Blog Archive for April, 2017

Take your spring cleaning outside: Exterior maintenance checklist

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 27, 2017

Spring cleaning is not just an indoor sport. The outside of your home needs some sprucing up this time of year, too.

Follow this exterior maintenance checklist and take your spring cleaning outside.

  1. Wash the walls. You might be surprised at how much dirt has built on your home’s exterior walls. Use a pressure washer to clean it, but be careful if you have vinyl siding or damaged shingles. The best way to clean vinyl siding is with soapy water and a long-handled brush.
  2. Inspect the roof. Snow and ice might have caused damage to your home’s roof. Check for cracked, loose, or missing shingles, and replace any that you find. Also, look for water stains on your ceilings. Melting snow might have left marks where you have roof leaks.
  3. Clean the windows and screens. No one enjoys washing windows, but you’ll enjoy the results of a better view. The best window cleaning solution is a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and water. And don’t waste paper towels. Use crumpled newspaper, which doesn’t leave lint behind.

Scrub your screens with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Small holes can be repaired by pressing the mesh back in place and applying a few coats of clear nail polish to hold them there.

  1. Clear out the gutters. Twice a year (spring and fall), you should remove all the debris from your gutters and flush out the gutters and downspouts with a hose. Build-up can lead to water damage to your home. Inspect your gutters for cracks and make sure they’re firmly attached.
  2. Refresh your patio, porch, and deck. Get ready for outdoor entertaining by pressure washing your outdoor living space surfaces. Reseal the decking. Check the steps and railings to be sure everything is firmly in place.

The upside of this side of spring cleaning is that you can enjoy the outdoors while you’re working through your exterior maintenance checklist!

Smart home technology is getting smarter.

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 21, 2017

Do you have a good working relationship with your home? Is it doing more than providing comfortable shelter? With today’s advances in smart home technology, you can get much more.

Imagine waking up in the morning with your drapes opening automatically to let in the daylight. Meanwhile, the floor in your bathroom is warming up so you don’t experience the cold shock. Downstairs, the coffee is brewing, exactly to the strength you need. On a cold day, your car starts up and is toasty warm when you get in.

After you leave, you realize you left the lights on, so you send a message to your house to turn them off. While you’re at it, you ask your smart home to make sure all the doors are locked. The security system can also let you know if someone left the gate open to the pool. Floor sensors alert you when an elderly family member falls.

From work, you can check on the time your kids get home, and make sure they didn’t bring any surprise visitors. Your cleaning person has access to your home, only when you program it (and you can check on the actual arrival and departure).

Your thermostat automatically adjusts itself while you’re away, taking advantage of off-peak rates and more energy-efficient temperatures. You can alert your oven to turn on and pre-heat while you’re on the way home. And your refrigerator just sent you a text message that you need to stop for milk and eggs.

This is all possible with smart home technology. In addition to launching all these brilliant devices and systems, the manufacturers have realized that they need to work with each other for harmony. Until recently, managing the various smart systems in your home has been like juggling multiple remote controls, for your television, cable box, DVD player, and streaming video system.

Now, with hubs like Alexa and Google Home and apps that allow you to control multiple systems on your mobile device, you can truly enjoy the intelligence of your smart home.

2017 design trends for outdoor living spaces

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 13, 2017

For months, you’ve been looking outside, yearning for the days when you could relax, play, and entertain out there. With all this time to think about it, have you considered ways to improve or upgrade your outdoor living spaces?

New products have been introduced and we’re seeing a variety of 2017 design trends for outdoor living spaces. See if any of these decorating ideas sparks your desire to make some changes.

Outdoor kitchens are growing. The grill just isn’t enough for the person who likes to cook and entertain outdoors. The outdoor kitchen now incorporates a refrigerator, sink, warming drawer, smoker, beer tap, wine chiller, and maybe even a pizza oven or cooktop. Homeowners are installing cabinets that can withstand the weather, to complete this fun and functional space.

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pats sparked a frenzy. At the end of the day, relax in front of a crackling fire and indulge in gourmet s’mores. From simple to sophisticated, the scope of your fire feature can reflect any style. Create a hearth on your patio or build a fire pit that can be rustic, sleek, or anywhere in between.

Furnish it in style. With the passion for more stylish outdoor living spaces, you have more choices in outdoor furniture that’s durable, comfortable, and attractive. This year, expect to see natural materials—like wicker and rattan—in more vibrant colors than the traditional white. Accent pieces—like ottomans, side tables, and outdoor rugs—are showing up in every style imaginable. No matter what color palette you choose, you can find cushions and pillows to match.

Exterior lighting choices are broader and brighter. With new technology, you can add light outdoors, where you need. Solar lights can stick in the ground, hang from a tree, sit on a table, or be strung around, across, or above your spaces. Lanterns, lamps, and chandeliers allow you to create the style of indoor living outside the walls of your home. LED bulbs are also lighting the way for homeowners who want more light with less energy use.

Low maintenance is a high priority. Homeowner don’t want to spend long hours keeping their outdoor spaces looking good and staying safe. Stain-resistant concrete paving provides an easy-care surface that has become the preference over wood flooring outdoors—and the wide range of colors and patterns gives you the look you want.

Reduce lawn care by converting lawn to garden and planting perennials and sprawling ground cover. Some homeowners are also trending toward the use of synthetic grass and artificial turf, which have grown to appear far more realistic than the plastic grass you might recall.

With all the time you’ll be spending outdoors in the months ahead, isn’t it worth sprucing up your outdoor living space?

Tuskes Homes Celebrates the Community of Bethlehem with Fig Magazine

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 3, 2017



Tuskes Homes celebrates over fifty years of living and working in Bethlehem, joining Fig Magazine at their recent Spring launch party. The party, held at AM Luxe in historical Downtown Bethlehem, hosted countless Bethlehem businesses and community members alike. The Spring issue of the magazine is the fourteenth issue of the quarterly publication since Fig joined the Bethlehem area in 2014.

Fig’s latest issue, which features our newly remodeled Design Studio and highlights just how much we love living and building in the Bethlehem area, focuses on the many year-round events for which the city is known. From musical acts and food festivals, to the ever-popular Musikfest, to the wonderful Winter wonderland that envelops the Christmas City during the holiday season, Fig showcases the best that Bethlehem has to offer in their latest 2017 Events issue.

Also featured in the Spring magazine is Tuskes Homes’ own Martha Clifford, a guru in all things related to Bethlehem and the Tuskes home-building process. Martha is a Bethlehem native who can answer any questions you have on your home-buying journey, whether you’re a local or relocating to the Lehigh Valley. We love living and building locally in the Lehigh Valley, because we live here too! So call, text, or e-mail Martha today for quick answers to all of your questions in your search for the perfect custom-built or move-in ready new home!

To start your new home search, #AskMartha at 484-626-1616 or

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