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Fireplace Pros and Cons: How to Heat Your Home

by CustomHomes on Monday, October 16, 2017

fireplace pros and cons - indoor patio with fireplaceThere is nothing more picturesque than a living room lit by a crackling fire. What can feel cozier than curling up with cocoa in front of a warm fireplace? Fireplaces are not only a way to heat your home, but also a way to bring family and friends together.

However, their maintenance can become cumbersome over time. Fireplace pros and cons will vary depending on which kind of fireplace you decide to purchase, but that flexibility in itself is a benefit.

Today, you have the luxury of choosing from a wood, gas, pellet, or electric fireplace. Each type functions differently, and must be maintained as differently. They all come with their own expenses so you have a range of options to find which best suits your needs.

Fireplace Pros

Wood Fireplace

Wood stoves carry an aesthetic appeal and come in beautiful forms. They have the traditional appeal of cuddling with loved ones and roasting marshmallows. Wood is plentiful, and relatively inexpensive. In addition, if you chop wood yourself it provides exercise as well as an added sense of accomplishment. It is a renewable source and the most environmentally friendly type of fireplace.

Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces are simpler all around. They are easier to install, easier to get started -a simple flip of a switch- and very easy to clean. They allow you to decide the heat output and the size of the fire. They also do not require as much supervision to keep alive, however, it is still important to keep an eye on an active fire

Pellet Fireplace

Fireplaces using pellets are another option for people seeking an environmentally friendly method. Pellet stoves burn cleanly, and pellets are a readily available resource. They can also be stored for extended periods of time and don’t take up a lot of space.

Electric Fireplace

Lastly are electric fireplaces. These are typically small and do not require installation as they are portable and meant to be easily moved. They are most convenient for small apartments or as an additional appliance to help warm a small space.

Fireplace Cons

Wood Fireplace

Wood fireplaces require a lot of maintenance. Otherwise, they could prove to be a serious danger. Without regular chimney cleaning, they will result in a lot of smoke and undesirable odor. The heat cannot be controlled without regular monitoring, and is not uniform across a large space.

When a wood stove is the sole source of heat, this is why there are usually multiple wood stoves within a larger house. If there is another heating system in place, a single wood stove or fireplace can be a fantastic addition to a living room or great room.

Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces are not very green due to the use of fossil fuel. This can also produce an unpleasant smell. In power outages, they may be rendered unusable.

Pellet Fireplace

Pellet fireplaces are similar to wood fireplaces in that they require a lot of maintenance. If you do not keep careful watch over these types of fireplaces, they could become a great risk to both your home and your family. Pellets also tend to be more expensive. This is exceptionally true if you live in an urban area.

Electric Fireplace

Finally, electric fireplaces tend to be the most expensive as they increase your electric bill. Not only that, but they are the least efficient as they produce the least amount of heat. Unfortunately, you will likely only be able to warm up your immediate vicinity because of their low overall output.

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to choose the best fireplace option for your custom home. If you’re still unsure, give the team at Custom Home Group a call!

Most Efficient Heating Systems

by CustomHomes on Friday, October 13, 2017

most efficient heating systems - finger pressing button to adjust digital thermostatThe nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder, and winter will soon be upon us. That means we will be spending more time inside. Make sure that you have an efficient heating system!

In this day and age, we have the luxury of choosing from many different types of heating – like gas, wood, geothermal, or electric. Here are various ways that you can keep your home warm and cozy:

Gas

Natural gas is a common, and popular, form of heating homes. There are several different kinds of heating systems to choose from. For instance, forced air systems, radiant water-based or hydronic heating systems, space heaters, and more.

The typical method would be the first–forced air systems. These come in the form of furnaces that use natural gas to heat the surrounding air. Cool air enters the system, is warmed up, and then circulated throughout the home.

Wood

It may seem a little old-fashioned, but wood-fired central heating systems are still quite useful. Plus, they are a cleaner source of heat and also quite economical.

With this method, you could choose equipment such as a furnace, a boiler, a wood stove or a fireplace. Wood stoves cost less and have fewer emissions, but they do not cover as much expanse as a furnace or boiler might. Boilers and furnaces are tucked away, and give you more bang for your buck.

Geothermal

Geothermal heating uses the heat of the earth’s crust to produce the energy needed to heat your homes. Systems absorb the heat stored in the ground by collecting water that circulates underground, concentrates it, then releases it into your home as air. It’s environmentally friendly, has plentiful potential, and can be built underground.

As you can imagine, however, this is one of the pricier means of heating your home. There is a considerable amount of work that needs to go into building the system itself, and the system requires proper maintenance. Although initial setup tends to be more expensive than other methods, geothermal heating does provide savings over time.

Electric

Electric energy functions similarly to gas heating in the equipment that is used (namely furnaces and boilers) but derives its energy from a different source. Electric is the alternative for locations with less natural gas available.

Electric is safe, and does not produce a lot of byproducts in the process. Electric is also generally quieter. On the flipside, electric tends to be more expensive, and can have difficulty functioning if the temperature drops too low.

Each heating system has its pros and cons. With this basic guide, you’ll be able to decide which system is best for your custom home. If you’re planning out your custom home and you’re still not sure which system will be the best fit for you, contact Custom Home Group! Our team and integrated design/build process will ensure you get exactly what you want.

4 Benefits of a Deck

by CustomHomes on Monday, October 2, 2017

benefits of a deckIf you don’t have one yet, consider adding a deck to your home. It’s a simple feature, but one that comes with quite a number of benefits. Never underestimate the value of a deck!

Higher Property Value

Much like a finished basement, a complete deck will add more value to your home if you ever decide to sell it. That means the deck could very well pay for itself! After all, families and social butterflies will want a cozy place to have guests over. A home with a quality deck is something many buyers keep an eye out for.

Entertainment Space

Perhaps you are the person with a big family or who likes to entertain guests. The deck is a perfect place to do just that! It’s a space that holds seating for many people, it’s outdoors for the sun and fresh air, and has room for a grill and even a picnic table!. Decks are made to be a space where people can gather and easily chat over a good meal.

Additional Curb Appeal

A deck is an extension of your home, so like everything else it deserves an artistic touch. Decorating it like your home’s interior will create a unique appearance sure to intrigue passerby. If they are impressed by the outside of your home, it will draw them into see the rest of your wonderful work.

You won’t have as many limitations on outside decoration as on inside decoration – the sky is actually the limit!Feel free to be bold to catch everyone’s eye.

Easy to Expand

Building a deck is a surprisingly easy and quick way to expand your home. Other expansion methods take significantly longer since foundational work may become necessary. since . Not only does this take more time, but it’s also more expensive. In addition, it will intrude on your day-to-day life more during construction. A deck is the way to go if you would rather keep all the work and mess out of your home.

There are of course more things to consider when undergoing a deck addition to your home. It will still be a costly project, but all that extra space and fresh air will be worth it!

How to Build Your Own Dream Treehouse

by CustomHomes on Friday, September 29, 2017

build dream treehouseAs children, many of us dreamed of having treehouses. They were a place of privacy, where we could get away from adults and the rest of the world. A place all to yourself, in the outdoors, up in the air – what more could you ask for?

That fantasy doesn’t have to die just because you’ve grown up. In fact, you can make it even better now! Here are some suggestions for building your own dream treehouse:

Research and Approvals

Before you jump in, do your research first. If you live close to neighbors, you’ll need to get them on board with your plans to avoid conflicts later down the road.

Contact the Local Building Department

You will need to determine what you’re allowed to build on your property. Contact your local building department to find out if treehouses are permitted in your area, and what permits, if any, you will need. You’ll walk away with all the specifics you need to ensure you’re adhering to all local laws.

Check with Your HOA

If you’re part of a Homeowners Association (HOA), you will need to check in with it before building. You may need to submit detailed drawings of your treehouse for approval. This will make sure you adhere to any specific rules for your neighborhood.

Verify Homeowner’s Insurance

Call your homeowner’s insurance provider before you start building. You want to make sure your current insurance will cover your treehouse. If it doesn’t, you may need to work with your insurance provider to expand your coverage. Keep in mind, depending on placement, your family, and other factors, there may be additional stipulations in order to maintain insurance coverage on a treehouse.

Picking Your Tree

The first step will, of course, be to find a suitable tree. Size is just one factor in a good tree. It must be healthy as well. Look for signs of rot or brittleness. If you see any, then you know not to use that tree. Make sure your tree will be able to support your treehouse.

Try to find hardwood trees such as oak, walnut, beech, or maple. Choosing a hardy tree will prolong the life of your treehouse. But, be prepared to check with the USDA before building. If a tree species is on a protected list, you may not be able to build on it.

Consider a location that will have the least environmental impact. The foot traffic of people coming to and from your treehouse will compact the soil around it. Compacted soil potentially harms the roots. Choose a tree near pathways made of mulch, or create your own.

Designing Your Treehouse

Once you have found a suitable tree, the first step is to take plenty of pictures from different angles. Next, take measurements so your estimates will be precise. When you are designing, have the foundation spread across multiple branches to ensure weight will be evenly distributed.

Use your measurements to draw up your perfect treehouse. Do not forget to include a way up and windows. Fortunately, as long as your design allows for a safe and strong foundation, the only limit is your imagination!

Constructing Your Treehouse

After designing your treehouse, create a list of all your materials. Be sure to double-check that you have everything for a strong house.

You will need to begin with building a strong and secure foundation over the tree trunk. For optimum support, it should spread over several branches.

The rest is a much more straightforward procedure. The floor is added on top of the foundation by attaching exterior plywood sheets or tongue and groove floorboards. From there, you build as you would with any other house. Raise your walls and roof, then make sure to include doors and windows along with a safe way to reach your new tree house.

After ensuring your finished product is secure and strong, the final step is to enjoy!

There are a lot of steps to building a safe, sturdy treehouse. If your custom home just doesn’t seem complete without one, contact us and our team will be happy to help you build a treehouse into your plans.

Wrap-Around Porch Benefits

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2-story custom home with wrap-around porchFall is a wonderful time to snuggle up with a cup of tea and a good book. With a wrap-around porch, you can have the privacy of reading indoors and the beauty of spending time outside. Whether you’re sipping a pumpkin spiced latte outside, or planting your fall garden, there are plenty of benefits to owning a wrap-around porch.

What is a Wrap-Around Porch?

A wrap-around porch is a shallow veranda enclosing two or more sides of a house. Wrap-around porches can be on the first or second floor, depending on your needs and budget. Porches can be made from wood, concrete, vinyl, or many other materials. This assures your new porch will match your home!

Wrap-around porches may also be customized to fit you and your family’s needs. If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair, a ramp and railing can be installed as well as lifts. You can also have swings or hot tubs installed for it to become the perfect relaxation oasis.

Wrap-Around Porch Benefits

Entertainment Possibilities

Imagine a wrap-around porch with a small party. All visitors are enjoying the crisp fall weather and holding cocktails and tasty snacks. A wrap-around porch can be a charming place to spend a cool night with loved ones and friends. Having the get-together outside means you don’t need to clean your house once the party is over! No more worrying about spills or accidents that could stain your carpet or furniture.

Having a wrap-around porch is like having a whole new room for three seasons of the year. You can use it to simply spend time outside with friends, or create themed events with a little imagination.

You can make a small theater with a projector and a white sheet right outside your home. This is perfect for a child’s sleepover. You’ll still have your space as the slumber party carries on outside!

With a fire pit and a few choice marshmallow sticks, you can have a s’more celebration for the end of summer and the coming of fall. Along with those gooey treats, you can also have a few snacks, dishes, or even a potluck to clean out your pantry before the end of the season.

Even if you and a group of friends just want to sip wine on the wrap-around porch, it offers a beautiful view. Whether you live in the city or the county, wrap-around porches provide people-watching or scenic farmlands to captivate the observer.

A Place for Relaxation

If you want to spend time on the wrap-around porch alone, there are plenty of ways to make it your perfect relaxation spot over the seasons. Wrap-around porches make great reading nooks with a few blankets, closed shelves, and comfy seating. Make sure to have some space for your tea or coffee mug and book, in case your reading nook becomes your napping nook!

A wrap-around porch can also make a peaceful breakfast spot. With a small bistro table, a few comfortable chairs, and a beautiful morning, you can enjoy your cereal outside before going to work. You will be amazed how starting the day this way will help you feel more relaxed and organized throughout the day.

If you have a green thumb, but you’re low on land, you can always create a beautiful container garden on your wrap-around porch. These porches will give you plenty of space and sunlight to grow beautiful flowers, fragrant herbs, and delicious vegetables.

Wrap-around porches are versatile, comfortable, and beautiful. Altogether, they are a dynamite addition to your home. If you are considering building a custom home, you may want to learn more about wrap-around porches to see if they are right for you.

5 Benefits of a Finished Basement

by CustomHomes on Friday, September 22, 2017

finished basement - music roomAn unfinished basement can be a blight on an otherwise beautiful home. If it’s left without consideration, a basement it can become a dark and uninviting area instead of a place of possibilities. There are many benefits that come with a finished basement – here are just a few:

Higher Home Value

If you decide to sell your home, it will have a significantly higher market value with a finished basement. The sale may be easier, as well. Potential buyers may not be thrilled at the prospect of an unsightly basement.

Extra Bedroom

You can increase the size of your home with an extra bedroom. Whether you have explicit plans or not, having an extra bedroom can always come in handy. It will also serve as another contribution towards increasing your property’s value.

Entertainment/Training Room

If not a bedroom, the basement is a perfect place to put an entertainment or training room. Movies, games, and musical practice of any sort can be quite distracting for those not involved. Having it located in the basement means that you don’t have to worry as much about your noise levels. If used as an exercise room, the cooler temperatures will help keep you from overheating. It’s also a perfect place for large exercise equipment.

Income Property

A finished basement can be used to give you some income property. A basement room is separate enough from the other rooms to give the owners and renters privacy. If you need a little extra money, giving your basement a simple makeover can provide that for you in the long term.

Extra Storage

Finally, a finished basement can serve as extra storage. A basement can keep all your extra furniture and items in an easily accessible, but nonobstructive, space. When well-insulated, it’ll keep any unnecessary damage from happening and keep it all organized.

Finished basements do require quite a bit of time and effort, but the long-term benefits go beyond even what we have listed here.

Room Layouts: How to Make the Most of Your Space

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

room layoutsDesigning the layout of a room is an incredibly fun prospect. Looking at your space and seeing the endless possibilities, however, can be daunting. Even more so if you know you’ll be spending most of your time in the room or often hosting guests there. That being said, it’s important to turn the room into something that will elevate your mood.

Here are a few steps to help you make the most of your space and build a great room layout:

Measure Your Space

The most basic first step, though easily forgotten, is taking measurements. Math isn’t fun for everyone, but in this scenario, it is essential! You need to know how much space is available in the room. Make sure to write down the dimensions of the room you are designing: length, width, and height. After you’ve gotten your measurements, then you can begin with layout design

You wouldn’t want to become attached to a design only to realize that you won’t be able to fit everything! This is especially likely when you have to fit all your furniture and equipment into one space.

But, with some careful measurements and planning, you can pull it off. You’ll be able to create a comfortable room where everything you need is within reach!

Stick to One or Two Focal Points

Decide on one or two focal points. The focal points are like centerpieces of the room – they catch the eye. A fireplace, for example, is a good focal point. It will help to have a fixed point to work around instead of chaotically dropping furniture wherever it fits.

Consider Traffic Flow

Consider the flow of traffic. How often will people be moving through the room? Where do they enter/exit? Take your doors and windows into account, and set your furniture accordingly. Make sure you and your guests can move across the room without barriers.

Allow for Floating Furniture

Pushing all of your furniture against the wall creates a lot of central emptiness. This works well in a playroom or another room where you need a lot of open space in the middle. However, it can make the room look very barren. By allowing for floating furniture, that which is not pushed up against a wall and is positioned around a focal point, you can create a more dynamic and interesting space.

Use Zones to Your Advantage

Create zones to keep everything neat and organized. Zones make a big difference in a room, especially if it is large enough to encompass multiple uses or is considered a “great room”.

Great Rooms encompass an open floor plan to combine the living room, dining room, and sometimes even the kitchen into one “room”. In situations like this, compartmentalizing your furniture into zones is even more important in creating an attractive, and functional, room layout.

It can be a daunting task to plan a room layout, especially if you’re dealing with very little or a lot of space. With patience, and the proper eye, you will find many ways to make the most of your space.

3 Benefits of Radiant Heated Bathroom Floors

by CustomHomes on Monday, September 18, 2017

radiant heated bathroom floorsNo matter how much you like the cold, at the end of the day, everyone likes to return to a warm and cozy home. There are several options for keeping your home properly heated, from traditional fireplaces to smart-home baseboards.

One advanced technique, in particular, is underfloor, or radiant, heating. A nice bonus of this system is that you can install it solely in certain rooms, either for purposes of design or to switch entirely to this system in increments. One room we definitely suggest it for is the bathroom.

More Comfortable for Bare Feet

One of the reasons this system is particularly effective in the bathroom is the location itself. The bathroom is the one room where most people walk barefoot. Having the heat begin from the ground and rise up keeps us from having to walk on cold floors. In general, your bathroom will become a much more comfortable space. Especially with the extra room from keeping all the inner workings underground.

Reduces Allergens and Dust in the Air

Systems that require ventilation have the drawback of whipping up a lot of particles.These can be hazardous to anyone with a breathing condition. In a bathroom, it also contributes to making you dirty after you just got clean.

Radiant Heating is Efficient

Initial installation may be a bit expensive, but in time it will pay for itself. Radiant heating saves money due to its effectiveness. Other systems require more time and energy than underfloor heating to warm up a room. When the heat rises from the ground up, it is distributed evenly throughout the entire room—the more quickly this happens, the less you expend on electric bills.

There is a lot to be gained by heating your bathroom floors! The greatest thing, of course, is making your washroom a place of relaxation and cleanliness. There are two prominent radiant heating systems to pick from: electric and water based. Both have their pros and cons, but doubtless, you’ll pick the perfect one to make your bathroom feel like a spa.

8 Great Kitchen Hacks for Foodies

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

kitchen hacks for foodiesThe kitchen is an extraordinary place where cooks make magic happen! With all there is to be done, and keeping track of all ingredients, utensils, and recipes, it can quickly become a very messy place. Even more so, if you’re a “foodie” who spends a lot of time there.

Here are some kitchen hacks for foodies to help keep your kitchen clean and orderly:

Kitchen Storage Tips

Better Cereal Storage

Take your cereal out of their boxes and put them in plastic containers. You can fit more cereal in these containers to save space. They’re also useful for keeping cereal fresher for a longer period of time and making it easier to pour.

Accessible Spice Rack

Turn your fridge into a spice rack. Small, light jars are easy to convert. Attach magnets to the bottom, and add labels to the top. This makes it simple to keep track of them and makes them easily accessible when you’re cooking.

Use Wall Space

If you have wall space, use it. Extra shelves are easy to install and can serve a world of good. The more shelves mean the more ingredients and utensils for your kitchen. Having all your needs out in the open also gives your kitchen a charming look. Not having to rustle around in cabinets makes it easier to quickly find what you need.

Use Shopping Bags

Keep a spot on your wall for shopping bags. Once you’re done with your bottles, you can shove them in there for quick and easy disposal. Next time you go out shopping, you can recycle your bottles as you restock on groceries. Having bags serve double-duty makes them easier to remember.

Cooking & Food Tips

Use Cookie Cutters for More Than Cookies

If you have cookie cutters, you can use them for many things! For instance, you can use cookie cutters for stencils while decorating cakes, or for shaping pancakes. Think outside the box and you will find many more uses.

Stop Fighting with Plastic Wrap

Chilling plastic wrap by putting it in your fridge will make it easier to unwind from its row! Then you can cover your leftover food without the hassle.

An Easier Way to Check Eggs

One way to make sure eggs are still safe for consumption is to place them in a bowl of water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, then it is still safe to eat. If it floats, then it is past its expiration date.

Grate Cheese More Efficiently

When it comes to grating cheese, freezing it for about 30 minutes will make it much easier to grate because it’s not as soft.

There are many more ingenious tricks to make keeping an orderly kitchen easier. The especially great thing is that many of them require little effort!

Basement Pros and Cons

by CustomHomes on Friday, September 8, 2017

basement pros and cons - basement renovationTypically the word “basement” doesn’t have the most appealing implications. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! A basement can be a place of comfort and convenience. It is what you make it, after all. Below are some pros and cons of owning a basement:

Basement Pros

Extra Storage

Extra storage space is always welcome. Having a place to keep miscellaneous odds and ends is crucial for overall tidiness. Additionally, it will keep stress away from having to move other furniture or items to make room for everything.

Entertainment Space

Basements can be transformed into whatever you need them to be. For example, entertainment or training rooms. When it comes to entertainment or training, whether it be exercising, voice acting, or practicing an instrument, a lot of noise is bound to happen. Keeping it in the basement isolates sound, so its users can perform freely without disturbing others.

Installation Space

If your home requires sensitive equipment, like a pressure tank, water heater, boiler, or furnace, a basement is a perfect place to install it. Basements keep them out of the way – both for safety and aesthetics. Also, utilizing the cool environment so they neither overheat or freeze is a smart choice!

Basement Cons

Maintenance Required

Given that they are underground, basements need a lot of work for usability. Without some TLC, basements tend to live up to their unpleasant reputation. Before planning that home gym, you’ll need to properly set up wiring and insulation.

Lighting Takes Effort

Lighting will always be a bit of a hassle, even with a daylit basement. Windows may be out of the question, which means you will definitely need to have extra light fixtures. It may require a little extra work to give the room color and life.

Increased Humidity

Basements are prone to humidity. This can leave your rooms damp, and with an unpleasant smell. Humidity can also be a health hazard, particularly to people with asthma or other conditions that make it difficult to breathe. You will need to have very good insulation, or a decent humidifier to avoid humidity complications.

Basements open up a world of possibilities. From storage to entertainment, and more! Remodeling a basement, however, is an extensive – and pricey – process you should only get into once you’re prepared. Finished basements have so much potential, and with careful planning, you can create your ideal space!

Spray Foam Insulation Alternatives

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

spray foam insulation alternativesColder months are coming and with them the annual heating system check. On top of that, it’s important to make sure your home properly retains heat and keeps out the cold. Insulation is just as important, if not more so, than heating systems to maintain a comfortable home.

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation, more commonly known as just Spray Insulation, is a very common insulation method. It functions by mixing chemicals that create foam upon spraying.The foam expands, and then solidifies, forming a seal wherever it is sprayed. Spray foam is used often – particularly in basements and attics.

Unfortunately, despite its simplicity, there are several drawbacks to this form of insulation. It can form too tight a seal, which keeps the home from being able to breathe. The foam itself carries a very faint odor, which in combination will make the air in your home heavy and stale. It’s also more expensive than you would expect. Cheaper kits are available, but you would need a lot to cover your entire home. Not including the price of professional installation.

Insulation Alternatives

Stretch Tape

One insulation alternative is stretch tape. Much like the name suggests, stretch tape is a tape made of acrylic. It can span across large areas, and seal cracks with ease. It can be used against flat surfaces, curves, corners, and sills without difficulty. Even better, you can peel it off and reuse it later! It’s more effective and aesthetically looks much better than blobs of foam around your home will.

Integral OSB Sheathing

Sheathing is another method in which all exterior walls are covered with a sheet to keep the home properly insulated. They work by placing an insulated foam between two structural faces to create a strong and lasting insulation. This sheet can vary from company to company. At Custom Home Group, we use R Sheeting from ZIP System.

There are many options to choose from when deciding on insulation for your home. If you’re not sure which one is the best fit for you, just ask your builder! If you don’t have a builder yet and are still planning out your custom home, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help!

3 Benefits of Radiant Heating

by CustomHomes on Monday, September 4, 2017

radiant heating - layers of radiant heating installationThe Fall season is coming upon us, and that means the cold is just around the corner! This is a good time to consider how well your heating system is serving you. There are a number of different systems to choose from, a particularly popular one being radiant heating.

Radiant heating, also known as underfloor heating, either uses an electric or hydronic (liquid-based) system to function. There are a number of advantages to using this kind of heating source over others. Here are just a few examples:

Heating Efficiency

According to the US Department of Energy Savers, radiant heating is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced air heating because no energy is lost through ducts. Part of the reason is because floor heating distributes warmth much more evenly. Instead of having to wait for the heat to travel through each individual room, it starts from the bottom up. Ultimately, the need to keep it running is reduced.

Versatility

Underfloor heating can run with gas, oil, wood, or solar sources. Not only that, but these sources can be combined for the most cost-efficient system. If you run out or want to try something else, the option is at your disposal. Also, there are different forms of floor heating, like heat-inducing mats, that are very simple to install and very cost efficient.

Allergy-Friendly

Allergy-sufferers rejoice! Unlike forced-air ventilation systems, you don’t have to worry about irritants being blown around the room.

Radiant heating is just one of the many different systems to consider. Remember, what works for one home may not be the best for another.

The Psychology of Color in Interior Design

by CustomHomes on Thursday, August 31, 2017

psychology of color on interior designColors are compelling. They evoke emotion and can even affect people psychologically to feel or act in certain ways.

Colors can go as far as affecting a person’s eating habits. For example, blue is an appetite suppressant. This explains why you don’t see many restaurants decking their locations out in blue. They want to encourage customers to be as hungry as possible!

When you think about why the color is so unappetizing though, it makes sense. Blue is a rare occurrence in nature (besides blueberries) so there really isn’t anything in our brain to trigger an appetite response. The color blue is known for being incredibly relaxing though, making it perfect for creating an atmosphere of respite and meditation.

Experienced interior designers have spent years learning how to effectively integrate the psychology of color and interior design. When hiring an interior designer, it is best to share your family routine, habits, and overall mood. They want to be able to take in every possible detail about your lifestyle!

The designer will then be well equipped to find the best-personalized color scheme for your family and work it into the design. If you would like to have a peaceful quiet space that can help give you a break from a long day, that meditative blue room mentioned earlier may sound pretty appealing!

Everyone has a favorite color. At first, it may seem like a great idea to decorate a room based on your favorite color scheme. However, there is a list of factors you should consider before any plans are set in stone. Check out the infographic below from IMI Design Studio, a luxury interior designer, for what you should consider when choosing colors:

The psychology of color on interior design

Tips for a More Energy Efficient Garage

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, August 30, 2017

energy efficient garage - brown garage door with windowsEnergy efficiency is a big concern for homeowners. When energy use spikes in the summer and winter, efficiency is key to keeping your utility bill under control. Inefficiencies can cause that monthly energy bill to skyrocket.

When working with a custom home builder on new construction, it’s likely to be built with energy efficiency in mind. However, that efficiency will decrease over time, unless you make updates.

It’s easy to identify areas to improve efficiency within your home, but homeowners often tend to forget about the garage. Garages are an addition to your home, but they can suck a lot of energy from it. Inefficiencies here can mean a loss of heat in the winter and a buildup of heat in the summer. This forces your heating and cooling system to work harder and consume more energy.

Here are a few tips for a more energy efficient garage:

Switch to Energy Efficient Options

Check your lights and windows. Are you using energy efficient options? If not, it may be time to replace your light bulbs with CFL or LED lights. Older windows tend to be less efficient. They don’t insulate as well and often are the culprit of air leaks. Replace them with Energy Star® certified windows. You can also invest in renewable energy sources, like solar heating, to help balance your energy use.

Check Your Insulation

Insulation makes a big difference in how well your garage is protected from the elements. Inefficiencies and air leaks can be caused by poor insulation around your garage door, in the garage walls, and even through outlets and light switches! An insulation kit may help in some of these areas. However, depending on the age and condition of the area, it may be time to replace with something new.

Seal the Leaks

Better insulation or a new garage door can help “seal” air leaks. For some areas, insulation isn’t the answer. For example, if there are cracks in your garage floor, you’ll need a concrete sealant to fix those. It’s also important to check the door connecting your home to your garage and ensure it is properly sealed to protect from leaks or drafts.

For more tips, check out the Garage Energy Efficiency Guide presented by Garage Door Repair below:

5 Ideas for Using Custom Accent Walls

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, August 23, 2017

custom accent wallsAccent walls refer specifically to a wall which differs from the design of the others in the room. They can be a beautiful addition to the interior of the home that doesn’t require much work and will not take away space in your home. They can add texture, color, and light to any room if used properly.

Here are a few materials you can use to make accent walls:

Wood

Wood, or shiplap, accent walls can be warm and inviting in living rooms or bedrooms. They offer the rich texture of wood without investing hundreds of dollars in using wood paneling all over your home.

Wood wall accents can be purchased at many home supply stores for installation in your current home – or future custom home by a contractor. They add a simple and rustic feel without being overwhelming, or damaging, to the walls.

Stone

A stone accent wall can make almost any home look elegant and timeless. You can purchase stone specifically for this purpose, or you can have an installer come and handle construction for you. No matter what, be sure to use the proper sealant to avoid falling rocks in the kitchen or deterioration over time.

Stencil

Stenciling a pattern onto a wall can create an organized accent wall that matches your decor. With little effort, you can create the pattern by yourself, or purchase it in a store or online.

Paint

While it may seem somewhat basic compared to the other options above, a simple paint job will do the trick! It can add the most pop to your room – depending on the color and luster.

The color of the accent wall may be based on the purpose of the room. For instance, you can use a cool color, like lavender or light blue, in your bedroom or bathroom to create a calm, clean feeling. In the kitchen or living room, you can use a warm or earthy tone, like red or brown, to create an inviting and comfy atmosphere.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper has reinvented itself in recent years and can be the perfect solution for an accent wall. The same traditional floral patterns exist, but now there are rich, captivating textures to choose from, too.

If you’re considering wallpaper, handmade or one-of-a-kind wallpaper can definitely make a room stand out. Before deciding on an accent wallpaper, be sure to look at all of your options.

If you’re deciding what type of accent wall you want for your room, do plenty of research to make sure you find the perfect solution for you.

3 Ways to Deep Clean Your Home

by CustomHomes on Monday, August 21, 2017

deep clean your home - cleaning suppliesDeep cleaning your home can be a challenge. But, it’s a surefire way to keep your home looking beautiful for years to come. Deep cleaning can have positive effects on your health, as well as save you some money!

Here are a few ways to keep your home sparkling:

Clean Your Mattress

Cleaning your mattress will help you sleep better. Over time, mattresses collect a copious amount of dust, skin cells, and other debris. To clean your mattress, you will need baking soda, a kitchen strainer, and a vacuum cleaner. First, sprinkle baking soda through the strainer and onto the bare mattress and let it sit for at least an hour. After the allotted time has passed, vacuum the baking soda off the mattress. Now you have a deodorized, clean, and moisture-free mattress. Sweet dreams!

Clean Bathroom Grout

Using bleach and baking soda, you can clean your grout thoroughly and efficiently. You will need to start by mixing the bleach and baking soda together. Make a paste of 2 parts baking soda to 1 ½ parts bleach. Next, use rubber gloves and old tooth brushes to gently scrub the concoction into the grout. Then, rinse and wipe away the mixture from the grout and let it air dry. Do not leave the mixture on the grout for too long, as the grout will reabsorb the dirt. You will be amazed by the drastic results.

Clean the Fridge

You will first need to turn off the breaker to your refrigerator and unplug it. Let it dry before beginning to clean. Once the fridge has been brought to room temperature, wipe down the shelves and drawers. You can use warm water and dish soap, or disinfecting wipes for the interior.

Cleaning the Refrigerator Coils

Cleaning the refrigerator coils is a must at least once a year. This can save you over $50 a year in electricity bills, and will keep your home safer over time. You will want to clean the coils before or after you clean the rest of the fridge. Be sure the refrigerator is not plugged in and at room temperature. Remove the panel at the bottom that holds the coils. Wipe it thoroughly, and place it somewhere clean to allow it to dry.

Then, use your vacuum cleaner to clean out what you can of the dust wrapped around the coils. Afterwards, use a narrow brush to dust the coils you can’t clean with a vacuum cleaner. Once you have dusted the refrigerator coils, vacuum around the area once more and then sweep the floor surrounding the refrigerator. After completing this process, compare your electricity bills and see the difference!

Having a clean home is a lifelong endeavor. If you want to deep clean your home, this is a wonderful start, but you still have plenty to do. Be sure to research and compare tips and tricks online before you attempt them to keep your home clean and safe.

Year-Round Basic Home Cleaning & Maintenance Guide

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

home cleaning and maintenance guideOwning a home requires plenty of cleaning and maintenance throughout the year. Often, people purchase homes without considering the everyday repair costs home ownership will entail. With a bit of planning, however, you can have a home that is clean and maintained well, without added stress or worry. Here are a few ways you can keep your home safe from January to December:

January

After post-holiday cleanup, you’ll want to check your major appliances and deep clean a few areas to start the new year off right:

  • Change HVAC filters
  • Test water heater’s pressure relief valve
  • Organize and pack holiday decorations
  • Vacuum behind refrigerator and dust coils
  • Clean stove and oven
  • Clean garbage disposal with ice, baking soda, and citrus peels
  • Use a dryer vent brush kit to clean drying machine
  • Flip mattresses
  • Remove shower heads and soak them in white vinegar for three to five minutes
  • Rearrange furniture

February

While you and your family are creating Valentines and building snowmen, don’t forget about your house! Dust certain parts of your home and wash all the bedding to freshen your home in the dead of winter.

  • Rent or buy carpet washer and wash carpets
  • Clean and vacuum curtains
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Wash bath mats in washing machine in hot water
  • Vacuum and wash pet beds
  • Dust window blinds
  • Check caulking around showers and baths. Replace as needed
  • Wipe/dust all wall hangings and paintings
  • Clean ceiling fans and lighting fixtures
  • Wash duvet covers, pillows, and blankets

March

Spring is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to check smoke detectors and clean electronics and appliances. Don’t forget to wash the interior and exterior of windows on a nice day as well.

  • Check batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Check and clean range hood fan
  • Dust cabinets and furniture
  • Vacuum/dust walls and ceilings
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Check charge on fire extinguisher
  • Clean and prepare your lawn mower for the spring and summer
  • Begin plotting out gardens and landscaping
  • Wash interior and exterior of windows
  • Clean light switches and cover plates

April

April showers mean May flowers! It also means scheduling a service check for your HVAC system and garden preparation.

  • Scheduling air conditioning service check
  • Aerate and fertilize lawn
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Walk around exterior looking for issues (lost shingles, warped siding, etc.)
  • Vacuum and dust HVAC system
  • Clean and test grill before using it
  • Buy propane or charcoal for your grill
  • Clean and test fire pit
  • Prep fire pit for summer
  • Wax hardwood flooring

May

May is a beautiful time of the year to stop and appreciate the wildflowers. While you’re weeding your garden, be sure to also think about power washing the exterior of your home and donating your unwanted items. A fresh start to a new season can make your home feel brand new!

  • Put away winter clothes
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Clean repair, and refinish deck
  • Place plants and water them every day it doesn’t rain
  • Check for leaks and cracks in plumbing
  • Clean and sharpen garbage disposal
  • Deep clean grout in main bathroom
  • Hose down exterior of your home
  • Donate unwanted items (clothes, appliances, etc.)

June

As summer heats up, make sure to take stock of your refrigerator, garage, and cleaning products. Then, you will be ready to take on the dog days of summer with a clean and well-prepared home!

  • Remove old paints and flammables from your home
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Test refrigerator door tightness (Put a dollar in between the door and the opening. If you can slide it out the door is too loose)
  • Remove old and expired cleaning and toiletry products
  • Clean out fridge
  • Wipe/clean all door knobs and handles
  • Wash mattress cover
  • Clean indoor trash cans
  • Clean outdoor trash cans
  • Clean fixtures and stainless appliances in kitchen

July

As our country celebrates its independence, celebrate your independence from clutter! Weed flower beds, clean out chachkies, and organize the attic, basement, or garage. You’ll be amazed by the sudden feeling of freedom.

  • Change HVAC filters
  • Move bed and vacuum underneath bed
  • Clean out expired medications
  • Weed flower beds
  • Mulch garden if needed
  • Harvest vegetables, flowers, and herbs
  • Weed whack perimeter of property and anywhere near the home that is hard to mow
  • Prep and plan for fall gardening
  • Clean out attic, basement, or garage
  • Lube garage door track

August

While you’re harvesting this summer’s bounty, you should consider updating your spice rack with newly dried herbs and planting fall and winter vegetables. Afterward, you will be stocked all year round!

  • Pick, pickle, and preserve garden produce
  • Dry herb harvest
  • Update spice rack
  • Plant fall and winter vegetables
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Plan cover crop
  • Place compost/fertilizer
  • Clean oven
  • Clean bathtub
  • Wipe down interior and exterior of doors

September

Now that there is a chill in the air, it’s time to work on winterizing your AC system and inspecting your roof for possible loose shingles. After that, you won’t have any snowy surprises this winter.

  • Place fall plants in planters on porch and/or doorstep
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Bring tender plants like Rosemary into the home
  • Flush hot water heater
  • Winterize AC system
  • Prep heating system for winter
  • Inspect roof for possible loose shingles
  • Check weatherstripping
  • Wash pillows and bedding
  • Clean fireplace and chimney

October

While you prepare for Halloween – with extra candy and scary movies – you should also consider cleaning gutters and trimming tree limbs. Then, you don’t have to worry about your gutters being clogged during the first snowfall; or tree limbs falling on your car from the weight of the snow.

  • Rake and mulch leaves
  • Empty and put away garden hoses and other garden accessories
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Add fall decor such as mums and pumpkins
  • Clean and store outdoor furniture
  • Go through closets and donate unwanted clothing, toys, appliances, etc.
  • Clean gutters
  • Clean out freezer and pantry
  • Trim tree limbs

November

Now that the leaves have changed, and everyone is heading home for Thanksgiving, you may want to consider checking your water pressure and changing your HVAC filters. This will help to ensure you won’t have a disaster waiting for you when you come home.

  • Change HVAC filters
  • Check water pressure
  • Clean microwave
  • Vacuum mattress
  • Deep clean furniture
  • Organize cleaning products and take inventory
  • Throw away broken furniture
  • Clean/wipe baseboards and molding
  • Dust/wash walls to clear out cobwebs and dust
  • Donate unwanted knick knacks

December

Now that the holidays are right around the corner, it’s time to prep the guest lodgings and prepare the kitchen for the added traffic. This means you and your holiday guests will be comfortable throughout their stay.

  • Prepare home for possible holiday guests
  • Deep clean kitchen and bathroom floors
  • Change HVAC filters
  • Donate unwanted plates, mugs, and bowls
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Deep clean toilets and sinks
  • Clean HVAC vents
  • Change/clean guest bed linens
  • Prepare/ purchase toiletries for guests

Now that you have a list of year-round to-dos, check it off as you go, knowing your home is safe and stunning because of it. You will be amazed by the impact these small changes have on you, your loved ones, and your home.

Don’t Miss These 2017 Design Trends in New Construction [Guest Post]

by CustomHomes on Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 design trends in new constructionIf you’re looking to buy a newly-constructed home this year, you’ll be pleased to see how 2017 design trends make your life easier. From a focus on efficiency to save you energy and money to clean designs that improve the flow of the space – these trends emphasize giving you exactly what you want, and nothing that you don’t.

1. Efficiency

Perhaps the strongest guiding hand leading construction currently is the push for efficiency. A popular thought is that every bit of the home should help cut costs once construction is complete.

Energy efficiency is a primary target. The focus is on systems, equipment, and fixtures that decrease energy consumption and wasted water – without compromising comfort. Efficiency also translates to the size of the home. Trends shifted away from larger, grand houses to comfortable homes with a great deal of flexibility, but not an ounce of wasted space.

This change may reflect an interest in attracting a new kind of buyer – Millennials. This particular group expresses a strong preference for energy efficiency, but may not have a lot of spare funds to invest in extravagant upgrades.

2. Sustainability

Trends in home building also speak to trends shaping the construction industry itself. With a current labor shortage, builders are looking for ways to make every aspect of home building more streamlined. The focus is on cutting down, not only on waste but also processes that waste time and labor.

It leads to an increase in the use of prefabricated products. These can be created in larger quantities with a lower amount of labor- particularly in HVAC equipment. Sustainability also extends to the development and use of green building technologies. For instance, finding effective replacements for carbon-emitting products like cement.

3. Clean, Simple Designs

If efficiency is the overall goal of many new homes, then efficiency in design also stands prominent among buyers’ preferences. Fading away are the tiny, separate rooms and long hallways. Enter the continued dominance of the open floor plan, with lots of space to move around.

However, most buyers are hoping to get usable space out of every inch of the home. This means that rooms should not be restricted to a specific purpose, but rather be versatile enough that households can shift and redesign as necessary. It also indicates a decrease in buyers’ preferences for perceived “unnecessary” extras, like turrets.

4. Glass and Metal

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that buyers can only select a really straightforward, modernist design without special features. There are plenty of options available for buyers who want to push the envelope here and there. For example, trends for 2017 show an increase in requests for larger windows, providing ample natural lighting around the home.

This path toward more contemporary designs also brings in all kinds of metal. You can choose from a variety of metal accents throughout the home, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Waking up every morning in a home built to increase your enjoyment and productivity is a pleasure. With these design trends for new construction, you can create a modern, enjoyable home with lasting appeal should you decide to sell several years in the future.

About the Author:

Kris Lindahl is a Minnesota native and owner of The Kris Lindahl Team with RE/MAX Results.

3 Pinterest House DIYs That Do Work

by CustomHomes on Friday, August 11, 2017

pinterest house diys - wall stencilHave you ever wanted to revamp your home? Maybe have a DIY weekend? If you’re worried you will create some sort of home decor monstrosity if you try, never fear! Luckily, there are plenty of examples of others’ DIY attempts and their thoughts once the project is completed.

Whether you already have an idea and want to see how it plays out, or you just want to find some inspiration, Pinterest has all the material you need.

Here are a few tried and tested DIYs that can work – if done with patience, and attention to detail:

Updating Your Air Grille

Revamping your air grille can add texture and color to your home without a lot of work. All you will need is a patterned metal sheet, metal cutting scissors, spray paint, a drill, and a free afternoon.

  1. Measure and cut the metal sheet to fit your grille
  2. Cut the metal sheet
  3. Place cut metal sheets on newspaper outside in the open air
  4. Spray paint the cut metal
  5. Let dry and then add a second coat. Add a third if necessary
  6. Once dry, drill holes into metal where screws will keep your new grille in place
  7. Drill grilles onto vents and replace molding if necessary
  8. Enjoy your new air grille!

Stenciling Your Walls

Adding a stencil pattern to your wall can be a creative, and quick, way to add an accent wall or bring interest to your home. To stencil your walls you will need, like your favorite stencil, paint, and a top coat to ensure even distribution.

  1. Pre-measure and mark where each stencil will begin and end on the wall
  2. Place, or tape, the stencil to the wall
  3. Paint over the stencil and peel
  4. Continue with the rest of the wall and wait for it to completely dry
  5. Once dry, begin detail work so it is cohesive and neat
  6. Paint over with a clear top coat. Add a second layer if necessary

Dresser to Kitchen Island

Although this dresser to kitchen island DIY is a bit more intense, it can be a lifesaver for a small kitchen or anyone that could use extra storage. You will need an old dresser, paint, four 2x4s, a base board, attachable wheels, and a drill.

  1. Take out all the drawers and paint the dresser exterior and drawers separately. Add another coat if necessary
  2. Once dry, measure and cut the baseboard to fit underneath the dresser
  3. Measure and cut the 2x4s to fit along the edges of the baseboard by width and length
  4. Screw the 2x4s to the baseboard, and then screw the baseboard to the dresser’s legs with the 2x4s facing up. This is best done if the dresser is on its side
  5. Drill wheels until the four corners of the baseboard and turn the dresser right side up
  6. Replace drawers and place project in kitchen

Now you can go forth and design a stencil for an accent wall! Or you can begin searching for the perfect dresser to create a moving kitchen island. Whatever inspires you, you now have to tools to create it, use it, and hopefully love it!

3 Pinterest House DIYs That Don’t Work

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, August 9, 2017

pinterest house diys - pennies on a countertopPinterest can be a fantastic place to find new DIY home projects or just a bit of inspiration. If you have seen Pinterest DIYs, however, you probably know they don’t always work out. You may have even attempted your own. Don’t worry! You’re not alone.

Here are a few Pinterest fails we found in hopes of encouraging you to keep going:

Garland Light

This DIY light was intended to be a whimsical accent for any woodland or fairy-loving home. It, however, turned out to be less than ideal. With a lack of materials, and planning, this DIY project was trouble from the start. Luckily, with every Pinterest fail there is a chance for redemption!

If you decide to graduate to a new level of DIY, be sure to give yourself plenty of prep time, a complete list of materials, and even more patience. With these simple, but necessary, recommendations you will be well on your way to a more cohesive project.

Penny Countertops

With Pinterest came the popularity of penny floors and countertops. For literally pennies on the dollar, you can have a beautiful copper floor or countertop without the copper price tag. Unfortunately,most people don’t realize the detail, focus, and patience that creating a penny countertop or floor requires. Not only will you be constantly wiping glue off the surface to avoid warping, you will also need to find the right glue, finish, and pennies.

When you have made the decision to take on such an endeavor, be sure to have all the pennies shined and ready to go. Then, you won’t have to worry about them changing color after they have been finished, or becoming tarnished over time. You should also experiment with types of glue and finish before committing to using either on the final surface. Then, you won’t kick yourself for ruining the table or the kitchen floor.

DIY Hanging String Ball

These string balls can make nifty lamps, accents, or bowls that bring depth and beauty to your home. All hanging string balls, however, are not created equal.

Sometimes they deflate, or dry incorrectly, or just blatantly fall apart. Without patience, plenty of glue, and even more glue, your hanging string balls are all but destined for failure. Make sure you have plenty of time and space for this messy craft, and even more time for it to dry and be molded.

Pinterest can be a lot of fun, and can add so much to your home. But start small! Trying small projects first allows you to practice for larger pieces before going on to your goal. Then, you will have plenty of confidence to move on! You’ll be able to take pride in your progress even if the first craft doesn’t go as planned.

5 Ideas for Staircase Storage

by CustomHomes on Friday, August 4, 2017

staircase storage - pull-out cabinetsIt often goes unnoticed just how much space we have beneath the stairs. Stairs occupy a large space within our home, and they can double as storage space as well. Take a closer look at different ways in which you can transform your stairs into extra storage space both for the purposes of utility and decoration:

Mini-Office

Have you ever considered turning the area beneath your stairs into a mini office? This is more plausible than it may sound if your stairs are tall and straight enough. A desk table could fit perfectly against the wall, and this will give you plenty of space to store any office supplies you may need. Set up your computer, add a desk with plenty of cabinets and shelves, and you will be ready to go!

Built-in, Pull-Out Shelving and Cabinets

Reconstruct the area beneath your stairs to have built-in cabinets that can pull out. You can stack many upon each other in a pyramid fashion, and label each to keep everything nice and organized. You can even paint these cabinets to depict a beautiful mural or landscape to add a little color to your home.

Wine Cellar

Turn this space into a wine cellar. If this area is already open, then it is a fairly simple procedure to install wine shelves. Not only is it an easily accessible space, but it makes for an impressive display to show off to your guests.

Extra Closet Space

If you have stairs that are located near the entrance of your home, then they would be perfect for creating some closets. Guests and members of your family can hang their coats, purses, and umbrellas in this space. Keep these closets thin and open so that you can fit multiples to accommodate as many guests as possible.

Bookshelf

If your staircase is too narrow for any of these options, another potential use for them is a bookshelf. Not only is this something that can be done with any straight staircase, but it is also rather simple to make as it only requires shelves. Now you have extra space to put all those books that you’ve been keeping in stacks, and what a beautiful display to boot!

The possibilities are truly endless. There are so many uses for the space beneath your stairs whether it be used as an area to keep your bikes, a little home for your pets, an art display, or a place to keep some entertainment systems. There are many more ideas to find out there and many that we are certain you can come up with yourself. Don’t be afraid to try some experimentation!

How to Create Your Own Ideal Patio Oasis

by CustomHomes on Monday, July 31, 2017

outdoor patio oasisPicture this – it’s the end of the day and you’re relaxing in a comfy chair with your favorite ice cold beverage in your hand. Your legs are stretched out, feet resting on a stool directly in front of you. You feel completely at peace while enjoying the sunset in your own personal backyard getaway.

With the following tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create your ideal patio oasis where you can enjoy a warm weather getaway right in your backyard.

Put Patterns To Work

Backyard landscapes with too many different plant types and textures can be overwhelming. Small doses and patterns that complement each other are a good way to provide visual relief as well as an interesting contrast to furniture.

Design Consistent With Architecture

You want your patio to look like a natural extension of your home, not like it was an afterthought or something you just threw together. If it’s created with materials that are in polar opposition to your house, your patio will look out of place. Use your home’s architecture as cues to use when choosing color and type or style of construction.

Add Dining Capabilities to Your Patio

It’s always nice to be able to grill out and enjoy a hearty meal with family and friends on your beautiful outdoor patio. When it comes to your outdoor patio furniture, keep proportion in mind. For a smaller patio, look for a table and chairs that are thin and streamlined so they take up less space. When you aren’t concerned with space constraints, a long dining table works perfectly. Chairs with tall backs mean guests can comfortably stay and chat after a delicious meal.

Consider An Outdoor Kitchen

If you truly want to create an oasis in your backyard, consider going beyond just having a grill and create a full-fledged outdoor kitchen! Being able to breathe in fresh air and enjoy the outdoors while cooking up delicious meals can be the perfect way to use your outdoor oasis.

create ideal patio oasis infographic

7 Laundry Room Hacks for Easier Maintenance

by CustomHomes on Friday, July 28, 2017

laundry room hacksTo have your own laundry room is a blessing, but sometimes these rooms can be difficult to maintain. It’s no wonder, considering this is where all your dirty clothing sits – and all families produce plenty of that.

Storage

The most important thing is storage. Keeping a tidy laundry room means making the most of your limited space. Remember, this is not an area that your guests will be entering, and it is not a place that you will be spending a lot of time in. That means decorating is not a necessity, and should take a back seat to storage containers. Walls should be used for extra shelving, whether it be hanging containers or sturdy multi-layer shelves. They will be perfect places to hold your laundry and cleaning supplies.

Drying Racks

Along with the walls, you can also hang drying racks from the ceiling. These are a little trickier to install, but they are well worth the effort. They can help hold up quite a lot of clothing while you wait to either dry or iron.

Containers & Labels

When you have a big family, it can be difficult to keep everyone’s clothing from getting mixed. In order to help prevent this, it is helpful to create labels for your containers to distinguish between every person’s clothing.

Collect Loose Change

Keep a jar for all the loose change that you find. You’d be surprised at how quickly it all stacks up.

Pin Socks Together

Make sure to pin your socks together before throwing them in the hamper. Nothing is more frustrating than having a single sock and being unable to find its matching pair.

Store Ironing Boards

Ironing boards are very important for cleaning your clothing. Unfortunately, they tend to take up a lot of space. Two ideas for circumventing this problem: getting a fold-out ironing board, or affixing hooks to hang your ironing board from. The latter is simple to do on your own, and the former requires installation to any table in your laundry room.

Put Appliances on a Pedestal

Last but not least: creating a pedestal for your washer and dryer can give you a little extra room to store your clothing in. Putting containers underneath each of these will help you know what needs to go into each appliance next.

With these tips and hacks on your side, maintaining your laundry room will be a breeze.

Pros and Cons of Wrap-Around Porches

by CustomHomes on Monday, July 24, 2017

wrap-around porchesPorches are a wonderful asset for any home. They are a spot where you and your guests can relax while chatting, snacking, and enjoying a beautiful view. They present everyone with the perfect area to relax and indulge in idle conversation. So, it would seem that the bigger the porch the better, correct? Perhaps so, in this article we will discuss the pros and cons of wrap-around porches.

Pros of Wrap-Around Porches

Easily the best thing about wrap-around porches is the view. Particularly if your home is located in the countryside, and has a very scenic view all around. This kind of porch will allow you to enjoy every bit of your view. What better way to show off your wondrous landscape?

They are a great way to enjoy the rain from a comfortable spot. You can relax to the sound of the droplets pattering against your roof and watch it falling down while being protected from the elements.

The extra space also allows for more decoration. You can be consistent in what sort of decor you include on your porch or you can vary it up from side to side. This gives you full opportunity to let your creativity shine.

Given that they encircle the entire house, there can be more than one entrance to the porch. This extra accessibility makes travel throughout your home much easier.

Cons of Wrap-Around Porches

In order to own a porch that encircles your entire home, you need to be willing to pay for both its construction and its maintenance.

These structures only work well in places where you have a decent plot of land. Being located within a city, closely surrounded by many other houses, is more likely to just give your home a very claustrophobic feel.

Decorating these porches can sometimes be tedious. It is a lot of extra space to account for, which can be just as much a con as it is a pro. If you don’t give it due attention, then it will appear and feel very barren. It may even make your home look lonely rather than welcoming.

When it comes down to it, the most important things to consider before purchasing a wrap-around porch are location suitability, available view, and desired appearance. Costs are another concern, but without the proper vision the porch will more likely detract from your home rather than add to it.

Tips for Rock Wall Interior that Works

by CustomHomes on Friday, July 21, 2017

rock wall interiorTrends come and go. Very often, a decorative piece or style that was popular a couple years ago will have a resurgence. We’d like to review rock walls, also known as exposed walls, and their fashion status. Stone as a building material is dated by nature, but the truth of the matter is that they still present a very aesthetic look. Looking through old fashion magazines is a great way to gain inspiration.

Some of the appeal of an interior rock wall is that it creates a very natural and earthy look for your home. They give a sensation that you are stepping into a fairy tale with the rather simple and antiquated atmosphere brought on by stone. Other advantages of these types of walls are that they are very eco-friendly, easy to maintain, and have good sound insulation properties. There might be some concern that stone will make your home look very cold, but there are ways around this.

Here are a few ways to make rock wall interior work for your home:

Pick Pleasant Colors

Pick colors that come in pleasant hues: such as limestone, slate, brick, or coral stone. These kinds of rocks will give your home a relaxing atmosphere, especially if you are very methodical with your lighting. The proper lighting can bring out the best of your stone walls and make them lively.

Add Other Materials

Feel free to add other materials, and textures, to further decorate your walls. The primary concern with interior rock walls is that they may present in a cold way. Be sure to use warmer materials. Warm materials include furs, knitwork, pillows, and of course rugs.

Add Accents

When decorating your room, add accents of color around the wall. Against the softer color of the wall they will especially stand out, and give your room more vibrancy and a dramatic flair.

Keep it Simple

If you are considering installing a rock wall in a small area, it would be best to only have one wall exposed. Too many rock walls can be overpowering in small spaces. They may even feel claustrophobic. Indeed, you don’t even need an entire rock wall to achieve the effect that you want. Simply having a small section close to the ceiling, or a window, near a door, or any significant area can do its part.

Always be careful when installing rock walls. They are, after all, and investment so be certain to draw up what your rooms will look like with them. Find a look that fits just for you.

Keep Your Kitchen Organized with These Tips

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

keep your kitchen organizedWith so much to keep track of in life, maintaining your kitchen can be a daunting task. Fortunately, as this is a task everyone must face, there are lots of tips!

Here are a couple that we have gathered:

Over-the-Sink Cutting Board

Keep an over-the-sink cutting board. These are very cheap to obtain, and setting them over the sink saves space.So, your cabinets are free and you can expand your counter area. Along this same vein, you can also purchase over-the-sink shelves, that will increase your counter space and let you store more cleaning items that can easily be reached.

Pocket Organizers

Either make, or purchase, some pocket organizers. Pocket organizers are plastic sheets with pockets in which you can store various objects such as gloves and cleaning supplies. If you don’t feel confident making these, they sell for as cheap as $12.00.

Shelves and Hangers

Rolling shelves will help you make the best of your storage space.

Think vertically. Shelves can be stacked above more shelves, and you can add extra racks beneath them to make the most out of your space.

Any bare walls, or ceilings, are an opportunity for hangers. Consider the sides of any ceiling cabinets that you may have. From these installations, you can hang your utensils. Installing new shelves is another option, especially if you need more space for ingredients and pots. Creating racks for your cabinet serves a similar purpose as well.

Baskets and Bins

Baskets and bins will be your best friends when it comes to making the most of your kitchen space. The best thing about these, is that they are very simple to make. They can be easily made out of recycled items or very cheap to buy. Baskets and bins can fit in pretty much any place, and increase your storage percentage by a significant amount. They can also help in keeping everything organized as you can store specific items in specific bins. You won’t have to shove different items aside to find what you need.

Keep it Clean

Most important of all is to simply keep your kitchen clean. Kitchens are very easy to get messy, and quick! If you allow the mess to pile up, it will become that much more cluttered. Keep everything in its place and off the tables once you are finished cooking and your kitchen will never feel cluttered.

Get creative with your ideas. There will always be many methods for keeping your kitchen looking beautiful and organized.

6 Tips for More Effective Kitchen Cabinet Storage

by CustomHomes on Friday, July 14, 2017

kitchen cabinet storageIf you own a small kitchen, you might find yourself troubled. Small kitchens are considered a novelty because they are quaint and cute. They give your home a picturesque, almost fairytale-like quality. Unfortunately, a small kitchen also means very little storage space. Where are you to hold all your food, spices, and ingredients? There are several ways that you can resolve this problem. Here are a few solutions to get you started:

Get Creative When Adding Cabinets

You can never have enough cabinets. These storage spaces can fit almost anywhere. Whether they be below your tables, or above your cooking salon, they can be easily fitted. They can also serve as eye candy if they are well-decorated. Don’t be afraid to bring in a portable ladder, or step stool, into your kitchen to be able to use higher spaces for rarer ingredients, or treats that you don’t need frequently.

Add More Shelves to Your Walls

This an easy process that will create more space for you to hold your various kitchen utensils such as pots and pans. Similarly, you can create racks for holding spices. These also make spices clearly visible and easy to find as opposed to keeping them in a cabinet.

Use Hooks to Save Space

Long hooks of any sturdy material, whether they be wooden or metal, can be used to hang anything with a handle. Mugs, cups, utensils; these can all be hung to save space.

Baskets and Bins Increase Storage Capacity

Baskets or handy bins can serve as makeshift cabinets if you don’t want all the fuss of renovations. They are particularly good for storing cutting boards or spices if you do not have a spice rack.

Pull-Out Pantries Maximize Available Space

Pull-out pantries give you all the conveniences of a regular pantry without taking up as much space. They function similarly to cabinets, but slide out of the walls. The beauty of these is that they can be as big as the walls of your home allow. Imagine the surprise on your guests faces when you pull out a pantry from seemingly nowhere, and show them all the snacks to serve up!

Container Systems Keep Things Organized

Create a container system. Keeping things organized is the most efficient way to make use of a small space. Using containers to organize where everything goes, whether it be utensils or food, will make everything much easier to maintain. A cluttered and disorganized mess is the easiest way to feel overwhelmed, and quickly lose your ability to properly keep a cozy kitchen.

Remember to always think in all directions. It’s not just your floors that you have to work with but also your walls and the space above. This is a sure-fire way to get creative, and come up with new storage ideas.

What to Consider Before Getting a Hot Tub

by CustomHomes on Friday, July 7, 2017

hot tub overlooking a lakeWhen you think hot tubs, you think luxury and relaxation. Many people tout their benefits, but are they are great as advertised? Below are some pros and cons we have found that should be considered before buying a hot tub.

Why Hot Tubs are Great

Hot water is a way to reduce stress levels.

In fact, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that especially after a particularly stressful day, it’s good to take a bath or shower with hot water before going to sleep in order to deepen said sleep. Hot water helps battle anxiety and relaxes the mind. So if anxiety is something you suffer from, a hot tub might be a good investment.

Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes and are incredibly customizable.

You can surely find one that meets your needs and is within your price range to purchase. You can have portable spas, aboveground acrylic hot tubs, traditional wooden tubs, inground tubs and more!

Hot tubs can reduce pain.

Back pain, arthritis, and inflammation are alleviated by the warmth. Hot tubs also aid circulation and reduce pressure on joints and sore limbs.

Hot tubs can reduce muscle pain and sports injuries. The water relaxes muscles, particularly if massaged, and if used three or four days after an injury, hot tubs can hasten recovery.

Things to Consider Before Getting a Hot Tub

Hot tubs can increase the risk of excessive heat exposure.

The most obvious, and prevalent, con of a hot tub is excessive heat exposure. Setting the hot tub temperature too hot, or spending too much time in the water, causes negative effects. Always check the temperature of a hot tub before getting in, and at the first sign of dizziness, get out. Never, ever, fall asleep in a hot tub.

Maintenance of your hot tub can get expensive.

Maintaining a hot tub can be rather pricey, and is something that you should not ignore. The warmth provides the perfect spot for bacterial growth that can lead to infection. Always keep your hot tub clean, and never enter if you have any open cuts – just in case. Avoid getting water into your eyes and mouth, and stay away if the tub smells strange.

Hot tubs can present certain health risks for some conditions.

Hot tubs can present certain health risks for some. The amount of steam can make it difficult to breathe for those with asthma. Be sure to check with your doctor to make certain that hot tubs are safe for you.

Hot tub customization will cost you.

Although the option for customization exists, they definitely fall in the pricier range. The cheapest kind are portable tubs that start around 500 dollars, and they are temporary. If you truly want a tub that gives you many benefits and is suited for entertaining guests, you may be looking at anything from around 1,000 dollars to over 8,000 dollars depending on what you want.

Unless you’re slapping down a temporary hot tub and leaving it at that, there are a lot of factors to consider when choosing whether or not to add a hot tub to your house. However, if it’s a good fit for you and fits your budget, a hot tub may just be your favorite addition to the house.

7 Ideas to Bring Lake House Decor to Your Home

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

lake house decor - view from inside a lake houseLake houses are charming and evoke feelings of comfort. You don’t need to own one, however, to indulge in lake house aesthetics. You can bring all the splendor of those houses to your own home! Below are a few ideas to bring lake house decor into your home:

Hues of Blue

Hues of blue are the way to go when decorating. In particular, you will want to make sure that your home has navy and sky blue. These are staple colors that remind you of the outdoors, lakes and sandy shores. Cream colors go very well with this style as well.Try to keep it simple, and it will turn out surprisingly well.

Let in Light

Lake houses mean summer, and summer means light. Keep your windows and any sliding doors free of draperies so that you can invite as much sunlight in as possible. This will effectively brighten up your home. Open windows will also give a clear view of the outdoors, which is a nice change of pace after keeping holed up in the winter season.

Add Extra Seating

Summer is the time to invite friends over, and with a lake house comfort is the most important aspect. Add extra seating to accommodate your guests, and create a cozy space.

Create a Bar Cart

Add a bit of flair by making a bar cart. A bar cart is a simple and inexpensive way of showcasing drinks that can be easily moved from room to room. As the name suggests, it is a simple cart to be decorated to your liking filled with any drinks you may desire. To add to the decor of your home, we suggest a wooden cart in lighter shades.

Mix Motifs When Decorating

Sometimes, try to mix motifs when decorating. This will give your home an informal look. This will help guests feel less like they are visiting a ritzy luxury hotel, and be more at ease x. While not following a single theme, it will also make your decor unique, and stand out.

Maintain a Rustic Look

Keep away from any modern styled appliances or decoration. Maintaining a rustic look will allow you to foster that sense of the outdoors – regardless of where your home is truly located.

Add Personal Touches

Add personal touches in every room, even unexpected ones, such as the kitchen. Adding a family portrait will create a very personal sensation that keeps your home from feeling too methodical

For more inspiration, you can look up pictures online of some lakeside homes. You will see a pattern, some of which we have described above, but the most important thing of all is to focus on simplicity, comfort, and looking natural.

Summer Decor Trends of 2017

by CustomHomes on Friday, June 30, 2017

summer decor trends - greeneryWith each new season and each new year, there are new trends appearing for the first time, or returning from previous years. Finding inspiration for what will make your home fresh and exciting is tough some years, so here are some summer trends of 2017 to get you started:

Matte Appliances

Matte appliances let an object speak for itself. They give the room a very simple look, eliminating shine and other gaudy aspects that would distract from it. This simplicity allows it to go with many other kinds of decor.

Cerused Wood

Cerused wood has been worked so that its texture is brought to the forefront. It is particularly beautiful when done with a lighter colored wood, such as oak, and gives the home a very quaint, sometimes fairytale appearance.

Tiles

If not to your liking, an alternative to these could be using subway tiles for walls. It has been popular in the past and is seeing a resurgence for its simplicity and versatility. It’s a more affordable option, and easier to clean and upkeep.

Fold-Up Furniture

Fold up furniture pays tribute to “less is more”. When entertaining people, it can sometimes be difficult to find enough space. Being able to tuck away furniture that you don’t need to make way for others will be both efficient, impressive and enchanting.

Bright Green

A bright green color for your walls. Having been through winter, green is a color that we’ve all been sorely missing. The one titled ‘Greenery’ by Pantone Color is especially cheery and is sure to liven your home.

Tropical Prints

Along this vein, tropical prints are making a return. Whether you display it in your wallpaper, sheets, covers or rugs they will pop out. They work especially well against the green backdrop of your walls and lend an ambiance of joviality.

Mixed Patterns

Not particularly fond of tropical prints? Mixed patterns are an elegant alternative, bringing forth the same colors while providing an array of different designs to make your home feel unique. Mixed patterns may seem like they will make a room seem too busy, and if used in overabundance they can. When worked well, however, they serve excellently to anchor a specific piece of furniture—such as a bed—to a room.

Artisan Crafts

Artisan-crafted items are slowly taking spotlight over the Do It Yourself variety. These lovely pieces of furniture are crafted for a simple look and are made to last so they will not require as much upkeep or replacement. If you know where to look, you can find beautiful pieces that will complement whichever room you wish.

These are just a few suggestions we have found. Take what you’d like, because first and foremost, you have to be happy with your own home.

Home Security: 2017 Devices and Trends

by CustomHomes on Monday, June 19, 2017

Security cameraA home is meant to be comfortable. It’s somewhere you can go at the end of the day to relax, and feel free to be yourself. A home is also a shelter; a place to protect you from the elements. Homes protect their inhabitants from whatever dangers the world may hold – as long as they are secure. Crime is an unfortunate truth in our lives, but there are steps we can take to protect ourselves, our family, and our property.

2017 Security Devices and Trends

Predictions indicate that 2017 is the year that smart home technology will enter the mainstream. A smart home refers to houses whose appliances are all connected and can be controlled remotely by the owner via phone or internet. These can include televisions, temperature control, lighting, electronics including televisions, computers, security and camera systems.

Mobile Integration

Mobile integration, in particular, is a focus of the year 2017  that will allow homeowners to access and monitor video surveillance. It will also enable security alerts for trouble points directly to your phone! Smart homes lend to increased security in a multitude of ways. Some of these security systems can be pricey at their outset. However, they are well worth the investment and they deliver returns over time as they protect you from costly home disasters.

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance will no longer be reserved just for rich businesses. As technology continues to advance, they will slowly but surely be more readily available for residential homes as well. We’re already seeing some smaller devices make appearances, complete smartphone-enabled monitoring.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors, much like smoke detectors, are a must for home security.  They attach to your wall, much like a smoke detector, and function by detecting high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous gas that can be found in many homes and is virtually undetectable. It can be incredibly harmful, even fatal, because it mimics and replaces oxygen in the blood. While the impostor runs rampant, it deprives organs of oxygen.  Carbon monoxide is one risk you do not want to ignore.

Flood Detector

Another detector that will keep your mind at ease is a flood detector. It is installed and also functions in much the same way as a smoke detector. A flood sensor detects the moisture level in your home and warns you of potential flooding from broken pipes or faulty appliances.

These are only a few of the trends that we’ve  found. As each day passes, new advances in technology allow for more and more people to better prepare themselves for any emergencies that may come their way. Safety is something you can’t over prepare for, so we suggest keeping an eye open for anything new!

Fire Pit Options and S’mores Recipes

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fire pitA fire pit is an excellent option for spending some quiet time with friends and families socializing. On a calm night you can sit around the warm fire, giving off a soothing ambiance as the sounds of crackling fire and chirps fill the darkening sky, everything around you illuminated by a warm glow as you are surrounded by good company. Fire pits are a quaint option to bring people over to socialize for the summer, and below are different methods of creating one, along with some recipes for s’mores.

Wood Burning Fire Pits

The first and most common are wood burning fire pits. These are very similar to your regular campfire and can easily be set up in your backyard. They require very careful maintenance, however, and you should be certain to take all the proper steps needed to avoid the spread of fire. These can be built either using a wood burning grill, which will allow for many different kinds of cooking and grilling for an assortment of foods, an outdoor fireplace which can be bought as either a portable one, a built-in design, or if you follow proper procedure can be dug out for a temporary one. The other option is also a DIY possibility, and that is a brick or stone fire pit.

Propane Fire Pits

Propane fire pits are more convenient, easier to manage, but more expensive. Propane fire pits can be larger as they are easier to maintain, and can be more decorative. Instead of just a regular pit you can have something like a copper bowl,which is a common but aesthetic option—if quite expensive.. A fire table is somewhat less so and more unique, and are convenient as they have space where you can rest your drink or food. Food cooked over a propane fire as opposed to a wooden one, may not taste quite as good.

S’Mores Recipes

There are many more methods of having fire pits, both creating one yourself and buying one, but what’s a good campfire gathering without the tradition of s’mores? Here are some ways of making them.

  • There is the classic – regular graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows melted together in a creamy and crunchy sandwich.
  • Add some Oreos in between to get the sweetness of a different flavor, or if you are a fan, some Nutella.
  • After partially melting them, try adding a favorite syrup of yours such as chocolate, caramel, or vanilla.
  • Instead of graham crackers, use your favorite kind of cookie like chocolate chip, peanut butter, or cinnamon.

Why Indoor Patios are Becoming a Trend

by CustomHomes on Monday, June 12, 2017

PatioPatios are a place of comfort, and are a space where family and friends can gather together to enjoy each other’s company. As of late, there has been a rising trend of creating indoor patios — enclosed patios that are still spacious, and provide a beautiful view on all sides to the outdoors.

Indoor Patios can be Used Year-Round

Indoor patios can be convenient because they provide many of the benefits of a regular patio. They can also be used in inclement weather and help keep those pesky bugs out better. An indoor patio allows for more flexibility when it comes to design. Surrounding walls and a ceiling allow you to hang whatever decorative items you would like.

Indoor Patios are Sunrooms

Indoor patios can also be referred to as sunrooms. As their name suggests, they invite as much of the sun in as possible. That means that windows are an incredibly important feature of any sunroom. Most sunrooms tend to have at least one wall which is replaced almost entirely by glass to provide ample space to look outside to a beautiful garden or neighborhood. The rising popularity of these rooms is that they provide the best of both worlds — allowing you the scenic view of the beautiful outdoors while enjoying all the comforts of the indoors.

Indoor Patios Make Great Sitting Rooms

They can be simple sitting rooms with just the basic necessities, such as couches, sofas, and tables. Or, they can be incredibly lavish, containing a small pool, paintings, chandeliers, and anything that strikes your fancy. They can even contain a fireplace so they can be enjoyed in the winter The most important thing to remember is that their primary purpose is for relaxation and socialization. Comfort comes before anything else, and creating a soothing atmosphere with mild and warm colors is recommended. A few of the ways you can create the perfect atmosphere in for your sunroom include:

  • Matching chairs that coordinate with your furniture
  • Enough space to accommodate everyone
  • Mood lighting
  • Plenty of tables for people to sit down their plates and drinks
  • A colorful view

Below are a few pictures to give you inspiration. Many of these are grand, and you can aspire to make one just as great, or more so. However, they don’t have to be so lavish. They just need to provide you with the space that you need to relax and gather together with your loved ones.

sunroom tiled indoor patio

fancy sunroom

Three Ways to Make Your Bedroom More Comfortable

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comfy bedroomThe bedroom is the most important room in our house. It is where we go to retire, to relax and be ourselves. It’s where we sleep and can shoo away the stress by indulging in our favorite solo hobbies, whether it be reading, video games, drawing, or anything else. Our room is the room that is there for us first and foremost, and not to impress or entertain others. Your bedroom should be what makes you happiest and most comfortable, but if you still feel a little lost on where to get started here are three ways to make your bedroom more comfortable.

Take Care of Your Bed

Take good care of the most important part of your bedroom – the bed! Take note of how you feel every morning. Do you wake up with any aches or pains? If so, you might be in need of a new mattress. This can make or break how good a rest you get, and mattresses do need to be replaced every five to seven years. If there is one thing that you can splurge on, it’s the piece of furniture that will give you that wonderful thing called a proper night’s rest. As tedious as it can be, making your bed in the morning will also help. A clean bed is more inviting and comfortable, often times most of the clutter of a room can come from a bed that is unkempt and piled with clothing and discarded items. Cleaning your bed can instantly make your room seem so much cleaner, and thus roomier.

Pay Attention to Lighting

Make sure your room is well lit. Being in a dim or dark space for extended periods of time will take its toll on you. Even if it is something as small as hanging up string lights, it’s important to give yourself proper visibility and enough of a warm glow that you don’t feel suffocated. If you can get some sunlight, that would be the very best that you can do to brighten up your room.

Focus on Your Walls

The third and last tip that we will give you is to focus on your walls. They are one of the most prominent parts of any room, and you will be surrounded on all sides by them. If you do not like the look of them, then you will be degrading the quality of your room significantly. Washed wood or patterned wallpaper are excellent choices to go to, and for the latter, there are many online resources that will let you see a bastion of beautiful wallpapers to find the one that’s perfect for your room.

Craziest Homes From Around the World

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 1, 2017

craziest homesWe know custom homes, but sometimes people come up with the most wild and crazy home ideas on their own. Here is a list of some of our favorite custom homes from around the world, including some that turn the entire concept of a house on its head!

Boeing 727-200 house in Hillsboro, Oregon

This home caters to aviation fans, fitting an entire home into a decommissioned military aircraft. While the build itself cost nearly $330,000 (with $100,00 just for the purchase of the plane) back in 1999, its builder Bruce Campbell says that it has a number of benefits over a traditional home being “highly fire resistant and provides superior security?” Campbell discusses the project in detail on his website, so if you’ve ever dreamed of living in an airplane, you can!

Star Trek Voyage house in Hinckley, Leicestershire

This home was built by Star Trek super fan Tony Alleyne to replicate the interior of the Star Trek Voyager spaceship from the well known Sci-fi TV series. Fans can live long and prosper in this flat that comes complete with a vast array of LED lighting and plenty of video and audio effects to complete the experience. The property was put on the market recently for around $100,000, putting it in the price range of most die-hard fans.

Upside Down House in Trassenheide, Germany

Built as a tourist attraction in 2008, this home literally turns the concept of a house upside town. The home was commissioned by the town from Polish architects Klaudiusz Golos and Sebastaian Mikiciuk for a project titled “The World Upside Down”. The project makes everyday objects available to visitors from different perspectives, including the entire contents of the house, which is fully furnished upside down.

Improving Your Home With Kitchen Remodeling

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kitchen remodelTaking pride in your house is a significant part of being a homeowner. Spicing things up from time to time is part of the territory, and this often leads to remodeling. The obvious place to start for most people is with the kitchen, ripe with opportunities for improvements that can both make your life easier and increase the value of your home.

Increasing the Value of Your Home

Many real estate agents suggest kitchen remodeling as the number one way to increase your home’s value. Not only does it allow you to update kitchen appliances and the general usability of the space, but an improved appearance will attract more potential home buyers should you ever decide to put your home on the market.

According to surveys of potential home buyers, the things that improve the perceived value of a kitchen the most are the quality of the appliances, the appearance of cabinets or storage, and the inclusion of a central island within the cooking area.

Focusing on these three areas will help you to achieve the maximum bang for your buck, allowing your kitchen remodeling project to pay off in an increased home value later down the road.

Better Parties and Easier Cooking

The real reason that you probably want to remodel your kitchen though is so that you can spend more time cooking and entertaining, rather than worrying about how you can make it all work.

Adding an island to your kitchen can make a world of difference in your cooking, and ensuring that you have a good kitchen work triangle can make preparing to entertain drastically easier. If you find that you bake a lot, consider putting in a two-oven stove, and if you’re tired of doing dishes, upgrading your dishwasher can help you to take a load off.

Regardless of why you would like to remodel your kitchen, it is almost always a good long-term move financially, and it can be a fun project for your family.

Preparing to Entertain Guests After a Long Winter

by CustomHomes on Thursday, May 25, 2017

entertain guests - outdoor partyAfter a long, dreary winter what better way to usher in the spring than hosting something festive outside? Whether vast or compact, your yard can be the centerpiece to any gathering. The only limit is your imagination! Of course, once the snow melted it may have revealed certain undesirable aspects of your outdoor space that were best left hidden. Not to worry, we have a surefire method to bring your yard back to life with the rest of spring.

What Kind of Gathering Will you Have?

The first step towards your perfect gathering starts with visualizing what is ideal. Walk out onto your porch, or deck, or back door, and imagine your guests. What are they doing? Milling about a snack table, or perhaps playing a rousing game of horseshoes? Try to feel the atmosphere you want to host and work towards producing it. Picture the flow of the space and what kind of furniture you may wish to invest in. You might even consider purchasing, or cultivating, landscape upgrades to facilitate your ideal setting. Having a rough plan will energize you enough to get through the next step: cleaning.

Tallying the Issues

There are varying levels of yard disrepair that reveal themselves as the snow melts away. The second step is making a list, mental or physical, of everything you need to spruce up before setting a date for your get-together. For example, the remains of last year’s leaves that you swore you bagged; discarded sports equipment, chipping deck stain, and even some scattered remnants from last year’s garden party. Set a tentative schedule for yourself to get everything done by the time the weather hits the sweet spot between brisk and boiling.

Getting to Work

It may not be the most glamorous facet of a garden soiree, but rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business is the third stage of yard preparation. Get your rake out of storage and get started on clearing your canvas for this year’s masterpiece. It doesn’t need to be as daunting as it seems! Bringing in your family and friends can greatly reduce the workload and incorporating a game is a great incentive. Alternately, you can always hire a landscaper! Especially if your schedule is tight. If your budget is tighter, however, doing odd jobs like this is an annual mainstay for local youths roving about once summer sets in.

Fill in the Gaps

By far the most fun, the next part of the process requires style and finesse. Embarking on a journey to buy anything missing for your ideal yard is a most fitting reward. Refer back to your vision and compare items in-store or online for the best deals. When it comes to types of pest control, discerning research may not be as necessary; however, furniture sets and pond installation may. Once you’ve purchased your missing garden accessories, lay them out! Build the new gazebo and relish how it looks in your yard. Enjoy how nicely the deck’s new stain turned out and how closely it matches the old bocce ball set.

When you’ve made your visualization your reality, check the weather and set a date. It’s time to show it off!

Designing Your Own Workshop

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

WorkshopThere are infinite possibilities for creative folks to express themselves and enjoy their craft. Space to thrive in these pursuits, however, is much harder to come by. When the kitchen table becomes too limiting for your creations, or your family gets tired of eating around them, it might be time to consider moving into a workshop.

Having a place to call your own is an empowering feat if you are willing to begin the journey to design it. Fortunately, we may have a few recommendations up our sleeve to get you started.

Plan Your Workshop Space

First up, empty the space! Clear as many objects as you can from your chosen work area. The easiest way to protect your belongings while engaging in your hobby is to separate them. Prepare for any mess possible. You never know what kind of spills – or fires – you may accidentally make. If you don’t have durable flooring, consider using a tarp for easy cleanup.

What you make influences what kind of shop you will have. Every workshop will have different tools depending on your projects. Identify what equipment your particular craft needs to function. Make a list of all the tools you will require to get started and head to your nearest hardware store to stock up. Alternately, you can also research equipment online if you are willing to pay shipping and wait out delivery.

Some equipment has universal appeal and you’d be hard-pressed to find a workshop without. For instance, any workshop worth its salt will have a shop-vac. These are handy for any messy hobby and can really help in a pinch. Sawdust, spray-down castoff, chunks of styrofoam, shop-vacs can clean it all with relative ease. Consider larger items, such as work benches or easels, and purchase them if you don’t already own them. Once you find everything you think you may need, head home and move on to the fun part – setting up!

Setting Up Your Workshop

Unbox all your tools and arrange the furniture first. After all, it’s a lot easier to get back to building once you have a workbench. Hang your tool rack, paint shelf, or silk screen tablet in close proximity to your workbench for simple, quick access. Arrange protective wear near the entrance so you can gear-up and get right to work before crossing the messy threshold. Always include a first-aid kit in your layout! Getting to an eyewash or baking soda repository quickly can mean all the difference.

Take a look at your brand new workshop and marvel in what you have accomplished – this space will be the birth of many future creations!

Spring Cleaning: Getting Rid of Clutter in Your Home

by CustomHomes on Monday, May 22, 2017

DeclutterIt’s spring time, and homeowners everywhere are realizing that junk has stacked up this winter. Teachers have piles of ungraded papers, parents have scattered forgotten children’s’ toys, and working stiffs have mounds of unopened junk mail. Fervently neat homes become littered with these stacks of miscellaneous odds and ends; leaving their homeowners feeling helpless.

Daunting as it may seem, battling the tchotchkes that slowly eat your home can be done. Here are some helpful tips to reclaim your home and keep it for good!

Where Does Your Clutter Gather?

Identifying your go-to clutter areas is the first step towards establishing an annual spring cleaning routine. For example, where in your home do you head after picking up the mail? Do you have a favorite end table in the entryway? Or perhaps the kitchen counter? Neither of these need to be bastions for that unopened mail.

Often, clutter results from the various everyday tasks we leave abandoned about the house. Instead of going through the mail, we may become distracted by something more fun. Sometimes unfavorable mail may spark immediate attention. Over time, we form habits to release us from the everyday mail obligation.The kitchen counter will always accept the unwanted letters – unless you find a more appropriate solution.

Fun Habits Make Clean Homes

Establishing replacement habits is the second stage of clutter-busting. Mail in hand, mindfully step over the threshold and hesitate before letting it drop on the counter. Sort it, placing anything important that must be attended to into an organized, labeled, container. Everything else can promptly be recycled. Keep it interesting! Leave little notes for yourself at the hotspots as a reminder. Get creative: signs that say “the counter is made of lava” are a fun way to eliminate clutter without being too hard on yourself.

Minimizing Potential Clutter

These steps can be refined and adapted for any hotspot to prevent. But what about the remnants? The book that you always meant to read sitting on the back of the toilet? You could put it away, but alternately, do you really need it? Taking a good hard look at your belongings is a crucial part of spring cleaning. This stage is all about ridding your home of the things you could do without.

When you just can’t decide, there are a few tricks that can simplify the process. For instance, asking your partner or a friend to pare down for you. It may be tough, but others are always more willing to part with your things than you are. Another tactic is to ask yourself how many months have gone by without using the particular items on the chopping block. A good rule of thumb is: if you haven’t used it in a year, chuck it. If it has sentimental value “take a picture it’ll last longer.” It also takes up significantly less space.

Maintaining these steps should maintain your clutter-free home. So next year, you can spend spring outside instead of cooped up!

Tips To Make A Productive and Comfortable Home Office

by CustomHomes on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Home officeA messy, ugly, or uncomfortable work space can be a huge deterrent to your work. If you do not feel at ease in your environment it is easy to feel restless, become distracted, or not put forth your best effort.

Even more so, spending long hours in a place or room that you do not like will add unnecessary stress that can effect other aspects of your life, and your happiness. That’s why it can be just as important to give the same attention to your work space, as you would the rest of home.

Here are some tips for making a more productive and comfortable home office.

Avoid Too Much Decoration

As it is your home office, the temptation to decorate it with a lot of your interests will be great, but this will only serve to distract you. Remember that personal life and work should be kept at least somewhat divided.

Pay Close Attention to Lighting

Lighting is very important. If you work in the dark or in dim light then it will create a very dingy atmosphere that will bring your mood down, and thus, the quality of your work. Extended hours in such an environment can also effect your mood outside of work. Make sure to keep it bright and lit, and if you can have a window which you can open up for fresh air, that’s even better.

Get a Suitable Chair

The chair you will sit at while you work is the most important piece of furniture in this room. Back pain is notoriously high among Americans and can be felt late into your life if you do not take proper care of your back. This means finding a chair that is both comfortable and offers proper support.There are many sources online that can guide you to the different things to take into consideration when buying yourself a suitable chair.

Employ Proper Wire Management

Maintain proper wire management.This means do not let all the wires and cords for whatever technical equipment you might be using get tangled or lay bundled on the ground. It’s displeasing to the eye, a potential hazard, and makes it that much more difficult if you ever need to mood things or change your equipment.

Maintain Office Supply Inventory

Stock up on office supplies. The less that you need to distract yourself with running out and getting what you need, the better. Knowing that you have a surplus will keep your mind at ease.

Put Comfort at the Top of the List

Remember, above all, to prioritize comfort. Comfort will reduce stress, and make it easy for you to sink into your work readily.

Giving Your Home Curb Appeal

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

HomeA term often used by real estate agents is ‘curb appeal’. Curb appeal refers to the attractiveness of your home from a street view—essentially, its front, including the surrounding area whether it’s a simple stoop or a sprawling landscape.

First impressions can leave a huge impact on people looking to buy a home, and the street view of your home could be the sole deciding factor for someone coming to investigate more. Curb appeal is important, not just for those who are considering selling their home, but even for those who simply want their day to be brightened when they return home after a long day of work. A beautiful welcoming site can lift your mood extraordinarily.

Here are just a couple of tips to give your home some curb appeal:

Paint Your Door and Shutters

Paint your door and your shutters, preferably a bright, bold color to make them pop out. Most homes come in soft hues and so creating a stark contrast against the rest of your house will make it stand out. Make sure to properly prepare all surfaces so that the paint job can last to its fullest.

Paint or Upgrade Your Mailbox

Paint or upgrade your mailbox.When it comes to mailboxes you’ll want to check with your city’s regulations to make certain you are abiding by them, but this is another way to make your home stand out by making it something unique. If you are simply wanting to make your home stand out more for your own pleasure, then feel free to make it representative of your interests.

Landscaping Makes a Difference

It goes without saying that landscaping can make a drastic difference. Whether it’s going as far as planting new trees, or simply having some flower pots or baskets by your windows, or around your porch or stoop plants breath new life into your home.

Update or Replace House Numbers

If you do not have house numbers, or if they have not been replaced in a long time, get new ones. Make sure that they are large enough to read from a distance. Choosing shiny numbers with modern fonts gives it a soothing effect. Cracked, dingy, or loose house numbers will stand out, and not having any at all will make your home more difficult to find for guests.

Pressure Wash Porch and Driveway

If you have a wooden porch or a driveway, pressure washing them will help restore their shine and get into those hard to reach places. Many tool shops or home improvement shops rent out pressure washers if you do not own one.

When it comes down to it, think like a buyer. If you were looking at your home and considering if you would buy it again as it is, what would you like to see? Are you glad as it is? Are there things you would like to change? If so, make the changes you wish to see.

How to Make Your Home’s Facade Beautiful

by CustomHomes on Thursday, May 11, 2017

Home facadeThe facade of your home is what you and your guests will see when they first arrive. It is the first impression of your home, and thus, perhaps the most important one. It is what you will see when you return after a long day’s work, or after being gone on vacation for a long time. That’s why you want to make it your own, make it something comforting, beautiful, and that has its own uniqueness. Here are some tips that you can follow to add that bit of extra charm to the entrance of your home.

Fresh Paint

With summer around the corner, a fresh coat of paint will liven up your home. It’s a simple method, but an effective one that will make it appear renewed and ambient. Painting a bright feature, such as a focal wall, in particular, will help it to stand out with the rest of your home, and give it a luminescent quality.

New Front Door

A new front door makes a remarkable difference and can make your home feel like something new. It is what allows you to pass into and our of your home every day, something you see countless times and barely register because of how accustomed you have become to it. Something new to look at will be sure to invigorate you.

Decorate Your Porch

Decorate your porch or stoop. Adding some greenery will bring yet more color to your facade.Dahlias, marigolds, peonies, zinnia, aster, and plumerias are just a couple of the beautiful flowers that thrive in summer that will bring you vibrant colors and make your home welcoming. If you grow them in pots you can give yourself a nice variety of different flowers of varying hues. Accompanying stone figurines will add just that more of a natural and artistic atmosphere to your porch.

Patterns Make You Stand Out

Think in patterns. If you have brickwork done, think of different ways in which you can angle or stack the bricks so they still serve their purpose, but do not look the same as every other brick building. Composite stone structures can give a rustic look that is beautiful on its own, but try different compositions if you want to give your facade that extra pizzazz. Wooden structures can work just as well for this, and both, if used in a vertical pattern or overhang, can cast shadows that allow for a creativity all its own.

Keep things compact. Centering your facade can allow you and visitors to take it all in at once, and it makes every bit of decoration all the more prominent for it. Sprawling facades give more chance for very empty spaces that will make your home look lonely.

In the end, these are just suggestions.What matters most, is what makes your facade say “welcome home.”

Refresh Your Home Decor For Spring

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spring decorSpring has arrived at last, which means it’s out with the winter decoration, and in with the spring! Spring means it is time to replace the cool hues of the colder season, with the vibrant ones that celebrate the return of flowers and the bright sun. Below are just a couple of ideas that can be used to spruce your home up and make it look more lively for the season.

Plants and Flowers

Plants and flowers can be a simple way to spruce up a home, but they can be a little difficult to manage especially when they start wilting. Terrariums help plants to grow, keep them in a cozy and neat enclosed space, can be moved around easily, and act as beautiful decor in themselves.

Curtains

Replace your curtains and part them. It’s amazing what difference sunlight can make to a room, especially after having been deprived of it for so long during this extended winter. Sunlight brings out the color in your room and can rejuvenate you and your guests by banishing that seasonal depression. Curtains can be expensive, but an easy way to make something new is to buy stencils and fabric pain to redecorate them on your own.

Lights

In regards to lights, cleaning windows, mirrors, and light fixtures will aid in making said light look as bright and clean as ever. Dirty lights will give off unequally muggy air which in turn will bring down the mood and takeaway from your decoration.

Colors

Using the color green in various hues is eye catching, and stands out as being the thing we’ve been missing through all the cold seasons. As the world outside comes alive with green, bring life to your home with it as well. Citrus colors as a whole are greatly recommended to give it that truly vibrant feel.

Spring Cleaning

While dreaded, spring cleaning is always worth the effort. Moving your furniture around, getting to all those spots you could before, it can all have an effect even if we are not conscious of it. Even in our own bedrooms, different positioning can feel like a brand new start, and that’s what every new year should be.

If you have a screen door, keep your regular door open to let in a healthy breeze and keep the bugs out. New air circulating through your home will keep you upbeat, and the sound of the outdoors will lend to the ambiance.

When it comes to spring, think of light, color, and energy. These three things will give you the fervor needed to jump into the start of the warm season and make you enjoy your home just as much as you do the outside world.

Spring Centerpieces for any Room of Your Home

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

FlowersThere are few pieces of home decor that are more central than the aptly named centerpiece. Not only do these wonderful bits of decoration help to bring a room together, but they also create a wonderful conversation piece. What’s wonderful about centerpieces, however, is that they aren’t trapped to kitchen table, but can, instead, find a home just about everywhere in your house. Here are a few of our favorite Spring centerpiece ideas that you can use to liven up any room in your home.

Spring Flowers are a Perfect Fit!

When we think Spring, we’re looking for fresh air, light colors, and open, but ultimately soft, design. Flowers can work wonders here, especially if you do your own gardening. Use Pansy, Tulip, Lilacs, and Daffodils to help flesh out your Spring color pallet. Once you’ve arranged your flowers, consider adding other elements with similar colors to really make your centerpiece stand out. We like to use a crackle glass vase with some curled ribbon to help create that Spring time feeling. This is a great centerpiece to place wherever there is some good direct sunlight such as in the kitchen, dining room or living room.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Cute

Pastels aren’t the only theme that’s a lot of fun to work with. Given the proximity to the Easter holiday, there are a lot of cute and cuddly elements you can work with for your Spring Themed centerpiece. Bunnies are always good if you’re a fan of the Easter bunny, but ducks and frogs are also a great choice to play with. You can use a small basket lined with some raffia or easter grass to house either a statuette or even a small stuffed animal. Use this as centerpiece for children’s room or up on the mantelpiece. It can also make a great place holder for your children’s Easter basket when the time arises.

Rain Rain Rain

Spring is a time for growing things, both plants and animals. It also usually means a lot of rain. There are a lot of fun rain themed ideas you can play with. Your children’s old rain boots, for example, might be too small for them to wear, but would make for the perfect vase or centerpiece base. Little rain boots are great for small decorations inside the house. Try planting some succulents in a toddler sized boot for something that can live on your windowsill. If you’re looking for a cute decorative idea that is hardy enough to live outdoors, why not turn some old rain boots into a planter. If you have multiple children, you can arrange the boots via size and color and choose what to plant in them accordingly.

Just remember, these are just a few of our favorite design ideas as a means to get you started. Fortunately, with the internet at your fingertips there’s an impossible amount of other designs and ideas out there for you to play with. The important part about all of this is to have fun! Spring is a great time to enjoy some crafting time with the kiddos before it gets too warm and nice out to reasonably keep them inside.

Have fun and Happy Spring!

Funky Bathroom Decor

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

BathroomLet’s be honest, bathroom design can be one of the most boring things to decide on. While modern aesthetics tend to lean towards whites or neutral colors, there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for imagination. That’s not to say that a neutral bathroom can’t look good; quite the opposite, in fact, it’s just kind of overdone. So, where does that leave you? You could go for contrasting black and white for a dynamic look. While it’s a strong aesthetic, it usually means you’re going to be shelling out a good bit of money to refit your bathroom fixtures. That or paint the walls black which… yeesh.

So instead of going the safe or the conservative route, why not shake things up a bit? Instead of the neutral, the plain, and the ordinary, it’s time to get FUNKY!

Dig that Fresh Color!

One of the best parts about going with a funky bathroom design is that you have so many more color options than you would otherwise. Bring in the strong primaries to create a colorful and bold pallet. Try blending in some purples and… dare we say it? Neon! If you want to break away from the ordinary, then color is a quick and easy way to go about it.

A little wary of rocking the neon green in the bathroom? That’s okay. Why not start small at first and see how you feel about it. Quite a surprising number of bathroom accessories come in some pretty amazing colors, neons included which can add a fun little pop of color, without feeling too busy or overwhelming.

Play with Your Wall Coverings

If you really want to step outside the realm of the ordinary and have some fun with your bathroom design, why not try changing up some of the materials you’re using for the walls. While you’ll still need a drywall base, we’ve seen some pretty awesome use of materials to really change the game. One of our favorites was the use of old metal license plates to cover the walls. How awesome would that be in your den or man cave? Metal signs not your bag? We’ve seen brick interior walls, wooden siding, and even some unlikely wallpaper all used to create a brand new look and feel for these funky water closets.

Tile and Lights

When you’re building a new bathroom or just remodeling an existing one, take some time and give a little thought to your material options. You can really pull off some great looks with a little creative tile laying. If you’re artistically inclined, consider building your own tile mosaics to add a lot of visual interest without having to spend a lot of money in the process.

Lighting is another important facet to designing the perfect funky bathroom. Take a look at some retro or vintage light fixtures to shed a little light on your design. If you haven’t had a chance, take a look at the old school style “Edison” bulbs which we just think are really neat.

Funky, retro, and vintage are all design styles that can offer a lot of visual interest to your bathroom as well as giving it a truly unique look. Plus, once you tackle the bathroom, you can expand to other rooms with funky home decor. If you’re still a little shy about diving head first into an “outside the lines” design, just remember that you can do a little bit at a time to see how well it works for you!

Home Decor Trends of 2017

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Trendy roomThere are few things worse than being cooped up all Winter staring at the same design and arrangement of your home. When Spring cleaning hits, it can be tempting to break the stir crazy and go on a madcap renovation spree. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Sometimes you just get tired of looking at the same thing every day when you come home and when that happens the only cure is to do something about it. So, if you’re looking for some fresh designs to update the look and feel of your home, we have you covered with some of the newest trends for 2017.

Less is More

With the tiny house craze and the need for the conservation of space in studio apartments, space conservation is becoming a huge trend, which is pretty cool to be honest. Chances are, you’ve seen at least one video floating around online about the multi purpose furniture, like the ottoman that turns into four stools, or the kitchen table that can transform into a full service desk. If not, then we highly suggest you check it out, as it’s pretty entertaining if nothing else.

Nevertheless, the less is more craze is happening and it might just be the perfect fit for your home. Not only can it help you cut down on occupied floor space, but it certainly creates an interesting conversation piece when you have company. Even if you have a lot of space, these space-saving, transformer-inspired furniture pieces help you make the most of your space. Plus, they add flexibility and versatility to your rooms.

Mixed Patterns

Sometimes it seems like trends are a little late to the party when you need them most. Mixed patterns, for example, would have been great when you had your first apartment and absolutely nothing matched! However, what once was simply making do is now rather chic when it comes to interior design. The beauty of this trend is that allows concept pieces to blend in with the rest of the room’s design. So, feel free to mix and match your patterns and play with complementary colors to create a look that is both refreshing and entirely unique.

Step Away from the Glue Gun

DIY has had the rule of the roost for the past several years, largely thanks to the popularity of Pinterest tutorials. However, 2017 is seeing a step away from the home handicrafts and looking more towards the artisanal aesthetic of things. Craftsmanship is starting to make a big return, largely in part to a return towards artistic professions such as glass blowing, woodworking, and pottery. If you’re looking for a look and design that gives your home a sense of refinement as well as visual interest, then it’s time to support your local artists! That, or go learn a new hobby, which can also be a fun adventure.

These are just a few new trends that are cropping up for 2017 but by no means are the only ones. We’ve seen a lot of fresh looks coming into play so far this year and we’re not even half way through yet!

How to Decorate with Neutrals

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Neutral roomColors are a fantastic design element as they can very subtly, or even directly, change the mood of a room. However, when it comes to your interior design, letting your color palette get out of hand can be a disaster. Yes, there is such a thing as “too yellow” and you’ll know it when you see it.

Because there are a seemingly infinite number of paint colors you can have mixed up, choosing the right palette to work with can be a little overwhelming. Before you start glazing over paint swatches, knowing what direction you want to go with can help save you some time and energy. With that being said, if you’re looking for a look that is both crisp and clean, while still feeling inviting, you might want to consider working with a neutral palette.

Why Neutrals?

While a lot of people might hear the word neutral and immediately associate it with boring, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The beauty of neutrals is that they give you a nice subtle palette to work with, while still giving the room an open and clean look. Unlike other color choices, such as the warmer orange and red tones, neutrals won’t overwhelm the senses when you walk into a room.

Additionally, neutral tones are a lot more versatile than you’d expect. If you want an earthier look, you can lean more towards browns, beiges, and taupes. If you want to play with some contrast without the stark look of black and white, use whites, grays, and other mid-tones to round out your palette.

Is There Such a Thing as “Too Neutral”?

The beauty of working with neutral colors is that they really lend themselves to the balance of a room. Rather than having one color overpowering everything else in the room or, conversely, having too many colors making the room too busy, neutrals provide balance. With that being said, if you’re using just neutral colors to decorate, then you might have a room that is a bit too muted. Fortunately, that’s a really easy fix.

Remember, the idea behind neutral is that they are rather tame colors, which allow them to blend and flow quite easily. By using other complementary tones to your base color, you can create a well-rounded look. If you’re feeling as though it’s missing something, try using some brighter-colored accessories to add just a little extra pop of color and energy. The beauty of that calm and neutral energy is that it will make the small accent pieces much more pronounced, allowing you to add a little something extra without going into overkill.

Go with the Flow

One of the coolest aspects of using neutral colors to decorate a room is that you can easily change the feel of the room by switching one of the tones around, all while keeping that room in line with the rest of the color scheme of you have going in the rest of your home. This allows you to keep the flow and continuity going throughout your home while still giving each room its own attention and feeling.

So, if you’re looking for a great range of colors to use for your home’s interior, without being bombarded every time you walk into a room, neutrals are the perfect way to go!

Popular March 2017 Colors

by CustomHomes on Thursday, March 16, 2017

As we look forward to spring, it may be time to add a new splash of color (or several splashes) to your home to make your living space feel fresh and clean. Here are some of the top colors for March 2017. See what you think, experiment within your home, and fall in love with new pigments and textures.

Dusky Blue Dusky Blue

Dusky blue is an almost indigo color that is rich and calming. The velvety texture of the paint can create an open and fresh feeling to your living room, bedroom, or even your guest room. If you have a smaller home or smaller rooms, you may want to consider using dusky blue as an accent wall only. Otherwise, it can make the room darker and feel a bit smaller. Or, you can always put the shade on the ceiling to create a modern and fresh look.

Earthy Green (often with Taupe)

Earthy green with taupe accents can create a warm, comfortable aesthetic to any room. If your style is rustic or country, this can be the perfect answer to bold colors or a boring white. Just be sure that the greens and taupe have similar undertones. This will help keep your room, or rooms, calming and comfortable.

Dusted YellowDusted Yellow

This yellow will remain mellow with time but will not look ruddy or bland depending on the accent colors you choose or the decorations you have. Darker blues or whites can create a stunning and open feeling with this yellow. Rosy pinks and muted greens can bring comfort and style to many rooms. If you decide to go with the dusted yellow, we suggest matte instead of glossy. This will mesh better with accents.

Stone White

Stone white has beautiful gray undertones that give it a timeless and elegant look on any walls. This can be used as the main paint color or to work with other colors and textures. While we love accent walls, we suggest using stone white as a primary wall color. This will keep the rooms in your home open and bright.

Cloudberry Lavender

A simple lavender is a light and delicate color that goes with many colors and textures without becoming overwhelming or intimidating. If you decide to use this shade, be sure to have it accented with a darker color like slate or charcoal. Or, you can go glam and try gold!

3 Tips to Beautify Your Bathroom on a Budget

by CustomHomes on Thursday, March 9, 2017

beautify your bathroomBathrooms are notoriously difficult to decorate, but doing so can have a bigger impact than in any other room in your house. If you want to impress your guests, make your bathroom stand out, or just want to change things up a bit, check out our tips. You can improve your bathroom without breaking the bank!

Spruce Up Your Shower

Your shower is a great place to start with your bathroom makeover. Things like shower curtains and rods are fairly inexpensive, but take up a lot of visible space. These items can help accent the rest of your bathroom design and decor and help tie it all together.

To add some personal flavor, consider adding stencils to your shower curtain. With some stencils and water proof paint, you can add your favorite designs or quotes, making your shower curtain the new centerpiece of the room. This can be used in almost any bathroom since you can source your shower text from whatever source fits your motif, be it Beyonce or Edgar Allen Poe.

If you want to add some class to your bathroom, consider using a curved shower rod. Not only will it give you extra space in the shower, but the extra dimension can really make your bathroom pop. In addition, using two shower curtains, and using them much like theater curtains might be used, can make your tub seem more elegant.

Replace Eyesores with Themed Containers

Putting a lot of work into decorating your bathroom can seem pointless if you are just going to put an eyesore of a Listerine bottle on the counter. To keep your liquids matching the rest of the room, consider putting shampoos, soaps, and mouthwashes in alternate containers. Antique bottles, crystal decanters, and other more elaborate glass or plastic containers can help your theme flow smoothly and consistently throughout your bathroom.

Make sure that if you are using a glass container that it is not chipped in any way!

Create Magic with Mirrors

Do you want to create an inexpensive but attention grabbing centerpiece for your bathroom?

A simple modification to your current mirror might be just the ticket. Painting the frame of your mirror with a bold color can make it stand out for just the cost of some paint. To make your bathroom appear larger and more open, place small mirrors on the wall in a pattern.

Using these tips, your bathroom will look dashing in no time. Good luck decorating!

2017 Trends in Farmhouse Decorating

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Farmhouse kitchenFarmhouse decor has been a longstanding tradition in American homes, especially for those living in homes that are already 80 or more years old. The mix of warm tones, gentle simplicity, and nostalgia for a less complicated time make it a favorite of many homeowners. Whether you have a well aged antique home or a brand new house that you want to make homier, these design trends for 2017 will help you achieve that farmhouse look.

Window, Window on the Wall

Placing a window frame on your wall adds a unique textured look to an otherwise empty space. The variety of windows available allows you to choose one that will fit the look you want to achieve. Old, reclaimed windows give off a more rustic vibe, while a newer window gives a more modern feel. If you can’t get your hands on an older window, consider getting an untreated frame that you can stain and distress on your own.

If you can’t get your hands on an older window, consider getting an untreated frame that you can stain and distress on your own. This type of decoration typically looks better without any panes within the window frame. Not only does the removal of the glass make it a little safer (especially if you have pets or little ones), but depending on the depth of your window frame, can make a thematic shelf.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors have been fairly common in farmhouses for quite a while, from the traditional style sliders to the more modern pocket doors. Currently receiving a surge in popularity, though, are barn door style sliding doors. These interior entry ways are modeled after a traditional barn door, operating using a set of wheels on an overhead mounted rail system. Modern looking kits are becoming more popular, allowing them to be used in almost anyone’s take on farmhouse decor.

Large White Spaces, Small Black Accents

For many years, reclaimed woods and warm tones made up the majority of farmhouse interior designs. Now, top designers are focusing on a more modern look, leaving large areas of their main rooms just plain white. Small patches of black accent paint around doors, windows, and other fixtures counteract the white to give a simple and elegant look. Then, small areas of more traditional farmhouse decor are placed throughout the room, using the woods and tones that are such a major part of the atmosphere.

We hope these tips inspire some design ideas for your own home. Happy decorating!

Winter Organization Tips to Cure Your Cabin Fever

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Laundry roomCabin fever can get the best of anyone, and sometimes the easiest way to keep it in check is through clever organization. Clutter and misplaced items add to your everyday stress (especially if you have kids). Here are some of our top winter organization tips to help get your clutter under control:

Take Photos of Sentimental Items

Do you have a bin (or five or ten) of items that you keep just because of the memories associated with them? Consider taking photos of the items and backing them up to your computer or an online file storage system. Not only will this clear up a lot of space, but it will better preserve your memories!

Color Code Your Family

Giving everyone in your household their own color for commonly used items can help greatly with organization (and let you know who the troublemaker is). Toothbrushes, cups, lunch boxes, and more can easily be color coded, plus kids love getting to choose their own color.

Recessed Shelving

If you are handy with tools, adding some recessed shelves to a room can be a fun weekend project. Not only will you be able to create more shelf space in your room, but you can do it without losing any floor space if you are careful about wall selection.

Bed Risers (or Frames with Storage)

Using bed risers, or swapping your current bed frame with one that contains built-in storage, can add 20-50 square feet of additional storage space depending on the size of your bed. Seasonal clothes, sheets, and tons of other household items can be tucked away in the newly found space.

Hide Your Cords

All of the miscellaneous cords and plugs from your electronics can be unsightly. When they get tangled up, not only are they a huge source of frustration, but they can be a hazard as well. Hiding your cords behind furniture can help greatly with this issue. They can easily be run behind couches, bookshelves, desks, and more to keep them out of sight and off of your mind.

Go Paperless

One of the biggest sources of clutter in any home is paper. Forms, bills, junk mail, notes; it piles up easily if you aren’t paying attention to it. To combat this, a good option is to go paperless. Set up a scanner and as important papers come in, scan them to your computer, then simply shred and toss them when you are done (or recycle them if your town’s waste management can handle it)! Be careful to hold onto anything important that you might need for your records later. Now, you can enjoy a home without those frustrating piles of useless paper everywhere.

These tips will give you something to do when cabin fever raises its head. Plus, the result will be a less cluttered, more relaxed home.

Funky Home Décor

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

FunkadelicWhile country rustic, modern, and nautical are all wonderful themes, for some, decor needs to be a little different and a little more funky. Here are a few ideas to make your home uniquely you:

Spooky Additions

If you’re a fan of the macabre, there is no reason you can’t have creepy crawlies or ghostly decor around your home all year-round. For some, this means having an extra large Ouija board as a coffee table while for others, it may mean something subtler like gossamer tablecloths or lace wall hangings. For those that love something spooky and subtle, you can use whimsical drapes, Victorian accents, or fun horror movie posters. Why not show your spooky side along with your wonderful decorating skill?

Fluorescent Accents

A pop of color can be the perfect solution to drab or boring decorations. Fluorescent accents have become popular in the last few years because of their in-your-face color and their ability to make the mundane marvelous. While you can use furniture pieces, such as side tables or chairs to create a bright and colorful room, you can be subtler with fluorescent coasters or knick-knacks. You will love the bright and beautiful new atmosphere in your home and it will be interesting and memorable to your guests.

Upcycle

Upcycling is a great way to decorate your home inexpensively and with plenty of creativity. This doesn’t mean you should cover your home with throwaways and thrift store trinkets but it does mean you can create beautiful pieces with reclaimed wood, vintage paper, and old china. You will have a home that showcases your personality and will look perfectly put together.

DIY Reupholstry

DIY reupholstering can be difficult and rewarding all at once. You can bring new life to an ancient piece of furniture or create a beautiful piece out of a not-so-stunning sofa or recliner. Before you begin, however, be sure to have a plan so you will know exactly what to do throughout the whole process. Otherwise, you will end up with a half-reupholstered chair sitting in your driveway waiting for the garbage truck to pick it up.

There are tons of different ways to give your home a funky look, even when it comes to bathroom decor. Enjoy the process and then enjoy the end result!

7 February Home Maintenance Tips

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Organized libraryHome maintenance is important to keep your home from feeling cluttered and stale. Here are a few February home maintenance tips you can use to clean up and declutter your home so your spring cleaning will not be as daunting:

Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

For your safety and security, you should regularly check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. In doing so, you can have peace of mind throughout the rest of the season and you can check this item off your to-do list well before your spring cleaning.

Rotate and Flip Mattress

Rotating and flipping your mattress may make your mattress feel like new. During this, you can also clean and vacuum your mattress. This may actually lengthen the life of your mattress and give you a better night’s sleep.

Dust Walls, Wall Hangings, and Fan Blades

While you may hate this chore, it is always good to dust around your house. You will be amazed by the difference in how it looks and how the air feels. If you want to freshen your home even more, add a dehumidifier or essential oil diffuser.

Shred Unnecessary Paperwork

While you should hold on to the necessary paperwork, unnecessary paperwork like junk mail, newsletters, and unfortunate recipes should meet the shredder. This will keep your home from getting more and more cluttered and will help you find some important stuff hidden among the piles. Just be sure to open all your mail and double check official-looking papers before shredding.

Review Your Home Budget

This may make you cringe but reviewing your home budget will help you trim where possible and add expenses if needed. This will help you gain perspective about where your money goes and what you would rather do with it. You never know, you could find hidden spare funds for investment!

Start a Donation Box

A donation box is a great way to clear out old clothing, kitchenware, and furniture. While you may not see the clutter originally, you will seriously appreciate the extra space and opportunity after clearing it out.

Plan Your Garden

If you have a green thumb, or want to, winter is a wonderful time to plan your garden. A garden is a wonderful way to brighten your day and to keep your landscape beautiful all year. If you want to make plans, start working on paper and then convert to the computer if necessary. You may also want to wait to buy seeds, plants, and other accouterments. This way, nothing will wilt or die while you’re waiting for spring.

These are just a few home maintenance tips for February. For tips to use year-round, take a look at this basic home cleaning & maintenance guide.

Designing a Home Gym: To Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Home gym

Getting, or staying, in shape is a top New Year’s Resolution for a lot of people. Keeping that resolution can become a lot easier if you have a space for a home gym. When designing a home gym, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Clear the Space

If you want to build a home gym in your custom home or existing home, you will need to decide what space is best for your gym and begin organizing it to fit your needs and lifestyle. If you are building a custom home, this can be as simple as adding a new room onto the blueprints or working with your contractor.

This is usually a quick and easy addition if the home is still in the foundational or planning stages. If you decide during the build you want to add a new room, you will need to plan with your contractor and possibly make a few compromises. That being said, though, your contractor will do everything they can to create a home perfect for you.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

While it may seem vain, a mirror in your gym is essential to practice proper form and continue your progress. If you are learning new choreography, yoga poses, or exercise techniques, it is essential you do so properly and safely. A mirror is a great way to check yourself to avoid injury and possible aches and pains. I know they say, “No pain, no gain,” but there can be some serious limitations to that idea.

Focus Areas

While you will want to research gym equipment, you will also want to consider what you will want to do in your workouts. If you decide to focus on practicing yoga, you will need a yoga mat or two, yoga blocks, a yoga strap, and someone to follow if you’re a beginner.

If you’re focusing more on weightlifting or strength training it is a great idea to invest in a sturdy gym mat, gym flooring, and dumbbells to start. From there, you can consider and research equipment, technique, and education. Once you know what you want out of your workout, it will be much easier for you to focus your energy and time into becoming fit and healthy.

Find the Essentials

The essentials are usually a short list comprised of items you will need throughout your workout no matter the focus. Here’s a short list:

1. Water bottle
2. Gym towel
3. Wet wipes (to clean equipment)
4. Exercise or yoga mat
5. Stability ball
6. Dumbbells
7. Running or athletic shoes
8. Medicine balls
9. Foam roller
10. And an amazing playlist!

Mudrooms – Purpose and Benefits

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

MudroomMudrooms have become incredibly popular over the past few years. They are simple, easy-to-install, and versatile. Here are a few ways you can use mudrooms other than just a place to hang your hat.

Coat Room

You can go traditional and use your mudroom for hanging coats, backpacks, and brief cases. This keeps the actual living space in your home clutter free and less stressful. You can have a mudroom placed in your custom home, installed in your current home, or you can DIY your mudroom with hooks, lockers, and closets. Find whatever works for you and your family.

Laundry Room

If you are strapped for square footage, you can add a laundry room to the mudroom. Laundry rooms can be placed in many different rooms in the home but having it in the mudroom keeps it in a convenient part of the home without overwhelming the living space with noise or ruckus. If you decide to put your washer and dryer in your mudroom be sure to put the washer and dryer close to the entryway to your home and far from the well, mud of the mudroom. That way clean laundry stays clean.

Storage and Organization

Storage and organization works well within a mudroom. You can keep off-season clothing, workout equipment, and landscape gear in a closet or storage area to avoid clutter in the home and keep everyone in the family organized and prepared.

Pet Wash Station

Your friends and family are not the only ones that can track mud into your home. Your furry friends may have a difficult time not dragging in leaves, twigs, branches, and everything in between. If you have a cat or dog it may be a good idea to invest in a pet wash station. This way you and your pet can clean up before heading into the home and relaxing after a long walk, strenuous hike, or epic fetch session.

Garage and Mudroom

Again if you have a limited amount of space in your home you can make the mudroom a part of the garage. This way you do not have to sacrifice the convenience of a garage and a mudroom but you do not have to feel uncomfortable and cramped.

Best heating system, wood, gas, or electric?

by CustomHomes on Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fire woodChoosing a heating system for your home is vital for your home’s value, upkeep and for you and your family’s well being and comfort. If properly researched and considered finding the right heating source for your home can be a simple and quick. If not researched well, however, you may have more than a few headaches, high heating bills, and possibly multiple installations. Here are a few options you should consider when choosing a heating source for your home.

Wood

A wood stove, fireplace, or outside wood stove can be a good heat source for a small or open concept home. If you want to install a wood stove or fireplace in your home be sure you are well aware of the risks and maintenance required. First you will want to be sure to have an experienced and reliable contractor install your fireplace or wood stove. From there you will always need to keep your stove or fireplace clean and clear of debris. This way you will cut down on fire hazards. Every spring you will also need to clean, dust, and possibly even wash your furniture and walls. This way soot won’t build up in your home, which can harm you or your family.

If possible you may want to consider using an external wood stove. This means the stove will be outside your home and then the heat would be piped into your home. This cuts down on possible fire hazards and cleaning in your home. However, the external stove will need to be cleaned and cleared regularly to prevent possible fires or air contamination.

Gas

Gas is a simple and reliable way to heat your home. It is often economical and can keep your home comfortable and cozy well into the winter months. With gas, however, there are some hazards and maintenance. If you decide to use gas in your home be sure everyone recognizes the smell of propane and you need to have a plan if there is a possible leak. You should also keep a record of the amount of gas in your tank and when you will need to refuel. This way you will not be without heat during a snowstorm or other possible weather hazards.

Electric

Using electric heat can be a safe and reliable way to have heat in your home. If you want to use electric heat, however, you should be aware that it could be somewhat expensive depending on your home and square footage. Be sure that if you’re building a custom home that it is airtight and offers as much open space as possible. This way heat will not get trapped in rooms causing you to crank it up or seal off rooms during the winter.

Fun kids rooms

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Kid's roomA child’s room is often their escape, their space, and usually the room where they explore their interests and ideas. Making their room as captivating and inspiring as possible can open creative doors for a child and help them grow into a comfortable and confident human being. Here are a few ideas for children’s rooms that we found. They can be simple remodels or complete overhauls. Whatever you can do and whatever you think is best will surely help your learn and grow.

Lego Walls

Lego walls are fairly easy to install and can give your child endless fun and inspiration. You can order the entire wall installments online or you can create them with your own Lego’s from your childhood. From there you can have plenty of Legos in bins or on a table for your little one to use on the wall. We suggest taking pictures of the changing murals and masterpieces. You never know what tiny humans will create!

Narnia Room

Like many other people of my generation I wished to find a magical wardrobe that would take me to a winter wonderland. Now you can offer this magical world to your own little one. If you’re building a custom home or remodeling your home it may be a fun idea to add an extra reading nook or small playroom to your child’s room. By strategically placing a wardrobe in front of the small entrance you can create a cozy and fascinating place that your little one will love for years to come.

A Rock-Climbing Wall

If your child is not into making masterpieces or reading in their own little hideaway you can also install a small rock-climbing wall. This is perfect for active children that cannot seem to stop moving or just love to challenge themselves. You can purchase a rock-climbing wall kit online, make your own, or have it installed by a professional. Depending on the difficulty and the age of the child you may want to have it professionally installed. This way you know it is sturdy and safe.

A Castle Fort

We all made forts with couches, beds, chairs, blankets, sheets, and anything else we could get our hands on as children. Imagine if you already had a fort in your room at all times? Castle forts can be small and collapsible or large and elaborate depending on your desire and your child’s imagination. You can have these professionally made or create them yourself. If you are remodeling or building a custom home you can even have the castle built into the home.

Source: http://www.architecturendesign.net/32-things-that-belong-in-your-childs-dream-room/

Master bedroom features – making it the best room for you

by CustomHomes on Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reading nookThe master bedroom is often your sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the world. Bedrooms are meant to be calming, cozy, and the perfect place to rest and unwind after a long day. Here are a few ways you can make your master bedroom the perfect space for you and your loved one. Before making any major changes, however, be sure to contact a reputable contractor. They will be able to give you sound advice and a quality product.

Walk-in Closet

A walk-in closet is every fashion enthusiast’s dream. This offers plenty of space for clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry so it can be displayed beautifully and conveniently. If you want to have a walk-in closet built in a new or current home you will need to hire a respectable contractor that will help you plan precise blueprints and give you quality advice. This way you will have a closet that you will love for the rest of your life.

Reclaimed Wood

Using reclaimed wood as a backboard or as a piece of furniture can add a beautiful and rustic touch to your bedroom. Nowadays there are plenty of furniture companies and contractors that are happy to use reclaimed wood in their building plans. If you are interested in having a rich and complex piece of nature in your master bedroom, reclaimed wood is a simple and stunning choice.

Tub in Bedroom

It may sound odd at first but there are few things as luxurious as having a bathtub in the bedroom. This way you can relax, read, and soak right before or after bed. Then it is simply a few steps from the bath to bed instead of a cold race to the bedroom after your nightly or morning shower. If you decide to have a tub in your home be sure to use only tile or linoleum on the bedroom floor. Then add accent rug as needed. This will keep everything clean and fresh and will keep mold and rot off of your floor and furniture.

Sitting Area

If you have a large bedroom, having a small sitting area can be a wonderful for you to read before bed or sip coffee in the morning. Have a small table with a seat or two. This will bring some coziness to your room and give you another place to relax at the end of the day.

Reading Nook

Having a reading nook or a meditation nook can add beauty and comfort to your bedroom. Place the nook close to a window with comfy pillows and blankets. If you can, add a small space for a teakettle. You may never want to leave!

Source: http://www.homedit.com/master-bedroom-ideas/

Fun and creative ideas for custom homes

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

BarA custom home is a wonderful opportunity to let your creativity flow into the house of your dreams. Here are a few new and interesting ideas you can incorporate into your new home. If you are interested in any of these amenities you should talk to your contractor and see what will work out best.

Under the stair winery

For those that love a glass of vino after a long day a small wine cellar under the stairs can be a beautiful and convenient addition to your home. This way you will not need to traverse stairs or stray far from the kitchen. This is a beautiful and simple addition to your custom home. They can be installed quickly and easily by your contractor and will be ready when your custom home is finished. Just be sure you have plenty of wine bottles to christen the new wine rack!

Make your walls magnetic

Magnetic walls can help make a child’s room or workshop clean and tidy. These are simple to install and can make a unique accent wall or sly organizational tool. If you want to have a magnetic wall installed in your home you should contact your contractor before doing so. This way they can work with the wall during installation and before putting up drywall. After it is installed it should be able to hold almost anything metal and keep things like toys or tools off the ground and in magnetic bins or baskets.

Build a bar into your deck

If you enjoy entertaining a bar on your deck can make you home even more comfortable and inviting. You can even place citronella candles throughout the bar to keep mosquitos away and the ambiance warm and welcoming. This is a simple addition to your home that can happen during or after construction.

Master bedroom balcony

A master balcony can be the perfect addition to your new home. This can be the perfect place to sip your morning coffee or enjoy a good book in the late afternoon. If you plan to install a master bedroom balcony you will need to talk to your contractor about construction. If you want the balcony recessed into the roof it will be simple to care for but may be difficult to plan if not given enough time.

Parade of Homes Trends and Ideas

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ShiplapThe Parade of Homes is a fun and beautiful tradition that showcases new homes, new trends, and sets the stage for the upcoming year’s fads and decorations. Here are a few that you may see this year and possibly create in your own home.

Shiplap

This design is the use of horizontal wood paneling inside a home. I can be painted or finished in hundreds of different types of colors and textures. Shiplap brings a uniform but comfy feel to any room without creating an illusion of a smaller room. If you decide to install shiplap into your custom home or your existing home it is fairly simple and quick. Before you begin, however, be sure to contact a contractor so it will be done properly and efficiently.

Warm tones mixed with pastels

While everyone is focusing on minimalism in design, others are looking toward warmer, cozier tones mixed with the clean and abundant light-catching pastels. This brings a lot of ambient light to the room without making it seem cold and sterile. With some metallic and natural decorations your home can look clean and comfy. Before settling with a theme or color palate you may want to experiment and understand your options. It is half the fun, after all!

Mismatched cabinets

Even though white-on-white-on-white kitchens are in vogue at the moment, some are using well-loved mismatched cabinetry to show their eclectic tastes and their love of traditional accents. This can be a wonderful way to keep some old while welcoming the new into your kitchen. When playing with mixing and mismatching the cabinets and other objects in your kitchen, you may want to skill create a cohesive idea or theme. That way your kitchen will look rich and full instead of cluttered and busy.

Heated entryway floors

A heated entryway can be the perfect solution for cold travelers coming in from school, work, or a night out on the town. Heated floors bring a certain comfort to a home and having them in the entryway can be a wonderful way to welcome guests and loved ones into your space. If you decide to install heated floors in your entryway or in your bathroom or any other room you will need to have a contractor install them. If they are not installed properly they can cause damage and injury.

Bathrooms that look like living rooms

Many of us have dreams of creating the perfect spa bathroom. By creating a bathroom that is more like a living space you can be a bit closer to your spa dream and make a more comfortable and cozy bathroom along the way. Adding accents like chairs, sofas, rugs, and coffee tables bring a certain luxurious feel to the bathroom that will make you and your guests feel right at home.

Sources: http://www.behr.com/consumer/inspiration/2017-color-trends?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ColorTrends_2017

Top Five Trends from the 2016 Parade of Homes


http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/interiors-entertaining/g6729/interior-design-trends-2016/?slide=1

Why basements are a better investment than crawl spaces

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

BasementMore secure

While both crawl spaces and basements are susceptible to mold crawl spaces tend to attract moisture more because of their space, the light, and the exposure to the elements. A well-ventilated and insulated basement will be able to withstand the elements and any possible moisture it comes into contact with. A basement will also be easier to reinforce. While crawl spaces work well in dry climates with small houses, they are rarely safe from moisture and the impending pressure of the home. Basements can be reinforced after construction if need be and can always be reinsulated as well.

More space

A basement offers much more space than crawl spaces. This means you can store more safely without having to shimmy under your home or possibly expose your items to the elements. A basement also offers the space for you to categorize and organize the belongings that are going into storage. That was holiday decorations wouldn’t be mixed up with your summer clothes or photo albums. Though this may seem overly detailed it will help keep your family and home organized and prevent possible damage.

Easily traversed

Unlike basements crawl spaces need you to travel through them in a certain way, crawling. They are often cramped, dusty, and difficult to move through. A basement can be spacious and easily traversed. A basement also provides another possible living space for you as well as storage. A finished basement can be as comfortable as a living room.

Customizable

A basement can be anything from storage, a workshop, to a playroom, a walk-in closet, or a guest bedroom. By finishing and decorating your basement you can create a comfortable extra room perfect for whatever you wish. Unlike a crawl space, basements can be made into perfectly comfortable and welcoming places while crawl spaces are almost always dark, dusty, and ill-equipped to hold more than Rubbermaid containers.

If you decide to build a custom home you should weigh the benefits of a basement to a crawl space. While it may seem like more money initially it will give you more space and comfort in the long run.

Pergola v patio

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

PergolaOutdoor spaces can be wonderful and relaxing during the spring, summer, and even part of the fall. Pergolas and patios can be formatted to your wants and needs, offer a lot of amenities, and both have their positives and negatives. If you are thinking about building a custom home with an outdoor space or attaching a new addition, there are a few things you will want to consider. Think about what will fit best in your home, with your family, and in your life.

Pergola

Pergolas can be beautiful and organic additions to your home. They are easily customizable and can offer plenty of space for relaxing or entertaining. While some believe pergolas cannot be attached to your home that is not necessarily true. While they will not be attached to your home like a patio or addition they can still be close to your home and even be semi-attached. Pergolas can also be used to display beautiful vines and flowers on the roof. This is great if you have a fire pit or a grill so there is plenty of ventilation and it offers an open but sheltered area from the elements.

Patio

Unlike pergolas, patios can be fully attached and completely enclosed. Patios are wonderful to use all year round and can be used for plenty of different reasons. While many love to use the patio as an entertainment or rumpus room it can also be used as a green house, a summer kitchen, or a workout room. While pergolas are beautiful spaces they are not as versatile as a patio. Patios, however, can have a large heating and air conditioning bill if not properly installed.

Patios and pergolas are great ways to add space to your home. They can be relaxing outdoor entertainment areas or they can offer a plethora of other room options. If you are thinking about building a custom home with an outdoor living space or you want to add an addition to your home be sure to talk to a reputable contractor that will listen to your requests and work with you to make your home as beautiful as it can be.

The rustic elegance of copper accents

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Copper tubCopper has become popular throughout the years for their beauty, unique feel, and its elegant way of aging. Copper accents can create an ornate ambiance that will add color and light to your home. Here are a few popular accents and how they can be used in your home.

Free standing or connected copper tubs

Copper tubs are beautiful and elegant that are simple to clean and maintain. To clean and maintain the beauty of your tub you will need to use a mild soap, a soft flannel cloth, and gloves. Once you clean the tub with warm water and soap you will need to rinse with water and then wipe it dry with a soft cloth. This will keep your tub looking beautiful and timeless. Copper tubs can be somewhat expensive. Be sure if you want a copper tub you hire a reputable contractor and research the product. This way you will save money in the long run with repairs and maintenance.

Copper sinks

Copper sinks are just as beautiful and simple to clean. These however can become dented over time if you are not careful. While you can have your sink repaired or reshaped, it is best to simply let your sink get better with time. Like the tubs, copper sinks are expensive. They need to be installed properly to ensure the life of the sink. You will also want to contact a reliable contractor to install the new sink.

Copper roofs

Roofs that are covered in copper are absolutely beautiful and age elegantly with time. When installing the roofs you will want to hire a respectful contractor that is knowledgeable about the metal and roofing in general. This way the metal roof will be installed properly and will not leak over time. You should also have a strict schedule set. This way you will have plenty of time to nit pick small repairs and you will not have to worry about weather elongating your schedule over time.

Copper countertops

Countertops are a big decision when you are remodeling your kitchen or building your own custom home. Copper countertops bring light and color to your home and can create beautiful textures within your home. You may want to have your countertops professionally installed and finished before you decide to move in or begin using your kitchen. This will ensure the life of your countertops and make them look new for years to come.

Repurposed Wood for Design Accents

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

wood to be repurposedUsing repurposed wood can add charm to your home while helping keep our world green and clean. Here are a few ideas to start your own DIY projects so you can be on your way to a cozy, earth-friendly home.

Painting

Though you may not consider a repurposed wood painting to have the most environmental impact it is a wonderful way to add color and texture to your home without adding to your carbon footprint. All you will need is paint, a few nails, string (I use guitar string), and a flat piece of repurposed wood. From there you can trace the picture you would like onto the wood with a pencil and begin adding color. It’s a great way to let your creative side show without breaking the bank.

Book Shelf

For those that want a larger project a repurposed wood bookshelf can be a wonderful addition to your home. You will need corrugated metal, an electric drill, a saw, two large pieces of repurposed wood, and four smaller pieces. Cut the large pieces to match the height corrugated metal. Then drill holes into the metal where you want to screw the wood to the metal. Line up the wood to the metal lengthwise and then screw the wood and metal together. After that cut the smaller pieces of wood to fit as a top, bottom, and two shelves. Then drill holes into the metal where you want to place the shelving units. Then screw the shelving units into the metal and then into the long pieces of the wood. And voila! Now you have a beautiful, rustic bookshelf perfect for any avid reader.

Vertical Wall Garden

This wonderful project can be inside or out on your wall or fence. You will need herbs or flowers of your choice, lightweight pots, sturdy handles for the pots, and nails. You will want to put the handles on the pots before placing the plants into the pots. You can use small buckets (which may be easiest) or you can attach the handles with rubber cement, screws, or – my personal favorite – Gorilla Glue. Then once the handles are secure you will want to place the plants into their new homes. Be sure you water them before and after you have planted them. This will keep them hydrated and happy. Then you will want to nail or screw the nails or screws into place on the boards. Afterward you will attach the boards to the wall or fence. Add final touches such as paint or accents and then put the plants in their new display. Make sure it gets plenty of sunlight throughout the year so you can have fresh herbs, flowers, or succulents in your home or backyard.

Foot/hand washing stations

by CustomHomes on Thursday, November 3, 2016

foot and hand washing stationMany families know too well the slippery, muddy floors that happen any time of year. For anyone it can be frustrating and annoying to constantly sweep and mop over time. Well, with a little thought and creativity you can have a foot and hand washing station that will keep your home clean and your sanity intact.

Indoor foot and hand washing stations

Foot and hand washing stations are wonderful to keep your home and your family clean. These can be used in the summer or spring to clean muddy flip-flops and bare feet or snowy, muddy boots in the winter. These stations are very convenient and can help keep your whole home cleaner and safer. While it may seem odd, a hand and foot washing station will keep slippery boots and mud off the floor. This means it is less likely to slip and fall.

Outdoor foot and hand washing stations

Outdoor foot and hand washing stations can keep your outdoor living space clean and beautiful. They can be simple and effective or large and elaborate. This way if you have a pool you can rinse before and after swimming or to clean your hands and feet after some time spent gardening.

DIY or installed

If you want a foot and hand washing station for your indoor and/or outdoor space you may want to consider DIY and professional options. DIY foot and hand washing stations can be simple, inexpensive, and practical. Professionally installed foot and hand washing stations can be larger and more elaborate. If you want a station that is larger and more elaborate you will want to discuss plans with a professional and reliable contractor.

Though you may not think that a foot and hand washing station is useful for many homes it can keep your family and home clean and happy. If you want to have a contractor install a station into your home or make one yourself you should consider placement, need, and frequency of use.

Source: http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/2013/06/ghetto-chic-swimming-pool-design/

How a bright accent wall can add depth and presence to rooms in your home

by CustomHomes on Thursday, October 27, 2016

Accent wallDesigning your new home is a wonderful way to express your creativity and make your home perfect for you. One way to bring color and texture your home quickly and easily is by adding an accent wall to a room. Depending on the color, the light, and the placement you can create the illusion of a larger room that is inviting and visually intriguing. Here is how we suggest planning and painting your accent wall.

How to pick your color

You will want to paint the room a color that reflects the room’s purpose and ambiance. If you are painting an accent wall in the living room or kitchen you will want a color that is warm and inviting. This is so you and your guests can feel comfortable in your home. If you are painting an accent wall in your bedroom, however, you may need a cool and calming color. This will help you unwind after a long day and drift off to dream land.

From there you will need to decide if it is glossy or matte wall. Different textures create different feelings in a home. If you have a modern or minimally designed home you can work with either glossy or matte. If you have a more traditional home, however, you may want to use a matte paint to blend with the organic textures of your home. This way it will remain rustic without seeming antiquated.

How to pick your wall

Once you have picked the color you want for an accent wall it is time to pick the wall itself. In each room there will be walls that have more light and other walls that have less. If you are painting an accent wall a cool or pastel color you can paint the wall with less light. This will help open the room and make it feel more spacious. If you are using a warm or more dramatic color, however, you will want to paint the wall with the most light. This way the wall does not feel as though it is swallowing all the light in the room, and will simply add texture and warmth to your home without overwhelming the room.

Accent walls are a wonderful and simple way to add color, texture, and light into any home. It can be done in a weekend project or over time. It does not take a massive amount of planning and can make your home look chic and put together.

Home Eye Safety Month

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Eye SafetyWhen improving or even cleaning our home we often wear protective clothing from chemicals, the elements, and tools. Rarely, however, do we as homeowners consider eye protection. This month we encourage you to take precautions to protect your eyes while you work, clean, and improve your home. Here are a few tips you can use so your home is beautiful and your eyes can enjoy the view.

Wear goggles when working

If you’re working on remodeling a whole room or doing a simple DIY job you may want to wear goggles. This way any chemicals, tools, or materials that could become flying objects stay away from you and your eyes. More heavy duty remodeling or building should always be done with eye and face protection while smaller DIY projects are more subjective. If you are working with building materials such as lumber, nails, or tools, or you’re working with chemicals you should wear eye protection. If you’re making a nice flower garland, or hanging a painting, however, you should be fine without goggles.

Know how to flush eyes with water

Though it may seem like a simple process flushing your eyes after they are exposed to dangerous materials or chemicals can be anything but simple. If your eyes have been exposed to hazardous debris you will need to flush your eyes thoroughly and quickly. If you are with someone have them walk you to the closest water source. Then they should wash their hands with soap and water before examining your eyes for debris. If they find the debris they should try to flush it out with an eyedropper full of water. If that does not work then they will need to pour water over your eyes to try to clear debris from the affected area. This should be done until the debris is out of your eyes. Then you will want to rest your eyes by closing them, laying down, and possibly covering them with a clean towel or gauze. From there you can find further medical attention if necessary. If alone you will need to walk to the closest water source in your home and begin washing your hands with soap and water. Then start to vigorously splash water onto your face, focusing around your eyes and nose. Once your face has been cleansed begin attempt to open your eyes while splashing water onto your face or allowing the water to fall onto your face from the water source. Once the eyes are clear of debris let them rest or call medical services if needed.

Now you know how to prevent sight damage as well as immediately treat it if necessary. When in doubt always wear eye protection and always be aware of water sources when working. This way you can move efficiently if you need to flush your or someone else’s eyes.

Pet Baths: Are They Becoming Trendy?

by CustomHomes on Thursday, October 20, 2016

 

Thrilled dogPet baths are great for their convenience, hygiene, and can integrate well in many homes. They are becoming more and more popular because they are such a simple solution to a common problem.

Convenient

Dog washing stations can be incredibly convenient for those with active lifestyles or adventurous pups. After a long day kayaking down the river or going on a long hike you and your dog may need to wash up. If you have a dog washing station it can be simple and fast to clean up your pup before you hop into the tub. This way your home will stay clean and your dog will happily nap while you relax in the tub. If you have a longhaired pooch or one with thick fur it is also a wonderful place for regular grooming. Brushing and grooming in the shower stall can keep large amounts of dog hair away from your living room and can keep any offensive odors out of the home. You, however, will need to clean the station regularly to avoid build up. Be sure to purchase a pet washing station with a sturdy drain and adjustable shower head. This will help you clean every nook and cranny of the shower and keep hair from clogging the drain.

They are hygienic

Having a pet bath will also keep your bathroom cleaner, longer. Because you won’t have to have regular pet baths in your bathroom you will spend less time mopping, wiping, and generally cleaning up after your pets bath. This will also give you more room since you will have to keep less pet products and towels in your bathroom. As mentioned above, however, be sure to keep the pet bath clean and working properly. Otherwise you won’t have to replace or repair fixtures.

Great in laundry and mudrooms

While you can put the pet bath in bathrooms or outside it is often best to put them in your laundry or mudrooms. This is because you both will not freeze outside and you won’t have a pup trailing mud through your home on the way to the bathroom. Dog washing stations in the mudroom keep the floors and furniture of your home clean and help keep your dog happy, comfortable, and healthy. By cleaning them regularly as they enter the home will keep their bed, toys, and kennel cleaner over time. It will also keep you and your other loved ones furniture and items clean and undamaged.

 

Winter Preparation Checklist

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Snowy treeWinter preparedness is very important to keep you and your family happy, cozy, and safe. Here are a few tips to keep your home safe and warm. If you have any other tips let us know!

Furnace filter check

You will want to check your furnace’s filter on a monthly basis throughout the winter. You will want to replace the filter almost as regularly as well. This way your air will remain clean and dust free. Keeping your filter clean and debris free may also help keep the furnace filter from catching on fire. Many fires have started from filters that were ignited because they were covered in flammable dust. Cleaning or replacing your filters regularly will help make your home safer. You should also clean or replace the filter to avoid having allergens in your home. By cleaning the filter the air will be cleaner and your family may be less likely to get the case of the sniffles.

Have chimney swept

If you have a chimney you will want it to be cleaned every year. This way your chimney will be free of the harmful creosote that builds up over time. Creosote is highly flammable and can light a house on fire in a matter of minutes. If you have a chimney you will need to hire a chimney cleaner once a year to avoid such a deadly possibility.

Invest in good outdoor tools

It is a great idea that you invest in good quality outdoor tools. This way when you need to shovel two feet of snow you will be ready and will not sprain your back. You should also invest in a high quality broom. Then you can sweep away light snow instead of bringing out the shovel. You may also want to get a few bags of kitty litter to create traction on your driveway and sidewalks. It is cheap, affordable, and much more eco-friendly than salt or snow melt.

Make a Power Outage Kit

While we may not think of it, there are plenty of times throughout winter where the power does out. Making a power outage kit can give you and your family a bit of relief if and when the power goes out and the cold begins creeping into your house. Here are a few things you may want to keep in your kit:

  1. Generator
  2. Batteries
  3. Flashlights
  4. Candles
  5. Matches
  6. Nonperishable food
  7. Three Days worth of water
  8. Heat-saving blankets
  9. Hand or solar powered space heaters
  10. First Aid kit

Planning Your Custom Home Bathrooms: Three Questions you must Answer

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

 

BathroomThough you may not immediately think of bathrooms when designing a home they are often the first impression your home makes with friends and guests. Designing your bathroom or bathrooms is an important project where your creativity can roam free. Here are a few questions you must answer before you begin designing so you have the perfect bathroom in your perfect home.

 

What color schemes and textures would you like?

 

Color and texture is important to any room. This can make your home look clean, inviting, and warm. A bathroom should have the same consideration as any room. You will want to decide on cool and calming bathroom colors with impermeable flooring, walls, and fixtures. Brushed metal can be a wonderful, modern touch but if you want to go for a more old-fashioned appearance brass or copper can be just as beautiful. This is a fantastic foundation for a beautiful bathroom that will last for years to come.

 

Where would you like full and half baths?

 

Full and half bathrooms are important to create a efficient and comfortable home. Depending on your family size and what your mornings consist of, your home can be a little crazy before everyone goes to school and work. Creating half as well as full baths can cut down on the headaches and clogged toilets. Half baths are also convenient for house guests and quick touch-ups. Depending on the layout of your home you will need to decide where to put full and half baths. Lower levels traditionally have half baths while full baths are usually closer to bedrooms. For multi-generational homes, however, you may want a full bath on the ground floor to make bathing simple for children and elderly. One of the best parts of having a custom home and bathroom is that the placement is up to you!

 

Do you need customization?

 

With custom bathrooms comes custom fixtures. Custom fixtures can be a perk or a necessity. For some of us we wish to design a bathroom with a sauna or Jacuzzi. For other families, however, there is equipment that is necessary for their daily life. Those that live with mental or physical disabilities may need equipment or fixtures in their bathrooms to make bathing and cleanliness simple and efficient. Equipment such as moveable shower heads, hand rails, and ramps may be necessary. Before you begin designing your bathroom talk to your contractor about yours or your loved ones needs so they can make the bathroom and the rest of the home as comfortable as possible.

Soundproofing Options

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

 

soundproofingSoundproofing can be perfect for any home that has a budding musician, a small child, or an experienced instrumentalist. Soundproofing is a great way to make your home peaceful and relaxing. While music can always be a wonderful addition to your home it isn’t always nice for a four-hour jam sesh to fill your home while you are just trying to read. If you are building a new home, you can work with contractors to create the perfect soundproofing for you. Here are a few soundproofing options to consider.

Add Texture

Hexagonal and scale-shaped tiles are beautiful and unique additions to your home if you want to soundproof a room or a part of your home. They come in hundreds of color combinations, textures, and depth. This way you can create an interesting, functional work of art. That will be perfect to create a peaceful environment and a private setting for your jam session.

This is a perfect DIY in a new home or in a home you have lived in for years. These are usually fastened to the wall with sealant or simply nails and screws. It will give you plenty of ways to be creative and interesting. Just be sure to be patient and take your time installing the soundproofing material. It would be counter intuitive to install soundproofing that does not work or does not work as well as it could.

Install Professionally

If you are working on building your own home or wanted to install heavy-duty soundproofing you may want a contractor to install it. Contractors will be able to give you sound advice and work quickly to install the soundproofing properly. If you are working with contractors on a custom home be sure to discuss the ideas and plans while laying out blue prints. This way you will have plenty of time to change and rework the soundproofing plans if necessary. You will also be able to ask any questions you have.

Once they have installed the soundproofing they may also offer a guarantee for optimal performance. If the soundproofing doesn’t deliver, contractors will often come to your home to install further soundproofing or rework the current materials to stop noise from traveling.

 

 

Three Most Popular New Amenities for Custom Homes

by CustomHomes on Thursday, September 22, 2016

 

LaundryCustom homes offer endless possibilities for new plans, ideas, and décor. Here are a few of the most popular custom home amenities in the U.S. This may give you some inspiration for your new home or help you find new ways to make your existing home perfect for you.

Laundry Chutes

Laundry chutes have been used for hundreds of years in large homes and elaborate mansions. Now laundry chutes are popular in modern homes because they are simple, quick, and can keep your home organized and clean. Laundry chutes are long vertical tunnels that are installed in the walls of a home that travel from bedrooms, guestrooms, and bathrooms to the laundry room. These are used to send dirty clothing down to the laundry room quickly and easily. This way you will no longer have to climb stairs with solid laundry and can carry small loads to the different rooms in your home as needed.

Mudroom

Mudrooms are not exactly what they sound like. They are the entryway into your home where coats, shoes, bags, and well – a little mud, stay so the rest of your home can stay clean and beautiful. These can be just as inviting as a foyer or any other entryway but often has cubbies and space for you to keep coats, shoes, boots, and everything in between. If you think a mudroom would be perfect for your future custom home be sure to talk to your contractor and decide on the floor plan that is ideal for.

Smart Thermostat

Temperature control in any home is incredibly important for your comfort and the life of your home. Without accurate temperature control your home can accrue mold, moisture, and other particles that can harm or damage the structure of the home. Smart thermostats help you create a comfortable, safe, and well-regulated temperature in your home. A smart thermostat can be scheduled ahead of time, find the perfect temperature for a room, or adjust depending on who is in the room at that time. These can also warn you when there is high or low humidity in the home and what you can do about it.

What else do you think should be included in our popular amenities list?

Source:
http://hibbshomes.com/10-must-haves-when-building-a-new-home/

 

What is a Secret Room and What is it for?

by CustomHomes on Thursday, September 15, 2016

 

Wine cellarEveryone wanted to find the secret way to Narnia as a child. I personally always hoped that I would find a brand new room in our home when I was a kid. Now you can create that room filled with surprise and wonder for you and or your children by creating a secret room in your own home.

Reading Nook

For the book worms you can always create a fun and cozy book nook to relax and learn. There is nothing quite like being able to escape into your own little world while you read. Even making a small closet or storage unit a book nook can be just what your child, or you, needs to understand the endless adventures of reading.

If you are building a new home this is the perfect time to create a small reading nook away from the rest of the world. This way it can be whatever, size, shape, or theme you want it to be. Now there are plenty of homes with secret spots and contractors are always happy to work out plans for your own little reading escape. Just be sure to be specific and it will be in the building plans in no time.

Hidden Storage

Every home could use a little more storage here and there. A secret room for storage can be the perfect solution to a garage full of decorations or a closet jam-packed with off-season clothing. While you may have a small family or live on your own it is amazing how much we accrue through out the years. Finding storage for off-season items or family mementos can be conveniently stored in a secret room. This can be a great solution for clutter, or occasional but necessary items. It can also double as another pantry if it is in a temperature-controlled environment. What could be more convenient than having all the extra appliances or entertainment pieces safe and all in one place?

Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is a great addition to homes if you have the space and the taste for it. Wine cellars have always been a beautiful and mysterious place in film, literature, and art. Why not bring a piece of that into your home? If you want to have a wine cellar it is best to make sure the room is temperature-controlled or will always be around 55 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep the wine cool and fresh. You may also want to consider the type of wood you will use to store the bottles. While oak and mahogany are often popular you may want to stick with traditional Redwood or Pine. They will maintain temperature as well as the other choices and can be just as beautiful.

Three More Kitchen Countertops

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, August 30, 2016

 

Marble countertopFinding the right counter top for your kitchen takes time, patience, and a lot of consideration. Unlike furniture, painting a room, or changing the curtains a counter top is a huge investment that you must love for possibly the rest of your life. To make sure you adore what you choose here are three more countertop materials with their positive and negative aspects.

Marble

Marble is a beautiful, soft stone that invokes thought of elegance, luxury, and classic design. Marble is a stunning countertop that is durable and stands the test of time when properly cared for and installed. Marble comes in classic white hues but can also be different colors due to mineral impurities or can be artificially dyed. Marble also absorbs heat naturally. This is perfect for baking or placing hot pots and pans on the counter without worry.

It may not be the perfect answer for clean freaks. Unfortunately marble stains and scratches easily. Marble is more porous than granite. You can finish your marble one or twice a year to keep the shine and look of marble longer. Be sure to only use gentle clothes, warm water or specific marble cleaners to wipe down the counters. Otherwise this could diminish their sheen. So if you adore the look of marble you must embrace the inevitable impurities or look at other options.

Quartz

Quartz is a stunning, classic countertop that can fit in any kitchen from modern to rustic. Quartz is nonallergenic and can be all natural. Countertops are made with 95 percent quartz and five percent fixatives and resins. Quartz can be a pure white or bright red to earthy green. Quartz is durable and nonporous. It is also as tough as granite so it will avoid scrapes, cuts, and dents.

It is, however, somewhat expensive at $90 to $150 per square foot. The resin in the quartz is not heat resistant. If you purchase quartz you will need to buy plenty of heat pads!

Tile

Tile offers a lot of creativity for many people. Tile countertops can create beautiful, elaborate mosaics that are durable and will last for a lifetime. If you are confident in your DIY skills you can even install it yourself and give your kitchen a complete facelift. This is also the economic answer to replacing your countertop. The tiles only cost $10 to $50 per square foot.

Tile can be difficult to clean after installation and can show their wear and tear relatively quickly.

Source:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/7779702/list/your-guide-to-15-popular-kitchen-countertop-materials

Three Popular Kitchen Countertop Materials

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

 

SoapstoneFinding the right counter top for your kitchen takes time, patience, and a lot of consideration. Unlike furniture, painting a room, or changing the curtains a counter top is a huge investment that you must love for possibly the rest of your life. To make sure you adore what you choose here are three countertop materials with their positive and negative aspects.

Soapstone

Soapstone is often used in laboratories and commercial kitchens because they are easy to clean, resistance to stains, and durable. This material is also very natural looking and can often be used as a heat sink for hot pots and pans because of its constant cool temperature. If you want something that is simple and multifunctional soapstone will be the perfect countertop for your home.

Soapstone is somewhat expensive at about $80 to $100 for each square foot. To install the countertop properly you will also want to hire a professional. Though you can install it yourself having a technician install it will ensure a longer life for the countertop. Though this will be a large initial investment it will save you money and stress in the long run. Soapstone is also “softer” than other countertops. This means it can get cuts and bumps easier than granite or slate. If you invest in soapstone be aware that it will show its character and age as you use it more and more.

Granite

Granite is a natural stone that can be colorful, monochromatic, veined, or mottled. Granite gives you plenty of options that can be inexpensive or exorbitant. This stone is wonderful for any kitchen and can match virtually any décor. Most granite is priced around $50 and can become more expensive from there. If you want a basis countertop for your home granite may be your best choice.

The downside of granite is sometimes what is advertised as granite is not actually granite. Granite, according to geologists, is stone that is approximately 20 to 60 percent quartz, less than 65 percent feldspar, and is light in color. For countertop suppliers granite is defined by a countertop that is harder than marble and contains some quartz. While the suppliers’ rock that is offered as granite is often durable and beautiful it is not actual granite.

Copper

Copper is a beautiful, unique countertop that will only become more stunning with time. Copper will naturally dent, cut, and change colors as you use it. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind countertop that will make your kitchen look magnificent and rustic.

Copper countertops are unfortunately fairly expensive and will quickly become dented and discolored with time. While some people find this beautiful it is not for everyone.

Source:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/7779702/list/your-guide-to-15-popular-kitchen-countertop-materials

http://www.beautythroughstone.com/single-post/2015/05/28/Come-Again-My-Granite-Kitchen-Countertop-Isnt-Actual-Granite

Practical Kitchen Organization

by CustomHomes on Thursday, August 4, 2016

 

KitchenIf your kitchen is large or small it can be difficult to organize if you don’t have any idea where to start. Here are a few tips to put your kitchen together so you will know where everything is.

Under The Sink

To keep all of your cleaning products under the sink organized used a small shower curtain. This way you can hang all of your cleaning chemicals as well as towels, dish rags, and other miscellaneous items. You can also hang a basket to hold invisible erasers and other small items. This way everything will have a place and you won’t have to tear the kitchen a part every time you need something.

Pots and Pans

For storing pots and pans neatly I like to use a dish drying rack. This way I can store all my pots with their matching lids. I also do this with my Tupperware. This makes it easy to do meal prep or a large meal because I can take the whole rack out instead of each piece individually.

Freezer Storage

I use my freezer to preserve fresh produce, herbs, meats, and cheeses. It is a wonderful way to stretch our grocery bill and avoid wasting food. For frozen veggies I will use a binder clip to hang them from the freezer rack. That way there is still plenty of room on top of the rack as well as the bottom. For herbs I will often grind them in a food processor and then put them in ice trays. Those I stack on top of each other. For meat and cheese I use vacuum-sealed packs so they are less likely to get freezer burn and keep until I’m ready to use them.

Above The Fridge

If your fridge has covers over it or is bare there are plenty of ways you can use that storage space. I like to use magazine holders on top to staples like sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. I place the magazine racks facing the wall and then label the back of the rack. This way I can get it without spilling the contents or guessing what I’m about to use.

Magnetic Spice Rack

This has gotten really popular in the last few years. I like to purchase magnetic tea tins and then relabel them for my spices. This is a great way to have all your spices on hand without taking up a lot of room. I suggest putting them on the fridge away from the oven. This way they won’t dry out or discolor over time.

How do you organize your kitchen?

Sources:

http://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/at-home/15-ridiculously-smart-organization-hacks/?pp=0

 

Pros and Cons of Wood Laminate Flooring

by CustomHomes on Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hardwood LaminateLaminate flooring is a synthetic flooring product fused with a lamination process. Wood laminate is made to appear like hardwood floors without all the hassle and maintenance. There are positives and negatives to hardwood laminate. Depending on the climate, construction, and traffic in your home hardwood laminate may be the right choice for you. In this blog we will weigh the pros and cons so you can make an educated decision about hardwood laminate and whether or not it is the right flooring for your home.

Good News

Unlike hardwood flooring hardwood laminate does not require regular maintenance or refinishing. Once it is installed onto your floor it will only need regular cleaning to keep it looking fresh and new. The cleaning will also be different with laminate as opposed to hardwood flooring. You can simply mop, sweep, and wipe down laminate while with hard wood you will have to sweep, mop, and shine the hardwood to maintain its finish.

Hardwood laminate is also less expensive than hardwood flooring. This is because the laminate is less expensive to make and the flooring is easier to install. The synthetic materials that are fused together to create laminate are not as expensive as the raw wood that is cut, cut to fit flooring, and then finished. The laminate is also less expensive because there is less long-term maintenance. To keep your wood scuff-free and beautiful you need to refinished and buff your floor periodically. Every few years you will need to refinish otherwise your hardwood will become dull, chipped, and discolored.

Bad News

While hardwood laminate can be beautiful it is not as long lasting as hardwood that is maintained properly. If you live in a humid or temperate climate laminate can warp during the summer months. If this is the case the only way to guarantee that your floor will be repaired is by replacing the laminate. This can be a huge headache and can cost you much more over time. Laminate can also hold moisture between the laminate and the floor. This can also cause them to warp. If you want to install laminate do so properly with plenty of time and attention or hire a professional to install the flooring.

While hardwood can be a beautiful addition to your home it can be better to use hardwood laminate if you are on a budget or will not have time or finances to care for hardwood over time. Be sure to consider all options when choosing your flooring and talk to professionals so you will be able to make an educated decision.

Summer Maintenance Part Two

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

 

BackyardMaking your summer memorable takes more than flip-flops and a few tiny umbrellas. You need to keep your garden, home, and car in good shape so you can enjoy the summer in comfort. Here are a few helpful tips about summer maintenance.

Update Outdoor Furniture

For many pieces of outdoor furniture the winter is a harsh and damaging time. If you left your patio furniture out all year it will probably need some updating or it may need to be replaced all together. If it just needs a fresh coat of paint or a new seat cover, however, you can create an afternoon project that will make your outdoor furniture look brand new. If you have wicker or wooden patio furniture be sure to refinish it every spring or summer to keep it looking fresh and strong. You should also perform a few stress tests so your guest will be safe when they sit down. Metal furniture requires less upkeep but can rust over time. If you find rust be sure to sand it down and reapply outdoor paint. This way you don’t have to worry about rust eating your patio furniture from the inside out. And if you do not bring covers in from the winter you will need to replace them. They are inexpensive if you go to a department store or outlet and can bring color and comfort right to your backyard.

Mix Compost

If you have a compost pile you will want to “stir” it periodically in the spring, summer, and fall. About once a month I take a shovel or pitch fork to my compost pile to mix it up and keep decomposition going. This will ensure wonderful dirt for the next spring and helps reduce my waste output. If you do not have a compost pile in your garden they are simple to start and take very little energy. You will need a barrel to keep in the kitchen, a walled off section (I used wood) and time. Create a section for the compost in your garden by making three walls with the wood. After that add some compost from your local gardening store (about $5), some newspaper strips, and plenty of worms. This will begin the process and make it easier to maintain the compost pile throughout the seasons. From there you add organic material to the compost and stir once a month. Before you know it you will have beautiful, nutritious dirt for your garden.

Calacatta Marble Penny Tile

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 30, 2016

 

MarbleCute and Stylish

Calcutta marble penny tile is versatile and can add color and light to any room. This form of tile became trendy recently for its rarity and its beauty. Calcutta marble is exceptionally rare and can only be produced from one quarry in Carrara Italy. Originally Michelangelo introduced Western Europe to this stunning marble. It has been used over the years for flooring and for countertops.

Kitchen

Many are using the Calacatta marble in their kitchens because marble is a wonderful heat sink and can be cleaned quickly and easily. Lately, back splashes have become popular in modern homes. It keeps your walls safe from possible mold and can add color and light to a wall that may have been dull before. If you decide to use this marble as a backsplash you may want it professionally installed so there is no chance for error or mold down the road. If you prefer to do it yourself you can order marble with an adhesive sheet already installed.

If you would like to have Calacatta marble for a counter top you will need to have a professional installation. Marble is incredibly heavy and fragile. It must be handled and installed carefully with plenty of attention given to the detail. Once it is installed it will last a lifetime and can bring beauty and light to your kitchen.

Bathroom

Using Calacatta marble for your bathroom floor or shower can help the room stay clean in the long run and it will look absolutely stunning and luxurious. If you would like to do this you will absolutely need to have it installed professionally. Be sure to hire someone who has plenty of experience remodeling bathrooms and has used marble before. This way you will not worry about cracks, fractures, or any possible errors down the road.

Outdoor

You can have marble in your patio or outdoor space to bring luxury outside. If you decide to use marble in your outdoor space you may want to consider using it as flooring or as a tabletop. This way cleaning and upkeep will be simple. You will also want to keep furniture light in weight and color to match the marble and keep it intact. With installing marble in other parts of your home you will want to hire a professional. They will be able to install the marble quickly and do so in a way that will last you a lifetime if properly maintained.

Calacatta marble is stunning and can add light and beauty to any home. If you decide this marble is right for your home be sure to research your buy and installation options so you can enjoy it for the rest of your life.

How Does Storm Drainage Typically Work on a Property?

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 9, 2016

 

HouseIf you are building a home one of the most important things to learn is how your property will handle rainwater. Finding out if your home will use a well and septic tank or the town’s drainage system will be the first step to deciding how to build your home. Once you know what system you will be using you will also want to work with your contractor to find out what the best placement for your home will be.

For Homes Using Town Drainage

Like many homes the drainage begins when the rain goes into the gutters and travels through the downspout. From that it moves through the pips to the storm sewer system. This sewer system usually goes to a different part of the water treatment plant and then is reintroduced to our watershed. This is because it has less contaminant than the sanitary sewer system and will also go through further filtration once in the watershed. The sanitary sewer system often goes through the same water treatment plant but goes through more filtration systems before being reintroduced into the watershed.

For Homes Using Septic Tanks and Wells

Septic tanks and wells help manage the rainwater on an individual home basis. The gutters catch the rain from the roof and it travels down the drain spout to yard. From there the spouts the water is absorbed through the ground and into the water table. Then it is drawn from the well into the home where it is filtered and used. The septic tank will also help keep the water table draining properly because it will disperse its water evenly overtime and will allow for natural filtration to occur.

Placement of Your Home

To keep the watershed well-drained homes are strategically placed to avoid flooding of the home, watershed, and to avoid any possible water contamination. If you are building a home water drainage will be unique to your home and can be done in several different ways. Many use gutters, rainspouts, and then small trenches around their home to help the water travel to the water table and away from their home. If you are able to plan your property before building your home, however, you can use hills and valleys to create natural drainage systems. This is often better for your home and for the environment. Be sure to work with an experienced homebuilder instead of doing it on your own. Otherwise you may have a basement full of water and a swamp for a yard.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, June 7, 2016

 

Hard woodHardwood flooring can be a large investment for your home or office but it may be worth it depending on the environment, space, and purpose. Here are a few possible positives and negatives to hardwood floors so you can make a decision that is right for your home.

Pros

Easy Cleaning

Cleaning hardwood floors is relatively easy. You simply sweep and then polish. Just be sure to do so with shoes with sturdy soles so you do not slip. Try to do this during the day when the family is not home all at once. Otherwise it can be pandemonium.

If you want to avoid the slipping and sliding you may want to opt for a dust mop like a dry Swiffer. They will capture the dust without leaving a slippery trail like polish. You still want to do this while the family it at school or work. That way you don’t have to deal with muddy shoes while trying to clean up.

Elegant and Simple

Hardwood floors look amazing almost anywhere and come in thousands of different finishes. Depending on the theme of your home or what sort of weather environment you are in you can have light or rich hard wood floors that will make your home warm and inviting.

You can also go green with hardwood. Most carpets are made with harmful chemicals that can irritate sinuses or the skin. Now many contractors offer finishes that are organic and sustainable. You can also use reclaimed or recycled wood for your floors, which are better for the planet. Talk to possible contractors about their greener options. It may actually save you money on your bottom line and in the long run.

Cons

Potential Warp

Depending on the weather conditions and environment outside the home your floor may have the potential to warp and swell as the seasons go by. You may be able to find a finish that will prevent this but in moist climates in states like Vermont or Washington it can be unavoidable. The same can be said of desert climates. While they may not warp they will become brittle and splintered if not taken care of properly. Again a finish may be the saving grace for your wood floors but is not always guaranteed.

Wear and Tear

As time goes on your floors may become stained, marred, and chipped if not given the best finish or cared for correctly. Be sure to polish your hard floors regularly and keep them clean. Otherwise they may become brittle and cracked with time.

There are a few of the benefits and consequences for hardwood floors. Before you decide be sure to also research possible carpenters and contractors who will install hardwood for you. Be sure to read reviews and testimonials to make sure they are reliable and knowledgeable. This will save you a headache down the road.

June is National Safety Month

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 2, 2016

Home ImprovementDuring the month of June bees are buzzing, gardens are growing, lawn mowers are rumbling along, and home improvement projects usually begin. While it is a wonderful time of year to clean gutters, power wash decks, and refinish your porch you should always be aware of the hazards that come with home improvement. With a few simple tips you can work on making your home look lovely without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Stay hydrated

Always, always, always have a water bottle with you and refill it often. While it is ok to have Gatorade, or iced tea with you throughout the day water will be your best option to avoid dehydration. If you are working on a hot day be sure to start early to avoid the scorching weather of the afternoon. This way you will be less likely to become dehydrated and exhausted. If you’re working outside or in a unairconditioned household have at least a gallon of water with you that you drink throughout the entire day.

You must be aware of the symptoms of dehydration as well. If a person stops sweating, becomes cold and clammy, or passes out they are suffering from dehydration and possibly heat stroke. If this is the case bring the person to a cool place immediately and give them water. They will need to drink slowly to avoid nausea. If they begin to show severe signs such as skin shriveling, confusion, or intense dizziness it is time to go to the hospital.

Sunscreen

Using sunscreen will also help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you are working outside be sure to cover exposed parts with a sunscreen containing 30 SPF or higher. You should also wear lightweight clothing to avoid heat exhaustion. The sunscreen will also help protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Though it may seem like common sense hundreds of people in the U.S. are admitted to the ER in the summer for severe sunburns.

Full coverage clothing

When working outside you will want your body to have as much protection as possible. Wear lightweight long sleeves and pants as well as a hat. This way your skin is protected from the sun and any possible insects you might meet along the way. While many insects offer no real threat ticks and mosquitos can harbor painful and long-lasting diseases. You should also find an all-natural bug spray that contains catnip and rose geranium. Studies have shown that catnip can be as affective as DEET in deterring bugs and rose geranium essential oil (diluted of course) has been used for many years to deter ticks.

Home Organization

by CustomHomes on Thursday, May 26, 2016

LivingroomOrganization can mean the difference between a clean home and a spotless home. Creating an organization system for each room in your house can help you know exactly where everything is which can cause you less stress in the long run. Here are a few organizational tips for some of the rooms in your home.

Bathroom

The sink cabinet is a neglected space in many homes. Many don’t realize all the potential it can hole with just a little TLC. If you want to store towels, makeup, hair accessories, and other odds and ends in your cabinet, you may want to invest in some fabric and find a few cardboard boxes. You can create lovely boxes by stapling the fabric onto the outside of cardboard boxes and using a different fabric in the interior. This way you can create space and a little color even in the small spaces. This is also a wonderful project if the box is ruined by a leak. Simply take out the staples, wash the fabric and place it on a new box. Good as new!

Kitchen

I know it may seem silly but if you have a tiny kitchen it can be great to put a small bookshelf in it. This will allow space while fitting some of your spices, dishes, and other odds and ends that may not fit anywhere else neatly. You can also get a little creative with a bookshelf. I use the bookshelf in my kitchen for appliances that are not always in use (coffee grinder, blender, etc.) and I use it for holding my spices. If you need a pantry it is already set up with a bookshelf or you can create a theme for the bookshelf like a coffee stand or even a baking prep station.

Living room

Installing corner shelves can help create space and store objects in an out-of-the-way are. Smell corners are often reserved for end tables and uncomfortable chairs. Now with a corner bookshelf you can store books, knickknacks, and other pieces without taking up space in your living room. Corner shelves are relatively easy to install but show be done by someone who is a somewhat seasoned DIYer. You will need about 20 nails, a drill, and a friend. Mark on the wall where you want to place the shelves and then begin placing shelves from tallest to shortest. This way you will be able to reach the tallest shelves and your shortest won’t somehow end up on the floor. Then place the nails into the shelves and then the wall. Be sure they are secure. Afterward test them with sturdy weights such as books before placing pieces like glass or fragile knickknacks on the shelves.

May 23 – 27 is Hurricane Awareness Week

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hurricane

 

More hurricanes are finding their way up the east coast. Though there is some debate about the cause of this migration, there are definite and effective ways to prepare for a hurricane. Here are a few tips on how to make a hurricane preparedness kit and how to maintain your kit once you have it together.

 

Hurricane Preparedness

 

First off you will want to make a list of what you need or have. This way you can form a kit for hurricane or other dangerous weather so you are always prepared. Here is one that has the basics and a few necessary items you may not think of in a crisis:

 

  1. Two day’s worth of food
  2. Four day’s worth of water
  3. One tank of gas
    You can purchase tank sized gas cans at any farming store (Tractor Supply, Cabela’s, etc.)
  4. Portable battery and crank-powered radio
  5. First aid kit and manual
  6. Items for infants (diapers, medicine, bottles, and baby food)
  7. Items for pets (food, water, medicine, leash, etc.)
  8. Space blanket
  9. Tent large enough for your family
  10. Important papers (birth certificates, license, etc.)
  11. Waterproof matches and other fire starters.
  12. Your and your family members’ medications.

 

Items you may not think of:

 

  1. Plant identification field guide
    This way you can eat what is around you without the risk of getting sick.
  2. Bag of Doritos
    These make wonderful fire starters and are filling in a pinch.
  3. Extra batteries
  4. Comfortable shoes
  5. Sanitation and hygiene items.
    These will keep you and your family clean and sanitary pads and other feminine products can be used as bandages.

 

Maintain your kit

 

Once you have made a kit it is necessary that you maintain it. Be sure to use the food that is about to pass its expiration date (canned goods, bagged items) and replenish the stock shortly after. The best thing to do is replenish the same day you use it, that way you will not forget. You may also want to label and date each food item. This will help you keep track of what you have and what you need. Be sure to also rethink your needs every year. Shoe sizes change, dietary needs evolve, and family members can grow. By keeping up with the changes in your life you will always be ready for what may come.

May is National Hand Tool Safety Month

by CustomHomes on Thursday, May 12, 2016

HandyNow that the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing many of us are pulling out our tool belts and preparing our latest home improvement projects. While that is a wonderful way to add value and comfort to your home, home improvement projects can be dangerous if not properly executed. Here are a few tips so you can make your house beautiful without harming yourself.

Grip and clean hands

For hand tools such as wrenches, knives, and hammers you will want a good grip so the do not fall out of your hands when working or slip through your fingers when you are working with dangerous materials such as electrical wiring. Be sure to purchase tools with rubber or rubber-like handles.

You should also make sure you have relatively clean hands when working. The do not need to be sparkling but you should keep a handkerchief on your person so they are debris-free at all times.

Eye protection

Always, always, always wear eye protection when working with tools. I know it seems silly to get goggles when you just want to hammer a nail but it can be dangerous if you do not use proper eyewear. Safety glasses can be worn but when working with tools, especially power tools I prefer to use goggles so debris like saw dust does not get into my eye and possible materials (nails, hand tools themselves, etc.) do not hurt my vision if they fall or slip. You may also want to wear further face protection depending on the materials you are working with for a project. If you are working on a project with a lot of debris (such as insulation) you should cover your nose and face so you do not inhale the debris, which can cause coughing, throat and chest pain, and serious respiratory issues.

Skin protection

Be sure to protect your skin when you are working inside your home as well as outside. You can do this by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants and you can also wear sunscreen if you are working outside. The clothing will help cover your skin from any debris or possible mistakes with hand tools or raw materials. The sunscreen is just a good idea to keep your skin from being damaged by the sun.

Hack into your home: Make your home the perfect home

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

SucculentCreating a home that is perfect for you and your family can be fun and challenging or it can be an utter nightmare. Here are a few suggestions and crafts to make your home feel like home sweet home.

Splish Splash

Foam noodles in your garage can save your car door and the garage wall from scrapes. If you want to create a wall protector all you need is a pool noodle and command strips. Cut the pool noodle in have so it will line up with the wall. Attach four command strips on each end of the pool noodle and then attach to the wall. Voila! Now you can say goodbye to scraps.

Press n Seal

If you’re painting your home painter’s tape can be difficult to work with or place without using half a roll. If you want to have seamless lines without using more tape than paint you may want to invest in a Press n Seal roll. Press and seal easily adheres to windows, door frames, and other awkward in-between spots without leaving residue or wasting large amounts of tape. To use press n seal measure out what you need and then firmly place the seal on the desired area. Press firmly to keep the film in place. Once you are finished and the paint has dried remove the press n seal with your fingers and enjoy the beautiful work you have just finished.

Pegboards

Be it in a workshop, the kitchen, or even your bathroom, pegboards can create instant storage and help you have more space in your home. Pegboards are sold in many craft and hardware stores and can be installed with a few screws and a screwdriver. Once on your wall use hooks to hang the objects you wish to have on your pegboard. My favorite craft so far has been hanging coffee mugs from my pegboard. They look neat and I can show off some of my favorite mugs without pouring a cup of tea.

Indoor Safari

Keeping plants indoors throughout the year can add color and beauty to your home and may even help clean and clear the air. Having indoor plants can be simple if you give them the proper drainage and care. Depending on the plant you will need drainage. Be sure all of your pots have drainage holes and even then have a plate with a little lift to give your plant some space.

Now that you have a few quick ideas to make your home more comfortable it is time to tie on the tool belt and get started. Happy home improvement!

Advantages of Insulation in the summertime

by CustomHomes on Thursday, April 28, 2016

InsulationMostly, we think of insulation with regard to winter but installing new insulation in your home during the spring and summer months can save you time installing, headache, and money.

Keep cool air in

Though we think of insulation as keeping warm air in and cold air out, it works for cool air as well. Updating your insulation can help you save money during the warmer months because cool air from your AC will stay in your home instead of being inundated by warm air. New insulation is relatively inexpensive and can help lower utilities bills throughout the year.

Be sure to change insulation on a cooler day in spring or early summer and keep the area well ventilated. Places where you install insulation can become dangerously hot quickly. The dust can also be inhaled which can lead to temporary respiratory discomfort or pain. Where a dust mask when working with insulation and be sure to cover your extremities. The dust can cause your skin to itch especially combined with heat.

If you follow these precautions you will be able to install insulation quickly, painlessly and you can immediately enjoy the financial and physical advantages of insulation in the summer months.

No headache in the winter

Installing insulation in the winter can be dangerous and tedious. Because insulation is usually in attics and walls, many become overheated without realizing it. This can lead to heat stroke, dehydration, and delirium. It is best to keep the area well ventilated during insulation and to do so in warmer months so you are more aware of your body temperature. Snow and weather also play a large role when installing insulation. While you may be indoors, unsupported roofs and walls can cave in during a large snowstorm or create mold if insulation isn’t installed properly. Installing insulation in the spring and summer is best because cave ins are less likely and walls and ceiling can be fixed relatively quickly during warmer months.

Shorter installation time

As mentioned it often takes less time to install insulation in the summer than the winter. This is because transport may not be impeded due to in-climate weather, maintenance can be preformed quickly in warmer months, and the insulation will be easier to manage. If you want to install new insulation, you may want to hire a contractor or have an experienced DIY friend or family member help you out. While the stuff may be pink, fluffy, and seemingly harmless, it can become vexing if not handled properly.

The Advantages of Sunrooms

by Fabio Cuffaro on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

SunroomSunrooms can be wonderful additions to your home that have endless possibilities in function, decoration, and purpose. Sunrooms have been used throughout the years as a place for entertaining, for crafting, cooking, and even growing. There are plenty of reasons why if you are able to you should invest in a sunroom. Your family will be able to get plenty of use out of the space and it will always bring space and light (yes even in the rain) into your home. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider investing in a sunroom.

Light

As mentioned, a sunroom introduces a massive amount of light into your home. If you are like me and love to garden and, this can be a wonderful temporary green house. In the spring many people enjoy growing plants from seed. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience and helps you cultivate a beautiful garden for years to come. The best part about making your sunroom a greenhouse is that when all the plants are out in the garden, your sunroom can turn into a family room, bedroom, or entertainment area. You don’t have to worry about keeping the greenhouse warm enough or maintaining the greenhouse. You can easily remove the tables and lights after the seed season and put them back up next the spring when you are ready.

Space

Though you may have room in your home for your family, having a bit more space can help create ease in the home and offer more opportunities for the family to have fun together. Sunrooms offer the possibility of having game nights without tearing the living room apart or movie nights where everyone can relax and unwind without squeezing into a bedroom or sprawling all over the living room. A sunroom can also be a spot where your imagination runs wild. Always wanted a craft room? Now you have the space and the beauty of your backyard surrounding you. Never had a breakfast nook? A sunroom will bring light and beauty into your home all while you are sipping coffee.

Outdoor option

Creating a sunroom with outdoor options can make your home feel more inviting and closer to nature. Many sunrooms have removable windows so you can let fresh air in during the summer while others have large opening doors that are perfect for inviting guests outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather or scenery.

With a sunroom you can really allow your imagination to run wild.

National Facial Protection Month

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

homeTaking care of your face while working on home improvement is vital to avoid injury and to finish the job with it looking well done and detailed. Depending on the job you are doing in or around the home you will need different facial protection. You should also be aware of the rest of your body when you are working on your home. Being sure that everything is well covered before working with power tools, heavy machinery, or toxic chemicals can mean the difference between losing a shirt and losing an arm. Here are a few pieces of facial and body protection you should consider before working on your home or outside.

Goggles

Goggles are incredibly important when working in or around your home. While you may not need them to put a picture on the wall but for repainting a room, repairing drywall, or simply using power tools goggles can help save your eyes from coming into contact with dust, liquids, and harsh gases and it may protect your face from any debris or toxins.

When you’re purchasing goggles be sure to get the ones that are right for you. First aspect to consider is if you wear glasses or contacts. You can get prescription goggles but if you are just doing DIY projects around the house you may just want something to put over your glasses and forget about. Be sure to purchase goggles that fit tight around your head. This way they will not fall off at any time during your work. Once you’ve decided the shape of the goggles and have them fit to your head you will then want to make sure they are always clean. The last thing you need when working with a circular saw is a huge smudge on your goggles.

Mask

Masks come in different varieties, sizes, and purposes. For most work around the home you will need a small facemask that will look similar to what doctors use. If you are working with paint or lumber you will only need the simple small facemask. If you are working with drywall or insulation, however, you will want a facemask that either fits over your entire face or fits underneath your goggles to keep everything protected. You will also want a facemask with a filter so you are not breathing in harmful and painful particles of the drywall or insulation.

Sunscreen

I know, it seems silly but if you are working outside you will want sunscreen. It is one of the best ways to protect your face from sun damage and keeps your skin moisturized. Be sure to apply and reapply regularly so you don’t come back in from mowing looking like a lobster.

Part 2 of Window safety tips

by CustomHomes on Thursday, April 14, 2016

 

WindowWindow safety is extremely important. So much so it deserves two posts. There are plenty of ways you can have a beautiful and safe home and hopefully going through these remaining tips you will be able to find the perfect solution for your windows.

Window Bars

Window bars are simple pieces that can be easily installed. Much like shower curtain rods they can easily adhere to the edges of the window so you can place it wherever you would like. This can help keep little ones from accidentally falling out of the window and keep intruders from coming in.

If you need external window bars they can be beautiful as well as functional. Bars are not always the most attractive décor but they can be the most necessary in some instances. Luckily it can be a stunning addition to your home instead of a mar on the façade. If you need bars you may want to hire a welder with a little bit of creativity. They can weld and install window bars that look like trees, birds, butterflies and anything in between. Even though they are wonderful pieces they will be as strong, if not stronger, than more generic bars you see on windows.

Proper Sealing and Caulking

The best place to start when creating safer windows is the foundation. Strip old, damage sealing and caulking before you begin installing new windows, window bars, or any other new pieces. This way you’ll no there are no holes, leaks, or creaks before you begin making your windows safer. It will also help give the windows a more youthful look. If you are not a handy man or woman you can look up tutorials that will help you have a better grasp on resealing and recaulking your windows. If you are unsure of your own skills you can hire a home improvement company and they will help you reseal and recaulk windows while replacing them and making them more secure.

Plan

Finally, the best advice we can give is to plan before you begin working on your windows. Be sure to have a step-by-step plan for what you are going to do and what you want to do. This will help you work through each task quickly and thoroughly so you do not have to go over your work again or pay for any more improvements.

Participate in Window Safety Week: Part One

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, April 12, 2016

windowsParticipate in Window Safety Week, which is the second full week in April. With warmer temperatures arriving, it’s important to practice window safety – especially in homes with young children. Finding ways to make your windows safer and more secure will help you sleep easy at night and may make your windows last longer through the seasons. You should also clean your windows (including the runners) regularly so they remain safe from debris and mold. Here are a few tips on how to make your windows safer.

For little ones

You can install window safety locks to keep intruders out and wee ones in. This will make it easy to open the window a little to let some fresh air in without tempting children to climb up and possibly fall out. You can purchase window safety locks at any chain or hardware store and they are fairly inexpensive. They are also simple to install. Once you place the lock onto the runner where the window moves up and down and then you secure the bolt. It is simple and makes it virtually impossible for an intruder to undo the lock and children will be unable to reach it.

Properly installed

This may seem like a no brainer but there are plenty of windows that could use a little more work. If you have a window with a draft you cannot get rid of or mold forming around the edges you will want to thoroughly clean the window and then get to work fixing the problem. Unless you are a seasoned DIYer I suggest hiring a carpenter. They will be able to identify and fix the problem in an afternoon while you may take a day or more. A carpenter will also fix the issue the first time.

Security film

If you want a simple DIY project that is fairly inexpensive and easy to install you may want to get ballistic film. This allegedly makes your windows tougher to break so small children won’t crash through and burglars will be unable to bust through the glass to open the door. You can purchase the film online or at hardware stores and then you cut the pieces to match your windows and doors. From there you clean your windows thoroughly and gently press the film onto the window while smoothing it with your hand. After you have placed the film wash the windows once more to make the film appear invisible.

Sources: http://www.houseofhepworths.com/2012/02/06/ill-choose-safety-for-100-please/

https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/pretty-handy-girl-2382968/install-security-film-to-a-glass-door-protect-3301675323

Post April 5: This is Flood Safety Awareness Week

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

From Flood Watch to Evacuation Notice

Knowing the difference between hunkering down and getting out of your home and to a safer place can save you a lot of precious time during a disaster. If your news channel has issued a flood watch that means flooding is possible in your area but has not occurred. This is different from a flood warning or flash flood watch that means flooding has occurred in your area and may occur suddenly. You should move to higher ground within your home or community and be prepared to gather valuables. A flash flood warning alerts that a flash flood will be occurring in your area and you must seek higher ground immediately. Finally an evacuation notice is telling you it is time to evacuate your home or community to seek higher ground. Take only the necessities.

List of What You’ll Need

  1. Water: at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  2. Food: at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  3. Flashlight
  4. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  5. Extra batteries
  6. First Aid kit
  7. Medications (7-day supply)
  8. Multi-purpose tool
  9. Copies of personal documents
  10. Cellphone with charger
  11. Cash
  12. Camera to display flood damage
  13. Baby and Pet Supplies
  14. Wood, nails, power tools (to secure your home)
  15. Sandbags for home protection

Have A Plan

Always have a plan and let everyone in your household know the plan. You can post a floor plan in your kitchen or living room and route several escape plans from each room in your home. Be sure to also give everyone a job during a disaster. This way everything will get done but you will not have to focus on every aspect of it. And you will be able to share the load so everyone will be accountable. You will also want to have a meeting place for your family that is outside of the household. This way everyone will be accounted for and if anyone is missing everyone can look for him or her and meet again at the meeting place.

Sources: http://survivallife.com/flood-survival-tips-natural-disaster-survival/

http://www.americover.com/sandless_sand_bags_1275_prd1.htm?pp=0

http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2012/08/30/after-a-natural-disaster/

Perk up your home for spring

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Purple FlowersSpring Cleaning

I know, I hate it too but it can be simple, quick, and fun if you do it right. First, give yourself allotted time to work on cleaning. Want to tackle the shower (my least favorite chore) put the timer on for ten minutes. You’ll be done before then and now you have a squeaky clean shower. Do some small simple tasks first. Put the laundry away or in the washing machine. Fill the dishwasher and while that is going dust. Finally, make it fun. If I have a project or craft in mind I will clean the room that I plan to do the project in. I look forward to the project and I now have a clean space.

Flowers

Flowers are an inexpensive, lovely way to add color and freshness to your home. Purchase a bouquet of daffodils and place them in a fun vase on your table. If you do not have a vase this just means you get to be creative. Sans vase I often use a coffee can or empty alcohol bottle. My favorite thing to do is use vintage medicine bottles. They give it a vintage touch without being too obvious. Your dining room isn’t the only showcase for some beautiful blooms. You can always put a bouquet in the bedroom and on the coffee table.

Play

Get the children involved with garden and flower crafts! Some of my favorite memories in spring were drying flowers from our ceilings for potpourri or tea and it looks beautiful! Put a few command hooks in a tall arch or doorway. Then when those bouquets you purchased get droopy you can dry them off and tie them in ribbon or string. Once your done you (the adult) can hang them up and everyone can appreciate the color and fragrance the bouquets still bring. When they are dried you can make potpourris for gifts!

You can also breathe new life into your old clothes, bed linens, and shades by using flowers and plants. Wash and dry all the fabrics you plan on using and purchase three to five springy colors in acrylic paint. Then you and the kids can walk around the backyard, a local park, or in the woods to find your favorite leaves and flowers. Once you’ve collected them, paint the underside of the leaves with the paint and lightly dip the flowers into the paint. Then gently press the plants onto the fabric. Voila! You have beautiful, spring-filled bed linens, and clothing that will be perfect throughout the warmer weather. I suggest letting each piece fully dry out in the sun and then washing once more.

Hardwood vs Laminate Flooring

by CustomHomes on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hardwood

When designing your home there are many details you will want to focus on. One of the most important decorative details you will want to focus on is the floor. Many people do not always look down at their feet right away when looking at a home but as they move in, live with, and get to know the floor they will become more opinionated on the subject. Before moving into a new home, consider what sort of floor exists already and what material, look, or color you would like it to be. If you are moving into a home already built you will be able to work with what you have. If you are building a new home the sky (or ground, that is) is the limit.

Hardwood

Having hardwood in your home can either be a wonderful idea or an idea wrought with disaster. They are sturdy against everyday wear and tear but can shift and warp over time due to weather and moisture within the home. If you are thinking about installing hardwood floors in your home, discuss the possibility with your neighbors. They may have had experiences you may not expect with the material. On the other hand if you have children or pets, hardwood can be great to fight against the constant barrage of running, tapping, and skidding. Just be sure to get a very, very good finish.

Hardwood in comparison to laminate can also be a green solution. Finishing and cleaning the hardwood naturally will reduce your carbon footprint and will help you keep harmful toxins out of your home. If you decide to purchase natural wood and finish it naturally, you will have to clean and refinish your floors more often.

Laminate

Laminate is a little easier to maintain and keep clean but will not withstand the abuse it may get from large families or a home with pets. This flooring can actually rip and become discolored overtime. It does, however remain flat even in harsher weather and can stay clean even after it has been discolored or damaged. If you live in a quiet home with children who are older, laminate may be a good idea. If you also live in a climate that has more humid weather laminate will also help you avoid warping of your floor and could help keep mold out of the home. Living by the beach will almost guarantee a constant film of sand and sea salt.

Caring For Your Central Vac System

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vacuum

There are many reasons why people are considering central vacuum systems for their home. It adds value to your home, is often more economical than a portable vacuum, and is more convenient. If you are thinking about making the investment in your own home be sure to do plenty of research on all the products and take time to find a system that is right for your home.

Installation

When you decide to purchase a central vacuum system you will want to have product you trust as well as technicians that will be able to get the job done well the first time. You may purchase central vac systems and install them on your own but it does require a lot of skill, patience, and knowledge – knowing how to install or reinstall dry wall is also a major advantage. If you are not sure it is best to invest in having a technician come and install the system. It will save you time and many, many headaches.

Cleaning

Central vacuum systems do not require a lot of maintenance after they have been installed. You should always keep the filters new and clean and be sure to always dispose of the dirt after you have cleaned your home. If you allow the filters to age or the dirt to sit in the canister it can create mold if there is moisture in the canister or within the room or it can cause a fire if the motor is overworked and dust has been overflowing into other parts of the vacuum.

Overuse

By overusing your system we mean clogging it with excessive debris or with debris that cannot fit in the outlets. Do not try to clean up liquid messes or large pieces of garbage with your central vacuum system. This could clog the system and force you to pay maintenance to come in and fix your system. This can be costly and time-consuming.

Now that you know how to properly care for your central vac system you will be able to make an educated decision about your possible investment and find the perfect system for you and your family. There are now hundreds of products on the market and each one should be thoughtfully considered before purchase. If you have questions about investing in a central vacuum system or the one that is already in place in your home, contact manufacturers and they will be able to give you the best advice.

 

Source: http://home.howstuffworks.com/central-vacuum.htm

Should I choose paint or wallpaper?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 10, 2016

Designing and decorating your home can the most fun and daunting task you experience when own a home. Small touches can make a home but doing so to fit your lifestyle is paramount. Though it may seem small, the walls throughout your home will set the tone of your house. Creating different qualities in rooms will help you and your family feel comfortable. While some rooms work well with wallpaper or solid colors, others do not. Here are a few tips to help you fund out what is best for your space.

Pro Wallpaper

Wallpaper can add beautiful detail to your home elegantly and easily. It is simple to apply and comes in thousands of different colors, patterns, and textures. Some are even ecologically friendly as well as economically friendly. If you are interested in purchasing wallpaper for your home, be sure to ask your landlord or property manager if you rent or find out the make up or your walls if you own your home. While concrete and cinderblock will be fairly easy to apply wallpaper to and durable other walls such as exposed brick or wood paneling may be difficult to remove or apply uniformly.

Pro Paint

Painting your walls is a simple and fun way to add personality and color to your home. If you wish to paint the rooms in your home there should be a few things you should consider. First you should consider the light in each room. If natural light floods the room, you will have more options for color and texture. If the room is darker you will want to make it pop with lighter colors and smooth textures. Paint is perfect for those who want to create tone to their home without overwhelming it with texture or pattern.

Con Wallpaper

Wallpaper can become outdated quickly and is difficult to remove. While some do simply paint over the wallpaper it can harm the wall underneath (create moisture and with that mold) and it can warp the wallpaper so the paint job looks uneven. Choosing wallpaper must be done with plenty of patience and forethought. Thought wallpaper may look trendy at the moment, in two years it will look stale. Be sure to pick something that will fit your home for many years.

Con Paint

Many have found ways to use paint with patterns, textures, as well as tones. But some of us are not as talented or as patient as others. Painter’s tape can do some magical things but everyone messes up. When painting be focused and paint slowly and patiently, especially if you are trying a different pattern or texture. Your walls will thank you!

Front door styles: why wider doors are becoming more popular

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Throughout history grand, luxurious, and baroque entrances have inspired and bewildered us. A large entrance can evoke a sense of power, grandiosity, lavishness, and plenty of similar thoughts. Large entrances are often seen in places of great importance such as castles, temples, and even government establishments. The trend is, however, mimic in single-family homes as well. Some families are building or remodeling their homes with larger, more comfortable entrances in mind. There are a few reasons why this can be beneficial to a home’s façade and if done well, it can create a warm and inviting welcome.

Ease

For many, it is simply easier to have a home with a large entryway. Plenty of families have members that require accessibility for a wheelchair. Having a ramp or lift is essential and creating a large doorway will make it easier for everyone to enter and exit as they wish. It can also make trips to and from your home easier. Many of us struggle to fit through the door with an armful of groceries, a cell phone in our hands, and laundry over our shoulder. While you may not consider this a typical day, they happen more often than we think when we design our home.

Comfort

The first impression is often the one that sticks. Creating an open, warm, and welcoming entrance can add relaxation to your life and make your home more inviting for your guests. Creating an entrance with a foyer or even a small bench to sit while you take off your shoes can make those in your family and those visiting feel more comfortable. Keeping the snow boots and raincoats near the doorway can also help your home stay cleaner as well.

Routine

Having a larger doorway can also help you have a better routine. By creating a larger space you are able to leave things like shoes, keys and, your coat at the door so you do not have to find them the next morning. While it may seem like a small change, it can make a big difference in time saved and stress managed.

Appearance

While we already discussed larger entrances being more inviting to family and friends, it also gives your house a bit more curb appeal. Because it is large and often eye-catching, for those trying to sell their home it can be the perfect way to have potential buyers step through the door.

So if you’re wondering if a larger doorway is right for your house well, go big or go home.

Daylight Savings Time

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 3, 2016

It’s that time of year again. When we turn our clocks forward we may grumble through the seemingly early morning but before you know it we will be able to enjoy the sun well into the evening. Daylight Savings is always the Second Sunday in March and all clocks, watches, and devices that are not connected to the Internet must be set one hour forward. Many people do this small ritual the night before while others forget and race around the next morning. To be sure you wake up at the correct time and do so stress free, set your clocks the night before. I usually do so right before bed while others set reminders to make sure they set their clocks at a time more convenient for them.

 

Clocks are set forward by one hour except in Hawaii and most of Arizona. This is because they are aligned on the earth’s surface in such a way that our measurement of time does not need to change. Other countries and regions may need to accommodate to a more, unique, time change. Some countries such as Japan and parts of China are a complete day ahead of us, for example.

 

The origin of daylight savings time was created in a part of the world that dealt with such extreme time constraints. In a small part of Ontario, Canada called Thunder Bay citizens wanted to make better use out of time and they large amounts of daylight they had during the summer. During July, 1908 the people of Thunder Bay noticed the days started later but lasted longer in the warmer months. DST or daylight savings time was made to help those in the town get the most sunshine out of their day. After that it was adopted in Germany, then throughout the world and now is recognized through a bill in our government.

 

The modern world is not the first to use such an idea, however. Early civilizations used this time recognition for similar reasons. One example is the use of water clocks in ancient Rome. During this time they would change scales depending on the season much like turning clocks forward or back. Now we use more sophisticated measurements of time but still require this practice. So before you snuggle into your couch or make the cup of tea before bed, be sure to set your clocks and start tomorrow off right!

 

Source: http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html

National Time Management Month

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Keep A Work Journal

 

When you’re working on a project in home time management is key. Using a work journal can help you keep everything on track without a lot of clutter of receipts or records. I use a basic eight by eleven notebook where I keep written records and tape receipts and pictures inside as well. Mine is not the fanciest you’ve every seen but you can always perk it up with Washi tape and color-coding markers. Many companies as well as homeowners keep work journals. Be sure to accurately date and label each task. This way you know exactly what you have done and what else needs to be done.

 

No Nit Picking

 

Before you can be a perfectionist, be sure to get the bulk of the work done. When working on a home project it is best to get the major steps out of the way before working on the small touches. While I do find this difficult I find it easiest to make a to-do list based on priority. That way I get the large hunks of not-so-fun work done and then I can play with the detailing. Nothing will look more peculiar than a stained glass window perfectly placed in a wall that was just dry walled.

 

Have (and Keep) Deadlines

 

Having a definite deadline for your home project is paramount. It can be difficult to uphold but it will make life a lot simpler in the long run. You do not need to make large, lofty deadlines either; breaking the work into smaller chunks will make them easier to tackle. To make the home projects less daunting you can schedule due dates that are smaller along the way to the finished project. It will keep you feeling accomplished without overwhelming you along the way.

 

Plan Ahead

 

Write a to-do list at the end of the day everyday for the day ahead. By organizing for the next day you will be able to focus on one task at a time without feeling overwhelmed about what to do next. If you’re doing a DIY project over the weekend or simply dedicating an hour everyday to your garden, planning ahead of time will make the home project easier and will help you be less distracted. When using a to-do list give yourself plenty of time for each task. This will keep you from being stressed or feeling like you’re running out of time.

 

Tackle The Big Stuff

 

When working on a DIY project it is always best to tackle the big, boring projects first. This way you will have more fun in the long run and will feel accomplished no matter what.

Cabin Fever: How To Survive Snow Days

by Kuhrich on Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cabin Fever

Early Spring Cleaning

I know, I know I hate it too but it can be the difference between a productive day or a day of watching old X-Files on Netflix. When I decide to clean up to avoid feeling too cooped up I start by straightening and organizing small projects such as books or clothing. I will also go through pieces of clothing and small furniture or housewares to see if there is anything I would like to donate to a local thrift shop. It helps my home stay clear and organized and it helps me feel accomplished even though I have been in my PJs all day. If you need something a bit more intense I suggest cleaning your floors. You do not have to get on your hands and knees but just sweeping can make a world of difference in how the room looks.

A Little DIY

Doing small projects around the house can help you get excited about being in your home and can inspire you to create more and make your home even cozier. There are plenty of small DIY projects you can find on the Internet or in your grandmother’s old craft book (Who knows? You may find a gem!). My favorite project to do at home when I’m trying to shoo cabin fever away is create rice heating packs for the home or for gifts. Rice packs are easy to make and can ease sore muscles or the achy feeling when you are experiencing flu symptoms. If you want to give it a try, you will need about a cup and a half of dry rice, half a yard of fabric, thread, and patience. I like to fold one wrong side out and sew the two open ends together while leaving one open. Then I will place the rice in the bag with a few teaspoons of lavender flowers and finishing sewing the last edge.

Culinary Experimentation

Now is the perfect time to work on that recipe that you’ve been dying to try. It can also be a wonderful excuse to have the kids help you in the kitchen. I enjoy working in the kitchen during a snow day because it often makes a wonderful dinner (and sometimes lunch the next day) and cleans the kitchen at the same time. If you have little ones you can always bake cookies and then sweep and clean dishes while you wait for the delicious morsels to bake.

Relax

If all else fails, cozy up with a cup of tea and a good book. Snow days are the weather’s way to tell us to slow down and enjoy the people that share your home.

Prepare Your Home for Spring

by Kuhrich on Thursday, February 11, 2016

Spring is a perfect time to clean out your home. You can hear the birds chirping, see the flowers budding, and feel the air warm up around you. Getting unnecessary clutter and debris out of your house during spring will help you embrace summer and even have an easier time preparing for fall and winter. When cleaning, there are a few precautions you should take to stay safe through your weekend cleaning and organizing projects. Be sure to let everyone know what is going on in the house, and how they can help. Also, try to be conscious of your family’s schedule. You may not want to mop the floor at three, right when the kids come home from school, for example. Take these steps to keep you and your family safe when cleaning this season.

1 – Rearranging

Rearranging furniture is nice way to tie a room together and spice things up. If you have heavy furniture you may want to invest in furniture post that will make it easier to move the pieces around the room. You should also avoid moving heavy pieces by yourself. They may fall on you or injure you if broken. Be careful and have a buddy so someone can get help if need be. If you are moving furniture, keep your back straight and lift with your legs. This will keep the stress off of your back and help you use stronger muscles in your legs and your core. Who needs cross fit when you have an armoire that needs moving?

2 – Read Instructions

Follow cleaning product safety instructions and labels when cleaning your home. If you are using store bought cleaning products, be sure to read the labels carefully so you do not damage your home, furniture, or yourself. Store bought cleaning products can contain harmful and corrosive chemicals that can harm materials and your own body if not used properly. If you want to avoid this entirely, however, you can create your own cleaning products quickly and safely. By purchasing vinegar (white, distilled) and adding orange peels to it over two weeks, you can have a lovely all purpose cleaner, and you can even create a soft scrub using hydrogen peroxide, castile soap, and baking soda. It is perfect for sinks and tubs that need a little extra elbow grease.

3 – Caution, Floor is Wet

Use caution while walking on wet surfaces and clean up spills. Though it may seem obvious many people fall and hurt themselves while walking over wet surfaces. Be sure to mop properly so the floors can dry quickly and do so when there is little foot traffic so the possibility of injury is lower.

4 – Wear a Mask

Be sure to wear a mask while cleaning dusty areas of your home because dust can contain harmful and irritating materials from pets, people, and even cleaning chemicals that have built up over time. Wearing a simple surgical mask may be best as it will be enough to cover your face but you will not look like you are trying to get through a nuclear apocalypse.

Preventing Winter Home Fires

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Winter house fires are more likely to happen because there are more risks factors occurring in the house such as stovetop or oven cooking, fireplaces, and candles to make the home feel cozy and warm. While these can help everyone get through the cabin fever of winter, it can be dangerous if the fires are not monitored carefully and extinguished responsibly. There are other hazards that you may not even consider. Dryer vents clogged with lint can burst into flames and unclean filters may catch fire as well. Here are a few tips to keep your home safe from fire during the winter.

Make sure you have functioning fire detectors throughout your home. Working smoke detectors will keep you safe throughout the night. You will also want to make sure they have fully charged batteries. You should also install carbon monoxide detectors in your home so you know that you are safe. Carbon monoxide detectors are both battery operated and can be hardwired. You will want both so no matter what you can be alerted if you are in dangers.

Have a plan for escape if your house is on fire. Make several plans involving every room in the house so no matter what everyone can get out safely. Place ladders in second floor rooms and fire extinguishers in the basement, kitchen, and living room if you have a fireplace. Practice the plan several times throughout the year so everyone understands and it can be changed if necessary.

If you do not know how to use a fire extinguisher be sure to learn and to show everyone in your household so there is less of a chance of a fire worsening. You should also make sure everyone knows how to stop, drop, and roll in case his or her clothes or hair are set on fire.

If there are children living in your home remind them what can be dangerous (stoves, space heaters, floor heaters) and why they need to stay away. Also explain to them why lighters and matches are not toys.

Finally, if you or a loved one is burned you will want to understand the difference in burns. First degree is a light pink burn that produces tightness and only harms the top layer of the skin. Second causes blistering and bleeding as well as tightness and harms the first and second layer of skin. Third degree burns can be incredibly painful, will need to be treated at the hospital and may require skin grafts. If you or a family member has been burned, preform first aid by putting cold water on the burn and bandaging the wound.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

by Fabio Cuffaro on Thursday, January 21, 2016

Symptoms

Common symptoms of CO poisoning are dizziness, headache, weakness, chest pain, and other “flu-like” symptoms. If you breathe in a lot of carbon monoxide you may faint and if not moved you may die from further inhalation. Those who are sleeping or drunk may die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

If you experience carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms you will want to leave the home or space immediately to go outside. Once you are out in fresh air breathe deeply and try to rest. If you or your loved ones are experiencing advance symptoms such as vomiting or confusions be sure to call the authorities so they can take you or your family member to the hospital so they can have proper treatment. If everything is all right stay with friends or family while you contact a technician.

Detectors

Detectors can be battery powered or have a battery back up. If you decide to invest in a Carbon Monoxide detector be sure to purchase one with a digital reader. That way you can always read what CO levels are in your home and have an alarm system if the levels become too high.

When placing your detector put it close to where you and your family spend the most time. Outside bedrooms are best because it will wake you so you can leave the house before it becomes too toxic. Be sure to replace your detector once every five years so you know your home is safe.

Further Prevention

There are other precautions you can take to make your home safe. Having a technician work with and manage your gas appliances once a year will make your house more secure. You should also make sure that when you purchase gas appliances are they all have national testing agency seal. That way you know your appliances are durable and stable. Finally be sure your home is well ventilated so the CO cannot build up. If you have a home with a chimney you will also want to have it clean after every winter so your house will not have built up soot and debris trapping carbon monoxide.

CO can be a very dangerous gas if not well ventilated or monitored. Be sure to keep your detector up-to-date and all of your gas appliances current so you do not need to worry. If you do feel symptoms coming on go outside. If you feel better quickly after leaving the home you will want to talk to a technician about coming to your home.

Freedom Rail

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Big and Small

Organizing your closet, pantry, or linen closet can become easier when using freedom rail. Freedom rails are customizable and movable so you can create the perfect spot for all your belongings. This is fantastic for homes big or small because it can create more space in your house without creating bulk or hastily shoving winter clothes or pots and pans into a closet and hoping for the best.

If you think freedom rails are for you be sure to take precise measurements of your space before purchasing. This will help you be able to do the job correctly and you will only have to do it once.

DIY Addition

You don’t have to feel as though your creativity must stop with freedom rails, however. When reorganizing your closet or storage space you can work with plenty of different mediums to make the space perfect for your stuff and your artistic eye.

You can always create a hanging clothes rack with a sturdy pole (you can always use a PVC pipe), paint, hooks, and very tough rope. I like to paint the pipe with a nice complementary color to the room and then string the rope through the pipe. While the pipe is drying, install the hooks into the ceiling. Then you can hang the pole on the hooks and put your hangers full of clothes onto your new rack.

If you’re looking for something a little different you can always use a pegboard. These are perfect because they can hold delicate pieces or massive baskets, which are perfect for socks, t-shirts, and whatever else you can think of. You can even spray paint your pegboard to match your freedom rails or other pieces in your room. Making everything flow together will make it feel even more spacious.

Not Just For Closets

Freedom rails are wonderful for any part of your home. One of the best places to use freedom rails is in your living room. This is the room where you will spend a large amount of your time. It is best to keep it neat and calm throughout the day. Using freedom rails strategically will help keep everything out of the way without being out of reach. Freedom rails and a bit of fabric can hide your little one’s toys or your own sewing projects while still having space on top of the shelving. You can also keep your pooch’s or kitty’s bed out of the way while still giving them plenty of space and comfort. For a small pet you can simply put the bed on top while if you have a larger pet you may want to use curtains to keep their bed secluded.

 

Sources:

http://www.brit.co/small-space-ideas/?utm_campaign=pinbutton_hover

Front door styles: why wider doors are becoming more popular

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

As home design evolves and changes wider doors, windows, and more space in the home makes the home look more inviting and can make those in the home much more comfortable. By creating space in entryways and windows you can also give more space to the home and make it easier to decorate maneuver in the home. When designing a home making sure that it functions well for your family is paramount. Be sure when making entryways wider you can help anyone feel invited and welcomed to your home.

 

Accessibility for All

 

Part of the reason wider doors are becoming more popular because it is easier for those in wheelchairs to maneuver in and out of their homes with wider doorways. It also makes it easier for their family members or caretakers so they no longer need to first bring the person into the home and then their wheelchair.

 

Elegant and Inviting

 

Wider doors appear more inviting and can make the home seem more spacious and expansive even if that is not the case. Some of the best things to do with wider doors is to paint them a bold color to make them pop in contrast to the rest of the house. I will also help draw the eye to the entryway and help guest who are coming to your home know exactly where to go. Make sure the door does flow well with the rest of your home. This way if you have a small, cozy home you won’t have a large, baroque door clashing.

 

If you decide to install a larger door be sure to invest in a sturdy mold around the doorway and durable door hitches so it will not lean or bend with time.

 

Durable

 

If you live in an area with extreme weather a wider, tougher door can help keep heat in and the weather out of your home. Thicker, sturdier doors will help you keep your home’s temperature regulated. With a thicker doorway, when it is closed the door will not allow cool or warm air out of your home as easily as a thinner or glass door.

 

If you think a wider door is a good idea for your home be sure to research the process well and decide on what contractor you will want to hire if you need to widen the doorway. While it may seem rather elementary, widening a doorway takes thought, time, and patience. Be sure you have plenty of each even if you are not the one installing it.

What’s the 411 on VOCs?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CHG - Volatile Organic Compounds

For new homeowners, new parents, or anyone who wants a clean, healthy home finding the right cleaning products is an important step. Unfortunately, you cannot simply roll down the grocery aisle grabbing with sheer abandon. Some cleaning products contain chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family over time. By defining the issue and working with the options available you can create a safe and clean home without exposing you and your home to harmful products without breaking the bank.

Definition

Volatile Organic Compounds have low vapor and low boiling points, which can be dangerous because they are introduced to the air and human contact very quickly.

Cleaning products contain VOCs such as formaldehyde, benzene, and fossil fuels that can be harmful when ingested. VOCs are also created organically so plants can communicate with one another or transfer hormones. Not all VOCs are dangerous to humans and animals and law regulates those that are dangerous. Most toxic VOCs, however, are dangerous if used over long periods of time (like a cleaner or scrub) because toxins build in the body. The best way to avoid intoxication is be avoiding the use of such products. Here are a few ways to find safe products and how to make your own.

Read Your Labels

Be sure to read the labels of the cleaning products you buy. If you have a smartphone you can Google any ingredients that you have questions about. Some companies have renamed their ingredients so customers believe they are using all natural products. Be sure to research brands and possible alternative products before using them so you do not have to worry about any possible reactions externally or internally.

DIY

Making your own cleaning products is a wonderful way to save money and tailor your cleaning products to your needs. Most cleaning products contain ingredients you have a home such as hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, vinegar, and Castile soap. You may also want to add essential oil to some if the smell does not agree with you. That way you don’t have to hold your nose as you scrub. You can also create a wonderful smelling vinegar by letting orange peels sit in distilled, white vinegar in a container for two a weeks. Then strain the orange peels and use as an all-purpose cleaner. Here is a recipe to get you started!

Soft Scrub

1 part baking soda

1 part hydrogen peroxide (or until it becomes a thick paste)

½ part Castile Soap

Use immediately and do not bottle. It will expand.

Which is better for your garage entrance: facing the street or side entrance?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Garage Entrance

So you’re building a new house. Congratulations! There are a million things you will need to consider when designing your new house and working with those building. One decision you will need to make is if you will have a garage and if so, where are you going to put it? It will take up a large part of your property and needs to flow well with the rest of your home. Before committing to one format or beginning construction here are a few points to consider.

City Mouse

If you live in an urban area having a front facing garage may be best. Having your garage face the front makes it easier for you to park quickly and efficiently so you do not have to worry about tricky maneuvering to enter or leave your home. A front-facing garage can also be used as a buffer from the noise and light pollution. That way you can live in a city that has fro-yo at three a.m. but no fender bender arguments outside your window.

The drawback of a front-facing garage is that you may not have the most architecturally attractive front view of your home. It may appear to be the biggest part of your home, which could distract a passerby from the beauty of your home.

Country Mouse

If you live in the suburbs or out in the boonies, a side garage can be a great way to show off your home but still have plenty of room for your cars and your families odds and ends. Since you do not need a buffer against light or noise you are able to have a little more room for creative planning. Having a side-entrance garage gives you the option of having a larger garage with a second floor, an indoor and outdoor entrance, and even additions for a man cave or craft room.

They can sometimes become more costly than front-facing garages because they can be larger and require more work to fit the home. They will, make the whole of your home flow easily, however.

Comfort or Couture

Ultimately, what is best for you and your family? Do you need a space that hushes outside sounds? Or do you want a home that can have more space a car or all-terrain vehicle that your family adores? Once you find out what works for your family you will be able to quickly make your decision.

Sources:

http://forums.redfin.com/t5/Bay-Area/Garage-door-facing-street-vs-sideways/td-p/423875

Are LED lights good for all-around use in my home?

by CustomHomes on Thursday, December 24, 2015

LED Lights

Yes having LED lighting in your home is possible and may help you lower your electric bill and create a more relaxing space. Be sure to learn about your appliances, space, and what you may need before purchasing bulbs. This will help make the transition easier and you won’t have to return to the hardware store any time soon.

Don’t Lose Your Lumens

Lumens are LED lights’ measurement of light productions, much like a CFL light bulbs’ watts. Like watts, the more lumens, the brighter it gets. By purchasing 800 Lumens or more you can easily light up your home without producing nearly as much energy (about 40 percent less than CFLs) and will actually stay cooler because they create less heat.

Companies like IKEA and Home Depot offer LEDs in a variety of lumens and sizes. Often they do not have a comparison chart of lumens to watts because LEDs have become common in homes around the world. Before purchasing your new light bulbs be sure that your appliances are compatible or can be converted in necessary.

Hot and Cold

LEDs light bulbs come in a spectrum of cool and warm tones. They can be as bright as “Morning Sky,” or “Candle Light.” This way they can create the perfect lighting for any room or your exterior living space. As studies have shown, many feel more comfortable in warm lighting. Because LEDs have such a spectrum you can have varying warm tones in the living room, kitchen, and bedroom to relax or brighter tones in the home office or garage so you may pay attention to your task (new research article or your dream car.)

Outdoorsy Type

Using LEDs can be wonderful for outdoor areas like patios or decks. They can be a great way to add warm lighting to make you and your guests comfortable without sitting in the dark. Despite what some may tell you, LEDs still attracts bugs because they do contain blue light, which, as it turns out, attracts insects. Be sure to light a few citronella candles and Tiki torches to keep the buzzing at bay.

Using LEDs to light your home can help you save money, cut down on pollution and consumption, and may create a cozy, more relaxing home for you and your family. Be sure to research all your options before making any decisions and find out what will be best for you.

Sources:

http://www.treehugger.com/interior-design/i-converted-my-home-100-led-lighting-and-you-should-too.html

How to decide if a deck or patio is better for your home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, December 17, 2015

Deck

Many homeowners make the decision between a deck or patio based on their own needs, preferences, and space. Depending on these aspects you will know which option is best for you. Both landscaping possibilities are beneficial but they do differ. By reading over the benefits and limits you can see what is best for your home and family.

Patio

A patio is a ground level or slightly elevated stone floor that is angled away from the house to move rainwater away from the home. Patios offer virtually little to no maintenance other than sweeping sand into the creases between the stones. Patios offer plenty of opportunity for decoration or entertaining. It is simple to add or take away pieces like fire pits, grills and even small water feature that you and your family can enjoy.

Depending on the size and renovations made you may need to contact the county for permission or obtain a permit. With time the sand may degrade and you will need to annually weed the crevices between the stones. If you want to avoid this using natural remedies you can plant ground cover or moss and it will add color and texture to your patio.

Deck

Decks are wonderful additions to a home without a lot of room for renovations and do not need permits or permission from the town. They can be raised for second story decks, which are great for those who want to put a patio underneath or have their living space above ground level. Decks also allow water to pass through the slotted wood so they do not become saturated or moldy. Decks also do not become as hot or cold, depending on the season, as patios that absorb heat and cool temperatures quickly.

Decks do, however, often cost more than a patio and require more maintenance. They also need a retaining wall and must be built well to avoid water leeching into your basement. A way to avoid maintenance and water leakage you can have it done professionally but may cost you more.

Building a deck or patio in your yard can be a wonderful addition to your property and can help you create the perfect outdoor living or entertaining space for your family. Be sure to research possible installation companies and DIY options so you know exactly what you want. And don’t forget the tiki torches!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Closet Space

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Unfortunately, we all don’t necessarily have a custom home built with our dream closet. Closet space seems to be the least satisfying space in the home, especially when sharing a closet. All is not lost when you need to create a perfect his and her closet. Here are 5 tips to maximize your closet space.

Create a Wall of Art

Some things that take up a ton of space in the closet are neckties, belts, and scarfs. Often we hang them on a hanger and they are very bulky. Instead, purchase an umbrella wall rack. You can compress or expand them however you like and move your items to the wall. These work great for hanging dangling jewelry items as well.

Shoe Organizers Are For More than Shoes

Many people keep their shoe boxes and stack them on top of the closet shelves. There is so much more floor space that goes unused though. Also, if you stack your shoe boxes on the floor you’re mangling your clothing that hangs low. Consider purchasing a floor shoe rack so your shoes are placed at a nice even level. However, don’t throw away your shoe boxes. You can use them to store out of seasoned clothing. They are excellent for organizing sweaters.

Add a Dresser or Chest

Dressers and chests seem to take up a great deal of space, but they can keep you highly organized. You can comfortably pack and separate clothing items. This helps clear other clutter so you can space out perfumes, jewelry boxes, and anything else you may have piled in a corner in the closet.

Place Items High

Another effective use of out of range storage options are the top shelves of closets. Many females despise using the top shelves because they may not be as tall to reach. The solution is purchasing a sturdy storage trunk. You can keep items tucked away such as bulky blankets and use it to step on and grab items from high when needed.

Change Your Hangers

Finally, another closet space saver is switching your hangers. There are many hangers now designed as a perfect space saving solution. You can purchase individual hangers or the sets that drop down and hang multiple items.

Something Old and Something New: The Shingle-Style Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Shingle-Style Home

Art is often a matter of revisiting and going back to previous movements and innovations and renewing them – to “make it new,” so to speak. This is true whether we’re talking about the postmodernists of today going back to the modernists of the turn of the century and the pre-war years, or the romantics looking back on and reacting both to the Enlightenment works of the era immediately preceding them and the ancients long before them. This is true in every form of artistic expression, even the more “practical” ones, such as architecture. The fruits of this reflection and meditation can be seen all around you in the various styles of housing that you encounter, and likely in many of the designs you are considering for your own home. One such style that is very uniquely American in its origins is the “Shingle-style” home.

A Modern HomePatriotic Homes

The Shingle-style of architecture rose to prominence in the United States when the so-called New England school of architecture became ascendant among home-builders in the latter part of the 19th century. Turning away from Eastlake-style, Queen Anne architecture owing to its ornamental and overwrought style, architects combined a quintessentially English aesthetic with a revived interest in the architecture of the American Colonies that arose following the 1876 Centennial. The style was characterized by its very plain, un-ornamented shingled surfaces, as taken from colonial buildings.

Shingle-style homes also focused on their horizontal space, spreading out and becoming one long, continuous “mass,” so to speak – building outward rather than upward, more often than not. The style became incredibly popular in its time, and continues to be quite popular today.. You can visit several neighborhoods around the nation to see how the style was approached in its heyday, such as in Bay Head, New Jersey and in the Montauk Association Historic District in Long Island.

What About Your House?

Were you to build a Shingle-style house today, it would likely work towards sharing as many similarities as is reasonable with colonial houses, including their plain, shingled surfaces. More modern flourishes, such as simple gables, low designs, and complex massing are all very likely as well in a Shingle-style house. If you wish to attain that “colonial-style” mystique, you might create a weathered appearance for your home – as opposed to that “new home look” – by having the cedar shakes treated, tried, and then installed to seem somewhat faded to gray.

Of course, it is not uncommon to incorporate other aesthetic preferences into such a home – don’t feel restricted by one school of architecture! This is your home, and you’ll be living in it for some time to come: so be certain that it is truly yours and what you want!

Consistency and Efficiency in Your Home’s Temperature

by Kuhrich on Thursday, October 15, 2015

Save money on heating and cooling billsConsistency and Efficiency

It can be difficult to consistently provide a good level of temperature control in a house that is truly large and spacious, whether it is a matter of keeping that house cool or warm. This can be especially true when that house is in a climate that is either very cold or very hot, as there are more opportunities for “osmosis” to occur between the interior and exterior of the house while requiring more energy to fight that evening out of temperature due to the intensity of the climate and the size of the house. Even with a “forced-air” HVAC system, a large house will often require several heating and cooling units, each of which require quite a bit of ductwork while still only offering scant climate control while also providing a hefty energy bill every year.

A New Way to Think About Climate Control

There are alternatives, however, and as time has gone on, more and more builders have opted for them in an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency as well as the effectiveness of climate control methods. One of those alternatives is radiant floor heating, which reduce the amount of heat lost in providing heat to the house, does not require any ductwork, and is considerably more quiet than systems which must move air around (which inherently increases the circulation of allergens and bacteria, another point in radiant heating’s column!).

Imagine a Truly Comfortable Home

So, how does radiant floor heating work? Basically, chilld and warm water is “radiated” throughout your home by means of panels mounted on your ceiling. Plates for tubing and heat transfer are installed in prefabricated gypsum panels, allowing for simple installation – in fact, the panel is also drywall, which means that if you are making this part of your home’s construction, you’ve also already installed drywall in that room! While panels must be consistently maintained and the house must remain dehumidified, the system is very accurate and effective. At an affordable price per square foot, it isn’t hard to imagine this system in your own home!

How to Stand Out: Coloring in Your Home

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A classic color schemeColoring in Your Home

Color is important – but how important? We are a visual species, and certainly a certain level of color creates a vivid and memorable impression upon us. Whether it is a painting, a natural vista, or some nice new clothes, we are always interested in the colors – but not only that. We are also interested in how those colors play with each other, how they interact and communicate an overall feel and emotion. When colors work well together they create something greater than their parts – something pleasing, entertaining, and scintillating. When colors clash, however… you will be talking about it for some time to come, and not in a complimentary manner. This goes double for your house, perhaps the greatest canvas you will ever work upon.

 

How to Stand Out by Being Outstanding

Using color, you can not only differentiate your house from other houses, but truly make it a work of art in and of itself – indeed, you can make your house the most memorable one one in the neighborhood if you can properly wield the color wheel. With your home’s exterior, you are looking not to just have a single monochromatic theme – i.e., to have a single color on all of your siding. Instead, you should consider the perspective and approach of anyone looking at your home, and consider how those colors can match and compliment each other. Generally speaking, most homes will use a combination of three different colors on the house’s exterior in order to create a color scheme that is pleasing ot the eye.

You usually see two complementary colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel, such as red versus green; when bringing in the third color, it is typically a complement to one of the two colors that are contrasting one another. This allows for each color to stand out, but when bringing in that third color, you create a lower contrast. It will be up to you to decide which is more important to you – high vividness and noticeability or low contrast and more “pleasing” to the eye.

Getting Warmer… Or Cooler, If You Like

One of the most common schemes you see are warm color schemes, with the other being cool color schemes. These are generally what you would expect: color schemes used based on where they sit on the color wheel. Red, yellows, and oranges are warm, whereas blues, purples, and greens are cool. Whereas warm colors tend to create a kind of energetic feeling in the viewer, cool colors are calmer and more at peace. This is ultimately a choice of taste and personality; you should choose the color scheme that best evokes who you are and what you want in your home life. Just remember – nothing too crazy! Respect the color wheel and the principles behind color schemes and you will go far!

The One Case Where Buying New Will Actually Save You Money!

by CustomHomes on Saturday, September 19, 2015

Buying New Will Actually Save You Money!

One factor that many prospective homebuyers should be taking into consideration is the actual cost of living in that home. Yes, when you’re planning to live somewhere for the next ten, twenty, or thirty years, that can seem small compared to the costs of living, furnishing, etc. – long enough, anyway, to not really give all the ways in which you could be saving much thought. The end result, however, is that when it comes time for you to sell your house and move on to another area for one reason or another, you may find yourself getting much less than you feel you “put into” the home over the years. Buying a resale house yourself is a good way to make this mistake; instead, consider buying new to increase savings in both an immediate and long-term sense.

The personalized splendor of a custom homeWhat You Get in a New Home and a Resale Home

First, let’s consider that new homes have the most state-of-the-art technologies and building techniques behind them. This means that if it is something that could save you money, then it is something that could be incorporated into the home’s design, such as in the case of creating a “green,” or otherwise energy efficient, building. While older homes use traditional systems that consume large amounts of energy, primarily without giving you much in return, newer homes can come with energy certifications for walls, roofs, windows, doors, and even your appliance packages. This indicates the energy efficiency you can expect, which in turn leads to considerable savings over the years.

Give Yourself a Chance

The fact is, a resale house is old – and many of its best qualities may also be on the way out, if for no other reason than because of wear-and-tear. Over time, many different parts of a house need to be replaced, but in a new custom house, this won’t be the case for decades to come, whereas with a resale house, you may very well find yourself replacing expensive parts of the building very soon after buying and moving into the home. Your heating and air conditioning can cost up to $10,000 to replace, while flooring can run you well over $15,000 to replace. Your roofing, exterior and interior paint, and both kitchen and bathroom remodeling can all end up racking up over $100,000 in costs.

It is difficult to see these costs when considering a resale home, but you must assume that they will be there within the first ten to twenty years of your life in that building. The fact is, it is “lived” in, and wear and tear is a natural part of living someplace. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the home as you bought it and save money doing so by going with a custom home!

What Is a ManaBloc Plumbing System?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Plumbing solutionsWhat Is a ManaBloc Plumbing System?

When building a new house or even just working on the plumbing of that house, it would behoove you to take a look at ManaBloc plumbing and the benefits offered by it. This method of plumbing water lines is a fairly new and incredibly inventive method that is also incredibly easy to install and very reliable as far as leaks are concerned. ManaBloc plumbing essentially works like a central station of plumbing, channeling water throughout your home through plastic tubes rather than metal pipes, all the way to various faucets and other water outputs that require a regular feed of water. Each plumbing fixture in your house receives its own unique, dedicated delivery line, allowing for an energy-efficient plumbing system that will save you quite a bit later on down the line, even while it prevents water waste and gets more bang for your buck than any traditional plumbing system.

It’s All About the Pipes

ManaBloc plumbing systems are the result of PEX tubing, a flexible, plastic tubing that provides faster and more efficient flow for water. It is less expensive to produce and install while being considerably more adaptable to whatever situation you need to use it in. This flexibility allows for PEX tubing to be fit behind walls that traditional tubing might otherwise have trouble fitting behind, while also allowing for less water to pass through for the same results, leading to greater water efficiency – thus saving you, the homeowner, quite a bit of money!

The Beating Heart of ManaBloc

Your typical ManaBloc distribution manifold comes already-put-together, with several water intake ports and plenty of distribution ports, all of which require 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch distribution lines. The ports are event color-coded for their own shut-off valve, providing considerable control over your plumbing system without having to travel around your home attempting to locate and fix one or another leak; instead, you can easily control your water flow from the manifold itself! Between the ease of installation, use, and repair and the considerable cost savings available to those who make use of the ManaBloc system, it’s a wonder more homeowners don’t adopt this incredible new system!

Why We Recommend 30-Year Architectural Roofing Shingles

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

30-Year Architectural Roofing Shingles

Just like with a good haircut, a good roof complements your house and helps its look really come out and shine while still serving its purpose and being efficient in doing so. There is certainly plenty of debate about the right kind of roof for each home, but in general, there are some things which are always better than others, and there are some things which are better depending on your situation and the outcomes you are looking for in your roofing installation; often, this depends largely on your price point as well as how much time you are intending to spend living in that house and making it your home. Yet overall, architectural shingles tend to be what best complements most homes today – and given the amount of money and time invested into good architectural shingles, it’s wise to at least go with 30-year shingles.

Different Technologies for Your Roof

A number of different shingles still exist, but advances in technology and process have led to a type of shingle that is highly distinctive and quite striking when see from both afar and up close. When these advancements were collected together into a single type of shingle, it was given the name “architectural roofing shingles,” otherwise known as laminated shingles or dimensional shingles. Within the roofing industry, these are widely considered to be some of the most high-quality roofing materials available.

The typical composition of architectural roofing shingles is a heavy fiber glass mat base, along with ceramic-coated mineral granules all of that are themselves embedded in water-resistant asphalt. Do keep in mind that this is not the only kind of form and composition that we see for architectural roofing shingles; synthetic state roofing shingles are also available.

Time and Shingles

The question remains, just what sort of shingles should you be getting: 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 year shingles? You’ll find that price often doesn’t fluctuate depending on the years you give your shingles, but generally speaking, 30 years is a great average to aim for. 10 to 20-year shingles will need replacing too often, and it is generally a waste: they are going to be perfectly fine otherwise at that point, but due to the timing on the shingles, for safety reasons they will need replaced.

At 40 and 50 years, you may find that your tastes have changed – or even that you want to leave the house at that point. 30 years hits right between convenience and efficiency, and for that reason we often recommend that our architectural shingles be 30-year shingles. Trust us – your home will look beautiful, and it will look beautiful for all 30 years!

Your Chandelier Lift: Standard or Remote Control

by CustomHomes on Thursday, August 6, 2015

ChandeliersYour Chandelier Lift

There are several flourishes that we typically associate with the truly luxurious home. Carpeting and tiles tends to contribute to this, as does the molding, the choice in paints and the metal and marble used for countertops, sinks, and so on. Yet some things can truly add to your home in an impressive and delightful way that these everyday interior decoration choices just can’t. For example, your choice of lighting doesn’t just provide light – the lighting apparatus itself can in fact be its own interior decoration. Perhaps the most impressive and iconic of interior lighting is the chandelier, but while it is truly a sight to behold and something that can easily tie a hallway or large dining hall together, it is not without its logistical problems.

Staying Safe

Specifically, as with any piece of lighting, or really anything involving electrical lines or light bulbs, you will sometimes have to perform some form of maintenance on your chandelier. Yet if you truly have a real chandelier lighting a room, then it is quite a ways up there, in a room with a high ceiling, hanging where neither you nor anyone else could ever possibly touch it on a normal day. Consequently, you are forced to use a ladder and perhaps even some kind of bulb-changing apparatus to try and perform what should be simple, easy tasks that any normal lighting device could benefit from.

Staying Stylish

The solution is as old as our most elementary technology: the hoist. Instead of risking your health and safety by climbing up a ladder to tend to your chandelier, you can use a mechanical hoist system, or lift, to raise and lower your chandelier so that it can easily be accessed by you. This as the additional benefit of allowing you to adjust the height of your chandelier, which naturally will alter the lighting that it provides; a chandelier that is closer to the ceiling will cast more shadows and provide a slightly more “ethereal” light, whereas a chandelier that is nearer to the ground will provide a more intense and room-filling light.

Your chandelier lift provides you with “mood lighting” options, which you probably never expected from such a classic piece of lighting! Never underestimate what modern technology can do for you and all of your interior decorating choices!

The Butler’s Pantry: What Every House Wants Today

by Kuhrich on Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Every House Wants Today

When you come home, you want a clean, organized space that you can feel some sense of order, control, and relaxation in. Unfortunately, your home is where you keep all of your stuff! That means that there are plenty of opportunities for your life to become frustrating cluttered. To avoid that, it often becomes necessary to identify those things which are cluttering your home and then cordon off spaces for them, areas where objects can be stored conveniently but effectively and efficiently. Some people choose to use their garage, their attic, and various closets for all of this, but this is just a way to put your belongings away for long-term storage more often then not; what about things that you immediately need every day, but which needn’t be out 24/7? Say, food, dishes, and so on? Well, for those particular items, there is the butler’s pantry.

Storage and Efficiency

No, a butler’s pantry is not exclusively for a butler; rather, it refers to the role this room played in a house once upon a time, when household butlers were far more common. The butler’s pantry is often a relatively small space, adjacent to or otherwise near the kitchen and dining areas, that uses a system of shelves and drawers to store dry goods and other foods, along with plates, glasses, silverware, and other need-to-have items for any meal, providing quick and easy access that does not interfere with what typically happens in a kitchen during such times, i.e., the cooking itself.

What Your Pantry Needs

Of course, it is all too easy for a butler’s pantry to itself become cluttered and disorganized, just as one’s garage or attic or basement can also become that way once it is used for storage; it is one of the great ironies of cleaning and ordering one’s house and home! Thus, a system for organizing your butler’s pantry is imperative if you’re to maintain order and efficiency in your kitchen and dining room. Shelving systems that are able to shift to meet the demands of your pantry, as well as other storage systems for those shelves, can help considerably. Remember, while a butler’s pantry is a great step towards keeping your home running smoothly, it’s up to you to help it stay that way!

Water, Water Everywhere – And You Need it in Your Pot!

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Water, Water Everywhere

A kitchen is often the busiest part of a home. You have the cooking happening in it at least three times a day, but you also have dishes being cleaned, groceries being stored, and often, people hanging out and enjoying a snack or a small meal or even just a quick drink. As a result, kitchens can end up being quite crowded; there are pots and pants and plates and silverware and food and a refrigerator and dishwasher and wide variety of other appliances, all resulting in a space that often has little actual room to get things done in it. If you find yourself with a crowded kitchen, there are a number of cleaning and organization methods you can adopt to improve your situation, but sometimes it is also useful to consider what tools will help you to better do what you want in your kitchen. A pot filler is a great example of this!

What You Get with a Pot Filler

Pot fillers are basically faucet extensions – a series of tubes attached to your faucet so that the faucet has joints at which it can bend, reach, and be brought over to various points on your counter or back into your sink. This allows you to, say, place a pot on your counter top, extend your “facuet” via pot filler over to the pot on the counter top, and fill it with water – say, for boiling spaghetti or potatoes or making a fresh pot of stew or soup, as it were. Attempting to fill a pot while it is in your sink can be problematic; the sink may not be large enough for your pot, or alternative, the sink may be otherwise preoccupied with dishes that need washing or even another element of the meal you are making (say, the bowl that you are washing those noodles in!).

The Ideal Addition for Any Kitchen

In the end, yes, a kitchen can become just too crowded with excessive amounts of appliances and add-ons that are intended to make your life simpler, yet often just clutter up your space and go unused. A pot filler is an excellent example of an appliance or add-on that does not do this, however; it already performs an essential function that you will regularly use it for – that is to say, as a faucet – but has additional functionality that you can easily use without creating inconvenience or space issues. It is the ideal addition for any kitchen, and worth your consideration!

The ManaBloc Plumbing System

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Is a ManaBloc Plumbing System?

When building a new house or even just working on the plumbing of that house, it would behoove you to take a look at ManaBloc plumbing and the benefits offered by it. This method of plumbing water lines is a fairly new and incredibly inventive method that is also incredibly easy to install and very reliable as far as leaks are concerned. ManaBloc plumbing essentially works like a central station of plumbing, channeling water throughout your home through plastic tubes rather than metal pipes, all the way to various faucets and other water outputs that require a regular feed of water. Each plumbing fixture in your house receives its own unique, dedicated delivery line, allowing for an energy-efficient plumbing system that will save you quite a bit later on down the line, even while it prevents water waste and gets more bang for your buck than any traditional plumbing system.

It’s All About the Pipes

ManaBloc plumbing systems are the result of PEX tubing, a flexible, plastic tubing that provides faster and more efficient flow for water. It is less expensive to produce and install while being considerably more adaptable to whatever situation you need to use it in. This flexibility allows for PEX tubing to be fit behind walls that traditional tubing might otherwise have trouble fitting behind, while also allowing for less water to pass through for the same results, leading to greater water efficiency – thus saving you, the homeowner, quite a bit of money!

The Beating Heart of ManaBloc

Your typical ManaBloc distribution manifold comes already-put-together, with several water intake ports and plenty of distribution ports, all of which require 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch distribution lines. The ports are event color-coded for their own shut-off valve, providing considerable control over your plumbing system without having to travel around your home attempting to locate and fix one or another leak; instead, you can easily control your water flow from the manifold itself! Between the ease of installation, use, and repair and the considerable cost savings available to those who make use of the ManaBloc system, it’s a wonder more homeowners don’t adopt this incredible new system!

Your Chandelier Lift

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chandelier Lift

There are several flourishes that we typically associate with the truly luxurious home. Carpeting and tiles tends to contribute to this, as does the molding, the choice in paints and the metal and marble used for countertops, sinks, and so on. Yet some things can truly add to your home in an impressive and delightful way that these everyday interior decoration choices just can’t. For example, your choice of lighting doesn’t just provide light – the lighting apparatus itself can in fact be its own interior decoration. Perhaps the most impressive and iconic of interior lighting is the chandelier, but while it is truly a sight to behold and something that can easily tie a hallway or large dining hall together, it is not without its logistical problems.

 

Staying Safe

Specifically, as with any piece of lighting, or really anything involving electrical lines or light bulbs, you will sometimes have to perform some form of maintenance on your chandelier. Yet if you truly have a real chandelier lighting a room, then it is quite a ways up there, in a room with a high ceiling, hanging where neither you nor anyone else could ever possibly touch it on a normal day. Consequently, you are forced to use a ladder and perhaps even some kind of bulb-changing apparatus to try and perform what should be simple, easy tasks that any normal lighting device could benefit from.

 

Staying Stylish

The solution is as old as our most elementary technology: the hoist. Instead of risking your health and safety by climbing up a ladder to tend to your chandelier, you can use a mechanical hoist system, or lift, to raise and lower your chandelier so that it can easily be accessed by you. This as the additional benefit of allowing you to adjust the height of your chandelier, which naturally will alter the lighting that it provides; a chandelier that is closer to the ceiling will cast more shadows and provide a slightly more “ethereal” light, whereas a chandelier that is nearer to the ground will provide a more intense and room-filling light.

Your chandelier lift provides you with “mood lighting” options, which you probably never expected from such a classic piece of lighting! Never underestimate what modern technology can do for you and all of your interior decorating choices!

Wood and Fiberglass Window Frames: The Way of the Future

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wood and Fiberglass Window Frames

Sometimes, the strength and longevity of your home is not in the big things – at least not entirely – such as your siding, your roof, and your framing. Sure, those are important – vital, even! But they are not all there is to your home. A house is a collection of many different systems that work together to maintain the integrity and comfort of the structure; when one of those systems fails, much as in the case of your body and its many systems, your entire home will fail. Take, for example, something as innocuous as window framing: it is absolutely vital to your home lasting long and being a great place to live.

 

Your window frames help to keep temperature controlled, water and snow out, as well as vermin and pests like bugs and small animals. They keep your window secured and at least partially unexposed – your windows are glass, after all! Yet so many choose to use vinyl for their window frames, despite the fact that vinyl is notoriously weak and vulnerable to the elements. Instead, you would be wise to consider wood or fiberglass window frames; the advantages are many, the disadvantages, few.

 

Wood Frames

Wood is the traditional choice for frames, and though it has fallen out of favor in recent years over the vinyl-mania that has taken hold of so many homes, it remains a versatile, strong, and ideal material for window frames. From the perspective of aesthetics, it is perfect; it can be stained or painted, and a variety of styles of wood and frames can be applied. However, it should be noted that your wood frames will require more maintenance than most other frames would; damage can happen, especially if they are not properly sealed and maintained, leading to deterioration. Seek out composite wood to ensure durability!

 

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass frames are considered superior to both wood and vinyl frames in that they are stronger in just about every respect, less likely to deteriorate, and not vulnerable to the damage that sunlight can deal to vinyl. Meanwhile, they can still be painted like wood, rendering them far more able to adapt to whatever aesthetic you are seeking for your home. You can even have them appear as though they are wood with wood cladding on the interior! Either way you cut it, wood or fiberglass frames just offer too many advantages not to be considered.

James Hardie Siding: Stronger, Brighter, Better

by Kuhrich on Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stronger, Brighter, Better

When you drive through the neighborhood that you want to build your home in, what do you notice? What most people see, first and foremost, is the selection of siding used on the houses in the neighborhood. Yes, we see the lawn, the people, the spectacular details that some houses sport, but subconsciously what we all really notice is the siding. This is where the color comes from, the patterns, the canvas upon which the architect and builders of those homes worked. That said, you may notice that some houses look… dimmer. The siding has been worn down by weather and climate, by the wear and tear that nature provides every day.

 

Tough and Beautiful

That’s where James Hardie siding comes in. The siding is incredibly resilient, owing to its cement fiber materials; this is far better than the typical vinyl siding that you see on most other homes, as vinyl is notoriously fragile and easy to damage. Indeed, many of the houses you see that sport vinyl siding will have damage to their siding, discoloration, and more; James Hardie siding, however, is very tough indeed, and this helps to protect the coloring of the siding as well. You don’t need to worry that your home will look worn and discolored after a few years with Hardie siding.

 

Spoiled for Choices

Another great advantage of choosing James Hardie siding is the wide variety of siding choices that you have. While vinyl siding can be damaged and worn down, it is still one of the toughest sidings you can choose; thus, clapboard and other siding choices that might be more aesthetically appealing to you go unchosen. With James Hardie siding, you can have any appearance for your siding, including clapboard or other materials, and still have siding that is tougher and longer-lasting than vinyl siding. What more could you ask for?

The Advantages of an Insulated Garage Door

by Kuhrich on Thursday, April 2, 2015

insulated garage doorsAn Insulated Garage Door Is An Energy Saver

Insulation is an important part of any home, as it is impossible to be entirely comfortable in a space that lacks sufficient climate control. Of course, heating and cooling systems go a long way towards ensuring that the temperature in a room is comfortable, or at least livable, for you, but those systems can sometimes turn out to be a massive waste of money if you do not take the proper precautions vis-à-vis preventing the exterior temperature from influencing the interior temperature. Doing so can be rather difficult, especially in those rooms that are less-used and not as well connected to your heating and cooling systems, such as your garage. However, with the aid of garage door insulation, you should be able to maintain the temperature you want in your garage!

The Insulation Difference

The most sure-fire way to insulate your garage is with R17 garage door insulation. Basically, when it comes to garage door insulation, two materials are used: either polyurethane or polystyrene, two terms you’ve surely heard before. These two materials are very different in what they do and do not accomplish for you, insulation-wise, and knowing the difference will help you to make the best possible choice when it comes to your own home.

First, understand that the “R value” of a door indicates who well the insulation, well, insulates. A higher number following the R indicates a stronger level of insulation. To that end, R17 insulation is ideal if you want maximum insulation.

Polystyrene v. Polyurethane

Polystyrene tends to rate a lower R value, but is waterproof and easy to install in the sections that an overhead garage door would demand. Meanwhile, polyurethane is a denser material, and thus, its R values tend to be higher, reaching towards the heights of R17. If you are planning to actively heat or cool your garage with a heating or cooling system of some kind, it behooves you to use polyurethane, as it will more efficiently contain the temperature you want while keeping exterior temperatures from having a large effect on the interior temperature. Furthermore, polyurethane is great at soundproofing! What more could you ask for?

Maintaining Your Central Vacuum System

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

central vacuum systemsYour Central Vacuum System

A central vacuum system is an amazing way to get your house clean; it is fast, it is efficient, and it is powerful! That explains why they’re being used more and more across homes in America, and why they are being installed in existing homes from coast to coast. Yet this also means that the maintenance and care issues that central vacuum systems face are becoming all-the-more commonplace. Understanding how to care for your own central vacuum system is key to ensuring your system works at peak efficiency – not to mention avoiding costly repair charges should you fail to care for your system appropriately. Fortunately, it isn’t too difficult to keep an eye on your central vacuum system; here are just a few useful tips for keeping things running in tip-top shape.

Regular Maintenance

Like many vacuum systems, a central vacuum system must be regularly emptied of all of the dirt that has gathered in its dirt canister; if your system uses a filter bag, that too must be replaced. Generally speaking, you should only have to do this between two and four times a year, depending on your system and, to be honest, how much help your home needs to stay clean! If you are cleaning it less than this, your system may not be picking up everything it should; if you are cleaning it more than this, that is cause for concern. It may be that your filter needs to be changed more than this, however, or that your dirt bag must be replaced before it is actually full; check with your manufacturer to find out the optimal conditions for maintaining these elements of your vacuum system.

Beyond the Usual

Being a larger, more complex system than your typical vacuum cleaner, there may be some machinery that it would behoove you to care for and maintain. Specifically, the electric motor make occasionally need you to lubricate it (regular oil changes are needed for even your car, after all). You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any sticky or highly moist substances in the tubing of your vacuum system; this can create clogs that can prevent the system from functioning optimally. You should be able to clean these obstructions out easily enough; indeed, all of this maintenance is easy and simple to accomplish! You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to maintain a vacuum system over the years and decades to come!

Real or Synthetic Slate: Which is Best for Your Home?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 19, 2015

Slate: Real or Synthetic, and Why?

Commitment to authenticity is admirable, but oftentimes, it is rather misinformed and mistaken. In a world where we must be aware of our carbon footprint and how it impacts the world around us as well as the future and wellbeing of our entire planet, authenticity is sometimes just an unnecessary luxury, and an expensive one at that. When building your home, for example, you may be tempted to seek out authentic materials for your home’s construction; you have a dream house, after all, and it never involved reproductions and synthetic recreations in your mind. Yet when your dream becomes reality, you start having to deal with exactly that sort of thing.

The Problem With Slate

While authentic slate shingles have served as the roof of American and European homes for centuries, it suffers from some key problems that the builders of that time had to put up with, but which you do not need to deal with. The material is very expensive to quarry and produce, and it is actually quite heavy, increasing the cost of transportation and installation. Despite its weight and the care with which it is quarried, it is actually quite difficult to work with and install, and even once installed, it cracks very easily. In the end, while slate is beautiful and harkens back to an earlier time in home design, you can do better.

Why Synthetic Slate

Specifically, you can choose to invest in synthetic slate shingles instead. Synthetic slate is not actually slate, but in fact it is made of a combination of both plastic and rubber, two durable, lightweight materials commonly used in modern buildings. Owing to the method used to manufacture them, they avoid looking like “cook cutter,” generic pieces of roofing; they are all unique as any piece of slate, but their strength and light weight make them much easier to install and work with. Finally, they are also very durable, and last far longer than actual slate does.

Stronger, lighter, more affordable, just as beautiful, and a real relief for the people working on your home – what more could you want?

Under Floor Heating: Necessity or Luxury?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Under Floor Heating

The greatest wonder of the current age may simply be the high degree of comfort that we live in. Compared to the generations before us, we live in the lap of luxury, with water, food, climate control, safety, high-quality materials and goods, and more all available to us at incredibly affordable prices, and widely so at that. We don’t quite live in a post-scarcity society, but we’re certainly very close to it, all things considered.

In such a society, one’s home is often a reflection of the ease and comfort that one desires, as nothing is really out of reach. Even the smallest inconveniences can be taken care of with technological know-how, which is why the concept of under floor heating is catching on with homeowners across the nation.

What Now?

Heated floor tiles work by having tiling laid over heating fixtures that essentially warm the tiles above them. Tile is a great material for this, as it absorbs – and releases – heat easier and far safer than other flooring materials. Obviously carpeting would not be terribly safe for this kind of process, through carpeting also has the advantage of being a little warmer and easier on your feet in the morning, as compared to harder – if more aesthetically pleasing – flooring materials.

The Necessity of Luxury

As easy as it is to have under floor heating systems installed into your bathroom and beyond, it is worthwhile to stop and question the necessity of this. Why bother to have your floors heated? Couldn’t you just wear slippers, or even better, just learn to live with having cold floors? Does everything have to be perfectly calibrated for maximum comfort and ease in your home?

Well, the short answer is no, this is not a necessity; like many elements of the modern home, under floor heating is a luxury and a convenience, but one that you will be glad to have once you can make regular use of it, like your refrigerator or air conditioning; you wouldn’t want to go without those, yet they are not, strictly speaking, necessary. Under floor heating is just the same: convenient and useful!

The Rising Popularity of the Tech Closet

by Kuhrich on Thursday, February 26, 2015

technology closetPopularity of Tech Closets

More and more, technology is becoming a regular part of our lives. Of course, we’ve always had some level of technology integrated into our loves to some degree, from the automobile to the electric lightbulb. But technology has become a part of not just how we move and see, but how we speak, learn, and experience the world. This necessitates a wide variety of different devices in our lives, from computers to routers, from wifi to tablets, and of course, all the things that accompany these: Ethernet cables and outlets, power strips, and so forth. Unfortunately, as these things build up, it becomes more and more cluttered in your home with cables, devise, blinking lights, and so forth.

A Nexus of Tech

The solution is to find a way to centralize and make more efficient all of your devices. With the number of devices you have in your home, you could simply have them built into the wall, but you’re always going to be upgrading your devices, having them repaired and tended to, and so forth. Instead, you want your devices accessible and easily added to (or removed, as it were). The best and easiest way to do this is through the use of what is being called a “tech closet.” Basically, this is what you would expect it to be: a closet that you keep your tech devices in.

Why a Tech Closet?

Tech closets are useful for a variety of reasons. Primarily, they keep the “man behind the curtain” where he belongs – behind the curtain! Or, in this case, in the closet. Tech devices like routers and the wires that accompany them get in the way, can be tripped over, and are aesthetically very unpleasant. From the tech closet, the wires can be routed to the different rooms and ports that they are needed in, providing electricity, as well as being networked together to access other devices link printers, fax machines, scanners, and so on.

Tech closets are also very easy to integrate into your home’s design. They are small, they can fit into any home design, and they’re perfect for the home that is wholly connected to the web and beyond. No wonder they’re so popular!

 

Outdoor Recessed Lighting: Ultimate Curb Appeal?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

recessed lightingOutdoor Recessed Lighting

There are many ways to make your home more appealing to those shopping for a new home. The lawn and garden are a big way that homeowners increase their so-called “curb appeal,” as the greenery of your home jumps out immediately, and its beauty – along with the obvious care put into it – can really stick into a potential home buyer’s mind. However, there are other, lower-maintenance ways to catch the viewer’s attention; for example, there is outdoor recessed lighting, long considered a great way to increase curb appeal while still providing a practical, if low-cost, benefit.

The Problem of Curb Appeal

The main problem that you’re going to run into as you try to sell your home is that potential buyers will have difficulty noticing your house and, even when they do, they may struggle to really remember it. After all, it’s just one house among hundreds in the neighborhood; what could possibly set it apart and help it to really stick in their mind as something they want to consider buying? This is where recessed lighting comes in. The effect is twofold: first of all, it provides light for you during the darker hours of the day, so that it is safer and more enjoyable for you during the night hours. More importantly, vis-a-vis curb appeal, your house is adequately lit so that viewers can see your home in greater detail at any hour of the day.

The Showroom of the Road

Think of a showroom, where cars or other high-end products are displayed. The room is always lit brightly so that no matter what, you can always make out all of the most minute details on the products being shown. The same is true of your house; you have to think of it as a product that needs to be shown off. People respond to seeing products advertised to them, to seeing them displayed. Recessed lighting is perfect for that; it lights a space without drawing attention to the source of the lighting, making the object being lit the important part.

Ultimately, what you want is for the person viewing your home to be drawn in, to remember the house, and to want to explore it further. Recessed lighting is one of the best ways to accomplish this!

Your Master Bedroom: Recessed or Track Lighting?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, February 12, 2015

bedroom lightsRecessed vs Track Lighting In Your Master Bedroom

Throughout your home, the lighting that you choose for each room will set the mood of the room while also determining just what use the room can be put to. If a room is too dark, you can do little but sit in it and enjoy your television or computer screen; if a room is too bright, you may find that you can’t entirely rest in it. A middle ground has to be found, and that middle ground can often be struck in the space between your preferences and the options available. The two most widely-chosen options, owing to their versatility and practicality, are recessed lighting and track lighting. The choice can make or break the feeling you are going for in your bedroom.

Recessed Lighting: A Whole New Bedroom!

Your bedroom isn’t just for sleeping; you’ll often spend time reading, relaxing, and watching television there. Many choose to have their computers set up in their bedroom, as well as workspaces, vanities, and other things that go beyond just laying down to sleep. As such, it may be useful to have a maximum amount of light bathing the entirety of the space; doing so can be difficult for track lighting, but recessed lighting does a great job of providing an even amount of exposure across the entirety of your bedroom, allowing you to treat your bedroom like a room with practical functions rather than just a place where you rest.

Track Lighting: Options!

Track lighting, on the other hand, has more customization-options as far as where the light is going to be cast; perhaps some areas could use more light than others, allowing you to make some parts of your bedroom dark parts and other areas more light. This allows you to still make practical use of your bedroom, but not quite as much as you would otherwise do with recessed lighting. On the other hand, you can have one person making use of the shadows and dark places in the room while another makes use of the light; this is great if you have a spouse you are sharing the space with!

In the end, it’s all about preference; both track lighting and recessed lighting is great for a bedroom, but how do you intend to use that bathroom? Once you figure that out, your lighting choice will be easy.

Your Living Room: Track Lighting or Recessed Lighting?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 3, 2015

living room track lightingTrack Lighting vs Recessed Lighting

Every room in your home has a variety of different factors that impact your comfort and happiness in your home. From your choice of colors to your choices of flooring, furniture, and interior decorating, you will find that every single detail changes how you and others perceive that space. To improve your experience as well as that of your family and your guests, it is important to pay attention to the kind of space you are creating, with perhaps the most important detail being the lighting you choose. In the living room, where you spend much of your leisure time, the choice between recessed and track lighting will help to determine just what kind of living room you actually have.

The Night Life with Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting provides more exposure in your living room, making the space into an ideal room for entertaining large amounts of people, hosting parties, and generally making regular use of the space for social events. Recessed lighting also provides an increased amount of overhead space, meaning you can more safely fit large amounts of people (and objects!) into your living room without having space concerns, given that the “ceiling” is now a bit lower due to the lighting being within the ceiling itself, rather than hanging below it.

The Choice of Track Lighting

Track lighting, on the other hand, allows you to direct light into particular parts of your living room – allowing you to put light into areas where you think it is appropriate and redirect it away from other areas, creating dark spots, shadows, and other features that allow for a quieter, less social but perhaps more relaxing atmosphere in your living room. Track lighting can also be more easily adjusted, whereas recessed lighting is largely static and as-is.

Versatility versus exposure – this is just one of the many factors for you to consider when deciding whether to go with track lighting or recessed lighting. These days, more and more people are choosing recessed lighting, if only because they like the increased impression of size and space in a room when they have recessed lighting. Ultimately, it’s all about your preferences – so what are they?

Two Ways to Make Your Home Seem Larger Than it Truly Is

by Kuhrich on Thursday, January 29, 2015

double doorTwo Ways to Make Your Home Seem Bigger

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is pretty much every other impression that we get of a person, place, or thing – it’s all relatively, and it is the skill and artifice of the true artist to manipulate those perceptions to create the impression that is desired. In the case of a home, the architect and interior designer’s job is to take the limitations in which they must work – location, material, cost, labor —  and use that to create the desired look and impact for the future home-owner. Two ways in which this is being done is through the use of raised ceilings and of double-door entrances.

The Raised Ceiling

Raised ceilings are pretty much exactly what they sound like: ceilings that are higher than your standard ceiling which you have seen in most homes. These ceilings are over eight feet in height, often going up to twelve feet in height. Some are critical of this approach, as it increases the cost of heating or cooling, but its effect is undeniable: it makes a room seem even larger, roomier, and grander than it otherwise would with a lower ceiling. If your goal is to create the roomiest space possible, then a raised ceiling is a great way to do so even when you have exhausted your ability to expand the horizontal plane of the room.

The Double Door

The double-door entrance is another excellent example of using a small change in how a home is designed and built in order to create the appearance of space, size, and luxury at minimal cost and effort. Entering a single door is, for the most part, sufficient for a door’s basic usage, but a double-door allows for large amounts of people to enter, as well as for couches, beds, and other large items to be moved in through the front.

More importantly, it makes one’s entrance into the home a large, open affair, almost as if you are entering through a castle’s gate. The size and scale of your entrance, especially in comparison to the single-door entrances of other homes, will naturally create the impression of a larger, grander home. This, ultimately, is the great trick of these two features: to make a home seem larger and more spacious than it actually is with minimal effort or cost!

Modern Trim For A Modern Home

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

home improvement wall trimModern Trim for a Modern Home

Your home’s rooms contain a wide variety of opportunities for customization and detail-work. Everything form the walls to the ceiling to the floors is up for debate, and in a home with the right interior designer and home construction teams, you can have a truly original, beautiful, and comfortable room indeed. It isn’t just a matter of the surfaces in the room, either; its smaller details, like lighting, paint, ventilation, and more can all prove just as critical to creating the feeling you want in a room. One detail that sometimes is relegated to the arena of last minute and not-thought-about is that of your trim and molding, yet this can often be a critical part of a room’s presentation. Today, you have many options for the trim used in your home.

Finding Your Trim

Trim is most often included along the ceiling and floor, but it doesn’t just have to be there; it can be included along the middle of the wall, or really at any point along the wall, as well as around windows, doors, and entrances, or used to highlight fixtures and features like bookcases, panels, and more. Just using trim for your floor and/or ceiling is the old way of doing things; a more interesting use of the great design you choose for your trim is to work it into what people regularly see and take in.

What, exactly, your trim looks like depends entirely on your personal tastes. There are certainly standard, plain, boring styles of trim, but you needn’t limit yourself to blocky, generic trim. It is easy to customize the look, design, and feel of trim to your particular tastes, and really, your imagination is the only limit you face! Big and chunky trim, wide trim, thin trim, scrawling trim, multiple layers or particularly elegant, they’re all options for you.

A Wealth of Options

You also are not limited in your selection of materials and color for your trim. You can use wood, of course, which is a classic choice, but you can also use plastic molding that requires absolutely no finishing and which can bear trauma a bit better than your typical wood molding, though lightweight woods that are paintable and stainable often have a real, organic look and feel to them that just can’t be beaten. It all depends on what you want in your home, and with trim, that’s entirely up to you!

The Details in Your Bathroom

by Kuhrich on Thursday, January 22, 2015

bathroom faucets handlesBathroom Fixtures

Your bathroom is full of all kinds of details that can seem, on the surface, rather pointless to quibble over. Where will your bathtub be and how will it be positioned vis-à-vis your toilet and sink? Will it be a walk-in shower or an actual bath-tub? Will it be built into the wall or a free-standing bath-tub? Will the sink be a double or a single, and how will the cabinet be built into it – if at all? Will there be a cabinet behind the mirror? The questions just keep on going, and if you’re having your own house custom-built, then you know that they don’t really end until the house is finished! Still, there are some smaller details that you might regret overlooking for your bathroom, such as the type of knobs and faucets you use in your bathroom.

The Practical Part of Your Bathroom

Your sink and bathtub’s knobs are the things people will spend the most time interacting with, so the first thing you need to ensure is that they are functional. Is it clear what is hot and what is cold war? Is it clear how to turn them, and can they easily be turned in reverse? This all sounds elementary, childish even, but if you choose a set of knobs that are too elaborate and fantastic, you and your guests will often be beguiled by mere bathroom knobs. Avoid the embarrassment of such confusion with something simple, efficient, and elegant.

Elegance and Fun

Your faucets, on the other hand, can be a little more on the complex side, design-wise. Swooping shape and designs are not uncommon, and you can have your faucet held quite high above the sink or quite low, as is your preference. Meanwhile, the faucet in your bathtub should have a design that, while elaborate as you like, avoids trapping and pooling water, as that can be corrosive over time – forcing you to inevitably replace your beautiful faucet far sooner than anticipated.

The material you choose for your faucet can vary greatly depending on your personal tastes. Nickel-played, brass, or cold stainless steel are all possibilities. In fact, your choice of materials is really only limited to your imagination; if it can be worked and shaped into a reliable piece of plumbing, then it is available! It’s not always what you want price-wise, though, if money is an object; if it isn’t, well then, why not do something fun and original with your bathroom?

Track Lighting vs. Recessed Lighting in Your Home

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

recessed lighting Track Lighting vs. Recessed Lighting

One of the most important but largely overlooked features of your home is, of course, the lighting that you choose for each room. Yes, people don’t often admire your choice of lighting fixtures when they enter the room, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important; in fact, that makes it even more important, as choice of lighting exists in the background of a room’s aesthetic, informing one’s initial impression of a room as well as how comfortable one is there, how capable you are of accomplishing particular tasks there, and so on. These days, your choices for lighting go beyond lamps and sconces and other more traditional methods of lighting; instead, we see track lighting and recessed lighting coming into the home at a breakneck pace.

Track Lighting

Track lighting has several advantages that recessed lighting lacks. First and foremost, track lighting is not restricted by your ceiling and its initial placement in your ceiling, unlike recessed lighting; track lighting can be easily placed and moved about as you see fit. It’s perfect for rooms that have high ceilings and which, therefore, require large amounts of light to be shed from certain angles.

In fact, track lighting is highly adjustable, and can be dropped or raised using a stem and power extender; this allows you to change the lighting – and therefore, mood and feeling – of a room regularly. The ability to rotate track lighting allows for even greater flexibility of lighting! Track lighting is often most appropriate in those spaces where you need to be able to create maximum light in targeted spaces, such as in the kitchen, where certain areas see incredibly high use and therefore require plenty of light for careful and/or delicate work to be done in.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting, on the other hand, is often more ideal for areas in which maximum lighting is not necessarily what you’re looking for. For example, in the bedroom you’re looking to create only enough light to read or enjoy the television by, not to light up a space for work or entertaining; recessed lighting is ideal for exactly that kind space.

Similarly, the living room is for entertaining and relaxing and, well, living – which we often want more relaxed lighting for. Recessed lighting, with its clean look, non-distracting level of light, and ability to form or dispel shadows depending on positioning, is ideal for exactly that!

Are Fluorescent Lights Unpopular?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 6, 2015

fluorescent light picFluorescent lights are practically a symbol of modern urban life. They’re cheap, they last a long time, and they effectively illuminate whatever space they’re put in to an extreme degree, while not producing a harsh light that is hard on the eyes. From that description alone, you’d think that fluorescent lights are the greatest development in lighting since the light bulb itself was invented, yet there are more complicating factors. Specifically, fluorescent lights just aren’t really in style anymore, thanks to how unpleasant the light they produce can be.

Being Human

We’re human beings, and we developed in a natural environment of sunlight and dark nights, so when you mess with that formula you are risking some negative side effects. You know that your environment has a strong impact on your motivation, your energy, and your ability to focus. Light and warmth do a lot for all of those factors, and natural light does the best. Artificial light looks quite unattractive to most people, which is why fluorescent lights have fallen on such hard times as far as their popularity is concerned.

How to Fix the Problem

Natural light, of course, is what you would prefer, but since the sun isn’t always up and you aren’t always outside, you have to settle for artificial lights that still mimic natural sunlight as best as possible while not robbing you of maximum light saturation so that you can see and function optimally. Yet with light bulbs of yore increasingly being switched out for energy-efficient light bulbs that more often than not are very similar to traditional fluorescent lights, you may be running out of options.

Sometimes the best way to get the kind of lighting that you want is to use the right kind of lighting fixtures. Recessed lighting can help a fluorescent light bulb to cast shadows and not fill up a space entirely; this can reduce the “over-exposure” that you typically see with fluorescent lights. Alternatively, lamp shades can transform fluorescent light into something a bit closer to natural sunlight, which is, again, ultimately what you’re looking for. You want to feel comfortable, warm, productive, and focused, not like you’re in the break room at a Burger King; you can make that happen with the right lighting choices.

 

Insulated Curtains: Effective, Affordable, and Clean

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The idea of an insulated curtain can seem just too good to be true. We know that most insulation comes in the form of the fiberglass and foam insulation that is put inside our walls, but which costs a considerable amount of money; when it comes to windows, many windows are insulated by having expensive windows put in that help trap heat in or keep it out, as the case may be. But to just have a mere curtain do that work for you? It seems just too simple! And yet, it’s quite possible; insulated curtains are increasingly quite common among homeowners, and if you want to control your energy bills this winter, they are worth investigating for you too.

Many Ways to Insulate

Insulated curtains work in a number of different ways, depending on the make of the curtain; indeed, there are many ways that a curtain can insulate your home. First, by using a core layer of high-destiny foam that works to insulate your windows from any exchange of heat and sound between the interior and exterior of your home. Second, by using a vapor barrier to block the foam’s absorption of moisture. Third, to provide a layer of reflective film that can then deflect any heat back into your room, and finally, an outer layer of decorative fabric is overlain in order to provide an attractive appearance to your curtains. (Curtains fit for a space shuttle aren’t exactly ideal.)

Maintenance is Easy!

To top it all off, your insulated curtains require very little in the way of maintenance. You’ll want to keep them from having any moisture in the vapor barrier, which can in turn allow mildew to develop, so open them up on occasion to get some fresh air through the insulation. Clean out the curtains themselves with spray, such as spray-on upholstery cleaner, and then use a vacuum to finish the job. If necessary, you can have the dry-cleaned, even, so long as it is non-immersive. Effective, affordable, and easy to care for – it’s hard to find an energy-saving strategy quite like that!

The Oft-Overlooked Basement

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

basement designWhen designing your home, you probably spend most of your time focusing on the exterior look of your home as well as the interior, specifically the rooms that the most time is spent in, as well as those rooms that serve the most functions. For example, the kitchen of a home is critical to the success and happiness of your house; quite a bit of time and money is spent considering how to lay the kitchen out. Similarly, the size, aesthetic, and positioning of bedrooms, bathrooms, the living room and family room and dining room, and more, are all considered quite carefully when designing your home. Yet in all the hubbub it is easy to forget the basement.

Consider Your Basement

It is important to carefully consider your basement’s design and dimensions. This is, after all, the foundation of your home, that which everything in your home will be built upon. More importantly, the basement is where most of your less-often-used objects are stored until they’re needed, from books to winter clothes to holiday decorations. If you didn’t have a sizeable basement, you’d be forced to store these things in closets and crawlspaces and in your garage – spaces better-suited to serve other functions, but which they need space to do properly.

Being Smart About Your Basement

The problem with this need is that we like to overdo our basements, sometimes. You need to carefully consider every aspect of your basement if its primary purpose – to store things – is to be maximized. Duct work beams, for example, must be integrated in such a way to minimize the amount of space they have or, at the very least, the ceiling of your basement should be higher to account for them; nine foot walls can quickly lead to eight-foot ceilings with vents and other things hanging down from the ceiling, such as lights and so on, which subsequently consumes a considerable amount of storage space. That’s space you can’t afford to lose! Be smart about your basement’s design and it will repay you a thousand-fold.

Rising Popularity of Mud Room Lockers in Your Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, December 4, 2014

mud rooms designThe mud room is the messy-if-practical alternative to the standard foyer, and sees quite a bit of use in suburban and rural homes. After all, it’s messy out there; in non-urban settings, foot traffic involves mud, plant matter, and more all being tracked into your home, and if your home is not prepared to receive that traffic, and that mess, in an efficient manner, it can create a giant problem for you in the foyer area as you struggle to keep the area clean, neat, and organized.

Battling Clutter

As part of that continuing battle to keep your home clear of clutter and to help it stay clean, many mud rooms are now featuring built-in lockers to be used to store one’s belongings in the space between outside and inside. For example, one’s boots might be kept in a locker, or one’s coat, or one’s gloves and hat and scarf, and other sundry belongings. This allows for these items, some of which can come with quite a bit of dirt and detritus, to be safely and cleanly stored in a single location where everyone will know where it is. As you can imagine, this helps cut down on losing where things are; your keys, your coat, and what have you are all where they belong: in your mud room locker.

Customizing Your Mud Room

The mud room locker can look a number of different ways; you can go for the classic locker look, or go with wood or even stone. They can look more like cubbies in the case of the latter material; in fact, locker is more of a figurative term here, as you probably aren’t worried about locking away your boots or hat in your mud room, though in a commercial setting it makes sense to do exactly that. It’s up to you what shape your lockers will take in your mud room, but you can’t deny just how many problems it solves to have them there, keeping the entrance to your home clean, organized, and clear!

 

Changing Things Up on Your Walls

by Kuhrich on Thursday, November 27, 2014

Accent walls designChoosing the colors of your home can be rather nerve-wracking. After all, once it’s chosen, it’s going to be that way for some time to come. Sure, you can go ahead and repaint your entire home, but that sounds rather exhausting doesn’t it, especially after you’ve already moved in. Plus, it’s expensive! Not, it’s far better to instead do your due diligence and learn about just how best to mix and match the colors of the walls of your home. One thing to watch out for is the temptation to pick a room’s single color and run with it entirely; you’re missing out on the strength and vibrancy that an accent wall brings to your room, rather than painting every wall a single, monochromatic color.

Beige & Beyond

For example, let’s say that you’ve settled on a light gray beige wall color. This isn’t an unusual choice; it is solid, somewhat nondescript, yet off-white enough to make sure that the room isn’t just another eggshell white room, one that looks unfinished and uncomfortable. Yet despite the wisdom of a choice like this, you end up creating an entirely-too-uniform look for the room by painting it entirely in these colors. Instead, you’re far better off painting it using an accent wall – a wall that is darker than the color you’ve chosen for the room, remarkably so, in order to truly help the color you chose stand out.

Art and Walls

Understanding the importance of accent walls goes back to understanding color and art – and make no mistake, painting a home is very much an art. The human eye passes over more of the same all the time; we’re trained to see colors, to hear sounds, and to experience movement in such a vast variety and quantity that we simply come to block it all out for our own sanity and peace of mind. In the stillness of your home, however, the accent wall acts to reawaken your eye for color, demonstrating the depth and vibrancy of the color you chose. Don’t let those colors you chose pass you, or anyone else, by!

How To Make Your Master Bathroom’s Shower Stylish and Affordable

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, November 25, 2014

master bedroom shower designWhat we see in film are not just homes that are spacious, impressive, and beautiful, but also master bedrooms that match; after all, where you lay your head is the last thing you see before you fall asleep and the first thing you see when you wake up, so it’s something that you want to make as pleasant as possible for your own sense of satisfaction and happiness. Consequently, that means paying attention not just to the bedroom but to the bathroom that adjoins to it; after all, no master bedroom is truly complete without its own bathroom! But what can you do to make it truly match your bedroom without rendering it completely out of your price range, after all is said and done?

Well, you needn’t concern yourself with tiling it entirely in the most expensive marble and stone that you can find. Why not instead use a fiberglass base? It’s strong, resilient, easy to clean, very attractive when fitted into appropriate surroundings, and best of all, very affordable indeed. Additionally, using tiles up the entirety of the walls of your shower allows you to save on money for the walls, while also ensuring that your shower remains easy to clean and quite strong.

Take the Extra Step

Of course, you needn’t rule out certain shower embellishments entirely. For example, consider frameless glass shower doors; they are gaining in popularity in homes across the country, and they would make a great fit with the kind of shower we have described here. The frames often obscure the shower, making it seem mechanical and rather drab; frameless glass shower doors bring a touch of class and beauty to the shower that we have often only seen in the homes of the glamorous and wealthy, but which is now within reach of the everyman! Give these improvements a try and you’ll be pleased with your beautiful your bathroom turns out.

 

A Charging Station in Your Modern Kitchen

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Once upon a time, kitchens were strictly for cooking in. Space was limited for lower classes, and for higher classes, a dining room existed for eating in, whereas the kitchen was where the help cooked each meal; there was never a need to enter there. Today we have the middle class, however, and this has changed how we interact with the kitchen. Indeed, the importance of the kitchen in home sales is stressed because of how important the room is to most families and prospective home buyers.

What a Kitchen Needs

In your modern kitchen, you don’t just have an oven, a microwave, a sink, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, and whatever other accessories you need to create a meal. In the kitchen of today, life happens; there is often a table to eat at, or at least to lounge at and enjoy a quick meal, a coffee, read the paper, etc. You don’t have to be cooking to be in the kitchen! Of course, these days, we don’t read the paper anymore, do we?

Instead, we browse the web on our tablets, connected to 4G wifi or home wifi. The kitchen has increasingly become a place you can do this as well, especially as many homes are adding desks to their kitchen for charging stations. At a charging station that is properly set up, tablets, laptops, phones, and more can all be charged up and ready to go. When someone is leaving for a day at work or at school, they can snap up their device from the charging station on their way out, confident that it is fully charged and ready for the day’s action.

The Kitchen Itself

Additionally, when spending time in the kitchen, you can use the charging station to ensure that you don’t suddenly run out of power, as you might otherwise do elsewhere in your home. This makes the kitchen what it had been for some time: a place for the family to gather, the heart of the home, where things get done! Making it more convenient to be there is, well, only logical, considering that you spend so much time in the kitchen anyway! After all, you have to eat – and these days, you have to browse the web, too!

The Modern Master Bedroom’s Continuous Vanity

by Kuhrich on Thursday, October 9, 2014

When considering how you want to have your master bedroom laid out, some things are simply a given. Of course, you want plenty of space; a master bedroom is more than just a place to sleep, it can be a place that you practically live in, part office and part lounge! Of course, storage and closet space is also intended to be quite large and available in a master bedroom; a walk-in closet isn’t uncommon, one that you can really wander around and get lost in! These are not, however, the only features, design-wise, that you can have included with your master bedroom. Consider, for example, the continuous vanity!

Why a Vanity?

A vanity is already well-known; typically is serves as a desk, table, and storage space that can be used to store make-up, some clothes, jewelry, and accessories, and other sundry items that are needed, often by the fairer sex. Typically, your vanity will look like a desk with a mirror and drawers, and that’s it. In a smaller bedroom, this makes sense. Yet with a master bedroom, you ca do so much more – so why not go big, rather than go home?

The continuous vanity is, well, kind of what the name suggests: a vanity that crosses the entirety of your master bedroom’s bathroom, encompassing not just space for a single person but in fact including a drawer base, wall cabinets, and more between split sinks for increasing storage along with more access to the things you need in the bathroom! Indeed, a continuous vanity is best-integrated into your master bedroom’s bathroom, which itself should be quite a spacious and beautiful room, as it is attached to your master bedroom!

What a Vanity Does for You

If space is an issue, the continuous vanity solves it; finding the right, most convenient storage space for the kinds of things a vanity contains can be difficult at times, but not with access to a continuous vanity. The master bedroom offers you a variety of options when it comes to design and layout, so it’s no wonder that something like a continuous vanity is so often made a part of the modern master bedroom!

 

The Convenience of Luxury Vinyl Tile: 3 Reasons to Buy

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When you hear the word “luxury” in “luxury vinyl tile,” you think that this is something that you simply can’t afford. It’s not an unreasonable assumption; luxury is intended to mean elite, the best of the best, and something that isn’t necessary but simply very… nice. For a long time, when it came to luxury vinyl tiles, or LVT, the average consumer didn’t have access to it; rather, commercial designers were using it regularly. These days, however, LVT has migrated over to the consumer side of things, and now you have the opportunity to bring this into your home.

LVT is manufactured differently for other vinyl products, and can replicate the character, graining, and look of actual hardwood without the hassle of hardwood itself. Furthermore, your LVT can even resemble textured stone tiles that might as well be the actual thing for as close as they resemble stone tiles! Indeed, there are many benefits to using LVT, including…

  1. Affordability

Hardwood is expensive, as is stone; that’s just an accepted fact, and so many choose to have neither and instead settle for a tile or vinyl or carpet that is just not what they really want. With LVT, you can get that wood or stone feel and look without having to pay those prices!

  1. Maintenance

Who wants to deal with surfacing, sanding, varnishing, and more with their wood floor? Who wants to deal with scrubbing down stone tiles? Nobody, that’s who, and yet if you go with either of those more expensive options, you’ll also be putting in more effort to maintain them. Meanwhile, LVT can be cleaned simply by using a damp mop on it.

  1. Variety

Because of the artificial nature of LVT, you can have it look, feel, and fit into just about anything! You have a countless array of options for your LVT, as opposed to hardwood, which is restricted to actual wood, and stone, which is restricted to actual stone. They are natural products and can’t be altered. LVT, on the other hand, is whatever you need or want it to be, from realistic to eerily perfect!

Wainscoting Your Home (and Applied Molding Wainscoting)

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The texture and look of your walls shouldn’t be bare; bare walls aren’t just unattractive, they are remarkably and notably unattractive. What this means is that when you leave your walls unattended, everyone will notice. Guests, family, friends, and the inevitable homebuyers when you decide to sell will take note of the fact that your walls are bare, uninteresting, and indeed, just downright boring. Your hoe will subsequently lack character and flair, and that’s something that people like to see in a home. As such, many homeowners choose to have wainscoting on their walls.

What is Wainscoting and Why Do I Want It?

Wainscoting, if you don’t already know, is molding that is applied to the side of your wall. Unlike the molding that we sometimes see at the base or top of a wall, wainscoting tends to be below the waist but still well above the floor. Designs, repeated patterns, and straight lines are not uncommon ways of shaping wainscoting. Yet it is a difficult-to-do (and therefore not DIY-friendly, oftentimes) and often expensive addition to any home, which is why you see it so rarely these days. Why bother with such niceties when they can be such a pain?

The Choice is Rather Clear

That’s why we and so many others use applied molding wainscoting. The molding is applied directly to the drywall, which is vastly more affordable than your typical wainscoting. Rather than making wainscoting an afterthought, however, this makes it something that has to be considered when building the home itself; thus, you should educate yourself further on wainscoting, applied wainscoting, and the cost benefits of the latter.

If you find that this is something that you would like to have included in your home, make sure that you ask for it before that home is finished! That being said, once your home is painted and the interior is lived-in, nobody will be able to tell the difference between typical wainscoting and applied molding wainscoting!

3 Things to Consider Before Getting a Fire Pit

by Kuhrich on Thursday, September 25, 2014

Should you get a fire pit on your patio? It’s hard to say; they aren’t appropriate for every home or even every home owner; the aesthetic and look of some homes simply can’t support a fire pit on their back yard or patio, while others aren’t really designed to safely support a fire pit. Yet if you want a fire pit, it’s important to consider all of the factors that go into choosing to have one:

  1. It Looks Great

Fire pits are a great touch to the aesthetic of many homes. They can be made of glass, of iron, or brick, of stone, or a variety of other materials – one of which must surely fit into the look and design of your home. Not only that, but the shape and design of the fire pit can be custom-designed to suit your home, back yard, and patio perfectly. In this respect, a fire pit becomes both beautiful and perfect for your home, so long as you take the time and effort to find the right one.

  1. Fun for Everyone

Fire pits can be used in just about any season, and they are a good time for everyone. You can use them to have cookouts, and during the winter, they become a place to gather around while spending time with friends or family. Much like the kitchen table or television in your home, it’s a meeting point and a common point of interest for many.

  1. Fire Hazards

Yet as beautiful and fun as a fire pit can be, they still contain fire, and are therefore dangerous. You need to watch out to ensure that children and pets stay away from the fire pit while it is in use, and that it is clear enough that no fires could catch. You’ll also need to learn to care for it properly to keep the fire burning strongly but not dangerously.

Wrap Around Porches

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wrap Around PorchMany homeowners understand that while the interior of the home is important, the exterior is just as important. Unless you’re living in the arctic, after all, you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time outdoors, in your lawn and meandering across your property. That’s why so many people put so much into landscaping, creating lawns that are truly a pleasure to spend time in. Creating spaces to spend that time in is also important; that may mean a quiet glen with a bench to read and relax in, or a gazebo to rest in the shade under. For some, however, a simple porch will do. But need your porch be quite that simple?

Being Different

No, indeed not! Why settle for a deck or porch that juts out and terminates not long after you’ve stepped outside? Why not instead have a porch that goes wherever you want to be around the exterior of your home – using a wraparound porch. Wraparound porches are increasingly quite popular, as they are themselves a callback to a time when spending an evening on the porch with friends or family was a regular event. These days, it is much less common, but with a wraparound porch, it becomes more common – creating the time and occasions you want, whether they be alone or with others.

Potential Porches

All manner of accessories can accompany such a porch, from special awnings to chair and table sets, porch swings, and other excellent inclusions. You’re only limited by what you think you’ll enjoy, and with so much space available on a wraparound porch, you can basically put anything and everything you’d want on the porch itself. Of course, there are some additional costs associated with this, but the value this adds to your home is considerable as well! Cost-effective, a great investment, and also just a pleasure to have: wraparound porches are making a comeback, and hard.

The Closet Buyers Want

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

These days, more and more people are demanding they have the space and luxury that they see in film and television in their homes. In some cases, this is an impossibility given the budget and constraints placed on the home’s construction or renovation. Not every bedroom in the house can be the equivalent of a master bedroom, for example, yet so any are seeking as much space as possible in every room in the house. Yet while this demand can’t always be met, there are certain ways to make a bedroom feel like it is a master bedroom: walk-in closets.

A Closet Today

This is high on a list of demands by many would-be homeowners today. When not every bedroom can be a master bedroom or its equivalent, the space can be made to add a walk-in closet to several if not all of the bedrooms in the home. The positioning, shape, and size of a walk-in closet is, after all, easy to manipulate and adapt to whatever you need. Indeed, finding the space in the layout to add a walk-in closet to a bedroom isn’t the problem; it’s what you do with it once you have it that can be an issue!

Yes, while you may want a walk-in closet, actually making efficient use of it is another story entirely. When you have a walk-in closet, you can do any number of things with it, of course. You can treat it simply as a closet, storing clothing and other knick-knacks and whatnot in it, but there is quite a bit more potential to a walk-in closet. A truly sizeable closet can serve as a dressing room, with a mirror, accessories, and shoes, all allowing you to prepare yourself for the day ahead by dressing to the nines in your walk-in closet.

Why Else a Closet?

You can also use it for a sizeable amount of storage. The simple fact of the matter is that these days, we have a lot of stuff – more than we need at any given time. A closet the size of a walk-in closet affords each bedroom’s occupant the space and opportunity to store their belongings in a safe, out-of-the-way location. That’s something most people can only dream of, forced as they are to store their things in the basement, the garage, or in a storage shed. None of these are ideal options.

A walk-in closet can serve just about any purpose you want to bend it to – which explains why it has become so popular today. If you’re putting a home on the market, do yourself a favor and ensure that it has at least one of these!

 

Geothermal Heating: Why and How

by Kuhrich on Thursday, September 4, 2014

People are always looking for the “next big thing” as far as their heating and energy costs are concerned, but the next big thing may in fact be the real deal! We’re talking, of course, about geothermal heating. Geothermal heating is, in fact, one of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems that you can purchase on the open market. The system has been shown to have a 50 to 70% greater efficiency than other heating systems, while its cooling system’s efficiency is 20 to 40% greater than your run-of-the-mill air conditioner. For you, the end-user, this means greater savings on your utility bills.

The System Works

The system works as a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system, allowing it to perform both heating and cooling functions for you. Using your thermostat, you can change from one mode to another; some systems also allow you to pre-heat your water, which over time will save you a considerable amount of money.

This can be done by using what is known as “waste heat” to heat water. When your system is in cooling mode during the summer, your hot water is produced without charge to you as a simple byproduct of the geothermal process. Meanwhile, in winter, with the heating mode, some of your water can be heated.

Why Not Go For It?

When choosing to install a “newfangled” technology, one often worries that it will take up a considerable amount of space, that it will cost quite a bit upfront, or that it will break or go inactive or inefficient soon after installation, thereby costing you even MORE money down the line. Geothermal heating, however, is a proven process, and one that requires very little space indeed. In fact, you should only need the space that a traditional heating and cooling unit would require.

Your system should last well into the multi-decade warranty that most systems come with, so great is the confidence of manufacturers. The unit itself is something that nearly all owners are greatly pleased with; not only is it effective, efficient, and does not take up much space, but it also is very quiet. If you value a peaceful and quiet home, then this is the heating method for you.

Some have expressed safety concerns, but with no outdoor equipment, there’s no risk to pets or children, and with no open flame or flammable fuel, it is in fact safer than the dangerous storage tanks most homes have to use! Indeed, this is an ideal method of safely and efficiently heating and cooling your home; why not go for it?

Staring at Your Ceiling: What You Want in a Master Bedroom

by Kuhrich on Thursday, August 21, 2014

The master bedroom of your home is where you will spend quite a bit of time, more than you would ever imagine. After all, you sleep there; that’s at least a third of your life, if not more. (Some of us like to sleep in or take naps!) You also end up reading, browsing the web, and spending time with your spouse there; it’s also something of an anteroom to your day. It’s where you wake up, it’s where you go to sleep, it sets the mood for you for the day, week, and month to come.

What You Want in a Bedroom

When you think about your master bedroom that way, every little detail starts to matter a lot more. What color is the carpeting? How does it match with the trim and the drapes? How is the lighting arranged? And of course, the furniture is a huge factor; if its color and design doesn’t match everything else, the whole room will look off – and you’ll be waking up to that every morning. Speaking of what you’re waking up to every morning, however, consider what you see when you open your eyes: your ceiling. You didn’t consider your master bedroom’s ceiling, did you? But it is, in fact, a very important element of design in your bedroom.

Of course, you want to determine what the focal-point of the room is going to be. For some master bedrooms, it is a desk – for work or just for home matters – or an area made for sitting. For others, it is the bed itself, and for yet others, it is the vanity or dressers. There are many focuses for a bedroom, but the ceiling should help to accentuate the idea that said area is your bedroom’s focus. A ceiling can do this by being vaulted in such a way as to outline where certain areas of the bedroom begin and end. This also creates more space for lighting, ceiling windows, and other features that you may not have considered before.

Making Your Dreams a Reality

In fact, there are many small details and accessories that can be built into your ceiling to accent your room. How about a ceiling fan? For some, it is a relic of a bygone age – after all, we have central air conditioning now, right?! – but for others, it is a way to keep air moving, keep things cool, and keep the room fresh and airy without having to poor money into air conditioning.

Chandeliers are a slightly more upscale option for what you choose to do with your ceiling, but that kind of lighting is much-prized by those who can afford it and make the space for it. Of course, this is your master bedroom, after all; you want to have as much space as possible to truly have your ideal, perfect bedroom in which to while away those early and late hours of the day. The ceiling may be the most important of making your master bedroom exactly that; in this way, you can wake up every morning to see exactly what you dreamt of when you first envisioned your perfect bedroom. There’s little better than getting to see your vision made a reality day-in and day-out!

The Butler’s Pantry: Your Next Kitchen Addition?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The kitchen is the heart of your home, this is a well-known and time-worn fact. When it comes to selling a home, for example, your ability to put that home on the market and sell it at the price that you want to sell it at is strongly affected by that home’s kitchen. The kitchen’s size, design, style, space, and layout are all things that will be taken into account by potential home-owners as they seek to have the best, most beautiful, most idyllic kitchen they can possibly find. Given how important your kitchen is, it comes as no surprise that so much time and money can easily be spent on improving and expanding upon your kitchen in order to make it more appealing to buyers (not to mention, yourself!).

Treat Your Kitchen

So, what can you do to really spice up your kitchen, make it more attractive, and yet also make it more utilitarian, while not reducing its spaciousness? Many are turning to the Butler’s pantry, and you might consider doing so yourself. No, we aren’t recommending that you get yourself a butler; the name is something of a holdover, and these days the addition is also called a “serving pantry.” But, because of how luxurious and interesting it sounds, we’ll continue to use the term “butler pantry”!

A butler pantry is a utility room that is used to store serving items as opposed to food, as you would typically see in most pantries. A pantry, of course, usually stores dry goods and other things that you would need to have access to from your kitchen, but which you wouldn’t typically need on an everyday basis nor would you want these things displayed and out-and-about, cluttering up your kitchen’s aesthetic.

What to Do With a Butler’s Pantry

Traditionally speaking, a butler’s pantry is used to store things like silver, a wine log, and merchant’s account books. In the days when butler’s pantries were aptly named for the butler who did their work there, this is where the silver would be counted, cleaned, and stored, as the silver was considered a highly valuable thing in the home. Of course, today, that isn’t the case in most homes, and nor do we have a servant that would also sleep in the butler’s pantry, as the butler did once upon a time!

In a modern home with a butler’s pantry, you have a space situated between your kitchen and dining room that you can use as a staging ground for serving meals. You can also use its countertops and storage for tableware, serving pieces, linens for the table, candles, wine, and other things that you will commonly require when serving food. It’s a beautiful, useful, out-of-the-way but entirely attractive way to expand your kitchen!

A Key Room in Your Home: Don’t Neglect Your Bathroom!

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Most bathrooms are purely utilitarian in nature and design. They have a few simple but essential functions to perform in your home, and beyond that, your bathroom probably sees little in the way of love or attention. Clean it, keep it tidy, and keep it aerated, and you should be fine, right? Except that your bathroom is as much a part of your home as any other room, and it is also a part of your home that many of your guests will see. Not only that, but by keeping your bathroom as bare and unexciting as possible, you’re actually missing out on a great bathroom experience, not to mention some awesome bathroom design opportunities!

Rub a Dub Dub

Let’s start with one of the most important parts of your bathroom: the shower/tub area. You need to wash up regularly, but doing so in a small, cramped area can be uncomfortable and just plain old not fun. You can really liven up your showers by expanding the area that they take up, creating a walk-in shower that you can enter like you would a waterfall in a cave. Using tile across the area, you can reduce the amount of clean-up to nil while creating a very classical look for your bathroom.

Those tiles can do more than just serve as a great surface for your walk-in shower. They can also be made into mosaics, much as the ancient Romans would have done with their baths as well. The mosaics can depict just about anything you’d like, from abstract patterns and shapes to beautiful images and scenes; the limit is your imagination and the skill of the tile-layer that you are working with!

So Much to Do

Another great improvement for a beautiful shower is to add glass shower walls. These transparent or translucent (at your discretion, of course) walls allow light to more easily fill the room, including the showering area of the room, making everything seem brighter, more airy, and more pleasant. Consequently, your bathroom will feel larger owing to this “optical illusion,” or at the very least, it won’t feel closed off and claustrophobic as most bathrooms do.

Moving from the shower area, you can also spruce up your sinks and storage by using a continuous vanity in the bathroom. Split sinks for you and your spouse, and install a drawer base and wall cabinet between the sinks for the storage of toiletries and all manner of bathroom-appropriate accessories. This is far better than a few drawers crammed full of doodads and knick-knacks, you have to agree! Indeed, there’s so much you can do with your bathroom, the possibilities are endless!

 

To Column or Not to Column

by Kuhrich on Thursday, July 31, 2014

Interior design is, in fact, much harder than it looks. Sure, you can select furniture, lighting, flooring and wallpaper and paint and all sorts of other accessories and easy-to-choose-and-buy-and-place objects, but the actual meat of interior design has far more to do with the remodeling approach that you take to a room – or even your whole house. Indeed, you have to look at what you can do with the materials that you have to work with when it comes to providing a room with its own unique look, structure, and “feng shui,” if you will. As such, you are probably working with drywall – and in that case, why not consider drywall columns as inexpensive, easy-to-add additions to your home’s interior?

DIY Columns

Drywall is incredibly sturdy; sometimes we don’t give credit where credit is due and treat it like it is a very easy-to-bust material, but that is largely only when it is in sheets of drywall and you have to carry it around and carefully stack it, transport it, and attach it to the wall. Once firmly rooted into place, and with a solid backing behind it, drywall can stand up to quite a bit. This makes it ideal for continuing to use drywall as a flourish in your home’s interior design.

You can choose to create your own drywall columns or buy them premade; there are benefits and costs associated with either approach. In the case of making your own drywall columns, you will have to cut the drywall yourself and put the columns together on your own; this alone can prove a major challenge, as cutting drywall cleanly and appropriately can actually be quite difficult. If you’ve ever installed drywall, you know that cutting it to perfect dimensions can sometimes be frustrating hard to do.

Premade Columns

On the other hand, purchasing a pre-made drywall column means that you have a material that matches what your home’s interior is made of, while avoiding the dust and other mess that often comes with working with drywall in your home. (The cleanup is murder!) You also can have “fancier,” more complex and interesting designs for your columns than the ones that you are capable of producing; this allows for you to have some truly exquisite columns in your home.

The downside to this approach, of course, is that it can be more expensive than simply making your own columns. Additionally, not all premade columns are right for your home or a particular room, making finding the right column a matter of settling. Yet when you have the right columns in a room – wow, will you know it!

Choosing Recessed Lighting

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The lighting your home uses is arguably going to be the most important mood- and style-setting element of your home.  Given that fact, selecting the right lighting both in terms of the design of your home as well as the appliances, wiring, and accessories that you choose to have accompany your lighting scheme is vital to presenting your home as you like; after all, you’re the one who is going to have to live in that home for years to come, and if the lighting is bad, you’re either going to end up feeling uncomfortable in your home or else you’re going to have to pay for some expensive renovations and electrical work. Both of these outcomes are undesirable, which is why it’s so wise to be researching lighting options now. For example, have you considered recessed lighting in your home’s design and flow?

Why

Recessed lighting is a lighting scheme that provides a clean, streamlined look to how your home is designed and built. With recessed lighting, you have light sources that are installed into the home itself – either into the ceiling or in some cases into the wall. Rather than having lamps and light bulbs poking out and looking, we must admit, rather ugly or ostentatious, you instead have small “holes” or cubbies made for your lighting to be installed into.

Recessed lighting can actually decrease the amount of light that a room gets from its light sources owing to the fact that the entire bulb is not exposed when lit. However, it can also increase the amount of light a room gets owing to how the light is angled and designed to enter the room. Effectively, you have more control over how a room looks and feels when you plan out recessed lighting either for construction or renovation/redesigning.

When and Where

Of course, recessed lighting isn’t for every room or even every home. Generally speaking, it is most convenient to install recessed lighting when you are already undertaking a major remodeling project with a room; otherwise, the amount of work it will require to install the lighting may very well seem like a bit of a waste. Some fixtures can be retrofitted, but you should find out if this is the case in your particular instance or not before attempting to install them.

So, where should you put your recessed lighting fixtures once you have them? You have a variety of options, but you should try to make sure they are appropriately distanced from each other. You should also make sure your room will get all the light it needs. With the right design, you’ll breathe new life into your home!

Composite Wood Decking: Great Decking…or Greatest Decking?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You have options – isn’t that what being a modern homeowner in the industrialized world is all about? You can choose to use any kinds of materials you want when designing, building, and expanding your home. That’s good news, too, because when you compare traditional building materials to modern building materials, you will often find the former severely lacking. Whether it’s the foundation, the frame, the roof, or the siding, modern materials are often tougher, longer-lasting, and more appealing to the eye. Take, for example, the wood decking you often see in back yards these days; did you know that composite wood decking is far superior to traditional decking?

The Past is the Past

Once upon a time you just took whatever wood appealed to you most and constructed your deck out of that. Oak, maple, walnut – it didn’t truly matt, you just grabbed a design, a saw, some nails, and then hammered away. These days, there are quite a few types of materials available, from the synthetic to the wholly natural, but composite wood decking is by far the most superior.

You see, when you use normal wood, you actually subject yourself to several years of effort: you’ll have to regularly sand, stain, and reseal your wood, sometimes multiple times in a single year and sometimes several years between these treatments. Nevertheless, this adds costs in terms of materials as well as your precious, precious time.

The Perfect Decking

Your time is better spent enjoying your deck, as opposed to caring for its upkeep.  Composite decking is all about providing a solid, reliable, appealing deck that is also affordable. Composite decking is made from a number of different materials, primarily wood and plastic, which are processed together to give the appearance and look and feel of actual wood. The wood is typically recycled lumber industry byproducts such as sawdust, chips, and woof fiber while the plastic is made from recycled materials as well. This means that composite decking isn’t just cost-effective and easy to use, it’s also as green as you’re going to get!

The components are mixed by the manufacturers, who then add a variety of pigments and preservatives; that mixture is then heated, formed into board-shaped lengths, and then cooled using a proprietary process. The boards look, feel, and work just like actual boards, but they are typically heavier than wood (though often not as strong). They are resistant to rot, they do not warp like wood typically does, they will never give you a splinter, and they won’t need you to paint, stain, or seal them. What more can you ask for?

The Question of the Dual Oven

by Kuhrich on Thursday, July 10, 2014

The kitchen is the heart of the home; it always has been and likely always will be, and with good reason. It’s where your meals are made, after all, and when does a family and its guests connect more than when it is sitting around the dinner table, eating and enjoying the time they are spending together? A good kitchen can produce great food for an incredible meal, and that’s what really brings people together and forges closer, tighter bonds. To have a good kitchen, though, you need the right appliances and tools, and perhaps none are more important than the oven. In fact, ovens are so useful in so many cases that larger families and those who really like to get fancy in the kitchen often opt for a dual oven; but is that really for you?

Why a Dual Oven?

As with most things worthwhile, when it comes to cooking, timing is everything. When cooking a great meal, your ability to juggle time, temperature, and ingredients is critical to producing the perfect meal right on time, with everything at the appropriate temperature and all of it appearing at once. When you have multiple hot dishes for a single meal, however, that can be very difficult to accomplish; some of it is cooling in a dish while others elements are still in the oven, and you end up with a meal with varied temperatures and states of edibility. That’s not at all ideal.

Thus, the dual oven. Being able to cook two dishes at once allows you to monitor both and time them perfectly while adjusting the temperature for each oven to be perfect for whatever in particular is being cooked at the time. You can time your meal perfectly with dual ovens.

Side-Benefits

If you have children, there is the additional benefit of more safety in the home and the kitchen in particular. By using, say, an upper oven, you put what is a hot, dangerous appliance out of reach of children, ensuring that they will not burn or otherwise hurt themselves with the oven. Large families also benefit from the dual oven, as it allows plenty of food to be prepared for large meals; when it comes to those meals, putting too much food into a single oven often results in everything going undercooked, whereas with a dual oven, everything will get the heat it needs to really turn out great.

Best of all, the dual oven is remarkably affordable when compared to a single oven. Once you factor in the time saved, and you may wonder why it took you this long already.

A/C TLC

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When the season changes, there are several common sense things we can do to prepare for the coming season, with all of its changes in weather, climate, and wildlife, along with our own changes in lifestyle (as per changes in daylight, temperature, and more). Yet often, we neglect to do these things – these simple preparatory measures – because we forget, because we don’t know about it, or because we are simply too busy to tend to it. Yet prepping for a new season can save you tons of money, along with the frustration that can come with a system breaking down or working incorrectly – or simply being inadequate – when that season finally hits. If you’ve ever spent a winter without heat or a summer without air conditioning, you know what we’re talking about!

Summer, in fact, may be the easiest season to prep for; the weather itself is not extreme beyond an increase in heat, and so the only system you really need to tend to is your air conditioning system. So what can you do to ensure that you have some nice, cold air blowing through your home and that your air conditioning system won’t break down mid-summer and make you regret your life decisions? Why, there are four simple steps to ensuring that your summer is a cool one:

  1.       Clear the Way

First, you want to make sure that your air conditioner has no obstructions around it. Airflow is necessary for large, complex machinery of that sort to function correctly; when shrubs or debris are obstructing the airflow around your air conditioner, that can make it difficult to function properly, and you will simply get less bang for your buck out of it. Some liberal cutting and cleaning is all that is in order here!

 

  1.       Do a Filter Check

You use your air conditioner every summer, so in all likelihood, your filter is still pretty dirty from last year. Take some time to check to see if that is the case; if not, you’re good, but if you need a replacement, get it sooner rather than later. A clean filter allows you to maximize your air conditioner’s efficiency, getting more bang for your buck yet again.

 

  1.       Change Your Thermostat

This is commons sense, but sometimes we overlook the simplest things. Your thermostat should be set to “cool” so that you can enjoy a nice, cool summer. Otherwise, your air conditioner will not pump out quite the air you’re looking for!

 

  1.       Get a Tune-Up

This last one is often not necessary, but if you want your air conditioner operating in top condition, then your best bet is to actually bring a professional in to take a look and help make sure everything is functioning at top efficiency. It will likely end up saving you money in the long run!

Summer is Coming: Prepare Your Home

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This past winter was definitely a rough one. More than a few blizzards paired with blistering cold and incredibly high winds did a number on many homes, but with the weather what it was, the time to do repairs and deal with issues of maintenance on one’s home and lawn hasn’t yet come… until now. The spring time is the right time to really buckle down and take care of your home, but there is so much to do, it can be difficult to identify what needs doing and what can wait. It can also be difficult to determine what you are capable of doing yourself and what you need a professional to do.

After all, while the DIY movement – fueled by the Internet and home repair and maintenance shows – has done a lot for providing knowledge and skill to your average homeowner, there are still many things that are simply better left to the professionals. Fortunately, we have a short list of some home maintenance issues you can tackle before summer really hits, issues that you don’t need a professional for…

  1.       Top to Bottom: Your Roof

The most important part of your home, the element that gives your home its purpose, is the roof. If your roof is leaky, drafty, or otherwise damaged in such a way that it no longer quite does its job, then you have a problem on your hands, one that needs to be immediately repaired. A roof typically takes quite a beating during the winter, so spring is the perfect time to go about repairing your roof. Replace shingles, install new fasteners, and clean out any debris that has built up there over the past few months.

 

  1.       Side to Side: Outside Walls

Now that your roof is protecting you from the elements, what about your home’s walls? Those are pretty important as well, as they not only keep the elements out but also provide privacy and even more temperature/climate control. Water stains, gutter buildup, and damage from pests are common issues many homes face, however, and spring is the time to deal with them before summer hits and those become devastating issues that cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to deal with.

 

  1.       Bottom to Top: Your Foundation

Finally, the foundation of your home is, well, what everything else is built on. If there are cracks or other damage to your foundation, that is something you have to take care of immediately, as this can not only be problematic in your basement but cause problems for your entire home. If the damage is severe enough, you may actually have to call in a professional, but trust us: it’s worth it!

Preparing Your Home for Summer

by Kuhrich on Thursday, June 12, 2014

Spring is here, bringing with it rain, sun, warmth, and renewed growth after a long and oftentimes brutal winter. Soon, summer will arrive, and gardens will be in full bloom, flowers will be opening everywhere, and your home will be asking for some serious upkeep attention. In fact, while fall, winter, and sometimes spring can be harsh in terms of weather, it is often summer when all of the problems facing your home and lawn really become an issue. As such, it’s often a good idea to tend to various aspects of your home long before they become a problem. Generally speaking, spring is the best time to do this!

But just what is there to do? Sometimes it can seem as though there is so much to tend to with your lawn that it is overwhelming. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. By taking a step-by-step approach and handling each major issue at a time, you can break down the task of home and lawn care into several manageable projects. Just make sure you’re doing everything that absolutely needs to be done! To help you, here are three projects that every homeowner should undertake before summer truly hits:

  1.       Lawn Care

Your lawn, of course, is the part of your home that is most impacted by the change in seasons. Increased levels of rain and sunshine, along with the weather heating up, means that spring and summer is the time for your plants and grass to grow and become healthy again after a long, dark, cold winter. However, this is also a great opportunity for pests and weeds to move in and absolutely take over your home. To prevent this, use herbicides to surgically remove weeds from your lawn. With pests like raccoons, don’t be afraid to set traps or call animal control!

 

  1.       Plant a Tree

Speaking of your lawn, there is more to do than mere upkeep and protection. The pre-summer, May-time era of spring is an important time for planting. If you have the space, the climate, and the interest, then now is the time to plant a tree – perhaps a fruit tree, if you’re looking to enjoy more than just the shade of your sapling.

 

  1.       Seal Your Driveway… Again

Your driveway can quickly become a mess if not regularly taken care of. It certainly seems enough abuse over the course of a year, from the elements – such as rain, sun, snow, hail, wind, and natural debris – to oil and gas, the weight of vehicles and whatever happens to be unloaded onto your driveway. A good seal every year will help to keep your driveway looking good while ensuring it stays in top shape!

Is Spray-Foam Insulation Worthwhile?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Your home – its structure and construction – serves several basic functions that are vital for your comfort and, in many cases, your survival. Sure, your home is where you keep your stuff, entertain guests, and watch television, but there are more basic, traditional, elemental purposes for your home: specifically, to stay warm or cool in extreme temperatures. Climate control is one of the great developments of the 20th century, but we have, in fact, always had homes where we controlled the temperature and climate indoors in order to have more comfortable, healthier, happier lives.

The Heart of a Home

Homes don’t do this naturally, however. They are built to optimize the cooling and heating process in your home, and over time we have developed more advanced methods of doing so. The use of insulation in particular has been key to creating more energy-efficient homes where the indoor temperature is easily controlled and maintained. Not all insulation is created equal, however; various insulations are more or less effective, as well as easier or more difficult to install and maintain.

Spray foam is, increasingly, the insulation of choice for many families and new homeowners. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is the most effective or cost-efficient way of doing things, however. So how about it – is spray foam insulation really worth the money?

The Smart Way to Go

Generally speaking – and this varies from area to area and manufacturer to manufacturer, but is generally true – spray foam insulation will run you about twice as much as normal insulation. If you think your budget can handle that cost, then you should consider why spray foam insulation costs you so much, and the answer is: it actually saves you more money over the course of time. Spray foam insulation creates an airtight seal that can more effectively keep heat out (or in, as is the case) of your home, saving you money on your energy bills while keeping you cooler or toastier in extreme weather conditions.

In fact, spray foam insulation can reduce home electricity costs by as much as a whopping 50%! Its airtight nature also makes it an effective deterrent to mold, while its solid form also lends itself to strengthening the structural integrity of your walls. Finally, when you eventually come to sell your home, that spray foam insulation is going to be a huge selling point – in fact, you can sell your home for quite a bit more than you otherwise could because of the presence of spray foam insulation!

If you can handle the initial investment, spray foam insulation is quite possibly the only smart way to go when it comes to insulating your home!

Mastering Efficiency and Organization

by Kuhrich on Thursday, May 29, 2014

Your garage is a vital part of your home, though sometimes we have a tendency to forget that it even exists. After all, over the course of a year, you can really fill it with quite a few useless items – useless as in you yourself no longer have a use for them, though others may some day – and as a result you end up being something of a hoarder, filling your garage with objects and forgetting that they are there. Eventually, your garage will be so full of “stuff” that you have no use for it beyond tossing more things in there!

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can easily make your garage spacious, maneuverable, more efficient, and more useful. This will require some creative thinking on your part as far as how your space is best utilized, and it will require a fair amount of time investment. Rome wasn’t built in a day. To get started, here some ideas you should consider while thinking about how best to organize your garage:

  1.     Use Every Dimension Available

You don’t just have vertical space in your garage: you also have horizontal space. You can take advantage of this not just by stacking crates or other items under tables and atop tables, but by using other furniture to more efficiently store, organize, and access your belongings. Shelves – both freestanding and attached to walls – are a great way to make the most of the space you have while not cluttering up your garage.

  1.     Grouping Is Important

A big part of staying organized is knowing where things go and where to go to get them. This will put you in the habit of keeping your garage tidy in the days to come. By grouping like items together – or at least, grouping items that have a similar purpose together – you can more easily track, organize, and store those items.

  1.     Label, Label, Label

Another key organizational practice is to label as many of the objects in your garage as possible. Whether you use sticky notes, stickers, a label gun, a printer, or some other method of labeling, it is vital that you consistently label everything that you can. Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard; too many labels make them all meaningless. Rather, your labeling should allow you to quickly and easily identify where objects go as well as where you can get them.

There is so much more you can do to improve the state of your garage this year, but ultimately, it all comes down to efficient organizational practices. Master those, and you’re golden.

Protecting You and Your Family From the Elements

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

While there are many investments you can make into your home, few are as expensive or as important as your roof. After all, it is the roof that protects you and your family against the elements, and it is the roof that provides a large part of the aesthetic of your house. Together, this makes the roof one of the most important parts of your home. Considering its importance, it should come as no surprise that your roof will require not just a high quality installation using high quality materials, but also continued care on your part.

To that end, here are a few ways you can care for your roof to ensure that you get plenty of use out of it in the years to come:

  1.     Don’t Do Too Much Up There!

As admirable as it is that you want to do a heavy amount of work on your roof, you have to remember that you, yourself, are causing  certain amount of wear and tear when you stand, sit, or walk on the surface of your roof.  Shingles and tiles can be brittle and made all the more so by your walking on them, especially when temperatures are particularly hot or cold and the roof is already under stress. Instead, remain on your ladder as much as possible and try not to walk on your roof!

  1.     Stay Vigilant

That being said, you should make it a point to inspect your roof in late fall and early spring of every year. Keep an eye out for loose shingles, shakes, and tiles, as well as curling, fraying, and potential tears that can lead to some serious structural damage if left unrepaired.

  1.     Clean Regularly

With the integrity of your roof cared for, you should also make sure to keep it clean.  Dirt, dust, and other unsavory materials often accumulate over the seasons, and they can speed up the wear and tear on your roof. Remove these and other substances that can trap moisture and shorten your roof’s life, such as algae, moss, and mildew.

  1.     Really, We Mean Clean Regularly

You shouldn’t just be cleaning the roof itself, however; make sure that you are also cleaning your gutters and downspouts. These allow for the quick and easy flow of materials, including water and leaves and other such things, from your roof to the ground where they can safely be disposed of. Occasional blockages are, of course, to be expected, but when major blockage occurs these things can crop up atop your roof, doing further damage to the roof itself.

Be smart, be regular, and be safe, and your roof will protect you and your family for decades to come!

Mud Room Musts

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

There are a variety of different ways you can design and outfit your home, not the least of which is the mudroom. Obviously every room in your home is important, serving different functions and roles, but the initial impression that all of your guests receive when entering you home is in the mud room, an area which also serves several utilitarian functions.

For those of you not in the know, the mudroom is a hall that typically has a coat closet, hard and easily cleaned flooring as opposed to carpeting, and which generally serves as a transitional area between the outdoor and indoor areas. Yet as with any room in your home, you can do more with the mudroom than just provide the bare basics. In fact, there are three must-haves when it comes to your mudroom…

  1.     Go Big or Go Home

The mud room is a place where you and your guests will need as much space as possible to store outdoor clothing, including coats, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, sweaters, and likely a few sundry items that are good to have available at your doorway, such as a snow shovel, snow salt, and other winter supplies. Having plenty of space to change and to store equipment of that sort is ideal for your mudroom.

Additionally, your mudroom should have enough space for sitting. A bench or chairs are great to take off and put on shoes, rather than sitting down on the (possibly dirty if recently used) floor. A mudroom should comfortable for you and your guests, and that means seating, which means space for seating!

  1.     Low Maintenance

By low maintenance, we mean ensuring that the materials you are using for the walls and floor are easily cleaned and not easily damaged. Your mud room’s floor will have dirt, water, snow, and whatever else might find its way onto the bottom of one’s shoe tracked all over it. Linoleum and tile are easily cleaned, while wood and laminate can be permanently damaged thanks to standing water or grit that has been ground into it. Similarly, the walls should be protected by a wainscot treatment or something similar. A surface that can be easily cleaned, such as one treated with certain paints, is ideal.

  1.     Light it Up

When you enter someone’s home, you don’t want to feel like you’re entering a cave. Your mudroom should be well-lit but not uncomfortably so; a gentle, natural light – from plenty of windows during the day and discreet but effective lighting during the night – is ideal.

Of course, that’s just the start! Remember: a first impression can only be made once. When it comes to your home, you want it to be the right one – but for your mudroom to still serve its purpose well

Investing in Lower Cooling Bills

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The end of winter and the start of spring means that summer is just around the counter, but unfortunately, that also means that sooner or later, it is going to be much, much, much warmer than you’ve grown accustomed to over the past few months. Consequently, you’re going to have to start cooling your home soon, which can end up costing you a considerable amount of money in bills over time. After all, the larger and more luxurious your home is, the more space there is to cool, which can end up driving you bill into the stratosphere.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way; you can find a number of ways to reduce the cost of energy while also make a positive impact on the environment. When you can contribute to society while also saving yourself considerable amounts of money – as your bills always have a way of increasing at incredible rates come every summer, it would seem – you know that you’ve made a great decision.

Getting Started Saving

If you want to save money, the best place to start is in your basement. Much of the guts of your heating and cooling systems are located there, and you can make a huge amount of difference by making minor modifications or adjustments to those systems. For starters, you can clean your air-conditioning filters every month, ensuring that you get maximum airflow. Furthermore, by getting regular, professional checks once a year, you can also ensure that the system is functioning as efficiently as possible; that efficiency will save you considerable money over time.

If the efficiency of your air conditioning system is at maximum and you find that it is still not as efficient as you would like, you might consider getting an entirely new air conditioner. Specifically, energy-efficient units are available and can actually qualify for a tax credit that will save you even more money over the long run. If this is an option you are seriously considering, ensure that you are getting a seasonal energy-efficiency ratio of 16 to 21, which is the highest possible level of efficiency.

Foolproof Ways to Save

Something else to look out for is to ensure that your home makes your cooling process as efficient and low-cost as possible. For example, are you certain that your home is leak-free? Check your windows, your doors, and even your walls – along with the air conditioning system itself – to ensure that none of your cool air is escaping into the world, with you having paid for it.

Ultimately, lowering the cost of cooling your home is a combination of adapting your home to efficient, optimal cost-saving, along with investing in equipment and other technology that will ultimately be an investment in your future.

The Perfect Porch for a Luxury Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, May 8, 2014

When considering an addition onto your home, you have a variety of options available to you. You could have a shed or secondary garage built, a patio, a gazebo, or even a whole wing added onto your home. You are, in part, limited by the geography and space available to you, while your budget presents a secondary limitation that is very important to pay attention to; after all, going into debt to build an extra wing may, in time, see like a waste of money if that wing goes un-used.

What Makes an Addition Right For You?

When deciding on what kind of addition you’d like to make to your home, you need to consider just how much time you think you’ll spend using that addition. While a shed or whole wing might only see occasional use, an area that you can use to relax in is considerably more useful – because who doesn’t love to relax on their porch? Of course, one of the problems with your standard porch is that you are subject to the inclement weather that is outside, even when the temperature is great – a warm spring day on your porch can be ruined when it is raining or particularly rainy, for example.

With a screen to block excessive amounts of rain, wind, or even sun (a hot sunny day can be quite uncomfortable!) you can enjoy your porch at pretty much any point in the year, barring absolutely freezing weather. With the screen up and providing proper insulation, you can actually bring a space heater onto your screened-in porch and enjoy some warmth on your porch in the midst of cold weather.

The Advantages of a Screen

The porch is perhaps the signature architectural feature of American homes, what with our tradition of porch parties, enjoying barbecues and other spring/summer meals on the porch, and watching the sun set on our porch in the evening. Although we are increasingly spending quite a bit of our free time in front of a screen – be it computer or television screen – we still find time to enjoy some peace and quiet on our porches.

Of course, most porches look the same – a swing, some chairs that are suited to the outdoors, and so on. A screened-in porch offers an opportunity to have more diverse furniture and other décor, however, as it is protected from the climate and therefore able to house furniture, lighting, area rugs, and other vibrant, interesting, and signature pieces that can make our porch your own while offering comfort, style, and relaxation to anyone on your porch. With a screened in porch, you can have all that and more.

Add Personality To Your Home With Textured Ceilings

by Kuhrich on Thursday, May 1, 2014
Textured ceilings have gained rising popularity in the housing industry. Home improvement specialists, home designers and property builders have used the techniques of textured painting to create masterpieces. The choice of various types of textured ceilings often reflects personal or professional preferences.

Custom home settings are personalized, and allow decorators to add their own personal spin. Therefore, owners and builders are free to add one or more textural designs to their project. Professional settings are more formal, and textured ceilings may or may not be appropriate in for certain settings. Nevertheless, textured ceilings bring an otherwise dull ceiling to life.

Types of Textured Ceilings

Popcorn Ceiling

Choosing the right design enhances the lightening in a room and shows off your creativity. A Popcorn ceiling offers a soft “bumpy” appearance to a plain looking ceiling. The popcorn ceiling is also referred to as an “Acoustic” ceiling and has been used by builders and architectural designers since the 1970’s. Even today the popcorn ceiling maintains its popularity and low maintenance cost.

Knockdown Ceiling Texture

A knockdown ceiling gives life and vitality to flat unattractive ceilings. If there are many small imperfections lurking up above, the texture will definitely put them to rest. The name “Knockdown” actually derives from the final steps of completing the process. After the textured design is applied to the surface, a wide blade knife is used to flatten the peaks.

There are only three components used to create the knockdown effect; joint compound, knockdown knives and acoustical gun and sprayer. Designer’s use a variety of painter’s and carpenters’s tools to add swirls, curls, lines, and sponge spores to their dull lifeless pain looking ceilings.

Benefits of a Textured Ceiling

The benefit of a textured ceiling is to provide an alternative to a plain lifeless flat ceiling. Texture allows a homeowner to experiment with different types of textures and designs. A textured ceiling allows you to create a designer ceiling, without paying a designer’s price.

Painting is not always the best choice, when other options are available. Choosing to design or redesign a ceiling can be completed on an either a low or high end budget. People, who want an expensive looking ceiling without paying designer costs, can inject their own personality into their textured ceiling project.

3 Tips For Organizing Your Garage This Spring

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
It’s that time of year again, time to clean out the cobwebs, sweep the floors, and get your garage organized for spring! For those of us who know that their garage could use a little TLC, here are our top three tips for making it spring clean:

1. Know What You Have

Many of us accumulate items in our garage slowly over time. Whether it was given as a gift, picked up at a yard sale, or bought at a home goods store, we normally end up with more things than we actually realize. That’s why it’s important to sort the items you have by purpose and type. Using whatever extra space you have, work on sorting out all your garage goodies. Put gardening supplies in one corner, kids toys in another, tools and equipment in a separate place, and yard maintenance in another. Depending on what you have in your custom home, you may need to make more categories. Once your sorting is finished, you are able to see what you have double, or maybe even triple, of. Decide what you need and what you don’t; set the stuff you don’t need aside.

2. Take a Trip to the Store

It may not be fun to buy things like tubs and other storage containers, but for the organization of your garage, it is necessary. Now that you’ve sorted all your stuff, you need to keep it all together and stowed away in neat compartments. Invest in a set of clear plastic drawers for tools, in a wire rack for sports balls and equipment, or in wall hanging hooks for rakes and shovels. Keeping everything in its proper place will clear up space in your garage and keep it looking neat.

3. Have a Garage Sale

Finally, after organizing all the stuff you plan on keeping, it’s time to deal with all the stuff you don’t. Pick a weekend that you aren’t busy and have a garage sale. You know the sane: one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, and it rings true here! Get rid of your stuff while making money at the same time! What could be better than that?

3 Ideas To Jazz Up Your Deck For Spring And Summer

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Those freezing winter evenings are gone — blown away by the first, soft whispers of spring. Celebrate by jazzing up your backyard deck in lieu of the coming summer festivities.

1. Add Built-In Seating

Nothing makes a deck more comfortable or brings simplicity to your backyard get-together like built-in deck seating. Whether your deck is big or small, ground-level or raised, adding wooden benches gives you room to entertain and pamper your guests.

Back your benches with lattice to add an element of southern charm, or use a timeless hardwood like mahogany to craft a bench to withstand the ages. Top your built-ins with a colorful assortment of water-proof throw pillows for added comfort and interest.

2. Bring In Flower Boxes

Use wooden flower boxes to hold colorful annuals such as nasturtium, marigold or leafy ferns to liven up your deck for summer. If you have the carpentry skills, craft built-in boxes from cedar or cypress — these are lightweight woods that are easy to handle and yet hold up well to the elements. As the seasons change, replace the annuals in your wooden flower boxes with spring and fall flower bulbs or small evergreens for winter.

3. Incorporate Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important, yet overlooked elements in backyard decor. Homeowners often never give outdoor lighting a thought until that first warm, moonless night in summer when the guests wander out onto the deck to find it’s too dark to mingle.

Avoid this scenario at your summer parties by providing inventive lighting in the form of decorative orbs, hidden rope lights, outdoor wall sconces or solar lighting. Add just enough light for guests to move around safely and not so much that you lose the feel of being outdoors.

4. Practice Aromatherapy

Sweeten the night air around your deck by planting highly-scented perennials such as honeysuckle or lemon balm. Lemon balm has the added appeal of helping to keep mosquitos at bay — always a plus for evening gatherings. Toss a few hickory or mesquite chips into the grill or fire pit to softly scent the night air as well, and add a few Citronella torches. The scent of this pungent bug deterrent is the true first harbinger of summer.

Nothing melts away those winter blues like the first warm summer evening spent outside on the deck. Make the most of yours by adding comfort, color, light and the companionship of good, dear friends.

3 Tips For Creating Classic Garden Style For Your Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, April 10, 2014

When you want to beautify the outside of your home with a classic garden, understanding the elements required to create this traditional look is important. Whether you have a large backyard you want to transform or you are creating styling a small space, these tips will help you get started on a classic garden design.

Geometry is key to creating a classic garden

A classic garden style is defined in part by the way it is uniform and symmetrical. As you map out the space where your garden will be, think about where you will place plants and where paths will be. Paths should be straight edged and create a well defined walking area through the garden space.

Minimal color creates a soothing environment

The use of wild, bold colors should be saved for a less formal garden design. You can use a variety of garden plants in subdued hues in a classic garden. Texture, height and once again symmetry is important as you decide where you are going to place plants throughout the garden space. Place similar (if not identical) shrubs and plants directly opposite each other in your garden. Think about the height of your plants and trim down bushes that are not even with the counterpart on the opposite side. As you design the area, minimize distraction by using a lot of greens and shrubs. Well placed spots of color can be effective if used sparingly.

Give your garden good bones

The bones of your garden, or the walls, borders, trellises and pots used, should give your garden a symmetrical look even if there are no plants in the garden. A well designed formal garden has interest even in the winter months when there are no plants blooming. With an organized structure and a solid foundation, you can create a beautiful garden design that you can change out simply by changing a few plants.

A traditional garden requires a strong design but if you use hardy plants that don’t grow large, the garden itself will require minimal upkeep beyond basic weeding and watering.

Making The Most Of Limited Closet Space

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Closet space has become an important selling tool for custom homes. Many houses today have elaborate closet systems that make the most of almost every square inch. If you don’t happen to own one of those custom homes, you can still make better use of your closet space.

The Do-It-Yourself Approach

If you are a hands-on type of person, there are some relatively simple things you can do right now.

  • Eliminate Clutter. The first and best place to start is by getting rid of items you no longer use or need. This includes any clothes that you may not have worn in the past 18 months. Odds are if you haven’t worn it in over a year, it can’t be important enough to take up space.

  • Create Shelving for Shoes. Shoes take up an extraordinary amount of floor space. Adding two of three shelves below hanging clothes can make much better use of that space.

  • Install a Second Hanging bar for “Short” Clothes. Shirts on a hangar take less vertical space than a long dress. Create a two-story hanging system to double up on space.

  • Add a higher shelf. Look at the space above your highest shelf in your closet. There may be room for another shelf for rarely used items.

DIY Closet Systems

Just about every big-box home improvement store has a department that features various do-it-yourself closet systems. These generally are component type systems that may be made of vinyl covered wire or press board. You will need good measurements for your closets but making use of these systems can create lots of new space. You can approach this type of project section by section and closet by closet as time and budget allows.

Hire a Professional

Custom closets have become big business. It has spawned companies that specialize in the process. They come to your home, discuss your needs, budget, and they measure your closets. They will then create a plan specifically for you. This may not be an inexpensive option, but it will likely add to the value of your home.

Spring is a terrific time for a closet make-over. Depending on how much time, money and effort you want to put into the project, you could still have a closet a custom home is worthy of!

Can Weathering Affect Radon Levels In Your Home?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, April 3, 2014

Radon is a very real issue for homeowners to keep in mind both when first purchasing a home and maintaining one over the years. There are a few different issues that can affect the overall radon levels in your home and weather and weathering is one. There are two distinct types of weather that can affect the levels of radon in your home and the first has to do directly with the heating and cooling systems in your home.

Cold Weather

The first type of weather that affects radon levels is of course cold weather. The colder it is the more likely you are to turn on the heater and therefore turn on your furnace. Now when a home has radon gas, using your furnace can encourage something called the stacking effect. This means that when the home heats, the hot air is pushed up and out and the cold air in the foundation is drawn up. When the air is drawn up from the foundations, it is far more likely that radon gasses will be pulled up from the foundation space along with the cold air. This means that when it gets cold, your radon levels in your home are far more likely to be higher and should be monitored closely.

Wind/ Rain/ AM and PM

The next few issues are things that you cannot your self control making them even more important to pay attention to. Wind can also cause the stack effect causing radon levels to rise. Wind can increase the outward pressure on the house making radon gasses rise and become dangerous. Another issue to contend with is rain. This can also cause the stack effect and can cause radon gasses to rise up from the saturated soil causing them to be drawn into the home. The last thing to consider is of course time of day. During the day, radon levels are likely to be lower than late at night. With any of these issues, if you feel that your home has radon gasses that can be potentially dangerous, it is important to watch closely and monitor levels to keep you and your family safe. Take the time to have your home routinely checked for radon levels.

Is Insulated Vinyl Siding Worth The Additional Cost?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 27, 2014

When it comes to siding your home there are a few different things to keep in mind, the first is of course insulation. Insulated siding is a fairly new concept and can be helpful in a few different ways while also being a hindrance. It is important to keep a few different issues in mind when choosing your siding, insulated or not. These issues can help you decide if insulated siding is worth the extra money.

Insulated Vs. Non-Insulated

The first issue to contend with is of course the amount of insulation in your own home. It is likely, that if you have a newer home, there is plenty of insulation in your home making insulated siding non-essential. Though it is not essential, it can help keep your home in great shape. The overall idea of insulated siding is to add an extra level of insulation to your home to help cut down heating and cooling costs and to help keep heat and cooling from escaping your home. Non-insulated siding is often cheaper than insulated siding but if you need to add extra insulation after the siding is put up, it may be beneficial to go for the insulated siding to begin with.

Is it Worth it?

After of course considering how well your home is insulated, you may also want to think about how much money you have to spare and how likely it is that your home needs the extra insulation. For those that have a bit of money to throw around, insulated siding is not a horrible investment. Even if your home is well insulated, the extra insulation can help to decrease heating and cooling bills in the long run and can prevent insulation failure. For those that do not have the extra money lying around, non-insulated siding still offers a bit of insulation and protection against the elements, and you can always have extra insulation added after installation.

If you have questions about the insulation in your home or siding in general, it is always best to talk to a professional. Some companies offer breaks for those that buy insulated options and for those that work to make their homes more energy efficient. It is always helpful to talk to the person installing your insulation to see if there are any price cuts for certain types of insulation making insulated options more affordable.

Fixing Those Driveway and Sidewalk Cracks After A Brutal Winter

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The winter of 2014 has been particularly harsh for a considerable part of the country. Between ‘polar vortexes‘ that have brought with them freezing temperatures, snow storms, and freezing rain, people and their homes have taken a significant beating.    One of the easiest places to see the wear and tear that the weather has had is on the custom home driveways and sidewalks, where the continual process of freezing and thawing can cause cracks and gaps. These cracks are not only unsightly, they can also continue to degrade if not corrected. Fortunately, these types of home repairs are not excessively difficult or labor intensive and can be handled by most homeowners.

Tools to gather

For hairline cracks that are less than a 1/4″ wide, all that is needed is a caulking gun, some kind of crack filler (such as Portland cement or Latex cement), a trowel putty knife, a hose, and a stiff broom.

For larger cracks, in addition to the tools listed above, a cold chisel, hammer, concrete adhesive, an old paintbrush, and metal trowel are also necessary.

When working on either project, eye protection, work gloves, and knee protection would also be recommended.

Repairing the crack

No matter what size the crack is, the first step is to use the hose and stiff broom to sweep away any dust or debris from the crack. Use the hose to also make sure that the old concrete is moist before applying the filler. There should not be any sitting water, just moist concrete. With a small crack, then simply take the crack filler, which typically comes in a tube similar to caulk and calls for a caulking gun, and inject it into the crack until it is slightly overflowing, then smooth out the surface.

For a larger crack it will be necessary to first widen the base of the crack, as this helps the new concrete to adhere to the old concrete. This will be done with the chisel and hammer. Once it is widened, make sure the crack is completely cleaned and moist. Use an old toothbrush to apply the concrete adhesive inside the crack. Once the adhesive has become tacky, apply the filler and make sure it is firmly packed into the crack, then smooth the top.

Repairing cracks around the custom home can be a chore come spring, but it does not have to be too arduous. Following these simple steps should have the house looking as good as new in no time.

3 Tips For Getting Your Garden Ready For Spring Planting

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring is just around the corner, which means there is now work to be done for all the gardeners out there. While the vast majority of the work will be done when the weather warms and the rains return with regularity, some useful prep can be done in your garden in the final throes of winter to make your plants grow better as the weather warms. Below are 3 of the most important things to do in your garden in lieu of Spring planting so that you can create a custom garden to match your custom home.

Give the Yard A Good Once Over

Before doing anything specific to your yard and garden, just take a look at it and see what damage has occurred over the very cold winter months. Winters vary from year to year and the damage will obviously fluctuate as well. Find the broken branches or dead plants that are in the garden and get rid of them if you can. Remove any rocks that may fallen into it, or other debris from storms over the winter. This will make the actual gardening and planting easier in the near future.

Edge and Clean the Garden Beds

After the big pieces of debris have been removed in your cursory once-over of the yard and the garden itself, edge around the garden beds using an edger. All that is edged off should ideally be put in the bed itself to be easily raked up later. Then cut down any foliage that has crept into the garden beds and rake the beds out entirely with a solid steel rake. This will not only remove the smaller bits of debris from the cleaning and edging process but also any old mulch from the year before. This is easiest to do in large open beds that don’t have any trees or perennial plants. However, if those do exist in a garden bed, the old mulch at their base must be carefully removed, as it will cause the wood and roots to rot over time.

Test the Garden Bed Soil

With a home pH test kit, which is available at most home and garden stores of all sizes, test the quality of the soil itself. This will let you know if any changes need to be made to the soil so that plants will be able to grow when Spring arrives, or if you are good to begin planting when everything warms up.

3 Tips For Creating The Perfect Panic Room In Your Custom Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, March 13, 2014

Building your custom home and contemplating creating a panic room? Here are three tips for creating the perfect one for you:

1) First, make sure you have proper construction, from the right latches to the correct hinges to the perfect framing, your panic room must be safe, in order to keep you and your family safe.

While there is no actual ‘code’ for creating a panic room, FEMA has developed some guidelines. For example, they advise that builders use a three locking-pin or deadbolt latch, mounted with wood deck screws. Another option that they list is the slide bolt latch. Any of these is quite safe and secure.

Additionally, FEMA says the hinges should be heavy duty, suggesting that builders use 4-inch 5-knuckle hinges. These should be secured with full head screws and offset from the deadbolts.

Finally, FEMA advise that you use 2X4 framing and sheath your walls with 3/4 inch plywood, in two layers, over 14-gauge steel sheathing.

Following these tips will keep your panic room strong and secure.

2) The second tip is to go high tech. Today manufacturers are creating infrared technology for panic rooms that allow owners to read heat signatures from anything and everything within radius, no matter the time of day or night.

In fact, these new devices can pick someone out from their hiding place, from as far away as nine miles! Many of today’s panic rooms use a fingerprint scan to allow family members in, but the technology has actually moved far past that. Today, you can install scanners that use facial and voice recognition. In the event that something does happen, this could save your family valuable time.

Installing these high tech options could really keep your family safe in the long run.

3) And finally, really think about what you will need and want inside your panic room, in the event that you ever need use it. Lighting? There will be no windows, so ensure that you have adequate light and are not sitting in the dark. Make sure this emergency light source is on a separate circuit, too.

Air, water and food are key, too. Prepare the panic room as if it were a shelter, storing non-perishables, bottles of water and an air filtration system.

Following these tips when you create your panic room in your custom home will go a long way towards keeping your family safe in the event of a crisis.

3 Quick Tips For Maximizing Space In Small Rooms

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Small spaces can seem complicated when it comes to decorating, even if the building is a custom home. Depending on the room, the type of furniture and the details may vary, but the solutions that help open up the space are similar. A few simple tricks can make a small space look open and comfortable.

Work With Illusions

A simple way to improve the appearance of the space is through measures that trick the eyes and make the space look bigger. Use see-through or transparent furniture to make the space look more open and incorporate floor to ceiling curtains on the windows to close in the space and give the illusion of height and size.

Mirrors are another way to make a small space look larger, but use smaller mirrors to avoid overwhelming the space. A large mirror may be too much in certain spaces.

Select Smaller Furniture

Measure the space carefully and then select furniture that is appropriate for the space. Large furniture will make the space look smaller than it is, so it is important to select furniture that is suitable for the room.

Pick out furniture that will fit comfortably and avoid feeling crowded. For example, select a compact loveseat instead of a large sofa for a small living space or make use of chairs and a small table instead of a couch. The space can still encourage conversation without feeling overwhelming.

Keep Some Open Space

It is better to have fewer pieces of furniture and an open space on the floor than to crowd the space with a large amount of furniture. Take a minimalist approach to decorating a small space to keep it open and comfortable.

A simple way to keep a little extra open space is putting furniture near the walls and keeping one side free of furniture. That will create the appearance of open space without making the design complicated.

A custom home can have small spaces that must be decorated carefully to avoid drawing attention to the fact that the space is limited. Depending on the room, the best way to decorate and enjoy the space will vary, but the basic steps to make the space look comfortable are similar for every room.

3 Tips For Maximizing Space In Small Rooms

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Small rooms do not need to restrict your ability to use and enjoy the areas. With the right techniques, you can make small spaces fully functional while still have an open feeling. The trend towards mini or micro homes is providing many new solutions for comfortable living in smaller spaces.

Multi-purpose Furniture

To get the most out of your room, choose furniture pieces that do more than just one job. Futons are a great example of comfortable seating that can double as a bed for an overnight guest. Recliners can provide relaxing seating while in use and take up less space than adding footstools for comfort. If you want a footstool, choose an ottoman that offers storage.

Use end tables that offer more than just top storage. Choose tables that provide at least one bottom shelf or get the most space with a dresser style. You may want to avoid a coffee table in a small living room for maximum floor space. However, if you really want one, choose a style that provides storage with shelving underneath. You can also select a trunk style for storing items you do not use frequently.

Corners are often ignored and in small rooms, you need to use every inch of space. Corner desks, hutches, built-in alcoves or sofa groups are the perfect solution to make use of this frequently wasted area.

Go up

Small rooms do not always allow the space you need for everything you want in your room. Think about the vertical area you have and make the most of it. Instead of a table with a lamp, use wall or ceiling mounted light fixtures. Try elegant track lighting styles to focus light exactly where it is needed.

For a truly custom home look, have a bookshelf built-in to a wall.  You can use the entire wall or just a section of it. The shelving does not need to be deep, taking up precious floor space; it just needs to be functional. You can take this a step further by building bookshelves above a sofa or entertainment center.

Use high-mounted shelving for plants and art objects. Higher shelves are a perfect choice for keeping art out of the way to avoid accidental bumping. Plants can also be hung from ceiling hooks, freeing up table and floor space.

Tips for Small Bedrooms

You may not want to give up the comfort of a traditional bed, but you can still get the sleep benefits of a quality mattress without using all of your floor area. Murphy beds have come a long way over the years and offer additional features. Some styles even include foldout desks that can be used when the bed is in the upright position.

Consider a Captain-style bed frame. Captain beds give you drawer storage under the bed that is easy to access. While using under bed storage will always save you some space, the built-in features keep your items cleaner.

Another custom home touch is using a closet organizing system. The more organized the closet, the more you can store. This may help you eliminate an extra dresser, giving more floor area to your bedroom. To truly keep any small room functional, do eliminate excess clutter. Make use of all your available storage. With fewer items, the area will look roomier.

Source:  http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/inspiring-small-spaces/pictures/index.html

Cold Bathroom? Try Under-Tile Heated Floor Mats

by Kuhrich on Thursday, February 13, 2014

Every step in a custom home construction comes with decisions about providing comfort, even when it comes to bathroom flooring. Ceramic tiles can be beautiful but how about those during-the-night bathroom visit and those winter early morning showers? Extra thick bath mats and fuzzy furry slippers can only do so much. A cold bathroom floor is a sad fact of life especially in areas where cold mornings can hang in there for six months.

So, do you give up on the esthetics of a beautifully tiled bathroom in favor of toasty warm feet? It doesn’t have to be a matter of either/or. You can install under tile heated floor mats.

It’s commonly believed that electric heating is expensive and this is often the case, but not when you heat with extremely energy efficient under-tile mats. They heat radiantly rather then blowing most of the warmth through the exhaust ducts like forced air heating systems do. Nor do they squander expensive energy by heating the ceiling. Under-tile heated flooring mats gently bathe your feet in radiant heat, and because the thermostat can be set lower you’ll also be saving money while your feet enjoy the luxury.

How Do Under-Tile floor Mats Work?

The mats come in mesh rolls of varying widths which make them well suited to heating rectangular-shaped areas common to bathrooms. They consist of pre-installed heating cable inserted in a serpentine pattern through the mesh. The serpentine pattern of the heating cable insures that each bathroom tile that comes in contact with your foot will be warm with no need to worry about stepping on a rogue spot of cold.

What About Installation?

Installation is easy. Adhesive backing allows the mat to be laid flat and remain flat, lining the backer boards beneath the tiles. As for the cables, they are usually only 1/8th inch thick so they will not raise the tiles. An armored cold wire lead connects to a 120v thermostat. Using a programmable thermostat can boost energy savings even more.

Spread the Warmth

Radiant heating need not be confined to the bathroom. Heating mats can also be installed under hardwood, stone, and composite wood floors.

Winter Is A Great Time For Home Improvements

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 11, 2014

There’s something about the cold weather that zaps your energy and makes you want to sit around the house like a hairball. Instead of slouching on the couch wishing Old Man Winter would croak, use the time to make some improvements around the house. Simple home improvements such as freshening up your wall color, organizing your closet, installing a wall backsplash and updating your doors are perfect to tackle when you’re stuck inside.

Break out the paintbrush. Painting the walls and the ceilings can freshen up the look of your entire home. If your walls are eggshell white or beige, don’t be afraid to kick things up a notch (or two). Add some bold colors to your favorite rooms. If you really want to go wild, you can experiment with a little texture. Even though it’s chilly outside, remember to crack your windows so you don’t get high off of paint fumes.

Give your closet a facelift. Add shelves to your closet to customize it to meet your storage needs. Sort through your clothes and decide which ones you’re going to keep. You can box the rest of them up and give them to charity. Don’t forget to add a shoe rack over the door so you’ll have a place to store your footwear.

Make a splash in the kitchen. The right backsplash can give your kitchen some attitude and bring out the beauty in your countertops and cabinets. If your kitchen is already spicy, a neutral backsplash can pull the look together without overwhelming your décor. If the kitchen in hum-drum, a textured or vibrantly colored splash is all it takes to jazz things up.

Refurbish, refurbish, refurbish. Give new life to those outdated interior doors. Updating them is as simple as slapping on a coat of paint, adding new hardware and adding crown molding. The color of paint and type of hardware you use will depend on the style of your home and your personal tastes.

Instead of spending your winter sprawled on the couch, make the most of those blustery days by doing some home improvement projects around the house. Painting, refurbishing, making a backsplash and redoing the closets are just some of the projects you can tackle this season

Kitchen Trends For 2014

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Whether updating your current kitchen or choosing the elements for a new custom home, incorporating 2014 kitchen trends into the design can give the most used room in the house new life.

Open concept

Not the newest trend, but definitely a continuing trend in kitchen design for 2014, an open concept kitchen provides a better flow of movement between the cooking area and the general living area of the house. It’s an ideal design concept for busy families or any home cook who enjoys dabbling in the kitchen while still being part of the activity taking place in the other living areas

Drawer appliances

Forget having to stretch and reach up into a microwave installed above the stove. A drawer microwave is a hot item in 2014 kitchen design. With a drawer microwave you don’t have to remove the dish to check its heat, to stir or to turn the food. Refrigerator drawers are another popular drawer appliance being installed in many custom homes this year. Like the microwave drawer, the refrigerator drawers can be incorporated into the kitchen’s cabinet system or center island.

Open shelving

Forgo installing glass or frosted cabinet doors and opt for open shelving when designing your 2014 kitchen. Open shelving adds to the overall design concept of the room, allowing the display of dishes, glassware and even bottles of gourmet oils.

Quartz countertops

Homeowners and realtors alike have long favored granite countertops in both kitchen and bathroom design. 2014 will see quartz as the material of choice for kitchen. It looks and feels like granite with the plus of being more durable. Better durability means a higher resistance to cracks and chips, making the quartz countertop a preferred choice for homes with a high-traffic kitchen.

Slab backsplashes

Large-scale backsplashes crafted in limestone or marble fit perfectly into kitchens with open areas around the range hood or sink area. In a custom home kitchen designed with minimal upper cabinetry, a slab backsplash can become a stunning focal point.

Black hardware

Stainless steel has been a stylish look in kitchens for several years. In 2014, look for hardware in graphite black. Pair graphite hardware with a cool, white marble backsplash for a sleek, modern look.

Dress Up Your Bathroom With Fresh Fixtures

by Kuhrich on Thursday, January 23, 2014

Between rushing to get ready for work, soaking in a hot bath and taking a long, steamy shower, you spend a great deal of time in your bathroom. There’s no reason to spend all that time in a bland, dull room. Whether you are sprucing up an outdated bathroom or designing your custom home, adding in the latest trends in bathroom fixtures can create a luxurious retreat, reminiscent of a beautifully appointed spa.

Hands Free Faucets

You’ve used the low-end version of these in public spaces for years, but now, convenient hands-free faucets are popping up in high-end home bathrooms. Not only do these motion-activated fixtures save water, they also cut down on counter clutter. Because there is no need for additional knobs, hand-free faucets cut a clean, modern profile.

Rain Showers

Rain showers turn your morning scrub into a relaxing, soothing experience. Rather than being mounted on the shower wall like traditional shower heads, rain showers are mounted to the ceiling to create the sensation of steeping out into a summer shower or ducking under a waterfall. There’s no need to dance around, trying to rinse under a small stream; oversized rain showers are generally larger than eight inches in diameter and will cover you, shoulder to shoulder, in gracefully falling water.

Body Sprayers

Why should the top of your head get all the attention in the shower? Body sprayers turn a basic shower into a full-body experience. These fixtures are integrated into the shower wall and spray water straight out. The result is a full body water massage that is sure to wake you up even on the groggiest of mornings. Combine these with a rain shower or a hand-held sprayer for the ultimate luxury shower.

Vessel Sinks

Vessel sinks are modern art for your countertop. These decorative bowl sinks rest on top of the counter and are available in a variety of elegant and modern finishes. Whether you choose a beautiful metal, stone, ceramic or glass version, vessel sinks are easy to remove and replace as your taste and style changes.

Undermount Sinks

The exact opposite of vessel sinks; undermount sinks are installed under the counter top and add a sleek, modern look to any bathroom. Undermount sinks work best with solid surface counters, such as granite or stone. These striking sinks are also easy to clean, so they will look beautiful for years to come.

Get A Head Start On Your “Spring” Cleaning During The Cold Winter Months

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It’s snowing outside and you’re getting a mild case of cabin fever. You need something to do on long winter weekends stuck at home. Since you’re indoors anyway, now is a good time to get a head start on your spring cleaning. Where to begin?

Spring cleaning is about transforming your living space and reducing clutter. To do that, you need to start in your storage spaces.

  1. Cleaning closets, garages, dressers and basements. You have a lot of unwanted junk from years past. Old clothes, appliances, sporting goods and furniture. Do you really need all of it? Sort through your old, unused items. Organizations in your area like Salvation Army and Goodwill may even pick up your load of unwanted goods; contact consignment shops and used goods stores in your area for more information.
  2. De-cluttering. Take a good look around your living room, your bedroom. Notice the stacks of opened bills on the coffee table? The permanent pile of blankets or clothes in the corner by the bed? These items need to be put away, for good. Hopefully you’ve freed up storage space in your closets and dressers, but a trip to the home improvement store may be in order as well. As you consider new ways to store your stuff, focus on aesthetically pleasing options like wicker baskets and real wooden shelves.
  3. Deep cleaning. Now is the time to tackle those cleaning projects you only do every so often, like cleaning the carpets, sweeping under the furniture, cleaning out the fridge, washing the curtains and cleaning the blinds. Take the time to wash your windows as well.
  4. Updating your look. Your bed cover–how old is it? And the towels? New linens and rugs are a great and semi-inexpensive way to give a room a face lift. And, if your budget and time allow for it, consider painting one or more of your rooms a new color.
  5. Rearrange your furniture. This isn’t a cleaning task per se, but this is the finishing touch on your spring cleaning project. With your clutter gone, your old linens replaced, and your furniture in a new and refreshing location, you’ll practically be living in an entirely new house.

Best Alternatives To Rock Salt For Melting Snow In The Winter

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rock salt works well to allow ice and snow to melt at higher temperatures in a pinch, but it stains your shoes, rusts your vehicles, kills plants and may damage cement over time. If you track salt inside, you can damage floors, too. This affordable product isn’t always as good of a deal as it seems. However, here are some options to consider to keep the driveway and walkways of your custom home clear of ice during the cold, winter months.

1. Radiant Heat

If you’re designing a brand-new custom home, consider heating your sidewalks, driveway or garage. Typically, you can install warming mats under asphalt and concrete similar to heating flooring inside custom homes. Some radiant heating uses warm water through tubes, instead. Heat melts snow and prevents it from freezing into slippery ice. The system typically kicks on when it detects precipitation, so new snow doesn’t have a chance to stick around. Some campuses have heated sidewalks for the convenience factor.

2. Magic Minus Zero

This name-brand product is a chemical with a lower corrosive rating than water, so it’s less harmful to your vehicles and home. The liquid can be sprayed directly on your sidewalks or pavement to de-ice before a coming storm or after a recent snowfall. This product is bio-degradable, so it’s more environmentally-friendly than rock salt.

3. Magnesium Chloride

While this chemical composition is still a type of salt, it offers some benefits. You may find that your dog’s paws crack during dry and cold weather, and regular rock salt can irritate his paws.Magnesium chloride is gentler on a pet’s feet in the winter time. Magnesium chloride dissolves quickly, too, so it won’t clump in your dog’s paw fur. This product also works a little better in colder climates than traditional rock salt.

4. Grainy Materials

While cat litter and sawdust do not actually melt snow or ice, they can add traction to areas where you may not want to apply harmful de-icers. Sand and gravel offer similar solutions, which is why many snowplows spread a mixture of road salt and sand as they plow. These options are all relatively affordable because they’re natural resources without chemical processing.

Canopy Beds: A Luxurious Addition To Your Personal Space

by CustomHomes on Thursday, January 9, 2014

Canopy beds bring to mind days of old, when kinds and queen had elaborate chambers. Layers of fabric, whether thin or thick, created an impressive ambiance when falling from the ceiling. In modern times, canopies are less common. However, a bedroom with a well-designed canopy is the ultimate sign of decadence. If you bedroom is your sanctuary, why not add your own canopy?

Form and function

Of course, a canopy serves some functional purposes, too. Layers of fabric can block out sunlight so you can sleep in on weekend mornings, and the drapes on your bed may also muffle sound, allowing you to sleep better. Ties along your bed posts allow you to hold the canopy back, allowing your bed to remain accessible.

You’re not limited to a single style of canopy, either. Of course, your custom home might include a four-poster bed or one that has a frame for a canopy that makes it easy to install one. Simply drape a thin fabric from head to foot or cover the four sides of your best for total privacy. A cover that drapes ruffles over the side of your frame but not down means that your canopy won’t get in your way. Some choose to wrap fabric around their bed frames for an unique look, and you can simply spread four lengths of light, airy fabric from the center of your bedroom frame with a single piece of fabric draping over each post.

Do it yourself

You can also drape fabric over wires strung from the ceiling if that’s not an option. If you’re the DIY (Do it yourself)  sort of person, consider making a canopy mount that you install above your headboard. Using a thin layer of fabric, you can tuck your “canopy” behind and around your headboard while leaving most of your bed free. Some companies create small “canopies” on round frames that are similar to this idea and work well for tiny spaces and the kids’ rooms.

The right fabric matters

Fabric doesn’t have to be sheer mesh or lace, either. Consider multiple layers. A thick brocade and a light lace can complement one another stunningly, while opaque fabrics work well for your canopy, too. Whatever you choose, a canopy is the perfect finishing touch for your bedroom.

3 Top Features To Consider For Your Dream Bathroom

by CustomHomes on Thursday, January 2, 2014

Whether you’re building a brand-new home or finally getting around to renovating that old bathroom, now’s the time to add value and personal style to your house. Of course, so many options exist that it might be difficult to figure out where to start. Here are some ideas you’re sure to love in your new bathroom!

His and Her Sinks

Don’t just imagine the 1970s style, either. With divided vanities, you’ll both get your space, so there’s no arguing about who gets the bathroom in the morning. Plus, modern designs look incredibly stylish. That’s why so many custom homes use contemporary vanities and lighting fixtures. It just doesn’t get more attractive than that. If you’re using a single counter, make sure to have at least 6 feet of length to install dual sinks. Otherwise, you’ll just feel cramped.

Heated Flooring

Winter comes every year without fail, which means your tile floors can feel frigid to your feet in the early morning hours. Sometimes, a rug just doesn’t cut it. Heated flooring takes a bit more work than simply replacing outdated tiles, but you might find it well worth the time and cost Heat mats that go between your floor and subfloor can make the job easier, too. Every time you step onto the floor, your tootsies will be comfortable and warm, so you don’t have to hop your way from the sink to the shower and back again. Consider programmable thermostats so that your floor is toasty warm for you when you wake up in the morning.

A Walk-In Shower

Here’s something that will work especially well in your master suite if you don’t have a lot of floor space for a tub. Glass on one side and floor-to-ceiling stone or tile on the others are common. However, builders are getting creative with custom home designs. For instance, your shower might be in a corner with one glass door and another wall half glass and half stone. This gives your bathroom a completely modern feel. If you’re worried about standing space, many showers have installed seating ledges that look much nicer than bringing in a plastic chair. They’re helpful for shaving legs, too, which any woman understands!

3 Great Ideas To Eliminate Wasted Space In Your Home

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Whether you have a large or small home, you can have wasted space. You may have been visiting someone and noticed that they have a lot of space to spare. You may look around and say, “this would like nice here” or “that would look nice there.” When you have areas or “blank” spaces within your home, there are a few great ideas that you can use and personalize that will help you eliminate wasted space within your home.

1. Be Creative

When you are ready to take control of the wasted or “empty” space that is in your home, one of the best things that you can do is be creative. Your creativity is the best way to create unique and personalized items to put in the vacant spaces. You can let your creativity run wild and create endless ideas that you can mix and match in each room in your home.

2. Getting Down and Dirty

9 times out of 10, there are a lot of things in your home that you can get rid of, but you haven’t gotten around to doing it. You will need to take things one room at a time. If you try to do everything at once, you can overwhelm yourself, and delay your progress. In every room, create three different piles of the items that you have. One of the piles should only be items that are necessities for every day, another pile should be items that you can put in storage, and the last pile should be items that you can give away or sell. It would not hurt to clean up along the way.

3. Accept Advice

Have a few of your close friends and relatives come over and see what type of advice they can offer. Give them a tour of your home and see what type of ideas that everyone is able to come up with. Make sure that you tell your friends and relatives a few ideas that you have been considering. It may help with more awesome ideas.

These three great ideas can turn the empty space in your home into a unique place of artwork pictures or other things that you have in mind. Some people use bookshelves and picture frames to enhance the appearance of the space.

Interior Stone Veneer – Great to Use for Your Fireplace or Accent Wall

by CustomHomes on Thursday, December 26, 2013

Natural stone has been used in home décor for decades with beautiful results. Stone veneer – the latest in home décor trends – captures the quality and beauty of natural stone at a less expensive price. Composed of natural stone elements combined with Portland cement and other components, stone veneer offers you the look, shape, texture and color of its natural counterpart at a fraction of the cost.

Benefits of Using Stone Veneers

Stone veneers can reproduce almost any stone wall type using hundreds of exquisite designs. Its lightweight construction and design simplifies transportation to your home and installation. If you have construction experience, you could install your stone wall on your own, saving you money on hiring a professional from the outside.

Stone veneers are compatible with almost all contemporary wall materials to include wood, metal, cement, brick and others. As such, they can be used to redesign any wall in your home for greater personal appeal. Through the use of stone veneers, you can create a custom home environment that will be the envy of family and friends.

Decorating with Stone Veneers

Stone veneer makes a perfect choice to redecorate an interior fireplace or accompanying accent wall. As the veneers are heat resistant, they are quite suitable for indoor or outdoor fireplaces. Veneer surfaces are easy to maintain and clean, requiring no special cleansers or polishes to keep their attractive appearance. Constructed of hard, durable material, your veneers can withstand shocks, pressure and heat without chipping, cracking or color fading. They are built for beauty and endurance and will enhance the interior of your home for years to come.

You can choose stone veneers in an array of designs, shapes, sizes and colors to give you just the look you desire. To complement your current decor, choose a veneer color that blends in with your surroundings. Highlight a fireplace or wall by choosing a contrasting color and design, making this area the center of attention. Through your choice of decorative veneer, you create the setting and mood you want for your home environment. Stone veneers are a trademark of custom homes, giving your decor a unique and personalized touch.

3 Nice Upgrades For Your Bathroom(s) That Won’t Break The Bank

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Whether the bathroom in your home is large or small, with a few simple tips, it can look like a bathroom from a custom home, without costing you a fortune for remodeling. In most situations, you can give the bathroom a completely new, fresh look in a weekend or less and for an average sized bathroom, the changes can cost as little as a couple hundred dollars or less. Here are three great ways to inexpensively upgrade the bathroom.

Lighting

The lighting in the bathroom is often ignored, until it is time to change the light bulbs, but the bathroom lighting can have a significant impact on the overall look of the room. Lighting is an inexpensive way to add a creative touch to the bathroom. There are several options available to choose from, including wall sconces, strip lighting and mirrors with built-in lights. Choose something that will provide sufficient lighting as well as add a touch of character to the bathroom.

Paint

Painting the bathroom is one the least expensive, yet dramatic forms of transforming your bathroom from drab to bright and cheery. Colors such as blues and greens are great options for a bathroom, because they create a soothing affect. Paint is also one of the quickest ways to refresh the bathroom as a weekend do-it-yourself project. To add visual enhancement to the bathroom and make it appear larger, consider painting the top half of the walls and the bottom half of the walls, each a different color.

Flooring

The flooring of the bathroom has a large impact on the overall look of the room, especially if tiles are cracked and worn, it can significantly devalue the entire room. There are hundreds of flooring options available, in all price ranges that can fit any budget. Selecting floor tiles that are made from laminate or vinyl are very inexpensive. Installing new flooring in a standard size bathroom typically only requires a couple of boxes and the new floor can make the entire bathroom feel larger, brighter and comfortable.

When you want to redo or upgrade the bathroom, but you are on a budget, it is important to take your time when making selections. Remember you are on a budget, but when you avoid rushing into purchases, it is easier to make trades, for example, you can spend more money on a higher quality floor and spend less money by only buying paint and/or accessories that are on sale.

Pros and Cons of Hardwood Floors In Your Home

by Kuhrich on Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hardwood floors are definitely very beautiful and come with a lot of advantages, but they do have their drawbacks as well. It is very important to consider both the advantages and drawbacks of hardwood floors before you install them. Here are some of the pros and cons of installing hardwood floors in your custom home.

The Pros

Appearance

Hardwood floors definitely look beautiful and tend to go with just about any room in your home. Their warm colors and simplicity help your home look much more inviting.

Durablity

Another great aspect of hardwood floors is that they are very durable. When you get hardwood floors installed, you do not have to worry about them wearing down in a few years. In fact, if you take proper care of your hardwood floors, they might even last you a lifetime.

Easy to Maintain

Hardwood floors are not a pain to maintain. If you do not enjoy spending a lot of time cleaning your floors, you will love hardwood floors. Just sweep or vacuum them once a week to keep them clean. If you do happen to spill something on your hardwood floors, you do not have to panic. Spills can be cleaned up very easily and they will not leave any stains.

The Cons

Expensive

One of the downsides of hardwood floors is that they are more expensive than other types of flooring.

Cold

If your home does not have very good insulation, your hardwood floors will definitely feel cold on your feet in the winter months. You will definitely want to wear a pair of slippers if this is the case.

Loud

Hardwood floors are also very loud. When you walk on hardwood floors, everyone will be able to hear you. It is very difficult to keep a quiet home when you have hardwood floors.

As you can see, there are definitely both pros and cons to hardwood floors. If you think that you can deal with the drawbacks of hardwood floors, then you should certainly consider having them installed in your house.

Pros and Cons of Granite Countertops

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, December 3, 2013

You can search far and wide for interior decorating options without finding any that provide a more pleasing aesthetic along with better strength than granite . This rich, multifaceted stone can be utilized in both kitchens and bathrooms to great effect, but like many things in life, the benefits of granite do not come without drawbacks as well. What should you consider when choosing between granite and other countertop surfaces?

Fifty Shades Of Granite: Pros

Quarries name from all over the planet produce the commercial grade granite used in home decor. This stone, produced deep in the Earth’s crust, develops its own unique shape and coloration under differing conditions of pressure and heat. As such, you can choose a pink granite hue to match a bright room, a dark blue granite to meld with a serious coloration, or a neutral tone whenever you need a countertop that does its job first and gets attention afterwards. With the various colors available, you can easily match the countertops to the color of the cabinets, flooring or carpeting, or window coverings. Since this stone has survived Earth’s intense pressure, furthermore, it can take an assault from family members and pets without blinking and suffers very little from wear and tear once properly sealed.

Cost Certainty: Cons

For most consumers, the largest drawback to a granite countertop comes in the final price. With a cost in square feet of anywhere between $50 and $100, you may have to pay out several times more for granite than you would for linoleum. Since it is stone, furthermore, it weighs much more than its composite counterparts, and a weak structure beneath it should not be counted upon to bear its weight. Finally, improper sealing or poor balance can leave a granite countertop susceptible to cracking or staining: spilling a glass of wine on an unsealed slab of granite may leave a stain that cannot be removed. This sealing must be applied annually.

The Bottom Line

How much do you value the unrivaled aesthetic of granite? If you lean towards a certain look instead of a certain budget mark, granite certainly is the surface for you. When you want to save money, however, you may want another material.

Pros and Cons of Quartz Countertops

by Kuhrich on Thursday, November 28, 2013

If you are considering Quartz Countertops in your custom home there are a few things you should know about your options. The pros heavily outweigh the cons, when it comes to quartz countertops. Yet one or two of the cons may be a deciding factor when it comes choosing your counter top material.

Pros of Quartz Countertops

  • Durability. Quartz is a highly durable material that will not need to be replaced for a very long time.
  • Variety of choices. Color and design choices in quartz are extensive, this material should fit into any decor.
  • Food safety. Quartz has a natural mold resistance and is food safe.
  • Hassle free after installation.
  • Equity. These durable countertops increase your home value and honey to the pot for potential buyers who look at the kitchen.
  • Integrity Sinks. Integrity sinks are sinks made with the same slab of quartz as the rest of the countertop, they are leak proof and offer the same advantages as a the rest of the countertop.
  • All natural. Quartz is a naturally occurring mineral, in fact it is the second most abundant mineral. So you are not cutting your food on a mixture of man made materials that may prove to be bad for you in a decade.

Cons of Quartz Countertops

  • Installation is not simple. Quartz being very sturdy and durable, is also very heavy and hard to and move without the right tools and experience.
  • Price. Quartz can be more expensive than other countertop material. Yes, it increases your home value, but at at an initial investment.

The pros clearly outweigh the cons. The cost of quartz countertops can range from $50-$90 dollars per square foot including installation. This is a wide range, so perhaps you can find a good deal in your area. When it comes to quality and color choices quartz is the best, if you can afford the cost. When building a custom home, or updating your home to make more personalized you want to be choosy about every material you use. You want all of your custom updates to A. reflect your taste B. add to the overall value and comfort of your home, and C. not break the bank. Quartz is a material that is worth investing in if you have the option.

Should You Use Thermal Curtains?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Should you use thermal curtains in your custom home? Using these curtains can help lower your energy bills by providing insulation on the most common place where you can lose energy: your windows.

R-Values

No matter how good your windows are, you’re likely to experience the most heat loss there even through they have a significant R-value for windows. The R-value is the resistance the window has to losing heat; the higher the R-value, the less heat is lost. You can reduce the amount of heat loss, thereby increasing the R-value by adding more insulation. With windows, that means thermal curtains, insulated shades and blinds, or window quilts.

Thermal Curtains

So do thermal curtains work? To a certain extent, yes. Thermal curtains are easily available on the web and are a simple choice for those who have custom homes. However, some thermal curtains aren’t the most efficient at reducing the amount of heat loss as other window treatments. Window quilts, insulated shades, and blinds may be more efficient at reducing your energy costs and preventing heat loss. The important thing to keep in mind is to follow the directions for how to install thermal curtains. The actual R-value is hard to predict because of the distance between the curtain and the window often varies. Adding insulated blinds or other insulated window coverings will help increase the R-values and lower your energy bills.

Other Options

Other options for the custom home owner includes both interior and exterior blinds, insulated panels, and interior and exterior shutters. These options can reduce the amount of heat loss and can increase your R-value, but may affect your ability to see out at appropriate times and may be inconvenient or undesirable to home owners who have built their homes in places where the view is the primary reason they moved there.

Let the Sun Shine In

One easy option is to open the curtains or shades while it is sunny. With the sunshine comes heat and thus you have passive solar gains and free heat — courtesy of our sun! When it is night, or a cloudy day, you simply close the curtains or whatever window covering you have to keep the heat in.

http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/energy-efficient-window-treatments http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/save-energy-with-winter-window-treatments.aspx#axzz2jEtr2QeQ

3 Ways To Integrate Rain Barrels Into Your Custom Home Design

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, November 26, 2013

With so much consideration being given to the environmental conservation, rain barrels are growing in popularity around the world. Rain barrels are being used by homeowners to catch the rainwater that rolls off of their roofs, and in other creative ways. If you are considering integrating rain barrels into your new custom home, you may be wondering how this can be done creatively and attractively. The truth is that there are a lot of extremely attractive ways to integrate this environmentally conscious element into your custom home design.

This article will briefly present 3 ways to integrate rain barrels into your custom home without creating an eyesore.

Landscaping

One of the more subtle ways of implementing rain barrel usage into the schematics of your home design is to make the barrels apart of your landscaping design. The different ways that this can be are endless. You can create a rock bed and place the barrel in the rock bed, surrounded by shrubbery and ivy vines. There are numerous ways to channel the runoff. You can be as creative as you like.

Ceramic & Stone

Instead of using the traditional wood barrels, you can have ceramic or stone barrels created that can be used as a part of a fountain runoff. You can be very creative in designing ways to capture water and then run it off into the barrel. You can use a spigot that is attach to a fountain system that catches rain water and have that spigot pour the water into a ceramic barrel with a rock filtering system.

Metal Container

If you are looking to design a more modern or contemporary home, you can use stainless steel of aluminum containers to receive your runoff. These containers can be designed in a number of sizes and shapes and placed along side of the house in the same manner as a central air unit; proving that concealment is not always necessary with rain barrel integration.

The only limit to the ways that rain barrels can be integrated into the design of your home is your imagination and creativity.

Protecting Your Landscaping Investment This Winter

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You have spent the spring and summer fine tuning the landscaping of your custom home, by planting flowers, trimming hedges and perfecting the lawn, so it is important to protect the landscaping through the winter. With the winter season comes snow, ice, wind, salt and deer, all of which can be challenging when you are trying to maintain a healthy and attractive landscaping. The following tips will help provide protection for your landscaping through the winter.

Pipes and hoses

One of the most important elements of a healthy lawn, is the water and fertilizer it is given in the warmer months. There are a number of things you can do to protect the outdoor pipes and hoses of your custom home from freezing and bursting. Disconnect and drain the garden hose and store in a dry place. If you have an irrigation system, wrap the pipes with pipe insulation or use an old towel and duct tape to insulate them. Turn off outdoor water valves from the main shut-off valve and drain water fountains.

Protecting Perennials

The most effective way to protect the perennials is with mulch. When you rake the leaves for the last time of the season, loosely pile them around the perennials. The leaves will provide warmth for the plant roots and as the leaves begin to decay, they will provide the nourishment perennials need throughout the winter.

Healthy trees and Shrubs

If you planted new trees during the spring, they should be covered with burlap during the winter. Hedges and shrubs should also be loosely wrapped in burlap material, but do not cover the top of the shrub. Mature trees need to be pruned during the late winter when they are the most dormant and then again in mid-February. Fruit trees will be highly fruit bearing if they are fertilized in late winter.

Potted plants

All of the potted plants should be brought indoors during the winter to prevent them from freezing. If you notice that a plant has been damaged by frost or a winter freeze, leave the plant in place until the spring when there is new growth. If you attempt to transplant or prune a plant during the winter, it can kill it or prevent it from having a thriving growth.

If you start to get a little antsy for the spring weather, February is typically a mild enough month to begin planting cool-season annuals, such as pansies and petunias. Remember to add mulch around the new plantings so they will get the necessary water.

How Often Should I Have My Roof Replaced?

by Kuhrich on Thursday, November 14, 2013

A roof is an essential part of your home and you should make sure that it is properly maintained. Having shelter is a necessity that every human needs in order to survive. For many individuals, a home is not only shelter, it is a primary investment. The best way to protect your investment in your home and have a roof that lasts for many years to come, is to have your roof inspected at least twice each year. It is ideal to have your roof inspected during the spring and fall. In general, most roofs will have to be replaced after 20 to 50 years. This factor will depend upon if the roof has been properly cared for and what kind of material the roof is made from.

Advantages of Replacing Your Roof

There are quite a few advantages of replacing your roof.   A roof that is sturdy and secure will prevent rain and other weather factors from coming into your home and causing damage.  If you have a roof that is weak, you are putting your home at risk to develop leaks, especially when heavy rainfall and storms occur. Not only will your roof be damaged, but your prized possessions that are in your home can be damaged and destroyed.  If you are looking to save money and have a roof that will last for many years to come, you may want to think about an eco-friendly roof that allows you to incorporate solar panels. This new roof will add curb value to your home and increase the insulation of your home. If you need help deciding whether your roof needs to be replaced or not, you can go up to your attic and check for mildew, damp spots, and external light entry. It will be a good idea to get an outside perspective of your roof to check for any tiles that may be broken and bald shingles.

Having a Rock Roof

A lot of homeowners decide to purchase a rock roof because they are inexpensive, and they can be recycled. If you need a quick solution to issues with your roof, it may be in your best interest to consider this type of roof because it can replace your old roof within a shorter timeframe than other options.

Using Composite or Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt or composite shingle roofs are the most common within the U.S. This roof is common because it is an expensive choice and it protects your entire structure from rain and wind. The only downside to this type of roof is that it needs to be replaced after about 20 years. If you notice mildew, mold, or lose asphalt shingles, this is an indication that you should replace your roof immediately.

Using Wood Shingles

When you use wood or shake shingles, you may be using these for the grand appearance that it provides your home with. Although wood shingle roofs are more expensive than several other options that are available to you, these roof types last a lot longer. When these roof types are properly cared for and maintained, it has the ability to last for 25 to 30 years. As far as this roof type is concerned, you will need to frequently check for splintering or dry wood.

Here are a few instances that you need to consider when you are considering replacing your roof. It is important that you explore each of your options and ask a professional to assist you with choosing the best option for your situation.

What Exactly IS Damask?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, November 12, 2013
What is Damask?
Damask is a beautifully unique design style that originated in the middle ages in the Byzantine Empire. The term Damask was actually derived from the name of the ancient Syrian city of Damascus. Ancient people would weave gorgeous, original prints from the finest materials available such as silk and linen to make rugs and other decorative pieces. These designs were so popular because they were reversible expressions of the artists that created them. It’s the damask style which was responsible for popularizing the highly coveted Persian rugs. In 2008, a silk, Isfahan rug sold for over $4.45 million, this was the highest amount ever paid for a Damask style rug. While this price was the exception and not the rule, hand-made Persian rugs are typically very expensive.
Ancient Damask Designs in Modern Homes
Today, Damask print rugs and wall tapestries are used to decorate the homes of those seeking an original style to break the monotony of traditional design. In fact, many custom homes are even decorated with Damask wall paper. These beautiful patterns are available in countless different style and colors and can be obtained without the outrageously high price tags that are often times associated with Persian rugs. Can a custom home really be custom if the neighbor’s house has the same, boring, white walls? For nearly a millennium, people have relied on the damask style to beautify their residences and modern home builders have also taken advantage of the gorgeous style provided by these amazing motifs because they know the elaborate patterns give the homes an aesthetic advantage over those with ordinary, painted walls.
Affordable Eye Candy Fortunately, Damask print wallpaper prices are comparable to wallpaper with regular motifs. Nearly every color combination imaginable is available to make a custom home truly unique. Everyone who steps into a home with damask wallpaper is sure to marvel at the intricate patterns chosen to decorate the walls. From mild pastels, to vibrant colors that seem to leap off the wall, Damask patterns have the ability to truly make a house a home.

Asymetrical Design: Can It Be Practical?

by Kuhrich on Tuesday, November 5, 2013

An asymmetrical design lacks balance and uniformity. It does not have two sides that are mirror images of each other. This type of design is more casual and dynamic than symmetrical balance. The building or home breaks the rules of design by having an imbalance often two sides or a shape that are different. It is effective building design when you want to draw attention and break the monotony of the design.

There are many examples of successful asymmetrical designed homes and buildings. This means that asymmetrical design can be practical and purposeful. Many are attractive and interesting to look at from every angle. Often the design is modern and spacious inside and out. The unusual angles and shapes of walls, roofs and rooms gives the building a futuristic look.

Many homes are designed to meet clients expectations. These home are often spacious with little clutter and plenty of light coming in from windows. This type of design sets a home apart from others. These homes use state of the art heating and cooling systems like solar panels, internal thermal mass, and natural ventilation. Many country homes are asymmetrical designs with two levels.

An asymmetrical house can be balanced and designed for the modern lifestyle. Most feature an uneven shape, unusual building materials, and open spaces. Angles and geometric shapes lend to the design of asymmetrical homes. Many have unique roofs, a variety of window designs, and plenty of space.

Asymmetrical design can work well with odd shaped land where a traditional home would not fit. These odd shaped home are often minimalist in design using the best materials like wood, stone, concrete, and glass. Often eco friendly materials and concepts are part of the overall design.

In Jersey City there is an custom built home of asymmetrical design built by Richard Garber and Nicole Robertson of Gro Architects in New York. The owner wanted a concrete home using a fixed budget. It has a modern asymmetrical peaked roof that works because its at the end of the street. It has an angular design, radiant floor boards, a kitchen designed with salvaged appliances and cabinets. Concrete which it is made from is a long wearing material and easy to keep up.

For those that want asymmetrical design in their home it can be practical and eco friendly. These are two reasons to consider a custom home with this design.

http://www.nj.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2010/08/building_an_asymmetrically_sha.html 

3 Tips for Nice Design Rhythm in Your Home

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Most of us associate rhythm with music. You might be surprised to discover that this term has a lot of significance in giving your home that appealing and natural look. In simple terms, rhythm means repetition. However, in terms of design, the immense results of this word lie much in the consistency and unifying flow of the colors and themes used, particularly in the interior of your home. If you have always dreamt of turning your residence into a perfect custom home, then below are the 3 tips for nice design rhythm in your home.

Multiplicity of Colors

Go for a range of colors. You also need to diversify your themes, shapes and patterns, which of course go hand in hand with your color and theme preferences. Since you are the one to spend beautiful moments in the home, don’t be forced into making choices that do not appeal to you. However, some expert advice might be necessary so as to get those unique and harmonized results.

Unanimity

There needs to be a peaceful coexistence of the colors, shapes, themes, and lines. Follow the rhythm of all the aspects involved. You don’t have to look for it, as it is inside you. That creative part that tends to lead you from one color, pattern, shape, and so on is what counts most. The rhythm will disagree when you make the wrong move as similarity will be broken. The internal settings should automatically be in agreement with nature. That is when you know you are on the right track. Therefore, listen to that motivating idea from deep inside you.

Prominence

All the rooms in the home are to be given the desired importance so that the end results are not conflicting in any way. Identify the sections of the rooms that matter most and give them all your best. If you intend to incorporate other features like portraits in the rooms, then focus on the final desired look. You could, for instance, keep other areas neutral so that the moment one enters the room, concentration is on the portrait before other points. All these considered, you home will be nothing short of a beautifully designed custom home.

Tips For Designing Your Dream Bathroom

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When it comes to the bathroom, functionality and aesthetics are the two factors that every homeowner strives for. Besides the kitchen and the bedroom, the bathroom is one of the most trafficked rooms in the home. While the main purpose of such a space is to aid in hygienic applications, the room is often also used as an area of solace and retreat. It really doesn’t matter the size of the room; as long as the space reflects you style and suits your family’s needs while also being beautiful to look at, it can become your dream bathroom.

Tips for Designing Your Dream Bathroom:

  • Choose your Colors Wisely: Colors are so emotive; tones have the ability to change your mood while also altering the ambiance of the space. When designing your bathroom choose the colors that will create the atmosphere that you are seeking. Earthy tones promote feelings of warmth and comfort, while pastel colors invite softness and calm and more vibrant colors exude strength and confidence.
  • Minimize Clutter: Clutter is a no-no in a dream bathroom, you shouldn’t be tripping over toys or housing your lotions and potions on the sink. Minimize clutter by only keeping the things that you are using presently in the bathroom. Store all of the extra towels and supplies in hideaway closets or in another room, and keep all toiletries in drawers and cabinets.
  • Create Unison: Choose towels, rugs, accent pieces and a shower drapery that complements the color on your walls. This will create uniformity and appeal.
  • Light it Up: No one likes a dull looking bathroom, options such as track lighting or beautiful wall scones work wonders in the bathroom, also, take advantage of outside light if you can.
  • Place Mirrors Strategically: If your bathroom is on the small side, you can create the illusion of bigness by strategically placing a small collection of mirrors on the wall.

To create your dream bathroom, you will have to determine the floor plan of the space and work with it.   Whether it’s a matter of home improvement or you’re designing from scratch for a new home, with careful planning, a clear vision and an eye for design, any bathroom can be transformed into a functional oasis.

Rain Barrels: Once An Eyesore, Now A Design Piece

by CustomHomes on Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Rain barrels are a necessity for any garden area.  Those homeowners who are into the recycling of materials and water realize how useful these rain barrels are to vegetable and flower gardens. Rain harvesting through rain barrels help to conserve drinking water by recycling rain water-to-water plants and flowers.
Rain barrels help to lower the cost of water bills. These barrels help to conserve well water for the homeowner who lives in the country.Rain barrels are nothing but a large plastic or aluminum garbage can. The lid has a hole drilled through the top where a downspout enters into to catch runoff rainwater. The barrel collects water to irrigate garden areas. These rain barrels have a spigot at the bottom enabling attachment of a hose. The spigot has an on and off function to allow the water to be used.

Internet sites give homeowners free instructions along with a list of materials needed to construct an attractive rain barrel. Homeowners can also purchase readymade kits at home improvement stores.

Internet sites with decorating tips and instructions offer homeowners ways in which to make these rain barrels an attractive addition to any garden or yard. This can save the homeowner money.

Home improvement stores have unusual and now very attractive rain barrels for sale. These manufactured rain barrels come in different materials and colors such as, terra cotta, resin, bamboo and recycled plastic.

Some of these rain barrels hold strawberry plants or vines and ivy plants in the top and look like large planters. Some look like a big rock in a garden with a spigot at the bottom.

Homemade and already constructed rain barrels are at least 55 gallon or larger containers. Some barrels are less than 50 gallon. Some homeowners incorporate rain barrels with the home’s gutter system while other homeowners prefer to allow the barrel sit in the yard and collect rainwater. The downfall to this is that, without a suitable top the water can collect bugs and mosquitoes.

Rain barrels no longer have to be a garden or yard eyesore and can be an added attractive addition for homeowners.

 

How Colors Affect Our Emotions: Greyed Colors At Home

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It has long been known certain colors affect the behaviors of people especially children. Homeowners who have a custom home built need to consider the paint they use in their home. Each color negatively or positively affects the occupants’ mood and behavior.

Red is increases blood pressure, anger and irritablilty. Medical professionals should never wear the color red in hospitals and medical facilities. Lighter shades of red relax the muscles.

Orange, relieves self-pity, helps to build one’s immunity, heals the digestive system, and affects emotions much as an antidepressant.

Yellow increases alertness, energy,heightens the lymph system, uplifts the spirits, clears the thinking process, increases memory, sharpens judgment, organizes, helps one understand others, builds self-confidence, increases optimism. Avoid dull yellow colors.

Green with nature, helps the heart, relaxes the body, soothes emotions, and helps to balance the body, triggers comfort, and calmness. Avoid gray greens, dark greens and olive green, associated with ‘turning green’ as the saying goes when one is ill. Brown, tans, and beige are in this category of earth colors, offering security and stability of home.

Certain blues lower the blood pressure, cools, calms, relaxs occupants for a restful, quiet and relaxing night’s sleep, inspires and helps one to create. Lighter blues carries one away in a dream state. Too many of a good thing is never good, and this can apply to darker blue hues causing depression in some people.

Purple, violet, and indigo have a purifying, antiseptic effect on people and patients. It suppresses hunger, helps to balance the body and mind, eliminate fears and quiets obsessions, gives peace, spirituality and compassion. Researchers in Texas found light purple to act as an anesthesia. It seems to have a narcotic or numbing effect on pre-operative patients.

Black the color of mystery, offers comfort, quiet, and protection. Death, associated with black, can prevent the growth in life.

White gives feelings of cleanliness, purity, peace, freedom, and comfort. Too many whites can cause feelings of isolation.

Gray provides independence, separation and sometimes loneliness. Gray is the fine line between white and black. Many builders of custom homes find gray a negative color, much the same as the color white. Gray, white and light brown or beige is safe colors for a home. Homeowners can decorate around these colors more easily than any other color. Homes sell better with safe interior colors.

How Colors Affect Our Emotions: Earth Tones At Home

by CustomHomes on Monday, October 7, 2013

It has become common for interior designers and homeowners to use color psychology to assist in determining the color scheme in a home. Color psychology has been used for years as a form of therapy in treating patients with depression and mood instability. It has been proven that colors have a direct impact on the balance and stimulation of emotions.

The times in which home décor and color were considered a simple matter of aesthetics are a thing of the past. Careful consideration is given to what colors are used in specific rooms. Depending on the mood that you are attempting to set in a particular room as well as how much time will be spent in that room will determine the color scheme you want to use in that room.

This article will briefly focus on the impact and uses of earth tone colors in the home.

Colors are a universal language that is nonverbal, but extremely powerful.

Earth Tones

Earth tone colors are usually considered to be friendly, contemporary and inviting. They are a mixture or tonalities of more bold and brassier colors such as orange, red, green, yellow, purple, and blue. Earth tones are also considered to be more appeasing and functional.

Earth tones are warm, reassuring and settling.

Room Setting

Earth tones are most commonly used in common areas that are frequented a lot, such as living rooms and family rooms. It provides a warming and inviting mood that does not place individuals on an extremely high keel, and it does not make the room somber.

The right mixture of earth tones has the power to create a utopian environment. Colors such as orange and yellows, as well as different shades of brown have the best impact on a room.

Earth tones vary a great deal, and finding the right combination for your home may require a bit of experimentation, but you will definitely want to include earth tones in some of the areas in your home. The key is not to become too rigid in making your selection; allow the color to move you and set your mood, then make a decision from there.

How Colors Affect Our Emotions: Dark Colors At Home

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Color psychology has become an influential force in determining decorative color schemes in your home decor.  Research as revealed that different colors affect our moods and emotions in distinctively different ways. When the right colors are used in decorating the home your home can be an extremely therapeutic environment. However, the wrong color scheme can create darkness and depression.

Color psychology and therapy is not as new of concept as you may believe. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions have used color therapy as part of treating patients for years. Below are some common colors and a basic explanation of how they impact emotions and moods in the home. The greatest emphasis will be placed on darker colors.

Red

Red can be a color that provokes aggressive behavior if it is not complimented right. It is associated with war, hatred, strength, danger, determination, passion, love, and appetite stimulation.

Pink

Pink signifies friendship, love and romance. It generates a more passive state of mind

Dark Red

Dark red is closely associated with anger, leadership, rage, courage, malice, and wrath.

Blue

Blue is a color worth giving some serious consideration to. Generally blue is considered to promote stability and depth; symbolizing loyalty, trust, confidence, intelligence, truth, faith and wisdom.

Blue creates a calming effect. Because of the clean feel given off by blue, it is a common color for bathrooms. Blue is also considered to be a masculine color that is often used for boy’s bedrooms or in game rooms. It also has an incredible tranquil impact; making it a great color for adult bedrooms as well.

Purple

Purple is the combination of the stability you find in blue and the passion and stimulation that you find in red. It is symbolic of spirituality, power, luxury and nobility. It has the capacity to bring balance. Purple is also associated with dignity, wisdom, independence, mystery, and creativity.

The thing to note about any of these colors is that too dark a shade tends to set a gloomy or sad atmosphere.

Black is unique it that it provides an aura of power, authority and works great as a contrast or accent to other colors.

5 Ideas to Liven Up Your Patio

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Having a patio is supposed to be full of excitement, romance, or a haven for you to host your favorite parties. If you had a custom home built, this may have been a part of your backyard schematic. After time, patios can become stale and lifeless. The following ideas will help liven up your patio in no time.

Add Vibrant Colors

You can mix and match textures and patterns for an outrageous look. If you have everything as a solid color, add colorful weather resistant throw pillows. Also, you can apply spray paint to your old patio furniture. Don’t forget to add a colorful outdoor rug for finishing touches.

Add New Plants

Add more greenery to your patio. You can plant large bushes and shrubs or bright energetic flowers and plants. Consider growing a garden of fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll not only add color but you’ll be able to grill up some of your favorite foods.

Add a Canopy

A canopy can change the entire look of a patio area. You can add privacy panels to enjoy reading or create a romantic nook. There are some that help block the sun’s rays and keep light weather storms out.

Bring the Indoor Décor Outdoors

If there is an area, feel free to hang a mirror on your patio. You can also add candles on patio tables. If you’d like extra room for you guests to place drinks on, consider a small end table or old night stand. There are even battery operated chandlers available. Get creative and have fun.

Add a Little Feng Shui

Having a peaceful and energy filled home can be accomplished outdoors too. It’s easy to combine nature with your favorite relaxation methods. Make sure to add the element water to your patio. You can create a beautiful tabletop bowl as your serenity piece. If you have an old copper pot for a plant, add water, moss, floating flowers, and glass balls.

Look to Nature for Inspiration in Choosing Wall Colors

by Kuhrich on Monday, September 16, 2013

What is the best color for a guest room, whether it’s a dedicated suite or a part-time office? Well, the simple answer would be: Choose a tone that complements the rest of your custom home’s decor. Restful neutrals are always appropriate. However, that doesn’t mean white, and neutral need not be boring.

Always take into account the light in the room; but realize that a guest room is most often used at night, with artificial light. Colors should be soothing, but should have some character.

Choose colors from nature

The newest popular decor colors are gathered from nature: Beachy hues can include the colors of sand and sea, shells and dunes grass, fog and mist, and storm cloud grey. If that palette appeals to you, choose a tone for that guest room that will provide a seamless transition rather than a stark contrast with the rest of the house. You might choose a lighter or darker shade of a favorite hue.

A mid-tone charcoal, or even navy, would be dramatic with white ceiling, white woodwork and light carpet. Pale bedding would encourage bright accents.

Add drama with accents

Desert sand colors tend to be a little more intense than beach tones, and also invite more vibrant accents. A taupe wall complements wood trim and doors, and allows colorful accents in a range of tones. Likewise, a dusty green would be attractive, with accents of yellow, off-white and cactus-bloom coral. Turquoise is reminiscent of the Southwest; terra cotta and weathered grey-browns can hint of fence posts, rusty gates and wagon wheels. Off-whites could be reminders of passing clouds or bleached bones.

What you add to the room, however, determines the true success of your guest room. A comfortable bed, of course, goes without saying, even if its a convertible sofa or a futon. Fluffy towels, grooming supplies, fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit, current magazines or the local paper — the only consideration is how long you want your guests to stay!

Finding the Best Paint Color for Your Living Room

by Kuhrich on Monday, September 9, 2013

When the time comes to put the finishing touches on your custom home, choosing the right paint colors for a room can be a daunting task. It can be especailly hard to get the colors right when it’s a room that you will spend the majority of your time in, like your living room. Let’s take a look at some of the best colors avaiable for your space.

What Kind Of Atmosphere Do You Want To Create?

A good place to start with paint ideas for any room is taking a look at the overall feeling you want to create for that space. Is this particualr room going to be a calm, quiet place forrelaxation? Then try using cool, neutral colors such as a linen white or moss green. For the indesicive or unsure homeowner, stick with one color for the space as well.

Someone who is looking for more of a family style room with movies, games, and other types of entertainment may be interested in bolder colors. Try using an accent wall in a lattice red, a warm sunny yellow or a navy blue. You can stay on trend while having a bit of fun and really make the room your own.

What About The Finish?

Once you’ve got your color pallette picked out you’ll need to select your finish. If your space is going to be a little less informal, a semi-gloss or sating finish will work well. If you’re leaning a little more towards formal try a soft matte or eggshell finish. Just make sure to take into consideration the look and texture of the walls themselves.

Lastly, don’t forget that this should all be fun. Your custom home is coming together. Create the space that you want. Follow these easy steps and you’ll find the best paint for your living room.

http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/colors/paint-colors-0907#slide-5

5 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

by CustomHomes on Monday, September 2, 2013

Cleaning the Oven and Stove

Cleaning the oven and stove is one factor about cleaning the kitchen that many people are not fond of. When you think of cleaning a stove or an oven, you may think about stuck or baked on grease and tough food stains and pieces of food that are stuck to the bottom of the oven or to the stovetop. In order to get a sparkling clean oven and matching stove, you can mix one box of baking soda and a generous amount of water that will form a paste-like substance. Spread and smear this paste over your entire oven and stove and let it sit overnight. Depending upon the condition that you oven and stove are in, you may not need to let this substance sit overnight.

Getting Down and Dirty With the Sink

Cleaning your sink should one of the simplest tasks that you have to complete in your kitchen. If you use your sink to wash dishes, you may notice that your sink may have a film or residue that is greasy and your drain may be dirty. The good news in this situation is that baking soda can be used to clean just about anything. Evenly spread the baking soda in your sink. Using a toothbrush, apply a little elbow grease and it’s that simple to get a sparkling clean sink!

Cleaning Out the Refrigerator

Having to clean out the fridge is yet another project that not too many people want to take part in. You will have to remove each shelf in your fridge and then remove the compartments that have been set in place for vegetables and fruits. The use of soap, water and a disinfectant will get the job done beautifully.

Getting to the Freezer

Cleaning out a freezer is a little different than cleaning out a refrigerator. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to thaw your food out in order to clean your freezer. You can clean your freezer the same as you cleaned your refrigerator and get the same results.

Giving the Kitchen Floor a Good Scrub

Many people save the kitchen floor for last. When you are ready to clean the kitchen floor, you can use water and an antibacterial cleaning solution to make your kitchen floor sparkle and shine. You will also leave your kitchen smelling fresh and clean by using an antibacterial cleaning solution.

Pros and Cons of Heated (Under Tile) Floor Mats

by Kuhrich on Monday, August 26, 2013

Thinking of adding underfloor heating, such as tile floor mats to your new custom home? There are many pros and cons of this type of heated floor; read on and decide if this is the right way to go for your new home.

Under floor heating is wonderful for those cold winter mornings, especially in the bathroom, when you just do not want to jump out of a warm shower onto a cold floor. Of course, the floor can be cold at any time of year, so having a heated floor mat under your tile is a great comfort all year round.

Pros

The pros of a heated floor are numerous. For one, if you are just building your new home, it can be installed while the house is in construction, with no change in the lines of your new flooring–and no delay in your home’s construction dates.

Additionally, when you are thinking of custom homes, this is one of the finishing touches that can really bring your new construction together. This is one amenity that will have your friends and family jealous.

Another bonus is that a heated floor, comprised of under tile floor mats, is a relatively inexpensive addition. The floor can retain heat up to 95 degrees, really keeping you warm in cold months. The floor can save you money, too, as it eliminates any need for a space heater.

Cons

There are, of course, always a few cons when dealing with extras that can be added to a custom home. It is an added expense, and if you already near, or at, your budget, it might not be one that you cannot live without.

If you are not building a new home, and are thinking of upgrading your current address, there is a bit more work to install the flooring and thermostat. It is not quite as seamless as installing in a home that is just being built.

The under tile system heats only the floor, not the room, so that’s something to keep in mind, too. And finally, these under tile floor mats are for tile, not vinyl, carpet or wood–they do not conduct heat well under these surfaces.

So, is the under tile floor mat right for you and your custom home?

Cleaning Out the Garage: How To Use This Space Practically

by CustomHomes on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Whether you have a custom home or have moved into a older home, you may not have thought about how to use your garage space on a more practical basis. If looking for additional storage or a way to organize the mess, consider the following to help you on the way to creating a more usable garage:

Start with cleaning out the mess

A disorganized garage can make things difficult to find or use, so:

  • Go through everything. If you haven’t used an item in a year or more, consider giving it to a donation center or having a yard sale.
  • For the keep items, start putting like items together. ie. all tools, sports equipment, car cleaning supplies, yard equipment, etc.

Consider what space you can use

Besides the space your car would need to fit into the garage, figure out what space you can use to work and organize.

Consider the best ways to organize

Now that you have everything together and know how much space you have to work with, what kind of organizational things can you use to make your garage practical? The following are some ideas to help:

  • Basic shelves can be purchased to line your garage and organize most large items.
  • Metal bins, peg board or other wall organizers can be attached to the walls and used to organize your tools and/or yard equipment.
  • Need a work space, but don’t have room when the car is in the garage? Consider a table hinged at the wall so it can fold away when you need to pull the car inside.
  • Make use of the overhead space by installing overhead storage. This can hold large items like animal crates or luggage.
  • Wheeled baskets also are great for organizing things you use often, like sports equipment.

So, maybe it’s time to get that garage in shape!

Designing the Perfect “Man Cave”

by CustomHomes on Monday, August 12, 2013

When it comes to designing the perfect “man cave” it really doesn’t take much. Having a room with a pool table and a big screen TV (52″ or larger) will work. A wet bar won’t hurt. And a wife who doesn’t mind serving more than drinks isn’t bad either. So what does it take to make the perfect man-cave? A place where the boys can get together to watch the big game or the huge race and you’re good to go.

Granted, having an extra room in the basement to build this man-cave doesn’t hurt. And having a wife who wants to serve helps too. Whether you’re looking for the perfect game room, the best place to watch a football game or a race or the room to have friends over to visit, your man-cave needs to be comfortable and ready to provide. What does it need to provided? Everything. Drinks, Munchies. A place to sit, Sexuality; Everything.

OK so maybe your wife isn’t ready to be the ultimate cheerleader. But that doesn’t mean your man-cave isn’t ready to be the local Hooters for your next party, Having a great TV and an excellent bar means you’re ready to give a great party and that your man-cave, decorated with all the great football stuff and even with Dale Earnhardt’s race stuff is ready to be the best place to relax and watch a sporting event may not be the ultimate place to be, but it may be the ultimate place to have fun;

TV, bar, couches, EZ chairs. ESPN. Peace. Quiet. Bunnies. What more could you ask for? When it comes to the ultimate game room, not much. Even Pam Anderson or Meredith Viera couldn’t make things more perfect. When making a great game room, don’t look at second best.

5 Ideas To Liven Up Your Deck

by CustomHomes on Monday, August 5, 2013

A deck is a wonderful place to entertain your guests in your home. Take your meals outside for a change of pace. Here are five creative ideas to add some pizzazz to your deck and make a lasting impression no matter what guests or family members you are entertaining.

Furniture

Add furniture that suits your personality and style. Choose furniture that does not compete with the deck itself. Try to find pieces that are comfortable, but not boring. If you want to keep with a wood motif, choose some Adirondack chairs. Vibrant colors are popular for outdoor furniture. Pick correctly, and transform a seldom-used spot into a hub of activity.

Decorative plants

Plants come in all colors, shapes and sizes. Depending on whether or not your deck is in the sun, partial sun or shade, the plants that work best will differ. An evergreen can stay there year-round no matter what your climate might be. Other greenery may have to move inside for some parts of the year.

Useful plants

Plants are not just for looks. Deck gardens can have vegetables. Some heirloom vegetable plants are made for small containers and will do well on a sunny deck area. Herb gardens can be both decorative and useful for cooking or making potpourri.

Color

By painting or staining your deck, you can create a new feel. Bright orange or yellow for a whimsical summer mood will attract the family outdoors. A dark stain will instill feelings of romance and adventure. By adding color, imperfections in the wood can be camouflaged or hidden completely.

Awning

If there is too much sun for the summer months, an awning can really make a difference. Just by having a shady area, you are more likely to sit outside what it is warm. An awning can lower the temperature as much as 15 degrees, making an unbearably hot deck, more likely to be appreciated.

 

What Is The Best Flooring For My Custom Home?

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When building a custom home one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the right flooring for your new home. What may seem like a simple and easy task will take a bit more thought that you may initially realize. One of the things that you need to realize is that your floor is the most utilized part of your home, so it will need to be durable enough to handle the type of traffic that can be expected. For instance, a family with children under the age of 10 would not necessarily be able to choose some of the flooring options of middle aged empty nesters. As much as beauty and preference play a role, practicality is a powerful variable as well.

This article will focus on providing some brief insight into making the right decisions concerning flooring for your new custom home based on your specific needs and preferences.

Traffic

One of the first things you want to consider when choosing the flooring for your new home is the traffic. Different parts of your home will have different levels of traffic and the type of traffic will be different. For example, your stairway will have way more traffic than your personal study and your children’s bedrooms will be high traffic areas because of their activity. The traffic in your children’s bedroom will even be different from the traffic in your own bedroom. You will want to discuss the different types of flooring with your designer and the advisor at the flooring store. Remember to take your time when making your decision; you don’t want to have to make premature changes because of an initial mistake.

Flooring for the Occasion

Ceramic tile makes a great flooring choice for bathroom and kitchens. Ceramic tile is extremely versatile and durable, while still being able to provide a look that is aesthetically pleasing. Tile comes in so many different colors and textures that you will surely be able to find something that will be a complete fit.

Hardwood flooring is always a great choice when you are shooting for that more classical look. Although wood flooring can sometimes be easily damaged, there are numerous ways to treat the wood prior to installation to increase its resistance to scratches and other damages. There are also precautionary post-installation measures that will help increase the longevity of your wood floors.

Carpeting runs the gamut when it comes to flooring. You have certain types of carpet that stands up to anything. You also have more delicate types that require a lot of care and attention. Once again, the key is to understand the variables surrounding the area you wish to place this carpet in. You would obviously not want shag carpeting in your children’s room. When considering carpet it would be a good idea to consider the cleaning costs associated with each brand and type. Also give careful thought to the average lifespan of the type of carpet you are considering.

Advantages of a Finished Basement

by Kuhrich on Monday, July 22, 2013

Having a basement in your home can be a very good thing. It gives you a place to store stuff that you rarely use such as Christmas decorations or that trunk full of high school memorabilia, but it also gives you a space you can have a work bench for craft projects. However, most basements are usually chilly, damp and not very well lit and there are so many more things you can do with a finished basement that you can’t with one that isn’t. If you have a basement, are you thinking about finishing it?

Here are some great things you can do with a finished basement:

– Game Room/Man Cave: Why not make a room downstairs devoted to fun? Once the basement is finished, the environment is right to put in a pool table, arcade games, a foosball table or even couches and chairs surrounding a big screen TV so the guys can go downstairs and watch sports.

– Guest Room/Extra Bedroom: Having a finished basement means you’ve got the additional space to have relatives visit or to provide an extra bedroom for a growing family.

– Reduce Utility Bills: Finishing your basement means you’ll have additional insulation in the walls, in the ceiling and on the floor. You’ll have also taken steps to ensure the basement is sealed against seepage and dampness. Between these factors, your overall heating and cooling bills should decrease, and in some cases, that decrease is dramatic.

– Increase Home Value: Having your basement finished also adds to the overall value of your home. A $10,000 investment in your basement can add tens of thousands of dollars to the overall value of your home which, in today’s housing market, could make the difference between breaking even and making a huge profit.

Finishing your basement is an investment, any way you look at it. If it’s an investment in your home, you’ll come out ahead. If it’s an investment in life enjoyment, you may come out further ahead than mere financial profit. Enjoy your life even more when you have a finished basement in your home.

3 Landscaping Tips For The Summer

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Your lawn is generally the first impression when you have people over at your home, yet at the same time, this is one of the most neglected areas of the home. With the summer heat rising, it gets harder to keep the grass green, healthy and visually appealing.

In order to ensure that when your guests come over, whether it is for a party or a parent dropping off one of your child’s friends to stay the night, they see a green and eye-catching lawn, here are three summer landscaping tips that will maintain the lawn of your custom home during the dog days of summer.

Summer Landscaping Tip #1 – Mowing the Right Way

You always want to mow your lawn when it is dry and not wet. In addition, you want to ensure that you are not mowing the grass shorter than 2.5 inches. The grass should be cut somewhere between 2.5 and 3 inches. By not cutting the grass so short, you are providing the grass and ground with more insulation to fight the summer heat while also reducing the overall water loss from the soil and creating an environment more resistible to environmental stress, lawn disease and insects.

In addition, unless there is a lawn disease, leave the grass clippings after you mow, as these provide nutrients, moisture, organic matter and nitrogen to the lawn and soil.

Summer Landscaping Tip #2 – Properly Irrigate

Each week, you should water your lawn early in the morning – around 5-6 a.m. – several times and your lawn should receive at minimum one inch of water per week. The reason that watering should be done so early is so that there is less stress on the lawn from the sun. Avoid watering late at night, as this can cause fungus to grow on the lawn overnight. Remember that deep soaking will allow for deeper and better root growth while creating a lawn that is less susceptible to heat and drought damage.

Summer Landscaping Tip #3 – Fertilize to Fabulous

Ever wonder how those lawns keep that deep, lavish green color during the summer? It’s because of lawn care products that are high in nitrogen, which promotes that deep color as well as growth. Make sure that all pets and children are kept off the lawn for a little while after fertilizing the lawn to avoid tracking it inside your home. Fertilize your lawn every few months to ensure your lawn looks great all year.

With a custom home, you want to ensure that the first impression guests have of your home is a good one, and by putting the aforementioned three summer landscaping tips to use this summer, you’ll blow your guests away with one of the best-looking, greenest, lush lawns in the neighborhood.

Pros and Cons of Swimming Pools For a Custom Home

by Kuhrich on Monday, July 15, 2013

If you’re thinking of building a custom house, one thing you’re probably considering is whether to add in a swimming pool. You dream of hot summer days spent lounging by the pool, swimming with friends and family and all the fun you can have with a swimming pool. But, is a swimming pool really a great idea for your custom home?

Here are some pros and cons of having a swimming pool:

– Expense: On the pro side, having a swimming pool built does add to the value of the finished property. On the con side, however, it rarely adds enough value to justify the cost of construction and there are additional expenses such as water filtration systems, chemicals and other expenses associated with a pool.

– Maintenance: On the pro side, a well-maintained pool is fun, especially if you enjoy swimming and live in an area that is consistently hot such as Florida or the West. On the con side, you do have continuing expenses such as chemicals and having someone clean it if you don’t take the time and effort to do it yourself.

– Accessories: Part of the fun factor for a pool is the stuff you use around it and in it. From lounge chairs to pool toys, all adds to the fun you can have with friends and family with a pool. The pros are the fun, the cons are the expenses.

– Liability: One aspect of pool ownership deals with responsibility. If you have a family, especially small kids, you have to be well aware of the liability factors of owning a pool. Also, if you have a diving board, this adds to the liability factor as well. Injuries do happen, but these are factors that also add immense levels of enjoyment to owning and using a pool as well.

Essentially what it comes down to is carefully balancing the fun and enjoyment you can have with a pool versus the expenses and liabilities that having a swimming pool added to your custom home will imply. Owning a pool can be a hassle, but it can add levels of enjoyment to your life that you’ve always wanted.

3 Tips For Your Garden For The Summer

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gardening can be a great summer hobby, but it can also be a lot of hard work. If you are planning on keeping a garden this summer, here are a few tips that should prove useful even if you are a gardening novice.

  1. Weed your garden once a week. Weeds grow very quickly from tiny seedlings to gigantic monsters almost overnight. Not only do these unsightly and unwelcome plants give your garden a messy appearance, they use up space and nutrients that your other plants will need. Fortunately, removing them is relatively easy. Simply pull them out by hand or dig them out with a hoe.
  2. Make sure you feed your roses and other heavy feeders once a month until the first frost. Roses are beautiful plants that can produce some truly impressive blooms, but they also use up a lot of soil nutrients. A regular application of liquid fertilizer will work for most gardens, but those with larger gardens will also want to add some compost as well.
  3. Harvest your vegetables regularly. Vegetable gardens can be a great way for a family to be more self-sufficient in this economy, but few people realize how quickly vegetables can grow. Zucchini and summer squash grows quickly enough that it may need to be harvested once a day, while cucumbers, tomatoes and other fruit should be monitored closely since they can damage their plants if they are left on the vine too long. Harvest corn just as the silk at the ends of the ears is starting to turn brown. Generally speaking, if you are growing vegetables or fruit of any kind, you should be checking it daily.

These are just a few basic tips that should help you keep a healthy, tidy and attractive garden this summer. You should also remember to keep track of how much water your garden is getting since too much water can be just as bad as not enough water, and pinch or clip off any dead blooms from annuals and perennials to keep them healthy and encourage re-blooming.

source: http://www.southernstates.com/articles/summer-garden-tips.aspx 

Paint Colors: Should I Go Neutral Or Get Creative?

by Kuhrich on Monday, July 1, 2013

When it comes to your home, especially if you’re a homeowner or are building a home, you want every aspect of it to be exactly the way you want it. You’re chasing that ultimate dream home and, as a part of that process, the paint job you put on it and in it can have a definite impact on how you feel about the home and what your ultimate plans for the home are. So, should you go with neutral colors or can you let your creative side flow free?

There are a couple of key elements that will help define how you should consider paint for your interior and exterior walls:

First, you have to consider what your ultimate goal for the home is. If this is your ‘starter home’ or if you definitely plan to resell the home as part of a upgrade process, or you have a large family and plan to sell the home for a retirement place later as the children grow up and leave, going with neutral colors may be your best option as neutral colors leaves a “canvas” for prospective homeowners who may potentially buy your home.

Second, keep in mind your decorating scheme. If you’re into artwork, whether it be paintings or sculpture, having neutral colors adds focus to your subjects instead of pulling the eye away from it to the paint on the walls. if how you decorate your home is your main focus, neutral colors may be your best option as well.

However, if you’re in your ‘final home’ and have plans to incorporate your decorating style into your rooms, you can go with any colors you wish. If you prefer bold, bright colors, muted colors and bold lighting or want to make a statement with the paint on your walls, essentially making them into wall art, then there isn’t any reason you can’t do so. Basically, the bottom line comes down to where you’re at and what you expect out of your home. If you plan to resell or decorate boldly, neutral colors are best. If you’re in your home for good, the sky’s the limit!

Tips For Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

by Kuhrich on Monday, June 24, 2013

When building a custom home you want to get everything right. Doors should fit snug and so should windows. This home has got to be great and you want to use every tip possible for choosing energy efficient windows.

Moisture

No matter where you live moisture is a problem and if windows are not sealed properly moisture can get in and cause erosion of surfaces. Mold and mildew ease in unnoticed from cold and wet. Windows installed without proper installation techniques will void a warranty, costing the home owner money if replacement is necessary. Custom homes builders use every consideration when installing and choosing windows for the home. Climate has a great deal to do with how your windows react and trained builders will know the proper windows to install and the flashing to use in your climate.

Cold and Heat Repellant

No matter what century wood wins hands down when it comes to fighting the energy war. Wood windows are far more efficient and they look great. They last and today they can be treated with vinyl or aluminum to stop the usual wear. Wood is able to match any color you choose and equipped with double panes they hold out the coldest of winds and sultry heat. Some people use shutters. This is a great way to hold out heat or cold and to help windows operate more efficiently. Custom Homes investigate every aspect of window installation before installing them in your home. Windows with low E coatings are good energy saver. Composite windows rank fairly high when saving energy but they do not touch, the beauty of wood.

Why Should I Consider Stainless Steel Appliances?

by Kuhrich on Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Benefits of Stainless Steel Appliances

When you want appliances that are made of material that is durable, consider stainless steel. They are used in restaurant and commercial kitchens because they are easy to maintain and keep clean. Stainless steel does not absorb dirt easily and can be kept clean by wiping with a damp cloth. There are cleaners that can be use with stainless steel to keep the surface shiny and new looking. Stainless steel appliances are perfect for custom homes.

Stainless steel appliances have a long life span. They do not become rusty or worn looking. The material resists germs better than some surfaces. The fact the appliance can be wiped down with a disinfectant and soft cloth. This make it attractive to parents with children. Even with pets, stainless steel helps you keep your kitchen as clean as possible.

Stainless steel appliances match almost any kitchen design or color. They match wood cabinets, tile backsplashes, or even metal fixtures. This material can be used on dishwashers, stoves, refrigerators, cook tops, and freezers. It is a hygienic and safe material to prepare foods on. Often it resists bacteria and germs better than other materials.

Stainless steel appliance often increase the value of the house because of the appearance of the kitchen. They are a status symbol for many owners

Cons of Stainless Steel Appliances

They are more expensive and do show fingerprints and smudges more so you have to wipe them more often. Find