When it’s time to select a contractor, most consumers turn to the Internet to gather information about various contractors, the quality and specialty work that each contractor provides and also public opinion of the contractor. It is a pretty safe bet that the contractor’s website is going to list several testimonials and glowing stories of the perfect project and respect for the homeowners budget. But you are not likely to find any honest critiques of areas that the contractor could improve upon or areas that were to complete failure. No business owner is going to display that on his or her website. So savvy homeowners are turning to the Houzz website to get an honest view of what it is like to work with many of the contractors in the valley. This is because Houzz is an independent website which is working for the consumer to gather honest opinions and factual accounts of contractor performance. And that is the reason that the Best of Houzz 2018 award means so much to Chris Griffin and the entire UNIQUE team. [Read more…]
The tiny house movement has arrived and is taking over much of the programming on channels such as HGTV, DIY and even TLC. But for most people, the idea of downsizing to a few hundred square feet is just not even imaginable. In fact, many homeowners in Arizona have a swimming pool that is larger than 300 square feet. But there are some other great uses for these tiny additions that would increase your property value as well as meet some other, more personal wants and need.
The She Shack or Man Cave
In recent years a new term has been coined to describe the room where the guys go to watch football, throw darts, play poker, watch a race or swap fishing stories over a few beers. The Man Cave has become that masculine space for guys to gather, socialize and just relax away from all of the distractions of work and the outside world. And the feminine counterpart to the man cave has now begun to have a strong following as well. The She Shack is a place for ladies to get away from the daily grind. You might picture these posh spaces as a tiny little private spa, reading nook or wine bistro depending on the taste and favorite activity of the She Shack Queen. If your home is lacking space for a She Shack, a Man Cave, or both, then adding a tiny house or two to your property is the perfect way to create these relaxing environments. [Read more…]
The complex nature of today’s resort inspired residential landscapes has created a need for more than just a landscape design to plan and determine the best way to create flow and function. Structural features once found only in commercial properties which were created to an engineer’s specifications are now being built in a residential setting. And the only thing lacking in most of these projects is the analysis and confirmation of a civil engineer. This is the one person who is uniquely qualified to determine that the features pose no long term risk to the immediate residents or any potential guest. Sadly, this one critical aspect is rarely addressed on the residential level. But it could have a long term impact as building codes evolve and insurance companies become more knowledgeable about the potential liability of structural defects which result in loss of property or even worse, a loss of life.
Landscape designer, landscape architect and landscape engineer are all titles for a person who has extensive training in the design of landscape from a green aspect. The tenets of applied sciences such as agronomy, botany, forestry, geology and geochemistry guide the design with immediate goals as well as long term goals to be achieved. By contrast a true engineer is a person who works with structures and materials to determine their limitations imposed not only by practicality but also by regulation, safety and cost. Unlike those focused on beauty and façade, the engineer is looking inside the structures to determine that they are safe today and will remain safe for years to come.
Blending these two tasks, which have vastly different goals to achieve, can be almost impossible. Each professionals training creates immense focus on what he or she believes to be the most important aspect of the feature. The resulting collaboration can be much like attempting to mix oil and water. The task is never able to reach a state of completion. But what if there was one such professional who could offer clients both of these critical services? A somewhat mythical creature, such as one with the head and wings of an eagle and yet the body of a lion.
It sounds too good to be true but there is one individual, Chris Griffin the owner of The Unique Companies who is both a Civil Engineer and 1 of only 40 Certified and Registered Genesis Watershape Designers in the world. In addition, Mr. Griffin hold an EIT certification, Certification from the International Concrete and Paving Institute, sits on the PACE Paramount Advisory Committee and holds 3 Arizona Registrar of Contractor Licenses as a General Contractor, Pool Contractor and Landscape Contractor.
The future is certain to hold stricter regulations for residential construction simply to maintain safety and keep pace with technological innovations. But why risk your hard earned money and most importantly, the safety of your loved ones on a structure that could be unsafe or become unsafe? Ignorance is no defense when lives could hang in the balance. Building practices that some residential contractors are using today could be classified as negligent in the near future.
However, you have one choice who can provide you with a complete outdoor living environment to meet all of your needs for function, flow and beauty in addition to well-engineered structural integrity. Chris Griffin, not really a mythical creature, but a truly UNIQUE designer/engineer who will meet and exceed all of you expectations today and for years to come.