Category: New Homeowners

3 Emerging Design Trends for Todays Lifestyle

3 Emerging Design Trends for Todays Lifestyle

Events from the past year have all of us reconsidering what we want and need out of our homes. From work and play to wellness, our homes have become the epicenter of, well, everything – leading to an emergence of design trends focused on adapting to a new normal. The design experts at Wilsonart, a world-leading provider of engineered surfaces, have identified three new lifestyle trends that are affecting lasting design changes.

  1. Back to Nature

It’s no secret that nature has the power to inspire, invigorate, restore and refresh. Research has shown that interacting with nature can offer mental health benefits, including decreasing stress and relieving anxiety. Likewise, incorporating elements of nature into the home has been proven to improve happiness and well-being.

Whether as a room’s canvas or a pop of color on an accent wall, paint is an easy and affordable way to bring nature’s beauty into the home with colors that evoke a sense of calm and serenity. “Dark blue hues reminiscent of water and the sky are trending, along with lush greens that infuse spaces with the fresh essence of grass and foliage,” says designer Gwen Petter. “Earthy neutrals, such as tans and beiges, are also in high demand for their ability to ground us and surround us with soothing natural tones.”

Beyond color, 40% of people report that they want a connection to nature, particularly in their kitchens, according to a survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Homeowners are choosing nature-inspired materials for focal areas like countertops, cabinets and islands. Wilsonart® Home offers beautiful, on-trend options for virtually every surface in the home with performance features and price points to suit any lifestyle and budget. The expertly curated collection includes environmentally sustainable materials such as high-pressure laminates and performance veneers that deliver the authentic looks of exotic woods, stone-inspired solid surface options, and non-porous engineered quartz.

  1. “Resi-mercial” and Rustic

Fueled by the drastic decline in domestic and international travel during the pandemic, homeowner interest in replicating the sophisticated style and comforts of an upscale hotel or luxury resort in their home has continued to grow. From plush towels and perfectly plump pillows to spa-worthy bathrooms and chef-quality kitchens, commercially inspired designs are increasingly crossing over into the residential arena.

Carrara marble continues to be one of the most sought-after surfaces to achieve this clean, sophisticated, “resi-mercial” look, but not everyone desires the cost and maintenance that comes with the natural stone. The Wilsonart® Solid Surface Crafted Collection combines nature’s beauty with cutting-edge design innovation to deliver the look of authentic marble in an ultra-durable acrylic solid surface. This series of movement designs capture the beauty and drama of marble typically only seen in natural materials like quartz and stone with virtually limitless design applications for the kitchen, bath, and beyond.

Scandi Noir is another “resi-mercial” design approach that is gaining traction, particularly in kitchens. This style features looser rules and is characterized by the use of dark cabinets combined with dark countertops or contrasting dark and light surfaces. “Kitchen cabinets are still predominantly white, but more homeowners are adding a pop of color with contrasting island cabinets. In fact, searches for black and navy kitchens are up significantly,” notes Petter.

  1. Sustainable Style

As our lives become increasingly home-centric, our homes need to perform on a level they may never have before, and this includes incorporating materials that work as hard as we do. “Today’s homeowners are seeking surfaces that will live up to the rigors of everyday life,” explains Petter. “There also is growing interest in sustainable alternatives to natural products, which can contribute to deforestation and degraded air quality from sourcing and mining operations. Human-made composite materials offer appealing options that often outperform natural materials, delivering greater durability, less ongoing maintenance, and fewer harmful environmental impacts.”

Alternative materials like laminate, solid surface, and quartz mimic the best of Mother Nature without impacting the environment, offering appealing options for eco-conscious consumers. Many of these engineered surfaces are UL GREENGUARD Gold Certified to meet low chemical emissions limits for better air quality. Additionally, many laminate products are made with a combination of fibers from FSC-certified, fast-growing, sustainably managed woods and post-consumer recycled content (PCRC). For more information and inspiration, visit Wilsonart.com. (BPT)

Hot Trends in Renovations

Hot Trends in Renovations

Thank you for taking a minute to read this article about Hot Trends in Renovation. When great information is found, we like sharing it with our wonderful agents. Please enjoy.

Hot Trends in Renovation
By Denise Lones, The Lones Group

This week I am on-site at one of my properties. I’ve just finished a renovation here, and I have to share something very important: the building industry, home design industry, renovation/remodel industry—they’re all changing! And it is dramatic.

That’s why I have scheduled an online workshop covering the hottest trends later this summer to go over some of those changes. I’m going to go over architectural trends, color and paint trends, cabinet trends, and more.

home renovation

Just to give you a preview of this new kitchen, one of the biggest trends in kitchens is adding shelves. You may notice that the cabinets are not white, but linen, which is one of the hottest color trends right now especially when combined with a pop of black in the handle. Another major trend we’re seeing are these clean rectangular glass tiles.

“But Denise, why should I care about trends? They’re just going to change anyway,” I can hear you say.

You should care because your clients are going to ask you questions about this. Whether they are thinking about renovating before a sale, after a sale, or just touching up their home for listing photos, they trust your opinion and they want to know what’s really going on. Personal style aside, it’s always good to keep tabs on what is currently popular, because that can affect your clients’ bottom line.

Another subject I cover in the class is how to save money. Your clients will be eager to hear how to do a renovation on a shoestring budget. Fixer-uppers are also going to be more financially attractive. Your clients want to know what is a good idea and what is a money-sink.

We are also going to be taking a look at all the new products coming on the market. Specifically new counter-top products and flooring products. If I had to take two things to a desert island for a renovation, give me a few gallons of paint and some new flooring. The way flooring is engineered today is mind-boggling. You can save money and make impactful transformations that wouldn’t be possible unless you knew it was available.

We’ve just gone through a very modern-minimalist phase, and now we’re swinging back to a modern-traditional phase. That means warmer colors, richer textures, and more color and textures. My goal is to help you navigate this shift, even if it isn’t your personal style.

Now, I’m a black-and-white kind of gal. I love high-contrast black and white, but on this remodel, I chose linen (not pure white) because that’s what people want. Knowing little things like that can save you money, make you money, and give you the edge.

Thank you for reading this and please remember us if you or someone you know needs a home inspection.

Carpet Helps You Create a Healthy, Stylish, Comfortable Home

Carpet Helps You Create a Healthy, Stylish, Comfortable Home

Being at home more often has inspired many people to make changes in their favorite spaces that focus on health and comfort. You might be surprised to learn that carpeting a room supports both these goals, plus offers near-endless style possibilities.

Carpet is a popular flooring option, accounting for 48% of the total U.S. flooring market, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute. Adding carpet or refreshing the carpet you already have in your home has many benefits, from helping you breathe easier to keeping loved ones safe. Here are the top reasons people are opting for carpet:

Health and Indoor Air Quality

Carpets can help support a healthy home, even for people with asthma and allergies. The updated asthma management guidelines from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute do not include recommendations to remove carpet as a way to treat asthma and allergies.

“Scientific research shows that carpet does not negatively impact allergies or asthma. In fact, carpet can improve your home’s air quality by trapping allergens, keeping them out of the breathing zone, and making them easy to vacuum,” said Dr. Michael Halwig, allergy specialist on the clinical faculty of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. “All too often patients have been advised to remove carpeting in the home to deal with environmental allergies. This is often expensive and impractical for many families. Current knowledge shows that the use of vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters and other environmental control measures are much more effective in reducing allergens in the home.”

Many people are installing additional carpets in their homes to help improve air quality. Fortunately, the vast majority of carpet sold in the U.S. is certified through CRI’s Green Label Plus program, a third-party certification that demonstrates products are among the lowest emission emitting carpet, adhesive, and cushion products on the market.

Safety and Noise Reduction

With people spending more time at home, indoor noise pollution is becoming a big problem. Carpet and carpet pads help absorb excessive sounds to soften noises within a room while serving as a sound barrier between floors. This is especially important in rooms with large TVs, sound systems, or speakerphones, as well as in hallways and on stairs to soften foot traffic. Whether you’re working, studying, or relaxing, carpet reduces noise so you can focus.

Carpet is also a safe choice, particularly in multigenerational homes. In addition to added comfort in cushioning footsteps, carpet can help reduce slips and falls that may occur more easily on hard surface flooring. Carpet is safe for the whole family, but especially for toddlers and older individuals who are more prone to falls. If a fall does happen, carpet can help minimize injury.

Fashion and Functionality

Carpet can serve as a neutral foundation, in popular tones of gray, cream, or beige, or it can be a focal point featuring vibrant colors and bold patterns. With thousands of carpet styles, colors, textures, and designs, you can select an option that suits your personal taste and complements your home’s aesthetic.

Beyond beauty, carpet provides a great place to sit and is comfortable underfoot. Because carpet provides thermal insulation, it helps maintain a room’s optimum temperature; for example, in cooler months it retains warm air for longer. It feels good and looks good, helping create an inviting feeling in any room.

“With two toddlers, a dog, and two cats, carpet was a must-have throughout our home. Carpet provides comfort, warmth, and style – and we also love that it improves indoor air quality,” said Chelsee Hood, mother, and blogger. “Many families are choosing to install carpet for these reasons and more, making it a great feature in the modern home.”

Five Secrets to Building the Best Media Room

Five Secrets to Building the Best Media Room

A very popular amenity that’s found in many homes, newly built or existing – and one that’s on many homeowners’ wish lists – is a Home Theater or Media Room. Keep on reading to see some sure-fire media room ideas that you can incorporate into your home, whether small or large, ordinary or amazing.

Media Room Build

 

What fun to have your very own media room to invite your family and friends to watch your favorite movies and shows. A media room or home theater is becoming more popular in new homes and is even a replacement for the “rec rooms” of the past. And why not? With online movie streaming and downloading favorites more convenient, this added space in any home is a bonus. Whether you devote one entire space to a media room or incorporate media features into a multipurpose room, here are 5-secrets to building a “5-star” media room.

Secret 1: Plan, Plan, Plan! There are many variables that are associated with creating a media room so planning ahead is the first secret to getting just what you want. Create a “floor plan” and diagram your dream room onto paper. Refer to catalogs and magazines for inspiration. Consider the size of the space, the style of the room, audio/video equipment, and most important…your budget. Decide if you can allocate this space just for a media room or if it will be used for other family activities.

Secret 2: Select The Right Lighting: Getting the room lit just right is important. Since you won’t be watching movies all of the time, and if you opt to use the room for other activities, consider installing lights with dimmer switches. Whether you use recessed lighting, lamps, or overhead installations, the dimmer switch will be convenient and effective.

Secret 3: Design The Acoustics: Seeing and hearing is believing! A major aspect of any movie experience is the sound so pay particular attention to the acoustics of your media room. Installing carpet, opposed to tile or hardwood will improve the sound. Surround sound speakers that are placed in all areas of the room offer a movie theater experience that will make a huge difference in your space. Remote controls will add convenience. Headphones are part of our everyday culture, so installing jacks by each seat could be an option, especially if the room isn’t soundproof. Consider working with a professional who is trained in acoustic design.

Secret 4: Keep Decor Welcoming: If you can dedicate a room exclusively for a media room, make the focal point of the screen and keep other accessories to a minimum. But since most of us have to create our media room to share with other family activities, keep the room warm and welcoming with furniture arrangement and screen placement. Set the largest sofa facing the screen. Place the chairs out so they face each other but can be moved to different areas of the room. Store chairs in closets for additional seating. The television screen can be installed inside a cabinet so the doors can open and close as needed or a projector can be installed to the ceiling, away from view. Flat-screen televisions are now becoming part of a room’s design, so you may decide not to conceal them at all.

Secret 5: Upgrade In The Future: Audio and visual equipment change frequently so consider designing your room to incorporate future upgrades. For example, design and install lighting, movie screens, televisions, and audio equipment in an easy-to-access way so they can be removed, replaced, or even repaired without damaging the structure of the room.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it. And, if you need a home inspection or know of someone who does, be sure to give us a call. We’re always available for you.

 

Spice Up Your Deck With These 5 Creative Budget-Friendly Ideas

Spice Up Your Deck With These 5 Creative Budget-Friendly Ideas

Grab your cold drinks, and let the Springtime begin! Is your deck all “decked out” and ready for this season of warm sunshine and longer days? Fabulous decks and patios will instantly turn your home into an outdoor getaway. Fortunately, you can spice up your deck for less than you’d expect. Here are 5-creative budget-friendly ideas to get you started.

home improvement diy decks

1. Incorporate Plants
Accentuate the space with plants and blooming flowers to make it look more vibrant and alive. Container-grown shrubs and trees are excellent for small spaces. You can also opt for hardy, long-blooming flower varieties to add seasonal color. Make sure to place the tallest plants around the deck’s rim so that they get the sufficient amount of sunshine they need and don’t crowd out smaller pots.

2. Extend Living Space Outdoors
Make your deck a perfect place where you can have breakfast or evening drinks with family and friends. End tables, side tables, and ottomans will automatically add convenience and beauty. Select a special piece of furniture you want to use to anchor your outdoor space and position it where it achieves focal point status. You can accessorize with outdoor throw pillows and rugs to add a pop of color.

3. Lattice Up
Installing a lattice is a low-cost refresh that will give you a beautiful, neat looking result. You may train flowering vines like climbing roses and clematis to grow up the lattice and form a beautiful wall of blooms for a beautiful living art piece. Whether you want your deck to feel more private and secluded or just have something stylish to look at, adding lattice is an ideal solution.

4. Consider Adding a Fountain
Turn your deck into a relaxing and restful retreat with the soothing sound of flowing water. A fountain will add instant charm to any outdoor space. The good news is that you don’t have to be a millionaire to add this water feature to your deck. There are a wide variety of affordable electric fountains available at most home stores. You won’t need to shell out for the expensive designs. Find something simple and stylish and position it in a low-traffic area of your deck. You may dress up around the fountain with greenery in classy pots.

5. Refinish the Boards
Is your wooden deck peeling or discolored? Transform your drab worn-out old deck into a vibrant, aesthetically pleasing entertainment area for a lot less than the cost of replacement. Sometimes, all you need is a simple refinish. Giving your deck a professional-looking refinishing job is something you can do yourself. Ensure that your deck is properly cleaned and sanded before you apply a protective finish, which can be a stain and separate water repellent coat or a combination product.

Look no further than your own outdoor space for the simplest of spring/summer pleasures. With these 5-simple tips, you can turn your deck into an outdoor paradise, perfect for making new summertime memories you will treasure forever.

If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they can enjoy it too. And, if you need a home inspection or know of someone who does, be sure to give us a call. We’re always available for you.

 

 

The Laundry Room, How Best To Remodel It.

The Laundry Room, How Best To Remodel It.

Your laundry room is one of the most-used rooms in your house. For many homeowners, however, it isn’t always one of the most pleasant rooms. Since you spend so much time in there, however, there’s no reason that it has to be an unpleasant place to be. You can redesign it so that it’s a fun, airy place that you’ll love to enter when it’s laundry time.

Remodeling The Laundry Room

Decide on a Color Scheme

If your laundry room is dark, creating a color scheme full of bright colors, or going with a neutral white, can lighten it up and make it seem both larger and more cheerful. If there is no window in the room, white or a light cream will often work best to create a more airy space. No matter which colors you choose, there will be beautiful natural materials that you can use to create a more beautiful and upscale room that will add both enjoyment and value to this space.

Choose Materials

Today’s homes are full of stone countertops and a variety of tiles. With your colors in mind, it’s time to choose your countertop’s material, your flooring and your wall colors. Countertops today are often done in natural materials like marble, granite and quartz. Choose the durability and color you need and get a countertop that will be a pleasure to look at and work with each day.

Having a tile laundry room floor is ideal because it handles water well. Both slate and porcelain tile are perfect for creating a floor that is ready for constant use. They also look great and are on-trend in modern laundry rooms. Both come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Work With Your Space

No matter what the size of your laundry room, there is a way to use the space to its best advantage. Plan out the optimal use for the space to include everything you need while allowing you plenty of room to move around. You may need to invest in stackable appliances to maximize the space. If the room is large, consider having different areas for different tasks and storage needs. A full-sized ironing board is easy to place in a large room, but a smaller one can benefit from one that is attached to the wall and foldable.

Using the Room

One of the most important things to consider is how you use your laundry room. Don’t think about an ideal way that the room could be used – think about the real way that you will use it each day. Make a list of what you do in there and what you need to store in it. If you store a lot of cleaning supplies, consider creating a small closet or installing a built-in, tall cabinet that will hold things like the brooms and vacuum cleaner. If you like to fold and iron in the room, make sure you leave plenty of space for these activities.

Most people store various items in their laundry rooms, and you can store in style after your remodel. Choose your cabinet sizes based on what you keep in the room, and get more out of the space by having your cabinets and shelving extend up high to the ceiling. If you often hang your clothing dry, consider installing a drying rack. If you do a lot of clothing repairs and sewing, consider adding a desk to the room to allow for sewing space.

With a new laundry room that meets the needs of your household, you will enjoy the time you spend there. You will also be able to store your necessary items and have plenty of space to get laundry done in a beautiful, updated room.

We enjoy sharing great information like this with you. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they can enjoy it too. And, if you need a home inspection or know of someone who does, be sure to give us a call. We’re always available for you.

5 Clever Value-boosting Tips for Your Home

5 Clever Value-boosting Tips for Your Home

Have you ever had moments when you look at your home and say to yourself what a beautiful place you have? Whether it is the spacious kitchen, or the sunny yard, the charming deck, or the cozy bedrooms, there was probably something that attracted you to this house; that’s why you bought it. But remember, a new home is just like a new car: It will age and depreciate over time. It is essential to make it a habit to continuously maintain and make your home even better to boost its value as time passes. Here are 5 clever value-boosting tips for your home:

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1. Create Space
Open floor plans are becoming a trend in many major and minor remodeling projects for older homes. Conventionally, most United States houses have walls that separate the kitchen and the living room. The open floor plan aims to connect two or more rooms to form a communal living area. This open concept gives the impression of a larger space. If a wall separates your kitchen from your living room, consider removing the barrier. Create a flow between the rooms by adding stylish and functional furniture. You will be surprised how much you’ll transform your home’s feel.

2. Make the Most of Your Yard
Are you looking for a sure way of making your home one of the most attractive houses in the neighborhood? Proper landscaping will never fail you! A well-landscaped yard dramatically impacts the entire look and feel of your home, increasing your property’s value by 10 to 12 percent. Landscaping is one of the top home investments with the highest returns. HomeGain, a real estate marketing company, surveyed 2,000 brokers and found out that an investment of between $400 – $500 can generate up to four times in returns. Never overlook the landscaping!

3. Update Your Plumbing
Nothing lasts forever, including the pipes in your home. Appraisers significantly consider plumbing conditions when giving value to your property. In older houses, the piping materials may be galvanized steel or iron, durable but prone to corrosion. Over time, the tubing gradually corrodes and rusts. If your steel pipes look old and degraded, it’s about time to update your plumbing system. Unless you replace your plumbing, you’re eventually going to get plumbing disasters that may lead to expensive damages to your house and belongings. If you still have steel pipes in your home, it is best to have them replaced. There are multiple options professional plumbers can suggest regarding the material you should use as a replacement to serve you best.

4. Freshen Up Your Bathroom
Replacing outdated fixtures can go a long way to giving your bathroom a fresh new classy look. Popular finishes include brushed nickel or satin because they pair well with most tile choices. A chrome finish is also an excellent choice if you want a more classic look. You may also opt to update your contractor-grade lighting into something more stylish and functional and repaint the walls to brighten up your bathroom. Most people consider the bathroom as the most personal space in the home. We all want this intimate space to reflect our style, but it should also simultaneously deliver the comfort we need.

5. Let there be light
You can do many things to brighten up your house, so adding windows and knocking down the walls are not the only solutions. Start by fixing broken panes and light switches that trigger dim lighting and replacing old light bulbs. Make sure to trim any trees or bushes near your windows regularly to welcome the sunlight into your room. Don’t forget the exterior lighting because they contribute significantly to your home’s aesthetic appeal and crucial for your safety and security. Make sure that all the lights are correctly installed and fully functional.

Boost your home’s value with these small-scale upgrades and spruce-ups! These five value-boosting tips are for sure worth your investment.

Creating Your Dream Bedroom in 2021

Imagine yourself having that comfortable and cozy space of your own where you destress after a long day. How would you want your room to look and feel?

Living rooms and kitchens are social hubs where we put a lot of our energy and resources into, but for many, creating their dream bedrooms may mean creating a new and better YOU.

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It is time to create the cozy retreat you want, whether that be a glamorous look, calming and zen-like, or a more clean and minimalistic style. Finding the theme that fits your style and mood will make you feel at peace and worth your investment. Here are some tips on how:

1. Clean Your Room.
The state of your bedroom can have different effects on your life. It impacts your mind and mood when you get up, start your day, and face issues head-on. Stripping everything down and removing any clutter out of your room can create change in your life. When you either move into a new home and start over in a blank space, or you want to spruce up your room, it allows you to rethink and see things from a new perspective.

 2. Arrange Your Furniture.
Arranging furniture can be a daunting task, but working on easy-to-apply principles that are practical and aesthetically-pleasing can be more beneficial for you.

Choose where to place your furniture like your bed, desk, dresser, and shelves. Find a balance of both size and placement of various pieces. Consider traffic flow making sure that you or anyone else will not trip over a piece of furniture.

Arranging the things inside your bedroom can help improve your mood and sleep cycles.

 3. Decorate.

Bed
Your bed is probably the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom. It is great to pick your duvet covers, blankets, and pillowcases that will match your color scheme or theme of choice. Plain linens create a neutral space giving that sense of freshness and minimalism while highlighting other décors. If you fancy a change of linen into patterned or textured ones, your bed can become a great statement adding a modern touch of style. Having a couple of different bedding sets will allow keeping everything looking fresh.

Lights
Lights not only brighten up your space but can also make a significant difference in your health, safety, and budget. Whether it be natural light, string lights, lantern lights, lamps, or candles, adding in a few well-placed lights can enhance your bedroom space and benefit from it.

Plants
Plants liven up your space and add a special touch to any dream bedroom. They purify and give off oxygen while absorbing toxins from the air. Plants help you breathe better, relieve stress, improve your health, boost your mood, and get a good night’s sleep. Placing in some freshly picked flowers once a week can be great too. Natural floral scents beat any artificial air freshener.

Curtains
While curtains and blinds add a certain level of style, these can also provide functional benefits. Curtains will keep your room warmer during rainy days or winter and cooler in the summer. It reduces glare or diffuses light while enjoying natural light or completely blocks it so you can sleep. Curtains also provide more privacy.

Rugs
Rugs make fabulous pieces, especially on hardwood floors. It serves as a comfortable underfoot and adds warmth and texture. For smaller rooms, a large rug under the bed can make an optical illusion making the room appear wider.

Accessories
Lastly, accessorize! Decor pieces or collections that are sentimental can show off the theme of your room. Perhaps a spot for your corner table will look lovely. You can display your favorite tea set, trinkets, and decorative pieces. Some right-sized wall artwork or a mirror placed strategically can make great additions to spruce up your bedroom.

Bedrooms may be less likely to be viewed by houseguests and never seem to be on top of your priorities list when cleaning or even setting up the rest of the house. But remember that it is where you start and end your day.

Thank you for taking the time to read this informative article. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it as well.

Innovations and Trends that are Transforming Homebuilding

Innovations and Trends that are Transforming Homebuilding

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Technology is doing more than changing the way people communicate; it’s transforming the world of home building and design. Innovations and fresh trends are creating homes that are safer, healthier, more efficient, and more comfortable.

Futuristic Framework

Made by gluing together three to seven layers of smaller boards, cross-laminated timber (CLT) provides a sturdy, affordable alternative to other construction materials. The slabs are prefabricated at a mill and cut to specific sizes for quick and easy installation. This lightweight but strong material can be used for walls, flooring, and roofing and doesn’t require any special knowledge to work with. Since it can be up to 50 percent cheaper than other construction materials, homes built using CTL can offer all the comforts of a similar structure at a lower cost.

Window Efficiency Upgrades

Windows are big sources of heat loss in many homes. That’s why the U.S. Department of Energy offers the Window Replacement, Rehabilitation, & Repair Guide for homeowners and builders. No matter what the age of your home, the tips in this guide can help you spruce up, modify, or replace existing windows to maximize energy efficiency.

Rehabilitating or replacing windows to improve insulation and minimize air leakage lowers your energy bills by helping your home to retain more warmth during the winter months. In new constructions, windows can be placed to take full advantage of natural light so that you don’t have to use as much electricity. Both design elements improve the interior atmosphere, making it more comfortable and inviting.

Cleaner and Healthier

The fresh carpeting and paint in new homes may release compounds such as formaldehyde into the air. Combined with the potential for dirt and allergens to build up in duct systems and the tendency for mold to grow in damp basements and bathrooms, this can make for an unhealthy home atmosphere.

Innovative companies are working to come up with solutions to these problems so that you can enjoy your new home without worry. For example, AirRenew now makes a type of drywall that not only resists mold formation but also actively removes formaldehyde from the air. In addition, you can install a whole-house filter to deal with airborne particles.

Multi-Function for Maximum Space

Many homeowners are starting to recognize the appeal of condensing multiple rooms into one space that serves several purposes. In response, builders are moving away from sprawling, oversized homes that segment every aspect of life into separate rooms and instead are creating combined living and dining areas, bedrooms with loft space, and family rooms that incorporate entertainment.

This trend toward minimalism means that you can get all the space you need to live comfortably in a smaller, more affordable home. Going smaller also makes you think about what you want and need from your living space. A trend toward openness in floor plans adds an element of comfort that ensures you never feel cramped even if you do decide to downsize.

Blurring the Lines Between House and Yard

Large banks of windows that open and close like garage doors are turning the old concept of a screened-in porch into something that can be enjoyed all year long. It’s a trend spurred on by an appreciation for how natural light can change the feel of a room. Adding attractive landscaping outside the windows and using your favorite houseplants to decorate inside creates a feeling that the two spaces are flowing together.

These updated porches can be used to expand your living space, create a special area for relaxation, or set up the fitness room you’ve always wanted. You can also use the room for entertaining at any time of year, keeping the doors open when it’s warm and decorating the windows with drapes during the winter months.

The Customized Castle

In a world where it only takes a few clicks to customize everything from your wardrobe to your smartphone, it’s not surprising that home design is becoming increasingly more personal. This trend hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet, but it is on the horizon for the not-so-distant future.

Imagine being able to visit a website and use online tools to craft the exact home that you want to live in. When it becomes possible to customize a home like this, you won’t have to worry about finding just the right features in an existing structure. Instead, you’ll work with a builder to take your creation and make it a reality.

With these trends on the rise, it’s becoming easier than ever to find a home that fits your needs and speaks to your style. Many changes can already be implemented in existing structures, giving you the freedom to personalize your space and create the home of your dreams.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

Enhancing your home’s safety with fire extinguishers.

Enhancing your home’s safety with fire extinguishers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this informative article. We hope you enjoy it.

You check your alarms regularly and practice your family escape plan — but are you overlooking an essential component of home safety? Having fire extinguishers — and knowing how to use them — is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family.

“In America, a fire starts in a residential home every 86 second — and the rapid protection offered by fire extinguishers can make the difference between minor or insignificant damage and greater tragedy,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in home safety. “However, because many Americans have never activated a traditional fire extinguisher before, many do not understand the essential role that fire extinguishers play in a home safety plan and lack the confidence and know-how to use them properly.”

To help overcome this, follow these tips on fire extinguisher placement and usage to help ensure you and your family are properly prepared in case of emergency:

Compare features: When selecting a fire extinguisher, two of the most important features are the size and intended use. Larger commercial fire extinguishers meant for public spaces may be too heavy or unwieldy for some family members. Select a home fire extinguisher that weighs 3 lbs. or less for easy handling. For home fire extinguishers, other features to look for include a metal valve and trigger, which offer the durability of a commercial-grade extinguisher, as well as an easy-to-read color-coded gauge for accurate measurement. Spray times also vary by make and manufacturer, so select extinguishers that perform above the standard and feature longer spray times. Remember, a fire extinguisher that has been discharged is no longer effective, so consider rechargeable extinguishers which can be recharged by a certified professional if the unit is used.

Check out understanding a home fire extinguisher by clicking the image:

Keep It In Reach

If a fire breaks out in the living room but the extinguisher is elsewhere, you may not be able to access it before the fire grows beyond control. When seconds count, having an extinguisher nearby is crucial for rapid response. For this reason, place an extinguisher in each area of the home where a fire could potentially occur, including the kitchen, living room, each bedroom, and the garage. In most cases, one extinguisher is likely not enough protection for an entire household. In addition, make sure that every responsible member of your household (including house sitters and babysitters) knows where each fire extinguisher is placed. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing fire extinguishers close to room exits so that you are able to discharge it and quickly escape if the fire cannot be controlled.

Know your ABCs

While they may all look similar, fire extinguishers have very specific ratings that indicate what kind of fire they are designed to extinguish. Extinguishers with a Class A rating are able to put out fires caused by wood, paper, trash, and other common materials, while Class B rated extinguishers are intended for gasoline and flammable liquids. Class C rated extinguishers are meant for fires caused by electrical equipment, such as frayed cords. For general protection, it’s best to select a multi rated extinguisher, such as the I, that’s capable of handling most types of household fires. Beyond the Rechargeable Home Fire Extinguisher, First Alert offers an entire range of extinguishers for home and commercial use.

Know How To Use It

Every fire extinguisher includes instructions on proper usage, but a simple way to remember is with the acronym PASS:

Pull the pin on the extinguisher

Aim the nozzle low toward the base of the fire

Squeeze the trigger

Sweep the nozzle from side to side

Frequently repeat the acronym when practicing your family escape plan so that if a fire occurs, the response will be automatic.

Know when to go

Combating small fires with an extinguisher is one component of a fire response plan, but the primary goal should be a safe escape. The first step in any scenario should be to call 911. In addition, a fire extinguisher is no substitute for having — and regularly practicing — a home fire escape plan, and ensuring that proper functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed throughout the home — one on each level and in every bedroom — to provide early detection. Keep in mind that alarms and fire extinguishers aren’t designed to last forever, and must be replaced at least every 10 years.

We hope this information will be useful to you and your family. If so, please share with others, you never know, this article may help save a life.

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