Site logo

Rembrandt BuildersCustom craftsmanship on your lot


HomeKit is Apple’s home automation system for developers. It is made up of multiple levels of control and services for everything electronic in your home. With this system, our iPhones and iPads can communicate and control most aspects of our homes, including lights, speakers, security systems, thermostats, and more. You can do this locally at home, or remotely if you’re away.
HomeKit is based on a “Home Manager” which is basically the home screen of the service. From there you can start by naming your different homes if you have more than one. For example, “Beach,” “Main,” or “Vacation”. Then, you will categorize and name each room within each home that you would like to control. Each name has to be unique for you and Siri to recognize correctly. Rooms can be organized together into “Zones” such as “Basement” or “First Floor”. “Rooms” are what contain your “Accessories” such as speakers, locks, lights, etc. Each of those accessories has different “Services” which allows you to control each accessory through your smart device.
Read the full article here.

Apple Watch ft. MyVectorSecurity

Vector Security’s partner,, has released a powerful smart home app for the new Apple Watch.
Controlling devices throughout your home such as security system, cameras, lights, garage doors, and thermostats is simple and intuitive. Customized alerts give you real time information about activity around your home. From your wrist, you have a tiny instant window into your property.

Post-settlement built-ins

We recently sold a home to lovely family with some crafty & book-collecting kids. They wanted to add some extra storage space and a craft center in the basement.

The first project was some built-in bookshelves around the bed. Our skilled carpenters built these to include bedside table cabinets on either side of the bed, as well as reading lamps hardwired into the sides by the bed. We painted the backboard Slate Gray (Restoration Hardware color) to give it more depth. Painting recessed shelves is a great way to add a pop of color or contrast and, of course, aesthetic value.

The next project was a Craft Center for a daughter who loved DIY & crafting. She had a lot of great input in the design herself, which was important since she would be the person using it regularly. It was priority to make it look good, yet be very comfortable. We decide to go standard counter height in order to fit a stool there instead of a standard size chair. It was also important to design a craft center which allowed for a lot of hidden storage space, so we went with solid wood cabinets instead of open shelving to be able to hide all the materials and projects-in-the-making. A Cherry wood counter top suited the space very well as it is very durable and wears nicely. We installed LED under cabinet lighting and drilled holes to newly-installed outlets within the countertops so she would be able to use her sewing machine, hot glue guns, etc.

Both of these projects were designed and completed with 7 days.


Home automation retrofits

It’s just been brought to our attention that there are several more options out there in terms of home automation which can be tied into your alarm system. Most of our homes are wired with Vector Security. Vector now offers security cameras, locks, lights, and thermostats all to be wired with the security system. In addition, a component can be linked to the electric garage door that allows the customers to see if the door is up or down as well as the ability to open/close the overhead door.

One new feature that really drew my attention, because it is a main worry of several of our customers, is a water sensor in the basement. This sensor will send a signal to the Vector monitoring center as well as an email/text to the customer if there is a water problem. The water will be automatically shut off and the customer will be notified immediately.

These are all options that can be retrofitted into your existing system. These are also items to consider when designing/planning to build a new home. We will start incorporating these features in our upcoming spec homes, first being 6422 Brookes Lane, Bethesda MD.

If you’re as excited about these features as we are and would like to find out more about these features, give Mickey Mitchell from Vector Security a call or email. His number is 410-960-7245 and email is

Thinking of applying stucco?

If you’re thinking about using stucco for the exterior finish of your house, there are a few things you may want to consider first. It can create a very attractive and soft look for the home, but the amount of maintenance required may exceed the aesthetic value.

Stucco is prone to shifting and therefore hairline cracks can be visible after some time. The cracks can be patched up, but the patches will be probably be obvious. The UV light affects the stucco color enough to see the patches. Repairs to stucco can be done without apparent patches but that entails finishing the entire wall corner to corner.

The traditional stucco is several layers of Portland cement over wire mesh and a water proof membrane. Because it is nailed to a wood surface, it is subject to movement from wood curing and settling. Even though the finish coats have flexibility designed into the,, it is still not enough. After a few years the stucco coat will stabilize and be relatively free from settling. After that, it requires annual maintenance from mildew and moss. The coats have an inhibitor against these built in, but it is again not enough. The climate in our region is wet and humid and will promote growth on stucco.

Stucco can also be done using Hardiplank, however we have not applied this to a home yet. An alternative to stucco that is probably more suitable for this area is stucco-coated brick. There is very little maintenance required, and touch-ups can be done easily and discreetly. A stucco coat over brick is a good way to soften the look of the house to fit in with other homes in the neighborhood.

Stone requires the least amount of maintenance and is incredibly durable. Brick is a close second. We have homes that we built over 20 years ago in brick and/or stone that look as good today as they did when they were new.