Blog Archive for January, 2015

Tips for Moving Fido Into Your New Home

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 29, 2015

Tips for moving Fido into your new home

Moving to a new home is exciting, but it can also be stressful for the whole family. You’re aware of the changes happening, but your dog isn’t. Leaving the comfort of familiar spaces—inside and out—and landing in a strange one can be upsetting for the canine member of your family. Plan ahead and make it a little easier when moving your dog into a new home.

Start slowly. Tame some of the pent-up energy from the trip to your new place. When you arrive, take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood, letting her sniff out the surroundings (and for him to leave his mark on the territory). Then calmly walk up to your home. Avoid using an excited tone, saying something like, “Who has a new home? You do. You do!” Your pet doesn’t understand the words, but your voice will rev up the energy you’re trying to tame.

Make it familiar. Dog behavior is guided by a strong sense of smell. Have your new home ready with some familiar favorites. Avoid the temptation to stock it with new toys, blanket, bed, crate, and dishes. Put the old things in the same places as in your previous home, like the bed in the living room and the dishes near the refrigerator.

Be patient and attentive. Your dog will probably experience some anxiety at the sudden change—which could show itself with barking, pacing, and potty accidents. He might be more clingy than usual, so be patient and soothing. Plan to spend time playing together. Try to avoid scolding your pup too harshly during the transition. These dog behaviors are the result of fear and confusion. It doesn’t mean your good dog has become a naughty one.

Find friends. Check out the local dog parks where your precious pup can meet other dogs and dog lovers. Look for a good dog sitter who can come to your home and get to know your buddy. Walk around the neighborhood and you’ll quickly meet the pet lovers, who can give you advice on a good veterinarian, groomer, and pet sitter.

There’s nothing like getting a warm welcome from your dog. When you move into a new home, it’s your turn to do it for him!

2015 design trends in bathroom vanities

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 22, 2015

Beautiful sink in a bathroom

Bathrooms have evolved into more thoughtfully designed spaces that afford luxury, comfort, and convenience. The bathroom vanity is a focal point in the bathroom, and bath designers are giving us an extensive array of vanity styles to capture the unique look.

In 2015, design trends in bathroom vanities continue to present exciting ways to change the look of the room—from casual to sophisticated, contemporary to Old World.

One of the design trends that continues to gain popularity is the double-sink vanity. Whether a bathroom is shared by a couple, roommates, or a family, the extra sink gives everyone more room for personal care tasks.

Bathroom vanities are also looking less like cabinets and more like fine furniture. Whatever style you use in your home’s décor can continue into the bathroom. Rustic, antique, modern—whatever suits your taste. You can choose sleek, clean lines or carved and claw-footed. The vanity can be wall-mounted, like it’s floating in the room, with space underneath, instead of installed on the floor.

Bathroom vanities are also designed to accommodate the new sink styles, like the self-rimming, undermount, and popular vessel sinks, giving you more flexibility for getting the look you want.

The countertop reflects another design trend in bathroom vanities. Like their kitchen counterparts, bathroom counters are now styled with granite, marble, tile, wood, and solid surface material (a combination of crushed stones, like quartz, set in resin). Each one provides a durable surface that stands up to the water and chemicals (soaps, cleaners) commonly used in a bathroom.

By combining all of these options, you can create a signature focal point in your bathroom.


Get Your Closet in Shape

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 15, 2015

Closet Organization

What’s lurking behind that closet door? Do you open it slowly, in fear of what might come tumbling out? It’s easy to ignore your storage clutter, but why not just invest the time to take control, rather than the other way around? Here are some closet organization tips to guide you on your way.

  1. Start on empty. When you de-clutter, you need to give yourself a blank canvas to start all over. Don’t just move around what’s already in there; that’s like painting over a mistake. Take a deep breath, open the door, and remove all of the contents of your closet.
  2. Sort through everything you’ve removed from the closet and place each item in one of three piles: Keep, Donate, Move. The “Keep” items will go back in the closet once it’s reorganized. “Donate” goes to a charity. “Move” will be stored elsewhere, in a place where it might be used more often by being more accessible. For example, if you have shoved toys into your bedroom closet to get them out of the way, move them back to the kids’ rooms.
  3. Take inventory. Look at the items you want to keep in the closet. How do you want to store them? Are you going to fold the clothes or linens? Will they be in bins or boxes? Do you have oversized or heavy items that will need a larger or stronger space? Determine how many things will need to be on a hanger; you might discover that you don’t need a rod that extends across the full length of the closet, freeing up more space for shelves or open storage. If you have more short clothing items (shirts, jackets) than longer ones (dresses), maybe you’ll benefit from a double rod where you have two rows for your clothing, one above the other.
  4. Take measurements of your closet space. This will help you choose closet organization systems that fit. If you have lots of shelves, measure the height between each. You might determine that you should remove one or two shelves to store taller things. Plan to limit your stacks to no more than a foot to avoid toppling, and allow about four to six inches between the piles to reach between them.
  5. Maximize the space. Don’t forget to include the closet door and floor in your storage planning. You could hang a shoe tree or jewelry organizer on the door, or mount pegboard for easy access to things, like tape, scissors, rulers, notepads, jewelry, and other items that often get buried in a drawer. Organize the closet floor space using boxes on casters for shoes, toys, and other pieces you want to access easily. Mount hooks on the door and walls of the closet for extra hanging space, for things like scarves, neckties, handbags, and jewelry.
  6. Assemble your storage space. Now that you have an empty closet and have sorted out the things that will be going back in there, install the racks, rods, and shelves. Next, label the bins, boxes, and baskets with whatever will be stored in them. There are plenty of creative ways to tag your storage, like luggage tags, chalk-painted adhesive labels, and even photos (perfect for children’s storage).
  7. Light it up. If you don’t already have a light in your closet, add one. Save yourself the time of digging around in the dark and messing up your beautifully organized closet. If you don’t want to hard-wire a light, use a battery-operated light that sticks to the ceiling or wall.
  8. Restore your storage. Be mindful as you replace the items in your closet. Make sure the things you use the most are also the most accessible. Group clothing items together (stack t-shirts in one stack, sweaters in another). Hang up your clothing by shirts, blouses, jackets, pants, and skirts—all facing in the same direction. When you wear something and hang it back up, face the hanger in the opposite direction, so you can easily see what you’re not wearing.

Most importantly, once you’ve invested the time in re-creating your closet storage, be vigilant about keeping it organized. Follow your new system, and urge others in your household do the same.

Fireplace: A good investment in your new home?

Categories: Blog | Posted: January 8, 2015


When the air gets chilly and it’s time to turn on the heat inside your home, the idea of a fireplace becomes very inviting. There’s nothing as cozy on a wintry day as snuggling up in front of a crackling fire.

If you don’t already have one figured into your home design plans, is a fireplace a good investment in your home?

According to a study by the National Center for Real Estate Research, a fireplace can increase the average home value by 6 to 12 percent. Reports from a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that nearly 40 percent of homebuyers would pay an extra $1,400 for a home that included at least one fireplace. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that more than half of the homebuyers surveyed in 2012 considered a fireplace a desirable or essential feature.

If you’re considering the addition of a fireplace because of the return on investment, you should also consider the potential energy savings. Today’s energy-efficient fireplaces (including gas inserts) are designed to keep more heat in the house and release less up the chimney.

Consider the cost

What does a fireplace cost? The price can vary greatly. You could spend from a few hundred dollars to $20,000 depending on the style. A ventless fireplace doesn’t require a chimney, which saves money on the construction. A gas or propane-fueled fireplace might cost $2,000 to $3,000, not including installation. Be prepared to pay more than $4,000 for a wood-burning fireplace, in addition to the price of having a mason do the brick or stonework to finish it.

Also factor in the cost of fuel—wood, propane, gas, electricity, or gel—and maintenance. Every chimney should be cleaned once a year, just prior to heating season, to check for cracks, damage, and creosote build-up that could spark a chimney fire.

Should you add a fireplace to your new home? The choice is yours. Talk to your home builder about the options and costs, and then see what ignites your enthusiasm!

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