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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.

5 Flowers to Add to Your Garden This Summer

by CustomHomes on Monday, June 26, 2017

flowers - hydrangeaFlowers are cheerful and lovely additions to any garden in the summer. Adding a border around your vegetable garden can add some charm as well. Here are a couple suggestions for flowers that will give your garden flair, and suggestions on how to plant them:

Poppy

By the end of June, your poppies may already be in full bloom in your garden. If you planted poppies from seeds, they will be popping up now. If you have planted them from young plants they will be blooming.

If you want to lengthen the life of your plants, you should plant them a week apart. In doing so, you will have plenty of time to relax and enjoy their beauty. If you want to grow poppies well into the middle of the summer, we also suggest planting California poppies. They will bloom well into August, and self-seed so you don’t need to replant!

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are gorgeous, showy plants that come in numerous hues. They are most commonly a vibrant shade of plum and indigo, which will stand out from any other flower. They also sometimes bloom in the softest and brightest of pinks. They offer a light and pleasant smell that will waft through your garden.

These plants appreciate moist soil with plenty of drainage. You can add compost to your soil if you have dry, or compacted, soil before planting your hydrangeas. Once planted, you should water your plants daily unless there is at least an inch of rain. They prefer full sun but can live in partial shade.

Hydrangeas are stunning outdoors and indoors as well. Add them to bouquets or potpourri around your home to gain color, texture, and a gentle, soothing scent.

Dahlia

Dahlias love well-fertilized, composted soil. Be sure to use rich, aged compost in deep, watered ground. Once everything is prepared, be sure to plant the dahlia tubers about eight to 12 inches deep in the ground. Then, water the ground well and repeat on a daily basis. Before you know it, you will be welcomed into your garden with stunning, eye-catching dahlia flowers that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Sweet Pea

If you’re planting sweet peas from bulbs, always prep a trellis for them. Make sure your plant has full sun, and water it regularly. Be careful if you don’t want the sweet pea from traveling and re-seeding. Be sure to keep them potted, so that they won’t re-seed all over your garden.

Zinnia

Zinnias are wonderful for beginning gardeners. They are eye-catching, bright, and gorgeous flowers that can create beautiful décor in your garden or indoors a pot. Zinnias in a garden need to be grown about 12 to 18 inches apart and will thrive in rich, organic soil with compost or fertilizer. Make sure when you find a spot for your zinnia that it stays there. Zinnias are not fond of being transplanted and will die if not moved properly.

With these beauties blooming around your garden, you’re guaranteed to create just the relaxing, picturesque garden of your dreams.

4 Fun Things to do in Lancaster for the Summer

by CustomHomes on Friday, June 23, 2017

fun things - flowers at central marketFor many people in Lancaster, summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the outdoors – and beautify your home. Here are a few ways you can delight in all Lancaster has to offer while finding new and fun ways to create a warm and wonderful home.

Pick up flowers and plants at Central Market

If you want a bit of greenery in your home, it may be a good idea to stop by Central Market in downtown Lancaster. There, you can pick up a fresh bouquet for your home and a few indoor plants as well. Ease your mind with something pleasant to look at, and provide a fresh, natural scent for your home. There are roughly four places where you can purchase stunning bouquets and small adorable succulents to fill your home with a fresh, lively feel. While there, you can pick up stunning quilts, and delicious goodies to savor as you browse and enjoy once you’re home.

Discover a vintage find on Queen Street

Queen Street has plenty of unique stores that offer authentic vintage finds. These rare items will add depth and interest to your home. Strolling down the street you will be sure to find a one-of-a-kind furniture piece, fun and kitschy gadget, or shabby-chic wall hanging. Take a chance and peruse Building Character or Mise en Place during a beautiful afternoon. You’ll never know what treasures you’ll find!

Enjoy a concert on Sunday at Long’s Park

Find inspiration from nature and music at the Summer concert series in Long’s Park. During the summer, Long’s Park offers concerts every Sunday evening with their own food trucks, activities, and live music. Stop by and delight in all the concert has to offer and you may find music, a recipe, or a craft you will simply have to have at home.

Indulge in some sweet treats to bring home from downtown

There are many different restaurants downtown where you can purchase a variety of different foods. If you happen to have a sweet tooth, we suggest Rachel’s Creperie, Sugar on Top, The Candy Factory, or Lancaster Cupcake. These are only four of the different places where you can indulge your sweet tooth. All of them provide delectable treats within walking distance from downtown center.

Start with these ideas and experience Lancaster like a local, and explore it like a tourist. You never know what you’ll find!

5 Easy, Fun Summer Craft Ideas For Kids

by CustomHomes on Thursday, June 15, 2017

PencilsSummer is here, which means kids will be free from school and will need activities to keep them occupied. It’s a great time of year, but finding sources of entertainment can be tricky for parents with energetic kids.

One avenue that can offer many, many possibilities is crafting. Crafting is a fun, skill-building endeavor both for children and adults alike. You can work on crafts together and help your children foster creativity and handiwork skills. There are an endless number of crafts out there.

Summer Craft Ideas for Kids

Below are a number of ideas for projects you can work on with your children:

  • A nature collage will involve spending time collecting trinkets from nature, such as leaves, shells, sticks, and more. This will encourage kids to join in on walks, hikes, and nature observations. After they have gathered their favorites, they can glue the items, set them in clay, or showcase them in a dry frame. If they want to add more color, they can then paint over the items they have collected.
  • Painting is always a go-to, and incorporating an incentive, like helping birds, goes a long way. Many DIY bird houses can be inexpensive, as low as $8! When painting bird houses, please be certain that the paint is nontoxic, and avoid colors that are too dark to prevent overheating their inhabitants over the summer.
  • If you go to the beach this season, collecting shells is a fun way to pass the time. Walking with your children, talking, and helping them become more observant by finding shells is something they will love. Taking those shells back home can lead to further entertainment. For example, you can dye them, much in the same manner that you would dye Easter eggs.
  • End up with leftover dye? Use it to make tie-dye T-shirts or pillowcases! With this craft, your child will have a memento of this summer that they will always be able to enjoy.
  • Any spare tin cans you may have used can now transform into wind chimes. When in doubt, falling back on the typical tools of crafting never hurts. Googly-eyes, glitter, paint, glue, stickers, and anything else you may think of will let your kids take full advantage of their creativity. Once completed, you can string them up together so they overlap one another and make music in the wind.

Crafts allow people to explore their creativity and handiwork. So, don’t be afraid to ask your kids what sort of items they would like to create or work on – they will certainly give you a great number of ideas.

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.

Summer Maintenance

by CustomHomes on Thursday, July 21, 2016

BackyardNow that fireflies are floating in the summer breeze and the heat has settled into backyards everywhere it can be difficult to remember that you have to maintain your home during the summer. Here are a few ways you can keep your home looking Better Homes and Gardens ready without working during the dog days of summer.

Clean Your Siding

Cleaning your home’s siding can give it a serious facelift. During the year algae and mold can accumulate on your siding, which will discolor the siding and make it look old and worn out. Instead of replacing the siding of your home you can power wash it every summer to keep it looking fresh and new. Just be sure to put it on a lower setting. While you will need some strength to get into the nooks and crannies you do not want to chipping the pain on your home or denting the siding.

Clean Out Extra Storage

Summer is the best time to clean out your old tool shed, garage, basement, attic, and/or other storage areas. Now that it is warm and there is plenty of time to organize, transport and donate unwanted stuff that has been complied in your home for who-knows-how-long. Be sure that once you have donated all of your unwanted items to clean the storage area thoroughly before putting closing the door for the season. You should also clean unwanted items before donation. While you can donate as is it is courteous to launder, dust, or clean and item for the next owner. No one wants a dusty end table.

Weed, Prune, and Harvest Gardens

By now many gardens look overgrown, weedy, and a horticultural mystery. But all hope is not lost. With a few afternoon weedings you can tackle your garden and have it looking beautiful yet again. I like to start with sections and move throughout my yard. I usually start at the front with weeding supplies as well as pruning and harvesting supplies. This way I’m ready no matter what I find. I usually block out about an hour a day to tackle the mess so it can be done in about a week’s time. From there I start back at the beginning with a tamer, happier garden.

Pool

It’s sweaty, stinky work but when you have a pool you have to keep it clean and safe. You can do this by sifting through the water everyday for debris and then vacuuming the pool once a week. While you are vacuuming be sure to check ph balances so your pool is safe and free of contaminants.

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!