Ice Cream

A Sweet Guide to Lansdale’s Best Ice Cream Spots

It’s ice cream season! After long days remodeling homes in the summer heat, our crews love to indulge in cool, creamy treats — and we have strong feelings about our favorite spots!

From old-fashioned ice cream parlors to modern creameries dishing up unique flavors, Lansdale has fantastic local options for an icy summer indulgence. Here are some of our top picks for the best ice cream around town:

Freddy Hill Farms

In addition to their family-friendly fun center with mini golf, driving ranges, and batting cages, Freddy Hill Farms dishes up delicious homemade ice cream. Using milk and cream from local dairies, their ice cream has an incredibly rich, creamy texture. Be sure to try one of their fruit-swirled flavors like peach or raspberry.

Merrymead Farm

This family-owned farm and dairy has been a local favorite for decades, serving up some of the richest and creamiest ice cream around. Made with milk from their own cows, Merrymead’s ice cream is incredibly fresh and flavorful. From classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla to unique seasonal offerings like blueberry and pumpkin, their ever-changing menu keeps things exciting.

Sundae World

Sundae World is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that will transport you back in time with its nostalgic vibe. In addition to hand-dipped scoops in a wide array of flavors, they’re also known for their thick milkshakes, sundaes, and banana splits. Be sure to try one of their signature creations!

The Main Freeze

Soft serve, soda floats, hand-dipped cones and more abound at this affordable Lansdale staple. Keep tabs on their Facebook page for specials, donation nights, and discounts!

 

No matter your ice cream preferences, the Lansdale area has something to satisfy every craving. From old-fashioned scoops to modern rolled creations and premium small-batch flavors, these local spots are serving up some of the best, cold, sweet treats around this summer.

Universal Design

Universal Design: Safety & Convenience for All

More and more homeowners in Montgomery County and beyond are looking for ways to stay in their homes as long as possible. Additionally, we’re seeing a rising trend of multiple generations living together in one space. With so many family homes having small children, elderly adults, and everyone in between, including principles of Universal Design is becoming more of a priority.

Fortunately, the Custom Craft team has valued the ideas of aging-in-place and Universal Design for years. We’re passionate about designing for all stages of life and including adaptations for all ranges of abilities and sizes.

Wondering what Universal Design is and how it works? We sat down with Custom Craft’s Grace Arndt, a Universal Design—certified professional, to learn more about the principles of Universal Design and how she applied them to a recent North Wales bathroom remodel. Below are the 7 principals, what they mean, and examples of where you can find them around a thoughtfully designed home.

Universal Design Principle #1: Equitable Use

Equitable use means the design is useful, appealing, and provides the same level of function for all individuals. Grace’s bathroom remodel included a zero-threshold shower with a bench inside. With no tub or ledge to trip over, the shower is safer for kids and adults alike, and the bench is useful even when it isn’t a necessity. Besides being safe and convenient, the shower looks spa-like and inviting.

Universal Design Principle #2: Flexibility in Use

 Designing with flexibility in mind means providing options — multiple ways to use something based on preferences and needs. Common examples of this are items like right- or left-handed scissors or golf clubs.

The North Wales homeowners happen to be two very different heights, so having angled vanity mirrors that can easily tilt forward or backward ensures they both can actually see themselves while getting ready. It also allows mirror views for those using a wheelchair. Another example of flexibility here is in the shower, where users can choose the stationary or hand-held shower head.

Universal Design Principle #3: Simple and Intuitive Use

When a design is simple and intuitive, it is easy to understand and eliminates unnecessary complexity. Grace mentioned that over the years, faucets have become simpler and easier to use. Virtually all faucets available today meet this requirement — especially the single-handled models like in this recent project.

Universal Design Principle #4: Perceptible Information

 This principle considers whether the design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions (temperature, noise level, lighting, etc.) or the user’s sensory abilities.

Around the home, you’ll find examples of this with anything that uses pictures, sounds, or tactile methods to communicate essential information. A thermostat with both visual (display screen) and auditory (beeping) feedback informs users about the current temperature setting and changes made. Colors are useful here, as well; darker floors and contrasting light walls help those with visual impairments perceive the room’s dimensions more easily.

Universal Design Principle #5: Tolerance for Error

 In Universal Design, it’s important to minimize hazards and anticipate accidents or problems. Developing fail-safe features keeps everyone safe — from young children to older adults.

Our featured project includes an accessible vanity where a large space is cut out, allowing seated individuals (or a child on a stepstool) to get close to the sink and mirror. Where the plumbing would normally be exposed in this type of design, it has been carefully covered up. This not only looks cleaner but is also a safety precaution, preventing users’ legs from touching hot pipes and risking a burn. Similarly, Grace says there are options for anti-scald devices on faucets that stop water temperatures from reaching dangerous levels.

Universal Design Principle #6: Low Physical Effort

People should always be comfortable in their homes, and designing so that high-use items are easy to reach and natural to operate is important. Users should be able to maintain a neutral body position and minimize repetitive actions and sustained physical effort.  

In Grace’s North Wales project, the existing toilet was low to the ground. In order to make things more comfortable for one, very tall family member and future users with mobility issues, a raised toilet was installed in the new bathroom, making it much easier to get up and down.

Universal Design Principle #7:  Appropriate Size and Space

 The last Universal Design principle suggests the size and space of rooms and items in the home are easy to approach, reach, manipulate, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

When designing the bathroom, Grace made plans to remove a bump-out and install a smaller window to make room for an extra-wide shower. Large showers are ideal when there needs to be room for a second person who is assisting someone, and they also make it easy to move around without bumping into anything.

Have peace of mind knowing you won’t need to move unless you want to by designing your home to fit your family’s needs now and for years to come. Best of all, with a knowledgeable design-build company like Custom Craft, you won’t need to sacrifice great style to get there.

Contact us to get started implementing Universal Design into your home.

Beyond the Barbecue: Your Guide to Better Outdoor Living

Summer is upon us and if you’re like other southeastern PA homeowners, you can’t wait to soak up the endless days outside with family and friends. But is your outdoor living space ready?

At Custom Craft, we go above and beyond the simple backyard barbecue spot by creating next-level outdoor entertainment spaces that can be used all year round. From expansive composite decks with entertaining space to outdoor dining and upper-level decks, we love to stay on top of the latest trends in outdoor living.

In fact, we recently sat down with Shawn Thome, a system designer from our audio/visual partner World Wide Stereo to get the inside scoop on how to turn up your outdoor entertainment levels this summer. Here’s what he recommends:

Outdoor TVs

There’s nothing quite like watching the big game outside with friends or enjoying a movie in the fresh air on a warm summer night. Outdoor TVs are a great way to have a permanent setup outside that’s safe from the elements and equipped with a screen that lets you see the picture clearly, even on sunny days.

All outdoor TVs have rubberized internal components that protect against moisture. However, there are differences when it comes to how bright you need your screen to be. Depending on where you plan to hang it, you can choose brightness levels that work in shade, partial sun, and full sun.

Is there an ideal place to mount outdoor TVs? Shawn says with preparation, anything is possible. Whether you’d like it above your outdoor fireplace, hanging from a beam, or attached to the siding, there are ways to hide wiring for a clean look. Of course, this is much easier to do during construction, and Shawn says it can save a lot of time and money to get your audio/visual crew involved right away when you start planning your new space. 

Amplified Audio

Whether you decide to include an outdoor TV or not, having a quality audio setup in your outdoor living space will elevate your gatherings from fine to fabulous. Anyone can bring out a Bluetooth speaker, but for a more immersive experience, Shawn suggests using multiple speakers around the entire deck, patio, or yard. This way, everyone can clearly hear the music or sound from the TV without needing to turn the volume up and upset the neighbors. Have a pool in your backyard? Consider a landscape system that has several satellite speakers so you can easily hear music and have a conversation at the same time.

If you don’t like the idea of bulky speakers all around your beautiful backyard, don’t worry. Shawn says there are multiple styles of speakers that blend right in — from planters that house real flowers, to stone-shaped lawn speakers and systems that mount to the ceiling. This way, the only thing your guests will notice is the amazing sound. 

Luxury Lighting

Besides a sweet sound system, Shawn says there’s no faster way to transform your backyard into a resort-style oasis than a thoughtfully executed lighting setup. Illuminating your garden, pool area, deck, or water features makes your space interesting and inviting, and allows you to enjoy it better at night.

To protect against the elements and conserve energy, outdoor lighting uses special wiring and is often put on a timer. This way, the lights will only be on when you need them (and you’ll never forget to turn them off).

Whether you’d like the dramatic aesthetics of a Disney theme park or the soft lighting of a quiet garden, the amount of lighting you bring in is completely up to you. Not quite sure how bold to go? World Wide Stereo will give you a trial setup so you can try before you buy. Just be careful — Shawn says once people see how amazing their illuminated yard looks, it’s very hard to go back!  

Patio & Sun Shades

The final elements Shawn recommends in your outdoor living space are patio shades. Shades can be customized to fit in your patio or deck to add privacy, keep bugs away, and filter in sunshine and breezes so you can enjoy the great things about being outside and keep out what’s not so great. Roller shades can go up and down (sometimes using a motor!) to quickly and easily adjust according to your needs.

 

Make your yard an extension of your home, with exciting updates that will guarantee you have an unforgettable summer. Contact us to get started! 

concert

Summer Soundtrack: The Best Local Live Music Spots

Even after you’ve upgraded your yard with the incredible sound systems suggested in our outdoor entertaining blog, there’s nothing like live music — especially in the summer.

Luckily, our area offers plenty of great venues to experience it. Here are some of our favorite local spots to catch live tunes:

Letting Loose in Lansdale

In downtown Lansdale, Round Guys Brewing Company on Main Street is a microbrewery that also features live music on its spacious outdoor patio. From local singer-songwriters to small rock and funk bands, they bring in a diverse lineup of acts to perform. You can sip on one of their craft beers while taking in the music and enjoying classic pub foods like pizza and sandwiches. 

Hang out in Hatfield

The East End in Hatfield is a lively bar and grill that hosts live acts on its outdoor patio during the summer months. From rock and pop covers to acoustic duos, the rotating lineup features local bands and musicians. It’s a great spot to enjoy some tunes while indulging in delicious pub fare like burgers, wings, and tacos.

Pop a Cork in Perkasie

For a picturesque outdoor setting, head to Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery in Perkasie. They have a large open field with a gazebo stage that hosts local and regional musicians every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Pack a picnic, buy a bottle of their award-winning wine, and spend a relaxing summer day listening to live music while enjoying the beautiful vineyard views.

Listen to Songs in Sellersville

The legendary Sellersville Theater is a can’t-miss venue for live music lovers. While it’s an indoor theater, they open their doors to the street during the summer, allowing you to enjoy the shows from their outdoor patio area. From national touring acts to local favorites, they bring in an incredibly diverse lineup of musical performances spanning genres like rock, blues, folk, and more.

Dine & Dance in Doylestown

For a truly unique experience, check out Puck Live in Doylestown. This restaurant and entertainment venue hosts ticketed concerts in their outdoor garden area — and the quaint downtown area offers plenty of shopping and dining.

 

With so many fantastic local options, there’s no shortage of opportunities to experience live music this summer in the Lansdale area and beyond! From laid-back brewery and vineyard settings to lively bars and upscale concert series, you’re sure to find the perfect vibe to suit your musical tastes — just remember to check with each venue before heading out.   

Pet-Approved Home Design Ideas

Calling all Montgomery County pet owners! Looking to remodel soon? Don’t forget about your furry friends when designing your dream home. 

Here are a few pet-friendly ideas to consider including in your next remodel:

Pet Washing Stations

Shampooing your schnauzer inside can be a difficult and stressful chore for both of you. This process becomes much easier with a built-in pet washing station — especially if it’s by an entrance, so you can remove all traces of Fido’s outdoor adventures before he has a chance to snuggle up on the couch. We recommend a low-mounted detachable showerhead that allows you to easily maneuver around your pet, spraying water only where you want it (and not all over the floor or yourself).

Pet washing stations are also easy to clean and can be a great way to keep all grooming essentials in one area for easy access. Furthermore, when you’re not using it to wash the dog, these stations can be used to rinse off muddy shoes or as a place to toss wet outdoor gear and kids’ sports equipment after coming in from the outside.

Pet-Friendly Flooring

Pet owners have lots to consider when choosing flooring. Between claw scratches, accidents, and muddy paws, you’ll want flooring that’s durable and easy to clean. Here are some of the most popular flooring choices for pet owners:

·       Luxury Vinyl: Hardwood floors are beautiful, but can scratch easily and warp when wet. Luxury vinyl flooring has the look of hardwood but is completely waterproof and much more durable.

·       Tile: While costlier, tile flooring is one of the most durable flooring choices available. Installing it in the kitchen will not only enhance the look of your space, but also make for easy cleanup of water bowl spills and other messes.

·       Bamboo: Bamboo is naturally tough and will stand up to scratches more than hardwood floors. It is also water-resistant, though more sensitive to moisture than tile or vinyl.  

Built-in Pet Spaces

Our furry friends have lots of essentials that can quickly clutter our living areas. Instead of adding these items on top of the pieces you already have, try incorporating them as part of your permanent furniture.

Litter boxes can be cleverly concealed inside an end table.

The nook under your stairs could be transformed into the ultimate cozy pet bed or crate space.

Even food dishes can be mounted to the wall to declutter the floor. Built-in pet spaces can be part of your décor — making your home cohesive while still meeting the needs of your companion. 

Pet-Friendly Fabrics & Furniture

With animals in the home, not just any fabric will do. Much like flooring, the furniture you purchase should be easy to clean and stand up to claws, fur, and messes. Here are some of the better choices for pet-friendly furniture:

·       Leather: Leather is by far the easiest material to wipe off spills or muddy paw prints. It also repels odors and is generally very resistant to staining. However, keep in mind that not all leather is created equal. Opt for leather treated to improve scratch resistance, or embrace the rugged, lived-in leather look.

 

·       Microfiber: If you’d like to stick to upholstered furniture, microfiber is a great option. Designed for durability, this fabric will stand the test of time, even when shared with your pets. It is stain-resistant and easy to clean (some covers are even machine washable!).

 

·       Velvet: Since velvet is not woven, fur brushes off easily and pets won’t snag their claws on a loose thread. Velvet is also stain and water-resistant — just try to catch any spills before they sink in. 

Storage Solutions

Don’t forget about pet supplies as you design your storage! Ensuring everything has a home makes it much easier to stay organized and clutter-free.

Pull-out drawers are great for storing large containers of pet food.

Dog walking stations in entryways or mudrooms can conveniently hold leashes and harnesses on hooks, and provide storage for plastic bags, treats, and other gear.

Finally, have a designated basket or bin for toys that is accessible but out of the flow of traffic to keep your pet occupied and your home tidy.  

 

Your pets are part of your family, so it only makes sense to consider them in your new space! Contact us for more pet-friendly remodeling ideas, or to get started on your next project. 

summer

Beating Summer Boredom for Teens & Tweens in Lansdale, Fort Washington & Beyond

School’s almost out, and that means it’s time for some summer fun! If you’ve got teens or tweens at home, you’re probably already hearing the familiar “I’m bored” refrain. Never fear — we’ve assembled an awesome lineup of activities, whether you’re in Lansdale, Ambler, North Wales, Souderton, Oaks, or even Doylestown PA. After all, we’re not just remodeling basements and kitchens in this area — we live here, too!

Here are our top picks for summer adventures — just remember to check availability with each organization.

Get Outdoors & Get Active

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and hit the trails. We love Evansburg State Park and Fort Washington State Park but check out alltrails.com for advice on which trails to hit (or avoid!)

 We’re also fans of Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, where you can go ziplining or gem mining for an all-ages outdoorsy adventure.

Don’t forget gyms! The Ambler Area YMCA and Lifetime Fort Washington offer swimming, sports, fitness classes, and camps to keep teens active.

For a bigger adrenaline rush, check out the HUGE aerial adventure park at Hellerick’s Family Farm

 

Embrace Arts & Culture

Get your teens’ creative juices flowing with music lessons at Ambler Arts & Music Academy or the Color Me Mine painting studio in Montgomeryville. You can also catch live music, shows and performances at local venues like the Ambler Theater or Act II Playhouse.

Experience Community Events

Our area hosts tons of fun community festivals and events all summer. In Lansdale, don’t miss the Founders Day celebration, First Fridays, and summer concert series. Over in Souderton, check out the kid-friendly events listed on Eventbrite like arts & crafts, magic shows, and more.

Enjoy College Prep

The summers before high school are the perfect time for college prep. Penn State Abington offers a Kids and Teen College with camps covering everything from forensics to public speaking to graphic novels — a great way for tweens and teens to get a taste of college life.

 

 

With so many awesome options for outdoor recreation, arts and culture, community events, college prep, and family attractions, your teens and tweens won’t have a moment of boredom this summer!

20240227_091146 copy

Our 5 Favorite Finds From KBIS 2024

 

Every year, the Custom Craft team looks forward to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), where we get to see the latest trends, technology, and inspiration in kitchen and bath design. This year did not disappoint; we can’t wait to share our takeaways with our Montgomery County homeowners. Here are our top 5 favorite finds from KBIS 2024:

 

1.   Innovative Sink Shapes & Textures

Creative sink design was an exciting new trend highlighted at KBIS, from flower-shaped handles to faucets to basins. We observed circular wheel-shaped handles, flat, curved, and angular faucets, and eye-catching textures like the Daniel Arsham-inspired Rista sink shown here.

 

Produced by Kohler, this sink uses the latest 3D printing technology to play with shape and texture, transforming the basic bathroom sink into a work of art. Expanding on this trend, we also saw brightly colored scalloped and rippled concrete sinks by Kast and ultra-stylish sink and shower handles by Kallista.   

2.  Workstation Sinks

The bar has been raised for kitchen sinks, and now workstation sinks are in high demand. It’s easy to see why — homeowners love all the convenient features like cutting boards, mixing bowls, colanders, foldaway drying racks, and even glass rinsers that quickly and efficiently rinse out drinkware with a powerful jet of water. These accessories fit neatly into the sink thanks to a built-in ledge (or two!) around the perimeter, which frees up counter space and makes cleanup a breeze. 

3.      PITT Cooking

Home chefs everywhere are celebrating these innovative burners that they can customize to fit their needs. PITT Cooking, a Holland-based company, has developed a way to install burners directly into your countertop, with no steel or glass surrounding them. This way, the burners can be spaced however you’d like, allowing you to leave enough room to use them simultaneously and configure them for a tailor-made cooking experience.

4.      Top-Notch Technology

One of our favorite things to see at KBIS is the up-and-coming technology that opens up worlds of opportunities in our homes. Here are some tech highlights from this year’s show:

 

Kohler Numi 2.1 toilet

 

To anyone with a family member who takes too long in the bathroom: DO NOT show them this toilet. The Numi 2.1 toilet from Kohler makes doing your business feel like a trip to the spa with its unique shape built for comfort, personalized cleansing features, a motion-activated automatic lid that opens and closes on its own, a heated seat, and much more.   

 

LG Styler Steam Closet

 

This steam closet sanitizes, deodorizes, and dries with the touch of a button. Perfect for freshening up and getting the wrinkles out of your dress clothes before a night out, quickly drying your kids’ coats after they come in from outside, or even shaking the allergens off a rug before your guests come over.  

 

LG AI Robot

 

The future has arrived! This charming little companion patrols around your home on two wheels, monitoring and alerting you to anything that might require your attention. It can connect to appliances and lighting and let you know if you left a light on or a window open. Its AI technology can even read emotions and have simple conversations with you. You can have it remind you to take medications, give you a weather report, or update you on traffic before you leave for work in the morning.  

  

Kohler Stillness Bath

 

Just as we began to question whether bathtubs are necessary, Kohler has unveiled their Stillness Bath. This Japanese-style soaking tub incorporates water, fog, light, and aromas to immerse all your senses for a Zen-like experience. Fully customizable with several experience options, this small but mighty tub has everything you need to relax and rejuvenate.   

5.      Pops of Color

If there was one trend KBIS confirmed, it’s that bold, vibrant colors are making their way into our homes. We saw ceramic sinks in every color of the rainbow, Barbiecore pink refrigerators, marigold yellow ranges, pastel shower heads, and more. With a wide range of colors and options available, there’s something for every style. Whether you’re ready to go bold with an entire appliance or maybe just the handle, these pops of color are a great way to personalize and bring self-expression to your home.

 

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed a sample of the exciting new ideas from KBIS as much as we have. Feeling inspired? Contact us to get your next project started!

Sunny Bites and Starlit Nights: Your Essential Guide to Lansdale-Area Outdoor Dining

As the flowers bloom and the weather warms up, we’re all eager to get back to one of our favorite pastimes — enjoying a meal outside in the sunshine. Here at Custom Craft, we’re not only about creating beautiful home spaces, but we’re also avid supporters of the local flavor and community spirit. We’ve missed the outdoor dining scene just as much as you have, and now it’s time to get back to the patios and gardens that make our meals special. We’ve rounded up the coziest, most delightful spots for you to savor a peaceful meal or immerse yourself in the lively buzz of our town. 

 

Whether you’re hankering for some down-home American eats, craving the zest of Mediterranean fare, or looking forward to uncorking a bottle of wine under the open sky, we’re with you. Let’s embark on this tasty journey and explore the best of outdoor dining — because no matter how much you love your remodeled kitchen, it’s nice to let someone else do the cooking for a change. Here’s to shared meals and shared moments in our little slice of paradise!

1.     Blue Bell Inn, Blue Bell, PA — A place rich in history, serving up American classics, creative cocktails, and a choice wine selection. Its spacious outdoor patio is versatile, fit for family nights out and romantic dates alike (pictured at top). 

Outdoor Dining

2.       Arpeggio B.Y.O.B. Spring House, PA This spot is all about the joy of pairing your favorite wine with Mediterranean-inspired dishes and incredible pizza, all enjoyed on a lovely covered patio. 

3.       Fireside, Ambler, PA — If you’re looking for a comfy spot to enjoy some American dishes outdoors, Fireside’s quaint patio is where you’ll want to be. It’s ideal for a laid-back meal in the open air.

Outdoor Dining 2

4.       Gypsy Blu Bar & Restaurant, Ambler, PA — With heaters, a fire pit, lots of space, and the best martinis around, this place knows how to make outdoor dining cozy and fun. Check out their website for live music nights. 

Outdoor Dining 3

5.       Joseph Ambler Inn Pub & Restaurant, North Wales, PA — For an outdoor dining experience that comes with beautiful views and a diverse menu, this is the spot. It’s elegance meets relaxation in the best possible way.

6.       Redstone American Grill, Plymouth Meeting, PA — Here you’ll find a comfortable outdoor seating area and a menu that’s sure to please everyone. It strikes the perfect balance between casual and upscale dining.

7.       Free Will Brewing Co., Perkasie, PA — Beer lovers, rejoice! Enjoy a fantastic selection of craft beers in a chill outdoor setting, where there’s always something new to try. Stop by on a weekend for live music and food trucks!

Outdoor Dining 4

8.       The Copper Crow, Horsham, PA — A modern take on American cuisine awaits you here, with fresh cocktails and dishes that range from light bites to hearty flavors, all enjoyed in a vibrant outdoor setting.

9.       Stove and Tap, Lansdale, PA — The chic spot boasts a great variety of inventive and tasty food and drinks in a surprisingly sophisticated atmosphere, right in the heart of Lansdale. 

We recommend checking out their websites or giving them a call for the latest info on menus, operation hours, and outdoor dining options. Each of these places brings something special to the table — be it their food, the atmosphere, or the unique way they bring our community together outdoors. We hope this guide helps you find your new favorite spot to dine under the stars or the sun. Happy exploring and eating in our wonderful neighborhood!Top of Form