Building Hope in Uganda (And How We Need Your Help)…

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It’s been a whirlwind few months at Martell Home Builders and we couldn’t be happier.  Our founder Pierre Martell & his fiancee Jess Boudreau have been busy expanding the Martell Home Builders family, by 17 people!  Have a look at what they’ve been up to:

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One of the best parts of the CHAT program, beyond the lives that they’re saving in Uganda, is the way that they’re impacting the lives of Canadian kids.  Literally, we are raising a generation of Canadian kids who are global activitists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.  The future is BRIGHT for these kids!

Obviously, we’ve got a big job ahead of us in raising the finds required to DOUBLE the amount of children whose lives are saved by CHAT to the Future!

How you can help? Teachers/parents: is your school a CHAT school yet?  http://www.chattothefuture.org/teachers/

Everyone else: we can’t start construction until we’ve hit our funding goal….We need to raise some funds and we need everyone to see this video!

1. PLEASE SHARE this with your network and as many people as you can!

2. Please, please, please consider opening your heart (and wallet) to this amazing organization and help us impact that many more children: http://www.chattothefuture.org/invest/ (Click Build)

How are you giving back this Holiday Season?

Fall 2015: Our 5 Hottest Custom Home Trends

With more and more options for fixtures and finishes available in the custom home market, clients are really able to have their home reflect anything their heart desires!  As we look back on one of our busiest Fall custom home seasons ever, I thought that it would be great to recap the trends that our clients are going “ga-ga” for.

1. Barn Doors: These days, almost every client we meet with is looking to implement a barn door somewhere in their home.  We’re particularly fond of using barn doors in areas that do not require sound detonation (as in, you don’t want to put a barn door on a bathroom).  The image below offers an amazing option in using the barn door to offer separation for a pantry.

Image Source: http://www.thekitchn.com/

2. “Anything-But-MDF” Mantles: Traditionally, MDF is the material of choice when building mantles in new construction homes.  Lately however, our clients have been really looking for creative options when it comes to their fireplace mantles!  While one set of clients brought us an antique wooden beam, another set recently opted for stainless steel (see below).  We think that the position of a mantle and it’s location as the focal point in a room makes it the perfect place to let your style shine!

Image Source: www.themartellexperience.com

Image Source: www.themartellexperience.com

3. Faux Cedar Shake: When it comes to exterior finishes, the trend has been to get away from traditional vinyl siding.  That said, few clients want to absorb the additional cost of wood siding or cedar shake.  This leaves many clients choosing to outfit the exterior of their homes in faux cedar shake which allows them the maintenance-free benefit of vinyl while offering a more upscale look.

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

4. Composite Decking: One of the hottest items that we’ve worked with this year is composite decking as an alternative to wood.  Composite decking is a maintenance free product that stays looking new much longer than wood.  While this product is more expensive than wood, many clients are making the investment in this long-term product.

Image Source: thisoldhouse.com

 

5. Dark Ceilings: For clients looking to up the drama factor without darkening their room, dark paint on the ceilings is the way to go!  Light continues to reflect off of neutral/light coloured walls while the darkness of the ceiling gives the illusion that the ceiling is much higher than it really is.

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

 

Why New Brunswickers Are Thinking Twice About Natural Gas In New Homes….

In the run of an average week, I usually field a question or two about natural gas as a fuel heat source for new construction.  In my previous life, I sold homes in Ontario where natural gas was the standard.  Here in NB however, that is not the case.  In fact, the amount of our clients who choose a natural gas heat system is declining year over year.  I feel that there are 2 major reasons for this.

1. Your Neighbour Probably Doesn’t Have Natural Gas

I’m going to use the Toronto Area as an example because it’s one that I know best. The GTA is similar to many urban, developed areas of Canada in that there is a long established history of natural gas usage.  In fact, according to Statistics Canada as of 2011, 50% of all homes in Canada were heated by natural gas.  I have been searching high and low for stats on NB homes heated by natural gas but can’t seem to find any (if you do, please send them my way).  That said, there are drastically fewer homes in NB heated by natural gas than in many other Canadian cities.

There is a high cost to delivering natural gas to our region and that delivery cost is being absorbed and shared by a small number of customers (myself included).  The smaller the base of consumers, the higher the cost. As such, I am paying a much higher rate for natural gas in Moncton, NB than I was in Oakville, ON.  With natural gas rates staying where they’re at and often rising, many of our clients are option for the alternative of ducted air-to-air heat pumps which offer a similar upfront cost but keep power rates low throughout the cold season.

2. If You’re Building In A New Development, Natural Gas In Likely Not On Your Street

According to Enbridge NB’s website:

“New pipeline is built when there is sufficient demand in an area and where the economics ensure that the capital costs are covered over the long term.”

Looks promising enough.  When I called EnBridge to ask what constituted “sufficient demand” and for more information around the aforementioned economics, they asked me to complete a one minute questionnaire so that they could put me on a wait list. I was told that as soon as enough people in my area were on the wait list, they would then consider extending the pipeline to the street. They couldn’t tell me what number of homes would constitute “enough”.

This process is not terrible if you are considering a renovation or conversion however, if you are building new construction, the very nature of the process is problematic.  Because EnBridge is requiring a “sufficient” number of homes to agree to be natural gas consumers, the assumption is that people on the list can/will wait until the list is full.  When it comes to custom home construction in a new development, it is highly unlikely that homes 1-8 on the list (for example) will wait to build their homes until that 9th person agrees to use natural gas and fills the demand requirement.

Instead, homes 1-8 will proceed to stay on schedule… and that guy who could have been home 9, is back to square one. (Please note that these numbers are for illustration purposes only and were not provided by Enbridge).

I personally would LOVE to see more demand for Natural Gas in NB.  This would not only offer our clients more choice in their heat system but, eventually, they would more competitive rates.  Are you considering natural gas as a conversion or as a new construction home?  Why or why not?

 

 

Moncton Halloweeeeeeen… Twenty Fourteeeeeen!

by: Natalie

Let me preface this post by declaring that I LOVE holidays. LOVE! I love decorating, dressing up, building traditions and having a blast!   So, it should come as no surprise that my family has a jam-packed schedule for the week leading up to Halloween.  As I was planning out our activities, I noticed that there was no list anywhere online with this year’s “MUST-DOs” for Halloween in Moncton.  So, here are mine :)

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Yours truly… Halloween 2011.

1. Spirit Halloween Superstore Plaza (Main Street).

Granted, I have not yet tried out the other Halloween stores around town but this place was the bomb! It took 20 minutes for us to even get into the store as my kids toured the very exciting decor display.  We’re talking electrocutions, mad scientists, attack dogs and even a little zombie girl on a swing.  **WARNING** My kids are 6 and loved it but they would have had nightmares if we brought them when they were younger.

2. 131 Broadview (Old West End).

I absolutely the holiday people who go all out (a la Clark Griswold)… whether their thing is Halloween, Christmas, Easter, whatever….  That’s why the people at 131 Broadview probably think that I’m some sort of stalker.  From Oct 1-31,  I try to pass by this fantastic display as often as possible.  On Saturday, they’re hosting a Halloween block party from 3-6pm and will be accepting donations for the local food bank.  I spoke with the resident of this home and he told me that they see 400-500 trick or treaters every year!   We are so sad that this is their last year doing their display.

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Photo by me… driving by during daylight to see everything better.

 

3.  Boo At The Zoo

This will be our first year at Boo At The Zoo and I’m so excited!  Open Sat & Sun from 11am-5pm, they promise inflatable fun as well as a scarier area for the parents.  With admission, you also get to do your rounds of the animal displays.  Be sure to wear a costume… Parents too!  This one’s likely to be my kids’ favourite event.

4. Keillor House Halloween Tour

By far, my favourite event of the season is the Keillor House Tour!   Open Friday and Saturday night from 7-9pm.  Honestly, if you haven’t been, it is a MUST see.  My kids begged to join us this year but there would be way too many nightmares and tears at their age.  As you tour this historic mansion, live actors engage with you and make sure that every person leaves terrified.  Get ready to scream!!

Imagine this place at night, filled with live ghouls and ghosts…

That’s what we’re up to this weekend.  So, Moncton, did I miss any Halloween “MUSTS”?  Tell me… how are you celebrating the spookiest season?

Neighborhood Profile: Baron Heights

Location: Elmwood Drive (across from the new Moncton High, Irishtown, NB

Ground Breaking: Fall 2014

Image Credit: The Barons, Inc.

Welcome to Baron Heights “country living at it’s finest”. This prestigious, country community is located next to the Irishtown Nature Park offering lots between 1-6 acres, ranging in price between $69,000-79,000.   This gorgeous community is truly going to be the next high-end development in Moncton with admirers comparing it to Rural Estates in the North End,

Features:

  • Golf Course nearby
  • Only 12 minutes from major shopping
  • Walkable to Moncton High School
  • Strong covenants to protect your investment
  • Amenities: Irishtown Nature Park, schools

To book a Discovery Session and start planning your new home in Baron Heights, call Pierre today at 506-871-5237 or by email pierre@themartellexperience.com.

Moving To Moncton Mondays #3: House Prices


Today’s Moving To Moncton Monday happens to fall on the 4th anniversary of my move to Moncton!

Because my own move is on my mind, I thought I would reflect on one of the biggest benefits that I enjoyed when moving from the GTA to Moncton: affordable home prices! The truth is I’m not alone. Many friends have been relocating their families to Canada’s East to enjoy lower home prices and the ability to stretch their dollar much further.

In fact, I participate on a national home buying expert panel where most of our questions come from the GTA…

“Will It Ever Be A Buyer’s Market?:
“When Will Home Prices Cool Down?”
“Will I Ever Be Able To Buy A Home?”

And with more and more companies allowing their staff to work from home, moving East is becoming a reality for more and more families. I recently spoke with a family where mom was able to keep her executive job and start working from home, instead of staying in the Toronto office. Her husband, a teacher, was able to land a permanent contract here after years of trying in the GTA. The cherry on top was selling their Toronto home and purchasing the home of their dreams- at a fraction of the price.

I highly encourage everyone that I can to consider home ownership in the Greater Moncton Area- where it is truly a buyer’s market. At the moment, the average MLS listing price in the Moncton Area $172,750.00. Compare that to the National Average of $398,000.00 (www.crea.ca). Or, if you want to compare it to your city, check out this handy tool.

Thinking about moving to Moncton? Tell me about it… What’s holding you back?

We’re Looking For The Best Project Coordinator In Moncton To Join Our Team!

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Title: Project Coordinator

If you don’t like average – you’ve got our attention.  Looking for passionate and skilled contracted tradesman who comes fully equipped to get the job done.  Having a professional and friendly demeanor is a must, you aren’t just building decks, you are helping build relationships so being courteous and friendly is as essential as being able to swing a hammer.

As one of our fine craftsmen, you will be an integral part of our homebuilding team. Under the direction of of the project manager, qualified candidates will demonstrate the following:

  • Understands the task at hand and knows how to get it done.
  • Pride in workmanship
  • Detail oriented and very organized
  • You easily engage with people,  have excellent communication skills;
  • Ambitious, and highly motivated;
  • Ability to develop strategy, as well as plan and execute it;
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects with attention to detail;
  • Ability to manage and work with various personality types
  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints, drawings & specifications
  • Computer proficient (i.e. Mac, iPhone, Outlook, Excel, Google, email); and
  • Experience is always a difference maker.

Note: This is a full-time position.

The preceding job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.

How to apply:  email only to jobs@themartellexperience.com citing competition number PC0124-CB.

We thank you in advance for applying but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Moving To Moncton Mondays #2: Cottage Country

Thanks so much for checking out our second instalment of Moving To Moncton Mondays! Oh, wait… is it Tuesday?  Well, hopefully you were all having WAY too much fun over the long weekend to be on social media in the first place!  Our family spent the long weekend being tourists in our backyard with trips to Fundy, Parlee Beach and the Neptune Drive-In.

One of the most amazing things about living in the Moncton Area is the fact that an average person can be a cottage owner. If you dream of owning your own vacation getaway, be it lakeside or oceanfront, the affordability of cottages in the Moncton area can’t be beat.  I’ll take a look at two prime cottage areas that are easy commutes to Greater Moncton.

Shediac, NB 

Seaside town of Shediac, NB is known for having the warmest waters North of The Carolinas (yes, THAT warm).  If you’re looking for a cute cottage community, Shediac may be for you.  With various beaches, marinas and restaurants, life in Shediac feels like being on vacation every day.  And, to top it off, Shediac is only 21 minutes from downtown Moncton meaning that many cottagers actually move to the cottage for the entire summer as it’s an easy commute into work every day.  After all, we don’t have traffic here… remember last week’s post?

Sound like paradise?  Hop on to www.realtor.ca and search recreational properties under $100k.  You’ll quickly see that cottage life is much more possible than you may realize.

Grand Lake Area, NB

Perhaps you’re a laker at heart. Well, New Brunswick has you covered.  My own favourites include Grand Lake & Washademoak Lake.  While lake country is a little further away than the beach, (1-2.5 hours from Moncton) you can be on your dock much faster than in most cities and, again, the drive is much more stress-free than the usual city grind.  Prices are a little higher than most beach towns as well however, you can still be on the water under $100k… a great investment as waterfront property becomes more and more scarce.

If you’re considering moving to the area, I highly recommend you consider New Brunswick’s cottage country for your next vacation!  You can snatch up a rental at http://www.cottagesincanada.com/cottage-rentals/new-brunswick

Local readers… do you cottage?  If so, where?

 

 

Moving To Moncton Mondays #1: Traffic and Our “Oh-So-Fabulous” Commutes

Welcome to the inaugural post in our Moving To Moncton Series, highlighting why Moncton is such a fantastic place to live!  I consider myself to be a bit of an expert on the topic as I personally made the move from the Greater Toronto Area 4 years ago and am enjoying the benefits of life in Moncton to the fullest!

One of the most significant lifestyle changes that my family experienced when moving to Moncton was the traffic- or lack thereof which is the today’s topic.  In fact, I knew that I had adapted to our new city when I  caught myself complaining about being stuck for two entire minutes at an on-ramp.  It’s all about perspective.  In my previous life, I always allowed myself an hour to 90 minutes to get anywhere… in Moncton, 15 minutes to cross the city is ample.

The reality is, long commutes & hours spent idling in traffic are not only inconvenient, they are extremely bad for your health!  Stress & anxiety, air quality and strained relationships are all terrible side-effects of long commutes and overcrowded highways.

Last year, City News published “Toronto traffic affecting driver health: stress expert” .  In the article, City News interviewed Dr. Mel Borings:

“Some people when they walk into a car, it’s like they’re in a combat zone. They feel like they’re at war; they have to speed, and conflict and anger — that is the life of some people in a car,” Dr. Borins said.

Although my GTA was 40 mins from my office, I would spend 90 minutes making my way in and another 90 making my way out. That’s 3 hours a day- gone.  Once we had kids, I simply did not have 3 hours a day to sit in the car and, as a result, made a major life decision to move to Moncton.  My commute is currently 7 minutes.

Coastal Shediac, NB is an easy 21 minute commute to Moncton.

The relative absence of traffic allows Greater Monctonians more freedom and choice in their lifestyle.  For example, cottage country in Shediac, NB is only 21 mins away.  Many Monctonians move to their cottages for the summer (or even year round) as 21 mins is an easy commute by most cities’ standards.

Thinking of moving to Moncton? Have you recently moved back?  Share your story with us and let us know how much time you’ve gained in your life.

71 Blackstone (2014 Hand-In-Hand Showhome) is FOR SALE!

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You’ve visited the open houses, purchased a ticket and dreamed of owning this gorgeous home… well now, it can be yours!!  This year’s Grand Prize winner opted for the cash prize which means that this beauty is FOR SALE.  The value of this home is $530,000.00 but we are offering it for only $499,900.00!!

Here are the details:

Photos: http://themartellexperience.com/custom/71-blackstone-hand-in-hand-lottery-home-2014/

Listing Price: $499,900.00

Style: Bungalow

Year Built: 2014

Living Area: 2037 sf upstairs (plus finished basement)

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

Features:

  • Stone & Vinyl Exterior
  • Fibreglass Front Door & Garage Doors
  • Large Double Garage
  • 9 Foot Ceilings Throughout
  • Tray Ceilings in Living Room, Kitchen and Master Bedroom
  • Cathedral Ceiling in Guest Room
  • Four Season Sunroom at Rear of Home
  • Gorgeous dark, hand-scraped wood floors throughout (including kitchen)
  • Quartz Countertops in Kitchen and Master Bath
  • Laundry Chute to Large Laundry Area in Basement
  • And much, much more…

We will be hosting an open house August 30th & Sept 7th.  Come on out and see one of the most beautiful homes we’ve ever built.

If you can’t make it… check out this video tour: 71 Blackstone: Video Tour

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For more information about this amazing home, call us today!  (506)-871-5237 (Pierre) or (506)-232-1276 (Natalie).

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