Texas treat.

A Brewery Tour
The adults need a break too! Consider heading to one of Houston’s famous breweries for an afternoon of adult libations. St. Arnold is Texas’ oldest craft brewery and they offer daily tours Monday – Saturday. Admission includes a tour, a souvenir glass and a couple of pints on the house. Karbach Brewery was founded in 2011, so it is somewhat new to the Houston beer scene. They offer tours Mondays and Thursday through Saturday, which also includes a glass and a round of beer tastings.

These are just a handful of the great adventures awaiting you in the greater Houston area. Did we leave something off this list that you think we should add to our Houston Staycation list? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter.

February 19th, 2014

Smooth Moving

Categories: Home Organization, Home Tips, Moving | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

There are many components to consider during your move into your new home. Grand View Builders has helped and seen hundreds of families move over the years and we have learned what steps need to be taken to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our team wants to share our expert advice with you to ensure you have an excellent move.

For your convenience, we’ve put together a general moving timeline to help you stay organized during your move. Stick to this schedule to avoid as much moving chaos as possible.

Since the busiest time of year for moving is June through August, moving prices are higher and companies’ availability is lower during these peak months. If possible, plan your move during the off-peak season of September through mid-May as movers are less busy and more willing to offer a competitive rate.

Six Weeks Out
While planning for your move this far in advance may seem unnecessary, the farther in advance you plan, the more options you’ll have for your move. We recommend hiring a mover at least one month in advance. Ask your friends, neighbors and real estate professionals for recommendations on reliable and trusted movers in your area. Once you’ve selected a handful of choices, request quotes to price out your options. Having at least three licensed moving companies quote your move allows you to compare and negotiate the best price. While pricing movers, take into consideration their insurance policies, overage rates, on-site estimate options and included supplies and equipment. Once you’ve selected a moving company that suits your needs, set a date and sign the contract before the offer expires.

Five Weeks Out
Packing is the most time consuming portion of a move.  Start the packing process by going through room-by-room and sorting your items into piles labeled “keep,” “donate,” discard” and “sell.” Before packing any of your valuable items, you’ll need to get them appraised in case the items are lost or broken during the move. If you find you have an abundant amount of items in your “discard” or “sell” piles, consider having a garage sale. Starting the de-cluttering process five weeks in advance allows you enough time to plan and host a garage sale or to make a few trips to your local Good Will Donation Center.


Four Weeks Out
Gather all your packing supplies: boxes of varying sizes, packing, masking and blue painters tape, tape dispensers, labels, colored stickers and wrapping materials including plastic wrap, bubble wrap and tissue paper. Labels and colored stickers will help you keep your boxes organized. We recommend assigning a color to each room and placing the corresponding colored sticker on boxes containing items from that room.

Three Weeks Out
Start packing contents of the attic and garage, as well as other infrequently used items three weeks before your move.

If you are moving into a previously owned home, you’ll want to call a locksmith and schedule to have your new home’s locks changed a few weeks before moving day.

We also recommend arranging for all the utilities in your old home to be disconnected ahead of time. We recommend reaching out to your service providers three weeks before your move and scheduling your last day of service for the day after your move.

Two Weeks Out
Roughly two weeks before your move, you’ll need to complete a change-of-address form so your mail can be forwarded to your new address. You can fill out the form online here or do so at the post office. Additionally, notify your credit card companies, banks, magazine and newspaper subscriptions of your new address, as it usually takes a couple of weeks for all those change to be completed.

usps address change

One Week Out
Print an information sheet with your old and new address, directions and your cell phone number for the movers. It’s best to do this a week in advance so that it doesn’t slip your mind during the craziness of move day. Finish packing and labeling all your boxes, with the exception of setting aside what you’ll need for the week ahead, and organize your boxes by room to maximize efficiency on moving day.

Moving Day
Make sure someone is available at both your old and new house so he or she can direct the movers. At your old home, do a walk through before the movers arrive to ensure everything is organized, so that nothing is left behind. Once boxes start arriving at your new home, check these items off of your inventory list as they are unloaded.


Once all your belongings have been successfully transported to your new house, take a minute to celebrate, because you survived moving day!

Stay tuned for our upcoming “How to Pack” series where we’ll provide tips and tricks on the best packing techniques for each and every room of your home.

February 12th, 2014

A Valentine’s Day Date at Home

Categories: Baking, Holiday, Kitchen | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Valentine’s Day is only three days away and we can already feel the love in the air.  We want to help make this Valentine’s Day unforgettable for you and your special someone, so here is a list of everything you will need to serve the most memorable Valentine’s Day dinner date at home. Look no further, because we have entrée recipes, romantic décor ideas and delicious wine and dessert options below!

Working away in your kitchen to prepare the perfect meal for your loved one is sure to show him or her how much you love and appreciate them. Cooking your significant other’s favorite meal is a lovely gesture for Valentine’s Day. If you’d like to elevate your entrée options, the Grand View Builders team has picked a few of our favorite elegant, but manageable, recipes like chicken breast wrapped in bacon with shallots, filet with apples poached in red wine or brandied shrimp that will be easy for you to whip up this Friday evening. Remember, food is the way to one’s heart!


Red and pink are great colors for this holiday and incorporating softer versions of these colors in the napkins in your dining room and pillows on your living room furniture will create a romantic feel. Don’t forget the flowers and candles, too! Nothing says romance like soft lighting and fresh flowers. Dim the lights, arrange candles on your dining room table and add flower arrangements throughout your home to transform your house into a romantic sanctuary.

romantic table

Wine and Dessert
Wine and Champagne are the perfect beverages for special occasions. Whether you’re a red, white or sparkling wine fan, we recommend splurging for a nice bottle to accompany your romantic at-home meal. If you want to keep everything homemade for your Valentine’s Day dinner date, try making a Godiva Chocolate Martini. It’s a drink and dessert all in one.

Speaking of dessert, if you’re sweet on someone, there’s no better way to show him or her than by making a special treat on Valentine’s Day. Your romantic dinner at home would not be complete without a decadent treat to top it off. If you’re a chocolate lover, try making Valentine’s Day chocolate bark, chocolate strawberry cake or chocolate champagne truffles. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, we recommend this rhubarb soufflé or these lavender shortbread cookies.


From everyone at Grand View Builders, we wish you a happy and romantic Valentine’s Day!

February 5th, 2014

Move-In Ready Homes

Categories: Community Feature, Move In Ready Home | Tags: , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

While Grand View Builders has many beautiful homes and communities to share with you, we want to highlight two of our move-in ready homes for a February spotlight. These homes offer their residents a brand new and comfortable space to call home.


This beautiful 3,927 square foot, two-story home boasts features like a three-car garage, lofted ceilings and arched doorways and is available in our Lakes of Bella Terra community in Richmond, Texas. With five bedrooms and four bathrooms, the house showcases an open and modern floor plan and is complete with our finest upgrades. The kitchen has elegant tile floors, unique colored wood cabinets, granite counter tops with a bold backsplash and stainless steel ENERGY STAR appliances.


The living room and dining room are complete with hardwood floors and the grand entryway of the house has tile flooring with a stunning split staircase.


Not only does this home offer beautiful finishes inside and out, but the Lakes of Bella Terra community also features many recreational amenities for the community members. All residents have full access to the state of the art fitness center, volleyball court, junior Olympic pool, water playground and lighted tennis and basketball courts.

This community is perfect for those looking to live in a spacious and showstopping house outside the hustle and bustle of Houston’s city limits.  Learn more about this home here.

If our Lakes of Bella Terra home is too large for your needs, our Painted Meadows community in LaMarque, Texas also has a beautiful move-in ready home available. This classic, one-story brick house has a two-car garage and a large front yard.


This home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master bathroom is complete with a large garden tub in addition to a separate standing glass door shower giving the homeowner the best of both worlds.


This ENERGY STAR certified home sits on an oversized corner lot and includes features such as double pained windows with great insulation, easy to clean vinyl floors throughout the home and a large family room perfect for entertaining.  Learn more about this property and Painted Meadows in our community video.

If you’re interested in one of these two homes please contact us today. Happy house hunting, from everyone at Grand View Builders!

January 29th, 2014

What to Ask Your Builder

Categories: Home Tips | Tags: , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Are you contemplating buying a recently built home? The team at Grand View Builders wants to help make your home buying process as easy as possible. We understand that moving into a new home is an extremely exciting time, but it can also be a stressful event.

We’re sharing our expert advice so your experience working with a builder is a positive one. Here is a list of questions that every person should ask their builder before purchasing a newly built home.

GVB home

1. How many years has the building company been in business?
A home is where you and your family will settle and make memories for a lifetime. It’s monumentally important that the company and people who built your house have the proper training and expertise. Make sure the homebuilder has a positive track record in the industry.  Ask to tour model homes to see their work up close.

2. What would other homeowners say about your work?
Along the same lines as above, we recommend researching testimonials or reviews on the company before you move forward with your purchase. Other homeowners who have purchased homes from the same builder can offer a unique and useful perspective on the company and the quality of their work. Ask your builder what others are saying about them to see if their feedback aligns with what you’re seeing and hearing from outside sources. Negative responses and reactions could be a warning sign.

3. What type of warranty do you offer?
Most home building companies offer some type of warranty for your home. It is important to understand what type of warranties the company offers and exactly what is covered in that warranty.

4. Are there any energy-saving features in your homes?
Having an energy efficient home will significantly cut the cost of your bills. Look beyond appliances and fixtures and ask what techniques were used during the building process to ensure the home is energy efficient. Looking for a builder that is qualified as an ENERGY STAR partner will ensure they utilize the proper techniques that will make your home as energy efficient as possible.

5.  If applicable, who will oversee the final stages of construction of my home and who is my contact?
When buying a newly developed home from a builder, it is not uncommon for construction to still be in progress when you’re ready to purchase. If this is the case, it is important to have a strong working relationship with your builder and the contractor who is overseeing the construction of your new home.  Ask how they will keep you updated on the final stages of construction and what their protocol is for on-site visits.


We hope these questions give you some insight into the important questions to ask a builder before purchasing a newly constructed home. If you are currently looking for a new home, browse our communities and floor plans today.

January 22nd, 2014

House Hunting in the Suburbs

Categories: Community Feature, Move In Ready Home | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Houston’s real estate market is booming and, if past trends continue, Houstonians could have 65,000 new neighbors this year!

The team at Grand View Builders is constantly welcoming new homeowners to the Houston suburbs. With low inventory and high price tags inside the city limits, more people are purchasing homes in communities like Stewarts Forest and Foster Glen in Conroe.  We’ve put together a list of why living in the suburbs rather than inside the city may be the right choice for you and your family.


More Space, Less Money

The cost of a house inside the loop of Houston is much more than the amount of a home in the cities surrounding Houston. According to HAR, on the low side, a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom single family home with a two-car garage inside the loop can cost around $523,000.  In Conroe, a suburb less then 40 miles from Houston, for less than $300,000 a homebuyer can purchase a brand-new, five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in our Stewarts Forest community.



As with most major cities in the United States, the crime rate in Houston is higher than in the surrounding areas.  According to the Houston Police Department’s monthly Uniform Crime Report, there was a sizeable amount of violent crime reported in a single month.  While in Conroe, less than 250 acts of violent crime were reported throughout the entire year.


While Houston boasts great education options, there are typically smaller numbers of enrolled students in schools in the suburbs.  In many Houston suburbs, not only are the school enrollment numbers smaller than inner-city schools, but there are also more faculty members. Having a smaller student to teacher ratio, allows more personal attention and often results in a stronger education.

Grand View Builders has eight communities in Houston’s surrounding suburbs.  If you are house hunting in the Conroe, Richmond, League City, Tomball, Alvin, Porter or Texas City learn more about our communities and Move-In Ready homes online today.

January 15th, 2014

Energy Saving Tips

Categories: Home Tips | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Has your electric bill ever been a little too high? Since Grand View homes are already ENERGY STAR qualified, we want to help make your home even more energy efficient. Below are two different ways you can save energy and lower those electric bills.

Heating And Cooling Your Home Efficiently
Texas weather has a mind of its own. One day it’s 70 degrees and the next we’re bundled up in our winter coats and scarves. Try some of these simple steps to help heat and cool your home more efficiently this year.

We recommend that you change or clean your furnace filter at least once a month to avoid having dirt and debris clog the furnace.

Double-check that your vents are 100 percent open to ensure nothing is blocking the airflow, such as furniture. Air deflectors can also help adjust your desired airflow.

Keeping your blinds and curtains closed can help keep cold or warm air out of your house. Sunlight is welcome during the colder months, but it can also be a nuisance during the summer months when you’re trying to keep your house cool. Be mindful of the cold or warm air your windows could be letting in.

Turning down your home’s thermostat before leaving is one of the easiest ways to save on your electric bill.  According to the Department of Energy, the thermostat should be set to 68 degrees while you’re home during colder months; lower it no more than 10 degrees while you’re away or sleeping.  Setting your thermostat back 10 degrees every night could lower your heating bill by 10 percent.

Remember not to set your thermostat too high. Setting the thermostat to a higher temperature will not heat the house any quicker.  During winter months, the thermostat should not be set any higher than 76 degrees.


Electric Use
You can also conserve energy, and possibly save money, by making sure you use the bulk of your electricity during non-peak hours.

Try using the washer and dryer on Sundays and running the dryer during non-peak hours, which are weekends or after 10 p.m. on weeknights. Only do laundry when you have enough dirty clothes for a full load to also help save time and money.  Also try washing your clothes in cold water and using a clothesline to dry some items.

The “after 10 p.m. rule” also applies to the dishwasher.  Some dishwashers have timers that you can program to start running at a certain time; take advantage of this feature!

Turning off unnecessary lights can also save you a lot of money in the long run.  It sounds simple enough, but we all get busy and sometimes forget to turn off lights as we leave different rooms in the house.


All of these tips will help make you and your family more energy efficient.  For more energy saving tips and tips for winterizing you home checkout our past blog post.

January 8th, 2014

Start the New Year Fresh

Categories: Home Tips, Kitchen | Tags: , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

At the beginning of each year many people set goals and make resolutions that will lead to a happier and healthier life.  The Grand View Builders team wants to make to ensure you stay safe, happy and healthy in 2014, so we’re sharing easy ways to give your family home a fresh start in the New Year.

Regular maintenance is necessary to guarantee a long life and efficient operation for your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HAVC). No matter what type of system you have, replacing your air filters regularly is the best way to keep your HVAC system is good condition; we recommend changing all of your air filters every three months. If your filters collect dust more frequently, consider replacing them every month. Clean air filters will keep debris out of your HVAC system, ensuring efficient operation and less maintenance.

The start of the new year is also a great time to replace any water filters in your home. If you change your filters in January, you will need to replace them in April, July and October. Consider marking your family calendar so you remember when it’s time to replace your filters.


Ceiling Fan Rotation

The use of ceiling fans during the winter months might seem odd, but it can help save money on your heating bills, if used properly.  Heat rises, so using the reverse switch, which makes an upward airflow, will allow rising heat to circulate and evenly heat a room. Simply adjust the switch at the base of the fan to change a fan’s airflow,


Oven Cleaning

If you’re like us, cleaning the oven is not at the top of your to-do list, but it should be.  Cleaning your oven will remove burnt food and odors from the oven.  Most conventional oven cleaners use heavy chemicals, so we recommend baking soda for a more natural solution.

Spray the whole oven with water and then pour baking soda into the bottom of the oven. You’ll want roughly a ¼ inch layer of baking soda on the oven floor.  With the oven off, let the baking soda sit for a few hours.  After two or three hours have passed, use a cloth to gently wipe away the solution and watch the grime disappear with it!


These three home maintenance regimens are an easy way to give your home a clean start in the New Year. We hope you have a fantastic, and clean, 2014!

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