Blog Archive for December, 2015

Kitchen trends that are here to stay

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 31, 2015

Home design is like any other type of design. It follows shifts in ideas, preferences, and innovation. The kitchen is perhaps the most important room in the home—certainly the one with the most traffic—so this space has seen many changes over the decades.

Of course, it will continue to evolve with new technology, but here are some kitchen design trends that are here to stay (or seem to be!).

Bring down the walls…

Decades ago, the kitchen was purely functional. Food was stored and prepared here. Today’s homeowners see the kitchen as the hub of the home, the gathering place. The appeal of open floor plans includes the kitchen. The walls are coming down. No more isolating that room in the back of the house. The kitchen flows seamlessly in the family living areas, so that there is no division between the task of food prep and the activity beyond the kitchen’s borders.

…And put up an island

There’s nothing more exciting to a cook than more prep space. The kitchen island adds extra space for food prep, cooking, storage, and even serving. The island concept also enhances the traffic flow in the kitchen by creating a workspace in the center. No matter what style you prefer—country, contemporary, traditional, rustic—an island fits nicely into the kitchen design

More drawers than doors

The lower kitchen cabinets are giving up space to drawers. It’s much easier to pull open a drawer than to bend down and reach into a cabinet. Kitchen drawers can be designed in sizes to fit specific functions—deeper to store pots and pans, a narrow vertical pull-out for spices. Some drawers are hiding behind cabinet doors, still utilizing the ease of pulling out instead of reaching in to find what you need.

Shades of green

Today’s homeowners want their homes to be kind to the environment. From reclaimed wood and sustainable materials (e.g., cork, bamboo) to energy-efficient appliances, plumbing, and lighting, the eco-friendly kitchen is a definite “must have”.

Preferences in countertops, flooring, and wall coverings may change. Lighting styles will continue to evolve. Appliances will get more and more technical. But you can count on these kitchen trends to stay.

Winter Cleaning: Getting Your Home Ready for Holiday Guests!

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 17, 2015

Everyone knows about spring cleaning. You throw open the windows and let the fresh air in. Then you clean and purge your home as you welcome the season of new growth.

Flip the calendar around. What do you do about your winter cleaning? As you get ready to stay indoors for the next few months, make sure you clean a few spaces that hold dust, dirt, and germs that you could be inhaling. Here’s a winter cleaning checklist to guide you.

The dryer vent gathers lint that is highly flammable. To clean your dryer vent, unplug and then pull out the dryer as far as you can from the vent pipe. Disconnect it. Vacuum the dryer’s outlet hole and the vent pipe. Remove the dryer’s vent cover and vacuum as deeply as you can inside the vent.

Scrub out your trash cans, inside and out. Then use a disinfectant to kill any remaining germs. White vinegar mixed with equal parts of water works great.

HVAC filters are notorious dust grabbers. Remove and replace the old filters and clean the grates. This should be done every 60 days.

Move your refrigerator to get to the dust behind it. The fridge’s condenser coils will operate more efficiently without all the junk. Remember to unplug any appliance before cleaning!

Get “edgy”! Look at surfaces that might be missed during your regular cleaning. Give a good dusting to door frames and trim, wall décor, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors, light fixtures and bulbs, baseboards, switch plates, door knobs, ceiling fans, book shelves, televisions and computers, and above your kitchen cabinets.

Pull out and turn over your upholstered furniture. Vacuum the bottom and all cushions.

Take down and clean your curtains. This is a great time to change your window coverings to a seasonal color scheme.

Wash throw rugs and steam clean your area rugs and carpet.

Vacuum mattresses and box springs. Then flip the mattress, which should be done twice a year. Wash your bed pillows and linens.

Clean out your fireplace and around the hearth. Have your chimney inspected before using it for the season, to ensure there’s no harmful build-up that could spark a fire.

Get cozy in your clean home. Snuggle in and enjoy a healthier environment!

Winter is here – time to safely clean your gutters

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 10, 2015

The job of your home’s gutters is to drain the water from the roof to the downspouts. When the gutter is clogged or sagging, the water collects there, where it can rust a metal gutter or degrade a wooden one. If there’s too much, that water can feed back to the fascia boards, causing more costly damage to your home.

Cleaning your gutters twice a year (spring and fall) can protect your home by preventing sagging, clogged, and bent gutters. Before you climb up the ladder, prepare yourself to safely clean your gutter.

  1. Watch out for power lines. Look at any power lines that connect to your roof from a power pole. Make sure the cable’s insulation is intact. If you have any questions or doubts, contact your electric utility company.
  2. Place a tarp on the ground. Save yourself the additional step of raking up the debris you remove from the gutter. Lay a tarp or drop cloth on the ground below the area where you’re cleaning. When you’re done, just bundle it up and transfer to a trash bag.
  3. Do a safety check on the ladder. Most gutter cleaning accidents involve a faulty ladder. Confirm the weight-bearing load is enough to support you. Check your ladder’s safety by looking for dents, cracks, and loose bolts or screws. Set it up firmly and bounce a few times on the bottom rung to push the base into the ground and ensure it’s secure. Be sure someone nearby knows you’re going to be on a ladder.
  4. Equip yourself with the right gutter cleaning tools. You should have a small garden trowel or gutter scoop to dig out the debris. Have a stiff brush to scrub away any stubborn materials. Wear garden or work gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects, like exposed screws. Have a spray nozzle on your hose and clamp it to the edge of the gutter while you’re cleaning. Wear safety glasses in case the hose kicks up something that could cause an injury to your eyes,
  5. Start from the downspout. Begin removing the leaves and dirt from the low end of the gutter, closest to the downspout. If you start at the high point, you might end up pushing more build-up downward, instead of out.
  6. Hose out the gutter. After you’ve cleared out a section, hose it down. Take note of the drainage in the downspout. If it’s draining slowly, you probably need to clean it out before proceeding, to remove whatever has built up in there.
  7. Check the gutters and downspouts. As you move along, make sure the gutters are strongly attached to the fascia boards. Inspect the board for dry rot. Look for rusting, flaking, or leaks on the downspouts. Replace any parts that are weakened or damaged.

Invest a little time twice a year in safely cleaning your gutters, and you’ll go a long way toward protecting your home.

2015 Homeowner Holiday Decorating Contest

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 4, 2015
2015 Holiday Decorating Contest

2015 Holiday Decorating Contest

Kick It Up A Notch, & Win BIG This Year!

We’d love to see your homes decorated for the holidays, which is why we’re announcing our 2015 contest for Tuskes Homeowners! Help us spread the holiday cheer by sharing your decorated homes with us. Prizes for the Top Three! The winning house will receive a $500 VISA gift card, second place will win a $250 card, and third place will win a $100 card! It’s EASY to Win!

We’re accepting submissions from now until December 31st! Send your submissions to,and the winner will be announced on Facebook on January 1st. In your submission, please include your exterior photo, community you live in, house number, name, and phone number. Then sit back with a cup of eggnog and wait to see if you’ll win BIG!

Transform Your Bathroom with Layered Lighting

Categories: Blog | Posted: December 1, 2015


Transform your bathroom with a simple project of layered lighting. Layered lighting is using multiple lighting sources to create the perception of more space and depth in your bathroom.

Homeowners are looking for sunnier brightness in their bathrooms, but they also want the sense of calm when relaxing in the tub. Layering the lighting in your bathroom creates a pleasant blend of light and shadow, with enough brightness for the task, but adding the softer lighting where you want it.

Dimmers give you the power to control the intensity of the light, but don’t stop after installing these switches. You can also create the ambience you desire with the right choice of bathroom light fixtures that utilize the four types of light to include in your bathroom:

  • Task lighting—First and foremost, plan for lighting the necessary chores that require good visibility, like shaving and putting on makeup. A pendant or canister light over the vanity’s mirror can be complemented by sconces on both sides, to give you the best cross lighting.
  • Ambient lighting—Natural light streaming in the through windows and skylights is a softer light that lessens shadows. If you don’t have these sources in your bathroom, you can fabricate the effect by bouncing light off the ceiling.
  • Accent lighting—Just as in any other room of the house, your bathroom can benefit from accent lighting to bring focus to specific details, like wall art of decorative tile.
  • Decorative lighting—Lighting designer Randall Whitehead refers to this as “architectural jewelry”. A chandelier over the tub or in the center of the bathroom used to be unheard of, but is now a common trend in bathroom lighting.

When designing your bathroom lighting, look at this room as any other. Blend décor with functionality to achieve the style that carries throughout your home.

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