Blog Archive for May, 2015

Tips to Design a Chef’s Kitchen You’ll Love

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 28, 2015


When cooking is your passion, the kitchen is the most important space in your home. Today’s foodies are investing in designing the ultimate chef’s kitchen. You don’t need massive space—just smart planning. A true chef’s kitchen is designed with functionality in mind.

Here are some helpful tips to design a chef’s kitchen.

  1. Efficient layout. Follow the triangle pattern that connects you to the sink, refrigerator, and range, without excess steps. A U- or L-shaped kitchen layout or center island provides the best flow from these three key places.
  2. Easy care, durable surfaces. Certainly, you want an attractive kitchen, but you need to consider that the workspace is going to need to withstand a lot of spills, chopping, hot pans and dishes, and splatters. Look for surfaces that are easy to clean, resist stains, and can hide the inevitable scratches. Stainless steel is ideal for appliances and sinks. A quartz countertop is easier to maintain than granite, while still providing an elegant appearance.
  3. Non-skid flooring. With spills and splatters prevalent in your kitchen, you’ll need a non-skid floor. Travertine tile is beautiful, but not easy to keep clean. Cork flooring is becoming more popular in kitchens because it’s eco-friendly, durable, and provides a bit of cushioning for your feet. Vinyl flooring or ceramic tile with a non-skid coating offer a wide range of colors and designs.
  4. Smart storage. Make every space count in your chef’s kitchen. Take advantage of the many cabinetry options available, like deep drawers where you can stash your pots and pans, with the lids so you don’t have to go searching. Install pullout cabinets for your pantry, spice rack, canned goods, and vertical items, like trays, racks, and cookie sheets. Use drawer organizers to separate your cooking utensils. If you like a rustic look, use a pot rack so your pans are at arm’s reach.
  5. Put luxury in your appliances and tools. Quality tools that allow for great results with ease are essential for a chef’s kitchen. A double wall oven, four or six-burner gas stove, large refrigerator, professional stand mixer, warming drawer, and hands-free faucet are some of the finishing touches that contribute to the kitchen of your dreams. Top it off with task lighting in key areas, and you’re cooking now!

When you build your new home with Tuskes, don’t worry. Our design center experts will help assist you every step of the way!

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning A Home Theater

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 21, 2015


You’re ready to make your movie viewing experience better than the large-screen television in your living room. Forget the man cave, the playroom, the craft room, the room that your mother-in-law might be eyeing as her second home.

It’s time to create a home theater.

Before you jump into buying all the expensive equipment and drilling holes for light fixtures and wires, let me share some common home theater design mistakes, with hopes you will avoid them.

  1. Picking the wrong room. The home theater sound system isn’t a one-room-fits-all component. You need to choose a space that will provide the best sound quality. That means a square or rectangular room with no windows—not even if they’re covered with heavy drapes or blinds. Not only will it let in some light, but the outside noise will filter through.
  2. Cutting corners on the speakers. If you don’t have a great picture and sound quality, your home theater will be a flop. A good set of speakers is the best investment because they will deliver the quality and durability you expect. And be sure that the ohms and wattage for the speakers match your amplifier so you don’t blow them out.
  3. Wrong screen placement. Long ago and far away, people stared up at movie screens in theaters. Then came the reality of ergonomics. Looking up causes neck strain. So, sit down in your new home theater furniture. Look straight ahead. The top of the monitor should be just a few inches above your eye level gaze.
  4. Wrong seating placement. No matter how good the movie, if you’re not sitting comfortably, you won’t enjoy the experience. Choose comfy seating and place it so that your moviegoers don’t have to contort themselves to get a view of the screen. Tiered seating is ideal, if you don’t mind building a platform or two to elevate the seats behind the front room. And set up the room so that anyone entering or exiting is not going to block the screen.
  5. Seating is too close or too far from the screen. The ideal distance for the best visual acuity will depend on the size of the television screen and your vision. If you have 20/20 vision and a 50-inch screen, 10 feet is a good distance. Here’s a Home Theater Calculator to help you figure out the best viewing distance for your screen.
  6. Too complicated for the average non-techie. For some people, using a universal remote seems like rocket science. If you’re sharing with other household members, don’t make the home theater system so complicated that you need to be called in every time someone wants to use the system. Install a control system that operates the various components (television, DVD player, receiver, game console) and perhaps a movie server, like Kaleidescape, that allows users to access the movie collection.
  7. Hiding the speakers. “No one puts Baby in the corner.” Your speakers have a job to do. When you hide them in a cabinet or behind a fake plant, you reduce the sound quality.
  8. Poorly connected system. If you want maximum quality, utilize the right wiring and settings. Use HDMI cables, but you don’t need the gold-plated ones. If you’re not sure, invest in having someone come in to set it up right the first time.
  9. Forgetting the surge protector. Your home theater is an electronic system. Don’t risk avoidable damage from a power surge.
  10. Omitting the concession stand. A movie theater style popcorn machine and a small refrigerator for cold drinks add the finishing touches to your room, and maybe a basket with other movie snacks.

A home theater can be a big hit in your home. Follow these tips to avoid the most common home theater design mistakes.

6 Easy Tips for Bold Teenage Bedroom Design

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 14, 2015

Bold teenage bedroom design tips

Perhaps the most eclectic room in your home is your child’s bedroom. What began as a nursery soon evolved into a little child’s fun-filled living space. When the toddler outgrew fanciful characters, you changed the décor again, to reflect the youngster’s burgeoning personality and taste.

And then comes teenage years. Privacy becomes tantamount to a teenager. They seek the refuge of their bedroom—for chatting with friends, doing homework, surfing the Web, or just pondering life. When you turn the room into a personal statement that reflects the individuality of your teen, you give them a valuable space to explore their world.

The key to successful teenage bedroom design can be summed up in two words: Go bold! There is nothing subtle about the teenage years. They have definitive interests—hobbies, sports, clothes, colors, music, and art.

Before you start planning the bedroom design for your teenager, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not YOUR room. This is not where you will live or sleep. Accept that reality. Allow your teenager to be heavily involved in the design. When he or she chooses a color that stimulates your gag reflex, refrain from fast refusal on the grounds it offends your sense of style. In fact, take this opportunity to release your inner child and have fun with your teenager, planning a really cool bedroom.

Here are some tips for pleasing your teenager—at least, when it comes to bedroom design.

Pick a theme. A room with a theme is always more pulled together than a random design. Does your teenager have a passion for music or a particular sport? Does she love the ocean? Is he fascinated by science? Decide on an underlying theme that will be the glue for the bedroom décor.

Have fun with color. You can do wonderful things with paint—and it’s easy to change. Paint an accent wall in a color that’s different from the others. Paint the ceiling something other than white. Add bold stripes or geometric patters. Let your teen pick favorite colors and then figure out how to best utilize them in the bedroom.

Turns walls into artistry. Don’t just hang pictures on the wall. Use wall decals, murals, or stencils to turn those surfaces into canvasses. You can also paint walls with chalkboard, whiteboard, or magnetic paint, converting them into functional space for creative thinking.

Integrate technology. You know that your teenager will require technology. Instead of making it an afterthought, do some media planning and create a study or play space that accommodates a computer, gaming station, television, and speakers. You might design some special shelving or cabinets for safe placement and storage.

Create cool storage for stuff. And speaking of storage, every kid’s room requires plenty of it. When you tell them to “clean up your room”, they don’t take the time to organize, but instead stuff their stuff away. You can make it easier by incorporating colorful cubbies, shelves, and cabinets. Install wire shelving systems that maximize the space. Use underbed storage boxes with drawers.

Use stylish lighting. The creativity doesn’t stop at the ceiling. While your child needs functional lighting, you don’t have to compromise form. Look at pendant lights and chandeliers that reflect the style and theme of the room. Paint table lamps to accent the room’s colors. Add strings of LED lights for mood lighting—hanging on the wall, around windows, or stuffed in clear containers.

Eagles Landing Muddy Boots Tour!

Categories: Blog, News | Posted: May 11, 2015


We are excited to introduce a BRAND NEW floor plan to our Eagles Landing neighborhood and wanted to give you up close and personal access.  We are hosting a muddy boot tour on Friday, May 15th from 4:30-6:30 PM at our Eagles Landing community, hosted by our knowledgeable Community Specialist Heather!  This home is located at 2619 English Ivy Lane, Nazareth PA 18064.  

Chapman Floor Plan at Eagles Landing

Chapman Floor Plan at Eagles Landing


What is a muddy boot tour? 

On this behind the scenes tour you will get to see the quality and attention to detail that goes into the construction of our homes, before the finishing touches are added. If you take advantage of a guided tour, you will be able to ask questions onsite and discuss customization ideas.We hope you can join us!

For More Details RSVP NOW to or by calling 484-515-5126



Add Feng Shui to Your Home Without Moving Walls

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 7, 2015

Easy ways to add feng shui

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice, dating back more than 3,000 years. The phrase translates to “wind water”, which the Chinese believe to represent good health, fortune, and prosperity. Good feng shui brings “chi” or energy to your home, leading to harmony and balance.

Often we think of door, stair and wall placements as being part of Feng Shui, but there are much easier ways to tap into this ancient practice. To get started on creating a better environment, here are some simple tips to bring energy and health to your home with feng shui.

  1. De-clutter. You can’t experience true harmony when your home is filled with “stuff”. Start your feng shui makeover by clearing out the excess and simplifying your surroundings. Once you’ve “lightened” the load, you’ll already begin to feel the positive energy. Creating a clear path to the front door, for example, promotes chi.
  2. Freshen the air. Cleansing the air is a key step in creating a healthy and healthful environment. Open the windows. Bring in air purifying plants, which remove pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, acetone, and trichloroethylene from your indoor air. Add a rubber plant, English ivy, Boston fern, and peace lily. Certain palms, like a lady, date, areca, and bamboo palm, are also ideal air purifying plants.
  3. Improve the light. The quality and amount of light in your home will impact the positive energy. Use natural light wherever possible, removing drapes that block the sunlight. Eliminate fluorescents, which have been proven to promote stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and problems with focus. Integrate full-spectrum lighting, which most closely simulates sunlight.
  4. Map out the energy. The “bagua” is the energy map of a space. You use it to determine which areas relate to specific elements of your life, including creativity, love and marriage, fame, money, health, spiritual growth, career, and helpful people.
  5. Incorporate the five feng shui elements. Feng shui combines five elements and relates them to specific colors to create harmony. You should include all five elements in your home’s décor.

Wood = Green, Brown

Fire = Red, Strong Yellow, Orange, Purple, Pink

Earth = Light Yellow, Light Brown

Metal = White, Gray

Water = Blue, Black

  1. Use your birth element in the décor. Although you need to incorporate the five elements, you must also be mindful of your birth element. Achieving chi is dependent on ensuring you surround yourself with shapes and colors that reflect and complement your personal energy. Start by identifying your birth element using this chart.

Stay tuned for decorating tips to promote harmony and balance in your home!

The Hidden Costs (and Stress) of Remodeling

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 1, 2015


Your house should be your haven—a place where you can relax and tune out the world beyond your walls. But when your home no longer fits your lifestyle, you might be ready to think about remodeling—either changing the space you have or adding on. Either way, your dream of a new, improved living space could turn into your worst nightmare if you’re not prepared. Avoid the remodeling stress by taking the time to uncover the hidden costs.

Permits. From construction to plumbing to electrical work, make sure your contractor obtains the necessary permits. Don’t assume they’re handling this task—confirm it. Violations can cost you in lost time and unnecessary fines.

Dumpster fee. Empty paint cans, demolition debris, and the discards that pile up when you’re remodeling will probably require a dumpster. The cost will depend on the size and the number of times it will have to be emptied.

Upgrades. Once you see the new space evolving, you might visualize more improvements, or simply change your mind. If you decide you want taller cabinets, different fixtures, a bigger closet, or different flooring, those upgrades can cost you plenty. Do your homework before you commit to a remodel; research alternatives so you’re aware of options (including the pros and cons of each).

Under-wall surprises. Often, you don’t know what lurks behind the walls, floors, and ceilings of your home until demolition has begun, like dry rot, faulty wiring, or insect infestation. From replacing the sub-floor to safely removing asbestos or lead paint (in older homes) to rewiring or replumbing the space you’re remodeling—or entire home, depending on the severity, these surprises can send a shock wave to your budget. Talk to your contractor about possible construction surprises and how to identify them. Hiring a home inspector is a good start!

Special equipment. During the course of the remodel, the builder might discover a problem that requires special equipment he doesn’t already have. You could be responsible for the cost of equipment rental or a specialty contractor. Discuss the possibilities and costs before committing to a contract.

Rising supply costs. Building supplies change regularly. A major natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, can shift the balance of supply and demand, causing a major hit to your budget. Before your contractor begins, confirm that the supply costs have not changed.

Breakage. Accidents happen. But who pays the cost for repairing damage during remodeling? If a window is broken by a worker, will your contractor foot the bill for the replacement? Discuss liability before you choose the contractor.

Landscape repair. In the course of remodeling, you could damage your landscaping, either from tossing debris outside, driving heavy equipment on your lawn, or other potential hazards. Allow some funds to clean up the yard, and replace damaged lawn and plantings, or make sure the remodeler has included the costs in the estimate.

Construction interruptions. What happens when remodeling a portion of your home causes you to make significant changes in your lifestyle? A kitchen remodel might require getting takeout or dining out for a while, which can add up. You might need to board your pets to keep them safe from the chaos. You might also need a temporary storage unit. Consider how the construction will disrupt your regular activity and plan accordingly.

One way to avoid the remodeling stress that comes with hidden costs is to interview several remodelers before signing a contract, and then being clear about what that contract includes. According to Paul Winans, former chairman of the board for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, “It’s almost more important to know what’s excluded than what’s included. Be sure to check references and speak to past customers so you can be sure you’re working with a reliable, reputable contractor who will show up as promised, do quality work, and adhere to the budget and timeline.

The best way to avoid all the stress and hidden costs though is to find a new home that already has the latest design trends and energy efficiency you’re looking for.

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