Blog Archive for May, 2016

Get the beach look in your home

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 19, 2016

You don’t have to live in an oceanfront cottage to treat yourself to the experience. The beach is a calming place, with its soft sand under your feet, the relaxing sound of waves rushing to the shore, and sunshine beaming down on your face. If you don’t have a seaside view, here are some ways to achieve the beach look in your home.

Color me beachy. Think about the colors of the shore. They’re soft and natural. Create a palette of colors to reflect this environment. Crisp white should be used amply. Contrast it with your preferred shade of blue: nautical, Aegean, cobalt, seafoam, or turquoise. Add the softness of buttery yellow or the peachy pink of a conch shell, or go vibrant with coral or sunny yellow.

Rough it up. The beach look reflects the textures of driftwood, coarse sand, shells, starfish, and sand dollars. Bring that tactile feeling into your home décor with rough-hewn accents or wooden furniture. Avoid the highly polished look. You want weathered wood complemented with natural materials, like cotton linen, seagrass, jute, and hemp.

Bring the outdoors in. Your interior décor should feel like you’re enjoying life on the beach. Incorporate decorative accents from outdoor living, like an outdoor rug, wicker rocker, and a basket of driftwood, mixed with shells and sea glass.

Don’t overdo it. Once you dive into the beach them for your home, you’ll discover a bounty of treasures that match your vision of coastal living. Restrain yourself. Your home décor should reflect the beach theme, not scream it through a bullhorn. Aim for subtle consistency. Don’t pack your space with clutter. That creates chaos of the mind. Choose a few perfect shells. Display one or two ships, not an entire fleet. Leave space around your décor. Less is more. Remember, at the beach, you revel in the breathing room, the open space that allows your mind to drift.

A beach theme can take you from a porch-front sitting in Nantucket to a tropical getaway. Decide what “beach” means to you, and then bring it home.

How to choose your new home design

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 12, 2016

Building a new home is an exciting adventure. You’re creating it, literally, from the ground up. You probably have a home in mind, or perhaps you just know you want specific features (e.g., gourmet kitchen, second-floor laundry, outdoor living space). When you have your ideas in place, follow these guidelines for how to choose your new home design.

Architectural style. Most people have an idea of the style of home they want—ranch, colonial, contemporary, modern, Mediterranean, farmhouse, cottage, craftsman, split-level, Victorian, to name a few. Look at samples of residential architecture styles to find the one that excites you and feels like home.

Property features. What does your land look like? Is it flat or sloping? Is your homesite long and narrow or wide? Is there a panoramic view you want to maximize? Your home should fit well within your property, working with the surroundings. Consider the placement of your home there and talk to your builder about potential challenges, like additional excavation or structural limits.

Home size. How big of a home feels right for you? Is your family growing or shrinking? Determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, along with other spaces, such as the garage (how many cars will be parking there?). Look at homes of approximately the same size so you can get a feel of how much square footage feels right.

Day-to-day lifestyle needs. Here’s where you need to work on the flow of your home. What goes where? Look at floor plans and picture yourself moving from room to room, starting when you enter your new home. Where do you want windows to provide natural light? How will you work in this kitchen? Should the sink and dishwasher be installed on a kitchen island? Where does it make the most sense to place the pantry? In the master suite, where do you want your closets? How should the bathroom be laid out?

Private places. An open floor is popular these days, but you still might want rooms to close yourself off from the others in the household. A home office, craft room, man cave, perhaps? Think about the proximity of that room. How far do you want to be from the rest of the activity? Is the room close enough to a bathroom or should you incorporate one? What kind of storage do you need there?

Fit your furnishings. If you have furniture that you want to move along with you to your new home, consider how it will fit into the floor plan. Large items like a bedroom set, sectional sofa, or piano should be factored into your design planning. Don’t wait until you’re ready to move in to discover you don’t have space for your grandmother’s antique china cabinet!

Your best bet for getting the home design that fits your vision and your needs is to talk to your builder’s online sales consultant. This person is trained to understand the building process and help you navigate all the details. They can explain what’s involved in adding certain features and upgrades.

Tips to prepare your home for the summer

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 5, 2016

Do you feel it? That sudden urge to throw open the windows and escape from your winter hibernation? Summer is coming soon. You’re ready for months of sunshine, cookouts, and entertainment, but is your home?

Before the temperature climbs much higher, prepare your home for the summer season by doing these important chores.

Prevent water damage. Spring and summer bring their share of rain. Make sure your home is protected. Clean the gutters so the water can flow freely and direct the water away from the house, where it can pool and cause damage. Look for cracks and breaks in the gutters and downspouts. Also, inspect your foundation for cracks that could allow water to leak into your home.

Check the caulking around your doors and windows. If there are any cracks, replace the caulk so that those leaks don’t cause mold or wood rot.

Clean the driveway and walkways. Pressure wash these surfaces and then inspect them for damage. Replace broken pavers. Repair cracks or holes in your driveway to prevent them from getting worse.

Check the deck. Your deck might have taken a beating over the winter, from the cold temperatures, snow, and ice. Before you start your deck inspection. clean it. Use a brush with low pressure—a pressure washer can damage the wood’s fibers. Next, inspect the wood for cracks and splinters, including along the joists, posts, and railing. Make sure the attachment of the deck to the house is secure. Although decking material is treated to resist ants and termites, the wood on your home isn’t. Look at the hardware to see if any is missing or needs replacement. Then apply deck sealant or wood stain.

Touch up the greenery. Trim the shrubs to spark healthy growth. Cut branches that could cause damage, either by scraping your home or low-hanging limbs that might hurt a passerby. Rake out your garden beds and lawn. Fertilize the lawn early in the season and seed any areas that have become bare. While you’re doing your yardwork, be sure to scrub the bird baths and any empty containers or pots, to ensure no bacteria or bugs survived over the winter.

Get ready for watering. Bring out your hoses (assuming you stashed them safely in the garage and not under the snow). Make sure there are no cracks or leaks in the hoses and nozzles. Replace any faulty ones. Walk around the yard and check the sprinkler heads to make sure they’re intact and ready to water your lawn.

Inspect the HVAC. You’ll probably rely on your air conditioning shortly. Before you’re battling the heat inside your home, check the HVAC. Clear away any debris on or around the compressor outside. Make sure the condenser unit is level, so that it doesn’t work harder than it should. Clean or replace the air filters (which should be done monthly).

Prep for outdoor living. Clean your outdoor furniture. If the cushions were left out during the winter, consider replacing them. Clean the grill and make sure the propane tanks are full, or you have a supply of charcoal.

By investing a little time now, you can enjoy many months of comfortable summer fun.

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