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Building Safe and Beautiful

by Mandy Blume
Blumestone safe and beautiful

Safe and Beautiful

Marketing a business seems simple enough, but in construction, we usually get jobs by “word-of-mouth”. People generally share how we are on time and how beautiful, but it’s not easy to explain what truly makes us different. Over and over, we find our clients do not realize the effort we put into creating a safe and beautiful environment. It’s an odd thing to explain, but the materials in the structure truly make a difference.

The best comparison is having a 5-star prepared meal; but one chef uses grocery store ingredients that are 5-14 days old and ripened in transit versus a chef who goes to the farmer’s market and gets fresh, ripe, organic ingredients as much as possible. This is our effort in the building business.

Many folks tell us that we should market this difference. But we find that since it is not a common practice, people aren’t sure why our efforts are important. But just like the food we consume builds a stronger body; better materials, a few simple adjustments, and intentional placement, truly make a safer environment in our constructions.

After completing college together in Mechanical Engineering and Business, we respectively pursued higher degrees and certifications in health. These combinations and having kids with compromised immune systems shape the way we design and build.

Tangible Experience

Jim is brilliant at solving problems with his unique engineering brain. Where some see a fast way to make it look pretty and get out, we see the opportunity to create a space with a little less electrical interference, a little less off-gas, a little more functionality, and thusly, a lot more natural place.

As expected, each job is unique and provides a fun challenge. Every job requires us to identify how we can best use our skills to create a sound structure that fits the client’s wishes, while we “step it up” to provide the cleanest environment which optimizes health in their living/ working space. Our vision is to make each build safe and beautiful, from the “Inside Out”.

Not all of our recommendations cost a lot of money. One simple way to improve a space is incorporating live plants. We share our thoughts about it in this article. These learnings over the years are why our goal of “Building a Better Lifestyle” is so rewarding. When we have clients tell us how great they feel in the new place, or share the excitement of how their space is so clean and peaceful; we know we have succeeded.

 

 

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Building The Wooden Rooster Cafe in Seminole

by Mandy Blume
The Wooden Rooster Cafe

The Wooden Rooster,  a french crepe cafe

We’ve built some fun places and we are pretty picky in our efforts to build in a better, more healthy way. One of our more recent builds was an easy choice. We were asked to build a wonderful cafe and I’d like to highlight this delicious, french-american burst of deliciousness, The Wooden Rooster.

The Wooden Rooster Cafe

We enjoy getting out and supporting our local businesses for our date nights. And one of our favorite spots is The Wooden Rooster. They have the most perfect, savory and dessert crepes, along with coffee, drinks, salads and more. We frequent the downtown St. Petersburg location, and after a conversation with the owners, we are set to build their second cafe in a new, open style mall in Seminole.

The Wooden Rooster is a great, hangout spot, offering coffees, WIFI, and crepes designed by it’s french owner. Experiencing the culinary, french escape right here in Tampa Bay Florida; minus the expense of a long flight, is a treat. The environment offers a french, modern, organic ambiance as family photos from France hang on the walls. These photos, custom wooden benches, tables and center bar create a “Farm-meets-elegance” charm with a welcoming atmosphere.

As far as the food goes, we highly recommend the Nutty Joe (sans Oreos) with a buckwheat (less gluten) crepe, nutella filling, a scoop of ice cream, with the coffee expresso pour over. Our children love The Burg and the TLT for breakfast and lunch. The menu is constantly changing and visible here.

The Wooden Rooster Seminole Jeremy and Lisette

 

 

The Building Difference

Additionally, from a builder’s perspective, the plumbing is built with pipes that do not leach petroleum nor metal. Our effort to build better, means that our clients can use cleaner water in their business. For the walls, we use stains and no VOC paints so that the employees and guests can breathe cleaner air. There are several differences in our work that are a direct result of our experiences that you can watch here.

After breakfast or lunch, the Seminole location is also a destination spot. To walk off the food, you can stroll between shops for every need and want you may have.

Truly, at the end of the day it never ceases to amaze us how in just a few months, our team can take a concrete box, and create a space designed by a wonderful local architect, and end up with something so beautiful. Of course, there is a lot of hard work but it is spectacular to watch, none-the-less.

Directory

If you are local to Tampa Bay, The Wooden Rooster is a great destination spot and I’d love to hear which crepe you enjoy the best!

The Wooden Rooster at Seminole City Center Mall, across from The Studio Grill Movie Theater
7839 113TH ST. N. SUITE F
SEMINOLE, FL 33772

If you are looking to build a cleaner commercial structure, we look forward to speaking with you on how we might partner with you in building a better lifestyle for you and your team.

 

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Building Community for Kids Without Parents

by Mandy Blume
Building a Home for Kids without Parents

Building Community for Foster Kids

Because of our experiences building and fostering, BLUMESTONE gives a lot to help children without parents or capable parents. But recently, we feel called to do more. We have a vision and God-willing, we will soon have the financial support to move forward to make our world a better place.

 

Over the past 12 years, we have visited over nine Children’s Homes and Orphanages through our nonprofit organization, Real Food Recovery. We have posted this passion there in order to congruently share our mission.

The volunteer work we do is changing the lives of hundreds of kids. We started Real Food Recovery as a nonprofit organization after writing a cookbook with studies for health benefits we experience. After fostering about eight children, and watching each child improve behavior and health with the right food and conditions, we took it bigger. We began to work in homes with many children.

Getting the Hands Dirty

Some of the incredibly rewarding work we do for these kids:

  • Build gardens with organic vegetables these kids have never seen grow
  • Teach educational classes;
    • how important it is to eat good fats
    • the power of amino acids and proteins
    • necessary gentle detox of eating fresh vegetables
    • why we need minerals and colorful salts
    • what hydration does for our body’s cells
    • and much more
  • Support local organic farmers and bring these nutrient-dense foods to the Children’s Homes
  • Write the menu for the home cook and State requirements with oversight of a Registered Dietician
  • Use my Functional Nutritional Therapy education to support common issues of these children;
    • diabetes
    • joint pain
    • sleeplessness
    • night terrors
    • addictions
    • depression
    • compromised guts
    • and much more

The Dreams Evolve

During our work over the past twelve years, Mandy has been asked to help support many folks in Assisted Living Homes with their diet. She teaches kids how to eat foods and food supplements to help improve and hopefully recover indications. Enjoying the success supporting these kids and some folks in the Assisted Living Homes, it is noticed that there is a need for more social interaction, which is what develops a goal for a new business plan.

We have afforded foster children better opportunities to:

  • get off medication for diabetes
  • avoid or recover from the flu faster
  • reduce or stop bad cramping
  • improve grades
  • support a doctor’s protocol more successfully
  • improve behavior
  • and much more

Building a Home to Close the Gap

With these years of learning from the systems we work with, we have bigger dreams than before. As a bio-dynamic construction company, we have the resources to remodel or build the perfect place. What we lack is the financial support, but God-willing, that will come.

Because of our experience, we know that building a home for Seniors and foster kids/ orphans, we can close a vast gap of loneliness. This plan can give sage to these kids who have been handed a harder life by allowing these elderly folks to mingle at meals, spend time tutoring, and just be friends.

It’s a huge dream, and it requires a lot of work, but we have already prepared for this. The only challenge we have is the financial aspect, which seems small after all we have already faced and overcome. As much as we are private about our company mission, this goal requires our community to come together.

There are 500,000 children today in foster/orphan homes. There are almost 50,000 children in the State of Florida and about 3,000 kids in my county system.

A Better Plan

Every person on death row was in foster care. Over 70% of our prisons are filled with people who were in foster care, and more awful statistics. We need a different approach to make it better for these kids and, ultimately, our community and nation. And our experience, heart, education, and skills provide the perfect backdrop to fulfill these dreams!

We must start a program and housing that is:

  • fun,
  • environmentally clean,
  • mentally stimulating,
  • built beautifully for the imagination, and
  • providing healthy food- while also supporting our local farmers and community.

If you or your company are looking for a place to donate, we’d love to be considered. All donations are tax-deductible, just leave a note with your address if you’d like a letter in the mail. No amount is too small or too big, there are big things to do and all proceeds go to these kids as always.

Give a better chance to kids without parents here.

We post pictures on Instagram for our buildings and our work with foster kids regularly of the companies, farmers, artisans, local businesses, and efforts with these kids. It is not allowed to show their faces to protect them, but we can show particular views.

Thank you for being a part of our community efforts and allowing us to build your dreams at BLUMESTONE.

 

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Construction during a Pandemic

by Mandy Blume
Construction in a Pandemic

Pandemic Impact on Construction

Today we face a pandemic, and it seems we are facing more than a virus. In construction, as we race to help in crisis circumstances, I’m reflective of the day. In this particular time, it appears we are also facing; fear, panic, rumors, re-prioritizing of affairs, and… a lack of toilet tissue.

Twenty years ago, when Jim moved from his professional desk job to a “hands-on construction job” with Walt Disney World, there was a noticeable difference when someone asked our profession. With a professional desk job as a Mechanical Engineer, graduating from California Polytechnic University, in the top 5%, the respect was evident. However, when he wanted to get his hands dirty and build, and we started a business, the tone changed. 

The response didn’t matter so much because we love what we do. Taking ugly things or nothing and building something beautiful and biodynamic is a rewarding career for both of us. It’s fun to guide and watch; a business owner create a space to fulfill that dream, or a family move into a place they can call home. 

However, in the twenty years of building, this pandemic is changing things in areas we didn’t expect.

A New Liftstation

A few months back, we installed a new pump for a lift station at a job site. We had to convert and renovate six hotel buildings into 300 workforce apartments. 

It’s been fun to watch homeless families move into the complex with grant monies provided and experience the gratitude of folks moving into their very own apartment. We were hired to do this job, but we get to see the joy of these families. Most tell us this is the most beautiful and most affordable apartment in the area. It puts a smile on our faces, and our team sleeps well at night. The developer showed us other projects and explained that our work is leagues above the rest. Now make no mistake, other folks haven’t lost a kid to cancer while fostering to adopt. Our experiences cause us to take a less profit margin so we can build with more biodynamic materials.

We use granite, which is durable and wooden cabinet doors and boxes. There is a lot less toxins in the properties we build. But that means that we do not have the high margins of the other contractors. When we get this feedback from the folks who are living in the places we build; well, these moments are extraordinary. Certainly, one day we hope to create a demand for more green building (less toxins), and we hope to have better margins.

studio-apartments pandemic

But today, on Sunday, a frantic call comes. Many folks already seem to be on edge from this pandemic virus. But on this call, the newly installed lift station is broken. As our team gathers and creates a by-pass so everyone can still shower and use the bathroom, we discover the problem. 

Rags

Rags are clogging the pump at the lift station. Our best guess is that because there are people who bought lots of toilet tissue, there are, in contrast, folks with no toilet tissue. 

Therefore, as we pull wipes and rags out of the clogged pipes, we call the owner. The volume of rags is alarming. After a discussion, it is determined that we should buy a grinding pump to chew up the rags and keep the pipes flowing. The work begins.

These are not pretty nor beautiful moments, but it is undoubtedly the time when you realize how essential it is to keep our infrastructure up. I’m not going to show you a picture of the before, but the area is clean now. We may not get the professional accolades as tradesmen, but we are proud to be included with the many men and women who keep homes and businesses functioning. 

It’s happening all over the place. Tampa, Florida calls it the Fatberg.

Fatberg from pandemic

lift station and a pandemic

Flowing

The new pump is working great, and we hope that the posted notices to: “not flush rags down the toilet” along with our super-chomper pump will manage these unexpected consequences of a pandemic virus.

But we also feel a sense of pride as we stand with our fellow tradesman in keeping the infrastructure going; our waste pick-up drivers, mail carriers, farmers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC, and more. It is in times like these that we realize we are all in this together, and we are all essential.

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Add Beauty and Health to Your Home or Business with Plants

by Mandy Blume
Peace Lily beauty and health

Add Beauty and Health

Health is pretty important, and over the years we’ve been building, Jim and I discovered there are ways to build health. We also include fun elements as a way to boost health in the home. We started out like everyone, but having children and volunteering with foster children directed us to consider materials and designs that create more fun and less toxins.

I wanted to share some thoughts are health that may seem a bit off the topics of; concrete, wood, and actual building. However, it is something we find to be very important.

Building a business or a home, we generally start with the idea of creating a canvas. We guide our clients to build with a classic style, with less trendy fixtures so that in five years, it’s still a design that is enjoyed. This way, changes can be made with new colors and styles by changing the; chairs, sofas, throws, dishes, curtains, etc… These varying trends and tastes of the different seasons of life will match if the basic design is classic. It is here where we find the beauty of plants comes into the picture to really take a living or working space to the next level.

Green plants are always a great way to bring a living element to the interior space. The choices are limitless; edibles, ornamentals, but I really like intentional placement and thought. Shown is the Peace Lily, which is a family favorite for many reasons.

Peace Lily

The peace lily is a simple plant that is an overall “cleaning plant” known to mitigate:

  • mold spores,
  • formaldehyde, and
  • trichloroethylene.

For this reason, I place these plants in the laundry room and bathrooms, just like my grandmother did. It creates a functional health  advantage as well as providing a “living” element in a wet room.

From an aesthetic perspective, the white flowers will go with any color scheme of a business or home.

Additionally, I like the name. Peace is something we all aspire to have in this short life and I feel that the name of a plant somehow matters.

Fortunately, peace lilies are easy to maintain by merely watering one day a week. Unless it is placed in a dry spot next to direct sunlight, which you may want to water twice a week.

These are a few of the reasons we use plants. We believe they add an element of fun and the Peace Lily is a terrific, easy, beautiful, and functional addition to any space.

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How to Make Your Home Fun

by Mandy Blume
Fun Narnia Mural 306

Home is our Place to Relax and Have Fun

Early on we realized the need to incorporate fun in every home. We are good at keeping the home cleaner with less toxins, but it doesn’t feel like home without some extraordinary elements of fun. No matter how the day goes; bringing fun elements into our home creates an environment we all enjoy.

In the beginning, we had 5 children under 8 years old. We couldn’t afford to go to a lot of places, but we could build things and make our home fun.

Incorporating Themes from a Favorite Book or Movie

Our boys loved CS Lewis’, Chronicles of Narnia, so we built the elements into their bedroom.

  • Dawn Treader took place on a ship. This allowed us to incorporate bunkbeds into this large iconic part of the book.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  is the flagship book in the series. There are so many scenes to create, but in the end, we decide to install the famous lamp post. This small element brought the story book to life.Fun Dawn Treader bunk bed
  • There are many talented artists that can paint a mural. It’s unbelievable how much a mural can transform a space.
  • The Magician’s Nephew inspired a ceiling mobile of all the worlds which we found at IKEA.

Creating a Bit of Play Into Home

  • If you have a deck, try installing a slide along with stairs, a swing or hammock in the bedroom.It’s bringing the outside in and creating fun into a child’s space.
    Fun Built-in slide off the deck
  • Decorate an area inside the house with a unique part of the home (we found an old oil chimney in this home). Discovering old chimneys
  • Find ways to add depth using existing or hidden old materials. We find buried treasure in original wood planks underneath the ceiling drywall. Everyone loves to tell the story and remember.

Wood planks, shapes and contrasting colors

Fun ideas and designs can be incorporated on any budget. However, the key is to find what brings joy to your family and get creative.

Finding great ways to have fun in life requires intentional thought. We find the extra effort pays off with great memories, and of course, more built-in fun at home.

~Mandy