Decorating Your Home with Paint & Style – 2015

Benjamin Moore - Color of the Year

Benjamin Moore – Color of the Year

One of the first things that a homeowner is looking for in a new home or existing home, is doing a project that is a winner. Painting is a process that is a hands down winner for decorating with design and style. Freshly painted surfaces in a home gives you a fresh and inviting new look and feel of your interior space.

Each year there are new colors introduced as colors for the year that will inspire design furnishings and designers to use in the home. You should pay special attention to these colors for decorating with style in 2015.

Photo credit - Guilford green - Benjamin Moore

Photo credit – Guilford green – Benjamin Moore

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Window Treatments: Why are they a Necessity for Your Home?

photo credit - Hunter Douglas

photo credit – Hunter Douglas

Making your home more inviting and comfortable does not have to be an expensive, time-consuming and stressful endeavor. If you are looking to steer clear of renovation challenges and don’t want to spend a fortune, you can improve your home simply by installing new window treatments like roller tilt shutters.

It’s a good thing that there are many styles available, and each of them is designed to suit the unique needs of homeowners. You won’t have a hard time finding an option that suits your home’s interior design. Just take your time and do your fair share of research if you want to choose the right products, make the most of their visual appeal
and functionality, and of course, experience their well-known advantages.

Protection against the elements

When the inside of your home is exposed to sunlight for a long period of time, it could
sustain damage. Your furniture could crack and your appliances could overheat and stop working. As a result, you could end up spending a fortune on repairs and replacements.

Fortunately, curtains, drapes, shades, blinds and shutters all offer protection from harsh weather. They can reduce the sunrays that enter your home or block them completely, thus protecting you and your belongings.

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How to Avoid Common Home Building Mistakes

Home Building Mistakes

Avoid Home Building Mistakes with Planning Properly

Horror stories on home building blunders are real and terrifying. These stories are often told by homeowners who miss the recommended meetings with a licensed architect, designer, engineer or contractor and choose builders on account of affordability.

In pure pursuit of economy, you may become a victim of poor workmanship such as these common home building mistakes:

  • Plumbing errors: inadequate drain slope, clean-outs, air gaps, space around toilets and sink, combustion air, etc.
  • Structural issues: foundation, floors, walls, roofs, stairs, insulation and ventilation problems
  • Electrical wiring mistakes and other building code violations: mixing line- and low-voltage wires, fire hazards, burying the splice box
  • Mechanical: faulty duct installation, furnace installation, furnaces installed in the attic.

So if you are constructing, renovating, or buying a house, beware of these potential pitfalls (disastrous mistakes) your trusted builder might make. Are there foolproof ways to steer clear of home building nightmares and ultimately, build the house of your dreams?

Take heart. Think how some people built their houses as they had imagined. For some, the final result has exceeded their expectations. If you knew how they  approached the enormous task of building a decent dwelling, you’d be as satisfied as  they were.

A few valuable lessons to help with your building projects from experienced builders:

  •  Take note and serve all crucial aspects of the site where the house would be built. Structural foundation errors are the costliest and most difficult building mistakes to correct. Smart prospective homeowners know that they need to understand the specific surroundings, conditions, and possible obstacles in the area where they plan to construct the house. For example, they would consult a reputable soil engineer to check whether the construction site can support the type of house they plan to build. Follow their lead by visiting the construction site with a foundation specialist before you tell the builders to begin.
  •  They see the big picture yet manage to keep track of the minutest details. Adequate and affordable house construction demands attention to detail and the ability to put these details together to draw a 3D image of your dream home.  Brilliant homeowners seek the professional with the combined skills and experience of a contractor and an architect to cover planning, costing, and supervision tasks.  You need both creative genius and management skills to build the home you’ve always wanted. Check the previous works of this professional consultant before you hire him.
  • Make sure that you have a project manager working with your builder on the project. When you build a home, it is teamwork, not a one man’s job. By having a skilled project manager overseeing the project, you  have an objective and fail-safe way to monitor the work being done to your satisfaction.   Successful homeowners know understand the importance of having someone on the team that understands how to inspect the work and the project so they ultimately get the job they are paying for in a satisfactory manner.

Use some of these tips and ideas so that you enjoy the fun and exciting period of building the home of your dreams – rather than the home of screams. If you have other concerns or stories about home design projects, please feel free to share them in  the comment section.

Universal Design can help you stay in your home longer

photo credit - Chief Architect

photo credit – Chief Architect – Better Homes & Garden

Did you know that simple little things like fewer steps, wider doors, lower heights of counters, lower thresholds can all help in some ways to allow an older person to live in their home longer. This is all a part of Universal Design, a design principle that is taking the construction world by storm, since it is no longer an issue that is only for older people, but rather a design principle that applies to all ages.

In today’s world, our population is aging. Many contractors today remodel homes for older clients by adding things such as wider doorways and hallways in the kitchens and bathrooms to make these areas more accessible.

One successful Universal Design Contractor, Mark Miller, of Mack Miller design+build in the Twin Cities tries to incorporate accessible design in all of his projects. He states the following:

I propose curbless showers for all my bathroom bids.  The greatest satisfaction for me are the accessible projects that change the family’s quality of life.  Yes, a total home remodel for a typical client change the look and feel and often the functionality of a home for the family, rarely is it life changing the way an accessible bathroom or an elevator is for someone with accessibility issues.

The best part of this is that a creative and skilled contractor and designer can bridge universal design with almost any remodel project.  There is no reason that Universal Design or Aging in Place design need to look outdated and boring. Since you will have a blank canvas and typically larger spaces due to creating this access, you can get creative and your creative talents.

You have so many options when it comes to making a kitchen more functional and universal design friendly instead of sterile and institutional looking. Start with designing an open floor plan that will work for the entire family and one that can work well for someone in a wheelchair to move around in the room confortably.

 

photo credit - Chief Architect

photo credit – Chief Architect – Better Homes & Garden

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Why Plantation Shutters Make a Great Investment For Your Home

 

Horizon plantation shutters

photo credit: Horizon plantation shutters

Are you considering window treatments for your home?  Do you want window treatments that will make your interior setting look amazing?  Consider taking a closer look at Plantation Shutters, which are a timeless type of window treatment.

Plantation shutters can enhance the value of your home and come in a wide variety of slat sizes, lengths and widths.  You can get plantation shutters in a varying sizes including 2 inch, 3 inch, 4 i nch, 5 inch or 6 inch slats.  You can even have them designed into unique shapes and patterns. When you install plantation shutters in your home, you get an immediate ultra custom look in your home that will be timeless for years to come.

One of the best thing about plantation shutters is that they work well with any type of interior or design. Whether you are going for a traditional look, transitional look or modern look and feel, plantation shutters will complement your decor and give your home that added sense of luxury and style.

If you are looking for options with your window treatments, plantation shutters can be your window’s best friend. Shutters designed with a divider rail or in the double hung fashion are a popular choice in bathrooms. They allow for closure of the bottom louvers for privacy while the top louvers can be left opened for a view and light. You can’t get this type of function with other window treatments such as sheers,  drapes or faux or wood blinds.

Ohair plantation shutters

photo credit – Ohair Shutters

French Doors, Sliding glass doors and large windows are not a problem with plantation shutters. You can have shutters made to order to accommodate a large door or window and the shutters can slide open from side to side. This look really does wonders for a room. You can have a combination of sliding and hinged designs that can provide a nice amount of privacy without cluttering your space.

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Simple and Easy Ways to Green Your Home

how-to green your-home

photo credit: make your home energy efficient

Several Homeowners are staying in their current home or choosing to buy an existing home, instead of the headaches of building a new home from the ground up.

The reasons vary, but sometimes a location or the rich history or the architecture of an older home is seductive and enchanting. Homeowners that are environmentally-conscious, choose to purchase an existing homes because they are not using additional land resources to construct the new home. This is a great way to protect the environment, by using existing resources.

There are several ways that a homeowner can make their home more Green and achieve LEED-Home certification. A simple easy ways to make your home more green are listed below:

  1. Insulate your home. Have your insulation in the walls, attic and basement inspected and make adjustments. Many  older homes have insufficient insulation and adequate insulation can have a tremendous impact on your power and heating bills.
  2.  Choose solar. Solar panels can often be installed on your roof and can reduce electric bills drastically while saving
    resources.
  3.  Install Environmental friendly Flooring. Bamboo flooring is becoming quite popular because the plant grows so quickly it is one of the most sustainable flooring materials in the world.
  4.  Install Energy efficient appliances.  Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. According to the Energy Star site, if just one in 10 homes used energy-efficient appliances, it would be equivalent to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.
  5.  Control the temperature in your home. Almost half a home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling. If you turn down the thermostat in cold weather and turn up the thermostat  in warm weather, you will save you energy and money
  6.  Conserve and Save water. You can buy water saving toilets. But, you don’t need a new products to save water — Simple things like using a broom to clean a driveway, instead of water or turning off the water when brushing your teeth can help save gallons of water.
  7.  Use energy-efficient light. LED light bulbs use less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer. Replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with an LED bulb can save dollars and energy use over the life of the bulb.
  8.  Use Environmental Friendly paint. Using Low VOC (volatile organic compounds and zero VOC paint, helps with improving indoor air quality problems and other negative health effects that can be caused by traditional paints. According to the EPA, there are unhealthy ingredients are released into the air while you’re painting, while the paint dries, when you use certain traditional paints.

The best part of all of these tactics is that they will increase the comfort and value of your home while you go Green!

Click on the following to read more:

The 10 easiest ways to green your home – MSN

How Low-VOC Paint Works – How Stuff Works

How Green is your home – Make Your Home Energy Efficient -

The Seven Principles of Universal Design and Why They Matter

photo credit: Delta

photo credit: Delta

Universal Design has been around since the late 1990’s. Thanks to the prolific nationally renowned Architect, Ronald L. Mace and several other forward thinking architects, engineers, and designers, we have what is known as the Several Principles of Universal Design.

This is a topic that is very interesting and has a lot of discussions in the design community.  If you are remodeling your home or are responsible for the remodel of a home, you may want to take a look at how to incorporate these principles into your design.

One of the leading resources in this area is the Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute, based in North Carolina. The Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is  dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design.

One of the fundamental guiding principles of the Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is that all new environments and products, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.

1. Equitable use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

  • Provide the same means of use for all users.
  • Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
  • Make the design appealing to all users.

2. Flexibility in use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

  • Provide choice in methods of use.
  • Facilitate the user’s accuracy and precision.
  • Provide adaptability to the user’s pace.

3. Simple and intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language
skills, or current concentration level.

  • Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
  • Be consistent with user expectations.
  • Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.

4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of
ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

  • Use different modes (pictorial, oral, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
  • Provide adequate contrast be­tween essential information and its surroundings.
  • Differentiate elements in ways that can be described.

5. Tolerance for error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

  • Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most-used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated or shielded.
  • Provide warnings of hazards/errors.
  • Provide fail-safe features.

6. Low physical effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

  • Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
  • Use reasonable operating forces.
  • Minimize sustained physical effort.

7. Size and space for approach and use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and
use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

  • Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
  • Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
  • Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.

Click  on the following Links to read more on the Seven Principles of Universal Design:

 

7 Tenets of Universal Design From the R.L. Mace Universal Design Institute - Remodeling – HW.Net

RL Mace Universal Design Institute -

Aging In Place At Home -

 

Color Options for Granite Countertops

Granite countertop colors

Granite Countertop colors

Selecting Your Granite Countertop: Are you considering granite for your kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity?  If so, you have a lot of choices to choose from.

The Natural Beauty of Granite Colors: Since granite is a natural beauty, all granite slabs will have some variation from another granite slab. This helps make your selected granite countertop unique. It is wonderful helping a client go to a granite slab yard for making a selection for a kitchen countertop.

Elements that Make Up the Color In Granite: It is important to realize that granite is comprised of several elements that give it the illustrious color: quartz, feldspar and Mica. The color of granite depends on the kind and coloring of feldspars which are usually grey (from light – to dark grey) with different tints, pink, orange, red, blue-grey, sometimes blue-green.

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Kitchen Design: Task Lighting for All Spaces

Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet Lighting

Did you know that proper lighting can make or break the look and feel of a space? Task lighting doesn’t simply refer to a desk or work surface. Kitchens, craft areas, closets and other areas benefit from the proper task lighting. It is wonderful how the lighting industry continues to innovate, offering low watt lights that save on energy and reduce heat.

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Choosing the perfect gray for your decor

 

4 grays

 

If you are like most homeowners, you read the memo that gray is the hottest color to use in your home decor.  That is, if you want your home to look modern and unmistakeably contemporary. Now that the easy part is over, the real challenge comes into play, how to select that perfect gray for your home. If I could bottle up this secret, I tell you, I would make a fortune.

The key to finding that perfect gray that works for you, is by visually looking at what you want in the space where you are putting the color. Are you looking for a cool color?  Are you looking for a warm color? Will this color be used as an accent color or will this gray color be used on all of the walls? Believe it or not, this makes a big difference. Do you want a gray with a beige undertone, blue undertone, green undertone, purple undertone?  All of these decisions will need to be made before you settle on your perfect gray color. [Read more…]