Which Green Home Plan Improvements Really Pay Off!

Green Home Improvements with Joseph Douglas Homes
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to make some energy-efficient changes to your home, but here are the main three:
•    When you do sell your home, it will command a higher price
•    Utility bills will be lowered
•    You’re helping the environment
As positive as those aspects are, it is essential that homeowners deciding on green remodeling consider the length of time needed before they will enjoy the money-saving properties offered. As an example, it could take years for a new solar power system or window replacement to pay for itself.
Start at the Top
When most people think to remodel, bathrooms and kitchens come to mind. But in the interest of green home improvement, the project that offers the most significant return on investment rises high above kitchens and bathrooms. Attic insulation, in a cost versus value analysis, came in as the green project that provides the biggest and best return on money spent. Best of all, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to embark on this endeavor.
From Indoors to Outdoors
Another good return on investment is offered by switching out that tired old garage door. A new garage door is a real upscale renovation and, when examining the cost of the project, assures a return of approximately 85%.  Besides, houses without electric garage door openers don’t sell as fast as houses with new, state-of-the-art garage doors. It’s a fact.
On the topic of doors, don’t stop at the garage. A new front door will not only dress up your home but, if you buy and install the right type of front door, can offer added energy efficiency. The approximate rate of return on front doors is as follows: New Front door - remodeling job by Joseph Douglas Homes
•    Fiberglass – 78%
•    Steel entry door – 91%
Kitchen Upgrades
There are dual benefits to upgrading kitchen appliances to the newer, high-efficiency models. (This also applies to furnaces and water heaters.) In addition to reducing a homeowner’s living costs, they make an old, humdrum kitchen sparkle and shine like new. To help offset the cost of new appliances, many cities and states offer programs such as tax incentives. Don’t forget, while on the topic of energy-saving upgrades, to have a water saving faucet and dishwasher installed.
Remodeling the Bathroom
A renovated bathroom gives a return on investment of just over 93%. That said, bathroom remodeling will involve spending some pretty serious cash – but be well worth it in the end. If possible, expand the bathroom itself. After expansion, add new energy efficient lighting, and water saving faucets, shower head, bath fixtures, and toilet. A his-and-hers vanity set up will increase the value while not significantly affecting the energy saving aspect of your bathroom remodel. For flooring, choose something that lasts a long time, has a luxurious appearance, and is impervious moisture.newly renovated bathroom by joseph douglas homes
Regardless of which energy-efficient changes you decide to make to your home, remember these crucial considerations concerning those changes:
•    What kind of resale impact will they have on your home?
•    Check to see about rebates for specific improvements
•    Decide which changes are most accessible, and do those first
Today’s informed homeowner, before deciding upon which green home plan improvements to make, may choose to have a home energy audit. This way, an expert can determine the efficiency of your heating system, air conditioning system, and appliances; as well as discover precisely how much air is leaking from your home.

Form and Function: How to Balance Both in Home Construction

Form or Function: What's most important in home design

Form or Function: What’s more important in Home Design?

In home design and construction, the conflict between interesting, creative architecture (form) and the way various rooms are placed and used (function) is a constant battle. But it doesn’t have to be.

While the shape of a structure relates to its proposed function, the best home builders work with their clients to create a home that is both functional and beautiful.

Function or Aesthetics

Home builders often cope with numerous challenges in designing buildings when determining which aspect to prioritize. Here is the dilemma: How does a builder create a home that will make the client happy – both in the way it looks and how it works with the family’s needs?

A satisfied customer will certainly never snub a functional and well-designed home. By working together and asking the right questions, the result is that the builder avoids design and construction problems and the homeowner has a lovely yet fully functional home.

Building the Perfect Home

Before the first shovel of dirt is dug or the first yard of concrete is poured, it is important that you and the builder sit down together face to face. Talk openly about what each is expecting throughout the process. Determine a list of priorities, needs, and wants. This will help to create a design which accurately reflects your lifestyle.joseph douglas homes remodeling

Discuss the budget as well. What can you afford? What is the top priority for the finished product? What is the overall feel you’re looking for? Sometimes what you want and what you can afford are two very different things. Home builders can often offer a less expensive alternative which will satisfy you and still stay within your budget.

Other Considerations

After the overall budget is finalized, talk about how the home will be used. Are there several children or is this a home for “empty-nesters” with grandchildren only visiting occasionally? Do you enjoy entertaining big groups, or do you prefer quiet nights at home with a good book? Are you a gourmet cook or eat a steady diet of take-out? Do you love to display your collections or are you a minimalistic decorator? Do you prefer the clean lines of modern architecture or the details in Victorian homes? Or something in between?

Again, asking the right questions will help to determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the kitchen and living room, the placement of doors and windows, the amount of storage, etc. and satisfy your needs (and a few wants as well).

The difference between an excellent layout and a poor one is something that both home builders and home buyers have seen at least once. Winding hallways, awkward spaces, too small rooms, and bad flow can make even a beautiful building exterior into an unlivable home. Form and function must complement each other in home construction and work for the people living there.

In Conclusion

A beautiful exterior façade with a functioning and pleasant interior will flow well, offer a distinct atmosphere, and reflect the personality of the homeowners. Addressing both the eye appeal and the functionality of a home’s design will end in a successfully built and lived-in home.

Working together, home builders and clients can create the perfect home and make it an easy and enjoyable process.

Joseph Douglas Homes is featured every Saturday morning on Builders Showcase Television at 9am on FOX 6.

6 Essentials to Consider When Choosing a Floor Plan

Floor plans joseph Douglas homes

You’re building a new home, but first, you need to choose a floor plan. There are significant factors to consider – from how many bedrooms you’ll need to what architectural styles you prefer. To ensure a floor plan is right for you, here are a few suggestions.
What Kind of Floor Plan Are You Pursuing?
What will you need that you don’t currently have? More storage, additional bedrooms, or a place for your hobbies? Are you getting older and can no longer climb stairs? Maybe you’d like a larger great-room for entertaining or a home office for your paperwork. Answering these questions first will make choosing a floor plan much less complicated from the start.

Budget Plays a Role in Floor Plans

What’s Your Budget?
Most everyone wants their dream home but before you set your heart on a particular size or style of home, find out what it will cost. Meet with a builder or contractor and set a budget. Determine what you can afford and go from there. You may be able to get more house than you realize.

Can Your Floor Plan Change in the Future?

What Will Life Be Like in 5-10 Years?
Even if you intend this to be your “forever home,” you should consider what life will be like in the future. A flexible floor plan will allow you to convert the space as your needs change. For example, a main floor home office with an adjoining bath can become a master bedroom in later years. A playroom off the kitchen can revert to a formal dining room when the kids move out. Bottom line: will the house be large enough – or too large – in ten years?

Consider the Following Factors

What is your lifestyle?

Do you love to throw parties or prefer quiet evenings? Are you a gourmet cook or usually eat take out?  Are you a young, growing family or an empty- nester? Are you an outdoor gardener or have lots of indoor hobbies? Each of these answers will help to determine how your home should be laid out and the size of each room. A contractor or design professional can help you consider factors and give you some guidance.


Home designs


Separate Rooms or Open Concept

What’s Your Decorating Style?
Choose a floor plan to meet your decorating style. Do you enjoy more formal furnishings or are you a “put your feet up on the coffee table” type? Do you prefer separate rooms for a variety of activities or is an open floor plan more to your liking? Think about your furniture and how you will live in the space.

Talk to a Professional and Ask Questions

Pros and Cons of Every Floor Plan
It’s important to realize that there’s no such thing as a perfect floor plan. You need to determine your priorities and what you can live without.  For example, a modern, open layout is great but can make it difficult to concentrate when someone is watching television in one area while you’re reading in another. That wall of windows highlights a gorgeous view, but your cooling and heating bills may be higher. The 2-story foyer is breathtaking, but who will change the light-bulb in the chandelier?
Choosing a floor plan may feel overwhelming, but trust your instincts. Take notes as you tour homes. Talk to a professional and ask lots of questions. Once you narrow down the choices, the final decision will be easy.

Milwaukee Home Builder Constructs Homes for Police K-9’s

Joseph Douglas Homes joins MECA Wisconsin Police Canine Vest Foundation, Inc. (MECA Foundation)

Greenfield, WI, December 8, 2017:  Milwaukee area home builder, Joseph Douglas Homes, announced today it will be joining the MECA Foundation in their quest to support and protect Wisconsin police K-9’s with bullet resistant and stab proof vests.
Joseph Douglas Homes, headed by dog-lover, Deron Butler, takes great pride in their award-winning home building and remodeling. And, as they are set out to prove, no job is too big…or small.  This custom home building powerhouse plans to assist the Greenfield Police Department with building custom doghouses by participating in a unique program with the MECA Foundation!
The local K9 unit found a need to give their canine companions a little more shelter, privacy, and security while indoors. That’s right! Indoor custom police K-9 houses! That’s all he had to hear and Deron Butler eagerly joined the cause. 
“The MECA Foundation is such a worthy cause.  Knowing we’ll improve the comfort of a dog that works diligently to protect our families and communities is an unexplainable feeling.  At Joseph Douglas homes, we offer a superior building experience.  Just ask the dogs!” laughed Butler.
During the holiday season, Joseph Douglas homes will also earmark a donation of $150.00 for every home sold to the homebuyers favorite Police K-9 Unit by way of the MECA Foundation.
About Joseph Douglas Homes
Following several years of designing and building custom homes, Deron Butler founded Joseph Douglas Homes in 1998. Serving as the principal architect, Joseph Douglas Homes has built over 400 homes in Southeast, WI, and has taken pride in every design. Whether it is the building a custom home or a personalizing one of our portfolio homes, Joseph Douglas Homes is the Milwaukee home builder that is setting the standard when it comes to simplifying the home building process.
The MECA Foundation, founded by Marla Lichtenberger, DVM, DACVECC is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting every police dog in the state of Wisconsin with bullet resistant and stab proof vests.  In addition, the MECA Foundation also assists Wisconsin police K-9 Units to purchase police dogs by donating grants to Wisconsin K-9 Units.

What Makes a Great Custom Home Builder?

custom home builder

Companies try to sell you on their idea. It’s what they do. Sometimes, they’ll even convince you their concept is your idea. But isn’t that what makes marketing worthwhile? So, in the day and age of endless ads on TV, online, email, social media, radio, and magazines, how do we correctly choose the right company to fit our needs? Three words…Research, Research, and Research. Doing your homework up front, asking the right questions and getting to know your potential home builder will enable you to make the right choice when choosing your custom home builder for you, your family, and your wallet.

Do Your Research

Reviews, References, and Reputation. When searching for a home builder, the amount of information available today can be a tremendous help. Look up online reviews. Keep in mind, no business is going to have 100% satisfactory results, however seeing how a company has handled any complaints can tell you a lot. Has the problem been addressed, and more importantly, resolved. How many reviews are there? Has the builder had more positive feedback than negative? Are references readily provided to you? And once they have, have you followed up with them? Reputation should be critical to the builder you ultimately choose. Joseph Douglas Homes custom home builder

Communication. Followed by MORE Communication.  From flooring to lighting to overall design, the amount of decisions that need to be made about your dream home is extensive. The communication should be equally comprehensive. You’re hiring a home builder because you don’t want to have to deal with 20 different vendors. Make sure the company you choose has one point person – your go-to for everything. All the information you receive and the requests you make should be funneled through this project manager. Being involved in all aspects of design and building will ensure proper instruction, with less opportunity for miscommunication and potentially expensive mistakes.

Get Legal. The licensing and insurance required by builders vary from state to state. Warranties vary from product to product. Be sure to find out what is necessary for your area. Ask your builder for verification of all licenses and insurance they carry. A builders licenses and insurance eliminates any loss on your end in the event of an accident or damage during the construction of your home. Review your warranty. New homes should come with a written, long-term, insured warranty. A new home warranty protects you in the event a builder goes out of business or fails to honor a verbal promise.

Cost vs. Design. Compare the design style and price point of each builder you are considering. Have a firm idea of the value in mind and be sure the builder is willing to help you understand their building method. Ask questions up front. Changes during construction happen, but knowing in advance how your builder will handle them will benefit your relationship later on.

Once you’ve done your homework, ask yourself, “Do I feel confident putting my money, time and future in the hands of this home builder?”

How to Choose the Right Remodeling Contractor

Milwaukee's best remodeling contractor: Joseph Douglas Homes

You’ve finally decided to do some major renovations in your home. How do you hire a reliable contractor? How can you be sure you won’t be defrauded or left with a half-finished job?

For most homeowners, finding the right remodeling company is more difficult than choosing the perfect kitchen cabinets or floor tile. Renovations can be expensive and stressful and sometimes uncover unwanted surprises like leaky pipes, rotting sub-floors, or sub-standard electrical work. Choosing the right contractor will make the difference in whether you have a successful remodeling project or a nightmare.

Depending on the size of your project, you may need a general contractor or just a handful of tradespeople such as electricians, plumbers, or carpenters. Some homeowners decide to be their own contractors, and while this may save money in the short term, it can also be time-consuming and more expensive in the long run.

Taking the following steps will help you find the Milwaukee’s best remodeling contractor, stay on time and budget, and keep your project running smoothly.

remodeling contractors

Decide What the Project is Going to Be.

Before you call any contractors, decide what you want to be done. Look at catalogs, shop at big box stores, and choose a few finishes. Your estimates will be more accurate if you can be specific.

Get References

Ask co-workers, friends, or neighbors who have had similar work done. Would they hire the contractor again? Were they easy to work with? Was the work area clean? Is the final product satisfactory?

Interview Several Prospects

Find companies who do the work you want to be completed. Just because someone did a great job remodeling your neighbor’s bathroom doesn’t mean they can build your addition. Compare written bids from every prospect. They should all include the same projects and the same materials. Ask for a list of employees; find out if subs do any of the work. Be prepared to negotiate price and never sign a contract until everyone is satisfied. And don’t be surprised if the contractor you choose can’t start immediately. The best ones are busy!

Make Sure to Check References

Check References and Licenses

Although rules change from state to state, most subcontractors and all general contractors should be licensed. Check the Better Business Bureau, Yelp reviews, and court records for potential litigation or problems. Look at their license and talk to recent clients.

Signing a Contract

Be sure the contract lists what work will be done, the exact materials used (including model numbers), deadlines, and payment schedule. Unless everything is documented, it’s nearly impossible to prove if it’s been done correctly. If you don’t feel the contract is detailed enough, write your own and have both parties sign it. A change order should be written listing new materials, cost, or work if there are any changes during the project. Put in writing when the workers can enter your home, what bathroom they’ll use, how often the boss will be there, and who to contact in case of problems.

Payment Schedules

If expensive materials are needed immediately, contractors may ask for 30 percent up front. If not, don’t pay more than 10 percent before the job begins. The contract should include a timeline of payments. Be prepared to spend at least 10 to 15 percent more than what was agreed by the end of the project. No matter how careful you are, hiccups happen.  And never make the final payment until the job is finished and you’re completely satisfied.

Communication is the key to a great finished product. It’s easier to fix a problem sooner than later, so speak up if you notice something. You may need to talk to the contractor every day, and frankly, it’s better to hire someone you feel comfortable with.  Even if it means spending a little bit more money.

Following these steps will create a much smoother remodeling project.

Wakefield Model


Project Description:

The Wakefield Model by Joseph Douglas offers a first floor master bedroom on a modest footprint.  While designed for narrow lots which seem more prevalent today, it maintains all the amenities of what you’ve come to expect from Joseph Douglas Homes.  The master suite features a two person tiled shower, double vanity, and spacious walk in closet.  The kitchen and dinette open to a nicely sized family room with volume ceilings and lots of glass.  This home is nicely finished with a first floor laundry, mudroom with bench and powder room.  Upstairs you’ll find two nice sized bedrooms, a full bath as well as a nice surprise of an enormous walk in storage closet and bonus room over the garage.  On the lower level you’ll find a walk out basement perfect for the DIY to finish or let our team finish it for you.  The rear of the lot borders vacant property which has been slated by the village for a future park.  Home will be finished in April of 2018! Call to get pricing.



N88 W18566 Duke Street
Menomonee Falls WI 53051

Model Hours:

Available for viewing by Appointment only

Brighton Model - 2016 Parade of Homes Model


From I-45, take Main St. (Exit 50) west 2 miles to Christman Rd., turn right and go ½ mile to subdivision entrance and follow signs to model.

Make an Appointment

Prairie Hollow

Project Description:

Prairie Hollow offers you a beautiful, unique setting to enhance your home and secure your investment!


Additional Info:


Hwy16 to Hwy C (exit 179), north on Hwy C to Hwy K west 1/4 mile on Hwy K to Stone Bank Rd, north 2 miles on Stone Bank Rd to subdivision.

Prairie Hollow – PDF Brochure – click to download

Make an Appointment

Carlisle 2017 Parade Home

Carlisle 2017 MBA Parade Home

Project Description:

We’ve taken our most popular first floor master home and have pulled out all the stops.  The Carlisle may be the little sister plan to our ever popular Newberry and Somerset models but it has a personality all of its own.

  • 2600 1st Floor Master with 4 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths
  • Two story foyer and family room with wall of bayed wall of windows for lots of natural light
  • Large kitchen with prep island, work in pantry, and roomy dinette
  • Flex Room which can be Study or Dining Room
  • Spacious master suite with private screen porch, whirlpool tub, shower and walk-in-closet
  • Mud Room complete with lockers, roomy closet and separate laundry room
  • Powder room near garage where it makes the most sense
  • Loft, three bedrooms and bath on the second floor
  • Model for sale for $699,900 with move in spring of 2018

N66 W15744 Fox Meadow Dr.
Menomonee Falls, WI

Model Hours:
Open weekends 1 to 4 pm.

Brighton Model - 2016 Parade of Homes Model


From Hwy 41/45 exit at Silver Spring Rd., go west 3 miles to Pilgrim Rd., go north 1 1/2 mile to Fox Meadows Subdivision entrance & follow signs to home

Make an Appointment

Top 5 Home building Trends of 2017

Home Building Trends of 2017 - Joseph Douglas HomesThe way most people see it, through the years, house building hasn’t altered drastically. After all, houses are still built from the ground up, piece by piece, until the desired finished product is achieved. Ask someone truly in the know, however, and you will soon see that new life is being pumped not only into homes being constructed in 2017 but into the housing market itself. These modifications are being done through improved home design and intelligent utilization of the latest home building trends. These trends provide lifestyle benefits and will increase the value of your home.

Let’s take a brief look at five of the most in-demand home building trends in 2017.

1. Neutral Is the New White
It seems like just yesterday that stainless steel appliances and white-hot kitchens were all the rage. Today’s designers are going a different route. Kitchens with neutral backgrounds are the latest and greatest trend when it comes to the room in which many of us do our best culinary creating, kids do homework, and the family sometimes dines. Gray and black matte appliances are taking over. Cabinetry is turning more toward the mid-tone wood. On the outside of new homes, however, the opposite is true. To accent fenestration openings and building forms, grays, blacks, and other contrasting colors are being incorporated on a far more frequent basis.

2. Two-Car Garages Get a Makeover
Astonishingly, there are still new home communities that are governed by local ordinances requiring attached garages to be dual-garage bays. But in these ever-changing times of Uber drivers and other shared car services, fewer families need an over-sized two-car garage. Today’s homes are making use of that living space by remaking the interior of these garages into family rooms, game rooms, guest rooms, offices, etc.

3. Modern Times Call for Modern Designs
In 2017, home designers see less and less of a demand for old-school motifs. Styles are turning decidedly more contemporary. Flat panel cabinets, glass garage doors, geometric faucet designs, horizontal fireplaces and more are flooding the market when it comes to the decoration and design of today’s new homes. home building trends by Joseph Douglas Homes

4. Charge It!
The ever-present wireless gear of today (i.e., tablets, smart phones, etc.) is undeniably a staple in homes, offices, cars – everywhere. But they don’t charge themselves. Because of this, charging stations are popping up everywhere you look – in bars, restaurants, hotels, you name it. So, it comes as no surprise that modern home builders and designers are installing charging stations under kitchen countertops, behind bedside tables, within office cabinets, even in bathrooms.

5. The Master Bath Experience
Households of today spend an astonishing amount of time in the bathroom – particularly when the master bath is designed with some of the latest trends in mind. Because this is where most couples begin their day, modern bathrooms are sporting flat screen TVs and emphasizing more room in which to move around, without bumping into each other.

Customize Your Home With these Latest Home Building Trends

Ending your day with quality time spent in your master bath is now a distinct possibility. Luxurious ottomans create a sitting room type of atmosphere; exercise or yoga areas offer mind and body health, and over-sized, freestanding baths provide the opportunity for a relaxing, warm soak.
These trends barely break the surface on a sea of new and exciting concepts being offered by home designers in 2017. For a complete breakdown of what is available and which new concepts will best serve your needs, contact us to learn more.

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